Barbara Freethy Almost Home

ISBN 13: 9780380794829

Almost Home

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9780380794829: Almost Home

TROUBLE IN PARADISE

Katherine Whitfield hadn't left her seamless life in California to get mixed-up with a rough around the edges man like Zach Tyler. With his well-worn jeans and slow, seductive smile, he was nothing but a cowboy on the wrong side of the Mississippi -- a diversion in her heartfelt quest to discover the father she never knew.

Zach has a gentle hand with horses and a seductive touch with women...and when he takes Katherine in his arms, he unleashes the passion simmering just below her cool exterior. Yes, her probing questions and tantalizing ways could cause nothing but trouble -- but sometimes a man needs a little trouble...

 

TROUBLE IN PARADISE

Katherine Whitfield hadn't left her seamless life in California to get mixed-up with a rough around the edges man like Zach Tyler. With his well-worn jeans and slow, seductive smile, he was nothing but a cowboy on the wrong side of the Mississippi -- a diversion in her heartfelt quest to discover the father she never knew.

Zach has a gentle hand with horses and a seductive touch with women...and when he takes Katherine in his arms, he unleashes the passion simmering just below her cool exterior. Yes, her probing questions and tantalizing ways could cause nothing but trouble -- but sometimes a man needs a little trouble...

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Since turning her attention to fiction writing in 1988, Barbara Freethy has sold fifteen novels. For a former public relations professional and freelance business writer, fifteen novels is a dream come true.

Barbara most enjoys writing books about love and family with a little bit of magic. Her first novel for Avon Books, Daniel's Gift, a poignant tale about a little boy and his estranged parents, won the RITA award and has been optioned for a television movie. Barbara is currently working on her seventh novel for Avon.

Barbara resides in Northern California with her husband and two children.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

DearJ.,
We're going to have a baby. I know I'm a coward to write but I'm aftaid of what I'll see in your eyes when you hear the news. I know this isn't what you want, and I don't see how we can ever be together. But I believe in my heart that you must know the truth-- you are going to be a father. Now, if only I have the courage to send this letter.

Katherine Whitfield sat in the front seat of her rental car, tears filling her eyes as she traced the handwritten words with a shaky finger.

She'd read the letter a hundred times since she'd discovered it a week ago, hidden away in an old cedar chest in her stepfather's attic. She'd memorized every word, every curve of every line, wondering if it could possibly have been written to her father by her mother.

There was no signature, but the writing looked familiar--or did she simply want it to be true? She'd spent years wishing for the tiniest bit of information about her father, but her mother had always said they'd discuss it later. Unfortunately, later had never come. Her mother had died two days before Katherine's twelfth birthday, and she'd been left alone with a stepfather of only nine months and no other blood relatives anywhere in the world.

Was it possible her real father had never known about her? Obviously the letter hadn't been sent. And she'd found the letter with other things in the chest as well, matchbooks, cocktail napkins, and a fun-sized hand-stitched quilt with dates and words of memory. But whose words? Whose memories? Whose life belonged to the chest?

It was a question that had sent her halfway across the country from the urban streets of Los Angeles, California, to the rolling hills of Kentucky. Now she had parked her car in the lot of a Dairy Queen, where she'd stopped for a Diet Coke and a few moments to rethink her plan.

Suddenly, a child burst through the doors of the restaurant, holding a large milk shake in her hand. The little girl's small face was covered with an earto-ear smile and a matching smear of chocolate.

A tall man stepped out of a car. "Over here, sweetheart," he called.

"Daddy, Daddy. Look what I got," the child said.

The man held out his arms with a wide, beaming grin, and the child ran into his embrace. He kissed the top of the little girl's head, and the small affectionate gesture tore at Katherine's heart. There were no words of reprimand for the messy face, only loving acceptance.

A deep ache of longing swept through Katherine. She'd wanted a relationship like that. She'd never had it with-her stepfather. Mitchell Whitfield had always treated her more like a responsibility than a daughter. If there was a chance, even a small one, that her real father could be alive, that he could want to know her as much as she wanted to know him--Katherine had to take it.

Setting the envelope aside, she started the car and pulled out of the parking lot. She barely paused at the entrance to the road. Since she'd left the main highway, traffic had been almost nonexistent.

As she headed down the two-lane road, past the rolling green hills, endless white fences, thoroughbred horse farms, and elegant dogwood trees still clinging to a few spring blossoms, she knew she was a long way from home and the only life she knew. But the cocktail napkins, the match covers, all had one thing in common: the name Paradise, Kentucky.

Katherine had never acted so impulsively in her life, but with her stepparents out of town, she'd had no one to answer her questions. So she'd arranged to take care of the loose ends in her life and traveled to Kentucky. She flipped on the radio for a distraction. She was just in time to hear a female singer ask, "Where have all the cowboys gone?"

A good question, she thought with a wistful sigh. She didn't know if it had to do with wanting a father or wanting a boyfriend or a husband or just wanting someone who really cared about her, but there was a hole inside of her that she couldn't seem to fill. She'd tried to keep busy with work and friends and chocolate-lots and lots of chocolate. Nothing had worked.

jeez, she was a head case, wanting, wanting, wanting, when most everyone would look at her life and say it was good. And it was good. It was also a little lonely.

Katherine switched off the radio with a decisive click, knowing, it was foolish to yearn for some impossible romance of the century. At twenty-seven, she'd been around enough to know there weren't any more cowboys, no more men who roamed the open plains, who were strong and invincible and protective of their women. Those guys didn't exist anymore.

The men she knew were soft in the middle from too many business lunches and too much time spent firing the remote control. They didn't wear holsters, they wore pagers. And a cowboy hat would have messed up the style of their hair.

Smiling to herself, Katherine knew she was generalizing, but for the life of her, she couldn't think of one man she'd gone out with in the last year who had made her heart race.

Where was the deep, passionate love, the desperate need to be with someone, the feeling of intense and utter connection? She wanted to believe she would feel it all someday, but maybe such a love didn't exist. Maybe her father didn't exist.

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Freethy, Barbara
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