Genre: Western / Historical / Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of Publication: August 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 352
Duel McClain buries his wife and infant son, climbs in the saddle, and rides off. Locked in grief, he drifts from one Texas town to another as the months pass. He rides into a border town and gets in a card game in the saloon. On the last hand, the opponent across from him runs out of money. The man reaches down for a baby and plunks her in the center of the table. Whoever wins the pot, gets her too. After Duel wins with the Deadman’s Hand, he tries to give the baby back. But when the man tells him he’ll sell her, Duel keeps his prize.
On the way back to his home, he runs across a woman covered in blood. She only says her name is Jessie and the blood isn’t hers. The deep fear in her eyes touches Duel and he has to do something. He strikes a bargain—he’ll take her anywhere she wants to go in return for helping with the child.
Jessie sees honor, respect, and kindness in his eyes. And the moment she holds the baby in her arms, her heart melts. Once they reach Duel’s home, she confesses she killed her husband and tells him the law will come. Desperate to save her, he offers marriage and she accepts.
They settle in and love develops. But each day grows more tense. Lawmen are coming and they can’t stop them. Soon, she’ll face the hangman’s rope.
Knight on the Texas Plains EXCERPT
Duel held her so tightly she could hardly breathe, as if by doing that he could prevent the nightmare from consuming her. “Shhh. Don’t think about it. He’s not worth wasting a pennyweight of thought over.” He cradled her face between his hands, forcing her to look at him. “I have you now and you’re safe.”
She didn’t want to see Duel’s stricken look, to know that she’d caused it.
“Open your eyes, darlin’.” His gentle tone could have tamed the wildest, meanest maverick.
She wiped her tears and braced herself. Yet strangely, the amber lights held nothing frightening. What shone forth was something poets had expressed for centuries in sonnets of love and adoration.
“I feel unworthy of you.” This time a tremble appeared in his deep voice.
“You still want me? After everything I’ve told you?” She prayed for a miracle.
“Jess, you’re not an animal to be turned out or sold.” Duel kissed her tenderly.
“You’re not disappointed? I know how much you want a son.”
“Darlin’, I promised to stand by you in sickness and in health, for better or worse, until death do us part. I didn’t vow to do all that just till I changed my mind. Besides, what you told me only makes me love you more.”
Unless her hearing had suddenly gone bad, he’d just declared his love for her. “You love me? For real?”
“Is that so hard to believe? Of course, I love you.”
“That part of my life is over. I loved her once. That was then, this is now. I see that. You’re my wife, and I’m damn proud for you to wear my name.” He peered at her sternly, his gruff addition erasing all doubt. “One more thing. I wed you because I wanted you, lady, not because I felt pity or that you needed a protector.”
“Thank you.” The words came out no louder than a whisper. Her gratitude ran deep, making the simple statement seem inadequate for the deep emotion she felt.
“Don’t have to thank me. I haven’t done anything. Just wish I could bring Foltry back from the dead and horsewhip him.” He tenderly pressed his lips to her open palm. “What you had to suffer—God help me—no woman should ever have to endure.”
A little later, languid peace wound its way through Jessie. Their lovemaking session had left her totally exhausted, but in a good way.
Snoring softly beside her, his arms holding her safe, Duel exhibited the same contentment. The harsh lines on his features seemed softer, meshing with his sensitive inner spirit. He’d shown uncommon compassion for her this night. Despite the driving urges she knew he battled, he’d respected her mental fears and let her go at her own pace.
Overwhelmed by his thoughtfulness, she caressed his cheek. How she loved this man, her knight of the Texas Plains. His tender lovemaking made her feel more than a fairy-tale princess in a storybook.
The toasty flush inside made her feel the most beautiful woman in the world.
About The Author
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!