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Entries in Lisa Mondello (1)


Read Chapter 1 of HER HEART FOR THE ASKING by Lisa Mondello

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"Ms. Mondello presents a beguiling story that keeps you turning the pages...Truly a joy to read." Susan Mobley - 4 STARS - ROMANTIC TIMES MAGAZINE

Mandy Morgan swore she’d never step foot in Texas again after Beau Gentry left her for life on the rodeo circuit eight years before. But now her uncle’s heart is failing and she has to convince him that surgery will save his life. She never dreamed the first thing she’d see when she stepped off the plane would be her biggest nightmare...the one man she’d never stopped loving.

Beau Gentry had the fever for two things: the rodeo and Mandy Morgan. But for Beau, loving Mandy was complicated by his father’s vendetta against her uncle. This led him to make the hardest decision of his life and he can still see the bitterness and hurt on Mandy’s face. All these years it has killed him to think Mandy had forgotten him and moved as far away as possible from him. But now they’re back in Texas, and he’s going to do all he can to win back her love.

Chapter One

"What are you doing here?" Mandy Morgan asked, dropping her too-heavy overnight case on the sun-roasted tarmac.  After a grueling forty-eight hour work stint and a five-hour flight from Philadelphia, she stood wilting under the brutal Texas sun, facing her biggest nightmare.

Beau Gentry.

She groaned inwardly, drinking Beau in with her eyes as if she hadn't had a drop of water in months.  Eight years was more like it.  If she were eight years smarter, she would be moving her aching feet as fast as she could in the opposite direction.  But all she could do was stare at eyes so bright they rivaled the blazing sun.  At lips so kissable she'd spent the better part of her adult life trying to wipe the memory clean from her mind. 

She had expected Beau would have aged some.  When she allowed herself to think about him at all, she reminded herself.  The faint lines etched in the corners of his sleepy gray-blue eyes gave a hint of maturity, but most probably caused by long days in the cruel sun.

She fought the urge to take a closer look at his ruggedly handsome features, but failed.  How could he have gotten better looking after being abused by every bronc-busting horse on the rodeo circuit?  His angular jaw, strong and determined, was shaded with beard growth that was probably a day old, maybe more.  Mandy suspected if Beau grew a full beard, it would grow in thick and be the smooth texture of his almost black head of hair.  She forced aside past memories that gave her such knowledge with renewed irritation. 

The man didn't even have the decency to have a crooked nose.  What should have been bent and awkward from being broken a few too many times was instead long and straight, shaped perfectly between high cheek bones most women would swoon over, or kill to have themselves.  But on Beau Gentry, it was just one thousand percent robust cowboy.

Damn him.

"I'm your ride out to the Double T," Beau said, gripping the edge of his white straw cowboy hat and tipping it in a cordial gesture.

She ground the heels of her low pumps into the soft tar to contain her growing irritation.  Did he think she was an idiot?  "No way."

"'Fraid so," he said, his expression slightly askew.

"Hank didn't mention anything about you coming to get me when I spoke to him on the phone."   

"I suspect he thought you would have found some excuse not to come if you knew I was picking you up."

"He would have been right.  Why didn't one of the hands come get me?" 

Settling his hand at the base of his neck, Beau replied, "You're looking at him.  As of three weeks ago I am one of the ranch hands at the Double T."

What?!  Mandy fought the urge to keep her surprise from showing, but immediately failed.  Beau Gentry was the son of her uncle's biggest rival.  It hadn't stopped her from falling head over heels for the man on those long, lazy summers she came down to the ranch to visit her aunt and uncle.  Of course, back then, rodeo was all Beau cared about, not his father's spread.  Not her, she remembered painfully. 

He was going to go PRCA and be a world champion.  It was his dream and all he ever talked about.  He was good enough to do it, too, Mandy thought wryly.  So good, he hadn't given her a second glance when he rode out of Texas without her eight years ago on the heels of a golden sunset.

Her chuckle was almost hysterical.  "You really expect me to leave this airport with you?"

"That was the plan," he said smiling, his gray eyes seeing more of her than she wanted him to see.  He held his ground.  He had to know how difficult it was to see him after all this time.  It didn't matter that he didn't share her unrest.  He could have at least had the decency to think about her feelings.  But then he hadn't thought about her feelings eight years ago when he broke her heart, so it didn't seem he was any more incline to do so now.

Beau Gentry might be clueless, but there was no way Mandy was going anywhere with him.  No way she'd spend the next two hours bouncing up and down in a hot pickup truck breathing in his scent and wrestling with memories...

Mandy twisted on her heels and surged in the opposite direction.  "Forget it," she called over her shoulder. 

There had to be a cab going somewhere.  Anywhere.  A hot, sticky bus would be a lot more inviting than spending the next few hours in inescapable close quarters with Beau.