Welcome to Excerpt Friday! Each Friday we’ll be featuring excerpts from recent releases by our very own Fillies. So grab a cup of coffee and read on. And if you find you’re hooked by what you read (and we know you will be!) just click on the book cover to purchase the entire book.
From Author Charlene Sands – The Texas Renegade Returns
Note from Charlene: Here’s a little taste of my upcoming story. I hope you enjoy and happy reading!
“I’m terribly sorry Mr. del Toro, but Miss Windsor is very busy right now. She can’t see you today.”
Alex stared at Cara’s assistant who didn’t sound sorry at all. She sat stiff-shouldered behind her Plexiglas desk in the austere offices of Windsor Energy like a mama bear protecting her cub. She was doing her job, so he couldn’t blame her for that, but that Wicked Witch of the West glare she was giving him had to go.
Now that the truth about his real identity was out, friendly faces in Royal, Texas, were a rare commodity. You’d think he’d sprouted gills and swam with piranha. Old man Windsor had probably alerted his security staff to usher him out of the building on sight. He’d deal with Paul Windsor another time. Today, he’d come for Cara and he wasn’t leaving Windsor Energy without her.
He darted his gaze at Cara’s office door. Dios, he was dying to see her. He had things to tell her that could not wait.
He aimed his best smile straight at the middle-aged assistant. As a boy in Mexico, his natural charm had served him well and he’d learned how to get around his schoolteachers and later, as a young man, he’d perfected the art of persuasion with the opposite sex. Now, the only woman he cared about persuading was Cara Windsor.
“Miss,” he said, verifying the woman’s name by her nameplate, “Miss Potter, you look like a reasonable woman and I would never want you to risk your job, so perhaps you can simply let Miss Windsor know I’m here. Or, I can take it upon myself to open her door unannounced. I don’t think Miss Windsor would appreciate the intrusion and I really don’t want to barge in, but one way or another,” he said, gesturing toward Cara’s door, “I will be seeing her today.” He kept his smile from wavering.
Miss Potter’s shoulders gave an inch. Her eyes begged for understanding. “I’m supposed to call Security if you should ever show up here.”
“You don’t want to do that, do you?”
“No, but Mr. Windsor issued the order. And everyone knows…”
“What do they know?”
Her gaze dipped to the desktop. “That you broke Cara’s heart.”
Ouch! Miss Potter didn’t mince words. This was just a taste of what he was up against.
“I can assure you, I am not going to hurt Cara, so rather than get you in trouble for not doing your job, let us just pretend I didn’t stop by your desk. I will just let myself into her-”
“Gayle? What’s going on here?”
Cara’s lilting voice drifted from the doorway. It smoothed all of his rough edges and calmed him down inside. He pivoted on his heels and turned around.
Seeing Cara’s beautiful face tore him up inside. She had one slender hand on the edge of the door, her body half in, half out of the doorway. The fluorescents shimmered over her straight blond hair and cascaded over her shoulders as smooth as golden honey. Memories came to mind of those soft silky locks teasing over his face as she made love to him right after he’d been released from the hospital.
Today, she wore a business suit of slate-gray, nothing special, nothing noteworthy, but on her, it looked like a Vogue fashion cover. His gaze drifted to her white blouse underneath, clinging to her skin and dipping into the valley between her breasts.
How he missed her.
Her eyes rounded on him and the sparkle in those blue gems faded. Breath rushed out of her like a hiss. “Alex, what are you doing here?” So much for smooth and lilting.
“I came for you.”
She began shaking her head and set her chin firmly. “You can’t be here.”
Gayle Potter rose from her seat. “I’m sorry, Miss Windsor. I tried to stop him.”
“She did. She tried to stop me. But as you know-”
“You’re not stoppable, when you want something.” Her mouth pulled down, sweeping away any welcome on her face.
He had a lot of making up to do.
“It’s okay, Gayle,” she said. “I understand.”
“Should I call S-Security?”
Cara’s chest rose and fell and she sighed. “No, I’ll handle this. If you could excuse us a moment and take your break, I’ll walk Mr. del Toro out.”
He cringed at the bitterness spewing from her lips. He was here to rectify his mistakes, not hurt her anymore.
Gayle darted a worried glance at both of them as she grabbed her bag and scooted out of the office. “Certainly, I’ll be in the lounge if you need me.”
“You shouldn’t even be in this building,” Cara was saying.
“Huh? Oh, what?” He found himself staring and following her every movement. His memories of her didn’t do her justice. He hadn’t seen her for weeks and he’d almost forgotten the blue sparkle in her pretty eyes, like the ocean when first touched by morning sun. He’d almost forgotten the round full shape of her breasts. And legs that made him want to weep when they wrapped around him.
She’d made him laugh, too. They’d do the silliest things together and act like kids without a care in the world. No wonder he’d fallen so hard and fast for her.
“I said.you need to leave.”
“I’ll leave as soon as you agree to come with me. We need to talk.”
Her expression hardened, and she gazed at him as if he were nothing more than a stranger. But he wasn’t a stranger. He was still the same man. If he could only convince her of that. He couldn’t accept that it was over between them. He’d explain and apologize, but first, he had one other thing to do.
“I don’t know you, Alex del Toro,” she said. “I thought I knew you, back when I was foolish and so naive. The Alex Santiago I fell in love with and planned to marry was sweet and caring. He and I clicked. But that’s not who you are, is it? You’re not Alex Santiago. It was all a lie. Everything about you is a lie. You used me and, what’s saddest of all, you don’t remember any of it. If you did, you wouldn’t be standing here today asking to see me. You’d know it’s pointless, amnesia or not.”
“Cara,” he said. “It’s not pointless. Come with me. I promise it won’t take long.” He’d blown it with her big-time, but it wasn’t going to end this way. He glanced at her left hand. She wasn’t wearing his engagement ring. His stomach nose-dived with dread. She hated him.
With wary eyes, she glanced down the hallway that led to the main entry. “My father’s due back in the office in ten minutes. If he sees you here, he’ll have you dragged out of the building.”
Alex took his best shot. He had nothing else to lose. More than restoring his good name to his friends and colleagues in the county, he needed Cara to hear him out. To believe in him again. “Then why create a scene here where you work? I’m only asking for an hour of your time. I promise to deposit you right back here when we’re through.” Or not. If things went as planned, Alex would be taking her to his home in Pine Valley.
An exasperated sigh fell from her lips. She glanced at her watch, then at the front doorway again. He didn’t know it, but Paul Windsor was helping Alex win back Cara. “Okay,” she said softly. “I’ll go with you, but only because my father’s blood pressure will explode if he sees you.”
Dios, that took some doing.
As for Paul Windsor, if Alex’s suspicions were correct, the man with four ex-wives wouldn’t be available to marry a fifth wife. He’d be in prison.
On kidnapping and attempted-murder charges.
“Give me a minute, Alex. I’ll meet you outside. Where are you parked?”
“First red Ferrari you see in the parking lot.” He smiled. She’d helped him pick out the car. Red was her favorite color. He remembered that about her, too.
He remembered almost everything now.
* * *