Different Dreams

Different Dreams by Tory Cates

Book: Different Dreams by Tory Cates Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tory Cates
simple gesture. Malou backed quickly away from the window when Cam turned to come back in.
    â€œSorry we woke you. How did you sleep?”
    â€œNot bad,” Malou lied, forcing her gaze away from the rugged contours of his chest, his stomach. He seemed so cheerily unaffected, she would have to make an effort to appear equally unperturbed, both by the events of last night and by the peculiar encounter she’d just witnessed.
    â€œApparently we made things unnecessarily rough on ourselves. According to Jorge, this isn’t the main ranch house at all. We turned off too soon. This”—he circled his hand around to take in the stone house—“is just some shrine Stallings maintained to his wife for the past half a century. She died giving birth to their first child here, and Stallings just closed the place up and moved. Not long after that he made his first big oil strike and built a new house, the house he wished he could have built for his wife. Anyway, he never remarried and kept this old place just as it was, with everything maintained and in working order.”
    The story both saddened and uplifted Malou. She fingered the old quilt, knowing a bit now about the woman who had pieced it together and about the man who had never stopped loving her.
    â€œWant to have a look at what we were originally aiming for?” Cam asked.
    â€œSure,” Malou agreed hesitantly. Something was not right. She knew prudence would dictate that she leave immediately and cut off any further involvement with Cameron Landell. But two factors propelled her back into the claret-colored SUV: her concern for the troop of monkeys she was trying to save and sheer, unshakable curiosity. Curiosity about Jorge’s cryptic words and about Cam and what he was up to out here.
    The drive that had been such an arduous ordeal in the rain was a matter of minutes in the sun-sparkled day. Though she hadn’t thought it possible, the surrounding country was even lovelier than it had been the day before. A terrible feeling of missed opportunity, of a paradise lost, swept through Malou as they bumped off the rutted road back onto the smoothly paved highway. She wondered what she should have, could have, done differently. She glanced over at Cam. He drove with one hand draped casually at the apex of the steering wheel. His free arm rested on the open window. His gaze was intent as he looked out with a keen eye over the ranch he now owned. His concentration on the passing countrysidewas so total that Malou felt free for the moment to scrutinize him. The longer she looked, the more lost she felt. At the instant she saw Cam turning toward her, she quickly cut her glance away, out to the awakening spring.
    The landscape was a muddled green blur, however, for Malou was still seeing Cam’s sun-etched profile in her mind. It galled her to notice that her pulse was fluttering and that her stomach felt as if she were looking over a thousand-foot drop. It piqued her even more to have to admit to herself that her motivation for coming with Cam was not simply concern for the troop. Curiosity was a factor, but not of the sort she’d originally thought. Deep in her heart of hearts, she was forced to own up to the fact that she was curious about what might or might not develop between her and Cameron Landell. And there he was, she thought with a final stab of irritation, sitting over there with no thought on his mind other than the value of the latest chunk of land to come into his possession. She seamed her mouth into a tight line as the car surged forward with a sudden burst of speed.
    Cam had felt her gaze on him as he’d stared out at the land he owned. He’d been attempting to force himself to take the all-consuming interest in it that he usually took in his property. But instead of carefully evaluating the parcel in front of him, his mind saw only torturing images of the woman beside him gilded in firelight and dressed in a

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