Read Here to Stay Online

Authors: Debra Webb

Tags: #romance, #secret, #baby, #lovers, #reunited, #spicy

Here to Stay

BOOK: Here to Stay
12.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads
HERE TO STAY

 

Debra Webb

 

A note about the author:

Though Debra Webb has earned a reputation for
outstanding romantic suspense, she began her career with nearly a
dozen sassy and spicy romances. For the first time these heartfelt
romances are now available worldwide in e-book format. Previously
published as a Kensington Precious Gems, available only in Wal-Mart
for one short month, Debra is proud to present her beloved tales of
romance.

 

HERE TO STAY

FREE FALLING

TEMPTING TRACE

UP CLOSE

BASIC INSTINCTS

KEEPING KENNEDY

TAMING GI JANE

GOING TO THE CHAPEL

 

This book is a work of fiction. Any
references to historical events, real people, or real locales are
used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents
are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to
actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely
coincidental.

 

Copyright 2011, WebbWorks, LLC

First Printing: May 2000 Kensington Precious
Gems

 

All rights reserved, including the right of
reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

 

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your
personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given
away to other people. If you would like to share this book with
another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person
you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase
it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should
return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for
respecting the hard work of this author.

 

 

 

 

HERE TO STAY

 

 

Debra Webb

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

Someone is in the house.

Paige Weston stood absolutely still at the
top of the staircase and peered down into the dark entrance hall. A
cold shiver skated over her skin. Her heart pounding, she held her
breath and focused on the sounds coming from her uncle’s kitchen.
She heard footsteps, then the click of a switch. Light from the
kitchen doorway sliced across the oak floor at the bottom of the
stairs.

She swallowed tightly as she summoned her
shrinking courage. Stupidly, she had left the cordless phone from
the bedroom in the kitchen. The only other telephone was on a hall
table at the bottom of the stairs. Her cell phone was in the
kitchen charging. If she knew where Robert kept the key to his gun
cabinet, she could at least arm herself. But she didn’t. She had to
get to a phone.

The first step down the staircase proved the
hardest, but she forced her feet to make the necessary movement.
When she’d reached the bottom, she held her breath and listened
again. The refrigerator door slammed shut with a rattle of glass
and plastic. She frowned. What was the intruder doing? Having a
midnight snack? As if on cue, the old grandfather clock struck the
witching hour.

Paige rounded the newel post, avoiding the
sliver of light angling from the kitchen. Her gaze riveted to the
open doorway, and she felt across the top of the hall table for the
telephone. Knees weak and her body trembling, she fought the urge
to run out the front door and leave the thief to have his way with
Robert’s worldly possessions.

Where is that blasted phone?
Her hand
bumped against a cold, smooth object.
The flowers
. Robert
had left her flowers. Before she could catch it, the crystal vase
tumbled off the table and crashed to the floor. Water splattered
across her feet.

For an instant Paige froze. Every rape or
mugging victim she’d ever seen in the courtroom flashed through her
mind. Heavy footsteps thudding across the kitchen floor urged her
back into action. Still groping in the darkness, her hand brushed
against the telephone. She curled trembling fingers around the
receiver and lifted it. The familiar, reassuring dial tone sounded.
Paige pressed the three buttons necessary just as a tall, dark
figure filled the doorway, blocking the faint light from the
kitchen.

“Stop right there,” Paige commanded in a
reasonably steady tone. “I’ve called 911.”

“Trinity doesn’t have 911 at the moment,”
came the deep, male response. Silhouetted by the dim light, it was
impossible to see his face. “The system’s down.”

The irritating, high-pitched tone coming from
the receiver confirmed his statement. Paige dropped the useless
instrument as a recorded voice came across the line telling her to
dial the number again.

No 911
.

How could that number be out of order? She
couldn’t breathe. Forgetting the broken glass, she backed away from
the dark, looming figure. Maybe staying all alone at Robert’s ranch
hadn’t been such a good idea after all. And she thought stuff like
this only happened in the city. What a great birthday this had
turned out to be…

Abruptly, the wall stopped her retreat. The
intruder remained motionless and silent. Why didn’t he make a move?
She shuddered at the thought that he was probably trying to decide
what to do with her. Her mind raced. What should she do? Maybe he
would just leave. He stood only a few feet from the front door.
Leave
, Paige willed silently. Though she had heard his
voice, she couldn’t identify his face.

Something clicked in her subconscious. She
frowned and replayed the words he’d spoken, concentrating on the
sound of his voice. Deep, smooth, masculine. She knew that voice.
She slid her hand over the wall and flipped the switch, flooding
the room with light. She blinked against the brightness and focused
her gaze on the man standing before her.

Nathan Blackrope
.

Paige fought the shock that threatened her
already strained composure. Her mind reeled with long buried
emotions, landing somewhere between relief and regret. Part of her
wanted to throw her arms around him and tell him how glad she was
to see him. But the other part of her, the saner part, wanted to
run as fast as she could. She hadn’t been face to face with Nathan
in almost five years. She had every intention of seeing him during
her visit to Trinity. In fact, he was the real reason she had come.
She just hadn’t expected to see him now, like this.

She steeled herself against his presence.
Unable to face him on a personal level just yet, she summoned her
courtroom bearing and public defender attitude into place.

Nathan moved his unreadable gaze slowly over
her. She trembled beneath his scrutiny. He looked exactly the same.
His gunslinger stance conveyed his almost cocky confidence. Nathan
Blackrope wasn’t intimidated by anything or anyone. He stood strong
and tall. His black hair, long and straight, was pulled into a
loose ponytail. She knew from experience that all that blue-black
hair would feel like silk slipping between her fingers. Inside, she
trembled as the memories tumbled one over the other. If only she
could forget.

Paige allowed her gaze to meet his. Dark,
searching eyes set in bronzed skin stared back at her. High
cheekbones carved in a strong, angular face were emphasized by the
hard set of his full lips. Even wearing that cold, steely
expression he was still the best looking man she had ever seen. She
swallowed back something that felt entirely too much like desire
and focused her gaze on his black Apache eyes.

“Breaking and entering is against the law,
Mr. Blackrope.”

“I have a key.”

That raspy baritone sent a shiver of
recollection over her. She’d spent the last four years or so trying
her best to forget Nathan Blackrope. But she hadn’t forgotten him
at all. She knew by heart every inch of his lean, muscular body.
The wide breadth of shoulders that strained against the fabric of
his black Western shirt. The long-fingered hands that were set
firmly on the black denim covering his narrow hips. Paige didn’t
have to look to know that he wore black cowboy boots as well. Black
had always been Nathan’s signature color.

She watched as he slid two fingers into the
pocket of his jeans and fished out a brass key. To her chagrin, the
key looked identical to the one she’d found on the ledge above the
front door when she’d arrived this evening.

“See.” He held out the key for her
inspection.

Paige smelled a rat. A rat named Uncle
Robert. This was a set-up as sure as Nathan Blackrope was standing
there looking lean, rangy and rugged. “Why do you have a key?” she
asked, ignoring his outstretched hand. She wouldn’t touch those
long fingers for a month in Tahiti with Johnny Depp.

“Your uncle asked me to keep an eye on things
while he honeymoons with his new wife. Neighbors do that kind of
thing for each other in the country, or have you forgotten?” he
asked, a hint of sarcasm in his voice. Nathan drew back his hand,
his gaze swept over her once more as he waited for her response.
She didn’t miss the sudden glimmer of masculine approval in his
dark eyes.

The thin white cotton tee she wore barely
reached the tops of her thighs. She’d been in bed—asleep. A heated
flush moved up her neck and into her face. The fact that her
breasts had grown full and tight didn’t help. Nathan could plainly
see how she responded to him. After all this time—after all that
had happened—how could her rebellious body react with such desire
to the man she’d worked so hard to hate?

She crossed her arms over her tingling
breasts. “That still doesn’t explain why you’re here in the middle
of the night.”

Nathan’s lips curved in a knowing smile. “You
rushed down here like that—” he gestured toward her scantly clad
body—“to defend Robert’s home from an intruder?” He laughed, softly
at first, and then the sound deepened, rumbling up from his
chest.

Paige swore silently. She hated that smile.
Hated that laugh. She hated him. Well, maybe she didn’t hate him,
but he infuriated her. How could she have ever imagined that any
kind of agreement could be worked out with this man? “I asked you
what you were doing here, Nathan Blackrope.”

“I’ve been out,” he said, curbing his
laughter to a smile that lifted only one corner of his mouth. “I
wanted to check on the mares before I called it a night. Two of
Robert’s mares are about to foal.” He shifted and raked his dark
gaze over her again. “He never mentioned anyone else would be
here.” He gave her a heart-stopping grin. “I was too busy to think
about food earlier. I realized I hadn’t eaten and decided to raid
the fridge.” He folded his arms over his chest. “I’m sure Robert
won’t mind.”

It was after midnight on Sunday night, Paige
realized with sudden clarity. A sharp pang of jealousy stabbed at
her as she considered that he’d probably been out with a woman. She
gave herself a mental kick and forced away the unbidden envy of
whoever had been in his arms tonight. She had thought herself over
that hurt long time ago. Taking a determined step in Nathan’s
direction, she held out her hand, concentrating hard to keep it
steady.

He glanced at her hand, then focused that
intent gaze on her. “What?” he asked innocently.

“The key. I’ll be staying until Robert and
Ginny return from Vegas. There’s no need for you to concern
yourself with anything around here.”

“You’re staying
here
for two weeks?”
His eyes mirrored the disbelief in his voice.

“That’s what I said,” Paige returned hotly.
‘Robert’s having some redecorating done. The contractors start
tomorrow and I’ll be seeing that everything runs smoothly.”

Nathan pressed the key into her palm. His
fingers lingered a little longer than necessary, sending a surge of
heat through her that resurrected long denied feelings. Her insides
quivered and Paige jerked her hand back. There had been a time when
she would have given anything for Nathan’s touch, but not now. Not
ever again. She hugged her arms around her middle and backed up the
step she had taken. What she needed from him now had absolutely
nothing to do with hormones.

“I can’t believe your daddy let you leave
Memphis,” he said, his words dripping with sarcasm.

She bristled, counted to ten before
delivering a response. It didn’t help. “I do what I want to do. My
father doesn’t run my life.”

“Since when?” Nathan cocked his handsome head
and laughed at her with his eyes. “You do whatever daddy tells you
to do, Blondie. You always have.”

Paige winced at his use of the pet name he
had given her so long ago. No one else but Nathan had ever called
her that. She didn’t want to hear it. And she sure didn’t want to
feel what he was making her feel. She clenched her teeth and glared
at him with every ounce of anger she could marshal. Her severe
glare only served to earn her a slow, sexy smile that would have
shaken her clean down at her boots had she been wearing any.

BOOK: Here to Stay
12.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Sexaholics by Pynk
The Loyal Nine by Bobby Akart
The Island by Benchley, Peter
Necessary Retribution by Mike McNeff
A Gentleman's Luck by Hill, Nicole