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Authors: Elaine Barbieri

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Epilogue

“When are you going to tell her?”

Sean faced Toby where they sat on a bench outside Toby’s livery stable while sunshine bathed the main street of Winston. His brows drawing together in a frown, his wound still considered to be healing despite his objection that it was fine, Sean realized he had been reluctant to return to work anyway. With Samantha still on the mend, he preferred time off, which he had earned with Samantha’s help by resolving a case that had stymied the Pinkerton Agency longer than most.

Sean recalled walking Samantha down the aisle. That had been a great moment for him—the realization of a dream he had cherished from the day of Tom Rigg’s death. He knew he would never forget it.

Still, he responded darkly, “What do you mean?”

“I may be old, but I ain’t blind,” Toby responded with unexpected candor. “I saw the resemblance
between you and Samantha when you first came to town.”

Stunned, Sean replied, “There’s no resemblance between Samantha and me.”

“Maybe I have a sharper eye than most. I never saw you when you were her age, but I have a feeling that although your hair is white now, it was blond once. Maybe it wasn’t as blond as Samantha’s, maybe your skin is darkened by the sun and it ain’t as fair as hers, but it’s close enough.” The old fellow added, “Yet it’s your eyes that tell the tale.”

“My eyes? They’re not the same color as Samantha’s.”

“But I recognized the way you look at her. I looked at a baby that grew up to become a young woman the same way in another lifetime long ago. I was protective. I guided her. I would’ve done anything for her, but she was determined to go her own way. It didn’t work out for me and I don’t talk about it no more, but I recognized that same light in your eyes when you looked at Samantha. It’s that combination of love and concern, and a determination not to interfere with her mature choices—but just to be there in case she needs you.”

Sean remained silent.

“I got a second chance with Samantha, but I’m not so sure you’ll be as lucky as me. You should tell her.”

“Tell her what?” Sean responded unexpectedly.
“Do you think I’m proud of the fact that I panicked when the woman who gave birth to her—the woman I had loved but never married—died in childbirth; that I gave her over to my best friend who was married to a wonderful but barren woman to raise in my stead? Or maybe that I saw Samantha react the same way to Matt’s name as I reacted when Marian’s name was mentioned, and that I knew instinctively what it meant?”

Sean shook his head without waiting for a reply. “No, I don’t think I’ll tell her.”

He continued tightly. “Samantha idolized Tom Rigg. Margaret Rigg died unexpectedly when Samantha was young. I had my chance then, but I couldn’t take it. Samantha clung to Tom even more steadfastly and I couldn’t take the only stability she had known away from her.”

“So that’s how you became Uncle Sean.”

“I was Uncle Sean long before that.”

“Still—”

“I was proud of her in every way, Toby. She was strong, resourceful, determined, and she loved me—I knew she did. She turned to me every time she felt overwhelmed after Tom died, and I was always there for her, just like now. I was pleased with the way Tom had raised her and proud of the woman she had become. I knew I could never have done a better job than he did.”

“Tom’s gone now.”

“But Samantha’s memories of him and the sense of self he instilled in her aren’t. I won’t take that away from her with selfish motives.”

“You do realize that no children will ever call you Grandpa?”

“Maybe not. Maybe I’ll never get to hear Samantha call me by the name I rightly deserve, but I intend sticking around just long enough to play whatever part she wants me to play in her life.”

Sean’s blue eyes narrowed with concerned assessment when he looked at the older man. “My question now is what you intend to do.”

Momentarily silent, Toby then responded, “I’ll do the same as you, I guess.” Sean was unable to reply when Toby continued thoughtfully. “I don’t think it would be too smart to do anything else when you’ve obviously thought a lot about it all.”

“Thanks.” Sean extended his hand.

Toby shook it hard, adding, “Just promise that you’ll let me know if you change your mind about telling Samantha that she’s really your daughter.”

Toby’s words took a visible toll on Sean as he replied, “I promise.” He took a moment and then continued. “I guess it’s good for someone besides me to know the truth. I lost a good friend when I lost Tom, but because of Samantha, I found another.”

Sean continued softly. “It’s only fitting somehow that my new good friend should share the secret that another good friend of mine did. I don’t think I can expect more.”

Sean did not pause to see Toby’s eyes fill expressively. Instead, he stood up and sauntered away with a tip of his hat and a deceptively casual tread.

A year later, Sean’s expression glowed when Samantha walked across the Double S yard to greet him with Matt beside her. She held her new son out to him as she said to the gurgling baby, “Look, Matthew Thomas, Grandpa Sean is waiting to hold you.” Sean supposed he would never know if Samantha had discovered his secret, but it didn’t matter. He knew he would never be more proud than he was at that moment when he held his grandson in his arms.

Amidst the laughter and the smiles, well and strong at last, Samantha looked up at Matt. She had decided to put off any Pinkerton involvement for the time being. After all, she was happy and content. Matt was her baby’s father and both their baby and he loved her.

Could she ask for more?

Author’s Note

One of my favorite memories is the trip my husband and I took to San Antonio, Texas, where we visited with author friends. Among them were Constance O’Banyon and her husband, Jim.

I ordered biscuits at every meal when we ate out. Constance and her husband appeared surprised that I was so taken with them. I explained that there was something special about the biscuits in Texas.

Before I left, Constance handed me a biscuit cutter and her aunt Ethyl’s biscuit recipe, which her family has been using for years.

I’ve treasured this recipe. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Constance also supplied the recipe for Golden Texas Corn Bread (also a genuine Texas recipe) that follows.

Thank you, Constance O’Banyon.

Aunt Ethyl’s Biscuits
T
EXAS
S
TAPLES

5 c. flour

1
/
2
c. sugar

1
/
2
c. shortening

4 tsp. baking powder

1
/
2
tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 c. buttermilk

2 packages yeast

Mix dry ingredients. Put dissolved yeast in buttermilk and add to mix. Knead. Shape into biscuits and let rise 15 minutes (or a few minutes longer if necessary).

Bake at 375 degrees about 15 minutes. (Biscuits will continue to rise while baking.)

Note:

Unused dough can be stored in refrigerator.

Please note that genuine buttermilk is a necessary ingredient for this and the following recipe. No substitutes should be added.

Golden Texas Corn Bread
T
EXAS
S
TAPLES

1 c. cornmeal (white or yellow)

1 c. flour

1
/
4
c. sugar

4 tsp. baking powder

1
/
2
tsp. salt

1 egg

1 c. buttermilk

Mix and put in greased
iron skillet.
Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. (If mixture is too dry, add a little buttermilk.)

Note:

An iron skillet is needed for authentic Texas cooking.

A trick to obtain a golden crust on your corn bread is to grease the skillet and to put it on the stove for a few minutes until the bottom has browned. It has to be watched carefully so it won’t burn. Then put the skillet in the oven and bake as indicated.

Enjoy!

RT BOOK REVIEWS
RAVES ABOUT AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR ELAINE BARBIERI!
GETTING LUCKY

“Barbieri always delivers a realistic story whose background is as much an integral part of the plot as the characters.”

THE ROSE & THE SHIELD

“With each novel she enchants readers by creating exciting historical settings and the unforgettable romances of characters you come to adore.”

CRY OF THE WOLF

“The final release in the Wolf series is as masterful and satisfying as readers could desire. Barbieri pulls out all the stops, drawing together every loose thread in this strong Western, beautiful romance and powerful story about family.”

NIGHT OF THE WOLF

“Western sagas are Barbieri’s forte and the Wolf series is an excellent example of the memorable characters, broad scope, intrigue, tragedy and triumph that make her sagas memorable.”

SIGN OF THE WOLF

“Barbieri captures the essence of a time and place, the spirit of the characters, the jargon, the superstitions and the culture of the Old West. She sets her plot against this colorful backdrop and delivers what her fans most desire: a strong story and the aura of the era.”

HAWK’S PRIZE

“A wonderful and satisfying conclusion to the fourbook series…Barbieri’s engaging characters touch your emotions and you get a totally unexpected surprise at the end.”

HAWK’S PASSION

“This is an enjoyable read.”

TEXAS TRIUMPH

“Barbieri brings the Texas Star trilogy to a powerful close, leading readers through a maze of deception, dishonesty, magic, hatred and justice’s ultimate triumph.”

TEXAS GLORY

“This well-drawn portrait of the Texas frontier, its strong characters and tangled plot twists will keep readers hooked.”

TEXAS STAR

“Barbieri gives readers a complex story with subplots, passion, and a love that satisfies from start to end.”

HALF-MOON RANCH: RENEGADE MOON

Elaine Barbieri is “a mistress of the complex plot and wild Western. This is the final installment of a not-to-be-missed quartet!”

TO MEET AGAIN

“Elaine Barbieri certainly knows how to capture the reader’s attention. Utterly delightful characters, tender romance, and plenty of harrowing adventures make for a splendid Western.”

NIGHT RAVEN

“A fast-paced page-turner,
Night Raven
will keep you up all night until you get to the satisfying end.”

Other books by Elaine Barbieri:

GETTING LUCKY

THE ROSE & THE SHIELD

CRY OF THE WOLF

NIGHT OF THE WOLF

SIGN OF THE WOLF

HAWK’S PRIZE
(Hawk Crest Saga)

HAWK’S PASSION
(Hawk Crest Saga)

TEXAS TRIUMPH

TEXAS GLORY

TEXAS STAR

HALF-MOON RANCH: RENEGADE MOON

TO MEET AGAIN

THE WILD ONE
(Secret Fires)

LOVE’S FIERY JEWEL

NIGHT RAVEN

AMBER TREASURE

HAWK

WISHES ON THE WIND

WINGS OF A DOVE

EAGLE

AMBER FIRE

TARNISHED ANGEL

CAPTIVE ECSTASY

DANCE OF THE FLAME

The Dangerous Virtues series:

HONESTY

PURITY

CHASTITY

Copyright

A LEISURE BOOK
®

July 2010

Published by

Dorchester Publishing Co., Inc.

200 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10016

Copyright © 2010 by Elaine Barbieri

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of publisher.

E-ISBN: 978-1-4285-0891-0

The name “Leisure Books” and the stylized “L” with design are trademarks of Dorchester Publishing Co., Inc.

Visit us online at
www.dorchesterpub.com
.

BOOK: Renegade
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