Return of Connor Mansfield
One of the Mansfield brothers was
dead to everyone else…except her.
Having mourned the "death" of her
fiancé, Darby Kent isn't prepared for the moment they
come face-to-face. For years, the man she loved and lost
has lived in hiding. Until now. Connor is the only
person who can save their ailing daughter, a living
testament to the passion they once shared. But time is
running out. And while Darby prays for their daughter's
survival, she must confront old desires…and powerful new
enemies who've patiently awaited Connor's return.
"The suspense part of the story was very well
done. I was captured by the story from the
beginning and was rooting for a way for Connor,
Darby and Savannah to be together. ...With every
page I wondered what was going to happen next."
"Cornelison gives us a story that touches the heart
with an interesting plot, vulnerable characters and
solid storytelling." -- Melanie Bates,
Copyright Beth Cornelison 2014
She stared at the back of the man in the cap as she
ran to catch them. The broad shoulders and confidence in
his stride seemed familiar, though his hair was many
shades darker than Connor's.
She closed the gap between them before trying again to
get their attention. "Mr. Orlean! Please, wait!"
The man in the cap stiffened, slowed. When he started to
turn, the black man beside him glanced over his shoulder
and pushed the dark-haired man toward a silver sedan.
With the fob in his hand, the tall, older man clicked
the locks off and opened the back door of the sedan.
With a jerk of his head, he motioned for the man in the
cap to get in the car.
They were more than ignoring her. They were escaping
from her. Puzzled and more than a bit miffed, Darby
shouted again, "Wait! Sam Orlean, I need to talk to
When she reached the silver sedan, the black man tried
to block her path, but she shoved past him. She grabbed
the arm of the man she believed was Sam Orlean as he
tried to climb in the backseat. "Wait!"
He froze for a moment, dropped his chin to his chest,
then straightening to his full height, he turned.
Mumbling an earthy obscenity, the older man stepped
forward, as if to intervene, but Mr. Orlean raised a
hand to stop him.
Winded, Darby gasped for a breath and grabbed the open
car door for support, her body shaking as she studied
the beard-covered face. The man's coloring was wrong,
his hair too dark. His eyes were hidden behind the
sunglasses and shaded by the cap. And yet...
He stood stock still, except for a slight shudder as he
drew a stuttering breath.
The chant in Darby's brain screamed louder— Connor,
Connor, Connor! Reaching up, she snatched away
his cap, pulled his sunglasses off.
His jaw tightened, and he looked away, scowling at the
cars parked across the aisle.
"Look at me," she whispered, and when he refused, she
screamed, "Look at me, damn it!"
She grabbed his chin and wrenched
his head toward her. When he lifted his eyes to hers,
they were damp with tears, brimming with regret and
apology. Her heart slammed against her ribs. Her knees
buckled, and her lungs seized.
She knew those golden brown eyes. Intimately. They were
her daughter's eyes.
"Connor." Her voice squeaked as her throat clogged with
emotion. Her body shook with unspent adrenaline, and she
lifted a hand toward his cheek. He wrapped long, warm
fingers around hers, moving her hand off his face and
squeezing her hand. Stunned, she grappled with what her
heart was telling her, while her brain rejected the
truth. A hesitant joy filled her chest like helium,
expanding, lifting her hope. But a darker edged emotion
lurked at the edges of her shock. She shoved the
darkness aside, not wanting anything to shadow the
Tears filled her eyes as a half laugh, half sob bubbled
up from her chest. "You're alive!"
He gave the slightest of nods, but that tiny
confirmation sent a tidal wave of conflicting emotions
coursing through her. Relief and elation tangled with
disbelief. She surged forward to hug him, to celebrate
their reunion. But the older man beside them caught her
arm, separating them. "Not here."
She blinked her confusion, looking to Connor for
answers. His expression was grim, full of grief and
regret. "I'm sorry."
His apology released the darkness she'd tried to hold at
bay. A chill crept from her scalp to her toes as the
first flicker of understanding dawned on her. Anger and
resentment elbowed past her other emotions.
He'd left her. On purpose. He'd deceived her, let her
think he was dead. He'd said he loved her, but he'd abandoned her.
Just like her father.
Her hand flew up, surprising herself as much as him when
she struck his cheek. Hard. "You bastard!"
"That's enough," the black man growled. He grabbed her,
restraining her arms as he pulled her away from Connor.
Darby fought the captive arms. Furious. Heartbroken.
"You lied to me! You said you loved me!" she spat at
"Get in." With a hand on Connor's head, the older man
pushed him into the backseat.
"No!" she shouted, desperation rearing its head. She
couldn't lose Connor again. "Wait!"
The older man hitched his head to the black man, whose
muscular arms held her like a vise. He hitched his head
toward the backseat. "Bring her. We need to contain