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Eight bestselling authors. Eight sizzling tales from the Old West to set your heart ablaze...
In Whispered Love,bestselling author Kathleen Ball takes you to the wild Pacific Northwest, a land bristling with handsome, well-muscled lumberjacks. Foreman Samuel Pearse has only one rule; no women allowed. Until he finds one asleep in his bathtub—Pat Clarke, the company cook. With her secret revealed and her virtue at stake, Pat turns to the only man who can help her…the one man who can set fire to her heart.
In Kate’s Outlaw, award-winning author E.E. Burke spins a suspenseful yarn about a half-breed desperado who abducts--and then rescues--a rich railroad heiress. On the run from danger, with enemies on both sides, Jake and Kate seek solace in each other’s arms, igniting a love as powerful as it is forbidden.
The Officer and the Bostoner, from USA Today bestselling author Rose Gordon, follows the adventures of a well-to-do lady traveling cross-country to meet her intended. Instead, she finds herself stranded at a military fort and forced into an unwanted marriage. Can a hot-blooded officer spark love in his wife’s cold heart?
Fools Rush from USA Today bestselling author Ciara Knight. A young woman, desperate for independence from all men, embarks on a crazy cross-country wagon train adventure disguised as a man. Instead of finding her independence, a bounty hunter captures her under the guise of horse thieving, a crime punishable by hanging. Will a man she’s lied to for months save her, or will he surrender her to a monster with a badge?
Ridin’ For A Fall by Kirsten Lynn immerses you in a fiery tale of forever love. When circumstances force best friends and Wild West Show performers, Lena Boden and Kyle Allaway to marry and return to Wyoming, they must stand together against internal doubts and external forces seeking their destruction—or risk a fall that will knock them out of the saddle for good.
In A Warrior’s Heart, best-selling author, Amanda McIntyre brings to life the passionate story of a bold Cherokee warrior and the brave white woman he rescues from certain death. Thrown together by circumstances not of their own making, they overcome betrayal and tragedy to find a love strong enough to bring nations together.
The Rancher, by bestselling author Hildie McQueen, transports readers to 1870s Montana Territory and into a sensual encounter between an injured rancher and a woman running for her life. Sometimes love enters at the worst moment.
In The Drifter,bestselling author Elizabeth Rose takes readers on an epic journey across the plains, as drifter Chase Masters shows up wounded at Nessa Pemberton's stagecoach relay station mistaken as the bandit who killed her husband. Can a single mother learn to love again and put her trust in a man who is nothing but a drifter?
We are very excited to bring you a four day event featuring stories from eight wonderful authors.
Kathleen Ball, EE Burke, Rose Gordon, Ciara Knight, Kirsten Lynn, Amanda McIntyre, Hildie McQueen & Elizabeth Rose
Each day we will highlight two of the stories.
Join us today as we visit with Katheleen Ball and EE Burke
Samuel grabbed his pipe and tobacco and took a seat outside the cabin. He filled the pipe and lit it, breathing in deep. Something bad must have happened to that boy. He was too skittish about anyone getting too close or looking at him. He must have fallen prey to someone like Big Hans.
He’d heard initial splashing but now all was quiet. He emptied out his pipe and knocked on the door. He waited but Pat didn’t answer. Impatient and tired, Samuel walked into his cabin and stopped in his tracks. Pat had fallen asleep in the water but the disturbing part was Pat’s breasts showing above the water.
What the hell? He couldn’t help but stare. Pat was a she? He walked closer and yes, Pat was female all right, right down to her tiny toes. God, she was beautiful, and it was no wonder she didn’t want to bathe with anyone around. Who knew her dirty streaked hair was actually a beautiful, bright blonde? Grabbing the towel he called Pat’s name again. This time she stirred and her eyes widened in panic. He glanced away from her.
“I’m not looking. Just take the towel, dry off, and get dressed. I think we need to talk.”
She took the towel from him, and he turned his back to her. How the hell had this happened? Why would her father bring her to a logging camp of all places? Hadn’t he realized the danger? He’d have to get her down off the mountain and quick before anyone found out. The men would turn her into a camp whore in a flash. Growing up, he’d seen it happen plenty of times. He’d always had a firm rule of no women in his camp. He heard her getting dressed and all he could think of was her creamy, well-shaped breasts with dusky pink nipples. She was curvy, just the way he liked his women.
“I’m all dressed now, boss. Listen, I’m sorry for deceiving you but I didn’t think I had a choice. You’d have thrown me away when my Da died if you had known. It wasn’t my idea to live with you. I just wanted to do my job and be left alone. I planned to have the cabin my da started finished, but someone stole our money.”
August 10, 1870, Territory of the Five Civilized Tribes
Uk-tena crouched on metal rails with its nose pointed south, directly at the heart of the Tsa-la-gi Nation. Tonight it didn’t hiss or spew smoke, as usual, but lay silent as a predator anticipating a kill.
Jake crept along the dark side of the locomotive, which his people had named after a mythical serpent. No one believed the engine had special powers. Everyone knew it was just a machine. But like its namesake, the smoking dragon had been created as a tool of domination. Its owners were the real monsters—and they had to be stopped.
As clouds skated across the sky, light from a full moon struck the engine’s iron skin, turning it silver.
Jake crouched lower to make himself small, an impossible task when he was taller than most men, including the one in front of him. He stood out when he’d rather fit in.
Passing between two cars, he glimpsed a bonfire on the other side. Orange flames leapt above the heads of dancers, their writhing silhouettes casting eerie shadows over a patch of ground cleared for the celebration. Strains of fiddle music mixed with shouts of drunken revelry.
The railroad chief’s party had been underway since sunset and wouldn’t end anytime soon. The honored guests, members of the Cherokee Tribal Council, hadn’t attended, and they had warned their people to stay away. But there were always those happy to take advantage of free liquor.
Jake and Charley weren’t here to drink. They’d come to steal the payroll.
The rhythmic crunch of footsteps came from the other side of the train.
Charley halted. His black clothes and dark coloring concealed him, but Jake was close enough to see his cousin’s fingers curl around the handle of his revolver.
The gun slithered out of the holster.
Jake’s heart kicked in his chest. If his cousin started shooting with all these armed workers around, they’d both get killed. Of course, if they were caught stealing, they’d be hung from the nearest tree. Didn’t matter that they were on Cherokee land where the whites didn’t have jurisdiction. The railroad workers wouldn’t wait around for Indian patrols, or turn over their prisoners to Indian courts. His people didn’t recognize white courts, either.
In the Territory, laws were ignored, as were boundaries. That’s why he and Charley had no choice but to take extreme measures.
Holding his position, he peered beneath the train.
Denim-clad legs scissored past. As the footfalls faded, he released a slow breath.
By thunder, this job would be his last. After tonight, they ought to have adequate funds, and his outlaw days would be over.
“There, at the end, the fanciest car,” he whispered. “The workers said the owner brought the payroll with him.”
A moment later, Jake swung up onto the metal platform, taking care not to tread loudly, and eased the door open. The dark compartment remained quiet.
“No one here. I’ll cover the windows. You find a lamp.”
His cousin slipped past. A match rasped, followed by a sulfurous smell, then a soft glow filled the compartment.
Charley lifted the lamp and light splashed across his features, making a raised scar on his cheek more noticeable. He’d been struck in the face with a saber and the poorly healed injury pulled his mouth down in a permanent grimace. The worse scars, however, were the ones that couldn’t be seen.
Circling the room, Jake pulled down tasseled curtains rolled up on brass rods. The glass window reflected his grim expression. His aunt’s home had no glass for the windows. No fancy curtains. Her small parcel of land couldn’t mean that much to the railroad, yet the rich white men wanted it anyway. The People were justified in fighting to keep what belonged to them, by whatever means possible.
“Where do you suppose they stashed the money?” Charley rasped.
Jake scanned the oak-paneled car. Papers and maps were scattered across a desk positioned in front of bookcases. Behind, a partial wall concealed what he supposed were sleeping quarters. The last time they’d stolen the payroll, the money had been kept in a safe in the mail car. No sign of a safe in here.
“Maybe it’s in the desk.” He checked the drawers—locked—then ran his hands underneath, feeling for a release that might trigger a secret compartment. “Nothing. I’ll bet he keeps the key on him. We’ll have to pry it open.”
Pulling a knife, Jake went to work on the top drawer.
Charley flipped open the lid on a fancy cigar box and stuffed the contents inside his coat. He threw a frowning glance over his shoulder. “Hurry up. I hear something.”
From outside came a scrape on the metal platform.
Jake scrambled to his feet.
“Stay there. Distract them,” Charley commanded in a rough whisper. He pressed his back against the wall to the left of the door and pulled a knife from a sheath in his boot.
Jake shook his head. No bloodshed. That was the deal.
The knob turned.
A woman stepped inside, one with hair as bright as a sunset.
Recognition jolted through him.
He had only seen her from afar, but there was no mistaking her fiery crown. This was the same woman who’d been following the railroad for months on the arm of the man the workers call Chief.
Fear flickered across her face. Rather than screaming, as he expected, she leveled a stern look. “What are you doing in here? This is a private office.”
Charley eased up behind her, his lips pressed in a thin line.
Jake’s tensed. Charley wouldn’t harm a woman…
The knife flashed.
Confusion flickered across Redbird’s face at Jake’s cry.
The next second, Charley clapped a hand over her mouth and jerked her against him, putting the razor-sharp blade to her throat.
Jake placed his palms on the desktop, prepared to leap over and wrestle the weapon out of Charley’s hand. He checked himself. If he startled her, she might bolt, and his cousin’s ruthless expression made it clear she wouldn’t get away.
Redbird’s pale eyes rounded with terror.
“We have no need to hurt her,” Jake spoke calmly to his cousin in Tsa-la-gi. “We agreed, no bloodshed.”
Charley scowled and jerked his chin at the door. “Someone might follow.”
Jake forestalled further argument to peer outside. If one of the men came looking for her, it would make matters worse, and things were bad enough already. He hadn’t counted on anyone coming back to the car in the midst of a party, much less a woman.
No men lingered nearby and the only sounds were strains of music and drunken laughter.
He shut the door quietly. “Nobody followed. We can’t risk staying here to find the money. We’ll tie her up and get out of here.”
Charley flicked a dark glance at the petrified woman in his arms. “She’s seen us. She’ll ruin everything.”
“Only if they connect us with the other theft.”
“You know they will if she squawks.”
Redbird’s frightened eyes darted back and forth as they spoke what to her must sound like gibberish. She was smart to keep her wits about her, but it wouldn’t be long before she lost her composure and screamed for help.
“I’ll cut her throat and we can run. No one will be the wiser.” Charley made the threat as casually as if he were discussing the weather.
Jake’s gut twisted with revulsion at the suggestion. Kill a woman? Out of the question. Then again, they couldn’t let her go.
Charley flexed his wrist and the knife pressed closer to her throat where the skin was pale and soft. His cousin’s patience, which was never long, had come to end.
She’d run out of time.
Jake blurted out the only idea that came to mind. “Give her to me.”