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The Cowboy’s Twins

Written by Linda Warren

Chapter Five

Jess let out a sigh of relief as Abby went to the back door and shouted for the kids to come inside. They charged in, smiling, almost out of breath. The smiles faded once they saw a strange man in the house. They gathered around Abby, their eyes on him.

“Who’s that man?” Lane asked.

Jess held his breath as he waited for Abby to speak. He had no idea how she was going to handle this and he hated that he’d forced her, but he had kids and they needed to know they had a father.

Abby sat on the hardwood floor cross-legged. Lizzie sat on her left side and Lane was on her right. They both wore shorts and T-shirts. Jess couldn’t stop staring at their shining faces.

Lane pointed to him once again. “He’s got boots. I want boots, Momma.”

“I want to talk to you guys,” Abby started.

“I want boots.”

“Lane…”

“Be quiet, Lane. Momma’s talking.”

You be quiet,” Lane shot back at his sister.

“Listen to me,” Abby said loudly, and the kids huddled against her as if they’d done something wrong. Abby squeezed them. “This is important and I want you to listen without speaking. Okay?”

Abby looked at Jess and he could see she was searching for the right words. Words that would not hurt their children. At that moment he felt selfish and self-centered, but he kept clinging to the thought that he was doing the right thing.

Abby began to speak and he listened as avidly as the kids. “You know your friend Tyler down the street has a father.”

“Yeah.” Lane nodded. “His daddy plays ball with him.”

Abby kissed the top of Lizzie’s hand. “And your friend Betsy has a daddy.”

“Uh-hmm. He takes her on the big slide and she’s not afraid.”

“You know, you have a daddy, too.”

Lane raised his head to look at his mother. “Where is he?”

Jess couldn’t just stand there. He squatted in front of them. “I’m right here. I’m your daddy.”

Both kids burrowed farther into Abby.

“This is Jess McQuire and he is your father. I thought you would like to meet him.”

“I don’t,” his little princess said and wrapped her arms around Abby’s neck, hiding her face from him.

“Me, neither,” Lane added his feelings and glared at Jess with blue eyes just like his own.

“Then you don’t have to meet him until you’re ready.” Abby kissed Lizzie’s cheek and her arm tightened around Lane.

Jess’s heart fell to the pit of his stomach and for a moment he couldn’t breathe. His kids had rejected him and there was no way to describe the pain that ripped through him. This battle he couldn’t fight, but he didn’t know if he had the strength to walk away from them.

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About the author

Since I sold my first book to Harlequin, my life simply hasn't been th...

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Linda Warren

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