Read Holt's Gamble Online

Authors: Barbara Ankrum

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Historical, #Western, #Historical Romance, #Westerns

Holt's Gamble

BOOK: Holt's Gamble
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Holt's Gamble

Wild Western Hearts Series

Book One




Barbara Ankrum

Bestselling Author







Awards & Accolades


Best First Historical, Romantic Times

"...lively plot, believable characters and exciting adventures with a sensual love story."

~Marilyn Dickman, Romantic Times




Previously titled: Passion's Prize


Published by
ePublishing Works!


ISBN: 978-1-61417-466-0




By payment of required fees, you have been granted the
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Please Note


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.


The reverse engineering, uploading, and/or distributing of this eBook via the internet or via any other means without the permission of the copyright owner is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.


Copyright © 1990, 2013 by Barbara Ankrum. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.


Cover by Kim Killion

eBook design by eBook Prep







To David—my love, my hero






Chapter 1


Independence, Missouri

May 1854


The angry voice rumbled through the din of the crowded, smoke-filled saloon and echoed off the rich, flocked walls like thunder through a rain-swept canyon. The whiskey glass slipped from between Kierin McKendry's fingers and crashed to the floor, shattering into a thousand splintered pieces and dousing the lanky ranch hand who stood beside her.

"Dad-blast-it," he howled and leaped sideways, swiping at his sodden pant leg with his hand. "Aw, hell. Now look what you done."

"Oh, Jeb," Kierin cried, color staining her cheeks, "I'm—I'm so sorry. I..." At a loss for words and reluctant to explain the cause of her sudden clumsiness, she bent quickly to mop up the mess with a rag from her serving tray. What good would it do to tell Jeb that she'd been jumpy ever since her run-in with her boss, John Talbot, this morning. Or that hearing the ire in his voice just now had nearly undone her. She'd learned to give Talbot a wide berth when he was angry. And right now, he sounded very angry.

Kierin patted hopelessly at Jeb's wet pant leg, then made an attempt at the glass-strewn whiskey puddle, only to cut herself painfully on a razor-sharp piece of glass.

She bit back a cry and frowned at her bleeding hand.
Perfect, she thought. What else can go wrong tonight?

The cowboy rubbed at the gray-speckled stubble on his chin, and looked down at the slender, auburn-haired girl. "Good God, Miss Kierin," he murmured finally, leaning down to help her up. "This just ain't yer night, is it?"

"No," she answered, smiling ruefully at the old man, "I guess it's not at that."

"Now, looky here—" He pulled a surprisingly clean handkerchief from his pocket and wrapped it gently around her injured hand. "Ain't nothin' to worry yourself about. I'll get the barkeep to clean up this mess." He gestured at the burly Irishman behind the polished oak bar. "You'd best be seein' to that cut after you find out what your boss over there is a'shoutin' about. He ain't the kind of man who likes to be kept waitin' long. Especially when he's been at the losin' end of a deck of cards all night."

BOOK: Holt's Gamble
8.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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