In the past two books, we've been learning about the Andreas brothers...three brothers with the same philandering father but three very different mothers...who inherit a sinking shipping company and a six-month-old half-brother when their father dies unexpectedly.
We've watched Darius and Nick fall in love, and through both books we've seen Cade, the richest of the three, poke his nose in where it didn't belong, make trouble and in general make a pest of himself -- all in the name of family! LOL
Well, he meets his match in A BABY ON THE RANCH, but his story isn't without some trouble...
Read what came before...
A BABY ON THE RANCH
What Came Before Cade’s Story…
In a lot of ways Ginny Brown’s only child Cade had exceeded any expectation a mother could have. He was smart and shrewd. Right now, he was worth more money than the rest of the residents of Texas combined…or at least that was her best guess. Tall and broad-shouldered, he had sharp dark eyes and wavy black hair. The last two he’d inherited from his father, the father whose last name he’d chosen to use though Stephone Andreas hadn’t ever acknowledged him.
She would think Stephone’s indifference had caused Cade’s decision never to marry. Except he had been married. He’d been one of those guys who’d met the love of his life in high school and married her when they turned twenty-two. But tragedy had struck and she’d died when they were thirty or so. And he’d shut down emotionally. He wasn’t crazy. He didn’t have shrines to her erected at his ranch. He didn’t talk about her incessantly. It was more like he was afraid to risk his heart again.
Which was why Ginny was the woman walking down the wide spiral staircase with him on the way his half-brother Darius’s New Year’s Eve party.
“Have I told you how handsome you look in a tux?”
He laughed. “Yes, Mother. About thirty times.”
“Good, then you won’t be afraid to mingle.”
He glanced at her, his eyes narrowed. “Why would I be afraid to mingle?”
Too late, she realized her mistake. He knew she was worried about him, but that comment had more or less clued him in that she wanted him out on the dance floor, talking with the available women, finding himself a new mate.
Not one who liked to be told what to do, he’d stick by her side like glue.
So she tried to throw him off the track. After all, she was the one from whom he’d inherited his shrewdness. “I understand Maggie’s dad is going to be here tonight.”
They’d reached the bottom of the steps, so he turned to her with a grin. “Maggie’s dad?”
“Hey, he might be a few years older than I am but there’s plenty of fire left in that furnace if you catch what I mean.”
He winced. “Unfortunately I do.”
Good. That mental image should have him scurrying away from her, hopefully into the arms of a pretty girl.
They entered the ballroom of the ostentatious Andreas beach house in Montauk. Darius, Cade’s oldest brother, bent down and kissed her cheek. Almost as gorgeous in his tux as her son, he said, “You look stunning.”
Cade laughed. “She’d better. Rumor has it she has her sights set on Maggie’s dad.”
Darius’s wife Whitney, a pretty blue-eyed blonde, perked up. “Really?”
Ginny adopted a sly expression to perpetuate her ruse. She’d been a single mom when it wasn’t quite as popular or accepted as it was today. She knew how to take a hit for the team. “Really.”
“Then you’ll be very happy.” Darius pointed behind her. “Because here he is now.”
Charlie Forsythe stepped up to shake Darius’s hand. “Who’s here now?”
Whitney said, “You.” She faced Ginny with a smile. “You remember Ginny, Cade’s mom.”
A true Southern gentleman, he took her hand and kissed her knuckles. “I never forget a beautiful woman.”
She couldn’t help it. She laughed. He was handsome with his wavy gray hair, pretty green eyes, and trimmed and toned body from working on his small farm. So as sacrifices for her son went, this wasn’t really a big one. “And I never forget a handsome man.”
Still holding her hand, he directed her toward the ballroom. The room was awash with sparkling dresses, winking diamonds and tuxedoes. Her breath caught. Every time she attended one of Darius and Whitney’s famous balls, she almost had to pinch herself to believe it was real.
Her life had certainly taken an unexpected turn from poor single mom to socialite mom.
She smiled at handsome Charlie. “Love to.”
With that she was whisked off to the dance floor, but even with as good of a dancer as Charlie was, she couldn’t focus. She scanned the room until she located Cade and followed his movements as he walked through the crowd. He got a drink, then found their table for dinner and never moved.
“He’ll come around.”
Her head snapped in Charlie’s direction. “Excuse me?”
“Cade. He’ll come around. I worried about Maggie the same way. Then suddenly one day she and Nick were back together and their lives were good again.”
She smiled. “Cade’s wife isn’t coming back.”
His voice softened. “I know. It’s a damn shame when someone’s taken so young.”
“She was beautiful.”
“And patient too, I’d guess,” Charlie said with a laugh.
“She was everything.” She tried to smile, but her lips trembled. “Even I miss her. I can’t imagine what Cade feels.”
“It will take a very special woman to step into those shoes.”
Abundantly glad he hadn’t said ‘replace her’ Ginny smiled. “Yes, it will.”
“So give him time.”
She would. She had to. What other choice did a mother have?
But it was hard for a mom to watch her thirty-something son gain every material possession in the world and grow quieter and quieter with each passing day.
She took a breath and said a silent prayer that someone would come into his life, someone unexpected, someone he couldn’t ignore.
The words be careful what you wish for popped into her head, but she ignored them.
Cade needed this.
And six months later a woman did show up in Cade’s life. Someone totally unexpected. And someone neither he nor his two half-brothers could ignore. Someone who threatened to take away everything they’d built since their father’s death.
copyright Susan Meier 2011