(2014: Lyrical Press – An Imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp.)
A Historic Western Romance novel
For adventurous Margaret Flemming, arrived from Boston to be with her father, the Old West town of her childhood is a far cry from the drawing rooms and balls of the high society life she’s used to. Her fancy gowns and proper manners have no place in the dusty, cruel land inhabited by Indians and rough cowboys. And her fiercely independent streak constantly gets her in trouble. When tragedy strikes, there’s only one person she can turn to–her childhood friend, Garret Shaw–but he’s disgusted with her Society ways.
With his ranch under attack from the land-grabbing Jennings, the last thing Garret needs is to be saddled with a high-falutin’ lady. Even if she is his friend’s daughter and her kind ways tug at his hardened heart. Duty to her father forces them to wed, but he knows sure as anything, when the chance comes along, she’ll go back to Boston. No matter how much he wants her, loving her is not a risk he can take.
Will Maggie choose a life of luxury and ease over struggle and hardship with an ill-mannered cowboy? Only her heart can answer.
Excerpt: An Unwilling Husband
If only Maggie could sneak into the house and go to bed without having to face him. No such luck. He waited at the kitchen table when she came in. Maybe ignoring him would deter him.
“We need to talk.”
“Fairly sure we don’t. Good night.” She headed for her bedroom but he stood and followed behind her. Though she glared at him, he came into the room without hesitation and sat heavily in the chair in the corner.
“What Wyatt said tonight—” he started.
“It’s true! All of it! He said the words for callous reasons, but he has a point. You have strung me along, and I keep thinking, once he trusts me he’ll give in and care about me. But you won’t, will you? You’ll never care about me. Not the way you care about Anna,” she said, pulling at the laces in the back of her dress. She was tired and hurt and getting ready for bed. He could ignore her indecent body, for all she cared. “Do you even know how hard it is to feel so unwanted all the time? I’m plain and outspoken, but I’m still a person. With feelings, and wants, and those revolve around giving love and desiring it returned. That makes you think I’m a stupid girl, but I’m not. I wasn’t built as cold as you were, Garret. I know you care nothing for me, but surely I don’t deserve to be treated thusly.”
A treacherous tear slid down her cheek and she swiped it off with a gloved hand. She turned her back to him, unable to let him see her raw emotions. What good would it do? He would only use them against her.
She removed her gloves and slid out of her dress, leaving only her cotton shift covering her. The entire time she busied herself with putting away the dress and taking the pins from her hair, in the corner of the room, Garret was quiet. If he had fallen asleep, insult would only be added to injury.
At the light shuffling of his boots, she faced him. He sat with his head in his hands.
“What do you need from me?” he asked in a muffled and exhausted voice, as she washed her still stinging arms with care at the washbasin.
“Something. Anything. You give me nothing. What am I to do with that? A man who gives nothing will break a woman. You will break me, Garret.” She placed the candle on the crude bedside table and turned down the covers, blew out the quivering flame and settled into her bed.
Garret could stay or go. She didn’t care anymore, but she was finished talking to him. Conversation always turned out to be so fruitless with that confounding man.
At the subtle sound of fabric against fabric, Maggie turned to fix a glance in Garret’s direction. Her eyes took a moment to adjust, but the moon was close to full, and its light pouring in through her small window proved to be enough. He undressed slowly. And when clad only in his trousers, he did something that shocked her to her very bones. He crawled into bed beside her.
With his back to her, he said, “I don’t want to break you, Maggie.”
About Tera Shanley
Tera Shanley writes in sub-genres that stretch from Paranormal Romance, to Historic Western Romance, to Apocalyptic (zombie) Romance. The common theme? She loves love!
A self-proclaimed bookworm, she was raised in small town Texas and could often be found decorating a table at the local library. She currently lives in Dallas with her husband and two young children and when she isn’t busy running around after her family, she’s writing a new story or devouring a good book. Any spare time is dedicated to chocolate licking, rifle slinging, friend hugging, and the great outdoors. For more information about Tera and her work, visit www.terashanley.com.
For a Guest Post by Tera Shanley, “Rolling in the Hay” click here: http://wp.me/p41kbR-Tg