Georgie Gail, switchboard operator and birder, heads out on a birding expedition, but instead of sighting a painted bunting, her opera glasses capture her telephone man, armed and far away from telephone lines. Palmer is forced to take this alluring troublemaker into his confidence and unwittingly puts her in harm's way. The closer he comes to the gang, the further she works her way into his heart--and into trouble. Soon it's more than just love that's on the line.
Georgie Gail snatched up a switchboard cable and stuffed it into number twenty-eight. "Hello, Central."
"Georgie, it's Mattieleene. How old is he? What does he look like? You have met him, haven't you?"
She didn't pretend to misunderstand. "Yes."
The new troubleman tried to open one of the drawers, but it was locked. With a great deal of satisfaction, she smoothed her skirt beneath her and adjusted herself in her chair.
"Well?" Mattieleene asked.
"He's big and he's grouchy."
He pierced her with his gaze.
She shifted, facing forward. She could still see him, but only in her peripheral vision.
"Never say so!" Mattieleene moaned. "Is he old?"
He jiggled the second and third drawers. Locked.
"Is he ugly?"
"Long in tooth and raised on sour milk."
Balling his fists, he placed them on the desktop and leaned against it. The fabric of his sleeves tightened around his upper arms.
"Oh, crumbs." Mattieleene sounded near tears. "Why couldn't they have sent a man with a little fur on his brisket?"
"Party lines, Mattieleene. Anyone can hear." And from the crackling on the line, it was a sure bet half the town was listening in."