Read an Excerpt
To Love And Cherish
By Diana Palmer
Harlequin Enterprises LimitedCopyright © 2002 Harlequin Enterprises Limited
All right reserved.
Shelby Kane packed her suitcase with a feeling of impending doom. A week on a ranch the size of Skylance would have delighted most girls, but she couldn't feel any enthusiasm for another confrontation with Kingston Brannt. The last one had caused her to leave the Texas ranch in tears in the middle of the night.
She wished she'd never agreed to go to Branntville with Danny for a week's vacation. It had been one of those spur-of-the-moment decisions. They were enjoying a night at a new San Antonio disco bar when Danny grinned at her and said, "Come home with me on your vacation. Mom and Dad would be delighted. You know how they dote on you."
That much was true. Kate and Jim Brannt had welcomed Shelby the first time she set foot on Skylance, and the affection they had for her had grown over the years. It was King who made such infrequent visits an ordeal. She shivered at just the memory of that hard, dark face with its jutting brow and piercing dark eyes. He was as hard as the country he ranched, as tough and unyielding as saddle leather. And he hated "city ladies." If Shelby had been a working girl, or somebody's homely cousin, he might have been kinder. But she had an elfin face and brown velvet eyes and short, straight hair the color of black diamonds, and she earned her living as amodel. Not that she needed to work. Her mother was a famous actress, internationally known. Shelby could have had anything she wanted if she'd been less proud. A little flattery and pleading would have gotten her anything she wanted from Maria Kane. But what Shelby wanted most was independence. She wanted to make her own way, and she'd done it, to her mother's chagrin. But King didn't know how hard Shelby had to fight to gain her independence, and he didn't care. As far as he was concerned, Shelby was purely decorative; unfit for ranch life, for anything but the life of a spoiled society brat.
The door to her bedroom burst open suddenly, startling her, and her roommate Edie Jackson bounced in like a red-headed ball of lightning.
"You're not going back to Skylance again!" she exclaimed.
"You've seen Danny, I suppose," Shelby sighed.
"Well, I do work for him," Edie reminded her with a smile. "Anyway, is it true?"
"Just for my vacation," Shelby admitted, as she stuffed another pair of tailored jeans into her suitcase. "If you can call five days a vacation, and I was really lucky to get that many. I'm modeling Jomar's fall collection show in two weeks; just one of many lucky girls," she teased.
"Of which you're tops, and they know it," Edie said kindly. "Is King going to be at the ranch?"
Shelby shuddered. "I don't know."
Edie looked worried. She plopped down on the scarlet bedspread beside the suitcase with a frown. "Oh, Shelby, don't go back," she pleaded.
"Not after what that man did to you last time. He'll just make it unbearable for you."
"Maybe it will be better this time," Shelby said in her soft, husky voice.
"That's what you said last time," her friend reminded her. "And it wasn't. There's something about you that makes a madman of Kingston Brannt. Danny said as much himself last time. He thinks it's that you remind King of a girl who threw him over years ago."
"I'll be okay," Shelby said with a smile, mentally hoping she was right. She closed the suitcase and locked it.
"Will you do something for me?" Edie asked. "If it gets too rough, will you call me this time instead of leaving the house in the middle of the night and walking the two miles to town to catch a bus? Will you please pick up the phone and call me?"
Excerpted from To Love And Cherish by Diana Palmer Copyright © 2002 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.