Eden Delgado holds Charles Kipling personally responsible for her father’s death in a mining accident twenty years ago. There’s no way she’ll allow his smooth-talking, good-looking grandson, Jake, to resume operations.
Jake Kipling has his own agenda and wants to restore the family mining tradition in Arizona. As a Kipling, he wants to prove he can provide jobs and services as his ancestors once had. As a man, he wants to connect with his past and discover the life of a father he never knew. His father was also one of the men killed.
Eden, this passionate, loyal woman--a woman, who weaves her way into his heart and his soul--fascinates Jake. But when it comes to love, can Jake walk away from his obligations and his heritage? Can Eden, who is attracted to his strength and protectiveness, betray the cherished memories of her father by falling for him?
“I know more than you think I do.”
Anger lit up the woman’s eyes again. “Do you?”
Jake bit back his retort. As she crossed her arms in front of her, he noticed some pretty tantalizing curves. He didn’t like petite, shapely brunettes; he liked tall, leggy blondes. Blondes who were sophisticated and demure, blondes who didn’t question his authority, blondes with no emotional baggage.
Yet, when he held her a few minutes before, Jake had to struggle to remember this woman wanted no part of his dreams. She’d made that perfectly clear. Starting up with the opposition wasn’t going to solve the problem.
Well, that depended on which problem he thought about. His current problem, yes; the real problem, no. But he also knew as a Kipling, that it wasn’t a gentlemanly thing to do. Disgusted with himself, Jake shook his head.
Hadn’t he learned enough from his mother’s mistakes?”
“Yes. Miss--” Jake hadn’t seen any ring, but these days you could never tell. He didn’t need some territorial male coming after him; he already had enough problems.
“What is your name anyway?” For some reason he couldn’t fathom, he had to find out. From her, not a third party on the street. “You don’t have to tell me, but in a town this size, it shouldn’t be too hard to find out.”
“You’re right.” She approached him and placed her hands, palms flat, on the desk. “I don’t have to tell you, but I will. My name is Eden.”
“Eden?” He blinked at the name. “That’s unusual. Eden what?”
She squared her shoulders and looked him straight in the eye. “Eden Marie Consuela Delgado.”
“Eden Marie Consuela Delgado,” he repeated, his hand dropping to rest on the desk. Jake could see the Hispanic influence now in her coloring, her pale olive complexion kissed lightly by the sun. Still, her heritage didn’t concern him at the moment, her name did.
“Delgado.” Drumming his fingers against the wood, Jake searched his memory. He drew a blank. The long days and even longer nights were finally taking their toll on him. “Why does that sound so familiar?”
She raised her eyebrows. “I’m shocked. I thought you knew the history of this town. If you did--”
“Delgado. Miguel Delgado.” The name sprung from his lips as he remembered the list his mother had saved for him, the list that named the men killed at the mine.
“My father.” Her bitter expression was not lost on him. “Now do you understand, Mr. Kipling?”
“Yes.” Jake understood too well. A heaviness settled on him that he didn’t want to dwell on; he didn’t have the time, or the energy. “And please don’t call me Mr. Kipling, it reminds me of my grandfather. My name is Johnathan Alexander. My friends call me Jake.” Rising to his full six-foot-five height, he offered her his hand.
Eden blatantly ignored his outstretched palm as she turned and strode to the door. She paused at the threshold and looked back at him. “Thanks again for the soda, Mr. Kipling. Just remember, I’m not one of your friends. Nor will I let you reopen the mine. I’ll fight you on this with every last ounce of energy I possess.