A family crisis brings him home…
Just in time for Christmas
Cattleman Callen Laramie has no intention of returning to his hometown of Coldwater, Texas, until a Christmas wedding and a family secret convince him he has no choice. And when he’s reunited with his childhood crush, the girl who’d always been off-limits, Callen knows leaving might not be so easy this time.
Shelby McCall is as pretty as a Christmas snowfall, and Callen wants to kiss her under the mistletoe…and the Christmas tree…and the stars. But once Shelby knows the whole truth behind this homecoming, will their holiday fling come to an abrupt end? Or will she accept the gift of his heart?
She was indeed training a new horse, and Shelby wouldn’t have minded a little talk about that if she hadn’t heard the vehicle approaching the house. Now she let go of the cup, practically slapping it onto the counter and hurrying to the door.
Buck pulled up in his red pickup that was as familiar to her as her own hand. Ditto for the weathered Stetson that had aged to a rich cream color. As usual, he wore jeans. She’d never seen him in anything else except for Sunday, when he wore his one and only suit. His buckskin coat covered a blue plaid flannel shirt.
“Please don’t mention that I said anything about sex,” Rosy whispered, coming up behind her.
Shelby would have voluntarily sat on a vat of hot pokers before doing that.
“Wasn’t sure you’d still be here,” her dad greeted her. “Thanks for staying with the kids.”
“Anytime.” Even though it would likely be a big red flag of concern, she went onto the porch and down the steps to hug him. She’d hugged him plenty of times, of course, but not when he’d only been gone an hour or so. The red flag probably flapped a little harder when she held on longer than she normally would have.
“How’d the appointment go?” she asked when she eased back from him.
Oh yes. He’d noticed her concern. He might look a little frail, but he was still sharp. And about to lie to her.
She was sharp, too. Shelby could see the lie forming in his green eyes, which were a genetic copy of her own.
“Everything went fine,” her father said with his arm hooked around her—which meant he was no longer looking her straight in the eyes. Easier to maintain the lie that way.
“Told you,” Rosy insisted from the doorway. “Buck’s right as rain.”
Because, of course, rain was right.
Except when it wasn’t.
“Callen called,” Rosy told him when they stepped inside. “Shelby talked to him.”
Buck paused in the process of taking off his coat, and his gaze shifted from Rosy to Shelby. “Is he coming to the wedding?”
Shelby shook her head, and she instantly saw something deflate inside her father. There was no other word for it. His chest fell. His shoulders sagged a little. And the sigh that left his mouth was as weary as it could get.
It broke her heart.
“Miss Rosy?” Rayna called out from the kitchen. “I accidentally dropped the eggs, and they broke. You don’t want me to pick them up off the ground, do you?”
Rosy gave a rare eye roll. “I’ll be back.” And she scurried away toward the kitchen.
Shelby figured her father might want to try some scurrying, too, but he stayed put. “I just need a few more tests at the hospital,” he said, fixing the lie he’d told her earlier. Still not the straight truth, but it was a start.
“What kind of tests?” she asked.
“Just a shadow that showed up on an X-ray.” He brushed a kiss on her forehead. “Don’t start worrying about it until we know. And don’t mention it to Rosy.”
She could agree to the second but not the first. That was because she was already worrying.
“Too bad about Callen not coming,” Buck said, walking away from her. “I really wanted to see him.”
Shelby sighed. Then cursed.
She was going to Dallas.
Callen Larmaire thought he would never step back into the town of Coldwater, TX. When he left at the age of 18, he hadn’t ever really put another thought into it. But when Shelby shows up at his office in Dallas and asks him to return home for her dad, he just couldn’t resist.
Shelby’s dad was his foster father and he feels like he at least owes the man a visit since so many people think he needs his help. But what he finds when he gets to Coldwater, isn’t exactly what he was wishing for. Now that Callen finds himself back in Coldwater for a while, he needs to make nice with his brothers and hopefully not hurt the one woman he was never allowed to be near… until now.
This book is full of a lot of fun characters, steamy scenes and love that comes from the heart. I’m a big sucker for Texas Romances and can’t wait for the rest of this series on the Laramaire Brothers!
USA Today bestselling author, Delores Fossen, has sold over 70 novels with millions of copies of her books in print worldwide. She’s received the Booksellers’ Best Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award and was a finalist for the prestigious Rita ®. In addition, she’s had nearly a hundred short stories and articles published in national magazines.