Tangled Web (Close to Home)
Cathy Gillen Thacker
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Past transgressions haunted Hope Barrister, whose beauty helped her rise from a tenant farm to a Texas fortune. But her quiet loveliness concealed dark secrets she'd long kept safe, to protect her young son….
Chase Barrister found Hope enigmatic and elegant—but she tasted of forbidden fruit. Years ago, Chase had fled his father's legacy, but he'd taken memories of his stepmother and his own bittersweet desire.
After his father's death, Chase returned to Texas and Hope. Would he be caught in the web of familial deceit…or untangle an honest love and truly come home?
someone else.” “And maybe,” he said, in a voice that was both soft and harsh, “you’ll just have to figure out another way to appease me.” Something in Hope went very cold and very still. “What do you mean?” she whispered hoarsely. “I’ve done what you asked.” “No, you pretended to do what I asked because you didn’t see any other way around it.” His blue eyes narrowed. Unable to contain her anger now, Hope clenched her hands together on her lap and snarled, “Did you really expect me to help
want to and you get to sleep in a tent and cook on a camp fire every single night?” Joey asked Chase incredulously. Chase chuckled. “That about sums it up, yeah, but it’s not nearly as glamorous as it sounds.” The dry note in her stepson’s voice completely escaped her son, who was thrilled by Chase’s adventures. “Wow,” Joey continued, shaking his head admiringly. “I wish my mom would let me do stuff like that, but right now she won’t even let me go camping in New Mexico.” Chase slanted Hope a
her face in a way that he knew annoyed her. After what he had learned about her, she deserved to be looked at in that way. Whether she was willing to admit it to herself or not, he told himself sternly, she had sold herself to the highest bidder. “What else did the two of you have to hide, Hope?” he prodded. His voice was uncharacteristically cool. “Want to tell me?” She swallowed. He wasn’t in the mood to listen to anything she said. Panic edged her voice, even as she sought to control it. “I
in his uniform, he was seated on his bed. Mitt on, he was pounding a ball into the center of it with forceful regularity. “Yeah, why wouldn’t I?” “Well, the Bateman twins, for one thing.” “Oh. Well, they’re always going to be around,” he offered philosophically, tossing down his glove and adjusting the brim of his hat. “Yes, but not on your team,” Hope pointed out reasonably. “You don’t have to go, you know. You could sit the rest of the season out or you could be put on a different team.”
because I’d been driving. I lost my license. His parents, livid about the whole thing, threw my family off the tenant farm and then spread some money around, insuring that the case would never make it as far as the grand jury for indictment. They told everyone that I was trying to milk their family of money, that Russell was the victim of my drunk, irresponsible actions, not the other way around. And because we’d had those two dates, because I was poor and he was rich, everyone believed him.” Her