Liz Callaway is content with her life. She loves the nuns she lives with at the convent and the teenagers she counsels at the clinic. She loves the safety and security of the walls around her and the peace of her faith.
Then one day everything changes with the violent death of one of her abused girls, and her safe walls start to crumble down.
Her faith dies.
Yet she goes on living a lie for another year, hiding her pain from her friends and family until her sister’s wedding and she meets Nick Hunter. He’s caring and attentive toward her, careful and appropriate with her. He makes her laugh, makes her feel, helps her remember how it can be between a man and a woman with one stolen kiss.
His control amazes her.
Her reaction frightens her, showing her she can’t live a lie anymore.
So she runs away from her old life, toward the future, to the one man who can make things right again.
To Nick Hunter.
No matter how hard you try , or how far you run, you can never outrun your past.
Liz decides to stop trying.
And her healing begins.
“Liz has disappeared?”
“Yeah.” The older man glanced behind him toward the farmhouse. “Catherine called Jessie yesterday and told her she left the convent in November. No one seems to know where she is right now. All anyone knows is that Liz left Ohio sometime after Christmas.”
“She left the convent?” Leaping down from the saddle, he stepped toward his dad. Hope sprang up in him. “What do you mean she left the convent?”
“Just what I said, son,” he said. “Jessie’s adopted mom told her Liz isn’t sure she wants to be a nun anymore. Seems she needs some space to figure things out.”
“She can do that?”
The older man shrugged. “Sounds like she hasn’t made her final vow yet, whatever that means.”
“So, she’s not a nun anymore?”
“Guess not,” he said. “Those Catholics do things way differently than us Methodists, don’t they?”
She left the convent. She changed her mind about being a nun. Heat burst through Nick’s system at the news, warming the cold emptiness he’d been feeling. Stupid though it was, he felt better than he had in months.
“It’s unnatural, if you ask me.”
Nick glanced at his dad.
“A woman like Liz is meant to be loved.”
“Yes,” he agreed. A sudden vision flooded him. At the church in Ranchville, right after his brother had driven off with his new bride, Nick had caught Liz alone in the vestibule, staring at her bridesmaid’s bouquet. Her back was to him but he could see the tightness of her shoulders. Before he could turn away and leave her in peace, she’d sensed his presence and looked at him. Wet cheeks, hollowed eyes, lips downward in a frown, she’d raised her hand toward him, then dropped it to her side and raced out of the back door.
He could still feel her sorrow now, and her unspoken need.
Why hadn’t he stayed in the church that day? Why had he followed her to her car?
“Well, what’s it gonna be?”
His father tapped his upper arm, startling him back against the quiet mare. She danced around the yard for a moment before Nick settled her down. Patting her head lightly, he forced his mind back to their conversation. What had they been talking about anyway?
“Well,” his dad said again, “Are you gonna ride off and hide away all day, or are you gonna stay around and make the woman folk happy?”
If one certain woman was around, he wouldn’t have any desire at all to ride off.
Damn, but he was in a bad way. Just because he’d felt a deep connection with her didn’t mean she felt the same way.
Why run and hide? No one could run away from a problem like his. No one with half a brain would even try. In two years, he’d be forty. His age was only a part of his problem, not the whole of it.
“Are you gonna stay around the ranch today?”
Nick nodded. “Yeah, I guess the pasture fencing can wait until tomorrow.”
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