At eighteen, all Sandi Drake wanted was out. Out of the little Texas town that suffocated her. Out of her father’s ranch that didn’t appeal to her bookish interests. And out of the influence of the sexy and irresistible Travis Moretti, the one thing she regretted leaving behind.
Twelve years later, her father’s death brings her back to the Broken T ranch. Back to Travis. Back to the sparks and to the fire that she could never deny—and in her heart of hearts could never forget.
Travis hasn’t forgotten either. Not the way she made him laugh, and not the way she hurt him when she left. Now that she’s returned, they have a second chance. But is it a second chance at love, or another opportunity for her to break his heart?
Copyright © 2008 by Harlequin Books S.A.
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Sunday afternoon, Sandi curled up in a leather chair in her father’s study and perused photo albums—two to be exact. Her father hadn’t bothered with a camera over the years, but various housekeepers had managed to snap photos of Sandi on birthdays and holidays. There was even a wedding picture of her mother and father outside a chapel in Las Vegas.
"She looks like you."
Startled, Sandi jumped, sending the album sliding off her lap and onto the floor. She glanced up and saw Travis standing behind her chair looking over her shoulder. Two days had passed since he’d sort of kissed her. An almost kiss that had stirred up memories of the past—and for Sandi a yearning to return to those carefree days as a teenager when all she cared to do was spend time with Travis.
They never did make it to the horse barns Friday morning after helping the injured calf. Travis had sputtered an excuse about needing to speak to a ranch hand and had dropped her off at the house. He’d been avoiding her, and she suspected the reason was that he regretted their kiss—if you considered bumping lips a kiss.
"Who looks like me?" She retrieved the album from the floor, ignoring her body’s sudden increase in temperature at his proximity.
"The woman in the wedding dress." Hat in hand, he moved around her chair and sat in the matching one near the desk.
Intrigued that Travis had gone from avoiding her to paying her a social call, she asked, "Care for some iced tea?"
He shook his head, eyes glued to the photo album as if he was genuinely interested in learning more about her mother. "Her name was Margaret," Sandi said. "Dad called her Maggie."
"What happened to her? Ben never brought your mother up in conversation."
Come to think of it, Sandi realized Travis had never asked her about Maggie, either. Back then she’d believed he hadn’t wanted to pry, but now she wondered if he’d been afraid of the intimacy that resulted in learning everything about another person. The one time she’d posed a question about his family he’d clammed up and stalked off. That was twelve years ago. Maybe it was time she and Travis finally got to know each other.
"Maggie was passing through Salt Creek when she met my father. She’d taken a job at the Gas Depot to earn enough money to get her to the next town. My father fell head–over–heels in love and convinced her to stick around awhile. She got pregnant with me, so they tied the knot in Vegas. I had just turned two when my father found me napping alone in the house. Maggie had left. The note said she couldn’t stand staying in one place very long."
Read the rest of Chapter Three of In a Cowboy's Arms here on Harlequin Extras.