THE LONG WAY HOME
A guy like Cole Slater is hard to forget. Tina Sanchez should know—for years since high school she's tried to bury the pain of Cole's cruel betrayal. But it's impossible to ignore the man she sees reflected in her young son's eyes now that Cole is back in her life—and about to meet the child he never knew he had.
Returning home to New Mexico, Cole is determined to put his playboy reputation to rest. Especially now that he knows there's a little boy looking up to him. And seeing Tina again reignites all the feelings Cole ran from as a teen. Despite his fear that he can't be the man Tina deserves, he's determined to try. For his son's sake—and his own.
—On the ranch Tina calls home, she has just run into the one man she had hoped never to see again, and she’s doing her best to get rid of him before he can discover her secret.
“You and I need to have something out first.”
Please, no. Had he caught a glimpse of Robbie, after all?
He shifted his stance and crossed his arms over his chest. “I didn’t expect to run into you this soon, but since we’ve met up, it’s as good a time as any to talk.”
“I don’t really have anything to say to you.”
“But I’ve got something to say to you.”
He ducked his head, looking suddenly like the kindergartner made to give back the lollipop he’d just sweet-talked out of her hand. Even in those days, she’d have given him anything. One night in high school, she’d proven that.
She turned to the truck and grabbed another sack. “I’m busy, sorry.”
“I’ll give you a hand, and then we can talk.”
“No.” He had stepped up beside her and stood only a few inches away. His nearness unsettled her. The thought of him going back into the hotel upset her even more. “All right,” she conceded. “Say whatever you want to say right here.”
She blinked. “What?”
He tugged the brim of his hat down, shading his eyes. “Look, I know I acted like a real jerk to you back in high school.”
“High school? You mean that lunchtime you turned me down when I asked you to the dance?” The time you humiliated me in front of everyone in the school cafeteria? “I’m over that.”
“But I still feel I owe you an apology.”
“Oh, please. Don’t even think twice about it.”
“Yes, I’m sure.” She forced a smile and hoped he couldn’t see her grinding her teeth in frustration. She just wanted him gone. Off the ranch. Anywhere but right here, right now.
“Well, that’s good,” he said. “I’m glad you’re not holding any bad feelings against me, since we’ll probably be seeing a lot of each other.”
“I doubt it. The hotel keeps me busy and close to home. I don’t go into town much.”
“You won’t have to.” His smile didn’t look the least bit forced. “You’ll see me here. I’m back to working for Jed.”
The Cowboy’s Little Surprise can be found at:
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Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom.
When she was very young, Barbara learned from her mom about the storytelling magic in books—and she’s been hooked ever since. She hopes you will enjoy reading her books and will find your own magic in them!
Her latest release is The Cowboy’s Little Surprise, the first in a new series, The Hitching Post Hotel, about a matchmaking grandpa determined to see his three granddaughters wed. Upcoming books in the series are A Rancher of Her Own in July and The Lawman’s Christmas Proposal in December.
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