Texas Baby Sanctuary
Chance, Texas mini-series
March 20, 2012
There was nowhere safe for Grace Baker and her baby to run. Even the law was no match for the ruthless drug lord who’d fathered her child. Serrano had spies everywhere and wouldn’t stop till he captured his son and killed Grace. Now Marshal Sam Chance was suddenly back in her life offering protection…could she dare to refuse?
Sam believed his family ranch was the one place Grace would be safe. Here they found refuge in each other’s arms. But returning home only reminded Sam of his past failure to protect those he loved. This time had to be different. Because Grace and her baby meant more to him than life itself.
Stinging cold rain ran off the brim of his hat and dripped down the back of U.S. Marshal Sam Chance’s neck.
Shrugging deeper into his lambskin coat, Sam felt chilled through and bone-weary. So flipping bone-weary, in fact, that he figured sleeping for a hundred years would make a great way to spend his next time off—whenever that might happen.
But as he stood on the pavement in the rough March drizzle staring through the smudged front window of a run-down highway café, his body got a shot of much needed adrenaline. And suddenly, he had no need for sleep anytime soon.
She was there. Bending over to wipe down an empty table. After searching for the last six weeks, he’d finally found his woman.
The information he obtained from those truck drivers a few days ago had been the key to finding her. They’d said she was working as a waitress in this dingy joint. And there she was.
But look at how fragile she seemed from this distance. He’d never known her to be so thin. And she’d changed her hair color again. He had grown rather partial to the bright red, but he supposed honey-blond was not all bad—if what you needed the most from your hair color was a temporary disguise.
Where was her baby? Did she bring him to work with her? Was the child in the backroom of the café?
Wanting to go to her, to hear her voice again, he fisted his hands at his sides instead and tried to clear his mind.
But he didn’t move. He didn’t as much as blink an eyelash. Focusing his eyes past the left-over Christmas decorations on the window, that were by now looking pretty ratty, he simply gazed at her.
He shouldn’t be here. Never should have started this quest to find her in the first place. He’d taken a leave from his job in order to begin the search. But now that he’d found her, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. That she was still well and breathing free air felt like such a relief he could barely think.
* * *
Grace hauled her last load of dishes into the kitchen, trying her best to put one foot in front of the other. The feet that were killing her. Ten more minutes until closing time. Charlie, the cook and her boss, had left five minutes ago and she was supposed to lock up. She could make it.
She’d never done much manual labor, not until the last six months when her whole life had been tossed in the air like a salad. But this was good honest work. And it almost provided a living for her and her baby. Grace was proud of what she’d accomplished so far.
And she didn’t mind living here in Ft. Stockton. The kind couple who ran the café had given her a job and a temporary place to live, hadn’t they? Even the customers were not too bad. The long-haul drivers left great tips and the locals spoke to her like they’d known her all their lives.
Knowing she couldn’t linger in this town indefinitely, there were still times when Grace wished she could stay. Stay somewhere. Anywhere where she and the baby would be safe.
She’d better stop wishing for the impossible and finish off her shift. Pushing back through the swinging kitchen door into the dining room, she noticed the café had a new customer and he was standing with his back to the door. As she opened her mouth to tell him the café was almost closed, he lifted his chin and their eyes met. Her breath caught in her throat.
Only one pair of sky-blue eyes in the whole world could affect her that way. Brooding and unreadable, those eyes stared at her from beneath the brim of a soaked white Stetson. They belonged to a man she recognized all too well.
Sam Chance. Marshal Sam Chance. She froze in place, not knowing whether to feel relief or to turn and run. He’d found her—after all her efforts to stay lost.
“Evening, Grace. We need to talk.” Sam’s voice still carried that slow, deep, sensual tone that had hypnotized her from the beginning.
Her mouth went dry. Her skin tingled. She was torn with indecision.
Sam represented security and a chance for a real life. But it was also possible that he represented a huge threat to her well-being and to the safety of her son. Much as she didn’t want to think it, Sam may have been the leak, the one that had brought danger ever closer to her and Mikey six weeks ago.
Just at that moment, the door at Sam’s back opened and her worst nightmare stepped inside. Two dark men holding big menacing-looking guns. And they were definitely coming in her direction.
Sam led the wolves right to her door!
From the book: TEXAS BABY SANCTUARY
by Linda Conrad
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