By: Brenda Jackson

He slid into a parking spot and watched as she got out of her car and went inside, smiling. That probably meant she was ready for the weekend to begin. Hopefully, her good mood would continue when she saw that he’d followed her home. His focus stayed on her, concentrating on the sway of her hips with every step she took, until she was no longer in sight.

He was about to change stations on his radio when his cell phone rang. He hoped it wasn’t Stern again. He pulled it out of his pocket and saw it was his cousin Bailey, the youngest of the Westmoreland siblings and cousins living in Denver. Growing up, Bailey had been nearly as bad as Bane when it came to getting into trouble.

He clicked the phone on. “What’s up, Bay?”

“Zane’s back. He got in today.”

Canyon nodded. His cousin Zane had left town a good three weeks ago on what Canyon had assumed was a business trip, only to discover later that his cousin was running behind a woman he’d once had an affair with by the name of Channing Hastings. Rumor had it that Zane was returning home with a wedding band on his finger.

“He’s married?”

“Not yet. He and Channing are talking about a Christmas wedding.”

A Christmas wedding? It was hard to believe Zane, a die-hard bachelor, was thinking about settling down.

“Didn’t think I’d live to see the day.”

“Well, I’m glad he came to his senses.” Bailey paused and then said, “Don’t forget this is chow-down night.”

Every other Friday night, the Westmorelands got together at his brother Dillon’s place. The women would do the cooking and the men would arrive hungry. Afterward, the men took part in a poker game and the women did whatever they pleased.

“I might be a little late,” he said, since he wasn’t sure how his confrontation with Keisha would go. If she was babysitting somebody’s kid, he would follow her home just to see where she lived and then return at another time and try to talk to her. At some point, he needed to let her know about the person who’d been following her. It might be something she needed to check into, especially if it was related to a case she was working on.


He frowned at Bailey’s question. “Why what?”

“Why will you be late? Dillon mentioned you left work early today.”

For some reason Bailey assumed being the youngest automatically made her privy to everyone’s business. Instead of answering her, he tapped on the phone several times and then said, “Sounds like we have a bad connection, Bay. I’ll talk to you later.”

He clicked the phone off in time to see Keisha walk back out of the building. Studying her face he saw she was still smiling, which was a good sign. She was also chatting with the little boy whose hand she was holding—a boy who was probably around two years old.

Canyon studied the little boy’s features. “WTF,” he muttered under his breath. The kid could be a double for Denver, Dillon’s three-year-old son. In fact, if Canyon didn’t know for certain that Denver was at home with Dillon’s wife, Pam, he would think it was Denver’s hand that Keisha was holding. An uneasy feeling stirred his insides as he continued to study the little boy whose smile was just as big as Keisha’s.

Canyon took in a gasping breath. There was only one reason the little boy looked so much like a Westmoreland. Canyon gripped the steering wheel, certain steam was coming out of his ears and nose.

He didn’t remember easing his seat back, unbuckling his seat belt or opening the car door. Neither did he remember walking toward Keisha. However, he would always remember the look on her face when she stopped walking and glanced in his direction. What he saw in her features was surprise, guilt and remorse.

As he got closer he watched defensiveness followed by fierce protectiveness replace those other emotions. She stopped walking and pulled her son—the child he was certain was their son—closer to her side. “What are you doing here, Canyon?”

He came to a stop in front of her. His body was radiating anger from the inside out. His gaze left her face and looked down at the little boy who was clutching the hem of Keisha’s skirt and staring up at him with distrustful eyes that were almost identical to his mother’s.

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