Looking back, Sarah could only shake her head at how melodramatic she had been that night. Damian’s rejection had devastated her so much that leaving and getting as far away as possible from him was all she had been able to think of. After throwing herself on Rainbow’s back, she had the mare galloping to the ranch at full speed. Once there, she had bumped into Naomi and Josiah, and still in tears, had told both of them that she had a big fight with Damian and that she needed some space. While her mother had tried to keep her from leaving, Josiah had gently overruled his wife, and it was all thanks to her stepfather that she had gotten back to Laramie on that very same day. Once in her dorm room, she had locked the door, flung herself at her bed, and cried all night.
In the past, she had always been the one to reach out to Damian first, but that night, she had promised herself to stay away from him for good. She had made up excuses to avoid having to fly home for the holidays, and she had grabbed the first chance she could to work out of state and place as much distance between them.
It hadn’t been easy at first, and despite the exciting but challenging nature of her job as a digital marketing analyst, countless nights had been spent crying over Damian.
Thank God Hardy had come to her life at the right moment, she thought fondly. In loving Hardy, she had found motivation to move forward, and enough clarity and inner peace that when an elegant invitation had arrived at her mailbox…
I think I’m ready, Sarah thought as she read Naomi’s handwritten message. It was brief but emotional, with her mother asking if Sarah could let bygones be bygones and allow their family to be complete when she celebrated her fortieth birthday in a week’s time.
Sarah reached for her phone and started texting.
Sarah: Just booked a ticket to Jackson Hole for Friday. Please ask Damian if he could pick me up at the airport? ETA is eleven-ish.
When her phone buzzed with a new incoming message, Sarah tapped it right away, thinking it would be from Naomi.
But it wasn’t.
Damian: I’ll be there.
Her heart skipped a beat, but she ignored it and instead made a mental note to schedule a check up with a cardiologist.
Sarah had taken great care in choosing her outfit for the flight. A gray, madras-patterned trench coat and matching wide-legged, ankle-length trousers, black wool turtleneck, nude pumps, and a sleek but sensible Chanel shoulder bag. None of her usual sneakers and totes, and no ripped jeans or frilly dresses. She was all grown up now at twenty-four, and she wanted Damian to know this.
Before stepping out of the plane, she made sure to plop a pair of huge, dark glasses down her nose for added sophistication, and it proved to be quite the lifesaver the moment her stunned gaze fell on the tall, powerful figure whose wealth and clout had allowed him to park his sports car right next to the runway. Just one look at him, and she wanted to cry at the sheer unfairness of it all. Weren’t men supposed to get uglier with every year that passed? So why was Damian Fox the opposite? Like her, the billionaire had a trench coat on to ward off the cold, and this added piece of clothing only served to accentuate the massive breadth of his shoulders and the sleek muscular lines of his form. His presence was commanding and strikingly earthy at the same time, and it was more than enough to have the other female passengers in her flight taking strategically positioned selfies to include him in the background.
It was such a familiar ploy that she had a hard time keeping a smile off her lips. There really was just something about Damian Fox that made a girl want to take endless photos of him, but she was not going to be one of them again.
Damian took his own shades off the moment she reached him, and good manners forced Sara to do the same as her gaze reluctantly lifted to his.
His blue eyes were the same dreamy shade she hadn’t really been able to forget, but what had her throat tightening and her nerves stretching taut was the sensual glitter in it—-
Shit, shit, shit!
She slammed her glasses back on her face, etiquette be damned, and when she saw Damian raise a brow, she said shortly, “The sunlight hurts my eyes.”
His gaze drifted to her hair, and she tried not to feel self-conscious. Her long locks were gone, and in its place was a sleek manageable bob that she no longer had to worry about styling.
“You had it cut,” he commented.