Her cheeks were wet from the tears that wouldn’t leave. She roughly wiped her chapped cheeks and shut her eyes as she leaned back, wishing she could fall into sleep and oblivion. The only place she could forget for a while. But she didn’t. Instead, Maggie crawled out of her car as if she’d aged twenty years. And there stood Richard.
The gray blue of his all-seeing eyes now held an edge of hardness. His dark hair had lightened to a sandy gray, and he wore it longer; the unruly waves whipping around in the wind. Maggie couldn’t put her finger on it, but there was something different about him, something solid, like a survivor, that wasn’t there before. He was tall and broad shouldered, and even wearing his old, torn barn jacket, she knew he could still turn every lady’s head.
How long had it been since she was here? With effort, she remembered: She hadn’t been back since the day she loaded Ryley up with their suitcases and drove away.
Watching Richard stare at her in his frigid, unforgiving way, all she could remember was how much she missed the strength of his arms when he enfolded her in them. There was a time when he could have protected her from anything. But not that. Blame had been passed around, the agony—grief. At thirty-seven, the weather-etched lines around his eyes had deepened. His solid jaw now held a bitter edge, and the tiny scar down his left cheek had been her parting gift.
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