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A Certain Hope
By Lenora Worth
Steeple HillCopyright © 2005 Lenora Worth
All right reserved.
You've got mail.
Summer Maxwell motioned to her cousin Autumn as she opened the letter in her computer. "Hey, it's from April."
Autumn hurried over to the teakwood desk by the window. The Manhattan skyline was etched in sun-dappled shades of steel and gray in front of them as together they read the latest e-mail from their cousin and roommate, April Maxwell.
I'm at work, but I'll be leaving for the airport in a few minutes. I'm so nervous. I'm worried about Daddy, of course. And I'm worried about seeing Reed again. What if he hates me? Never mind, we all know he does hate me. Please say prayers for my sweet daddy, and for safe travel. And that my BMW makes it there ahead of me in one piece.
"That's our April," Summer said, smiling, her blue eyes flashing. "Her prayer requests are always so practical."
"Especially when they come to that car of hers," Autumn said through the wisp of auburn bangs hanging in her eyes.'she's not so worried about the car, though, I think. She's got a lot more to deal with right now, and that's her way of dealing with it. She's not telling us the whole story."
Summer tapped out a reply.
We're here, sugar. And we will say lots of prayers for Uncle Stuart. Tell him we love him so much. Keep in touch. Oh, and let us know how things go with Reed, too. He doesn't hate you. He's just angry with you. Maybe it's time for him to get over it already.
Summer signed off, then spun around in her chair to send her cousin a concerned look. "Of course, he's been angry with her for about six years now."
Reed Garrison brought his prancing gray-andblack-spotted Appaloosa to a skidding stop as a sleek black sports car zoomed up the long drive and shifted into Park.
"Steady, Jericho," Reed said as he patted the gelding's long neck. He held the reins tight as he walked the horse up to the sprawling stone-andwood ranch house. "I'm just as anxious as you, boy," he told the fidgeting animal. "Let's go find out who's visiting Mr. Maxwell on this fine spring day."
Reed watched from his vantage point at the fence as a woman stepped out of the expensive two-seater convertible. But not just any woman, oh, no. This one was very different.
And suddenly very familiar.
Reed squinted in the late-afternoon sun, then sat back to take a huff of breath as he took in the sight of her.
It had been six long years since he'd seen her. Six years of torment and determination. Torment because he couldn't forget her, determination because he had tried to do that very thing.
But April was, as ever, unforgettable.
And now she looked every bit the city girl she had become since she'd bolted and moved from the small town of Paris, Texas, to the big city of New York, New York, to take up residence with her two cousins, Summer and Autumn. Those three Maxwell cousins had a tight bond, each having been named for the seasons they were born in, each having been raised by close-knit relatives scattered all over east Texas, and each having enough ambition to want to get out of Texas right after finishing college to head east and seek their fortunes. Not that they needed any fortunes. They were all three blue-blooded Texas heiresses, born in the land of oil and cattle with silver spoons in their pretty little mouths. But that hadn't been enough for those three belles, no sir. They'd wanted to take on the Big Apple. And they had, each finding satisfying work in their respective career choices. They now roomed together in Manhattan, or so he'd been told.
He hadn't asked about April much, and Stuart Maxwell wasn't the type of man to offer up much information. Stuart was a private man, and Reed was a silent man. It worked great for both of them while they each pined away for April.
Reed walked his horse closer, his nostrils flaring right along with Jericho's, as he tested the wind for her perfume. He smelled it right away, and the memories assaulted him like soft magnolia petals on a warm summer night. April always smelled like a lily garden, all floral and sweet.
Only Reed knew she was anything but sweet. Help me, Lord, he thought now as he watched her raise her head and glance around. She spotted him -- he saw it in the way she held herself slightly at a distance -- but she just stood there in her black short-sleeved dress and matching tall-heeled black sandals, as if she were posing for a magazine spread. She wore black sunglasses and a blackand-white floral scarf that wrapped like a slinky collar around her neck and head. It gave her the mysterious look of a foreign film star.
Excerpted from A Certain Hope by Lenora Worth Copyright © 2005 by Lenora Worth.
Excerpted by permission.
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