The Cowboy Who Came Calling by Linda Broday – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Linda Broday who is celebrating today’s release of The Cowboy Who Came Calling, the second book in her Texas Heroes series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a copy of the first book in the series, Knight on the Texas Plains.

He’ll do what it takes
To win
Her heart

Glory Day may be losing her vision, but that doesn’t mean she’ll ever stop fighting. Determined to provide for her struggling family, she confronts an outlaw with a price on his head. But when a mysterious cowboy gets between her and her target, Glory accidentally shoots him instead. Flustered, she has no option but to take the handsome stranger home to treat his wounds.

Former Texas Ranger Luke McClain didn’t plan to fall in love, but there’s no denying the strength of Glory’s will or the sweetness of her heart. But Glory’s been burned before, and Luke will have to reach into the depths of his own battered soul to convince her to take a chance…

And trust that love is worth fighting for.

Enjoy an Excerpt

A light touch on Glory’s shoulder gave her a start. The hand surely belonged to Luke, for only he could loosen this flurry inside. She blinked several times, cursing the inability to see what he held. At last the item came into view.

A toothbrush. A real one.

Glory whirled. Every well-planned, scathing remark vanished, not even the mere footprint of one remained in her head. She cradled the treasure with wonder.

“You hankered for one of these the first time I saw you in the emporium. I also recall how you had to bite your tongue to keep from giving those girls their comeuppance.” Quiet challenge lay beneath Luke’s words. He dared her to refuse something she so desired. If she could.

Moral indignation that had burned so hotly before deserted her. “I thought you didn’t notice me that day. You appeared quite taken with the…other patrons.”

“Oh, I noticed.”

In a Monday that held more twists and turns than a dog’s hind leg, his barely audible reply and intent stare added yet more bewilderment. Why did he have to go and make her forget her outrage? Awfully difficult to harbor a grudge when he seemed intent on filling her head with hope.

She stared at the object in her palm, afraid it would fade into thin air as the genie in the Arabian Nights had. Fairy tales were for children, not grown women who knew better. McClain couldn’t be Aladdin—unless he whipped out a magic carpet. This night she wouldn’t rule out anything.

“Say something, Glory.” Hope gave her a sharp poke.

Patience grinned. “If you wanna kiss him, we’ll hide our eyes.”

Hell’s bells! If she didn’t die of mortification, it would be a sheer miracle.

“I know you want to,” Patience crowed. “Leastways that’s what you wrote in your private book.”

“What kind of woman would pass up a kiss?” Luke raised her chin with the lightest of nudges.

Her legs threatened to buckle. Powerless in the spell of his gaze, she marveled at the rakish curve of his mouth. The essence of him wrapped around, over, and inside her as she gladly stepped onto his magic carpet.

One more kiss wouldn’t hurt anything.

A sudden scurry of feet seemed in the distance. Glory’s ears pounded. His frenzied heartbeat jumped through the fabric of his shirt. She sank into the curve of his arm because he stole her will to step back.

The kiss that began with tender softness deepened. She shuddered under his caress, a piece of clay in the hands of a master.

Her feverish skin throbbed with some strange need she didn’t comprehend. She only knew if she died in his arms this second, she would depart the world in a state of bliss.

When he lifted his head at last, she would have fallen without his steadying support. She rested her face on his broad chest for a moment to still the dizzying whirl.

“Thank you.” His murmur came faint as a breeze through willows. His ragged breath ruffled her hair.

A few seconds later, she remembered where they stood and the liberties she’d allowed. Never before had she been so carefree. Or so warm. “Good heavens!” She patted her hair, giving the room a sweeping glance, relieved to find it empty. “I don’t know what came over me.”

“Whatever it was, I hope it remembers the way back.”

She groaned inwardly and lowered her eyes before he saw the answer. For the cost of a handful of wind she would stand before the preacher with him.

Darn him and his magic carpet!

Fact remained, no amount of wishing could erase the truth. Her father left…and so had her mother, though each in a different way. At the end of the day, she could put faith only in herself.
What hand of fate had flung him into her life? The man seemed to take extraordinary liberty in assaulting her with his presence at every turn—with no intention of staying.

“I need to ask where you got the money to pay off our note—and buy all this.” The pain inside made her voice sound cold.

“Will it matter?”

Glory wished for things that could never be. To stifle yearnings that swept her along like a dandelion in a sudden gust would take more will than she possibly had. And even more impossible…blocking the knowledge that she could forgive all else as long as he promised to never leave. She gripped the toothbrush. “I must know.”

“In my own time.” He brushed her cheek lightly with a fingertip.

Only after she could do a sight more than melt did she dare raise her eyes. “You’ve involved us in whatever it is you do.”

“Fair enough. First tell me what you were doing with your esteemed Dr. Dalton.”

Anger put her on familiar ground. She rested her hands on her hips and jutted her chin defiantly. Magic carpet rides were for damsels without obligations and those who could afford to daydream. “He’s not my anything. And I don’t have to justify it. Don’t let us keep you from wherever it is you need to mosey on to.”

“Fire and damnation! I’m trying to help.”

About the Author:At a young age, LINDA BRODAY discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. After years of writing romance, it’s still tall rugged cowboys that spark her imagination. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold. She resides in the Texas Panhandle where she’s inspired every day.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, or IndieBound.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To Marry a Texas Outlaw by Linda Broday – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Linda Broday who is celebrating the recent release of To Marry a Texas Outlaw, the third book in her Man of Legend series. Read our review of the book here and enter the giveaway at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of To Love a Texas Ranger.

Three Brothers. One Oath.
No Compromises.
The MEN of LEGEND

The Outlaw
Outlaw Luke Weston survives by his wits. On the run for a murder he didn’t commit, the last thing he needs is to go looking for more trouble. But when Luke stumbles across a fiercely beautiful woman struggling against two heavily armed men, it’s obvious that trouble has found him.

After all, he never could resist a damsel in distress.

Josie Morgan’s distressed, all right—and hopping mad. She has no idea why she’s been kidnapped…or who she is…or why her body melts for the mysterious gunslinger who saved her life. But as the lost memories come tumbling back together, Josie is faced with the stark reality of why she and Luke can never be…even as her heart is telling her she will always be his.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Lawmen surrounded the wagon and forced them to stop.

“Morning, gentlemen,” Luke drawled. “Mind getting out of our way?”

“We’re looking for a woman.” The old sheriff had a crooked nose that must’ve been broken countless times.

“The only one I’ve seen is—”

“Me. His wife,” Rose interrupted and gazed with what she hoped was adoration up at Luke. “Don’t be shy saying it, sweetheart. But it’s still sort of new, I reckon.” She cupped his jaw and turned to the riders. “You see, we were married two weeks ago and we’re on our honeymoon. My darling sugarplum promised to take me to Fort Worth.”

She pressed her lips to his in a long, searing kiss. He didn’t respond for a moment, then shock and thrilling tingles rippled over her as he kissed her back. When she parted her mouth, he slipped his tongue inside as bold as you please. His hand curled just under her breast and sent waves of aching hunger through her.

“Ahem,” one of lawmen said. “We need a word if you don’t mind.”

“Oh, dear sir, but we do mind,” she murmured against Luke’s mouth. “Very strenuously.”

“Damn, woman,” Luke whispered. “Aren’t you overdoing it?”

“Me?” she argued low. “What was the tongue for?”

“Added effect.” His eyes held a devilish gleam.

“Sorry, ma’am,” another of the posse tried. “Give us a quick word and we’ll be on our way.”

Luke raised his head. “My wife Rose is very…passionate. Why are you looking for this other woman?”

“She murdered her husband last night, mister.”

Rose gasped. “My heavens, how horrible. Did she shoot him?”

“Oh no, ma’am, nothing that tame,” said the lawman with the mole. “She gutted him.”

“Where did this take place?” Luke asked, nuzzling Rose’s neck.

“Doan’s Crossing.”

Rose stiffened in panic.

“Careful,” Luke whispered. “Just a little longer.”

“Do you know her name by chance?” Rose asked quietly.

“Josie. Josie Morgan,” the man answered. “From the description, she’s the spitting image of you, ma’am.”

She shivered even as Luke’s arm tightened around her. Could she have done something like that? Was she a murderess?

“If we happen to spot her, we’ll report it to the first lawman,” Luke promised. “Now, if you don’t mind, we have somewhere to be and my wife, bless her sweet soul, is a very impatient woman.” He winked at the posse. “You fellows remember what it was like to be newly married, don’t you?”

A murmur of agreement came from the group.

Rose glanced down and her heart pounded to see the duster had slipped, exposing a big portion of her bloody skirt. Slowly, so as not to draw the lawmen’s gaze, she tried to tug the shield back into place.

“Say, don’t I know you, mister?” One of the lawmen in the back, a younger man, moved forward, staring at Luke. “What’s your name?”

Rose held her breath as Luke’s hand inched slowly down toward his Colt. Desperate to draw the riders’ attention, she loosened the top buttons of her dress and moved the fabric aside. “My goodness, I’m so hot!” She touched her cheek with a fingertip and drew it painstakingly down the long column of her throat, past her collarbone and into her cleavage. The young lawman swallowed hard.

“Name’s Jones. I’m from Tascosa,” Luke drawled. “The town’s wild and woolly but it’s where I met my beautiful Rose and tied the knot.”

“I never thought I’d ever find such a handsome man to give me a second look.” Rose batted her eyelashes. “Ours is a match made in heaven.”

“I must be mistaken.” The young man turned aside, mumbling to himself.

The hawk-nosed marshal leaned over. “There’s a lot of blood on your dress, ma’am. What happened?”

Panic raced through Rose. “Blood? Oh, good heavens no!” She forced a giggle. “This is nothing but red mud. My mama always complained about the North Texas red dirt and was never able to get it to wash out of anything.”

The marshal’s white brow lifted in apparent skepticism.

Luke quietly added, “My wife likes to make love in the…uh, creek. It’s really embarrassing to talk about.”

She patted his vest. “Sweetheart, these men don’t have time to be gossiping like that! They simply have to find that Morgan woman before she kills again.”

The men shook their heads, chuckling, but one leaned forward for a better view.

“Sorry to have held you up.” The old sheriff touched the brim of his hat and the group galloped off, kicking up a cloud of dust around the wagon.

Luke jiggled the reins and the team began to move. “What the hell was that back there?”

Her spine stiffened. “What do you mean?”

“Attacking me like that.”

“Wait one minute. If I recall, you didn’t appear to object.”

“You enjoyed every second of that,” Luke accused.

“And you didn’t?”

Luke glanced back to check on the lawmen. “Where did that performance come from?”

“I noticed a spark of recognition in that young one’s eyes and I knew I had to save you. He was a step away from arresting you.” She thought he’d at least be grateful for her efforts.

“Don’t ever try to save me again.” Luke’s voice held a sharp edge. “I’ll only get you hurt—or dig you a grave.”

About the Author: At a young age, Linda Broday discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award. She resides in the Texas Panhandle and is inspired every day.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Books-A-Million, or IndieBound

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Five Things Readers Might Not Know About Me by Linda Broday – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Linda Broday who is celebrating the release of Knight on the Texas Plains, the first book in the Texas Heroes series. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the book (US only).

Five Things Readers Might Not Know About Me

Some authors really don’t enjoy sharing personal things and you can include me in that bunch. But, I’m about to really open up so get ready. You’re about to learn Linda Broday’s secrets.

1. My grandfather was a moonshiner. He practiced the art for a long time…and got caught. He spent some time in jail around 1918. My dad was only 5 years old at the time. My grandmother used to tell the story how on Saturday she’d dress the kids up in their Sunday best, hitch up the wagon and drive into town. One by one, she’d lift each kid up to the bars to talk to their father. Then she’d go back home and wait for the next Saturday. I think he served about 6 months. But even so he continued making moonshine.

2. I’m a teensy-weensy bit OCD. I’m not proud of it but it is what it is. I really, really can’t stand wrinkles in the bed. When I was young and my little sister used to sleep with me, I’d wake her up in the middle of the night to make the bed. Then, we’d crawl back under the covers and sleep. I’m a lot better now. I still don’t like wrinkles but I can tolerate them better. I’ve given the heroine of my May 2018 release the same flaw. You’ll like her. She’s a great person. Kinda like me.

3. I’m an occasional wine drinker and, when I do imbibe, it’s white Moscato. That stuff is so good. And bring me a margarita on the rocks from time to time and I’m a happy camper. The rest of it you can keep.

4. I love the ocean and wish I lived near the water, not 672 miles inland. Whenever I get a chance to go, I stand for hours smelling the air and listening to the waves. A deep peace seeps into my soul and I feel as though I’ve come home. The ocean is such a special place for me.

5. I’ve been homeless twice in my life. The first time I was very young and I lived in a tent with my parents and three siblings. That should tell you how poor we were. I was about five or six when we moved into a real house. The second time was following the 1979 tornado in Wichita Falls where we lived. Going through that and barely surviving is a story for another time. The worse was in the year following when we didn’t have a home and bounced around from relative to relative with no place to put my things. I felt so lost and alone.

He’ll do whatever it takes
To keep them safe

Duel McClain has lost everything he’s ever loved: his wife, his son, his sense of self. But when a strange twist of fate—and a poker game he’ll never forget—leaves an innocent little girl in his care, Duel vows to defend his new family to his very last breath. If only he knew a single thing about taking care of babies…

Just as Duel swears his life can’t get any more complicated, a beautiful woman stumbles into the light of his campfire, desperate for help. Jessie Foltry is hungry, tired, and running for her life. She agrees to help Duel care for the child in exchange for his protection, even as she fights to guard her broken heart. But Duel will do whatever it takes to make Jessie see that the Texas plains have more than one kind of knight, and perhaps their salvation is closer than either of them could have dreamed…

About the Author: At a young age, Linda Broday discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award. She resides in the Texas Panhandle and is inspired every day.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

The Heart of a Texas Cowboy by Linda Broday – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Linda Broday who is celebrating the upcoming release of her newest book The Heart of a Texas Cowboy, the 2nd book of her Men of Legend series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.

Three Brothers. One Oath.
No Compromises.
The MEN of LEGEND

The Cowboy
One bullet is all it takes to shatter Houston Legend’s world. He swore he’d never love again, but with the future of the Lone Star Ranch on the line, he finds himself at the altar promising to love and cherish a woman he’s never met—a woman whose vulnerable beauty touches his heart.

All Lara Boone wants is a name for her baby. She never expected to fall in love with her own husband—or any man—after the heartache she’s endured. Yet when her troubled past catches up with them, Houston will move heaven and earth to protect his bride…and discover depths to a marriage of convenience neither realized could be theirs.

Enjoy an Excerpt

With night wrapped around her like a cloak, Lara hummed while she washed the dishes and put everything away.

Houston sat on the ground with Gracie, his back against his saddle. The babe lay on his chest with his hand patting the small back. He caught Lara looking and winked as boldly as some scoundrel. Heat rose to her cheeks. She lowered her gaze and made quick work of the dishes.

“Do you want me to take Gracie to her bed?” Lara asked, joining him.

“If you can pry open her fist to get my vest out of it. For such a little thing, she’s sure got a grip.”

Houston was so near his soft breath fanned her cheek. Her pulse raced. This man she’d married invaded every thought. He’d shown kindness and caring and brought hope back from the grave where she’d buried it.

He laid a hand on her arm. “You’ll be back?”

“Yes. I won’t be long.”

“I’ll only be in camp a little while,” Houston said, yawning. “Have to spell the other drovers.” At her questioning glance, he explained, “Everyone shares guard duty, me included.”

She nodded and hurried to lay Gracie in her crib next to her crib beside the chuck wagon. With her precious daughter sleeping soundly, she returned to the fire to find no sign of Houston. Her heart sank with disappointment. She’d missed him, missed her goodnight kiss that he’d begged for.

Houston called quietly from the deep shadows. “Over here, Lara.”

Following his voice, Lara discovered him leaning against the trunk of a mesquite tree. Rays from the full moon lightened the dark brown strands nestling against his collar, adding glints of silver.

“I didn’t want to take a chance on us being interrupted so I walked out here,” he explained.

Lara wet her lips. “I thought you’d changed your mind.” That he didn’t want to kiss a woman so scarred.

“Not a chance, lady,” he growled low and pushed away from the tree. “It’s all that’s been on my mind since you agreed.”

When she moved to him, he opened his arms. She walked into his embrace as though it was door and pleasure awaited there. Inhaling the scented air, she laid her head against the hard wall of his chest. She wanted to stay there forever.

Houston lightly rested his chin on the top of her head. “I’m real glad you came on this drive. Nights can get lonely out here.”

His deep voice vibrated inside her. It was like he became part of her. “I’m glad I did too. Even though I had to work to convince you.”

“Yeah, well, I’m a stubborn fool.”

He put a finger under her chin and lifted her face. Without a word, he lowered his mouth. The minute his warm lips touched hers, Lara had to clutch his arm to keep from falling. Her heartbeat pounded as though trying to keep up with the blood racing through her veins.
A hot, demanding, achiness swept over her. She needed this man and at the moment didn’t think she could live without him. Nor did she want to try.

With a low cry, he placed his large hands under her jaw and deepened the kiss, sending a series of quickenings into her stomach similar to the ones she felt when Gracie curled in her womb. Maybe these stirrings signaled life much in the same way her baby’s movements did to let her know she was alive and couldn’t wait to be born.

Maybe she was being reborn.

Maybe she could forget the past and start fresh.

Maybe this was what she’d waited so long for.

As she leaned into him and gripped Houston’s vest, pleasure like she’d never felt swirled inside her. She clung to him afraid if she let go, he’d vanish and she’d discover it was a dream.

Could this be tiny stirrings of love?

Lara suddenly pushed away. No it wasn’t love because that didn’t exist. Not for her. It was too dangerous to believe in love. To believe she had anything to give any man.

What’s wrong, Lara?” Houston gently pushed back her hair. “Did I do something to upset or frighten you? I shouldn’t have grabbed you like that.”

“You did nothing wrong.” It was her. She almost let herself believe that someone could love her. One look at her reflection showed the impossibility of such a thing. “I’m sorry,” she murmured brokenly.

Through tears, she stumbled back to the light of the campfire, escaping all that brought pain.

The past.

Herself.

An impossible future.

Escaping everything. If only it was that easy.

Houston stole up behind her and touched her shoulder. “Talk to me. I want to understand.”

She owed him some explanation. Impatiently dashing away the tears, she turned and let anger spill. “It’s not you, Houston. It’s me. I’m broken. Too broken to fix. You can’t repair something that’s missing the pieces. Blackstone took a lot more than….” she paused, “He stole….”

“Your soul,” he supplied quietly.

About the Author:At a young age, LINDA BRODAY discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award. She resides in the Texas Panhandle and is inspired every day.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Find the buy links at the author’s website.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Musts Every Western Historical Story Should Have by Linda Broday – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a print copy of the book.

Musts Every Story in My Genre Should Have
As a published western historical romance author I have definite ideas about what my genre requires. Here are some:

1. Passion – Probably first and foremost would be a passion for the history of the American West. I believe a writer should love what they write no matter the genre, but it’s necessary for western historical romance authors to be able to put themselves back in the 1800s when the land was raw and untamed. They should “feel” the barrenness the settlers felt and know the strength it took to survive. He/she should also enjoy researching details of the era because this genre requires a tremendous amount.

2. Cowboys – The western genre requires an understanding of cowboys. They’re a special breed. They think and act differently than other men. Cowboys consider themselves caretakers of the land and that duty and love is embedded deep in their hearts and souls. It’s a calling with them. Cowboys of yesterday worked from sunup to sundown in all kinds of weather seven days a week ensuring the cattle and the ranch thrived. They’re extremely loyal to the brand for which they ride. Cowboys were and still are the lifeblood of the American West.

3. Terminology – They should have the correct terminology of the time and a command of the specific words and phrases relevant to that period, to know how the people talked. They need to be familiar with slang because at least half in the American West were uneducated.

4. Technology – A writer should be knowledgeable about the limited technology and everyday items that were not available in the American West. Just because people had things back East, they didn’t make it west for a long while. You can’t have your characters turn a knob on a wood stove and have fire, wear makeup, flip a switch for light or talk on the telephone.

5. Modes of Travel – Some knowledge of modes of travel, especially by horseback, would be helpful. A writer should be aware of the time it took to get from one place to another. People don’t realize that a wagon could only travel no more than two to three miles an hour. It would take an entire day (round trip) to go ten miles. A lot of information is available on the Internet and in books, but having a basic understanding about the slowness of getting around is crucial.

6. Horses – Some idea of horses and their behavior is necessary. A writer should know what it takes to keep them healthy and be able to travel at a moment’s notice. How to mount, the various speeds a horse can withstand without collapsing, how frequently to water and rest, etc.

5_6 linda Twice a Texas Bride Blog Graphic

5_6 linda book cover

Left with emotional scars from his time in an orphanage, Rand Sinclair has vowed never to marry. But when he discovers Callie Quinn and a small orphan boy hiding on his ranch, he can’t help but open his home to the desperate runaways.

Callie has been betrayed by every man she’s ever known. While she’s grateful for Rand’s incredible kindness, she knows it’s only a matter of time before he shows his true colors. But she needs this safe haven—maybe the outlaw on her trail won’t find them here. Yet as Rand slowly uncovers her secret fears, they each come to realize that the only way to keep her safe is for Rand to risk everything to offer her the protection of his name…and his heart.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Toby barreled out the kitchen door, trailed by Biscuit. “What’cha doin’?”

“Hi, pardner.” Brett ruffled Toby’s dark hair. “I brought you something.”

“What is it?”

“Your very own tepee.”

“To keep?” Toby’s eyes widened and his big grin spread.

“Maybe. We’ll see how it goes. If you mind your elders, you can keep it. If not, I’ll have to take it back.”

“I’m the best boy in the whole world.”

Brett’s grunt seemed to say that time would tell as he arranged twelve long poles on the ground and began tying the tops of three together with a length of rawhide. “Where do you want to put this, Rand?”

“Let’s move it over by the woodpile, where it’s out of the way.” He was going to be the only white man with an Indian tepee on his ranch. How had this sorry state of affairs come to pass? But he wouldn’t say no. It meant too much to Brett and to Toby.

Callie came from the house looking fit to be tied. “Hello, Brett. I hope this isn’t what it looks like.”

“Miss Callie, I wanted something special for Toby to play in, that’s all. If you draw the line at him sleeping out here, that’s all right. It’s up to you to decide when and how often you want the boy to use it.” Brett gave her a smile. “I’d never undermine you.”

“This could be very magical to a child,” Rand said gently.

“Please, ma’am?” Toby begged. “I wanna be an Indian.”

Biscuit gave a loud whine and spun around in a circle as though she too was adding her two cents’ worth.

“Please?” Toby persisted.

When she lifted her eyes to Rand, he gave her a lopsided grin and a wink. Getting tangled up in her warm whiskey gaze could be quite pleasurable, he found.

“Oh, all right.” Callie threw up her hands. “But I won’t have you sleeping out here, young man. You’ll play in it only when I give you permission. And you’ll have chores to do each day before you can play. Understand?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“It’s too dangerous out here at night anyway, with that mountain lion hanging around,” Rand said. “I’ll keep an eye on him during the day. I don’t want you to worry.”

Toby hugged Callie, then threw his arms around Brett’s waist. “Thank you. I’m glad we came here.”

Brett returned Toby’s hug, then knelt to rub Biscuit’s head. “Now tell me where you got such a fine-looking animal.”

Rand stood watching the pint-sized squirt relay what little facts he knew. He already loved this little kid. Whatever had happened to them, it made him happy that he could help bring a light to the boy’s eyes. He remembered how dull they’d been when he’d first found them in the run-down bunkhouse last week. His mind turned back time to the days following his, Cooper’s, and Brett’s escape from the orphan train. To avoid detection, they’d slept during the day and traveled by the light of the moon, eating food whenever they found some or managed to kill a rabbit or squirrel. Cooper was always the one to watch over them and fight when things called for it. He’d once tried to kill Tolbert Early in a bathhouse for attacking Brett.

Toby had that same protective instinct. Rand only prayed he could help the boy stay a boy a while longer. Once you became a man, you could never go back.

“Where are you, brother?” Brett asked.

“Just thinking that you’d best explain what we need to do.”

With Biscuit supervising and pretty much getting in the way, they all pitched in erecting the tepee, which was made from buffalo hide.

Working side by side with Callie proved the best part. Each time their hands touched, a current ran up Rand’s arm. He couldn’t imagine what might happen if the touching involved a bed and the scent of night around them. He’d probably just explode faster than a load of nitroglycerin. Likely find pieces of him three states over.

The haunted look had begun to fade from her eyes a little, and she wasn’t as tense and anxious as when they first arrived.

Maybe, just maybe, the fear would be gone soon.

And then he intended to kiss the daylights out of her.

Of course he’d go slow. He closed his eyes and watched it play out in his head.

He’d start by kissing each eyelid, then move to her shell-like ears and trail kisses down her long slender throat.

Tiny nibbles at the corners of her mouth.

Trace the seam with his tongue.

Breathe her fragrance.

Whisper tender words.

Only then would he press his lips fully against hers and take all that she wanted to give.

And then…

“Rand!”

It took a minute to sink in that someone was trying to get his attention. “What?”

“Where did you go?” Brett asked. “I need you to help me get these sewn buffalo hides around this tripod and cone I’ve made. Of course, if you’d rather take a nap—”

“Just show me what to do,” Rand snapped.

As they worked, Rand’s gaze kept straying to Callie’s soft, round curves. The woman was going to be the death of him yet.

Even so, he was realizing he’d die a happy man if he could only get a taste of her lips.

About the Author:Linda Broday now resides in the panhandle of Texas on the Llano Estacado. At a young age, she discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up! A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award. She blogs regularly at www.PetticoatsandPistols.com.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

TEXAS MAIL ORDER BRIDE (Book 1)

Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | Kobo

TWICE A TEXAS BRIDE (Book 2)

Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway