Gabe Evans is a man of his word with strong convictions and steadfast loyalty. As the sheriff of Splendor, Montana, the ex-Union Colonel and oldest of four boys from an affluent family, Gabe understands the meaning of responsibility. The last thing he wants is another commitment—especially of the female variety.
Until he meets Lena Campanel...
Lena’s past is one she intends to keep buried. Overcoming a childhood of setbacks and obstacles, she and her friend, Nick, have succeeded in creating a life of financial success and devout loyalty to one another.
When an unexpected death leaves Gabe the sole heir of a considerable estate, partnering with Nick and Lena is a lucrative decision…forcing Gabe and Lena to work together. As their desire grows, Lena refuses to let down her guard, vowing to keep her past hidden—even from a perfect man like Gabe.
But secrets never stay buried…
When revealed, Gabe realizes Lena’s secrets are deeper than he ever imagined. For a man of his character, deception and lies of omission aren’t negotiable. Will he be able to forgive the deceit? Or is the damage too great to ever repair?
“I hope I’m not too late.” Lena stopped behind Gabe’s chair, ignoring the venomous look on Nick’s face.
No one spoke as they took in the dress she’d chosen. Discarding her usual clothing with full-length sleeves and conservative neckline, she wore a bright green dress of silk, cut low in the front, with capped sleeves and black lace, a black shawl draped over her back and arms. The dress hugged every curve, leaving little to the imagination. The deep red lipstick and rouge replaced the minimal makeup she’d always preferred.
“Um…that’s quite a pretty color on you, Lena.” Abby’s gaze shifted between Lena, Nick, and Gabe, knowing Gabe hadn’t turned to see her attire.
“Why, thank you. It’s a dress I’ve been wanting to wear for some time.”
Gabe’s eyes narrowed as he shifted in his seat, and for the first time, saw what everyone else already had.
“What the hell?” He shot from his chair, taking her by the arm. The muscles in his jaw tightened and his eyes flared as he took in her outfit. He’d never seen her dress as one of the girls in the saloon, and he sure as hell didn’t like others to see her like this. “Do you want to tell me what you think you’re doing dressed like that?” His low, controlled, deep drawl should have been a warning of the inner turmoil about to explode.
Her eyes widened as if in surprise. “You don’t like my dress, Gabe? I borrowed it from Deborah. She mentioned it is a customer favorite.” Smoothing the skirt with her hands, she looked up, resting her gaze on Caroline. “Are you going to introduce me to your new lady, Gabe, or should I do it myself?”
Tightening his grip on her arm, he turned her toward the stairs. “Go ahead without us. Lena and I need to talk,” he called over his shoulder as he guided her out and up the stairs to her room. “Key.” He held out his hand.
Lena crossed her arms, refusing to do as he asked.
“Fine.” One strong kick and the door broke loose, flying open and slamming against the wall.
Shirleen Davies writes romance—historical, contemporary, and romantic suspense. She grew up in Southern California, attended Oregon State University, and has degrees from San Diego State University and the University of Maryland. During the day she provides consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses. But her real passion is writing emotionally charged stories of flawed people who find redemption through love and acceptance. She now lives with her husband in a beautiful town in northern Arizona.