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Copyright © 2011 by Vanessa Gray Bartal

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.


Cecily Blake sat on the fencepost and willed herself not to cry. In the past few months her life had been turned upside down, and now it was falling apart. If she didn’t figure something out fast, she stood to lose everything her family had built for generations. The problem was that she had no solutions. She had spent her life doing as she pleased with no thought to how their business was run. Now she deeply regretted all the wasted years of selfishness.

A truck pulled up behind her and came to a stop, but she didn’t turn to look. She knew it was one of the Henshaw’s workers and she had no desire to talk, even if she did appear rude.

An undeniably male presence appeared beside her and rested his elbows on the fence. “Watcha staring at?” the man asked.

Cecily nearly fell off the fence in shock, but she covered her surprise and spoke calmly. “Hello, Marcus.” She hadn’t expected Marcus Henshaw himself to come.

He tipped his hat to her. “Cecily.”

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