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His Arch Enemy's DaughterHIS ARCH ENEMY'S DAUGHTER

Silhouette Special Edition #1455
Kane’s Crossing
March 2002
ISBN: 037324455X

Sleeping with the Enemy?

Rebellious socialite Ashlyn Spencer craved family love. Failing that, she made high jinks a habit to undermine her clan’s crippling tyranny. Which meant Kane’s Crossing’s new sheriff—gruff, growly Sam Reno—had his hands full with his fiercest foe’s wayward daughter. Although the Fates were against them, virginal Ashlyn relished keeping Sheriff Sam on his toes and secretly ached for the brodding, blue-collar lawman.

Despite Ashlyn’s spitfire charm, sweetheart smile and hidden hurts, she was strictly forbidden fruit in Sam’s book. Still, she saucily sidled past his own bitter defenses, melted his jaded heart—even inspired images of making giggling, gurgling babies. But dare Sam forget the sinister crimes committed by the Spencers…and wed his effervescent enemy?

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Heat shot through Ashlyn’s body as she lingered behind Sam, appreciating his massive height, the breadth of his back, the fit of his jeans. He was solid through and through, his edges as rough hewn as a wood-carved sculpture.

He forged ahead, spring grass and post-winter foliage crisping under his boots. In the near distance, the old drive-in’s screen loomed like a forgotten storm front, its canvas ripped away at the upper corner.

In the empty spaces where teenagers used to park steamy-windowed cars, lone speaker poles stood guard over a junkyard of sorts: Stuffing shot out of unbalanced, dirt-spotted sofas; an abandoned oven reclined in a perpetually surprised daze, its door depending on one hinge to hold open its gaping hole of a mouth. Ancient cars—tireless, windowless and rust-painted—stood audience to a movie that would never play again.

Ashlyn stopped, leaning against the property’s rickety wooden fence. “Shoot, Sam, where’s the emergency?”

He paused, turned around, hands on hips. “I don’t have the patience for this.”

What was he running from?

She blew out a breath, knowing that arguing with him wouldn’t do any good. Clouds danced over the moon, loosing a blanket of silvery light over the landscape. She couldn’t help smiling.

“What now?” asked Sam.

She nodded toward the sky. “There’s a man in the moon.”

“By God. Would you come on?”

“No, really.” She pushed off the fence to stand by him, reveling in the dark heat of his body. “Look closely. You can see his foolish grin, his big eyes and nose. Pretty clownlike.”

A minute passed as Sam peered upward, his face showing no obvious emotion. Ashlyn’s heart sank. Was he completely empty inside?

“There’s nothing there. Let’s go,” he said.

“I suppose you don’t catch much, what, with your crusty attitude.”

His brow furrowed. “Meaning what?”

“Meaning that you must lead a colorless life, Sam Reno. Don’t you ever catch a snowflake to see why it’s different from the others? Don’t you look inside trees to see if fairies live inside?”

At his blank expression, she tossed up her hands. “I give up.”

Then he watched her with clear worry. “You’re talking to me about fairies.”

“I know,” she said, laughing to herself. “I sound like a starry-eyed kid but, right now, I don’t mind. And I’m not even literally talking about fairies or gremlins or all the things that go bump in the night. I’m talking about miracles, those common everyday things we take for granted. Things Janey Trainor probably appreciated when she found out about her breast cancer--” Her words choked off.

Now she felt really young, too idealistic in the face of his obvious cynicism. “Never mind.”

“I think I might’ve looked at life that way a long time ago.”

He’d said it so softly, Ashlyn wasn’t even sure she’d heard it. She held her breath, wondering if any disruption would stop him from talking.

But he didn’t’ say anything more.

“When,” she asked, goading him on.

“Damn, I don’t know. Maybe when I first got married, when, on our honeymoon, I looked at Mary’s veil while she was dressing. I guess that was like snowflakes, you know, all the lace in those patterns. I wondered how someone could make those tiny pictures, how they could spend so much time on something no one ever pays any attention to.”

The wisp of a smile had tilted his lips, killing Ashlyn with its tenderness.

But you’re still in second place to a memory, she thought.

Second place.

He snapped out of his reverie. “Aw, damn. Why even think about that nonsense?”

“Why not?” She wished she could describe the fleeting serenity she’d seen ghost over his face, wished she had the ability to make him feel that way, too.

“Waste of time,” he said.

She couldn’t hold back her next words. “I just wish I could be that happy with someone, someday.”

He knifed a tortured glare at her, his eyes burning with cold fires, no doubt newly banked by her thoughtless sentiments.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

With that he looked away, at the ground, at his Doc Martens, which still gleamed city-boy new. “Do me a favor. Let’s not talk about it again.”

She nodded, her throat aching.

But, for better or worse, she wanted to know everything about Sam Reno, even what made his eyes turn into a Doomsday explosion every time she said the wrong words.

She wanted all of him.


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From the book: His Arch Enemy's Daughter
By: Crystal Green
Imprint and Series: Silhouette Special Edition
Publication Date: 03/02
ISBN: 037324455X
Copyright: 2002
By: Chris Marie Green
R and TM are trademarks of the publisher.
The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
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