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Noah Partridge had a cold, cold heart. The darkly handsome man had suffered the loss of his family and livelihood, and been betrayed by his sweetheart and friends. So he set out alone on horseback to stake a claim in the wind-whipped New Mexico Territory, where he would live out his days on a land as rough and barren as his own soul.

Honey-haired Grace Richardson had heart to spare. Despite her husband's death, she and her young daughter had hung on to life in the Southwestern desert, as well as to a piece of land just outside the settlement of Rio Hondo. Although she did not live on it, Grace clung to that land like a memory, unwilling to give it up even to Noah Partridge, who was determined to buy it out from under her. But something like magic was at work in this desert land of mesquite and red rock: a magic that made Noah wonder if it was Grace's land he lusted after, or the sweetness of her body and soul. For he longed to feel her hands stroke his muscled chest, and to believe that her touch held the warmth that would melt his icy heart.

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