Sweeter than the sugarcane on her father's Louisiana plantation, Anne-Marie Duveuil had been taught to avoid cowboys like Cordero Sanchez at all costs. But something about the handsome Texas horseman tempted her to take a crazy risk. Now she could never forget him. Because she was carrying his baby....
Cordero had seen too much heartache in his life, and couldn't just walk out on Anne-Marie when she was going to have his child. Yet, settling down wasn't in his game plan. Still, life was a long and lonely road to nowhere without a woman--and a place a man could call home.
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April 30, 2007
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Excerpt from Having the Cowboy's Baby by Stella Bagwell
Oh God, don't let it happen again.
Anne-Marie Duveuil refused to fall under the spell of a man like Cordero Sanchez. She'd already had her life's plan of entering a convent shattered by one sexy man. To let another one turn her head would be worse than a sin, it would be ruination.
She'd never met anyone with such rakish features or such a sexual presence. His hair was crow-black and waved to the back of his neck in a length that was far too long to be neat. But then, neat wouldn't match a man like him, she decided. He was a rebel and a rounder. Even though he'd not said one word out of place since he'd arrived, she could see trouble all over his handsome face and long lean body. And she desperately wished that anyone other than this man had delivered her father's newly acquired horses to Cane's Landing.
A few minutes ago Anne-Marie had shown her guest into the parlor for refreshments. After all, he'd traveled a long distance to get here and her mother had taught her to be a proper hostess, even when a visitor made her feel uncomfortable. And Cordero Sanchez was definitely doing that and much more.
Up to this point she'd tried her best to keep their conversation polite and impersonal, but the man seemed dead set on learning about her family's history. A moment ago he'd left his chair to inspect the long row of photos resting on the rock mantle of the fireplace and innate manners had forced AnneMarie to cross the room to stand by his side.
"That's my father when he was a very young man," she explained as he paused to examine one particular photo. "In those days he liked to hunt ducks and the bird dogs you see with him were some that he'd trained ."
"I didn't know that Jules liked to hunt," he admitted. "But then we're always talking horses ."
Forsaking the image of her father, he moved on down the hearth and she stiffened as he picked up an enlarged snapshot of her. In it she was wearing a simple yellow sundress and her long hair was tied back with a coral colored scarf. Several young children with brown skin and black hair were standing with her in front of a crude, clapboard building. "That was in Guatemala," she said quietly. "I was teaching at a Catholic school ."
He looked at her with open interest. "you're a teacher?"
A negligible shrug barely moved her shoulder. "I taught languages for a while. But that was long ago, when I still had dreams of entering a convent ."
Clearly stunned by her revelation, she could feel him staring at her.
"A convent!" He repeated the word with hushed amazement. "What happened?"
As she lifted her eyes to his, her lips twisted to a bitter line. "I met a man just like you ."
An expression of comical confusion swept across his dark face. "What the hell does that mean?"
Flustered with him and herself, her cheeks began to burn.
Her cheeks still burning, she exclaimed, "Oh! I shouldn't have said that. I'm sorry, Cordero ."
His hazel-green eyes continued to study her closely. "It's all right. But I got the impression that this--man you just compared me to is not someone on your most valued list ."
"No." Turning away from him, she walked over to the coffee table and returned her glass to the tray of cold refreshments that Darcella, their cook, had provided for them. "But that has nothing to do with you." Keeping her back to him, she added, "I mean. Not personally. He just happened to be a man that was virile and handsome, like you. That's all ."
Cordero had never had trouble garnering attention from the opposite sex, but he'd never been stuck on himself. When he looked in the mirror he saw a regular guy, a horseman who did his best to enjoy every minute of the day. To hear this vision of a woman call him virile and handsome jolted him.
"What was this man to you?" Cordero asked thoughtfully.