Brokenhearted Beauty:Divine Creek Ranch 19

By: Heather Rainier

Divine Creek Ranch 19



DEDICATION





It takes a special kind of person to be married to anyone self-employed in a creative field. I don’t abide by business hours, much less a normal sleep schedule, and at any given time Mr. Rainier knows it’s likely that my head is in Divine and he gently reels me back into the real world. Besides building a new home, he still manages to take care of many of the mundane things of life so I can focus on what I do best. By his actions, he defines love, flexibility, and integrity. Above and beyond all of that is a man who is comfortable enough with himself to share his heart and his imperfections with me. He truly is my inspiration.

And also for “T,” whose journey inspiring me began in Divine Charity and continues here. Because of an impulsive decision, he’ll never have his happily ever after in this world. Like any of us, he was human but I like to think he had hero potential in that hard head of his. He might’ve been impetuous but his forethought in becoming an organ donor meant that he was able to save many lives with his passing. I still wish he’d worn his helmet. The world is a poorer place without him.





ACKNOWLEDGMENTS





I’d like to thank everyone who believed in this story and the character arcs that began in Divine Charity. It’s a stretch writing an erotic romance that centers on such heavy themes as losing loved ones, grieving, and living with regret. They were not issues I could give a simple nod to before moving on to the “steam.” Having a wonderful network of support in place makes doing what I do possible. I don’t take the encouragement of my friends, readers, and loved ones for granted.

A special thank-you goes to the members of my street team on Facebook, The Divine Divas. They are tireless in their enthusiasm to share the series with friends and elsewhere online but they also provide a sounding board and are a big encouragement to me.

My gratitude also goes to my new personal assistant, Lily Castle. Her learning curve has resembled a rollercoaster the last couple of months and I’d like to thank her for putting up with my hours and my perfectionism, which I plan to overcome at some point in the future when the time is right…

Thank you also to Kimberly for serving as medical beta-reader again on this one.

I’d like to thank the staff at Siren-BookStrand for their hard work and professionalism. Thanks especially to my editor for making the book even better and to my cover artist, Harris Channing, for creating a cover that so closely captures the emotion of the story. It absolutely sings.

And from the bottom of my heart, thank you to the publisher, for believing in me and encouraging me. Divine, Texas wouldn’t exist if you hadn’t said “yes.”






Prologue




Early April…



The soft tones of the heart monitor marked the passing seconds and hours for Leah Woodworth as she sat at Patterson Elder’s bedside. Time was running out. Barring divine intervention, she was about to lose him. Her heart ached with misery and the pain flowed through her veins like molten lava.

Lifting his hand from the bedside, she cupped his warm, callused palm and fingers to her cheek. She remembered when he’d done that recently while smiling down at her with a devilish twinkle in his eyes. She could still hear his voice as he’d teased her and stolen a kiss seconds later.

Come on now, fluff. Resistance is futile. You can’t hold out forever.

She could still feel his lips on hers. He’d tempted her, nearly beyond her ability to withstand his charms and the charms of his brothers, James and Vincent.

Tears rolled down her cheeks and her nose ran as a sob broke from her, but she didn’t care that she must look like a wreck. His handsome face was relaxed and passive in deep, deep sleep. Soon it would be time for the surgical team that was harvesting his organs to arrive. When she walked out of his room, that would be the last time she’d see him alive. When they were done, he would be gone. The scream built in her throat until she had to clamp her hand over her mouth to stop it from welling forth.

The second hand of the clock on the wall kept rolling past the minutes and hours. She tried to read to him but her throat kept closing up as she followed the now-familiar passages of his favorite old Zane Grey novel.

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