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Chapter One


If someone asked Logan Tanner what hell was, he'd say living in West Texas and working on the family ranch. He hated the wide open spaces, the red dust coating every surface, the sight of pump jacks bobbing up and down, pumping out thousands of barrels of oil, never stopping. The unrelenting sun in the summer, the bone-chilling cold of winter. Every time he returned for a visit, his skin itched as though fire ants marched beneath the surface.

"Come on, Logan. I'm not asking you to move home permanently. But I need your help to take care of Dad and the ranch." Carol slid an arm around Logan's shoulder and squeezed. "He's worried about it and the animals and it's making him anxious and upset, so I told him we'd take care of things for now."

"You don't know what you're asking." He was going to be sick. He couldn't let Carol do this alone, but he couldn't endure weeks, maybe months, out here.

Carol's brown eyes clouded with worry. "It's only for a few months, while he goes through physical therapy. You can design your games as easily here as you can in Dallas, and I can use Dad's kitchen to make my soaps."

"It's more than that, Carol. I can't be this far from home. I have meetings to attend, I have an apartment. I have a life. I can't just pack up and move." Even as he protested, he knew he was stuck. His stomach churned, and sweat broke out on his brow.

"Logan, what on earth is wrong with you? You're white as a sheet." Carol took his arm and led him to the window seat beneath a stained glass picture of Jesus holding a young lamb. "Sit down before you keel over. This will be good for you. You've been working too hard, and you need some fresh air and sunshine."

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