Stone Cold Charade (A Stone Family Novel)

Stone Cold Charade (A Stone Family Novel) by Kathleen Royce Read Free Book Online

Book: Stone Cold Charade (A Stone Family Novel) by Kathleen Royce Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kathleen Royce
her sick inside. There was no choice. She would have to cut her
vacation short. She’d have to duck out quietly if he took her up on the offer.
    Ty shouldn’t have been able to affect
her anymore, but the pang she felt in her heart at the possibility of his
family joining him told a different story, jolting her to her core. Deciding to
escape before he could see how the thought of him married truly wounded her;
she slid around the desk. Heading straight for the door she didn’t wait for his
response to the invite. Ty stepped in front of her, effectively blocking her
path. She looked at him questioningly, yearning for him to move and felt the
heat from his smoldering eyes.
    “Jenny’s married and lives in Oregon,
not far from my own ranch. She, her husband, and their two boys are all the
family I have.” Ty smiled down at her, watching her face heat up in
embarrassment.
    She had been hinting at his marital
status. He speculated whether she was as curious about the rest of his life.
Did she want to know how his life had been without her in it? There was so much
he didn’t know about her life now. Had she missed their friendship, as he had?
    “Did your sister tell you it was me that
was coming?” he inquired huskily, hoping she had volunteered to meet with him because
she had known it was him. Even though she alleged differently earlier, he didn’t
know whether to trust her claim. He wanted it to be otherwise, that what they
had shared years before had not so easily been forgotten.
    His voice hitting her ears made her
stomach flutter. It took her back in time to when she had been an adolescent
hanging on his every word, believing her world would end if he wasn’t in it. It
hadn’t. When she had been forced to leave home, she had learned to survive
without him.
    “No,” she stated flatly. Her rage
mounted as the memories and the pain resurfaced. It stung knowing he was
intentionally being cruel. Trying to make her recount that period in her life,
his eye held those remembrances reflected in them. They forced her to remember,
making her relive that shame all over again. Disgusted, Alex quickly tried to
side step to the right and slide around him. He was persistent, his steps
mirroring hers. Feeling as if the room were closing in on her, she took a deep
breath lowering her head.
    Her head remanded down as she heard his
voice.
    “Your grandfather told me you lived in
L.A. now,” he inquired, not letting her get away from him so easily. “What are
you doing here in Texas? I thought the last place I would ever find you was on
a working cattle ranch. You used to hate ranch life. You were even afraid of
the horses, not to mention the cattle,” he mused reminiscently, wanting her to
recall the happier times between them.
    His dark eyes played over her down cast
features while his blood heated from being near her again. How long was Alex
visiting the ranch? Stupidity let her get away from him once. Making up his
mind, he decided he would take what he wanted this time. There was no one and
nothing to hold him back. He still craved her.
    Noticing her flush and make a move to go
around him again, he placed his hand on her arm to halt her. She looked up at
him apprehensively, her reaction damning. His eyes fell to her parted lips then
back to her eyes. The fever was still there. He could feel it. When he touched
her, she couldn’t hide it. The small tremor he felt move up her arm was all the
proof he needed that she was still attracted to him.
    Her heart was threatening to break out
of her chest, pounding uncontrollably at his nearness. He was too close.
Something changed. Alex had been this close to him before, but now he was
looking at her like a woman, not a child. Could he really see their past so
differently than she did? He was acting as if he did. Or was this just a new
game he was playing with her now that she was older?
    Trying to distract him enough to release
her, she told him, “I’m here on vacation, a break

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