Authors: Jill Sanders
~ West Series ~
Travis & Holly
© 2014 Jill Sanders
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To all those bad boys
who have a heart of pure gold.
Travis Nolan is back in town and doing everything he can to get right back out of it again. Finding out that his father devised a way to keep him locked in the small town of Fairplay, even after death, has him working overtime to complete his new obligations. But now there’s a small pixy redhead that won’t get out of his way or out of his mind.
Holly just wants to finish remodeling her business and apartment so she can get the annoying Travis off her back, but working closely with him has afforded her the opportunity to see what’s behind his raw and rough exterior. And she’s quickly losing her heart to the town’s notorious bad boy.
Table of Contents
Chapter One 10
Chapter Two 25
Chapter Three 37
Chapter Four 51
Chapter Five 66
Chapter Six 79
Chapter Seven 91
Chapter Eight 102
Chapter Nine 116
Chapter Ten 130
Chapter Eleven 144
Chapter Twelve 154
Chapter Thirteen 167
Chapter Fourteen 183
Chapter Fifteen 196
Roping Ryan—Coming soon 207
Chapter One 209
Other titles by Jill Sanders 220
About the Author 222
Holly was going crazy. It had been two weeks since she’d shut down the old bookstore and moved. Two weeks of living in a strange place, in someone else’s apartment. Two weeks of the daily stress of coordinating and working with all the contractors and laborers. Two weeks without working in her bookstore. But, other than a sore back from sleeping in a strange bed, she was loving every minute of it. She loved the hustle and bustle of construction. She enjoyed the sounds, the smells, and seeing the project moving forward each time she stepped inside the doors.
She couldn’t stop herself from rushing down to the old brick building and seeing the work that was being done on it. Right now it didn’t look much different than when the tornado had ripped through town over two years ago. But if you looked closely, you could see a method to the madness.
As she stood in the middle of the building she and her mother had worked all their lives in, she couldn’t help but smile. It was an early Sunday morning in late summer, and the place was quiet. She loved coming here when the workers weren’t banging around and making loud noises. She could actually see the vision she and Mr. Nolan had painstakingly designed over several weeks.
Who knew that the mayor had an architecture background? Not her. When she had finally built up enough nerve to ask him about updating the building she leased from him, he’d not only jumped on board, but had fronted the entire cost himself. Sure, the building was his and he could do whatever he wanted with it, but she never expected him to include her tiny apartment upstairs in the plans.
“Why not redo the whole place?” he’d suggested, walking around the downstairs that first day. “In the last two years there have been more repairs on your apartment than down here. If we’re going in for a penny, why not a pound and do it all at once.”
She’d jumped at the chance, of course. He was right; her apartment was in dire need of updates. The roof leaked during heavy storms and some of the old wood floorboards had come loose. She’d tried to cover them with rugs, but still she stubbed her toes on them if she wasn’t careful. The plumbing and electric for the entire building desperately needed to be replaced. She lost electricity a lot due to there not being enough volts going through the breaker box.
So, she and Mr. Nolan had gone down to the bank and signed an agreement that the town’s lawyer, Grant Holton, who was also Holly’s friend, had written up. The next week she started receiving bids on the construction and spent several days moving everything out of the two spaces, including herself.
She looked around and smiled. She didn’t mind the mess or the hassles, especially since she knew what it would look like afterwards. Her furniture and the bookstore’s inventory were in storage, tucked away until when she could open Holly’s, the first bookstore slash coffeehouse slash wine bar to grace the small town of Fairplay, Texas.
“Dreaming of what it will look like when it’s done?” she heard behind her, causing her to jump a little.
“Oh!” She rested her hand over her heart. “Mr. Nolan, I didn’t expect you here.”
The older gentlemen stood in the doorway, his hands tucked into his pants. He looked tired. She’d known Roy Nolan all of her life. He’d been the town’s mayor for as long as anyone could remember. He’d quietly stepped down when his wife of thirty plus years had gone nuts and tried to kill Grant. Then he’d retreated into his large white home just a few blocks from there. Their only child, Travis, had left town the same night they had hauled his mother away. Now she sat in a state mental hospital for the next twenty plus years. No one in town had heard from Travis since that night. It was rumored that Savannah Douglas had visited him on several occasions, but she didn’t really talk to anyone about it.
“It looks a mess now, doesn’t it, girlie?” he said, using his nickname for her as he walked into the empty room. All the walls were gone and the hardwood floor was completely ripped up, leaving only the cement floor.
“I can still see the potential.” She turned and looked at him. “Especially with all the wonderful drawings you did.” She smiled.
He nodded. “Well, girlie, you had a wonderful idea for this place. You know, I had big dreams for this town.” He sighed and looked out the large front windows towards Main Street.
She walked over and rested her hand on his arm. They had talked about all of his plans for the small town. How he wanted to rebuild it, allow it to grow. “This is a wonderful first step.”
He nodded. “I had hoped that…” He started and then shook his head.
“What?” She waited.
“I had hoped that Travis would come back and fall in love with this town. Everything I’ve worked so hard for…” He paused again and Holly felt his arm stiffen. “Everything I did was for that boy.”
She started to worry when he began shaking.
“Mr. Nolan? Are you alright?” She gripped his arm tighter, but he just looked off into the distance.
When he hunched forward and started to fall, she gripped his arm more tightly, trying to hold him upright, but the man’s massive frame was too much for her tiny one. He hit the floor hard, causing her to land on her knees.
When she looked over, she saw that his face had gone completely white. Rushing over to him, she rolled him over onto his back and listened for a heartbeat. When she couldn’t find one, she pulled her cell phone out of her purse and dialed 911.
“Hang on, Mr. Nolan, help is on the way,” she reassured him, holding his hand in hers as tears slipped down her face.
ravis stood stiffly in front of his old house with his hands clenched at this side. It was too dark to see anything clearly, especially since all the lights in the massive place were out. Too many memories flooded his mind. He wanted to escape them, but he knew he couldn’t, not until his business was done and he could start fresh.
It had been almost a month since he’d gotten word that his father had passed away from a brain aneurysm. It had taken his father’s lawyer almost two weeks to track him down in Montana. The fact that the lawyer was his ex-fiancée Alexis’ husband, the man his mother had tried to murder, had just been the icing on the bitter cake he’d been eating for the last four years.
He grabbed his duffel bag from his car and walked towards the house. He circled around the back and climbed the stairs to his old apartment above the garage. It was just past midnight and his flight had been delayed due to a thunderstorm in Colorado. He was exhausted.
Dropping his bag inside his door, he took a few steps into the apartment and knew instantly that he wasn’t alone. Every muscle in his body tensed as he scanned the dark room. In the last few years he’d been in plenty of fights and as he prepared his body for the blows, his mind refused to acknowledge the signal of the sweet scents that his nose was sending him.
The first blow skimmed his jaw, sending him back a few steps. When he reached out with his fist, he thought he would connect with something, but he hit only air. The blow to his gut took him by surprise, and he reached out and grabbed what he could of his attacker.
When he grabbed ahold of clothes, he stepped back to flip his assailant over, but tripped on his duffel bag and ended up on the ground. He’d taken his assaulter down with him, so he rolled a few times until he ended up on top.
“What are you doing in my house?” he demanded at the same time a fist came up and connected with his left eye. He moaned with pain just as the body underneath him stilled.
It was a woman’s voice, causing him to momentarily drop his guard.
She shoved his shoulder and leg hard until he fell off her. He landed on the floor, holding his throbbing left eye.
Then the lights flipped on and there by the door to his apartment stood a warrior goddess. Her long red hair flowed down past her breasts, which were covered nicely with a teal tank top and matching shorts.
“Travis?” She stood looking down at him.
He dropped his hand away from his face and looked at her with watery eyes. “Do I know you?”
She nodded her head and put her hands on her hips. “Holly Bridles.” He just looked at her. “I run the bookstore.”
“Sure you do,” he said getting up off the ground slowly. “That doesn’t explain what you’re doing in my house.”
She sighed. “I live here.” She looked around the apartment and for the first time he realized it was clean. Clean, clean. Everything of his was gone except the furniture his parents had bought him when he’d moved out of the main house.
He groaned. “That’s just great.” He turned and looked at her again.
She was still standing by the front door, and he wondered why his father would have rented the place out to a librarian.
“I guess I didn’t know he’d rented the place out.”
“He didn’t,” she said quickly. His eyebrows shot up in question. “I’m not renting the place.”
Well, that cleared it up, he thought. It had been bound to happen. After all, the ink on his parents’ divorce had been dry for almost three years now. He looked at the woman’s skimpy outfit and smiled a little. Way to go dad, he thought. Then he frowned as she stepped further into the light. What was a man in his late sixties doing with someone so young?
“I didn’t know you were going to be back.” She crossed her arms over her chest, no doubt because he’d been staring at those lovely tits of hers.
He blinked and stepped closer. Her hands dropped and rested by her sides in fists, reminding him that his eye was throbbing. He wondered how such a small package of a woman could pack such a big punch with those tiny fists.
“I guess I’ll head over to the main house until we sort this all out.” He bent to pick up his duffel bag. When he stood back up, he noticed her biting her bottom lip with worry. He turned and walked out of his apartment without another word.
Okay, he told himself on the short walk towards the back door of the big house, I need a new to-do list. As he opened the back door of the massive house, he listed things off in his mind. Get rid of dad’s hussy, which was really too bad since he could have used the distraction while he was in town; sell the house; and get the hell out of Fairplay, Texas.