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Sometimes, Amelia Corbyn thought that Last Stand, Texas, was the town that time forgot. Well, except for the busloads of tourists who shopped on Main Street every day, but the rest of the world seemed to have forgotten it, or maybe it was simply that Last Stand had turned its back on the world.
When she’d been in New York, it had been easy to reminisce about her hometown and think of it fondly. The sleepy little town in Hill Country was steeped in history and tradition. But now that she was back, she didn’t find the history quite so charming and her own family traditions were bringing to the surface emotions she’d spent years suppressing. It wasn’t as if any reasonable person on the planet would have an issue with meeting her sisters at Kolaches, the town bakery, and having the spring special brew that featured orange mocha lattes.
She knew it was unreasonable to sit in her car on one of the hilly streets just off Main, watching the entrance. But she’d been avoiding her mom and she wouldn’t put it past her youngest sister Delilah to “surprise” her by bringing their mother. She loved her sisters, but like any close sibling group, there were times when they got on each other’s nerves.
Emma arrived first, which made Amelia smile. Of course, her middle sister would be the first—she was always punctual—and from her spot across the street from Kolaches, Amelia noticed Emma picking a table near the window. She tucked a strand of her long reddish-brown hair behind her ear and turned her face toward the sun for a moment before she took a book from her purse and set it on the table.
Emma was the shyest of the three of them and preferred reading to socializing, any day of the week.
The sound of a roaring motor made her turn her head as Delilah rounded the corner on her Yamaha DragStar. It was safe to assume Mom wasn’t going to be at breakfast, Amelia thought. Their mother hated the motorcycle that Delilah had brought back from Dallas along with a tattoo on her inner wrist and some baggage that no one had been able to get her to share. All Amelia knew was that Delilah had left a five-star kitchen in the Dallas area and come back here to open the Dragonfly, down by the river. She was a tyrant in the kitchen and out. She was a perfectionist who liked things the way she liked them and didn’t hesitate to voice her opinions. Amelia sometimes thought that her youngest sister looked like the sweetest person…until she flashed her temper.
There was a rap on her window, stirring her from her thoughts. It was Delilah, her helmet tucked under her arm and one eyebrow raised.
“Why are you hiding over here?”
“I wasn’t. I just got here.”
“That would work if I was born yesterday,” Delilah said. “But I wasn’t. You thought I was going to bring Mom.”
“Maybe. I just wasn’t taking any chances,” Amelia said.
“Mellie, I’m not that sneaky. You know if I was going to bring her, I would have texted you,” Delilah said.
“I’m just not ready.”
Delilah reached through the open window, put her hand on her sister’s shoulder and squeezed. “I know—that’s why I came alone.”
“What’s the deal? I thought we were going to have kolaches and catch up,” Emma said. “Why are you two out here?”
“We weren’t sure if you were getting to a ‘good part’ in your book. We didn’t want to interrupt,” Delilah said, hugging Emma.
Amelia got out of her car and out of habit locked it, but crime wasn’t that high in Last Stand.
“I ordered three orange mochas for us and kolaches so let’s go,” Emma said.
She followed her sisters back into the bakery and waved at Mrs. Parsons and her daughter, Jade, who were both behind the counter. Jade had been in her grade, so they’d been friends when they were younger, before Amelia had dropped out of high school and went off to pursue modeling.
How different would her own life have been if she’d never left?
It was a question she’d spent too much time thinking about over the past twelve years, but she’d never have been able to stay. Even now, she felt anxious at the thought of trying to blend in and be normal. She hadn’t been normal since that night…two days before she’d left for New York. Everything had changed, and she’d moved on and never looked back. But now she was here again. Mom was sick and her memories were fading. If Amelia wanted answers, she needed to ask the questions that she’d never had the courage to ask before.
“I’m so happy you’re home,” Emma said, tucking her book back into her bag. “I do love visiting you in the city, but this is nicer.”
“It is,” Delilah agreed. “But I’m not holding hands or wearing matching outfits to Minna’s birthday shindig.”
“Damn, no matching outfits. I was going to put in a call to one of the high-end design houses and see if they could do something haute couture for us,” Amelia said, laughing.
“Since our styles are so distinct, I think the time for matching outfits has gone,” Emma said. “I’m not wearing that biker chick stuff you like and frankly, Amelia, your clothes scare me.”
“How could my clothes scare you?” she asked.
“The price tags. What if I spill something? Or stumble?”
“Then we would get it repaired. And for the record, I think you’d look good as a biker chick,” Amelia said.
“Uh, hold on, that’s my vibe. Emma’s going to have to find her own.”
“I’m happy as I am,” Emma said. “And with my sisters back by my side. You have no idea what torture it was to go to all the events in town by myself.”
“Well, all of the Corbyn girls are back and that’s all that matters,” Delilah said.
Except she wasn’t a Corbyn girl. Not really. And she’d never figured out how to make her peace with that.
End of Excerpt