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The Cowboy’s Twins

Written by Linda Warren

Chapter Nine

There were just so many ways a guy could screw up, and Jess managed to find every one of them. Whatever he wanted to say to Abby came out wrong. Over the last four years she’d built up a solid defense against him, against all the emotions that had brought them together. He just had to bide his time and work his way back into her heart.

Childish giggles caught his attention and he turned to the windows and saw his kids playing with a wagon and a water hose. Lane filled the wagon and they crawled inside and splashed in it.

Abby came back dressed in shorts and a knit top and saw what the kids were doing. She yanked open the back door. “Lane, turn off the water now!”

“’Kay.” Lane was covered in mud and so was Lizzie, but Abby didn’t seem to mind.

“They’re getting filthy,” he said, having no idea how to discipline his children. That left a hollow feeling in his gut.

“They’re fine—they’re just playing. I called my parents and they’re on the way over. I don’t want the kids in the house when I talk to them.”

He understood that. He reached for his phone in his pocket, called his dad and then he followed Abby into the kitchen. “I’m sorry about earlier. I didn’t mean to imply…”

“We have to deal with what’s happening now with the kids and our parents.”

“You’re so cool and composed about everything.” Those were probably the wrong words again and seeing the glint of steel in her eyes he knew they were.

“That’s what happens when you’re raising two kids alone.” She raised a hand to stop his comeback. “Don’t say you didn’t know about them. All it would’ve taken was for you to come home and talk to me. But I think we both know why you didn’t. You weren’t willing to give up the rodeo.”

Her eyes were so cold and it made him think of the warm, loving woman she used to be. The one who laughed and joked and loved him more than anything in the world. Had he killed something precious in her?

He swallowed the wad of guilt that was choking him. “Are we getting a divorce?”

She turned to make coffee. “I don’t know. I need time to think.”

“I don’t want a divorce,” he said in a broken voice he couldn’t control.

She glanced at him and the years of being apart stood between them and for an instant he felt a crack in her demeanor, but then the doorbell rang. She went to answer it.

To steady himself, he poured a cup of coffee. Voices drifted from the front door.

“Why did you want us to come over here?” Abby’s mom asked.

“I want to talk to both of you.”

“This sounds serious,” her dad said.

Jess stepped from the kitchen into the living room with a cup of coffee in his hand. “Hello, Deb, Ron. It’s been a long time.”

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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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