Taming the Texan - Page 41

Listen Audio

But the second she stepped inside, her mouth dropped. He’d not only gutted the room, he’d taken down the wall to the dining room. Dark flooring had been laid and right in the middle was an old farmhouse table that stretched so far, it could easily seat twenty people. There were no chairs or benches and the cabinets weren’t installed, but there was a table.

Just like she’d suggested.

Well hell. Now what was she supposed to do? She wanted to keep her distance, but how could she? Everything he did—

The back door squeaked open and Alexa sat the baked goods on the table before turning around. Hayes eased the door shut with one hand while holding on to Mason.

“What do you think?”

It was all she could do not to choke up at the heart-clenching emotions swirling around inside her. “I love it.”

And it was all too much. The table, the tire swing, the horse riding…the man standing in the doorway holding her son. If she stayed, she’d never leave and that simply wasn’t an option.

“I—I have to go.”

She crossed the room, took Mason from Hayes’s arms, but he didn’t move out of her way to let her through.

“Why are you running?”

Keeping her eyes locked on the tire swing outside the back door, Alexa patted Mason’s back and held him tight. “Because I can’t do this. You don’t need me to heal. You seem to be doing fine.”

“I’m not,” he muttered. “I want you here.”

She shifted her focus to him, her eyes locking onto his. “But for how long?”

The muscle in his jaw tightened as silence settled heavy between them. His eyes darted to her mouth, but Alexa couldn’t let him kiss her because she wanted so much more than a kiss.

She wanted to start thinking about a future and moving on, and no one had stirred anything within her like Hayes.

Yet she had to keep her son in the forefront of her thoughts. He needed stability in his life. Not only that, Alexa worried what would happen if Hayes decided family life wasn’t for him. Sure, he was close to his own family, but she was a package deal. He had so many issues to deal with and adding that instant family to the mix hadn’t been on his list.

Plus, she’d kept Scott’s identity to herself. She’d thought they wouldn’t see each other again so she hadn’t brought it up when she’d been at Hayes’s house. Now though, they were seeing each other and that secret hovered between them. Had she just told him when she realized it, maybe it wouldn’t have been a big deal, but enough time had passed that he would feel betrayed by her silence once he found out.

There were just too many barriers between her and the man she wanted. But she was discovering over and over he was the one man she couldn’t have.


Hayes’s father wasn’t looking any better and his mind was being flat-out cruel today. Hayes had visited earlier and was instantly confused for Nolan, but not Nolan now—the Nolan in kindergarten.

Having the most influential man in his life not even recognize him was hell on Hayes. But he couldn’t stay away. No matter how far gone the patriarch was, Hayes had to see his dad, had to talk to him and use him as a sounding board. Now more than ever he wanted his father’s advice, but that hadn’t happened.

His dad had stared out the window and started talking about his wife in the present tense, as if she hadn’t been gone for years. Then he’d turned his attention to Hayes and told him when he grew up, he should find someone to love and settle down and have babies to continue on at Pebblebrook. He went on and on about finding the love of his life, how he almost let her go once but came to his senses and put his pride aside.

Hayes knew all about how his parents had almost lost each other because of his father’s pride. His mother had often reminded him in a joking manner.

Now that he was home, all he wanted to do was ride. He needed to talk to Colt, though. The engineer had been out early this morning and his survey had ended up on Hayes’s property. Hell no. The dude ranch would come to fruition without infringing on his area. That was nonnegotiable.

He pulled up next to the stable and didn’t see Colt, but that didn’t mean anything. After several minutes of searching, Hayes gave up and started walking toward Colt’s house. Finally, he found him in his study on the second floor behind a closed door.

“You hiding from the world?” Hayes asked, closing the door at his back.

Colt didn’t even look up from the computer. “I’m working on this absurd marketing plan. I had it hired out and the damn thing came back looking like an amateur organized it. Annabelle gave me some ideas to fix it, but I’m actually looking for another firm. I don’t want this messed up.”

Hayes crossed the spacious room and took a seat in one of the leather club chairs across from his brother’s desk. “I just came back from seeing Dad.”

That got Colt’s attention. “I was there yesterday. How was he today?”

Shaking his head, Hayes pulled off his hat and propped it on his knee. “He called me Nolan, referred to that time Nolan brought home a Mother’s Day picture he’d made in kindergarten, then he fell into talking about Mom.”

Tags: Jules Bennett Romance
Source: www.freenovel24.com