Overnight, Caitlyn Villard becomes mother to twin five-year-olds. Her darling nieces are orphaned, their parents fallen soldiers. So Caitlyn trades New York City for Prairie Springs, Texas, the small military town she'd run from at first chance. Loving the girls is easy. Learning how to be a slow-paced soccer mom is not. Which is where handsome army chaplain Steve Windham steps in. Just in time to show Caitlyn that sometimes you find the man--and life--of your dreams where you least expected.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
June 30, 2008
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Mission: Motherhood by Marta Perry
It had taken ten years in New York City to eliminate all traces of Texas from Caitlyn Villard's voice. It took only a week in Prairie Springs to bring it back again.
Had she really just said y'all to the kindergarten teacher and her own twin nieces? Caitlyn stepped out into the courtyard of the Prairie Springs Elementary School. She was greeted by a blast of air hot enough to wilt her hairstyle and melt the makeup from her face.
"Um, ma'am?" The warm drawl came from above.
She looked up. A lanky man clung to the top of a wooden stepladder, a paint can in one hand and a dripping brush in the other. "You might want to move out of range a bit."
"Sorry." She took a few steps away, standing under the shade of the roof overhang. She had obviously forgotten just how hot Texas was in July.
Through the window she could see into the room where Amanda and Josie sat at a round table with Sarah Alpert, who was assessing their readiness to start kindergarten in September.
That was still two months away. By the time the twins started school, she would be back in New York, picking up the threads of her interrupted life. Back on the fast track to partner at Graham, Graham and Welch, one of the Big Apple's most prestigious law firms. This interval in Texas, helping her mother cope with the aftermath of her sister's death, would be a memory.
"You brought the girls in for their first taste of kindergarten, did you?"
Caitlyn blinked, as startled as if the spindly potted shrub next to the door had made a personal remark. The painter had descended--tall, lanky, wearing the scuffed boots, blue jeans, western belt and ball cap that were almost a uniform here.
"I beg your pardon?" It was a tone designed to freeze unwelcome attention.
"The twins," he said, as if she was a bit slow on the uptake. "I bet they're excited about starting kindergarten in the fall."
His eyes, intensely blue in a lean, tanned face, now held amusement. They also seemed vaguely familiar.
"I'm sorry. Do I know you?"
"Well, now, I reckon I'm just not as memorable as I thought I was." He didn't look as if he believed that, in spite of the aw-shucks expression he wore. He tipped the ball cap politely. "Steve Windham. Prairie Springs High School. Ring any bells?"
She had to dredge through memories she'd happily buried a long time ago. "Steve Windham. I guess so. You were a senior when I was a freshman, I think."
Actually she knew, but she didn't intend to pander to the man's self-conceit. He looked far too pleased with himself already.
She let her gaze wander over what had to be at least six feet or more of solid muscle. Steve had been the star athlete of his class, and he still looked it. He'd been the valedictorian, too, and probably voted most likely to succeed.
"That'd be about right," he agreed. "That was way too many years ago, I guess."
"And after high school you became a housepainter, did you? I thought I remembered that you had an athletic scholarship to one of the big schools."
That was typical of Prairie Springs. People just settled down to live the way their folks had, instead of getting out into the world and making a mark. Being a painter was fine, if that was what you really wanted, but it was hard to believe someone with Steve's intelligence and talent hadn't had any bigger goals.
Steve's right eyebrow cocked, giving him a quizzical look. "I don't guess there's anything wrong with painting. It's an honest day's work. So what did Ms. Caitlyn Villard turn out to be?"
She hadn't meant to insult the man, and realized maybe she had been a little judgmental. It wasn't any of her business how Steve Windham spent his life.
"I'm an attorney in New York."
That eyebrow lifted a little higher. "Only now you're back in Prairie Springs. Going to practice law here, are you?"
She hoped the horror she felt at his suggestion didn't show on her face.
She managed what she hoped was a polite smile. "You'll have to excuse me. I think the teacher is ready for me to come back in."
He nodded, still with that faintly amused grin on his lips.
She hurried away, aware that he stood there staring after her, with his thumbs hooked nonchalantly in his belt.
Get out of Prairie Springs. That had been her only goal back in high school.
Well, now she'd come full circle. Getting out of Prairie Springs was her only goal now.
Sarah Alpert, the kindergarten teacher, gave Caitlyn a welcoming smile as she reentered the classroom. A slim, fine-boned redhead, she seemed to exude warmth, and her casual jeans and shirt made the situation feel less formal for her young prospective students.
She rose from her place at the low table where she'd been sitting with the twins.
"You girls can finish up your pictures while I talk with your aunt, all right?"
Amanda, the older by twenty minutes, looked a little rebellious at the prospect of sitting still, but she turned back to her picture at Ms. Alpert's firm gaze.