Eight months after her husband is killed in a train robbery, Tess Moran knows she must pick up the pieces of her shattered life and build a future for herself and her infant daughter. Daniel Moran’s love for Tess is bittersweet. Acting on his feelings for his sister-in-law will betray his dead brother’s memory. Watching her search for love elsewhere may very well destroy him.
In 1880, life in rural Colorado is filled with hard work and simple pleasures, but trouble looms on the horizon. Together Tess and Daniel battle drought and the outlaw who killed the man they both loved, but the greatest challenge of all is finding solace for their battered hearts.
Daniel followed her across the kitchen. He stood beside her in the doorway, looking out at the star filled sky. “It’s late. I’ll walk you home.”
“You don’t have to. Shadow is with me.”
“I’ll walk you home,” he repeated.
Only the scuff of his boots on the road and the sound of crickets broke the silence. Tess sighed.
He cleared his throat. “Why did Nathan come to see you?”
“He asked me to the dance at the Leightons’ barn raising.”
Daniel kicked a rock in the path and swore softly.
She stood still. “You’re the one who said there can’t be anything between us.”
“I know, but I’m only human. Did he stay long?”
“No, why do you ask?”
“I haven’t the right, I know. The way you looked with that wet chemise clinging to you—” His voice trailed off.
Tess blushed and was glad of the darkness. She hurried toward home, unable to outdistance her thoughts. “A gentleman wouldn’t mention it.”
“You were hysterical over Emily, and all I could think about was how beautiful you looked. I hated Nathan for seeing you that way.”
She stopped a few yards from her back door. The light shining from the kitchen window illuminated his face. His misery was clear.
“All it would take is one word from you, Daniel, just one word. Say it,” she pleaded.
She swallowed hard. “Then let me be happy with Nathan.”
He turned away. “I’m sorry, Tess. I’ll leave you alone.”
“Fine. Goodnight, Daniel.”Turning, she ran into the house before he could see the tears on her cheeks.