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Lydia's Twin Temptation(Divine Creek Ranch 8)(5)

By:Heather Rainier

The only thing she would regret about leaving this town was that she’d probably never see them again. She wished that she knew more about them and hoped their paths might cross again in the future. She didn’t even know where they lived, only that they owned a cattle ranch and that they were up and down Interstate 10 on a regular basis. The gifts Chance had given her were nice, but the real treat for her was just getting to see them and take care of them.

The last time they’d come by and Chance had given her the silver bracelet and aromatherapy products, she’d given him a hug, not caring what Mr. Cortez thought. Thinking of them only made her miss them more. She guiltily wondered what Chance would think of her if he knew she harbored more than a small crush for both of them.

Shaking her head, Lydia dispersed the warm threads of her daydreams just as they were taking hold. There was a whole, long work day ahead of her and no sense in getting caught up in fantasies.

Mr. Cortez parked at the rear of the café, and she climbed out of the truck, tugging her apron around her waist. “Thank you, Mr. Cortez. I appreciate the ride.”

“I can take you home, too,” he offered rather suggestively, leaving no doubt to which home he referred. It was creepy that he had behaved like a lothario in the truck, when all he did in the restaurant was act like a bad-tempered old man. It was going to be one hell of a day. She quickly cast aside the notion of calling her brothers. I’m a big girl. Not going to happen.

Chapter Two

For the third time in less than ten minutes, Chance Carlisle forced himself to let up on the accelerator. Eighty-five miles an hour was posted as the speed limit on Interstate 10. He was certain that the highway patrol officers would be unsympathetic of his need to test their generosity in the quest for romance.

His heart palpitated as he looked at the clock on the dash and the mile marker that flew by. His Dodge Ram 3500 was eating up the miles, but the dually still wasn’t going fast enough to suit him.

As eager as he was to see Lydia, he was afraid he’d embarrass himself. There was only one reason he was on this stretch of road today and no other business to which he could attribute his stop in her café. If she asked what he was doing out that way, all he could do was confess the need to see her and hope that news made her happy.

He’d first met Lydia several months before when he was on a cattle haul with Richard Warner. He hadn’t been able to take his eyes off the beautiful brunette the entire time they were eating their meal and taking a rest before getting back on the Interstate. He’d taken every opportunity to visit the Oasis Café since that day.

He remembered his last visit to the café and the rosy glow in her cheeks as she’d opened the gift he’d brought her. She had accepted it graciously and not grilled him as to why he was bringing such gifts on a cattle hauling run.

He’d been pretty obvious in his interest with that gift, but any chance he might’ve had to chat with her about it had been abruptly cut short by her boss. Treating Lydia as though she’d been shirking her duties, the man had ordered her back to work even as she poured Chance’s cup of coffee. The old man was an asshole on his best day, but Chance thought jealousy was his true motivation.

As Chance drove, his twin brother Clayton came to mind, as well as his refusal to come on this particular trip. Clayton had told him that his presence might hinder Chance’s odds of getting a clear reading of how she felt about him. Chance knew beyond a doubt that Clayton was half in love with her, too, but his doubting twin stayed behind anyway.

Clayton was wide open about the possibility of sharing a woman, someone they could both love, take care of, and make a life with on the ranch. Clayton’s reasoning was that it would be hard enough negotiating that kind of relationship with a woman who lived in their area. The odds were against them finding a woman suited to them both through a long-distance relationship, and the risk to Chance’s already-committed heart was just too great.

Clayton had told him if he felt that strongly about her, he should try by himself. Maybe in the long run she might find that she could love Clayton, too, but it would be better to give Chance his shot alone first.

The metal cavalry sculpture, “Marching to Fort Stockton,” located just east of Fort Stockton, loomed up ahead, south of the Interstate, signaling that he was almost there. He smiled to himself and relaxed for the first time that afternoon as the sign for the Oasis Café came into view after the slight bend in the otherwise desolate stretch of highway.

He pulled into the large travel stop off the highway and filled up his gas tank as the sun descended toward the horizon. He was trying to time his arrival so he could catch her once the dinner rush was past.