Following the death of her parents, Sage Willows had lovingly nurtured her younger sisters through childhood. She loved her sisters. She'd seen each one married, and was glad to see them settled and happy. Furthermore, she held no resentment at never having found a good man of her own to settle down with. Yet, regret is different than resentment-and far more haunting. Still, Sage found as much joy as was allowed a lonely young woman-in being proprietress of Willows' Boardinghouse, and in the companionship of the four beloved widow-women boarding there. Until, that is, the devilishly handsome Rebel Lee Mitchell appeared. It seemed Reb Mitchel instantly and forever vanquished Sage's feigned contentment. Dark, mysterious and secretly wounded, Reb Mitchell utterly captured Sage's lonely heart. Nevertheless, to Sage Williows, the powerfully attractive cowboy-admired and coveted by every female in his path-seemed entirely unobtainable. How could a weathered, boardinghouse-proprietress resigned to spinsterhood, ever hope to hold the attention of such a man? And knowing she couldn't-would Sage Willows simply sink deeper into the bleak loneliness she'd secreted for so long?