Texas Secrets

The Gallaghers of Morning Star, Book 1
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Up-and-coming chef Maddie Collins finds out that her father’s life was a lie when she is bequeathed a family homeplace she never knew existed–by the husband of the only woman her father ever loved.
Rugged horseman Boone Gallagher arrives back in Texas to discover that the father who drove him away has struck one last blow. The only place he’s ever thought of as home now belongs to a woman who doesn’t want it, and he must keep her there for thirty days–or it will be lost to them both.
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“Who are you? What are you doing on my ranch?”

Gray eyes went wary, studying him for a long moment that made Boone’s spine tingle with unease. Fringed with thick dark lashes, a striking black ring around the irises, her eyes softened.

“Are you Boone or Mitch?”

He stared at her. “I’m Boone,” he replied, frowning. “How do you know my name?”

She stuck out one slender hand to shake his, her eyes still soft. Too soft. Almost like an apology. “I’m Maddie Collins. Your father mentioned you in his letter.”

He forgot the extended hand. “What letter?” Boone had only gotten a telegram, and that only after Sam was dead and buried.

“You didn’t–?” Her eyes darted to the side, looking toward the house. “He didn’t…?”

“Didn’t what?” His stomach clenched. “Why are you here?”

The woman named Maddie swallowed, then straightened, shaking her dark brown hair back over her shoulders as if preparing herself. In the sunlight, it glowed hints of red like the sky’s warning of storms to come.

Then her next words wiped out all thoughts of silky dark hair and husky voices.

“Your father left the house to me.”

“He…what?” But even as he waited for her reply, he believed her, this stranger in too-bright gypsy colors who didn’t belong here. He’d been crazy to hope that anything might have changed between him and his father, that Sam had regretted abandoning his sons.

“I’m sorry. I–I thought you would already know.”

Her regrets didn’t help. At that moment, he knew only one thing. He wasn’t through losing things that mattered. He’d been a fool to think otherwise.

Even in death, the man who’d been barely a father still denied him the only place he’d ever thought of as home.

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