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He looked just as Kate remembered him, standing on the outside of the small gathering in front of the church. Jacob Cade had never mixed well. He might have his share of adoring women, thanks to his sizable fortune, but he seemed to treat everyone with the same impartial contempt. He was quietly standing there, his dark gaze glancing toward the road where his niece was due to arrive any minute. And despite his indifference to the crowd, he drew women's eyes. He was darkly tanned and rugged, his powerful legs outlined by the superb fit of his trousers, his broad shoulders straining against the fabric of his suit coat. His hands were lean and dark, and there were no rings on them. Jacob wasn't a sentimental man. He was an old-fashioned reactionary in everything from dress to attitudes, and he made no apologies for it. He didn't have to. He had enough money to make up his own rules as he went along.
"Lord of all he surveys," Kate muttered, glaring.
"Isn't he entitled?" Tom, her brother, laughed softly. "He's got enough fluttering female hearts in his pocket. Including yours "
"Hush!" she bit off, nibbling on her lower lip.
"He doesn't know," he mused, glancing down at her. They were both tall, dark-haired and green-eyed. Although Tom, at twenty-eight, was four years her senior, they might well have been twins for the resemblance of their facial features. The same even, etched features highlighted both high-cheekboned faces, the faint remnants of a Sioux great-grandfather.
"I hate him," Kate said firmly, pushing a strand of hair back into the elegant French knot she'd twisted her long, straight hair into that morning.
"Sure you do."
"I do," she insisted. And at that moment, she really did. Jacob's sudden, violent dislike for her, which stemmed from an incident when Kate was eighteen, had put a severe strain on her friendship with Margo. It was odd, too, because Jacob had been good to the family when Kate was younger.
Kate and Tom had been adopted by their paternal grandmother after the death of their father. God alone knew where their mother was. She'd deserted them years before, and Kate had never stopped blaming her. The children had been badly scarred by the way their father had brought them up. Not even Grandmother Walker had known what they'd been through, because she hadn't been the kind of person who invited confidences. But she'd taken them into her home in Blairsville, South Dakota, just minutes from Pierre, the capital. Margo Cade had lived with her uncle Jacob Cade and his father, Hank, on Warlance since the unexpected death of her parents years before. When Kate and Tom Walker had come to Blairsville to live with their Grandmother Walker, the girls had become friends. They'd spent time at each other's houses since early high school. Now Margo was marrying, and although Kate had declined the honor of being a participant in the wedding, she couldn't get out of attending. Not even to spite Jacob Cade.