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  • "Alex tells me you have some nice horses on your ranch," Carmen said to Señor Medena.

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  • She slid over, cuddling close to him, her head on his pillow.

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  • The expression on Felipa's face reflected both humor and interest.

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  • I work for Uncle Bill on his ranch, and he pays me six dollars a month and my board.

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  • He rolled up the newspaper and hit her playfully on the backside as she walked away.

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  • People on top of the earth are all meat.

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  • A warm hand rested on her waist.

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  • He was respectful of her concerns, but they didn't see eye-to-eye on any of it - except the fact that they both wanted another child.

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  • A few impressions stand out vividly from the first years of my life; but "the shadows of the prison-house are on the rest."

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  • He slapped her on the backside playfully as she passed.

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  • It shall be on your family's behalf that I'll start my apprenticeship as old maid.

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  • On that subject she was adamant.

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  • I'll get supper on the table.

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  • He asked her to go back to Houston with him, enticing her with rides on the beach - and love all night.

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  • Jumping out of the buggy he put Dorothy's suit-case under the seat and her bird-cage on the floor in front.

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  • He had just entered, wearing an embroidered court uniform, knee breeches, and shoes, and had stars on his breast and a serene expression on his flat face.

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  • Later, she lay in bed, tucked warmly under the covers as his boots clicked away from her on the hardwood floor - down the hall and into the den.

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  • The family on my father's side is descended from Caspar Keller, a native of Switzerland, who settled in Maryland.

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  • He pulled away from her, propping up on an elbow as he studied her face.

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  • When they finally got on the plane, she and Jonathan had a window seat - Jonathan in front of her.

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  • I was born on June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, a little town of northern Alabama.

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  • It was impossible to know what was going on in Señor Medena's mind by observing his expression.

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  • Bad science fiction plots, speculating on futures which could not really happen, are the worst examples of this.

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  • Getting around in front, so that she could look inside, the girl saw a boy curled up on the seat, fast asleep.

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  • "Mind, Annette, I hope you have not played a wicked trick on me," she added, turning to her hostess.

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  • But the travellers were obliged to rest, and while they were sitting on the rocky floor the Wizard felt in his pocket and brought out the nine tiny piglets.

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  • And while it may not be perfect, life will be profoundly better for everyone on the planet.

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  • Taking her in his arms, he held her close for a moment and then planted a kiss on her forehead.

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  • He continued to avoid her gaze, focusing on Felipa instead.

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  • These are easy to spot: They rely on huge conceptual leaps without a framework to support them.

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  • Katie picked up the plate, her focus on Carmen.

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  • They circled the room twice before a hand reached up and tapped Alex on the shoulder.

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  • It's about time you spent some money on yourself.

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  • I just didn't see any point in spending money on new clothes when my old ones still had a lot of wear in them.

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  • In the end, our fundamental challenge is to become better individuals, and technology offers little help on that front; it is up to each one of us to solve that for ourselves.

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  • She was uneasy because she had never been on a plane before.

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  • Strolling down to the footbridge, she leaned on the railing.

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  • Nothing could be gained by dwelling on such thoughts.

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  • One day he would order his camp bed to be set up in the glass gallery, another day he remained on the couch or on the lounge chair in the drawing room and dozed there without undressing, while--instead of Mademoiselle Bourienne--a serf boy read to him.

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  • At dinner that day, on Dessalles' mentioning that the French were said to have already entered Vitebsk, the old prince remembered his son's letter.

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  • On moving to the drawing room he handed the letter to Princess Mary and, spreading out before him the plan of the new building and fixing his eyes upon it, told her to read the letter aloud.

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  • Staring out the bay window at the old house, she abandoned her coffee cup on the window sill.

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  • No, but I can't sit on the fence forever - and I do want another baby.

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  • His shoes were covered with mud; he had torn his coat on the thorny tree.

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  • They may have missed on specifics (such as each of us owning a personal jet pack and a flying car) but in general were dead-on.

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  • They have got to live a man's life, pushing all these things before them, and get on as well as they can.

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  • Anna Pavlovna Scherer on the contrary, despite her forty years, overflowed with animation and impulsiveness.

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  • In the midst of a conversation on political matters Anna Pavlovna burst out:

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  • On August 1, a second letter was received from Prince Andrew.

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  • Two children, brother and sister, were on their way to school.

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  • On the other hand, the dream was in her head, not his.

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  • How long would these mind games go on?

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  • He came up behind her and took the coffee cup from her hands, sitting it on the table.

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  • For a few minutes they held on to each other, kissing as if they hadn't seen each other in a week.

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  • There was shopping and packing to be done before they left on vacation.

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  • One day they were sitting at the table working on coloring books when Alex came home early.

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  • He plopped down in a chair, his intense gaze fixed on her.

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  • His penetrating gaze prowled over her face and pounced on her eyes.

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  • The unknown can be worse than reality, and she had no idea what to expect on the flight.

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  • As it was, the kids might pick up on her fear and emulate.

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  • On the other hand, Alex exuded confidence.

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  • If you want something different, why don't you trade them in on something else?

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  • Grabbing her hands, he pushed her back on the bed and held her down.

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  • It was embarrassing to think she had let it go on this long without realizing he was troubled by it.

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  • His eyes blinked and opened, slowly focusing on her face.

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  • She turned her head and kissed him on the cheek.

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  • With everything going on, Carmen didn't have time to worry about flying, but when they were all sitting at the airport, she finally had time to stew over it.

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  • Señor Medena eyed Carmen thoughtfully, but like Alex, there was no way of knowing what was on his mind.

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  • Carmen tried to focus on Felipa, but her mind was full of questions.

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  • Alex climbed into the car beside Carmen and placed his arm protectively on the back of the seat behind her neck.

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  • Jonathan and I will make sure we fill her in on anything she missed.

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  • From the foyer, they entered a huge room with a wide staircase that curved gracefully from the balcony on the second floor.

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  • Alex retrieved her from Felipa and shifted her so that she sat on his arm, one of her arms around his neck.

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  • What you have on is fine, but if you want to freshen up and wear something else, go ahead.

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  • I hadn't planned on it.

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  • Why don't you put her on the bed in their room?

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  • Someone knocked on the door and when she answered it, a man brought in their luggage.

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  • After he left, she lifted one of the suitcases and placed it on the bed.

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  • The muscles on his chest and arms were not well defined.

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  • That pleased smile was on his lips again and his eyes held a glint of humor.

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  • He tossed the shirt on the bed and walked silently to her.

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  • Señor Medena sat at the head of the long dining table, his three daughters on his left.

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  • "That's nice," Alex said quietly, focusing on his plate.

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  • Señor Medena's reflective gaze rested on Carmen.

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  • His contemplative regard fell on Carmen.

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  • When the kids were settled in their room, she turned on Alex.

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  • He rested a hand on her shoulder and sighed, gazing down at her tenderly.

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  • He shoved her back on the bed playfully.

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  • She rolled over and sat up, but he stopped her with a hand on her arm.

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  • He rose up on one elbow and frowned.

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  • Maybe he was thinking about Alexia, but that was still on their land, in the old house before it was renovated.

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  • All eyes were on Alex as he mounted.

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  • When they turned around, Alex was still on the horse.

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  • Unbuckling his belt, he pulled his shirt up and examined the knife scar on his abdomen.

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  • Pressing on the scar, he winced.

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  • We would not let him get on the horse with Destiny.

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  • When no one said anything she sighed, her attention on Carmen.

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  • Alex said nothing, his stoic features giving no suggestion of what was on his mind.

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  • Alex leaned forward and placed his hands, fists down, on the desk.

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  • "Yeah!" she said excitedly when he lowered her to sit on his arm.

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  • Finally he put a hand on the wall on each side of her head.

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  • What's going on in that pretty head?

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  • Removing his hands from the wall, he placed them on her shoulders, pulling her closer.

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  • Once again he lowered his head, but this time his lips lingered on hers, searching for a response.

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  • It was probably the first money, other than the air fares, Señor Medena had been able to spend on Alex - and even then he had to do it through Felipa.

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  • Her dark eyes fixed on Carmen, eagerly waiting for the rest of the story.

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  • After they put all the presents on a table, Felipa finally spoke.

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  • On the other hand, when the issue finally came to a head, she would have been in the middle of it all anyway.

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  • Carmen put a foot on the first step and then heard voices.

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  • Jonathan was sitting on his bed, watching TV in his pajamas.

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  • It wasn't the first time she had gone to bed while he was out on a call, but it was the first time she had done so away from home.

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  • He stumbled over something and exclaimed before she turned on the lamp beside her bed.

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  • Carmen leaned on her pillow and watched him dress for bed.

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  • "I thought I remembered you telling me that," he said, sitting down on the bed.

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  • From there the horse dashed in and out of the poles and came to a stop on his haunches.

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  • "I think your mother would nail my hide to the wall," he responded as he finished putting his belt on.

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  • On the way back to the house, Alex offered to take them to the gulf for a family outing.

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  • The architecture was fantastic, but not near as exciting as the ride on a ferry.

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  • On the way across the open water, they saw several dolphins.

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  • "We've all been working on the room for the baby," Carmen added.

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  • Planting kisses on the corner of his mouth, she whispered.

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  • Emerging from the bathroom an hour later half asleep, she put the new nightgown on and climbed into bed.

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  • Alex sat up and scooted back so he could lean on the headboard.

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  • If so, maybe they should put one on the payroll.

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  • Now his father was putting a damper on it with his all consuming, self-serving plots.

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  • Alex laid a hand on her arm.

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  • He was realizing the impact the lie had on their relationship.

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  • Jonathan found a stick larger on one end than the other to use for a bat.

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  • Felipa pulled the hair up and used combs with amethyst jewels on them, giving the impression of long hair.

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  • Lifting the skirt slightly with one hand so she wouldn't trip on it, she let the other hand slide lightly down the banister for added balance.

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  • Felipa and Alondra insisted on providing the dress.

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  • By the expression on his face, he wasn't exactly enjoying the conversation.

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  • She rested one hand on his upper arm and surrendered her other to a hand that engulfed hers.

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  • I saw his picture on your refrigerator.

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  • His hand gently pressed on her waist, drawing her closer as he leaned down.

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  • His gaze focused back on her.

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  • When Carmen's gaze returned to Dulce, the woman had a smug smile on her lips.

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  • Focusing on his profile, she willed him to look her way.

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  • When he spotted her, that sweet chocolate gaze locked on her, visually embracing her from across the room.

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  • His warm hand on her waist was reassuring.

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  • His hand tightened on her waist.

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  • Hands on hips, she smiled up at him dryly.

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  • While the band was on break, Eduardo entertained them with some Spanish guitar.

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  • Alex followed her and stumbled on the stairs.

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  • Obviously the long week was taking its toll on him as well.

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  • He sat down on the edge of the bed, staring at his feet... and then keeled over on the bed.

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  • Changing into her night gown, she decided to sleep on the love seat.

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  • They crawled into bed and she rolled on her side with her back to him.

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  • The service on Christmas Eve day was, of course, about Jesus.

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  • Jonathan tugged on Carmen's arm.

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  • It was a picture taken at the party and the focus was on Carmen and Alex.

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  • His gaze was clearly focused on her half exposed breasts.

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  • She let her gaze fall sternly on Dulce's face.

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  • He makes final decision on things.

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  • You just happened to get caught on camera.

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  • But I think it's important that we're both aware of what's going on, don't you?

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  • She sat down on the bed and sighed again.

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  • Even a bird is smart enough to push the fledgling out of the nest when it fails to fly on its own.

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  • She hugged him, laying her head on his chest.

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  • Marked on it in bold letters were the words "Baby A" and "Baby B".

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  • From that point on it was a nightmare.

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  • In a quiet room with no one looking on, she managed to get her emotions under control by focusing on Destiny.

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  • "I thought you might need these," she said, handing the rag to Carmen and setting the box of tissues on a small table beside her.

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  • She patted Carmen on the shoulder and left the room.

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  • It was amazing how children honed in on parents emotions and sympathized.

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  • It might cross a person's mind now and then that their spouse might be unfaithful, but insisting on it for months was another thing.

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  • Then again, Tessa had cheated on him.

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  • She methodically placed the children's magazine on the table beside the chair, avoiding his gaze.

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  • She shrugged as she placed the toy on top of the magazine.

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  • Dulce had hands on her hips, leaning slightly forward as she spoke to him in Spanish.

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  • Destiny stared at Alex over Carmen's shoulder and Jonathan was so focused on Alex that he nearly ran into Alondra.

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  • Alex had his professional expression on, but Dulce was pouting.

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  • It was rude to act this way to hosts who had invited them into their home on such a special occasion.

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  • I suppose no place is better than home on Christmas.

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  • Alondra leaned forward on the couch so she could see Carmen.

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  • What do you do at home on this holiday?

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  • On Christmas Eve, we sit in front of the fire and take turns reading Christmas stories.

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  • Then, on Christmas morning when everyone is awake, we lounge around in our night clothes while we open presents.

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  • On week days, I get up about 6:00 in the morning and fix breakfast.

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  • After that, I guess I was focused on just getting by.

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  • "It sounds delightful to me," Alondra said, leaning back on the couch.

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  • On the other hand, maybe he was simply surprised that Alondra would want such a tame life.

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  • Like Alex, it was impossible to guess what was going on in his mind by the expression on his face.

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  • When she got to the room, Alex was sitting on the love seat reading a newspaper.

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  • Carmen set Destiny on the floor and then sat down beside Alex.

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  • Alex put the paper down and turned toward her, sliding an arm behind her on the back of the couch.

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  • Her stomach contracted at his tone and the look on his face.

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  • He picked at a thread on the couch, his mind obviously lost in deep thought.

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  • Carmen shifted her attention to Señor Medena, who was focused on Alex at the moment.

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  • She was lounging on the bed reading a magazine when someone knocked on the door.

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  • On the other side of the thick entry door was a sitting room with lush wine colored carpet.

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  • On one side of the living room a door opened into a large dining area.

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  • The table and chairs were made of a dark rich wood, and the tiles on the floor looked like polished bricks.

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  • The wooden banisters were polished to a high finish, and the hardwood stairs were covered on the walkway with more carpet.

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  • The master bedroom had wooden patio doors that opened on a balcony facing east.

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  • His focus came back on her.

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  • His attention was focused on two riders approaching.

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  • We were on our way back.

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  • "Hold on before you fall off," Alex snarled.

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  • Surely Alex wasn't blind to the manipulation going on with intent to keep him in Texas.

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  • She was the one who had insisted on waiting until they were married.

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  • He flinched visibly as if she had slapped him, his fingers tightening on her arm.

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  • She left him there to think about his actions - only he would probably stew on hers instead.

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  • Alex placed his hands on her shoulders, gently pushing her back.

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  • He's been clear enough about that, and yet it's being pushed on him.

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  • She pulled the suitcase out and placed it on the bed.

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  • She sat down on the edge of the bed and stared at the floor.

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  • In fact, he must be struggling to float on the ocean of problems this family represented.

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  • There was no riding the fence on this one.

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  • Alex was lounging with one shoulder against the wall on the other side of the family room when Carmen walked in.

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  • She rolled over and rose up on an elbow.

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  • He lay down on his back and pulled the covers up.

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  • She rolled over on her side away from him.

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  • The national weather forecast on television was calling for light snow in Arkansas.

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  • She combed Destiny's hair into pig tails, and then on impulse, did the same with hers.

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  • Alondra and Felipa remained focused on their plates.

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  • One side of her wanted to press on until she got some answers.

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  • He had the background and the education, but he obviously didn't have the inclination to adjust to the one being forced on him.

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  • The feel of his warm fingers on her temple was comforting.

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  • Paper rattled and then something was placed on the skin under her ear.

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  • When the bed sagged on the other side, she realized the sound was Alex changing into his night clothes.

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  • She hadn't brushed or rinsed her mouth out since being sick on the plane.

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  • Then I won't kiss you on the mouth.

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  • She crawled out of bed, snapping on the light as her stocking feet hit the floor.

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  • He was up on one elbow, his attention fixed on her open blouse.

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  • At her words, his gaze ripped from her breasts and pounced on her face.

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  • When she re-entered the bedroom, he was propped up on a pillow, his eyes closed and the blankets tucked around his neck.

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  • He sat up and turned on the light.

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  • I've been so focused on sin that I have been...

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  • She leaned her head on his shoulder.

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  • Alex had invited her to look at his financial files any time she wanted, and yet it seemed an intrusion on his privacy.

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  • Finally she worked up the courage and turned on the computer.

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  • He apparently owned several buildings he was leasing out on the coast - warehouses, maybe?

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  • There was no point dwelling on it.

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  • How many times had people commented on his wealth?

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  • On the other hand, maybe he was hiding from something besides the responsibility of the ranch.

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  • He sat down in a chair and methodically placed the cup on the table, his gaze fixed to it.

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  • Finally he sat the cup carefully on the table, avoiding her eyes when he spoke.

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  • He glanced at her as he set the roasting pan on the stove top to cool.

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  • Then he put a few chunks of carrots and potatoes on the plate.

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  • I think we've both had a lot on our minds lately.

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  • Katie asked her about the progress on the horse ranch.

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  • Besides, I've spent enough of his money on it already.

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  • Now what brought on that comment?

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  • I was thinking about buying a new vehicle and wondered if we had the money, so I looked at his financial information on the computer.

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  • Katie shrugged her shoulders and focused on cutting an eye from the potato in her hand.

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  • Carmen sat Destiny on the floor and picked up the pan of pealed potatoes, along with a paring knife.

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  • She sat the pan on the table and sat down.

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  • On the other hand, Katie had flatly refused to provide some information because she said Alex wouldn't want her to tell.

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  • He wasn't opposed to having it, but he insisted on sharing it in fair business - and with his wife, more or less.

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  • Alex will be home soon and I have to get supper on.

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  • On the other hand, how could Alex be a positive influence if his Uncle truly felt that way?

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  • The work on the nursery became work on Destiny's new room.

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  • It was a pleasant escape from the dust and noise of the building going on above them.

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  • Alex agreed, but he kept an eye on her.

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  • She had been lying around all day catching up on her sleep while Carmen worked on her bedroom.

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  • Get your coat on.

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  • "Where's the thermometer?" he asked, his focus still on Destiny.

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  • Alex put a hand on her shoulder.

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  • He lifted Destiny so her head lay on his shoulder.

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  • Destiny sat on Carmen's lap and Alex held her arm while the pediatric nurse inserted an IV.

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  • Her eyes were bloodshot but otherwise she looked pale lying on the sheets like a limp doll.

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  • Carmen sat one side of the bed and Alex on the other, each holding a tiny hand.

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  • Nurses came into the room off and on all night to check on Destiny, but she continued to sleep.

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  • Exhaustion from the ordeal was taking its toll on Carmen as well, but she tried to stay awake.

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  • Thanks, I know we can count on you, Katie, but I think she'll be more comfortable staying at our house.

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  • She was putting plates on the table when the school bus dropped Jonathan off.

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  • "Good afternoon," Carmen responded, punctuating it with a quick kiss on his lips.

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  • Carmen dozed in the chair a few times off and on until about midnight.

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  • Had the carpenters stopped working on the room?

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  • Covers needed to be put on the electrical outlets and the windows still held their tags.

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  • You go on home with Jonathan.

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  • Morning dawned on about three inches of snowfall and it was still coming down.

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  • We've got some three foot drifts on the road out here.

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  • Carmen sat down and put her elbows on the bed.

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  • He would want to know, yet if he did, he might try to drive in on icy highways.

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  • Help is on the way.

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  • She's on the way.

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  • The nurse patted her on the shoulder.

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  • "Come on," Felipa said, grabbing Carmen's arm.

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  • If he was on the road, he didn't need to be distracted.

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  • Are you on his side already?

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  • "I'm not on anyone's side," she said.

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  • I have enough on my plate already.

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  • As proud as she was of Jonathan, it was Alex who stayed on her mind for a long time after the phone call.

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  • If he was in bed under the current circumstances, he must be sicker than he was letting on.

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  • Felipa put a hand on her arm.

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  • On the other hand, Alex needed to be in a position where he was forced to actually talk to his father.

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  • They moved Alex's office upstairs and began work on the nursery.

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  • At the end of January, Princess gave birth to the first foal on the ranch that wasn't sired by Ed.

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  • Alex was away on a call when she discovered Princess in labor.

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  • She wiped the pot with a dishtowel and carefully placed it on the coffee maker.

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  • His gazed followed the coffee cup absently as he placed it on the table.

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  • I didn't want to tell you this on the phone.

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  • Without a doubt, the fact that the babies were healthy had major influence on his mood.

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  • On the 28th of February they celebrated her thirtieth birthday.

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  • Work continued on the nursery on weekends when Alex was home.

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  • He had a lot on his plate right now... the twins, his father and who knew what else?

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    0
  • He paused and kissed her on the lips.

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  • You spring something on me and then you just shut me out - like what I feel isn't important.

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    0
  • I want to be able to focus on solving this problem, not worrying about what might be said or done to you.

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  • It was possible that his father had given up on him.

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  • He had a family to support - and two more children on the way.

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  • Alex would never cheat - not on someone he respected and admired more than anyone he knew.

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  • Alex was gone four days and was as solemn on his return as he was when he left.

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    0
  • As if bent on assisting her, the weather turned steamy when it entered the second week of June.

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  • He didn't need any tips on the art of romancing.

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  • The day Jonathan went to camp, she began working on her plan.

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  • She applied light colored lipstick and then put some on Destiny's lips.

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    0
  • When Destiny wanted to wear a ring like mommy, Carmen tied a yellow ribbon around her finger and made a bow of it on the top.

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    0
  • With everything ready, they sat on the window seat and watched for Alex.

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  • When Alex walked through the door, they were standing by the table, waiting on him.

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    0
  • Throughout the meal she led the subject a weaving path around the animals, the weather, and work on the nursery.

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  • He picked up the newspaper and settled into his chair while she checked on Destiny.

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  • He folded the newspaper and placed it on the lamp stand.

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  • Then she unbuttoned the first few buttons on his shirt and slipped her arms around his neck.

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  • He turned his head and kissed her on the mouth.

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  • She melted into his arms, eagerly returning his warm kisses and welcoming the feel of his fingers as they searched for the zipper on the back of her dress.

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  • They moved around the room; her head on his shoulder, her hand in his.

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  • He was watching her, a wry smile on his face and an amused twinkle in his eyes.

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  • This was no time to get shy on him.

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  • Alex was on the window seat when she returned, gazing out at the night.

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  • From now on she'd have a lot more respect for the art of romancing.

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  • He tugged on her zipper, slowly pulling it down.

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  • Katie stared at her, hands on hips.

    0
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  • If you don't stand up and demand a change, he'll keep on doing it.

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  • Katie leaned back, a triumphant look on her face as if she had made a point.

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  • On the other hand, if he lost them, she would be sharing the loss of lifestyle.

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  • Alex watched her fill the container and put the lid on.

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    0
  • The great white hunter was on the prowl.

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  • You had your chance to solve it on your own.

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  • Immediately his gaze riveted on hers, searching for every emotion.

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  • He said Alex was the kind of man who would crawl into bed with a woman on the first date.

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  • With the initial shock out of the way, she focused on the facts.

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  • As he absorbed her words, his expression went from tense to relieved, and then on to something sweet and sad.

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  • Carmen left her chair in one quick movement and circled his neck with her arms, kissing him on the temple.

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  • I told you there was nothing going on between us.

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  • If she focused on the past, he would be encouraged to hide things in the future.

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  • He planted a lingering kiss on her lips and drew back.

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  • Now they could discuss things instead of avoiding sensitive subjects - build on their relationship instead of tearing it down with the same demolition ball.

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  • I was going to tell you - as soon as I had a handle on it.

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  • As it turned out, Señor Medena had the same perspective on the situation as Carmen did.

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  • He said he felt bad about it, but conceded that Tessa had been less than honest with him on more than one occasion.

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  • Maybe he figured you had softened some on the issue.

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  • I would have thought a gender oriented decision would upset you, but you seem to be on his side.

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  • I am on your side - 100%.

    0
    0
  • Like two bull Elk, they were each so focused on pushing the other back that they had forgotten anyone else existed.

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  • Seconds literally ticked away on the old grandfather clock in the next room.

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    0
  • Eureka was a dark Appaloosa with dark spots on white loins, quarters and croup.

    0
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  • I'm afraid I've been putting on weight.

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  • There had been two cancellations on a flight and Alex grabbed them.

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    0
  • The trip to the airport and the flight to Illinois were both uneventful, the hotel accommodations better than they could have expected on such short notice.

    0
    0
  • Both were healthy and breathing on their own.

    0
    0
  • Alex stood beside her, watching the nurse as she gave instructions to Carmen on how to nurse the infant.

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    0
  • It may take a few minutes, but he'll catch on.

    0
    0
  • Alex gently patted her on the back.

    0
    0
  • He smiled and patted her on the shoulder again.

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    0
  • He's catching on, isn't he?

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    0
  • The nurse knocked on the door and then came in carrying a crying Natalie.

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  • The voice on the other end was hopeful.

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  • He moved on before they were aware of his presence.

    0
    0
  • He set the tray down on the table and handed a steaming cup of coffee to Señor Medena.

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  • Alex set his cup on the desk.

    0
    0
  • I hope you didn't do that on my account.

    0
    0
  • His gaze fixed on Alex.

    0
    0
  • In the ensuing darkness, red and blue lights flashed his shadow on the wet grass.

    0
    0
  • The train crouched silent on the tracks in a feline pose, as if hovering over a kill.

    0
    0
  • His reputation for being rough on rookies was well earned.

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    0
  • Lathum scribbled on the pad, confirming as he wrote.

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  • Hopefully her family would be in the restaurant now – safe from any flooding on the highway.

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    0
  • A newspaper with Allen's picture on it lay opened on the coffee table.

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  • Allen couldn't be rejected, so he belittled her intelligence, the close relationship with her family and accused her of cheating on him.

    0
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  • His fist was aimed at her stomach, but she managed to dodge and catch it on her rib cage.

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  • Howard had insisted on picking up his little sister that night for safety reasons.

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  • Howard was a good ten years older and had far more important things on his mind – like his new position as partner at the law firm.

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  • The rain drummed wildly on the roof.

    0
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  • An iced cake sat on the counter, decorating icing and tips beside it.

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  • She changed the decorating tip and wrote "Happy Birthday Dad!" on the top of the cake.

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  • She carefully drew the outline of a truck around the words on the top.

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  • On the sides of the cake, she drew the Toyota emblem, finishing up with some scrolls.

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  • She was stacking bowls on the table for ice cream and cake when lights turned into the drive.

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    0
  • Headlights flashed on the curtains briefly and a car door slammed.

    0
    0
  • She stood on shaking knees.

    0
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  • Connie returned with a cool damp rag which she placed on Lisa's face and then the back of her neck.

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    0
  • When Len walked in, she was on her knees, clinging to the stool.

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    0
  • No, come on in.

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    0
  • Actually, I just got off my shift and thought I'd check in on her.

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    0
  • Do you always visit the relatives of accident victims on your personal time?

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    0
  • Fortunately, her mind was on auto-pilot.

    0
    0
  • They all leaned on each other in hard times.

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  • Lisa came home from the hospital the day before the funeral and Connie insisted on staying with her for a while.

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  • I just think it's time I stopped leaning on everyone.

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    0
  • "I'm coming," she grumbled as she pulled on her robe and walked down the hall.

    0
    0
  • He rang the doorbell again and pounded on the door.

    0
    0
  • Come on, let me in.

    0
    0
  • He grabbed the storm door and jerked on it.

    0
    0
  • The letter from the auto insurance company lay abandoned on the kitchen cabinet.

    0
    0
  • Pushing the thought from her mind, she focused on Allen's visit last night.

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    0
  • Dad had passed on his curly blond hair to Nick and Lisa.

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    0
  • Right now it was like being the last person on earth.

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  • Wildlife hid behind that wall of green, but it was too late in the day for them to be hopping out on the road.

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  • She was on the washboard ruts before she realized they were there.

    0
    0
  • She let up on the accelerator long enough to gain control of the vehicle.

    0
    0
  • All her skills were occupied simply keeping all four wheels on the ground.

    0
    0
  • For a few moments the car hung there, the back half solidly on the ground, the front hanging precariously over the cliff.

    0
    0
  • Once again the rear end was on solid ground.

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    0
  • The man on the horse!

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    0
  • It was all she could do to remain upright on tingling weak legs.

    0
    0
  • "I'm so sorry," she managed in a trembling voice, "I didn't think there was anyone on the road.

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    0
  • Focusing her attention on the car, she was acutely aware of the fact that he was still watching her.

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  • "I wonder how I can get my car back on the road," she mused, and felt relieved when his attention returned to the car.

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  • It was getting late and the air was taking on a chill.

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    0
  • No, I... it's just that I've imposed on you so much already.

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    0
  • She nibbled on her lower lip.

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  • The grass had been mown short for about five feet on either side of the narrow drive, and a tangle of underbrush and trees lay beyond... freedom, or a barrier?

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  • A gray brick house dominated the landscape, its ranch style sprawling in a U shape with a garage on one end.

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  • She swung her legs around and firmly planted her feet on the ground before accepting the hand he offered.

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  • A huge marble fireplace dominated the large family room, its image reflected on the shiny expanse of hardwood floor.

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    0
  • The cushions on the couch and chairs were thick and inviting.

    0
    0
  • Paintings hung on every wall and expensive looking pottery lamps with hand painted shades gave the room a warm glow.

    0
    0
  • Warm brown eyes turned on Lisa again with concern.

    0
    0
  • Lisa stared at the phone, her hand on the receiver.

    0
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  • Lisa gingerly settled her body on the couch.

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    0
  • I've been going on and on.

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    0
  • Yes, there is a light on North Street.

    0
    0
  • But I'm sure they were on another street.

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    0
  • That's the one the old hospital is on, isn't it?

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  • She put a gentle hand on Lisa's shoulder.

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  • It had taken more than an hour to get to school on the bus, making any after-school activities rare.

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  • Breakfast was on the table when she entered the dining room.

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    0
  • He was right, of course, but his harsh words were like salt on a raw wound.

    0
    0
  • I suppose it depends on the driver.

    0
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  • "You'll have to hold on to me," he spoke gruffly over a shoulder.

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    0
  • I said hold on to me.

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  • They left the main road on a narrow trail consisting of two ruts.

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  • Far from the grouchy expression he had put on at the beginning of the ride, now his eyes flashed with humor, and his lips were twisted in a friendly smile.

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    0
  • I've been thinking about rigging up something on the front to catch the webs.

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    0
  • Like an Avon notice on a doorknob, the tracks in the mud were proof of an unobserved visit.

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    0
  • It was a sobering reminder that a bear had been on this spot – possibly only minutes earlier.

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    0
  • He looked it over and commented on the sturdy quality and length.

    0
    0
  • The park borders my land on three sides.

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  • Hop on my back and I'll take you across.

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  • On the other hand, if he wanted to harm her, he might snatch the stick from her and use it as a weapon against her.

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  • His big hands came up, grasping her wrists and pulling her forward until her armpits rested on his shoulders.

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    0
  • It crossed her mind that he might trip on the mossy rocks, but he crossed the creek with sure steps.

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    0
  • By the time he set her down safe and dry on the other side, her hands were going numb and her shoulders were aching.

    0
    0
  • His assessment tore through her mind, digging up memories and laying them bare on the surface.

    0
    0
  • Exhaustion left her feeling cold and weak, which was probably why her foot slipped on the edge of a rock.

    0
    0
  • After a startled look at Lisa, she turned on Giddon, a frown wrinkling her forehead.

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    0
  • They're lying on your bed.

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  • She came into the kitchen with her purse on one arm and joined the others.

    0
    0
  • The last word ended on the upturn, as if it were a question, not a statement.

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    0
  • He replaced the photo on the end table.

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  • On the other hand, putting up with his volatile moods wouldn't be exactly easy.

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  • It was like Connie to spend as little time on the telephone as possible.

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  • She took a suitcase out of the closet and swung it up on the bed.

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  • Her attention focused on a dangling cord.

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    0
  • Come on back and help me pack.

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    0
  • Giddon returned to his place on the couch, his eyes twinkling with humor and the slightest suggestion of a smile playing at the corners of his mouth.

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    0
  • You always liked living on the edge, but you've never been so impulsive.

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  • She planted both on the nightstand in front of Lisa.

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    0
  • If you absolutely insist on doing this, at least leave me instructions on how to get there... and a phone number where you can be reached.

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    0
  • Lisa did the best she could to draw a map on the small piece of paper.

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  • He started the car and they drove off, leaving Connie standing there on the curb looking after them with a troubled expression.

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    0
  • He nodded; his attention riveted on the highway.

    0
    0
  • She patted Sarah on the shoulder.

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  • Mr. Giddon is either on an extended vacation or he doesn't have a job.

    0
    0
  • She felt the hair rising on the back of her neck.

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    0
  • What the Giddons did on their own land was their business, yet it left her feeling uncomfortable.

    0
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  • On these occasions she took Tammy with her, and Lisa was left to enjoy her precious solitude.

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  • It was on one of those occasions that Lisa made her first perplexing discovery.

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  • A smile was plastered on his dark face, but it didn't reach the smoldering eyes.

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    0
  • Some nights, dreams took her on a stealthy walk down the path, taking advantage of every bush for cover.

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  • She was putting supper on the table when she glanced out the window and noticed Giddon riding Diablo back into the yard.

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    0
  • The day she met him he had been riding on the road.

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  • On the other hand, who wanted the odors of animals drifting through their house all the time?

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    0
  • Giddon immediately became absorbed in a book, and Sarah worked on a sweater she was crocheting.

    0
    0
  • Tammy was watching a children's show on television and Lisa was on the couch, trying to concentrate on her writing.

    0
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  • Her gaze fell on Tammy, who had fallen asleep on the couch.

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  • Her head was tipped to the side, resting on her tiny shoulder.

    0
    0
  • He closed his book and placed it on the end table and rose lithely from the chair.

    0
    0
  • She woke to bright sunlight shining through her window and jumped from the bed, tugging on a pair of shorts and a blouse.

    0
    0
  • No one responded to her calls, and she found a note on the refrigerator.

    0
    0
  • The sound of tires crunching on gravel announced the approach of a vehicle.

    0
    0
  • Allen swaggered over to the pool, a conceited smile on his handsome face.

    0
    0
  • Finally his gaze came to rest on hers.

    0
    0
  • So you're on a first name basis with him, huh?

    0
    0
  • You're really off on yourself, aren't you?

    0
    0
  • Eyes of blue ice turned on Allen and Giddon's voice was almost a growl.

    0
    0
  • Allen swallowed again, almost cringing as he licked his lips and turned desperate eyes on Lisa.

    0
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  • "Exactly," Lisa answered crisply and brushed by him on her way to the house.

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  • From now on, she would be sure she had her beach robe by the pool when she swam, just in case someone came by... especially Giddon.

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  • She placed the brush on the table and left the room.

    0
    0
  • A rush of excitement sent color to her cheeks, and she tore her gaze from his, focusing her attention on the dishes.

    0
    0
  • His steady gaze gave no indication of what else was on his mind.

    0
    0
  • "You're right, I do forget," he answered roughly and slammed his glass down on the counter.

    0
    0
  • Outside of his remark about her swimsuit, and the two kisses he had forced on her, he had shown no special interest in her.

    0
    0
  • The destination of the path remained a burning mystery, but Tammy innocently tossed fuel on the flames with a chance comment one day while they were watching television.

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  • The topic on Sesame Street was professions, which was the perfect opportunity for Lisa to ask her what Giddon did to earn a living.

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  • She tried to step around him, but he stopped her with an iron grip on her arm.

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