Love on the Line
Women at Work Book 1
by Kirsten Fullmer
Genre: Women's Fiction, Romance
Andy may not have pipeline know-how, per se, but she’s got brains and every right to prove that she can do the job. Her estranged grandpa, Buck, believes she has what it takes to be his engineering assistant, and she’s not about to let him down.
Rooster isn’t a bad guy. He respects women; he was raised by one of the best. But that new girl is too small and… feminine. She’s a distraction, plain and simple, and she doesn’t belong on a pipeline. This job is his chance to impress Buck Brennan, a pipeline legend, and no girly greenhorn is going to ruin it for him.
Will Andy prove herself to her grandfather and forge a relationship with the old man, or will continuous disagreements and unexpected sexual tension between Andy and Rooster derail their hard work?
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An elbow in her side caused Andy to jolt forward and she stumbled her way down the rest of the wooden trailer steps. Several men glanced her way as they passed, then quickly looked away as if she were fascinating yet horrifying, like kryptonite. Trying to remember where Buck had parked his work truck that morning, she headed across the yard. As she picked her way through the snow and frozen mud, she noticed a group of nine or ten men who looked different than the others, standing near flat bed trucks with dual tires and machines of some sort on the back. They stared at her silently as she passed. Unlike the other workers, these men were in no hurry. They didn’t wear hardhats or safety glasses, instead they wore soft cloth caps with long bills, some of which were turned sideways, with the bill flipped up against their heads. Their jeans were clean, new dark blue, and ironed crisp with a crease. Arrogance radiated off the group. There had been a group of boys like that back in high school. She remembered their eyes boring into her as she passed in the hall, their eyes glued to her chest. Invariably one would shove another, causing them to fall directly into her. How could she report being groped when-- A horn honk startled Andy, causing her to trip on a clump of frozen mud. With her cheeks flaming, she tore her gaze from the haughty men to find Buck’s truck pulled up by
her side. Glad to have a get-away, she tugged open the door and stretched hard against layers of clothing to get her foot up into the truck. Pulling herself up into the cab, she settled into the seat, out of the wind and away from the glares of strangers. With a grunt she tugged the door closed behind her. As they drove through the yard, Buck was silent, but offered a nod and the lift of two fingers from the steering wheel in greeting as he passed workers. Heat pumped from under the dash as the truck growled and bumped over the frozen ruts, jarring and rattling the paperwork and gear scattered throughout the double cab. “Who were those guys?” Andy asked, leaning forward to see the group of haughty men in the side mirror. Buck pulled the truck to a stop at the gate of the yard. “Who?” He bent forward to peer up then down the road, waiting for a break in the traffic streaming past on the highway. “The ones wearing the funny hats.” He glanced in the mirror. “Them’s welders,” he snorted. Unsure why a welder would be different than any of the other workers, she shrugged. Time clicked past as they drove. Brilliant bursts of morning sunlight flashed through the towering hardwood forest as it slid past Andy’s window. Never before had she seen such dense growth. Even the ground cover was thick and deep. This place was very different that the open rolling green fields of Kansas. Bushes, briars, and plants of every kind made her wonder how anyone could navigate between the trees. She turned from the scenery and back to Buck. “Where are we going?” She asked. It was a simple enough question, but having no idea what lay ahead, she braced herself for the unexpected.
My latest book, Love on the Line, is the story of Andy, a woman who chooses to work building a pipeline in the rugged mountains of West Virginia. Why did I write about this? I wrote it partly because I was inspired by the experiences of my own daughter who entertained me with many of her personal experiences as a pipeliner. But I also wrote it because I too chose to work in a male dominated field back in the day. Some of the struggles of women in these fields are upsetting, but many are inspiring and funny, thus perfect material for the kind of books I love to write. Just because not many women choose to do it, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done, right? More than any time in recorded history, women are choosing to work in male dominated fields. Every day you come across a woman truck driver, firefighter, or pharmacist. And even though it’s become commonplace, many fields stick with their traditional titles such as policeman, draftsman, and even garbage man. Given this plus the infamous glass ceiling, why would a woman choose to spend their entire career fighting an uphill battle? There are a million reasons, but overwhelmingly, the answer I find is “because I want to” or “because the job appealed to me,” or “My dad and grandpa did it, why shouldn’t I?” When was the idea planted for women to take the jobs they wanted, even if they were traditionally considered only suitable for men? Some would say with Eve, but both folklore and history are filled with women who not only worked at the jobs they pleased, they ruled societies: Joan of Ark and Cleopatra, to name a few. In Victorian times, women who wrote were forced to use a male pen name or work without recognition. But the women of my grandmother’s generation were forced to work at jobs considered appropriate only for men during world war II. They worked everywhere from factories to the fields. Sadly, after a taste of the liberation a paycheck affords a person, these women were expected to quietly step back into the kitchen once the men came home. My mother’s generation, were blessed with not only their mother’s experiences, but all manner of modern conveniences which allowed them to clean and cook and generally care for their families in a fraction of the time it took their mothers. Many of these women took it upon themselves to “have it all” and step out into the working world, and not just as nurses and schoolteachers. Their bravery gave the women of my generation the encouragement and conviction that we too could plan a career. However, we quickly learned that we couldn’t be super mom and have a demanding and time consuming career without a shift in attitude, and this shift had to come from the men. The change had to happen not just because of the aforesaid glass ceiling on the job, but because we needed help at home. Do I think only women who work have value, and somehow women who don’t work away from home are lesser somehow? Of course not! In my lifetime I have been a stay at home mom, a sick in bed mom, a full time student mom, an employed full time mom, and a
retired mom. All of those words we put on women are pointless when you realize that we are in this together, and we should be supportive and understanding, no matter what roll you chose. So, take a moment this summer to grab a copy of Love on the Line. Then curl up in a corner with a cup of coffee and prepare yourself for a heartwarming story filled with feminine strength, challenge, bravery, friendship, and romance.
Kirsten grew up in the Western US and graduated from high school in 1984. She married soon there after and quickly built a family. With three young children and number four on the way, she returned to college in 1992. Her career as a draftsman included many settings ranging from a steel fabrication shops to prestigious engineering firms. Balancing family life with the workplace forced her to become the queen of multitasking. In 2001, bored with the cubical life, she moved on to teach drafting in technical college, then to opening her own consulting firm teaching 3D engineering software. Due to health problems, Kirsten retired in 2012 to travel with her husband for his job. She now works writing romance novels and enjoys spoiling her three grandchildren. Since 2017 Kirsten has lived and worked full time in a 40' travel trailer with her husband and her little dog Bingo.
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