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The Cowboy’s Twins

Written by Linda Warren

Chapter Twenty

Abby sat with them on the sofa at home and they clung to her like leeches. They were filthy from head to toe with cobwebs and dust in their hair and were softly crying into her neck.

Jess brought wet washcloths and wiped their faces and arms, but they wouldn’t let go of Abby. She let them cry because it seemed to be what they needed. Jess brought them water and they drank thirstily.

Their parents were in the kitchen drinking coffee, leaving them alone, which was a good thing. A knock sounded at the door and Jess went to answer.

“Sorry to bother you, but I need to know what happened.” The sheriff walked into the living room.

Abby kissed her babies’ cheeks. “How did you get under the porch?”

Lizzie’s head popped up. “Lane said we could walk home and see if Daddy was there, but we didn’t know the way. Then Joey came out and we played with him. He went under the porch and we went in to get him. It was dark and we got scared. We didn’t know what to do. We called you, Momma, and you didn’t come.”

Abby’s throat closed up. “I’m here now. Shh,” she whispered as Lizzie started to cry again. “Let’s go take a bath.”

Clean, fed and in their jammies, they said good-night to their grandparents. Abby put them in her bed for the night, in case they had nightmares. She and Jess lay beside them until they fell asleep. Then Jess got up and left the room.

She followed. He sat on the sofa with his face in his hands and he was silently crying. The sight broke her heart. She didn’t mean all the bad things she’d said and she had to let him know.

“Jess, you found our kids when no one else could. Please don’t…”

His head jerked up. “I can’t do this anymore, Abby. I love you. I’m never gonna love anyone the way I love you. I’m giving up the rodeo. I have to be here for you and the kids. I can be a rancher like my dad. That is if you’ll have me back into your life.”

The magic words she’d waited four years to hear didn’t create the joy she’d thought they would. He was giving up something he loved and she suddenly realized that wasn’t what she wanted. She wanted him to be happy. She wanted them all to be happy.

She sat down beside him. “I have a better idea. Why don’t we buy a travel trailer and the kids and I will travel with you this summer on the circuit. I go back to the school in late August. We’ll work something out for the winter months.”

“I’ll only rodeo on weekends so you and the kids can be with me.”

She reached up and brushed back his hair. “Yes, we can do this. We can be a family. I love you. I’ve always loved you. I just never felt a part of your life.”

He reached for her and held her so tight she thought her ribs would break. “You are my life.” His lips caught hers and they fell sideways on the couch.

She raised her head. “When was the last time you made love on a sofa?”

“Too long.”

She lay on top of him, heart to heart. “I didn’t mean what I said. I was scared.”

“I know. I was, too.” He kissed her. “We can make this work.”

“I love you,” she breathed against his lips. Nothing would separate them again.

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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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