Dearest Enemy
104 pages

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When Callie Patterson roars into Blue Sky, New Mexico, on her Harley she disturbs more than the quiet of the dying gold mining town. She unnerves the townsfolk who want to reopen a long dead mine that conflicts with her plan to turn her family’s Victorian mansion into a tourist haven and art colony . She stirs up old memories for Mercedes Gunn who fears the discovery of long-held secrets, and for Fernando Moreno, once the love of her now-deceased grandmother. Most of all, she shakes up the mostly well-ordered future that sheriff Luc Moreno has planned to protect his own family and their home. Being on opposite sides of the valley’s future threatens a growing attraction. Will it ultimately destroy any hope for love to blossom?



Publié par
Date de parution 02 juin 2012
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781773623191
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0032€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Dearest Enemy
By Renee Simons
WEB: 978-1-77362-317-7
MOBI: 978-1-77362-318-4 
EPUB: 978-1-77362-319-1
PRINT: 978-1-77362-316-0 

Copyright 2012 by Renee Simons
Cover art by Michelle Lee
All rights reserved. Without limiting therights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publicationmay be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system,or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic,mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without theprior written permission of both the copyright owner and the abovepublisher of this book.
Chapter One
“Made it, Gram. We’re almost there.”
Aboard the Harley that had carried hercross-country from New York, Callie Patterson cruised past the Mercantile , the general store she knew marked her arrival inBlue Sky, New Mexico.
A sheriff’s vehicle stood in front of thebuilding and a group of men lolled in the shade cast by the store’srusting roof. She could almost feel their collective gaze boringinto her back as she rode by. She would deal with them and theircuriosity in due course. At the moment, she was more concerned withwhat waited a mile down the road.
As she roared past, Sheriff Lucero Moreno andfour citizens of the dying southwestern town watched the chrome andblack Harley round the bend in the road and disappear.
"Nice machine," someone said. “Don’t yathink, young Luc?”
Luc hadn't noticed the bike. Blurry thoughhis vision had been lately, he had no trouble zeroing in on the waythe wind molded the woman’s white tee shirt to her curves.
"Time for rounds, gentlemen.” He turned theignition key and waited for it to catch.
"If you find that bodacious young thing, bepolite," a grizzled observer commanded.
"Yeah, don't be throwing your weight aroundjust ' cause it's holdin' up a badge." Mayor Chandler chuckled. "Benice and maybe she'll stay around and improve our scenery."
"I’m not promising miracles but I’ll do mybest," Luc said with a grin. "These eyes need someone to look at'sides you ugly old goats.” Their good-natured laughter followedhim onto the highway.
A spin through what remained of the villageturned up nothing unusual. He headed north and, a mile away,spotted the machine on the shoulder. Its rider sat on a stone wallfacing the valley where miners and other townsfolk had once lived.Without a helmet, her blonde hair shimmered in the midday light.Luc pulled in. As gravel crunched beneath his wheels, she turned inhis direction and seemed to await his approach.
"Afternoon, Miss.”
"Good afternoon. Sheriff, is it?"
"Yes, ma'am." He tugged at his hat brim. "LucMoreno."
“I’m Callie Patterson."
Despite the aviator shades hiding her eyes,he felt impaled on her gaze. She released him finally by turningback to the valley and a decaying Victorian house. Freed of herscrutiny, he picked up the acrid odor of asphalt baking in thesun.
“The Mansion was one of a kind," he said,"the jewel of this town. It hasn't been of use to anyone inyears.”
“Tourists would love it,” she murmured.
“We don’t attract many of those. Even theshunpikers rush past on their way to Santa Fe.”
She shifted position, revealing strong yetfeminine features and a luscious mouth made more tempting by a tinysmile hovering at one corner. Waves of heat assailed him in placeshe’d ignored far too long, places that now throbbed withexpectancy. He forced himself back to the conversation.
“Folks who leave the highway to explore theback roads.”
“I like that word,” she said. “We’ll use itin our ads.”
“What ads would those be?”
She removed her glasses. Why did her eyeshave to be that startling shade of blue? He groaned silently. Pasthistory told him if she stuck around, he’d be in big trouble.
“The ones I’m going to write after I restorethe building and put in a restaurant and a gift shop.”
“What’s your connection to the oldplace?”
“I own it.”
Por Dios, he thought. “The ownerdidn’t tell you it’s being torn down to make way for landdevelopment?”
"My grandmother left it to me when she died.She never planned to tear it down.”
"I'm sorry for your loss," he said, realizinghow feeble the stock phrase sounded. "But my family holds the leaseon that land and Mrs. Mayfield knew we weren't renewing. So unlessyou put the building on rollers and move it, the place won't bestanding come June."
"I never saw notice of your intent.” Her eyesdarkened to a stormy grey and her fair skin flushed.
He shrugged. "Maybe the letter got lost.”
"Why are you taking such arbitraryaction?"
"Nothing arbitrary about it,” he said. “Justgood economics. I wish we could have saved you an unnecessarytrip."
"Apparently, this trip is even more necessarythan I thought.” The tremor in her voice attested to her anger. Shecrammed her helmet down on her head and with a shaking handfastened the chin strap. "This is far from over, Sheriff. Count onit."
Callie mounted her bike. A moment later, theengine thundered to life, giving a voice to the fury that hadheated her cheeks. In time, she would tell the darkly attractivebut arrogant lawman what she thought of the Moreno family'splan.
Arrogant — yes, a good way to describe him.The way Grandmother had described the Morenos she had known duringher youth. And certainly more productive than focusing on the hunkfactor — of which there was ample supply. Although Callie hadlooked forward to restoring The Mansion's splendor, she hadn'tunderstood Gram's anger with the Moreno family. Until now.
She backtracked to the Mercantile where shehoped to find the town clerk. The men had gone and she parked herbike beside the entrance. Inside the dimly lit general store,Callie approached a trim, grey-haired woman in denim overalls andplaid shirt.
“Elvira Chandler?”
"That's me." She scrutinized Callie frombehind the marble counter. "You have to be Lucy'sgranddaughter."
"Grandmother Lucinda spoke of you with greataffection." Callie held out her hand. "I'm glad to meet you."
Though in her eighties, Elvira appearedtwenty years younger. The blush of pleasure dusting her cheeksenforced the illusion. Callie hoped she would look just asenergetic when she was this woman’s age. They shook hands andCallie wasted little time in getting to her problem.
"Don’t know what I can tell you," Elvirasaid. "Taxes are paid through the end of May even though the placehas been empty for ages. But then, I ‘spect you know that.”
Callie leaned against the counter. "We’vebeen keeping up the taxes because we believed the land was ours foras long as we wanted. That whether the house was empty or not, wehad nothing to worry about with a renewable 99-year lease —underline the word 'renewable.' Now, the sheriff tells meotherwise, and with Grandmother and Aunt Hattie gone I must find away to hold the Morenos to their word."
Tears glistened in Elvira’s eyes. “Pained mesomethin’ fierce when Lucy and Hattie left all those years ago.Broke my heart when they passed on without never once comin’ back.But I remember how bad your grandma got hurt and what sent heraway." She dug out a hanky and dabbed at her eyes.
“I also remember she had a way of wantin’something and goin’ after it without botherin’ to look down theroad. Left others to figure a way out of whatever mess developed.Looks like this time you’re stuck with the job."
Callie drew herself up. “I don’t feelstuck.”
"'Course not, dear. Didn't mean nothin' byit." Her gaze sharpened. "But with them gone, you could liveanywhere you want. Up in Santa Fe or Taos. Young folks seem to likethe opportunities there. Why pick a place that’s on its last legs.Like The Mansion. It’s beat up and run down and hasn’t been livedin for ten years. It’ll take a heap of money and work till it’s fitagain. I’d advise you to forget about it and look elsewhere."
How to tell her the restoration was evenmore important now? "Their dream has been mine sincechildhood," Callie said. "I gave up a lot to come out here and hereis where I’ll stay.”
What she'd told Elvira was partially true butthere was more to it. The woman was, after all, a stranger anddidn't need to know everything about Grandmother Lucy's will.
Callie continued. "This project has taken thebetter part of three years to put together. I thought I'd coveredall the details, yet I’m facing the possibility that everything'sheaded down the tubes."
"It’s a shame you put so much into it, andhad such high expectations,” Elvira said. “Maybe if I'd known whatyou was plannin’, I could've headed you off, but I had no idea."Elvira Chandler looked truly unhappy.

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