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Against the Wind (The AGAINST Series: #1) :
They were known as the "no-account Raines boys" but they've grown into successful, honorable men and everything they have, they've fought for tooth and nail. Now each of the three brothers has one last obstacle to overcome to claim what's eluding them: love.
Secrets don't stay buried long in cattle country. Sarah Allen, the beautiful girl who humiliated Jackson Raines in high school, is back in town. Not so long ago, she couldn't wait to leave Wind Canyon, Wyoming, in her dust. But, recently widowed, she has nowhere else to go and finds herself on Jackson's ranch. And Jackson's finding himself reluctant to get rid of her.
Sarah brings her own kind of trouble, and he can't resist trouble. Enemies of her dead husband show up making threats, thinking she has something they're owed. They're not taking no for an answer, but what they will take is the one thing she has left--her daughter. Jackson's the only one who might be able to save little Holly and bring her home.
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January 01, 2011
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Excerpt from Against the Wind (The AGAINST Series: #1) by Kat Martin
"Mommy, why do we have to leave?" Sarah Allen's six-year-old daughter, Holly, looked up at her with big blue, tear-filled eyes. "I like it here. I don't want to go."
Anxious to be on her way, Sarah reached down and lifted the little blonde girl into her arms. "Don't cry, sweetie. I promise you're going to love it. The mountains are beautiful and there are these rivers and big green forests, and you can have a puppy if you want." At least Sarah hoped so.
Surely the owners of the cottage she had rented wouldn't mind. The house was, after all, on a very large ranch, at least twelve thousand acres.
Holly sniffed back tears and looked up with interest. "A puppy? Can I really?"
"As soon as we get settled, we'll drive into town and you can adopt one from the pound." Sarah glanced nervously toward the door. The car was packed, the rest of their personal possessions boxed and shipped. She was leaving Los Angeles and she prayed she was leaving her troubles, as well.
The sooner they left town, the safer she would feel.
She set Holly back on her feet, took a last glance around the expensive Santa Monica apartment she had occupied with her late husband, surveyed the plush white carpet and chic black lacquer furniture that was Andrew's taste, not hers. There was nothing homey, nothing the least bit geared toward a family. The condo was just for show--no substance beyond the surface beauty. Just like Andrew.
Sarah started for the door, but the phone rang before she could reach it. She considered just letting it ring, a hollow echo now that her things were gone, but she was afraid it might be important.
She lifted the receiver and pressed it against her ear.
"Sarah, this is Martin Kozak." His raspy smoker's voice grated over the line. "We need to talk."
A shiver went down her spine. Marty Kozak was one of Andrew's business associates. A few weeks ago, Marty had started calling, trying to set up a meeting. Sarah didn't want to talk to him or any of Andrew's other shady business acquaintances.
"What do you want, Marty? I told you I don't know anything about Andrew's affairs. He never talked to me about business. We never discussed it."
He didn't think I was smart enough, or savvy enough about finances, or he just plain didn't want to.
And Andrew never did anything he didn't want to do.
"Like I told you before," Marty said, "Andrew had something important I need. Did you find anything in his personal belongings? A list he might have been keeping? A computer disk, maybe, or a record book of some kind?"
"No. Before he died, we were barely speaking." That was an understatement. When they were together, Andrew did all the talking, mostly about himself. Sarah had been trying to leave him for years, but she had been afraid of what would happen if she did. "He didn't tell me anything, and he didn't give me anything."
"Maybe there was something in his personal effects."
"Not that I know of."
"I'd like to talk to you, Sarah."
"I'm sorry, Marty. I was just walking out the door. I've really got to go." By the time she hung up the phone, she was shaking. She had no idea what sort of trouble Andrew might have been in before he was killed, but she wasn't part of it and never had been.
Once you get out of town, she told herself, everything is going to be all right.