Texas Ranger Dad

Texas Ranger Dad by Debra Clopton Read Free Book Online

Book: Texas Ranger Dad by Debra Clopton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Debra Clopton
Tags: Romance
“Mom, what’s wrong? You look like you’re about to cry,” he said, and the smile immediately faded from his face. “Mom?”
    Rose inhaled and glued her eyes to the road. How was she going to tell him what was really wrong with Zane?
    â€œMom, please tell me you aren’t fixin’ to tell me we’re leaving.”
    â€œYou okay?” Applegate asked. His loud voice added to the pounding in Zane’s head. It brought him back to his surroundings and he became aware of Norma Sue and Esther Mae whispering to each other while Applegate and Stanley openly stared at him. They’d seen exactly what he’d seen. But, obviously, they didn’t know the truth of it.
    They didn’t understand that it wasn’t some uncanny fluke that Max and him looked so much alike. In reality if it hadn’t been for the eyes and the smile they would have only resembled each other like people do. But it was the Cantrell eyes and smile that had them speechless. They didn’t know that the genetic pool had been passing that same magnetic smile and glittering, amber eye color to Cantrell men for generations.
    He had a son .
    Rose hadn’t said so—she didn’t need to. Max was his. It had been like looking at a teenage version of himself. How could this be?
    His head was pounding like it would explode. For nearly fifteen years he’d believed that Rose was themost honest woman he’d ever met and her integrity was above reproach. How could she have kept this from him? He focused on the group around him. Focused on covering up the emotions that were raw and exposed.
    â€œI’m fine,” he said.
    Stanley scratched his head. “That thar is jest plain somethin’. It’d been a shock to me, too, ta see somebody wearin’ my face.”
    â€œâ€™At’s the truth,” Applegate grunted. “I told ya him and Max looked alike. It’s the eyes and that thar smile.”
    â€œThe two of you could be related,” Esther Mae said. “Me and Norma Sue were speechless there for a minute.”
    â€œAnd that’s saying a whole heap.” Applegate cocked a bushy gray brow at him. “It jest don’t never happen.”
    Stanley wagged his head to and fro. “Esther Mae’s right, though.”
    â€œSon, did you and Rose—” Norma Sue began, then slammed her mouth shut and colored slightly. “Forget I said that.”
    Zane was already walking off, heading for his truck. He had a son.
    A half-grown son. And it was obvious that Max was as clueless as he was.
    â€œThe witness protection program,” Max said, clearly confused.
    They were sitting in lawn chairs next to the house. It had been as far as Rose’s legs could carry her. In the car she’d assured him that they weren’t leaving but that she had something very important to tell him, but thatit had to wait until they got home. She’d finally forced herself to just say it. Now, she nodded, giving him a moment to process the information.
    â€œBut that’s for mobsters, isn’t it?”
    â€œNot always. Sometimes, innocent bystanders see something that puts them in danger and then they have to go into the program for the protection of themselves and their family. That’s what happened to me.”
    â€œWow,” he said, interest replacing the confusion in his words. “You saw a murder? Were you scared?”
    She nodded again and swallowed the lump forming in her throat.
    â€œAnd then they saw you and tried to kill you? Like in the movies? Did you have to run? Did they shoot at you?”
    His questions flew at her like buckshot. She had to hold her hand up to get him to pause. “It wasn’t like that,” she said. “The man didn’t actually see me. I went to the police and picked him out of a police lineup.”
    â€œCool,” Max said. “But how did he know it was you if he didn’t see

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