I’ve always loved cowboys. In fact, Roy Rogers was my first crush…at age five. Although I’m known more for writing contemporary romantic suspense, I simply had to give in to the temptation of writing an erotic historical western romance series called Loving the Lawman. MASTERING THE MARSHAL is the third and latest book in the series. I’m currently intrigued by the lean-hipped, drop-dead sexy U.S. Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens and his take-no-prisoners attitude in the TNT cable series Justified. He’s beyond hot.
So tell me who you’re crushing on. Two lucky winners will receive an electronic copy of SEDUCING THE SHERIFF, book 1 of Loving the Lawman series.
Is she a dead ringer…or a dead woman walking?
When U.S. Deputy Marshal Sam Dunaway arrives in Kenton Valley, Texas, for a murder trial, the last thing he expects is to run into his late wife Celine. The one who supposedly died in a boarding house fire shortly after she ran off with his life savings.
Despite her Plain Jane disguise, Sam isn’t fooled. As soon as his business with the trial is finished, the woman who broke his heart will pay.
Three years ago, Celine had good reason to use Sam’s money to go into hiding—and it’s a secret she must still keep, even if it means certain arrest and imprisonment. Because coming clean risks crushing rejection.
In spite of themselves, the embers of love roar in to a passionate inferno, leaving Sam with a hell of a choice. To stick to his principles…or follow his heart.
Warning: This story contains a woman with a sewing basket full of secrets, and a highly pissed-off U.S. Marshal wants her dead or alive—though alive is better. Just sayin’.
Kenton Valley, Texas Hill Country, April 1890
U.S. Deputy Marshal Sam Dunaway opened the door to the sheriff’s office and nodded. “Sheriff Cordero Tate?”
The sheriff nodded. “Cord’ll do.” The sheriff was tall and broad shouldered and showed no signs of his prior tragedy. He rose and offered his hand.
“Marshal Dunaway,” Sam nodded and took the lawman’s hand. “I’d like to see the prisoner and how he’s housed.”
Tate stood and opened the door leading off the main room. It led to the cellblock, containing two cells. Only one was occupied. Barnes was stretched out, apparently asleep on the bunk—as if in a few days he wouldn’t be sleeping forever.
Sam turned and walked back to the outer office. “Appears you have a sturdy enough jail. Any chance the rest of his gang might try and break him out?”
“I’ve got two trustworthy deputies. Besides”—the sheriff shook his head—“the gang’s leader was killed last summer. The rest of ’em splintered after that. ’Course, you never know. Catching Barnes here was more of an accident than anything. He couldn’t resist visiting his sick mama. Thought he might show up, so we took turns keeping an eye on the Barnes homestead.”
“Smart thinking. If I’m not mistaken, you’re the one who killed their leader, Tyler?” Not to mention the sheriff’s new wife was half-sister to the ringleader. Wonder that didn’t complicate matters.
“That’s right.” Tate sat, gesturing for Sam to pull up a chair.
A man of few words. Good. Removing his Stetson, Sam hooked the toe of his boot around a chair leg, dragged it over and straddled it. Now they could get down to the business of the trial. “I need a place to hold the trial. Any suggestions?”
“Haven’t had much call for trials till now. There’s the school or the church or the saloon.”
“Good. I’ll check ’em out. Prefer a neutral ground over the saloon. Any chance we’ll find twelve sober men come trial time?”
Tate shrugged. “If you’d rather move the trial to a bigger town, it won’t hurt my feelings none.”
Sam shook his head. “I’m here to see he gets one. Don’t care if it’s fair or not. That’s up to the judge, not me.” He stood and settled the Stetson on his head. “I’ll head over to the church, then to the school. Let you know which one I decide.”
The sheriff nodded. “Any word on when the judge will arrive?”
“Few days. He’s presiding over a trial in Llano.” He headed to the door, then stopped. “The livery?”
“Livery stables are behind the boarding house at the north end of town. Miz Foley oughta be able to fix you up while you’re here.” Tate jerked his head in the direction of the cells. “She provides meals for the prisoner, and she’s a damn fine cook.”
Sam touched the brim of his hat, nodding his appreciation.
Outside, he untied and mounted his horse, then headed north, passing the general store and dry goods. He glimpsed the tall, slender figure of a woman standing in the window of the dry goods store, a sudden apparition that had him twisting around in his saddle to get a better look. But his horse had other ideas and kept heading north.
Damn. She looked familiar, so familiar his heart sped up and his mouth went dry as sand. Just the memory of their loving stiffened his prick. But it couldn’t be Celine. His wife had burned to death in a boardinghouse fire almost three years ago.
When the news of her death had finally reached him, he’d still been too angry to grieve. She never would’ve died if she’d stayed home where she belonged instead of running off with his life savings. Served the bitch right—that was what he’d thought at the time.
But now… If this woman really was Celine and not someone who was her spitting image, what he wouldn’t give to bed his wife one last time before he locked up her low-down, thieving ass.
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