Authors: Mary Wine
Tags: #Erotica, #Fiction, #Romance, #Western, #Historical
Gregory Spencer was a lot plumper than she remembered. Brianna dived right under her husband’s arm as he returned the rifle to his shoulder. She heard his snort of disapproval, but still ran through the shin-deep snow towards her father.
But when she hugged him her father also grunted with disapproval. His arm tightened around her as he glared at Sloan. Her husband had followed her across the drive and stood just out of reach of her father.
“You’d better be my son-in-law.” Her daddy sounded madder than she ever remembered hearing him. He divided his attention between watching Sloan and looking at her.
“Sloan McAlister. We got married last week.”
“I’ll hear that from my daughter, if you don’t mind.” Her daddy lifted one eyebrow towards her. Brianna smiled and raised her hand. The snow tickled her skin as it fell, but her wedding band glistened. A twinkle lit her daddy’s eyes as he looked at the smile on her face. He turned and offered his hand to Sloan as her husband met him in a firm handshake.
“Glad to hear it. There’s plenty of work around here.”
A wagon rattled behind them. Brianna watched as a buckboard turned the bend in the road. Her father lifted a gloved hand in greeting as he winked at her.
“That’s your new stepmother I wrote you about.”
Brianna gasped at her father’s announcement. “I never got any letters, Daddy. Not a word.”
Her father frowned. He glared at Sloan for a long moment before looking back at her. “Brianna Marie, why did you get married?”
The buckboard stopped and the horses tossed their head. Brianna smiled at her father as the world bloomed with every happy thing that she could possibly dream of having.
“Because I fell in love, Daddy. I fell in love.”
A smile lifted her father’s lips as he nodded approval. “Funny thing is, so did I, daughter.”
Sloan grinned as his wife snarled at him. Her arms were propped on her hips as her lip curled with her temper. It was the honest truth that he still enjoyed that spunk.
“Stop grinning at me, Sloan McAlister!”
He touched the brim of his hat in reply. “Then you’ll have to stop looking so pretty, Mrs. McAlister.”
“Ha!” She wasn’t pretty! She was swollen up like a dairy cow. All she needed was a pail next to her feet to use when milking her and she still had three full months before her child was due. Her eyes stung as tears began to ease down her cheeks.
“Oh, bother!” She slapped her hands onto her skirt as she failed to control the surge of emotion—again. Not only did she look like a prize heifer, she acted like a baby, too. Her husband chuckled before capturing her against his body. He dusted her cheeks and nose with tiny kisses as she wriggled to escape. His hand caught the back of her neck to hold her steady as he stared into her eyes. Love shone in the dark orbs and it unleashed another few tears from her eyes.
“Love is the prettiest sight any man could ask for.” The baby growing inside her kicked out against the hold his father had on her. Enjoyment sparkled in her husband’s eyes as he felt the movement of their unborn child. A whistle sailed up from the new cabin her father was building. Sloan waggled his eyebrows before kissing her and turning towards the project. Her stepmother hummed as she made up the beds and the sound of wood being sawed filled the air as Sloan began to work alongside her father.
Her new house was pale gold in the early spring morning sun. The new lumber gleamed as Warren and Jed drove nails through it. Snow still lay in clumps on the ground and the river wasn’t running ice-free yet. So her house was rising up before her baby made his appearance.
Her father’s letters never did arrive, but his story sure filled a few cold winter nights. His new wife, Wind-Song, was Chinese, and if there was a frail bone in her compact body, Brianna had yet to discover it. The woman never raised her voice above a soft level, but she was pure stubborn determination. Brianna laughed every time she envisioned Clayton trying to avoid paying his mill fee. Her daddy claimed her step-mother’s iron will was the reason he was still alive, Wind-Song’s determination to have her way. She’d found him halfdead of a rattlesnake bite and refused to fetch him a preacher. Instead she’d filled him full of ancient Chinese medicine while wrapping his infected leg in foul-smelling herbs and roots. His letters home most likely were burned because they came from a Chinese boy, and race was still so important to some westerners. Even the post officers often refused to process mail handed over by non-whites. But just looking at her father and Wind-Song made her long for people who would leave love alone to sprout where it would.
“Come in and make clothes for baby, daughter.”
Wind-Song poked her head through the open doorway. “You have no time once baby is born. Listen to Wind-Song, make baby clothes today.”
A bolt of soft muslin fabric was already placed on the table, now that breakfast had been cleared away. The small cabin was bursting at its seams with family and Brianna decided it was absolutely perfect.
Even Joseph Corners earned a hint of gratitude from her as she recalled just how much the man had helped push her into Sloan’s arms. A little giggle shook her as she began to cut a tiny nightshirt out for her baby. Yes, love did show up under the most mysterious of ways in the Spencer family. Rattlesnakes and claim jumpers, she could just imagine what lay in store for the coming season. Warren and Jed couldn’t possibly understand what fate might cast their way.
The idea kept her smiling the rest of the day.
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Evolution’s Embers Full Disclosure
Passion flares between a federal marshal and his enemy’s wife.
Outlaws descend on a stagecoach winding down its long journey between Missouri and Wind River, Wyoming. Federal Marshal Chris McQuade is one of the two occupants of the stage, and the ensuing battle leaves three dead men on the trail.
McQuade’s unlikely partner in the deed is a woman he’s been attracted to from the start of the trip. It isn’t until they’re forced to go on alone together that he realizes he’s falling for the wife of the man he’s been sent to bring to justice. Despite the ring on her finger and the role he plans to play in making her a widow, passion ignites and McQuade is surprised to discover that Elizabeth Davis is as helpless as he is to deny their need for each other.
But Elizabeth’s husband has witnessed a much-too-intimate encounter between his enemy and his wife…and now he is out for revenge.
Enjoy the following excerpt for
Another Man’s Wife:
“Is this my horse?” she asked, inwardly shocked by the husky rasp of her voice. This was as close to Chris McQuade as she’d ever been, and it was an overwhelming experience for her senses. Awareness of him filled her; the mixed scents of man and horse, the mesmerizing depth of his dark eyes, the wind-ruffled disarray of his hair, and the sheer masculine strength that emanated from him. She wanted to touch him, to taste him, to feel his hands on her. The very thoughts made her weak in the knees.
Chris lifted his hat off the pommel of the saddle and stepped back to give her room to mount the gelding. She swung into the saddle with natural ease, and the seconds her bottom swayed before his face were almost his undoing. The next few days were going to be painfully long, some inner voice warned as he tried to ignore the surge of lust that shot straight to his groin. He pulled his hat low and went to the second horse, settling on the saddle and turning west without another word. By the time she came alongside him, he was reasonably certain he could safely look at her.
Elizabeth’s eyes drank in the beauty of the landscape around them. The Wind River Mountains loomed far in the distance and it was difficult to judge just how far away the town might be. “How long before we reach Wind River?”
“Likely be a few days,” Chris replied, peering intently ahead. “We’re going to have to ride hard to get to the foothills, then head north. Town shouldn’t be too hard to find from there.”
“Have you been there before?” She moved easily with the horse, well accustomed to riding. The gelding was a spirited animal, and she felt an affinity for him already. She suspected he’d move like the wind if the need arose, and she named him Wind Dancer in her mind, smiling at the whimsy.
Chris obviously caught the expression and she enjoyed the telltale tug at the corner of his mouth as he watched her with open amusement.
“Somethin’ funny goin’ on, ma’am?” he said, the natural drawl flowing into his voice again.
She shook her head and bit back the grin that wanted to spread over her features. “Nothing funny, Mr. McQuade,” she assured him, then urged Wind Dancer into an exhilarating gallop, leaning over the pommel of the saddle and reveling in the movement of the horse beneath her. Only seconds later she heard him closing the distance between them. Instead of censure or the anger she anticipated, Chris whooped loudly as he passed her and she laughed with pure pleasure and let her horse’s gait open up further. The two animals were well-matched for strength and speed and it was a long while before Chris slowed and pointed to a copse of trees less than a mile ahead.
“We’ll make camp there for the night,” he told her when she drew up next to him.
The sun was sinking rapidly on the western peaks of the mountains and the color streaked the sky with a splendor unlike any she’d seen before. She stared, enchanted and enthralled by the fiery display that crested the snow-capped mountaintops. The orange-gold orb of heavenly fire gradually dipped behind the ridge of darkening mountains, its last searching fingers splaying over the tops, turning everything to purple tinted pink. Chris nudged his horse forward and she followed, caught between the glory atop the mountains and the magnificence of the man and horse moving ahead of her.
Less than an hour later they sat in front of a fire, coffee brewing and filling the night air with its enticing aroma. They shared some of the hard tack and jerked beef from Tom Caden’s saddlebags, and Elizabeth felt a rare moment of tranquility as she gazed upward at the glittering sky. The moon was making a slow climb into the center of the tapestry of black velvet that draped over them, its silvery crescent growing brighter and brighter.
“What exactly do you do, Chris?” She finally dared ask the question she’d been thinking about from the first time she’d glimpsed him back in St. Louis.
Desmond Rawlington, Marquess of Dunsmore and seductive charmer, needs a Delacorte sister as a wife. When the eldest elopes, Desmond marries Ainsley only to find himself falling in love with the enchanting young woman, despite her quirky habit of hiding behind draperies.
Lady Ainsley Delacorte, the shyest person anyone has ever met, is nervous around servants, overwhelmed by the ton and forced into marriage. Her reluctance fades with her husband’s sinfully romantic touch, but she can’t forget he’s involved in a traitorous plot to return Napoleon to power.
When Ainsley is caught with an incriminating letter she stole from her husband, Desmond intervenes. Will they face the gallows or can love save them?
Ainsley had a way of making the idea of kissing a major event, instead of a prelude to the wedding night they had yet to share. Desmond folded his hand around her neck. He didn’t forget where they were. Instead, he chose to ignore the music and chatter outside the pantry.
He wanted to touch her smooth skin and taste her sweet breasts. “M’lord, is something wrong?”
Her fingers tapped against the front of his jacket. He didn’t like that
she was nervous. Her lips parted and the tip of her tongue slid along the edge of her teeth. He lowered his head and her mouth sought his for the first time.
The candy masked some of the sourness of her breath, but he was reminded of her upset stomach and drew away.
“Do you feel all right…I mean right now?” Even her sickness couldn’t stop his attraction to her.
“Much better. Sometimes a crowd can be overwhelming.”
He resumed the kiss and her lips glided delicately over his. She shuffled closer, between his parted legs and pressed her hip into his groin. He held back from rubbing against her.
“I like kissing you, m’lord.”
“I like when you say my name while doing so.” He stroked the pulse in her neck.
“Desmond, please have patience with me.”
“If it seems I don’t at times, will you not take it personally?”
“I don’t understand.”
He turned her in his arms and kissed the side of her neck.
“It’ll never be you I’m angry with. Never.”
Her head dropped away and his mouth fit to the slender corded muscle from neck to shoulder.
“You don’t know that, not for sure. I may make an awful mistake one day.”
His hand held the curve of her breast and her hand held his. Gentle caresses over the back of his knuckles encouraged him to test the limits of her gown.
“I want to touch you.” He inched the gown up her leg.
“Here?” She tried to stop him. “We’re in the pantry, someone could come.”
Desmond found the crotch of her underpants already wet.
“M’lord.” She moved, not to get away, but to accommodate the width of his hand.
“You are a morsel for savoring.” He kissed her cheek. “It is a very good thing you’re my wife.”
“Do not think I won’t enjoy every minute I can have with you.”
“Like a possession?”
“Like a lover,” he sighed against the damp curve of her jaw. “You have it in your power to possess me, Ainsley.”
“I would never be as bold as to believe I could.”
He massaged the ringlets covering the entrance to her sex and it produced a whimper from her.
“You don’t have a clue as to how desirable you are, do you?” He played with the hood of her clit.
She squirmed without protest. Her head turned sideways to hide her face with its rosy blush.
“Look at me, my Lady Dunsmore. I want to see your eyes.”
Everything, right down to her bashfulness, teased him with wonderful delight. He never thought he’d care to hold a woman untouched by a man. But every time she spoke, she created exquisite sensations that made him feel emotionally closer to her.
“Desmond, please, oh please, don’t do this here.” She shuddered and her nails dug into his sleeve.
Her legs trembled, her bottom pressed tighter to his erection. She wiggled against all the right places and he made her squirm more with each plunge of his finger.
She tensed as he stroked deeper. Her virginity intact, he kept a leash on the reaches he sought. The hymen would be his ultimate goal and pleasure, but it would come later, when he held her tight beneath him.
“Oh God, Desmond, please stop.” She struggled in his arms.
He kissed her and captured the reverberating sounds of her panted cries forced from her by an intense orgasm. Her slender frame fit to him. Each contour complimented his as if they were pieces of a puzzle someone put together.
He held her face and pressed his kiss deeper. She slumped against him in whimpers. Her languid body drooped in his hold. Retrieving the handkerchief he had used on her face, he took the clean side and wiped the silk between her legs. Her muscles quivered with each pass over the sensitive area.
“Desmond!” She tried to close her legs.
He wouldn’t let her walk from the room feeling uncomfortable with the excessive fluids running down the inside of her thighs.
She tried to back away from the ticklish brush of cloth on her dampened ringlets. Another minute of her bottom wriggling over his cock and he would explode. He’d have a large wet spot on his trousers and worse discomfort than Ainsley.
“Hold still,” he ordered and stopped touching her.
He hugged her and let his mind wander to the people beyond the paneled door. She shivered and he squeezed her to him while resting his cheek on top her auburn curls.
“I’m sorry.” She trembled. “I can’t stop shaking.”
He inhaled the perfume from her hair. Tugging her around, he wished they were in their room for the night. Her sex had the enticing scent of the rose water that she had bathed in before their journey.
“Desmond, I can’t go back out there. People will know what you did to me.”
“You’re my wife. My sweet, charming wife and if we had hours, I’d do more to pleasure your body than you could ever imagine.” He kissed her forehead. “You were pleased, were you not?”
She nodded quickly.
“Good, because later”—he picked up her chin—“I want to make love to you for a very long time and it would be nice to have you enjoy my touch.”
“Oh, I do!”
Desmond grinned at the way the color heightened in her cheeks and she lowered her lashes.
Mortified by the intimate moment with Desmond, Ainsley felt awkward walking out of the pantry. The tension from her concern someone would guess what she’d been doing eased when he led her to where Edwina stood. Surrounded by men as if they were honeybees ready to drink her sweet nectar, Edwina was the center of attention and that suited Ainsley.
Edwina didn’t take notice of her or Desmond right away. Her silky black hair swished back and forth as she talked rapidly, trying to captivate her audience of admirers, but Desmond’s intense stare eventually brought his sister’s gaze around to him.
Suddenly, Edwina stopped talking. “Lord Dunsmore.” She nodded toward him.
He gave her a bow. “Don’t let me interrupt.”
Edwina’s face wrinkled with annoyance and then smoothed back into a happy expression as she resumed speaking to the man on the other side of her.
“She doesn’t want you close by.” Ainsley tried to draw Desmond away.
“I know. That’s why I am.”
“Leave her room to breathe. I don’t think standing somewhere other than alongside her would make her any less chaperoned by you.”
“I was just proving a point. She tends to get too familiar with people. I want her to tone down her forwardness.”
“She’s young and outgoing.”
“You’re young and show ten times the maturity she does.”
A laugh burst from her. “I’m sorry, but even I can see my hiding is more childish than mature.”
Something across the room caught his attention and his gaze strayed. “Excuse me for a moment. Stay here with Edwina.”
He hurried away before she could say a word. Her heart gave a flutter. His magnificent gait bespoke confidence and she wished she had his strength of character in public. She lost sight of him as he passed through the crowd.
“Lady Dunsmore has recently come from France,” Lady Edwina noted. “Maybe she could tell you how goes the—”
Before Edwina finished her sentence, a call to dinner was announced. Ainsley found Harlan ready to offer his arm and she took it with gratitude.
“I saw he deserted you,” he said. “I’d be happy to escort you to the dining room.”
“Thank you, m’lord.”
“It’s Harlan to you, m’lady.” He patted her hand.
She smiled and gave his arm a squeeze. Harlan hadn’t ever displayed an expression of sadness. His gaiety for the short time she had known him made her feel strangely close to him. Edwina too, had treated her as if they had always been friends. They were comfortable to be around.
“Thank you, Harlan,” she whispered. “You make me feel at ease.”
“And Desmond doesn’t?” He frowned.
“Oh no, I didn’t mean it like that.”
He leaned over and kissed her cheek. “He’s an ogre at times, but you’ll get use to it.”
Ainsley blushed. Harlan’s inappropriate affection was unexpected, but as she watched him wave and greet a passerby, she accepted his kiss as a simple friendly quirk in his behavior.
While Harlan talked to someone who stood near them, she glanced around the room for Desmond. When she spotted him, his glare was coldly disturbing. Had he misinterpreted Harlan’s kiss?
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
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