"It’s cold," he said. "Can we sit in your car?" Somewhat reluctantly, Sunny agreed. Although still angry atKeith, she wanted to find out more. She led him to her station wagon."All right. Now answer my question, please," she said when they were seated inside."As I mentioned last year, I’m a lawyer," Keith said. "What I didn’t tell you was that I came to Tyler onbusiness. I was looking for a woman named Susan, not Sunny. We only used first names when we met, andI’d been told that Susan Barlow was staying at a boardinghouse, not a farmhouse.""You came here to see me?" she asked, stunned."I didn’t realize who you were until after we’d made love," he said.The blood drained from Sunny’s face. She’d been a virgin when, yielding to a rush of tenderness and love,she’d slept with a man she hardly knew. This man, Keith Jamison."Everett sent me to get your signature on a contract acknowledging that you owed him the money," he saidquietly. "He’s my stepfather, so I agreed to do it on my way to visit friends in Chicago.""You were going to help him cheat me?" she demanded. Her cousin had mailed her the contract later, but shehadn’t yet signed it."I didn’t suspect any wrongdoing." Keith rested one arm across the seat back, almost touching her. "Recently,after my mother died, I came across some evidence…. It isn’t absolute proof, but knowing my stepfather, Ibecame convinced he was lying."Emotions tightened inside Sunny’s chest. Although she was eager to know what Keith had found, she couldn’tstop thinking about why he’d come to Tyler."So what happened between us was just an accident?" Her throat felt thick."A wonderful accident." He leaned closer. "Sunny, I left because I got word my mother was ill, as I told you.Later, I decided my unintentional dishonesty when I was with you had destroyed any chance of a future withyou, so I called and said it was a mistake. But I was wrong. Please give me another chance.""To do what?" She could barely see through the sheen of tears. "To have another fling for the holidays andthen go your merry way?"A ragged breath escaped Keith. "I’ve always been a loner. I thought that was my nature. Then last Christmas,here in Tyler with you, I discovered something special. Something I didn’t think I deserved, but I realize nowit’s worth fighting for."His handsome face was only inches away and his blue eyes sparkled with reflected white light from outside.He looked so magical that Sunny almost yielded to the urge to kiss him.She felt the tug of warring desires within her, and the promise—or was it the danger?—that the bond betweenthem might be too strong to break.She couldn’t send him away. She needed his help to right old wrongs. Still, that didn’t mean she had to openherself to more hurt.
"You told me you came across evidence that my parents repaid the loan to Cousin Everett," Sunny said, herbreath raising a frosty cloud in the car’s interior. "Let me see it."After all, she reminded herself, what mattered was proving that her parents had paid off their debt and thatshe owned Books and More, free and clear. Since her parents’ papers had been destroyed in the accidentalfire that killed them, she would otherwise have to sell her family’s beloved farm or take out a crushingly largebank loan to repay her father’s elderly cousin."You haven’t responded to the main reason I came back." Keith touched a strand of her long dark hair gently,as if it were precious to him. "I want to recapture the happiness we found together."