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Lost Love (Cowboys and Angels #1)

By:Kelly Elliott

Lost Love (Cowboys and Angels #1) - Kelly Elliott


The rushing water of the Frio River wasn’t enough to drown out the sound of Paxton’s tears. They replayed in my head, and nothing would ever be able to erase them.

Lifting the beer to my lips, I took a long drink. My brother Cord sat next to me. He was the only one who knew the terrible secret that would haunt me forever.

“She hates me,” I mumbled.

“Right now she does. She won’t always.”

I finished the bottle and set it next to me. It was the night of my high school graduation and one of the worst days of my life.

“I left her. She told me she was pregnant, and I freaked out and left her. The only thing I could think of was how our lives would be ruined.”

“You came back, Steed.”

Letting out a gruff laugh, I shook my head before dragging my hands down my face.

“I came back too late. I’ll never forget the look in her eyes when she told me she lost the baby and I breathed out a sigh of relief. I’ve never seen her so gutted.” My head dropped, and I felt the tears build in my eyes. “She told me she never wanted to see me again.”

Peering up, I turned to my brother. “What do I do, Cord? I love her more than the air I breathe and she can’t stand the sight of me.”

He shook his head then shrugged. “Give her time. That’s all you can do.”

My heart told me to run after her. To pull her into my arms and show her how sorry I was. Beg her to forgive me.

If only I’d listened to my heart and not my head.





Ten years later



I pulled up to the gate and grinned. Ten years ago, I left Texas after graduation and made my way to Oregon. I hadn’t seen home since.

With a quick peek up, I passed under the driveway sign that led to my father’s cattle ranch.





“Is this it, Daddy?”

Glancing down to the beautiful blonde hair and blue-eyed girl in the front seat, I nodded. “This is it, pumpkin.”

Her smile grew bigger. “I can’t wait to see everyone! Do you think they’ll be excited to see me?”

My chest tightened. “Of course they will, Chloe. They’re family.”

Chloe frowned. “Mommy was never happy to see me.”

That’s because your mommy was a fucking bitch.

I’d met Kim, Chloe’s mother and the first woman I’d dated since Paxton, towards the end of my senior year of college.

“Mommy had problems. Loving herself was hard, pumpkin, so it made it even harder for her to love anyone else.”

Chloe nodded. Like she always did when I told her the same answer about her worthless mother.

When both of Kim’s parents died, she fell into a serious funk. The only way I knew how to pull her out of it was ask her to marry me. It was stupid. I was stupid. When I realized I had made a huge mistake, she begged me not to leave. The night I told her I wanted a divorce she told me she was pregnant. Nine months later Chloe arrived and Kim turned into a completely different person. Her thirst for my family’s money was the only thing that drove her to stay in the marriage. For some insane reason, she thought she could get her hands on my parents’ wealth through me. It took years of fighting, keeping visits with my family a secret.

Finally, I played off a lie that my parents had disowned me. Kim gave up and divorced me. I’d asked her for a divorce so many times her hate for me grew after each attempt, making my life, and unfortunately Chloe’s, miserable.

“Daddy, am I a bad girl if I don’t miss mommy?” Chloe asked, staring at her little feet.

I took her hand in mine.

“No, pumpkin. I don’t miss her either. I wish we could have come to Texas a long time ago, and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to make it happen sooner.”

She smiled. “We’re here now! And I know I’m gonna love it! It’s our new home.”

“It’s always been home.”

Home.

The one place I longed to be, but was also scared to death of. Memories of this place were dangerously strong, but Chloe and I needed family. She needed a sense of normal after five years of utter crazy. And I needed to right a wrong that was long overdue.

Paxton.

I wasn’t even sure she still lived in town. For all I knew she was married to Joe asshole Miller. I pushed the thought from my mind.

“Let’s go see Granddaddy and Grammy,” I said.

Chloe fist pumped. “Yes! I’m so excited. Can I ride a horse?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“What about a cow?”

“If you want.”

Her eyes lit up as the gate swung open. “Really? I can ride a cow?”

Laughing, I nodded.

“Does Granddaddy have goats?”

“Yep.”

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