Chapter 37

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"I don't know." Levi said as he pinched his chin with this thumb and index finger, deep in thought. The happiest he had ever seen his sister was when she had been with Cade and the saddest he had ever seen her was when Cade had left. "How do I know you aren't going to decide you don't want to be a family man and just up and leave again?"

Cade sat a little straighter in his chair and looked his brother in law straight in the eyes. "I don't know if I can win Faith's love back. Hell, I know that I don't deserve someone like her but I'm going to give it my best shot. And even if she won't have me, I'm still going to be here for my son. I know what it's like to grow up without a father and one thing's for sure, Cayson will never wonder where I am or if I love him! I've already missed a year and a half of his life, I don't plan on missing one more day."

"Still, I don't know." Levi said again.

"Levi Matthews! You will give Cade your permission right now or you'll have to deal with me." Hope said, her eyes misty with unshed tears. There was no doubt in her mind that Faith would take Cade back. Her sister in law loved her husband every bit as she herself loved Levi. Of course, there was also no doubt that Faith would make Cade earn his way back into her life.

"Levi smiled. He had wondered how long his wife was going to sit quietly. "Of course you have my permission, but I'm not the one you need to be worried about. Seriously now, I don't know how Faith will react and I can't promise that she will take you back. Your wife can be a little hard headed sometimes."

"I understand but I will never give up. Now if you will excuse me, I have somewhere I need to go." Cade slowly got up from the table and turned to leave. "Thank you again."

The sun was just dipping below the horizon when Faith got up from her favorite rocker on the front porch. How about we go inside and have a little dinner?" Pale green eyes framed with thick dark lashes looked back at her. Cayson smiled showing off dimples in both of his chubby cheeks. Faith bent down to pick up her son but he instantly began to fuss and squirm to get down.

Chuckling to herself, she bent over and set his chunky little feet on the floor. His fingers automatically wrapped around hers. He loved to walk now that he had realized he could. She still liked to hold on to him, just to make sure he didn't fall and hurt himself. He really should have been walking several months ago but she loved to hold him and well she was just a little over protective. Cayson was all she had left of Cade.

It was hard to believe that he'd been gone for almost two and a half years. There hadn't been a single day that she had not thought of him. Sometimes she missed him and sometimes she was angry with him. After all, look at what he was missing! Cayson was simply amazing. He discovered something new almost every day and she so loved seeing the world through her son's eyes. A pang of sadness gripped her heart. Faith mentally shook herself and continued inside.

Faith had just laid Cayson down for the night when she heard a soft knock at the door. That was odd, the men didn't usually come to her house after dark. Oh Lord, something must have happened. Did wolves or bears get after the cattle? Or was someone stealing or killing them again like before. All of those thoughts and more raced through her mind as she walked over to the door and opened it. She was not prepared for what she saw on the other side.

She was dreaming. That was the only explanation why Cade would be standing on her porch. Speechless, she stood there wide eyed with her mouth hanging open. It seemed like they stood there staring at each other for hours before Faith was finally able to gather her wits. "Wh – what are you doing here?"

"Can I come in so we can talk, please?"

Faith didn't say anything but opened the door wider to allow him entrance. "Come over to the table, I'll make a fresh pot of coffee."

"Would it be possible to see my son first?"

Cade broke out into a cold sweat as he sat on his horse looking up at the sign over head. It read, "Second Chance." He had always liked the name but now it had an entirely different meaning to him. All he could do was hope and pray Faith would give him a second chance to prove himself to her. All day long he'd been chomping at the bit to get here, and now that he was, he was sitting on his horse reading a damn sign!

He nudged his knees letting his horse know to move on down the drive. There was only the tiniest sliver of the moon showing to light his way. He must have sat at the gate longer than he thought because his side had gotten stiff from lack of movement. Gritting his teeth, he kept his horse to a slow walk. He wasn't necessarily trying to sneak up on Faith but he didn't want to give her time to get her guard up, and possibly her gun and shoot him.

Cade slid off his horse and led him into the barn where he took off his saddle and blankets. He made sure there was fresh water and hay, then brushed his horse and gave him a scoop of oats. Furious, he went over to the bunkhouse and walked inside. There was no way he should have been able to come down the drive and spend a good twenty minutes in the barn without anyone knowing. Someone should have stopped him half way down the drive.

The men were sitting around the only table playing a game of poker and drinking whiskey. It looked like they were all having a fine ole time. Yancey and Jack were still there, he was more than a little disappointed in them, and two other men that he didn't know. "What in the hell is going on here?" All four of the men looked over at him with different degrees of shock on their faces. "I've been outside for more than half an hour and in the barn right next to y'all and no one heard anything or came out to make rounds!"

"Cade Jacobs, what are you doing here?" Yancey finally asked.

Cade's posture relaxed just a little. "I came home, that's what I'm doing here." He heard the two new hands suck in their breaths as they heard his name.

Yancey walked a few steps toward Cade. "And just how long are you here for?" He all but sneered, purposely changing the word home for here.

Normally, Cade would have taken offence to the other man's tone, but not today. He knew he deserved it, and more. It seemed he was going to have to prove himself to everyone. "I'm home for good. I don't plan on ever leaving again."

"Why, why come back now?" Jack asked, no longer able to keep quiet.

Cade stood there for a moment, then sighed. "Sometimes a man has to lose something to realize what he had to begin with."

"You had better not hurt her. It almost killed her when you left last time." Yancey said, taking one more step toward Cade.

"I don't plan on ever hurting her again."

"Good, because if you do, I'll hunt you down and kill you myself." Cade simply raised one dark brow. Yancey smiled. "You got to sleep sometime."

"I'll keep that in mind. In the meantime, you know there's no drinking on the ranch. Get rid of it and I don't want to see it again." He turned and walked out, making his way to the house. All too soon he was standing in front of her door. Cade Jacobs had never been afraid of anyone or anything, ever. In fact, he had never been afraid in any of his shootouts, not even his first one. But right at that very moment he was terrified. He had talked big, but what if Faith wouldn't take him back or let him see his son?

Somehow he managed to ball up his fist and knock on the door. Then he waited for what seemed like an eternity. Finally the door opened and she was standing there in front of him. She was even more beautiful than ever. She was wearing a white blouse and her buck skins. Her breasts were fuller, her waist was a little thicker, and her hips a little more rounded. She looked like a woman! God, she took his breath away. It was all he could do to keep himself from taking her into his arms.

She stood there for a minute, he could see that she was trying to gather her wits. "Wh – what are you doing here?" She was finally able to say.

"Can I come in so we can talk, please?"

She simply opened the door wider to allow him room to come in. "Come over to the table, I'll make a fresh pot of coffee."

"Would it be possible to see my son first?"

Keeping Faith  (Book 3 in the Red Valley Series)Read this story for FREE!