Sourcebooks Publishing — April 30, 2019
When the West was wild
And man’s law favored the few
These extraordinary women could be found…in the heart of an outlaw.
He may be a wanted man, but all outlaw Jack Bowdre ever desired was a second chance. Now he’s on his way to jail, completely unaware that his unexpected—and unexpectedly beautiful—traveling companion is none other than Nora Kane…his mail order bride.
It’s too bad Nora doesn’t know Jack is her groom-to-be. All she sees is a scoundrel. But when their stagecoach crashes and the truth comes spilling out, they’re suddenly left to fend for themselves—and each other. The longer they’re together, the stronger their feelings grow. Hounded by desperate men bent on doing them harm, Nora and Jack will do whatever it takes to find their happily ever after…but first, they’ll have to shake the devil from their trail.
* * * *
The barrel-chested marshal smiled at Lenora. “Sorry that you have to endure this a bit longer, ma’am. He’s little more than a savage animal.” He said that like the outlaw had a case of rabies or something.
Dollard continued in a tone full of righteous contempt. “Why, he’s so mean the rattlesnakes won’t even come near him. I heard his own kin disowned him.”
Lenora’s gaze followed the outlaw’s long legs and lean form from which enormous power radiated, felt his deep irritation and anger to be cuffed to the marshal. She’d read about men like this one who lived outside the law in dime novels that were all the rage back East. But reading about one and coming face to face with one in the flesh were two totally different things.
Awareness sizzled between them and the tiniest movement captured her attention. But when he turned his gaze to her, a rush of heat flooded her cheeks.
His chiseled features appeared hewn from the hardest stone that the good Lord probably reserved for those like him who lived outside the law. The marshal appeared barely able to contain him. In fact, she got the impression the prisoner merely bided his time until an opportunity for escape came.
He glanced toward the window, allowing her to study him better. The outlaw had uncommon good looks with a hard, angled jaw that sported brown stubble. The rise high on his nose indicated it had been broken few times. Ha! She wasn’t surprised at that.
But most striking were his gray eyes—gunmetal gray. At times they stormed, and other times, like when the marshal shot warnings and threats, they became icy and hard. But amusement colored his gaze when he turned his attention to her.
Was it her appearance or her nervousness that caused his reaction?
Lenora thought about leaning across the space and slapping his brazen face. Except that wouldn’t be the thing to do. She’d never struck anyone even though she’d been sorely tempted a few times.
The way he glanced at the door then back to the marshal told her he was planning an escape.
He suddenly swung his attention back to her and slammed into her bold perusal. Lenora stilled and held her breath, her pulse racing.
Would he use her somehow in his escape plan? Maybe take her hostage? Oh dear. She glanced at the marshal, wondering if he’d pull his gun and shoot him if he tried anything.
The handsome outlaw lifted a finely arched brow. “Here in Texas they make you pay to gawk, ma’am. But I reckon this is the first time a gentle woman like yourself has laid eyes on a born and bred killer. Who knows? Maybe you can come to my hanging. Now that’ll be a real treat.”
Beneath his mocking tone, she saw the layer of sorrow, felt his heavy heart, tasted his bitterness. She couldn’t bear the thought of him swinging from a rope.