Jenine Mescall stood up and gingerly made her way down the bales, saying “everybody’s going to get a chance. I want you to line up over here.” She directed them into a single-file line behind the cow.
Unlike Emily, Jenine was truly beautiful. Nearly five feet nine, perfect oval face, with delicate features that gave her a look of elegance; coal-black hair, tied back in a long ponytail, that contrasted nicely with her blue eyes and very fair Celtic complexion. She was indeed a beauty. She wasn’t skinny, however, like the proverbial emaciated fashion model, but rather had the sleek and sturdy athletic build of an Olympic champion. She had in fact excelled in sports as well as in all of her academic studies at the University of North Dakota, in Grand Forks, where she had just received her Master’s in Early Childhood Education. She had passed her State Boards and now possessed teaching certificates for both Dakotas, Minnesota, and Montana, and hoped to land her first real career job in the fall. She had sent applications in to every school district in these four states–but no replies–yet. It was good to be working as a camp counselor for the Ranch Park’s summer daycamp program, however. At least that brought her in contact with children and added experience to her portfolio. And it sure beat waiting tables as she’d done for the past four summers. For two years it had been the prestigious but snobbish Meriwether’s at Sakakawea Shores Country Club. At first she had liked the atmosphere of this exclusive fine dining establishment. The white table linen, the classy clientele, and being surrounded by golf and tennis and the proximity to water were all reminiscent of her home state of Florida. But the manager, a real witch of a woman, seemed to have it in for Jenine right from the start.
From Ranch Park, Chapter 1, ‘Ranch Camp’, as we meet the leading lady of the story, Jenine Mescall, Will Nickerson’s number one romantic interest in the first novel of the series.
Jenine isn’t patterned after any one person I know or have known in the past–but rather she’s a composite character, combining traits that I would be attracted to, myself, in a romantic interest. She is intelligent, adventurous, attractive, elegant–and at times “delightfully kooky”, such as liking ketchup on ice cream (I once met someone who actually said she did). I named her Jenine because that was the name of my first “serious” childhood crush–and I gave her the last name Mescall, since that, like Nickerson, was an ancestral name in my mother’s family tree. As it says in Ranch Park, Mescall is in fact an Irish name, found mainly in the west of County Clare, where one of my great-great grandmothers came from in the 19th Century. The original Gaelic version of the name was O’Meiscill. On a visit to County Clare a few years ago, we found that there are still Mescalls living in the city of Kilrush. Jenine and Will don’t always agree on everything–but they complement each other nicely as their on-again-off-again relationship progresses through the series. Overall, he wants a wife–while she wants a friend. A good close friend–but definitely platonic. For now, at least. And that’s the way I want to keep it in the series. The door is open to other romantic interests, perhaps for them both, to keep things interesting in the romantic department. The romances in the Will Nickerson Mysteries series are always light ‘n breezy and are woven into the fabric of each novel in a tasteful way, not only for Will and Jenine, but for other couples as well, such as Riaan and Stacie in Ranch Park and Craig and Katherine in Let’s Make It Merry Christmas. These are not mushy love stories. They are rural based mysteries, first and foremost, with a touch of romance running through them at times. An appropriate topic with Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching…
R. L. Anderson, author, Will Nickerson Mysteries.
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