In Hope Springs, Texas, every first love deserves a second chance.
Luna Meadows wove a successful career out of creating the sumptuous, richly hued scarves that adorn Hollywood’s elite. Now she wants to give back to her hometown of Hope Springs, Texas, by creating a community arts center on the property that once belonged to her best friend: a talented musician named Sierra who perished in a car crash at age eighteen. As Luna sorts through the personal belongings left in the Caffey family’s former home, she confronts her own guilt and memories. But when Angelo Caffey—Sierra’s brother and Luna’s first love—returns unexpectedly, Luna must also face the pain of their long-ago relationship.
Headstrong, handsome Angelo walked away from Hope Springs—and Luna—eight years ago. But this time, he’s staying until he gets his answers. Still haunted by Sierra’s mysterious accident, he demands to know the secrets Luna has harbored all these years. But will revealing the truth leave Luna heartbroken? Or can she finally bury the past and help Angelo come home for good?
“Written very much in the style of early Nora Roberts or JoAnn Ross, Kent makes Hope Springs come alive with vivid details and beautiful romance.” — RT Book Reviews
“There’s drama aplenty, and […] Kent uses strong, clear writing to emphasize the believable and not-quite-predictable character interaction that makes this series stand out.” — Publishers Weekly
Seeing the deterioration wrought by the years, however, she realized listening to her heart and ignoring her head might not have been particularly smart. Who bought a place the size of the Caffey homestead sight unseen? Fortunately, the time spent waiting to close had allowed her to settle on an idea for using it, one that would honor the friends she had lost. But she couldn’t move forward until she knew what she’d paid for.
Tucking her keys into her front pocket, she gathered up her hair and knotted it at her nape. She needed to know if it would be worth her time to sort through what the Caffeys had left behind, or if hiring a service to empty the rambling two-story farmhouse would save her as many broken fingernails as it would heartache.
She pulled a chair toward the refrigerator and stepped into the seat. Opening the first of the high cabinets above, the one where Sierra had hidden things she wanted to keep out of her younger siblings’ hands, she reached inside, finding nothing but light bulbs and sports tape and loose batteries, and wishing she’d thought to bring gloves. And a flashlight. Next time for sure, she mused, and then she went still, cocking her head at the sound of footsteps on the back porch.
She didn’t need permission to be inside a building she owned, but no one knew she was here, and no one else had reason to be. She eased from the chair, her second foot touching the floor as the kitchen door opened and a man moved to fill the entrance. He stood still as he took her in, his face shadowed, his body large. Her heart thundered in her chest and her ears.
She thought she’d seen knives in the block beside the stove, but she’d never reach it before he did. She dipped her fingers into her pocket, her hand wrapping around her key ring, the keys jutting between her fingers like spikes.
The man stepped over the threshold, ducking beneath the door’s facing. The light he’d been blocking followed him in, and in that moment recognition dawned, her stomach tumbling to the floor and unraveling toward him like a spool of thread.
“Hello, Luna,” he said, his voice deep and sure and aged like fine wine.
Angelo Caffey wore the last eight years well. He was thirty now, to her twenty-eight, and she very much appreciated the differences wrought by his age. Though he’d left it loose and brushed away from his face, his black hair was long enough to pull back at his nape, and strands of silver shimmered in the sea of black. She wasn’t surprised by the touch of gray.
Even knowing nothing of his current life, she was well aware that he’d earned those stripes. His strong jaw was darkened with several days’ growth of beard, his nose blade-straight and narrow, his full lips pulled into a too familiar smirk. His body wore years of use that showed on his arms in muscles and scars. His hands were a mess of healed cuts.
“You scared me,” she said, her voice a weak quaver.
“Wouldn’t want that now, would we?” He closed the door, shutting out what light had been shining through. Shutting them in the room that was full of old pain, and Sierra, and that very sad silence, and moments only the two of them knew.
She wanted him to reach back and fling the door open. She wanted him not to know how nervous she was. She wanted to ask him a thousand questions. She wanted him to leave. She wanted him to stay. But most of all, she wanted to know why he was here. And if, somehow, he’d known she would be.
After eight years in the wind, Angelo Caffey, her first love, her first lover, had returned to Hope Springs. Be careful what you wish for, Luna. Be very careful indeed. “When did you get to town?”
“No, sweetheart,” he said, stepping closer to where she stood, and smelling of sunshine and sawdust and the spicy soap she knew well. “You’re in my house now. I get to ask the questions.”