She knew working for Jase Calhoun would amount to nothing but heartache. The wealthy rancher had never seen Mandy as anything more than the shy girl next door. But then a secret about Jase's past was uncovered, and the handsome Texan decided bedding Mandy would be the perfect way to forget.
Now that she'd slept with her boss, how could they ever go back to business?
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August 07, 2007
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Excerpt from The Texan's Secret Past by Peggy Moreland
Divorce was hell on a woman.
Mandy Rogers knew, because she'd experienced it first hand. As far as she was concerned, the entire process was like being fed through a wringer washer, then stripped naked and paraded down a city street for all the world to see.
Which was why she'd chosen to move back to her hometown of San Saba, Texas.
She hadn't been running away, she assured herself as she drove down the country road that led to the Calhouns' ranch. Having the support of family and friends while she adjusted to divorce and life as a single woman again was what had persuaded her to move back to her hometown.
But after a mere two weeks, she wondered if she'd made a mistake in coming home.
Her mother was already driving her crazy. Though Mandy was sure her mother meant well, she treated Mandy as if she was suffering from a terminal disease, rather than recovering from a divorce. And the friends she'd thought she'd reconnect with were gone, having left San Saba after graduation, much as she had, and never returned.
Except for one.
Even as the thought formed, she saw him. Jase Calhoun. Walking from the house toward the barn in the distance, his stride long, his gait slow and lazy. The cowboy hat he wore shielded his face, but she didn't need to see it to remember his features. Roman nose, square jaw, chiseled cheekbones, chocolate-browneyes, and the sexiest mouth in San Saba County.
She gave the horn a tap to catch his attention. He glanced over his shoulder at the sound, then turned fully, pushing a knuckle against the brim of his cowboy hat. A smile slowly spread across his face as he recognized her, and he started back the way he'd come.
She barely had time to climb from her car, before he was scooping her up into his arms and twirling her around. The greeting was classic Jase and delivered to all women, no matter what their age, but he had away of making a woman feel special, which is exactly how Mandy felt now...and what she desperately needed.
He plopped her back down to her feet and took a step back to give her a long look up and down. "Damn, Red, how long's it been?"
The nickname was one he'd given her years ago and earned him a frown the same as it had then. "Ten years, and my name is Mandy."
Grinning, he scrubbed his knuckles over the top of her head. "Yeah, but Red suits you better." He slung an arm around her shoulders and turned her toward the house. "What are you doing in town? Home for a visit?"
"No. I moved back."
Sobering, he nodded, as he guided her down to sit on the porch steps. "Yeah. I heard you were getting a divorce."
That he knew about her divorce didn't surprise her. San Saba was a small enough town for everyone to know everyone else's business.
"Got, not getting," she corrected. "It was final a couple of weeks ago."
He slanted her a look as he dropped down beside her. "You doing okay?"
She lifted a shoulder. "Some days are better than others." Not wanting to talk about her divorce, she laid a hand on his arm. "I was sorry to hear about your mom, Jase."
Dropping his chin, he nodded. "Yeah. It was tough."
"I would have come home for the funeral..."He gave her hand a reassuring pat. "No explanation needed. You had your own problems to deal with."
"Still, I'd have liked to have said goodbye to her. She was a special lady."
"She was that, all right, and then some." He slapped his hands against his thigh, obviously not wanting to talk about his loss any more than she wanted to talk about hers. "So? Tell me what you've been up to. Are you living with your mother?"
"She wanted me to, but after living on my own for so long... Well, I thought it best, if I had my own place."
She nodded. "I'm renting Mrs. Brewster's garage apartment."
He reared back to look at her. "That dump? Ithought that place was condemned years ago."