Anne Pichette, an eighteen-year-old exchange student living in Texas for one year on a ranch with Rose Walsh who treats her like a daughter, believes her life is perfect. Until, Clint, Rose's devilishly handsome son embeds himself deep within Anne's soul. Finding the courage needed one night to admit her feelings, she pours her heart to Clint only it turns out he's too drunk to remember. A week later having to return to Paris devastated - and pregnant, Anne fully intends to tell him about his child. Her plans are halted due to a letter arriving announcing his impending marriage to another woman, a pregnant woman he loves.
Eight years have since passed when Rose appears in Paris to bring Anne back to Texas to help her through her final days battling cancer. With the love Anne has for Rose, she agrees. Also, the time has come to divulge her secret to Clint. That her boy, Max, is in fact Clint's son and Rose's grandson.
Clint Walsh, now divorced, might be hardened and embittered but he knows he has a good reason for acting this way. After all, the woman he believed was his true love leaves him with their daughter and never looks back. So how’s a man supposed to handle that kind of treachery? Especially after sharing a beautiful night of lovemaking he’s never been able to forget—or remember clearly.
There they were, coming down the ramp! The boy was tall for his age, quite a bit more so than Debbie. His golden hair, much like Annie’s, crowned his head with curls, reminding Clint of his own unruly mass.
Unlike Debbie, this kid swaggered rather than walked, which made Clint think the boy felt good about himself. As long as conceit didn’t drive that attitude, Clint favored it over his daughter’s hesitant movements.
The woman who waved reminded him of his old friend, if only because she had the same beautiful face. Her hair, she’d worn really long as a teen, was now cut shoulder length and hugged her face with dramatic effect. It made him think of models on magazine pages.
With his guts in his throat, he approached and waited for her to take the initiative about their greeting. Why her enthusiastic hug and kisses on both cheeks surprised him, he’d never know. But wrapping his arms around the slight body, feeling her warmth against the ice he’d lived with for so long, started the first melt he’d had in ages.
“Clint! How wonderful you look! I didn’t know you’d be here to pick us up. I expected Rose.” Her jabbering stopped at that point and she paled. “Rose?”
“She’s fine, a bit tired. So I offered to come and meet you.”
Annie nodded and her composure returned. “Max, this is the man I’ve told you so much about.” She put her arm around the shoulders of the boy, who’d held back as Clint approached.
The inspection made by the youngster flustered Clint. Senselessly, this lack of composure built unexpected anger. Not liking the feeling, he bristled and his greeting turned abrupt. “Howdy, Max.” Sternly, he shoved out his hand.
Stiffening, Max scowled back. He took the proffered hand and waited for the handshake to be over. Then he stuck it in his pocket as if he’d been burned. Turning away quickly, he addressed Anne. “Which carousal is our luggage on, Maman?”
Deadly silence screamed between Clint and a ferocious Annie until he dragged his eyes from her frown and answered for her. “Welcome to Texas. Come with me, we’ll get your bags and head on home.”
Shame rode Clint all the way back to the ranch. What had started out so nicely had changed in an instant with his unacceptable behavior toward Max. The kid’s eyes, so like Annie’s, had mirrored his distress after Clint’s unnecessary harshness. Rather than apologize, or at least try and mitigate the offense, he’d driven home making no effort at all to welcome his guests.
No one had to tell him. This time he knew. No doubt about it. He should be shot!
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Author of The Vicarage Bench Series, Angels with Attitude Series, Vegas Series, Elvis Series and the brand new sizzling romantic suspense series called Undercover FBI. Mimi lives on the East coast of Vancouver Island and writes her romances with tongue in cheek and a mad glint in her eye. “If I can steal a booklover’s attention away from their every-day grind, absorb them into a fantasy love story, and make them care about the ending, then I’ve done my job.”