Category Archives: Historical Romance

#WOTR18 #Review #Western #Historical – Smolder on a Slow Burn by Lynda J. Cox

Smolder on a Slow Burn

Allison Webster dreams of having an adventure like the characters in the books she loves. But there is no romance in being pursued by a man who wants her dead for educating the children of former slaves. Unlike the heroines she reads about she doesn’t have a trusty companion to rescue her…until she literally runs into A.J. Adams, a former Confederate cavalry officer. Now, she just has to convince A.J. he really is the honorable man and hero depicted in the dime novel she is reading.

Branded a “traitor” for more than ten years, scarred by harsh treatment in an inhumane prisoner of war camp, A.J. Adams wants revenge. Allison Webster’s arrival into his life provides the bait to destroy the men who murdered his wife and daughters and kidnapped his little brother. The men pursuing Allison are the very same men he has sworn to kill. Falling in love and admitting he might actually be a hero means surrendering his need for vengeance. Surrender is not part of A.J.’s battle strategy

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Smolder on a Slow Burn by Lynda J. Cox

I received this book from the author for an honest review.

I love Historical books, but I have never tried a Western Historical and jumped when given the chance. I mean you will never know until you try I right??

This book was interesting in that it interweaves real life history with a made-up hero and heroine.  We get to read about the Civil War while also having the author embellish stories to go with the history of the time.

We meet Allison as she is about to miss her train.  She is on the run from some bad men when a not so polite gentleman pulls her onto the train she is chasing after.  The two spend some tie together in an inappropriate way given she is a single woman without a chaperone.

AJ is stunned by the beauty he pulled in to his cargo railcar, but he can’t look at her.  Since his wife Cathy has passed he can’t get over everything especially the guilt that he is why she is gone.

The two ends up running for some bad guys when Allison’s past is spilled.  As the two are running they slowly discover the attraction they have plus the few stolen kisses makes it impossible to walk away from the other….especially after the tub scene.  That was one of the funniest parts of the book.  AJ was pretty determined, and Allison was not about to be tempted.  The following meal conversation about his planned seduction was funny too.  Allison is no wallflower like she claims and pretty much tells AJ the way it is and isn’t going to be.  Gotta love a strong woman!!!  When she tells him “It’s not sleeping that gets people into trouble. It’s what happens when they’re awake!”  so cracked me up!!  But then when AJ offers us his whole heart…. “Allison, I have nothing to offer you other then myself.  I am offering you my whole heart, all my love, and my unswerving loyalty.”  I did kinda swoon bit.   How the heck do you NOT!!!

I liked that both characters had secret and both characters had some of the same enemies and how it all intertwined together.

Lynda J. Cox

Once upon a time there was a little girl who said when she grew up, she was going to have dogs like Lassie, own horses, and live on a ranch just like the Ponderosa. Two out of three isn’t bad. If she can’t live on a ranch, Lynda J Cox writes about characters who do. She writes steamy westerns, what one reviewer called an authentic blend of Old West action and happily ever after romance.

Her favorite authors are Leigh Greenwood and LaVyrle Spencer.

You can contact Lynda on Facebook or through her website 

#Review #Historical #Vikings #KindleWorlds – The Bastard of Brittany (The Wolves of Brittany #3) by Victoria Vane

The Bastard of Brittany (World of de Wolfe Pack; The Wolves Of Brittany #3)

IT TAKES MORE THAN A KINGDOM TO MEND A HEART…

As the daughter of the king who vanquished Vikings from Brittany, Gwened of Poher has a legacy to protect but doing her duty has left her in a loveless childless marriage. Aside from the artistry of her needlework, her life feels meaningless.

A hardened warrior, Bjorn Vargrsson was impervious to pain, until the tragic loss of his wife and son left a gaping wound that refuses to heal. With prayers and sacrifices unheeded by the gods, he lives an empty existence

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I received this book from the author for an honest review.

As I read this book I Kept picturing the TV show Vikings because of the characters names and the whole Valhalla, Norsemen plus the raids…YES I Love it.

This book is about two broken and incomplete souls.  Bjorn is lost without his wife and children.  Gwened is lost because her Hugo, he betrothed, was killed in a Viking battle.

Gwened is forced in to a loveless marriage with Hugo’s younger brother and is basically just passing the time by.  When she hears of the Viking raids she runs to her sister, she is book 2 of the series, to see if she can help aid them.  She is stunned to hear her sister is married to one of the Vikings and WILLINGLY none the less!!  GASP right!!

Gwened and Bjorns have a soft truce and begin to respect one another.  When a night of passion soon turns into confusion, they are both left lost and lonely once again.

I loved the story but thought it might have been a little bit rushed toward the end of the story.  I would have liked to see more interaction between Bjorn nd Gwened’s husband over what would become of the lands.  But otherwise I loved the book and can’t wait for more!!

Victoria Vane is a bestselling award-winning author of smart and sexy romance. Her books have received many accolades to include the 2016 Red Carpet Award for Jewel of the East, 2014 RONE Award for Treacherous Temptations as well as Library Journal Best E-Book romance of 2012 for The Devil DeVere series. Victoria also writes romantic historical fiction as Emery Lee. Look for her new Highland saga coming summer of 2017.

 

#Review #PNR #Historical #Vampire – Caressed by Moonlight (Rulers of Darkness #1) by Amanda J. Greene @AmandaJGreene1

Caressed by Moonlight (Rulers of Darkness, #1)

Dorian Vlakhos is no ordinary aristocrat. He is a vampire king, who will do anything to save his clan from complete annihilation, before an ancient curse can claim his immortal life.

Penniless and orphaned, Victoria Kingston has nothing to bring to a marriage, yet she must shackle an unsuspecting gentleman into marriage by the end of the month or forfeit her rights as guardian of her younger sister. With the help of her dearest friend, Victoria begins her hunt, and vows to stay far away from the dark, mysterious, Dorian Vlakhos.

After meeting the beautifully innocent Miss Kingston, Dorian had to have her. He would do absolutely anything to make Victoria his. One sweet stolen kiss would bring them together while a force, more powerful than any vampire would bind them for all eternity. But treachery, war, and death rule Dorian’s dark world and Victoria would be fortunate to survive.

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Box set books 1-3 $2.99 – Amazon

I purchased this book.

Ok so I am a bit conflicted by this book.  I really liked it and I loved that it was set in a historical time period but there were inconstancies of the story that I feel should have been caught in ARC copies, proofreading, editing, etc.

Ok what I liked about the story was I felt like it was told in 2 sections.  We get the historical part of the story with our Prince Dorian falling for the orphaned Victoria.  I love historical books so I loved a PNR take on the ton and the balls.  I think they author did a great job with the light and airy story of them meeting and falling into the beginning stages of love.

The 2nd part of the story is when the real paranormal aspects take place.  Our hero is going to fight for his lands because someone is trying to over take his crown.  We see action and romance between our main characters.  We see Victoria accepting and still loving Dorian even though he is a vampire.  We also get to meet new characters who I see will be getting other books.

I really did like the story and I am a huge PRN reader.

My really big issue/inconsistency with the story is that of Victoria’s “transition”.   I hate spoilers so if you don’t want any then please scroll past….but we are told that the H/h only swap blood once and she will not have to drink blood again yet at her transition she needs his blood to sustain her during the transition?  Then we are told she will not be a vampire but will live as an immortal essentially BUUUUT after her transition she grows fangs????

I liked the story a lot and I will read book 2 because I bought the boxed set of books 1-3 but I am just hoping that these inconsistencies get cleaned up in further novels.

Amanda J. Greene creates paranormal romance for ravenous readers. She lives in Southern California, where she enjoys escaping the rewarding but hectic world of writing by spending time in the sun and sand with her military husband and their two dogs.

 

#review #NewRelease #Historical #Regency – THE MADAME CATCHES HER DUKE by Christina McKnight

 

Title: The Madame Catches Her Duke

Series: Craven House

Author: Christina McKnight

Genre: Historical Romance, Regency

Release Date: January 4, 2018

THERE’S A FINE LINE BETWEEN LOVE AND HATE.

Despite being thrown from her home and stripped of her place in society at a young age, Madame Marce Davenport is proud of what she’s accomplished with her family and the notoriously scandalous Craven House. Except it’s all built on a lie. When an arrogant duke strode into her home years ago, offering her a way to keep the brothel open, she agreed to his game of deception. But now that her siblings have found their happiness, Marce can finally live the life she’s always wanted: one that embraces the truth. And that means severing ties with the man who has claimed too many of her days—both in reality, and fantasy.

Rowan Delconti, the Duke of Harwich, has been angry for so long: at his father, at the woman who broke apart his parents’ marriage, and at the children who won is father’s love. He’s determined his mother won’t be unhappy again—even if it means pretending to be married to Marce, so that his mother will think he’s found love in his life. But the beautiful madame fuels his fire like no other, and the charade starts to feel all too real.

When Marce and Rowan’s secrets finally come to light, their passion may not be enough to staunch the hurt of the past. Can two people who were so wrong for each other, realize they’ve been right all along?

 

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Available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Haven’t started the series yet? The Thief Steals Her Earl
Available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

The Mistress Enchants Her Marquis
Available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

I receive this book from the author for an honest review.

I have been waiting for this book since we first met Marce!  I was so excited to finally get this book in my hands, so I could sit, and binge read it during a snowy day and evening.  This book was everything and then more then I could have hoped for.

Marce is the big sister who will do anything to make sure he siblings are well taken care of and provided for.  While doing this she is also keeping a huge secret from them regarding their mother and her past as the Madame of Craven House.  We know Marce has been seeing a dashing looking man and even warned her sisters away from this man but to finally get to know him….eeeeppppp so excited!!

However, once we got to KNOW the man was to not like the man.  His hate and need for revenge was crazy so I was wondering how in the heck Christina could make him likeable and even redeemable.  However, she does it and I felt my heart slowly melting for the Duke AKA Rowan AKA the blackmailer douche bag!!

Rowan lives his life by a black and white code.  EVERYTHING is in black and white so to see the Grey fringes that Marce lives in is not even thinkable.  Rowan has a lot of growing in this book as a person and as a man.  Marce has a lot of learning as well.  She learns that not all is what it seems and even the most confident man can be and will be broken at times.

I was so excited with how everything flowed with this book.  I loved Tobias and I especially loved Rowan’s mom.

Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since.

Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books…don’t forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.

You can visit her online at the following places: Website Facebook | Twitter Goodreads | Amazon

 

 
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#WOTR #Review #Historical #Regency #Giveaway #ReleaseDay – Theodora, Lady Archer’s Creed Book 1 by Christina McKnight

Theodora (Lady Archer's Creed #1)

Friendship…

Lady Theodora Montgomery departed Miss Emmeline’s School of Education and Decorum for Ladies of Outstanding Quality to attend her first London Season—her three dearest friends by her side. With her sharp wit and skill on the archery field, Theo is far more interested in winning a large purse prize than securing a husband. But when she is unmasked on the tourney grounds, her face exposed to all, she fears her identity and days spent gallivanting around London will cause not only her undoing, but the downfall of her friends as well.

Loyalty…

Mr. Alistair Price, heir to the elderly Viscount Melton, arrived in London with his eight younger siblings in tow. He is charged with keeping his family name above reproach until the Season starts and his sister, Miss Adeline Price, is presented to society—though that proves far more difficult than Alistair ever expected when he discovers his rebellious sister climbing down the side of their townhouse and scurrying off to Whitechapel for an archery tournament. His focus remains on saving his family from the certain ruin and disgrace Adeline’s actions invited—until Alistair catches sight of another female archer, her arrow connecting with far more than the center of her target.

And honor above all…

With Theodora’s future—and that of her friends—in jeopardy, will she agree to a marriage devoid of affection, or risk everything for the man who won her heart?

More about the Lady Archer’s Creed Series:

A love of archery brings four young girls together to form The Lady Archer’s Creed. Through their mutual love of the sport, they solidify an unbreakable bond, and each woman has a unique quality that adds to their dynamic friendship:

Theodora, Lady Archer’s Creed Series (Book One)
Lady Theodora with her sharp mind and love of academics becomes the perfect archery coach. Despite being the last to join their group, and the obvious outcast, she will risk her future for her friends.

Georgina, Lady Archer’s Creed Series (Book Two)
Lady Georgina makes the perfect financier. The forgotten daughter of a wealthy duke, she seeks to belong to something—or someone—by any means necessary.

Adeline, Lady Archer’s Creed Series (Book Three)
Miss Adeline is a natural leader. Having grown up in a large and often spirited family, she now allows no one to place her in the shadows.

Josephine, Lady Archer’s Creed Series (Book Four)
Lady Josephine, having a sweet and impressionable nature, strives to please everyone—and keep their bond intact, even after they return to London for the Season.

Adeline, Georgie, Theo, and Josie live each day by the Lady Archer’s Creed, which they developed during their school days at Miss Emmeline’s School of Education and Decorum for Ladies of Outstanding Quality. “Friendship, loyalty, and honor above all” is their mantra. Now, as they face the challenges that come with adulthood, the creed is more important than ever.

HERE

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I received this book from the author for an honest review.

EEEP!!  I love being introduced to new words and new series.  This series is going to be a fun one for sure.  The series is about 4 Sister from Another Misters who meet at boarding school.  We learn all about the bonds of sisterhood while in boarding school and then we see them in the first season of the Ton.  Each girl captures your heart and you want to know about them for sure.  Theo was a great start because we meet her and fall in love with her in Christina’s other book The Thief Steals Her Earl.  Do you need to read this book to understand Theo’s story? No but it’s a great love match so you might want to pick it up after!!

Theo and Adeline are the two leaders …Adeline is the bossy leader but Theo is the brains of the group.  They are thick as thieves.  When Adeline introduces Theo to her brother she allows him to think she has a gentleman caller when in fact she doesn’t.  So, the domineering older brother goes to yell at the caller to fall face first into this beauty with a smart mind and faster whip of an opinion.

Alistair is stunned that Theo can best him in everything from archery to how to deal with his sister Adeline.  When he steals a kiss, he realizes he is in way too deep.  He must marry off his sibling not get married himself!!  Theo is so confused about everything.  She is attracted to Alistair but she can’t be.  He is the devil Adeline complains about.  He is “their enemy”.

When some secret are let out about what the girls have been doing …..inappropriate things at that, Theo sacrifices herself for her friends but Alistair realizes he can’t let this woman go.   The ending chapters seem to fly and we are left on the edge of our seats to see who Alistair and Theo can have an HEA together.

Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since. Currently, she focuses on Historical Romance.

Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books…don’t forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.

 

#PreOrder – Godsend by Sable Hunter @huntersable

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Now available for pre-order!   

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Godsend is the first novel in the Hell Yeah! Heritage series. If you ever wondered where those
McCoy men came from…these historical novels will take you to their beginnings. Deeply sensual stories of romance and adventure, they will capture your imagination and your heart.
History is definitely worth repeating.

Thrust from his home, Austin McCoy travels west to build a new life for himself in the wilds of Texas. Civilization has not yet arrived to the wilderness where he settles and his nearest neighbor is more than two days’ journey through Indian territory alive with bear, cougar and wolves. While difficult, carving out an existence amidst these dangers is not what weighs heavily on his heart. With nothing and no one to share his days, Austin is lost. The answer to his prayers comes from a very unexpected source…

Jolie Dumas has also been torn from the only home she has ever known. The beloved daughter of a plantation owner and his quadroon mistress, she is horrified to be sold into slavery after the death of her parents. Bought and paid for, she is chained and walked from New Orleans to Texas. Before she can be delivered to her master, the slave trader is killed and Jolie escapes. Alone and vulnerable, she seeks a safe place to hide, not knowing the sanctuary she finds may end up being the one place she truly belongs.

When Austin opens his heart and home to the beautiful woman, he has no idea the future she faces. Knowing what awaits her if anyone finds out the truth, Jolie hides her identity from him. Having been betrayed before by those she trusted, she has no idea that in Austin’s eyes she could not be more perfect.
She is his Godsend.

godsend teaser

EXCERPT

“Come on, Sandy. Time to lock the door and call it a night.” Austin McCoy urged his dog to join him inside. “We’ve had a hard day. Time to rest.”

The big hound stepped over the threshold, making for the hearth and flopping down in his usual spot.

“We made good headway today. I think we’ve cleared another acre, soon we’ll have enough room for a few more cows.”

Sandy’s only response was to roll over.

“Are you hungry? I’ll hang this pot of stew over the fire to warm it. Tomorrow, I think maybe we’ll put some corn in the coals to roast.”

Austin’s voice rang in the empty space. Taking off his hat, he chunked it on the table. Yes, he was going crazy. The only live creature he had to talk to was his dog and Sandy was a poor conversationalist. He sank down in a ladder back chair with a cowhide bottom and let his gaze rove around the small log cabin he’d built with his own two hands. “Home, sweet home.” The simple dogtrot structure was made from pine logs he’d cut and stripped of their bark. After he’d peeled them smooth, he’d notched the logs on the corners, then set them together, filling the cracks with a mixture of red clay and pine straw. This humble abode was nowhere near as fancy as the home he’d left in Tennessee, but Austin was no longer welcome in his family home. After his mother died, his father had remarried. When his young wife’s wandering eye had fallen on Austin, his father quickly decided it was time for his only son to venture west and make his own fortune. Stephen McCoy had given Austin his inheritance early, wishing him well and sending him on his way.

The lure of adventure was strong and the prospect of his own land in the rich territory of Texas had been some consolation for walking off and leaving everything he’d ever known and held familiar. Now, six months since he’d broken ground six miles south of the spot the Indians called Red Mound, he was fast beginning to regret the decision. Hard work and the dangers he encountered daily were not the cause of Austin’s deep depression. No, it was the isolation. The loneliness. The complete and utter void that seemed to surround him, made Austin want to throw his fists in the air and rail at the heavens. What he wouldn’t give for someone to talk to, someone to hold at night–someone to love.

Austin longed for a wife.

How many nights had he lain alone in his bed and ached for release? He’d not been with many women, but since becoming a man he’d not gone so long without feeling the sweet relief that only a woman could give. And what scared him more than anything, was that there was no end in sight to this exile. Months and years of loneliness stretched before him. How would he endure it? Where would he find a wife in this wilderness? He’d made the long journey to Nacogdoches, only to find women as scarce a commodity as silk. And if there was one, he was no prize. His mind returned to his home in Tennessee, the women he’d courted, the plans he’d made. All of that was gone. What did he have to offer a lady?

Only love, only to be cherished.

Running a frustrated hand through his long hair, he stood up in disgust. “No use wishing for something I can’t have, is there boy?”

Feeling rested enough to feed his hunger pains, Austin hung the cast-iron pot on the hook over the flames. While he was there, he stoked the fire and added another log. Sandy raised up and cocked his ear. “Did you hear something outside?” Austin grew still to listen also. He heard howling in the distance, but nothing out of the ordinary. “Just that big old timber wolf and his pack, nothing unusual.” Sandy lifted his nose to take a whiff, giving Austin a long look from his limpid brown eyes.

“You want to check it out?”

Just voicing the question gave them both a jolt of energy. The dog and man both rose to head for the door. Austin picked up his rifle, just to be on the safe side. “Let’s go see what we can find.”

…In the small lean-to, full of tools, Jolie nestled down in the straw. She was scared and hungry, but at least she had shelter of a sort, enough to give her a chance at a few hours of sleep. The scratches on her body made her feel raw and achy. As she closed her eyes, the sorrow in her heart knew no bounds. With no food, no money, and nowhere to go, Jolie didn’t think she would make it. She’d tried to find some berries to eat, to no avail. The only sustenance to be found was the raw turnip she held in her hands, which she would attempt to eat as soon as she rested enough to have the energy. As she laid her head against the rough wood, Jolie tried to reason with herself about all that happened. What had she done to deserve this? Was she less than her Aunt Lisette or Grandmother Dora? Was she not a human being like they were?

Jolie hugged herself and tried to reason the mystery of slavery. All that her Grandmere and mother had told her, the whispers that she’d heard from Eula and her papa, all the things that she’d seen while at Oak Hill came back to her. The tiny cabins the workers had lived in, how they lined up for water and food to be doled out to them, the men who guarded them on horseback with dogs at their sides–all of the things that she’d chosen to ignore and not see. If she didn’t acknowledge the injustice, it wasn’t real. Closing her weary eyes, she knew there would be no more avoiding the travesty. The nightmare had become her reality.

…Sandy took off ahead, his nose to the ground. Austin followed closely, his rifle loaded and ready. Not too many days ago, he’d seen a panther. He had no wish to kill the big black cat, but it could take down one of his oxen, not to mention a full grown man. Austin cocked his ear toward the area where the three head of cattle were penned. There was no unrest, so he didn’t think there was a predator about. When they came even with the shed, Sandy veered over to nose around. The closer he came, the faster he walked, tail in the air. “What is it, boy?” Austin asked. “Something there?” He figured it was an armadillo or a possum, hopefully not a skunk. The last run-in the mutt had with a skunk, Austin had dipped him in the creek four times, scrubbing him with lye soap until they both could tolerate the stench.

With only the light of the moon to guide him, Austin drew closer to the shed where Sandy was now nosing his way past the door that had somehow been left ajar. Hearing the dog’s whimper, his curiosity rose to a high level. His animal wasn’t reacting the way he would expect if there was prey or some type of threat. No, Austin was confused to see Sandy’s tail begin to wag. “What have you found?”

Coming close, he pulled the door open a bit wider so the moon’s rays could filter into the near darkness. “What?” he whispered. At first he thought the intruder was a man. The hat pulled down over the face and the jacket obscured his view, but the long hair and bare legs sticking out from what appeared to be a dress of some kind convinced him otherwise. He blinked once or twice. Were his eyes deceiving him? Perhaps this was some kind of cruel joke that his mind was playing on him. This was a woman. Going to his knees, he knelt by the small trespasser. “Ma’am? Are you all right?” He shook her shoulder gently.

The touch jerked Jolie awake. All she could think was that Coffi or the bear had her. A scream erupted from her lips before her eyes focused on the face in front of her.

The sudden noise caused Sandy to bark. Austin sat back on his hills, giving the girl a little space. “It’s okay, I’m not going to hurt you.”

Before, Jolie would never have thought to fight for herself, but after what she’d been through, having been sold into slavery, defending herself had become second nature. But without a weapon or light enough to see her surroundings, all she could think about was running. Jumping to her feet, she tried to figure out a way to get past the big man who blocked her way. “Please, just let me go. I’ll leave. I promise.”

Leave? He took in her tattered clothing and bare feet. She was so small. “You don’t have to leave. Come into the cabin where it’s safe. Aren’t you hungry?”

The turnip she’d taken from his garden still lay at her feet. “Yes.” Could she risk it? There was the possibility this man could hurt her, but what choice did she have? “If you’ll let me rest for a little while, I’ll be on my way soon.”

Austin didn’t know what to think. “Are you alone? Where did you come from? Those questions and more were racing through his mind. He rose and offered her his hand. “The ground’s rough. Do you want me to carry you?”

Jolie would’ve laughed if she’d felt more confident. “No. I’ll be fine. I’ve walked a long way already.”

He couldn’t fathom what she was saying. Knowing what lay beyond his small clearing, Austin was flabbergasted to find this tiny female seeming to be at the mercy of the world. “Please, come in and let me check your feet and get you something to eat. Sandy and I were just about to have supper. Somehow, he knew you were out here.”

“He did?” Jolie laid her hand on the big dog’s head. “He’s soft.” The memory of the vicious dogs used on the plantation to keep the slaves in line caused her to jerk her hand back. “He won’t bite me?”

“No, he won’t bite.” Austin was anxious to get his guest inside. “We’re glad to have some company, aren’t we, Sandy?”

His dog answered with a bark, which made Jolie smile. “Okay, for a little while.”

As Austin led his guest back to the cabin, he tried to make her feel more comfortable. “My name is Austin McCoy. What’s yours?”

“Jolie.” She answered automatically, then immediately regretted it. Would her buyer look for her? Did he know her name? She really had no way of knowing one way or the other.

“Jolie.” Austin said it, savoring the way her name sounded on his lips. “That’s a beautiful name. Where are your folks? Were you attacked by Indians?” The thought of her just barely escaping with her life made his blood run cold.

“We were attacked. My parents are dead.” Both of those things were true, albeit unrelated.

“I’m so sorry.”

When he opened the door to the cabin, the smell of food caused her to sway. She hadn’t realized how weak she’d become.

Austin shot out a hand to stabilize her. “How long since you’ve eaten.”

“A couple of days.” She tried to remember. Coffi hadn’t really cared whether the women had eaten or not.

As soon as he got Jolie inside, Austin began to do everything he could do to make her welcome. “Here, sit here.” He gave her the more comfortable chair, a rocker that sat next to the fireplace. “And water, let me get you some water.” Moving to the bucket of well-water he kept on the small cabinet in what passed for his kitchen, Austin ladled a cup full and carried it to her.

Taking the water, she gratefully took a drink. “Thank you.” It tasted so good, she greedily drank it all.

“I’ll get you more.” He hastily refilled the cup, then found a bowl to dip up some of the stew. “This is rabbit, but I’ve added some potatoes and onions I raised in the garden. I think it’s edible.”

“You’re very kind.” Jolie sat the cup on the floor and raised her hands to grasp the clay dish with the tin spoon.

“My pleasure,” Austin said and he meant it. Even by the light of the kerosene lamp, he couldn’t make out her features. The hat cast a shadow over her face, but from what he could see of her neck and arms they were covered with mud and numerous scratches. “I think I’ve got an herb salve that might make those sore places on your face and arms feel better.”

Jolie heard him, she just couldn’t stop eating long enough to answer.

Raised a lady, she managed not to shovel the food between her lips–just barely.

It did Austin’s heart good to watch her eat, but he couldn’t stop worrying about what would happen to her if she left again. “Where will you go? Do you have relatives?”

Swallowing the last delicious bite, she licked her lips, then hung her head. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do.” Just the thought of trying to find a place to live, some way of making a living, was more than she could comprehend.

Austin wanted to offer help. He wanted to do something. Noticing again her tattered clothing, he spoke quickly. “Do you have any other clothes?” He hadn’t seen any type of satchel, but she might have left it at the lean-to.

Jolie glanced down at the rag she wore. “No, I must look a mess.” What could she say? “I ran to get away.”

He nodded. “I’m sure you were terrified. Would you like to wash up and change? I could pour up some water for you.”

Cleaning herself sounded like heaven. “Please, yes. But I have nothing else to wear.”

“I’m sure I can find something.” He rose to find her anything of his that would come close to fitting. “A shirt, I’ll find a shirt for you. As small as you are, the length will be almost like a gown.”

As Jolie sat there by the fire, her belly full, with a dog at her feet, she was transfixed by the big man with the long honey blond hair moving around the room, doing his best to make her comfortable. As she waited, she trembled. Residual shock from all she’d endured still echoed throughout her body.

“Jolie, you can come and clean up.” He snapped his finger. “Sandy, get up. We shall wait outside. When you finish, we’ll return.”

He gave her a kind smile, then left her alone. As soon as he was gone, she glanced around. After Oak Hill and even the bungalow, his home was simple and barren. But for the first time in weeks, she felt safe. Taking the rag he’d given her to use, she dipped it in the lukewarm water and began to clean the mud and blood from her body.

Outside, Austin leaned against the side of his cabin, flummoxed by all that had happened. How different this evening had turned out to be than the one he’d envisioned. For a little while, he was no longer alone. When a smile played upon his lips, his selfish feelings shamed Austin. How could he take pleasure when this woman had suffered so much loss?

Standing in the darkness, he kept an eye on Sandy who explored a few feet away. “Don’t go far, boy.” Austin was aware of the dangers that lurked in the darkness. The knowledge that Jolie had been exposed to those same dangers and soon would be again caused a shudder to rip through him. How could he let her return to the wilderness? The very idea was intolerable. He’d have to accompany her to a settlement, see that she was safely delivered to…his mind clamored for answer. Perhaps the Spanish mission in Nacogdoches could offer her sanctuary until she could find someone or…

“Mr. McCoy, Austin? You can come back in now.”

Her soft voice broke into his thoughts. “Very well.”

“Sandy.” He called his companion and they reentered the cabin. Aware she had changed into his clothing, he cautiously let his gaze move up her body, starting at her small feet, which were now clean from the mud that had been caked on them. By the time his eyes climbed to her face, Austin was speechless. He’d never seen a more beautiful woman. Her skin was the color of gardenias, and her eyes were a purplish blue that reminded him of a delphinium flower that had grown in his mother’s garden. The hat was gone and now he could see she had dark hair which fell to the middle of her back in long, loose curls…and her lips, her lips were the color of a pomegranate. Her beauty almost brought him to his knees.

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Sable Hunter is a New York Times, USA Today bestselling author of nearly 50 books in 7 series. She writes sexy contemporary stories full of emotion and suspense. Her focus is mainly cowboy and novels set in Louisiana with a hint of the supernatural. Sable writes what she likes to read and enjoys putting her fantasies on paper. Her books are emotional tales where the heroine is faced with challenges. Her aim is to write a story that will make you laugh, cry and swoon. If she can wring those emotions from a reader, she has done her job. Sable resides in Austin, Texas with her two dogs. Passionate about all animals, she has been known to charm creatures from a one ton bull to a family of raccoons. For fun, Sable haunts cemeteries and battlefields armed with night-vision cameras and digital recorders hunting proof that love survives beyond the grave. Welcome to her world of magic, alpha heroes, sexy cowboys and hot, steamy to-die-for sex. Step into the shoes of her heroines and escape to places where right prevails, love conquers all and holding out for a hero is not an impossible dream

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