The Texan's Surprise Return

By: Jolene Navarro

His greatest Christmas gifts...

“Is that you? You’’re alive.”

An unforgettable family reunion       for the holidays.

For three years, Xavier De La Rosa’s family thought he was dead. Now Xavier is back home in Texas for Christmas, and finds a wife he can’t remember and adorable triplets he never knew existed. Can Xavier reclaim his memories and the love he left behind...before he returns to the job that nearly killed him?

Cowboys of Diamondback Ranch

“Xavier? Is that you? You’’re alive.”

The shock in her voice was clear even though her voice was low.

Xavier’s thoughts whirled. Her voice and the large eyes belonged somewhere in his brain, but he couldn’t link her up to any useful memories. Stuck between confusion and euphoria, he wasn’t sure what to do. “You’re not my sister.”

She gasped. “No.”

He could hear the hurt in that simple word. This was someone he should know, but he couldn’t even see her.

“Xavier.” In slow motion her petite form started crumpling.

He rushed forward to catch her before she hit the edge of the porch.

A heavy beat of blood pounded against his skull, and his vision blurred to the point he had to close his eyes and hold the sickness at bay. But there was a rightness he hadn’t experienced since he’d woken up from the ambush.

Who is she? Should he leave?

No. For that moment she was in his arms, it was right.

He was finally where he belonged...

Chapter One

Selena De La Rosa sighed and leaned against the old barn wall as she slipped off her heels. Except for the torturous shoes, the day had been perfect for an outdoor wedding and the family Christmas photos. The love she saw in Elijah’s eyes when he recommitted his life to Jazmine melted her heart in a way she didn’t think was possible anymore.

The weathered wood and the hundreds of tiny white lights, along with the mild Texas temperatures, created the ideal setting for both. Her twenty-two-month-old triplet boys now romped around with the stars of the show. Five baby goats in Christmas sweaters. Who could resist such cuteness?

An idea hit, and she pulled out her phone to make some work notes under her file labeled “Christmas by the Sea.” The big plans and budget items for the city were already set in motion, but she was constantly thinking of ideas and adding to her to-do list.

This project was two years in the making and, when it was all said and done, not only her boys but the whole town of Port Del Mar were going to have the Christmas she had dreamed of as a child. This was just the beginning; each year it would get bigger.

There was a tug on her formal dress. “Carry you.” Oliver, the smallest of her triplets reached his hands up to her.

Smiling down at him, she put the phone away and brushed a few strands of hay out of his hair. She couldn’t bring herself to correct his pronouns. They wouldn’t be babies forever.

They would never feel second place to her work either. Ever.

Lifting him up, she rubbed her nose against his sweet baby neck. A small goat in a red-and-green sweater jumped sideways at him, little bells softly jingling. Oliver giggled and snuggled closer to her.

Sawyer, the most energetic of her boys, laughed and ran with three other baby goats. His energy was still unbelievably high after the long day.

Finn, the oldest triplet, was almost down for the count. Cuddled between two identical white-and-brown goats, he whispered something very important as he fought to keep his eyelids open.

Selena took a picture of him with her phone.

“That is just cute kid overload.” Her sister-in-law Belle walked in, her elegant dark red gown looking out of place in the barn.

“The goat kids or the human kids?”

Laughing, Belle closed the sliding barn doors. “Both. I think the pictures we took earlier will be my favorite photos ever. We took our family Christmas pictures to a whole new level.” She picked up Sawyer and tickled him. “I can’t believe this one isn’t tired. They stole the show today during the wedding. If you’d let me share that video of them walking down the aisle with their happily-ever-after signs, it would go viral.”

“No social media. You know what Xavier would say about that and why.” She still had a hard time believing her husband had been gone for almost three years. This would be her third Christmas without him, but she had the boys and his family.

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