Texas Hearts Book Eight
LONE STAR LADY
Taos, New Mexico wasn't far enough from home for Theresa Morales to run to. But this Texas girl didn't think there was anything that could wipe away the pain of her mistakes, even in the arms of Dr. Dennis Harrington the local doctor at the Taos ski resort where she sought refuge. But the past quickly caught up to her when a local kid, Dennis's nephew, becomes traumatized by a fatal New Year's Eve accident that has left him feeling responsible. Dennis couldn't deny he was immediately taken by Theresa the moment they'd met. But the accident that pulled him away from the New Year's Eve gala where he'd danced with her and held her close, had change things for all of them. Now he's desperate for Theresa to help for his nephew, who is so fragile he fears the worst. The sadness Dennis sees in Theresa's brown eyes tells him she's running from something that happened in Texas. Something she can't face. When the past comes back and Theresa heals enough to return to Texas, will it leave both of them brokenhearted?
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New Year’s Day
“I didn’t know who else to go to. I really need your help.”
Teresa Morales listened to Dr. Dennis Harrington’s words as she sat curled up on the soft beige sofa in the lodge at the Taos Falls Mountain Ski Resort. The fire in the huge granite fireplace in the center of the room was burning hot—almost too hot for her comfort. Or maybe that was just her anxiety kicking in. This was supposed to be her vacation. No one was supposed to need her help here.
She bookmarked the page in the book she had been reading before Dennis’s abrupt arrival and closed it, setting it aside on the end table. With a swift motion, she untangled one long leg out from underneath her and brusquely hit her bare feet to the wide pine floor with a dull thud. If this was his idea of a joke, she wasn’t laughing.
“Dennis, I’m just a tourist here. What help could I possibly give you?”
“Last night...” His voice trailed off. His face looked stricken, and Teresa knew he wasn’t talking about the New Year’s Eve party they’d both attended—or the dance they’d shared. No, he was referring to what had happened afterward—the reason behind the beeper call that had pulled him out of her arms and away from the party after their dance. The horrible car crash on the bridge just a few hundred yards from the ski resort had been the only topic of conversation throughout Taos Falls today.
“I’m not sure you understand how severe the accident that took place last night really was.”
“I do,” she countered sympathetically. “I could see the whole awful mess right upstairs from my window after I left the party. And I saw what was left of it once the fog lifted this morning. Anyone with a condo facing the west side of the mountain had to have seen and heard what was going on after midnight. It must have been horrible.”
It was human nature to be curious in the wake of flashing emergency lights and sirens, and she certainly had been. After Dennis had left the New Year’s Eve party, she’d returned to her room intending to go to sleep. But the flashing lights below had drawn Teresa to the window. She’d stared wide-eyed into the night as the snow fell like ash from the dark sky. There were so many lights, so many emergency vehicles.
She hadn’t been able to bring herself to close the curtains, to shield herself from what little she could see through the snow. Soon after the storm subsided, the flashing red, white and blue lights still screamed out into what had been a festive evening. Dragging herself away from what was happening down in the valley didn’t seem right. She’d felt she couldn’t leave the window until the last tow truck had pulled away. The last of the vehicles, the one that had plunged into the icy water, had been the last to be towed away.
Five months ago, she probably would have been right out there on that road along with the rescue workers, trying to offer what help she could. As far as she knew, Dennis’s clinic didn’t have a psychologist on staff. Though she specialized in dealing with children, with her training and experience, she could have been there for the victims, for their families, helping them cope with the tragedy surrounding them.
At one time, maybe Teresa could have done some good. Her gentle guidance might have made a difference between choosing to deal with painful truths or run from them. Now she was the one who was running—running from the events that had shattered her confidence and from the tormenting truth that she had failed.
He shrugged. “It was a tough night. I’ll give you that.”
She was sure it’d been more than just tough for Dennis. He was the only doctor in town—the clinic that he ran was the only medical facility in nearly fifty miles. He’d probably been up all night tending to the victims of the accident.