Title: Texas Homecoming
Series: Night Riders, #1
Author: Leigh Greenwood
Pub Date: April 4, 2017
She’s his last chance to find peace…
Cade, Captain of the Night Riders, is determined to lead his men home to Texas to recover from a long and brutal war. But when a fellow Rider betrays the team, Cade sets aside his hopes for peace and swears he will hunt down the traitor no matter what it takes…
He has a foolproof plan to use the feisty Pilar diViere to lure her traitorous brother out of hiding. And yet when he takes the dark-eyed beauty into his arms, Cade can’t help but remember the passionate past they shared. He would do anything for a chance to rekindle that flame…even spare her brother’s life.
The war has changed them all, and each of the Night Riders must decide what is more important: love or revenge?
Leigh Greenwood is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Seven Brides, Cowboys, and Night Riders series. The proud father of three grown children, Leigh resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. He never intended to be a writer, but he found it hard to ignore the people in his head, and the only way to get them out was to write. Visit him at www.leigh-greenwood.com.
“A woman should concern herself with her children and keeping her husband happy. Everything else she should leave to him.”
Without realizing it, her grandmother had just stated the reasons Pilar wanted to marry Cade rather than Manuel. “That’s not the way Americans think, and we might as well take advantage of it.”
“Will he not insist that you marry him before he drives the squatters out?”
“No. Once an idea starts to grow in Cade’s head, he can’t wait. I expect he’s already working out a strategy to take the squatters by surprise.”
“And if he does not?”
“Then we’ll have to think of something else.”
There was an abrupt silence when they rejoined the men. Cade looked so irritated, Pilar wondered what Earl had said. As usual, Rafe’s expression was inscrutable.
“You ready to set the day, girl?” Earl asked.
“My granddaughter is overcome by modesty,” Senora diViere said. “She finds herself unable to do this thing so quickly.”
“You’re not backing out, are you?” Earl demanded. “Because if you are—”
“If you’ll let her talk, I expect you’ll find out,” Cade said.
Pilar threw Cade a grateful look, then turned away. She couldn’t look him in the eye. She was about to do something unethical. She prayed he would turn her down.
“I haven’t been thinking of marriage,” Pilar began.
“That’s a lie,” Earl said. “You’ve been engaged to a fancy Mexican for I don’t know how long.”
“I don’t think Manuel wishes to marry me any more than I wish to marry him.”
“I didn’t think your kind paid any attention to that.”
“Gramps, will you let her talk?”
“Well, she won’t get to it.”
“She can’t, with you interrupting all the time.”
“Not everybody is as bullheaded as you.”
“I never thought I’d see the day when you took her side against me.”
“He did when he insisted she eat at the table,” Rafe pointed out.
“Do you want me to gag him?” Cade asked Pilar.
“That’ll be more than you can do,” Earl said, dancing about like he was on a hot stove. “Ain’t nobody getting the best of Earl Wheeler.”
Pilar couldn’t help smiling. If Cade could wrestle full-grown steers to the ground, he could topple the old windbag in a second.
“We need time to find out if we like each other well enough to live together for the rest of our lives,” Pilar said.
“You’ve had several weeks already,” Earl said. “What more do you need?”
“With all the work he did, I hardly saw Cade,” Pilar pointed out.
“You saw him at the table every day,” Earl said. “I should think that would be more than enough.”
“It would for any wife of yours,” Senora diViere said.
“The idea is too new for me,” Pilar said, sticking closely to her main point and hoping to head off a resumption of the battle between their grandparents. “Our families have been enemies all my life. I’m sure you taught Cade to hate all of us.”
“But I didn’t,” Cade said.
“You kidnapped her,” Senora diViere reminded him.
“Just having a bit of fun,” Cade said. “I’ve never had to force any woman to my bed.”
Pilar felt herself grow warm. The memory of the kisses they shared had kept her warm for two nights. The thought of sharing Cade’s bed threatened to scald her.
“I am not interested in a litany of your conquests,” her grandmother said.
“I didn’t intend to give it. Now, if everyone will let Pilar finish.”
“I have, essentially,” Pilar said, pulling her mind from thoughts that made her feel far too warm. “I don’t think we should make any promises before we can decide how we feel about each other.”
“But you expect us to run off those scalawags while you sit around trying to make up your mind,” Earl said.
Pilar decided Cade got his cleverness from his grandfather. The man might look old and feeble, but he didn’t miss a trick.
“I’m not going to tell you what you should do,” Pilar said.
“But you can’t wait,” her grandmother said, “or there won’t be any cattle or hacienda for a dowry.”
“Sounds like they’re trying to bamboozle us,” Earl said to his grandson.
“Maybe,” Cade replied, “but I agree Pilar needs time to make her decision.”
“What about the time you need to decide?” Earl asked.
“I already know what I want.”
Pilar felt the heat rise again. Cade was looking at her in a way that made her feel as if he were undressing her. That had happened before, but never with a man she wanted to marry. She could picture herself married to Cade, and that picture caused every nerve in her body to sing.
Now that the shock of the proposal had worn off, Pilar experienced a resurgence of the feelings she’d experienced from time to time during the last few days. Only now they came at her all at once. And they all said the same thing.
She wanted to marry Cade.
Not because he was going to run the squatters off her ranch. Not because he was capable of turning both ranches into a very successful enterprise. Not because he was strong and big and handsome. Not because he was kind and thoughtful and treated her with respect.
Because she really liked him.
What she didn’t understand, nor had she anticipated, was the physical attraction she felt for Cade. One minute she was feeling normal, and the next she felt as though she would explode from the force of feelings that were at once unfamiliar and frightening in their intensity. Her limbs started to feel weak, her muscles to quiver uncontrollably. Her stomach felt queasy.
Could this be the beginning of love, or was it simply lust?
Pilar didn’t know, but she did know she didn’t find the sensations enjoyable. If this was what love was all about, aristocrats were right to avoid affairs of the heart like a plague. Because that was exactly what it felt like.