Read An Excerpt

by Linda Lael Miller

Genre: General Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Romance

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Shutting the door—it was a habit one developed after years of living in a bus—Casey washed her face at one of the three gleaming brass sinks, brushed her teeth and finally pulled her dress off over her head, tossing it dutifully into the laundry hamper, along with her un­derwear, before pulling on flannel boxer shorts and a T-shirt commemorating her most recent European tour. Once again, she faced her own reflection.

Wearing the shirt should have made her feel nos­talgic, she supposed, since that tour had been a record breaker, every concert sold out. She’d loved singing in front of huge audiences—thrived on it, in fact—and instead of wearing her out, those performances had energized her, flooded her sys­tem with endorphins, provided a high no drug could have matched. Unlike some of her colleagues in the music business, she’d never burned out, had a break­ down, played the home-wrecker or floated into rehab on a wave of booze and cocaine.

So why didn’t she miss all that excitement and at­tention and applause? She supposed it was because, for her, life was and had always been all about singing and plucking out new tunes on her favorite guitar, the scarred and battered one her grandfather had given her for Christmas when she was around Shane’s age. She’d done what she’d set out to do, pursuing her goals with near-ruthless resolve, but somewhere along the line, she’d noticed that her children were growing up faster than she’d ever thought possible. All too soon they’d be heading off to college, starting careers of their own, getting married and having children.

Figuratively blinded by the light, Casey had finished the tour, called Walker and asked him if he knew of any houses for sale in his part of Montana. Suddenly, she wanted her children attending a regular school, salut­ing the flag every morning and making friends their own age. And she’d wanted Clare and Shane to see a lot more of Walker, too, though she hadn’t been sure why and still wasn’t, considering the effort she’d gone to keep the truth under wraps.

If he’d been surprised by this turn of events, Walker hadn’t given any indication of it. He’d said he knew a real estate broker—who turned out to be Kendra, now a dear and trusted friend to Casey, like Joslyn and Tara—and before she could say Jack Daniels, she’d found herself smack-dab in the middle of Parable, Mon­tana, taking one good look at this house and promptly signing on the dotted line.

Since then, Casey had had plenty of second thoughts though she’d never actually regretted the decision to set­tle in a small town where it was still safe for kids to go trick-or-treating on Halloween, where everybody knew everybody else and people not only went to church on Sundays and then had breakfast over at the Butter Bis­cuit Café, but voted in every election.

It was living in close proximity to Walker Parrish that made her question this particular choice. By doing so, she’d put the secret she’d guarded for years in ob­vious jeopardy.

Frowning thoughtfully, Casey left the bathroom, crossed to her big, lonely bed and switched out the lamp on the nightstand.

Was it possible that, on some level, she’d wanted the truth to come out?