The texas renegade reurns(2)

By: Charlene Sands

 “Huh? Oh, what?” He found himself staring and following her every movement. His memories of her didn’t do her justice. He hadn’t seen her for weeks and he’d almost forgotten the blue sparkle in her pretty eyes, like the ocean when first touched by morning sun. He’d almost forgotten the round full shape of her breasts. And legs that made him want to weep when they wrapped around him.

 She’d made him laugh, too. They’d do the silliest things together and act like kids without a care in the world. No wonder he’d fallen so hard and fast for her.

 “I need to leave.”

 “I’ll leave as soon as you agree to come with me. We need to talk.”

 Her expression hardened, and she gazed at him as if he were nothing more than a stranger. But he wasn’t a stranger. He was still the same man. If he could only convince her of that. He couldn’t accept that it was over between them. He’d explain and apologize, but first, he had one other thing to do.

 “I don’t know you, Alex del Toro,” she said. “I thought I knew you, back when I was foolish and so naive. The Alex Santiago I fell in love with and planned to marry was sweet and caring. He and I clicked. But that’s not who you are, is it? You’re not Alex Santiago. It was all a lie. Everything about you is a lie. You used me and, what’s saddest of all, you don’t remember any of it. If you did, you wouldn’t be standing here today asking to see me. You’d know it’s pointless, amnesia or not.”

 “Cara,” he said. “It’s not pointless. Come with me. I promise it won’t take long.” He’d blown it with her big-time, but it wasn’t going to end this way. He glanced at her left hand. She wasn’t wearing his engagement ring. His stomach nose-dived with dread. She hated him.

 With wary eyes, she glanced down the hallway that led to the main entry. “My father’s due back in the office in ten minutes. If he sees you here, he’ll have you dragged out of the building.”

 Alex took his best shot. He had nothing else to lose. More than restoring his good name to his friends and colleagues in the county, he needed Cara to hear him out. To believe in him again. “Then why create a scene here where you work? I’m only asking for an hour of your time. I promise to deposit you right back here when we’re through.” Or not. If things went as planned, Alex would be taking her to his home in Pine Valley.

 An exasperated sigh fell from her lips. She glanced at her watch, then at the front doorway again. He didn’t know it, but Paul Windsor was helping Alex win back Cara. “Okay,” she said softly. “I’ll go with you, but only because my father’s blood pressure will explode if he sees you.”

 Dios, that took some doing.

 As for Paul Windsor, if Alex’s suspicions were correct, the man with four ex-wives wouldn’t be available to marry a fifth wife. He’d be in prison.

 On kidnapping and attempted-murder charges.

 “Give me a minute, Alex. I’ll meet you outside. Where are you parked?”

 “First red Ferrari you see in the parking lot.” He smiled. She’d helped him pick out the car. Red was her favorite color. He remembered that about her, too.

 He remembered almost everything now.

 * * *

 Cara leaned over her desk and scribbled a quick note to Gayle, telling her not to say a word to anyone about Alex. She also told her loyal assistant not to worry.

 If only she wasn’t worried. She had her doubts about going with Alex. Months ago, he’d disappeared right after their engagement. There had been no sign of him anywhere and at first she’d pretty much panicked. Alex wouldn’t have left without saying something to her. He wouldn’t have given her an engagement ring, pledged undying love and then walked away. She’d held on to the hope that he’d forgotten to tell her he was going on a business trip where he couldn’t be reached. But she’d never heard back from him. Days had turned into weeks. No one had heard from him. As soon as he’d proposed to her, Alex had disappeared. Many people had speculated that his disappearance was suspicious and there was some sort of foul play involved. Some had been sure he was the victim of a crime. Initially, Cara had believed the same.

 But as time wore on, she’d secretly feared Alex had run out on her because he didn’t love her enough. Crazy thoughts and doubts entered her head. She’d lived under a constant sense of self-torture. Alex regretted his decision to marry her. Alex had gone back to an ex-lover. She wasn’t the woman for him and he didn’t have the courage to tell her.

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