A heartwarming treat in which Cassie Edwards returns to the hometown she’d forsaken as a teen in order to negotiate the sale of land belonging to the influential Taylor family. Hard-working rancher Will Taylor, once her girlhood crush, is all man now and fighting hard to save his heritage. When attraction flares between them, will true love triumph?
A romance for any age!
Reviews for Love, Texas:
I absolutely loved it. Redemption is a big theme, and not just for Cassie, but for the Taylors, whom you fall in love with as much as you fall in love with Will. He’s a sexy alpha male, but he’s not at all a jerk…bless him. Lovemuffins, Amazon
This was such a refreshing read. Just a true romance with a great set of characters I could not put it down. Cassie was honest and so relatable as a lead. Worth the download for sure! Kenda, Amazon
I loved “Love, Texas”. It’s one of my favorite cowboy romances, one I highly recommend. Judith, Amazon
The story line and the characters are great. You can’t help but like them. It is an easy and delightful read. I guarantee you will not be disappointed in this book. Sandra, Amazon
Tender and lovely story. I was touched sharing the journey with Cassie and her cowboy. Cindie, Amazon
Read an Excerpt:
His mother’s voice sounded odd to him. Will gave her his full attention after taking the last step from the windmill’s metal frame to the ground.
“What’s up?” he asked, tipping back his hat to wipe away perspiration. “I was just headin’ in for a break. Finally got that part to work.” The slowly turning blades bringing water gurgling up through the pipe into the fat metal cistern gave auditory proof of his success.
“That young woman,” his mother said. “Our guest. She’s—”
“What’s she done now?” he demanded when she again broke off without finishing.
“Will…those initials: C. A. Edwards. She’s Cassie. Cassie Edwards!”
His mother seemed to think the name would ring a bell with him.
“Little Cassie Edwards,” she continued. “From Love. Bonnie Edwards’ daughter. Surely you remember her. She was younger than you, but you had to have seen her. Her mother was always draggin’ little Cassie around. I felt sorry for the girl. Dressed in those hippie clothes like her mom. She didn’t look happy.”
“I remember her,” Will said flatly. It had taken a minute, but he remembered her, all right. Not so much in her early years, but later, when she was starting to leave childhood behind. His most vivid recollection came from the time he’d gone into town for something late in the summer before he left for college, and he’d come up on a few of the local boys giving her a hard time outside the post office. She’d been a mousy little thing back then, all long dark hair and big dark eyes. He’d stopped what was going on and had had a word with the boys. Boys, hell, a couple of ‘em were as old as he was! But he’d doubted it would do much good. She was a juicy target for bullies. Rarely looking at people, seldom saying a word. When he’d turned back, intending to offer her some sort of solace, she’d gone. It probably would have been another waste of words, though, falling hollow on her ears. Still, the way she’d looked that afternoon had stayed with him for the next few weeks. Her defenselessness, her alarm, her misery. And, for just a moment, a spark of something in her eyes that he couldn’t put a name to. Shortly afterward, he’d left for A&M and gotten busy with his courses and college life. Then a few years later his dad had died in a ranch accident and he’d come back to run the Circle Bar-T. Bonnie Edwards was still around town, but he never saw the daughter. At some point later someone mentioned that she’d moved away, and he remembered silently wishing her well. Then he’d forgotten all about her, having plenty of problems of his own to deal with.
“She says she’s here to make us an offer.”
His mother’s words jerked him back to the present. He frowned. “What kind of offer?”
She shrugged. “She says she’ll tell us at dinner. She must mean supper, considering what time of day it is. She’s…different, Will. And I’m not just talkin’ about her losing most of her accent or referring to things the way city people do.”
“What did Granddad say?”
“I haven’t told him yet.”
To help ease his mother’s apprehension, he teased lightly, “Who knows? Maybe this’ll be good news. At least that would be somethin’ of a change.”
Sylvia wasn’t ready to be cheered. Instead, she fell back on the phrase she’d begun to use almost automatically these days. “Whatever happens, we’ll be fine.”
As usual, Will pretended to believe her. Then he set his hat back to the proper low angle over his forehead, bent to collect his tools, and as he straightened, said, “I think we should tell Granddad. Warn him about who she is and what she wants.”
“Me, too,” his mother agreed.
“He awake from his siesta yet?”
“Then let’s go do it.”
Will heard his grandfather before he spotted him. The old man was in full form under the shade tree behind the house, his woolly white head bobbing as he hobbled around in front of his companion and gestured with his arms, telling one of his tales. Their visitor was sitting on one of the old kitchen chairs his mother used for outside work. Once Robbie Taylor had finally succumbed to the idea that the Circle Bar-T would be taking in paying guests, he had appointed himself official “ranch character.” And he now had a great time playing the part for the visitors, which was good because it kept him from brooding so much about not being able to work the ranch like he used to. At the moment, though, Will could only watch the show with growing impatience. He’d wanted to get to his grandfather first, before the old man made a fool of himself in front of an ex-local, particularly an ex-local with an ulterior motive.
“‘At’s the way it was, I swear!” Robbie guffawed as he slapped the rolled brim of his favorite hat on his thigh. “‘At ol’ horse took off and prob’ly made it to Kansas City ‘fore he stopped to look back!”
His grandfather, who from the way he was positioning his rangy body was about to launch into another tale, had yet to notice that Will and his mother were drawing near. But she had, and the amused smile that had been curving her lips disappeared as she stiffened slightly.
Will studied her. He could see now that she was a grown up version of the child-woman he’d last seen all those years ago. But, as his mother had said, she’d changed. She had to know that his mother had told him who she was…yet she didn’t seem to care. She didn’t draw away as her younger self would have done. She didn’t cast her eyes away. Instead, she awaited their arrival with a quiet dignity she’d never possessed before. Definitely, a very different Cassie Edwards.
Robbie Taylor swiveled to see what she was looking at, and a wide grin creased his weathered features as he saw them. The many years of hard ranch work had gnarled the man, leaving him with arthritic hands and knees, and a spine that protested all too frequently. Yet he’d railed at having to be relieved of all but the lightest of his lifelong responsibilities. “I’m an old critter, but not that old!” he’d protested. “I can still do things!” Only he couldn’t, not the things he wanted, or the way he wanted. Instead, he’d found that exaggerating his infirmities added to his “ranch character” persona and amused the guests who seemed to love his humor and his stories.
Robbie quickly saw that something was wrong. “Will?” he questioned.
“Granddad, we need to go inside.”
Robbie sent a weather eye to the sky. “Don’t see no storm clouds gatherin’.”
At Will’s continuing steady look, the old man glanced uneasily toward his companion, saw that her expression matched the graveness of his grandson and Sylvia, and agreed. “Awright, I guess we’ll mosey ourselves on in then. After you, ma’am.” He politely extended his arm for their guest to precede them into the house, but behind her back he shot Will a look that said, what-in-heck’s-goin’-on?
Will gave his head a little shake.
Robbie transferred his silent demand to his daughter-in-law, but she only murmured, “Come on, Dad,” and, tucking her arm through his, urged him toward the back screen door.
Once they were in the kitchen, Will motioned for everyone to sit at the table. The two women took chairs across from each other, while Robbie assumed his usual position at the head and Will settled himself at the foot. Both men removed their hats.
“Awright,” Robbie said, shooting a determined look at each of them from beneath his bushy brows. “When’s somebody gonna let me in on what’s happenin’? Especially since the rest ‘a ya already seem to know.”
Sylvia tipped her head toward the visitor. “Dad, this is Cassie Edwards. Love’s Cassie Edwards. Bonnie Edwards’—”
“Mr. Taylor,” Cassie interrupted, directing her words to the older man. “I’ve been sent by my employer, James T. “Jimmy” Michaels of Michaels Enterprises in Houston, to make an offer—a nice offer—for the strip of land you and your brother own between the highway and the railroad track.”
Once he absorbed the information, Will waited for his grandfather to explode. It didn’t take long.
“But that’s the Old Home Place!” Robbie burst out, shocked. “Where the first Taylors to come to Texas built their house! We ain’t about to sell it! It wouldn’t be right!”
Cassie didn’t seem ruffled by his adamant refusal. “An extremely nice offer, Mr. Taylor,” she embellished. “The contract is upstairs. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll bring it down.”
“The Old Home Place!” Robbie repeated incredulously as their visitor’s footsteps receded down the hall.
“It’s out of the question.” Will agreed.
Sylvia hesitated. “But…it would solve a whole mess of problems if we did sell it.”
While his grandfather sputtered indignantly, Will had to admit, if only to himself, that the same thought had popped into his mind before he’d discarded it. “We can’t, Mom,” he stated firmly.
“‘A course we can’t!” Robbie railed. “It’s a sacred trust! What’s it been? A hundred-and-twenty…no, a hundred-and-twenty-two years since the first Taylors came here with nothin’ more than a horse, a wagon, and the clothes on their backs! We can’t even think of sellin’ that land!”
“It’s either that…or we could lose it all,” Sylvia said softly.
Robbie set his jaw. “We can’t do it. I won’t do it.”
Sylvia continued. “I know what the Home Place means to you, Dad. And to Will. It means the same to me! But if the alternative’s worse—”
Robbie shook his head, denying everything she said.
Will was torn. He understood the strong emotions fueling his grandfather’s stubbornness. Five generations of Taylor men and women had worked their hearts out on this land. Given it their all. And one day—a day far into the distant future, he hoped—the ranch and its heritage would pass to him to protect. Yet he was enough of a realist to recognize the truth of his mother’s argument: if things didn’t get better—
But things were getting better, weren’t they? The three-year drought the area had been suffering from had broken late last summer, feed prices were down a little—still way too high, but somewhat lower. There was hope the spring calves would one day bring higher prices. And his mother’s plan was actually starting to pay off. Not big time yet, but enough to make renovations to the bunkhouse, which gave them more space for guests…and with more guests, there’d be more profits. Then if he could get a new hunting lease worked out in time to replace the one they’d lost. And keep things going with the herd and the equipment and everything else—
There wasn’t any other way. He had to support his grandfather. The Home Place was The Home Place. They’d just have to keep battling on. It’s what Taylors did.
He drew a breath, about to make his thoughts known, when Cassie Edwards reentered the room.
Robbie Taylor was waiting for her. Before she could even sit down he folded his arms and stated obstinately, “Nope, we won’t do it!”
She slipped into her chair. “Possibly you should read this before you make a final decision. All of you should read it and discuss it. Take your time. There’s no rush.” She opened the document, folded it to a specific page, and slid it to Robbie. “This is the amount Mr. Michaels is prepared to pay you. He’ll pay an equal amount to your brother.”
The old man’s eyes widened as he saw the number, but he gave no other response before scooting the contract back to her and refolding his arms.
Will felt his mother’s hand creep into his under the table. Her fingers were cool and trembling lightly. He enclosed them in his own and the trembling stopped.
“I’ll leave the contract with you anyway,” Cassie Edwards said. “Again, I’m in no rush. You can give me your final decision tomorrow. In the mean time, I’ll be glad to answer any questions you might have.” She waited, looking at each of them in turn. When no one spoke, she stood. “What time did you say dinner is, Mrs. Taylor?”
“Noontime, Cassie. You know that,” Sylvia chided. “Supper is at six.”
Cassie gave a half smile. “I’ll be on time,” she said.
As she walked past Will’s chair, he caught her gaze and held it. Although there was no alarm or misery in her dark eyes, for a second he thought he saw a shadow of that illusive spark he’d been unable to put a name to in the past. And he still couldn’t say what it was. Or even if it had truly been there. This afternoon had been strange all around. Maybe he was starting to imagine things.
His eyes followed her as she moved into the hall—her head up, her back straight.
Yes, she certainly was different.