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Book 1 in the Wild series.
Tess was hopelessly in love with a doctor, who happened to be her father's boss. But he didn't even realise that she existed ... or did he? Each time something unfortunate happened it was Jacob Hartley who was there to take care of her.
Other books in this series: Wild Rush -- Wild Heart -- Micah Rush -- Hartley's Crush
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Tess concentrated on the music, so much so that she didn't hear the screen door open and her father's boss step in and pause while listening. She was always in a world of her own when she played the violin.
Ever since she was old enough to walk she'd had one in her hands. Her mother was a member of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra after she attended Julliard. But she gave it all up when she married her father. Tess smiled thinking of her mother and her gentleness. -No regrets she told Tess one day when she asked her why she did that -I love your father more than my career and I would be happy if he only picked peas for the rest of his life. She'd meant it too, thought Tess remembering the look of tenderness in her mother's beautiful dark brown eyes.
Tess never made it out of Sulphur Springs Montana after she graduated high school. Her mother died three years ago from breast cancer six months prior to her graduation, and she couldn't bring herself to leave her father who was clearly distraught. So she spent her time helping him out. Not that she really wanted to leave. She loved the country, her small town and the people with a passion. Then there was that other reason, who was standing behind her without her knowledge with his attention completely riveted on her. If she were to turn around she would see that his handsome expression didn't give anything away, but his intelligent dark eyes told a different story.
The music flowed from her violin as she let her thoughts and emotions come through in the music. When she paused to turn the sheet she suddenly felt like she wasn't alone and turned to see Jacob standing in the doorway just staring at her. He cast an awesome image with his large frame filling the entrance and the sunlight at his back creating a glowing outline around him.Because of that she really couldn't see his face. However, just his presence alone affected her. Suddenly her throat seemed to close up and she swallowed thickly.
It was hard to admit years ago before he left Sulphur Springs to go to med school that she was in love with him. Of course she was just a child barely coming into womanhood and it was just a silly crush, but when he'd come home during the summer over those following seven years, it grew into something more. Now she was twenty-one and there was no doubt in her mind how she felt. The things that happened to her body when he was around have never happened in the presence of another man and she had absolutely no control over them. The air always seemed thicker when he walked in a room, her heart would start pounding faster and she had difficulty catching her breath, like now.
She watched him shift from one foot to another making him seem a little uncomfortable which surprised her, because the man was usually so self assured that could be comfortable at a hanging. Obviously the intimacy of her playing unsettled him a little and he must've felt like he was intruding. He shouldn't. He owned the house her father and her lived in and they sort of had an unspoken rule about not knocking.
As it was, her father worked as a veterinarian for Jacob, Lance and Colton Hartley who own the Lansdowne Ranch, a world famous producer of thoroughbred racehorses. Although Jacob, the oldest brother was the town physician, he still was the Patriarch of the Hartley boys because their father moved back to Texas after the death of his wife. All of them were raw, brawny and masculine, but Jacob was different. He had this air about him that made him stand out, at least to her. He seemed to have this current around him that jolted her whenever he settled those intelligent light brown eyes on her. He didn't even have to speak for her to be affected, yet when he did, she could hardly think on her own. Even standing there in her house wearing jeans, a blue chambray shirt and a weathered tan Stetson, he was a force to be reckoned with. So much for forgetting to think, she could barely remember to breathe. She thought he looked equally as handsome in his three piece suits when he went to work in his clinic in town. She actually worked for him one summer as a clerk, but being so close to him then affected her too much and it was a struggle to concentrate on the work. Not only that, the man was a magnet for women, who would parade in and out of there all dolled up pretending to have some ailment so they could try and win him. It literally drove her crazy how brazen women could be. She would never go so far to gain his attention. She had more pride than that. Yet, was it in her benefit to not say anything and pine for him at a distance? Probably not.