Chapter 1

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Copyright 2014

Chapter 1

"I don't care, Levi! I'm 23 years old now." Faith said as she paced back in her brother's study. "I'm not a child anymore. If you'll remember, I left Charleston because of this. I have loved every minute of the two years I've lived here with you, Hope and the children, but I want my own house." She held her hands up to stay the comments she knew her brother was going to make. "I want my own land, with my own house. Please." She pleaded for him to understand, not that it mattered. She'd already bought a ranch about ten miles away.

"Faith, it's just too dangerous for you to live by yourself out here."

"I won't be completely by myself, I'll have at least one hand with me."

Levi's eyebrows shot up. "Do what?" He sat up a little straighter in his leather chair giving her his undivided attention."

"Well..." Faith hedged as she drew little circles on the rug with the toe of her boot. "I already found a small ranch about ten miles from here." She stood up straight, looking her brother in the eyes. "I bought it about a week ago."

He was going to explode! He took a deep breath, propped his elbows on his desk and buried his face in his hands. Breathe Levi, he told himself, just breathe. "Why would you do that without asking me first?"

"Because she knew this is how you would react." Hope stood with the door open to the study. The other two occupants had been so engrossed in their conversation, neither had heard the door open. "I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but I really couldn't help it. I think they may have heard the two of you in town." Hope walked over to her husband, placing her hands on his shoulders, giving them a light squeeze.

God she was so beautiful! She never ceased to take his breath away when she walked into a room. H would never get tired of that feeling. But now was not the time to get distracted. "If she knew that I was going to react that way, then why in the hell did she do it?"

Hope leaned over as much as her belly would let her and whispered in his ear. She loved the way he sucked in his breath as her full breasts pressed against his back. "She's a grown woman, Levi. She does not need to ask you for permission." Placing a kiss on his cheek, Hope looked up and winked at her sister in law.

She was going to kill him one of these days. Levi could deny his wife nothing, and right now, she wanted him to give Faith his blessing. He sighed deeply in defeat, then reached around, pulling Hope into his lap, then chuckled as she let out a squeal. "All right, all right. I give up, you win. I'll ride over there with you in the morning and take an inventory of what you're going to need to get started."

Faith jumped up and down, squealing with joy. She was definitely going to have to thank her sister in law for that one. She ran over giving them both hugs then flew out of the room. Levi watched Faith as she left the room wearing her britches. He could count on one hand the number of times that she'd worn a dress since she got here. All she wore now was buckskins. All the women in town had been in a tizzy at first and all the men had loved it, until Levi had set them straight. One or two men had even gotten a black eye for saying things they shouldn't have.

"You did the right thing." Hope whispered against his lips.

Wrapping his arms around her soft body, he groaned. What he wouldn't give to take her upstairs and make love to her all day long. "This is all your fault, you know." He said with no anger at all as he drew back to look into her violet eyes. It was a mistake, now all he could think about was losing himself in their deep velvety depths.

Hope turned her head slightly, breaking the spell. "And just how is this all my fault?"

"Because you insisted on giving her all that money." 

"Don't pout Levi, or I'll put you in time out like I do with Mason and Emma."

He smiled wickedly. "Only if you come with me." He teased, then kissed her until they were both breathless. "You made me forget to ask her about this place she bought, where it was and how much she paid for it." Levi said between kisses.

Pulling back to look at her husband's handsome face, batting her eyelashes coyly. "I did?"

The next morning dawned bright and clear. The air had just a little bit of a nip in it, but other than that, it was a perfect early spring day. Of course, it could have been because Faith was so excited to be going to her very own home for the first time.

"How did you find this place?" Levi asked, breaking the silence as they rode side by side. The only sound was the creak of their leather saddles and the clop of the horses' hooves.

"Steven Gilford told me about it. In fact, he did all of the negotiations for me. I didn't want the bank to know who was buying it and raise the price just because I'm a woman. If the property had been held by the Red Valley Bank, I wouldn't have been worried about it. But the bank in Woodland held the title, it was a foreclosure.

Instantly, Levi felt pride for his sister. Most women wouldn't think about something like that. Then he made a mental note to have a word with Steven for his part in this. Well, now in all fairness, Faith could be very persuasive when she wanted to be, especially with her knowing that Steven wants to court her. He'd tried to encourage the match, even Hope had tried. But his sister had been quick to tell them both that she had no intentions of getting married. No matter how good the man seemed to be. She'd seen enough with their parents.

Up ahead they could see the entrance to the ranch. After a few more minutes of riding they pulled up their horses to look at it. "Have you decided what you're going to name it?"

"Yep, I sure have. I'm going to call it Second Chance, because this is my second chance to have the life that I want, not what someone else wants for me."

"Second Chance. I like it." He smiled at his sister's words but inwardly he was thinking about how truly unfair life is for a woman. He was definitely going to talk to Hope when he got home. He thought she was happy, but they were together because of what someone else wanted for her. "Tell you what, why don't you let me get the letters made for your gate, as a house warming gift." He added quickly. He'd seen the look in her eyes and knew she was fixing to argue with him about it.

"All right." She said slowly, trying to figure her big brother out. He was such an enigma sometimes. You just never really knew what he was going to say or how he was going to react to a situation. Yesterday he was having a fit about her buying this place, and now, he was offering to buy letters for her gate. They nudged their horses forward down the drive.

"How long was this place vacant?" Levi asked as the house and out buildings came into view.

"Only about six or eight months. I'm hoping there won't be too much work to do." The house was a simple log cabin that looked to be in pretty good condition. It had a front porch that ran the length of the cabin. There was a six stall barn with a tack room and hay loft to the left of the house. For some reason all the corral fences were down, it almost looked like they had been torn down, but the outhouse, chicken coop and bunk house were all okay. That was puzzling.

"Well." Levi said as they dismounted and tied their horses to the hitching rail in front of the house. "Let's go see what's inside the house and see what's there and what all we're going to need to get." They walked up the step and across the porch to the door. Levi reached for it but drew his hand back, then turned to face Faith. "This is your house, you go first."

A/N:Ok, let me know what you think. Please vote and comment.

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