Release date: 9 December 2013
You can’t have it all. At least, not forever. Luz Wilkinson learned the hard way that balancing a career, marriage, and motherhood can end in absolute destruction of heart and soul. When the biological mother of her daughter tears the child away and ruins her reputation, Luz goes home to tiny Rose Creek to rethink life and ambition. She surrounds herself with discarded animals and plans never to care again.
Widower Aaron Estes lives for his daughter, Chloe. Fleeing from the horror of losing his wife in a school shooting, Aaron stops in Rose Creek on a whim and a random act of kindness from a gas station clerk–not a lot to build a life on, but a momentary redemption from his sorrow and fears for his daughter. Prompted by counselor Esmeralda Salinas, he takes Chloe to the Wilkinson place for therapeutic riding lessons, and finds Luz everything he wants in a mother for his daughter–but Esmeralda’s open pursuit is a problem. Burned by her divorce, Luz refuses any relationship involving another woman or a man with another woman’s child.
Unlimited love for their children comes easily–but will they ever be able to conquer past pain and love each other?
by Leslie P. García
“Leslie Garcia tackles difficult issues with grace while giving us stories that resonate emotionally long after the last page is read.” — USA Today bestselling author Jean Brashear
Sensuality Level: Behind Closed Doors
Inspired by the romance of area history and culture, south Texas author Leslie P. García writes romance with substance. And usually horses.
An excerpt from Wildflower Redemption:
“How old is Chloe? Does she like horses? Has she ridden before?”
“Six, yes, and no.”
Luz blinked, trying to understand the simple, one-word answers. Saw the dimples appear, and then deepen in Aaron Estes’ cheeks. She’d always had a weakness for dimples, dammit! Was he one-upping her? “So, is this payback, or do you always keep things so short and simple?”
He actually chuckled. It was a short little rumble of laughter, but a chuckle.
“Payback, definitely. I was nervous enough about calling and you were anything but friendly.”
She thought back on her hesitation to answer the phone, how she’d focused on the pinto rather than concentrating on encouraging conversation. He had her pegged, but she didn’t care. Wouldn’t. She needed customers, but wasn’t in the market for relationships of any kind. And professional? She allowed herself a quick mental shrug. She no longer had a profession. She’d been a teacher, and a good one. She’d surrounded herself with kids and poured energy and love into their lives. Then she’d lost it all, including her daughter Lily. Not her daughter, she reminded herself: Brian’s daughter, given to her as one more false promise. Now she rescued discarded animals when she could, and was going broke doing it.
So she pounced on something he said. “You were nervous? About asking if we had ponies?” Slight derision might have crept into her words, because he flinched and drew away again.
“Not about ponies.” He paused, looking for the right words. “We don’t know each other. Esmeralda recommended riding as a form of therapy.” He shrugged. “Telling a stranger your kid has problems is hard.”
Her cheeks burned with embarrassment. “I owe you an apology—of course it is.” She stood up abruptly, annoyed with herself. “Guess it’s attack a stranger day—I’m just not sure why. Would you like to look at Rumbles? She would be the pony Chloe would work with first.”
“Sure.” He got up too, ignoring her apology, and stretched. Outside the office, one of the horses whinnied, and another kicked at the stall. The pungent scents of the stable reminded her it was time to muck stalls—again. Already. Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw his nose wrinkle.
“Do you even like horses?” she asked, curious.
He slanted a glance down at her and shrugged. “Don’t know. Haven’t been around them. Not really an animal person.”
Before Luz could murmur a response, he stopped, turning towards her and holding his hands out in apology. “Not that I don’t like them, exactly. I used to travel, and before that—well, I just wasn’t raised around them.”
“Okay.” Luz gave him her own shrug. “So I guess Chloe’s mom will be the main go-between here?”
A muscle in his jaw twitched, and the nervous tension he’d shown in the beginning visibly tightened his body. “Chloe’s mom,” he said through clenched teeth, “is dead.”