The Cowboy Who Came Calling + Giveaway
Title: The Cowboy Who Came Calling
Author: Linda Broday
Series: Texas Heroes, #2
Pub Date: February 6, 2018
He’ll do what it takes
Glory Day may be losing her vision, but that doesn’t mean she’ll ever stop fighting. Determined to provide for her struggling family, she confronts an outlaw with a price on his head. But when a mysterious cowboy gets between her and her target, Glory accidentally shoots him instead. Flustered, she has no option but to take the handsome stranger home to treat his wounds.
Former Texas Ranger Luke McClain didn’t plan to fall in love, but there’s no denying the strength of Glory’s will or the sweetness of her heart. But Glory’s been burned before, and Luke will have to reach into the depths of his own battered soul to convince her to take a chance...
And trust that love is worth fighting for.
At a young age, LINDA BRODAY discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. After years of writing romance, it’s still tall rugged cowboys that spark her imagination. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold. She resides in the Texas Panhandle where she’s inspired every day.
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A light touch on Glory’s shoulder gave her a start. The hand surely belonged to Luke, for only he could loosen this flurry inside. She blinked several times, cursing the inability to see what he held. At last the item came into view.
A toothbrush. A real one.
Glory whirled. Every well-planned, scathing remark vanished, not even the mere footprint of one remained in her head. She cradled the treasure with wonder.
“You hankered for one of these the first time I saw you in the emporium. I also recall how you had to bite your tongue to keep from giving those girls their comeuppance.” Quiet challenge lay beneath Luke’s words. He dared her to refuse something she so desired. If she could.
Moral indignation that had burned so hotly before deserted her. “I thought you didn’t notice me that day. You appeared quite taken with the…other patrons.”
“Oh, I noticed.”
In a Monday that held more twists and turns than a dog’s hind leg, his barely audible reply and intent stare added yet more bewilderment. Why did he have to go and make her forget her outrage? Awfully difficult to harbor a grudge when he seemed intent on filling her head with hope.
She stared at the object in her palm, afraid it would fade into thin air as the genie in the Arabian Nights had. Fairy tales were for children, not grown women who knew better. McClain couldn’t be Aladdin—unless he whipped out a magic carpet. This night she wouldn’t rule out anything.
“Say something, Glory.” Hope gave her a sharp poke.
Patience grinned. “If you wanna kiss him, we’ll hide our eyes.”
Hell’s bells! If she didn’t die of mortification, it would be a sheer miracle.
“I know you want to,” Patience crowed. “Leastways that’s what you wrote in your private book.”
“What kind of woman would pass up a kiss?” Luke raised her chin with the lightest of nudges.
Her legs threatened to buckle. Powerless in the spell of his gaze, she marveled at the rakish curve of his mouth. The essence of him wrapped around, over, and inside her as she gladly stepped onto his magic carpet.
One more kiss wouldn’t hurt anything.
A sudden scurry of feet seemed in the distance. Glory’s ears pounded. His frenzied heartbeat jumped through the fabric of his shirt. She sank into the curve of his arm because he stole her will to step back.
The kiss that began with tender softness deepened. She shuddered under his caress, a piece of clay in the hands of a master.
Her feverish skin throbbed with some strange need she didn’t comprehend. She only knew if she died in his arms this second, she would depart the world in a state of bliss.
When he lifted his head at last, she would have fallen without his steadying support. She rested her face on his broad chest for a moment to still the dizzying whirl.
“Thank you.” His murmur came faint as a breeze through willows. His ragged breath ruffled her hair.
A few seconds later, she remembered where they stood and the liberties she’d allowed. Never before had she been so carefree. Or so warm. “Good heavens!” She patted her hair, giving the room a sweeping glance, relieved to find it empty. “I don’t know what came over me.”
“Whatever it was, I hope it remembers the way back.”
She groaned inwardly and lowered her eyes before he saw the answer. For the cost of a handful of wind she would stand before the preacher with him.
Darn him and his magic carpet!
Fact remained, no amount of wishing could erase the truth. Her father left…and so had her mother, though each in a different way. At the end of the day, she could put faith only in herself.
What hand of fate had flung him into her life? The man seemed to take extraordinary liberty in assaulting her with his presence at every turn—with no intention of staying.
“I need to ask where you got the money to pay off our note—and buy all this.” The pain inside made her voice sound cold.
“Will it matter?”
Glory wished for things that could never be. To stifle yearnings that swept her along like a dandelion in a sudden gust would take more will than she possibly had. And even more impossible…blocking the knowledge that she could forgive all else as long as he promised to never leave. She gripped the toothbrush. “I must know.”
“In my own time.” He brushed her cheek lightly with a fingertip.
Only after she could do a sight more than melt did she dare raise her eyes. “You’ve involved us in whatever it is you do.”
“Fair enough. First tell me what you were doing with your esteemed Dr. Dalton.”
Anger put her on familiar ground. She rested her hands on her hips and jutted her chin defiantly. Magic carpet rides were for damsels without obligations and those who could afford to daydream. “He’s not my anything. And I don’t have to justify it. Don’t let us keep you from wherever it is you need to mosey on to.”
“Fire and damnation! I’m trying to help.”
The wind shifted to a more southerly tack and hand-carried the scent of wild honeysuckle, bringing to mind the fresh smell of Glory’s hair. Did she miss him? Or did she breathe a sigh of relief to finally be rid of the bother? More likely the latter.
It surprised Luke to realize Glory Day had the power to make him forget Jessie. Or at least dull the memory.
Suddenly, a covey of quail took flight from a cluster of sumac and wild thistle. Soldier pricked his ears, stomping the ground nervously. The hair bristled on the nape of his neck.
Someone lurked out there. He’d faced danger too many times to ignore the warning. The Colt slid easily into the palm of his hand. Quickly, he rolled, stealing into the thick brush.
The fingernail sliver of moonlight suited his purpose fine. Hidden by dark shadows, he waited for the skulking varmint.
Coarse fabric rustled. Luke pivoted his attention back to the campsite in time to see a black figure creep into view. It was too dark to see the face. The extra light of a fire would have helped him. But he hadn’t wanted to announce his position with Perkins in the vicinity.
The intruder poked at the vacant bedroll with the tip of a rifle.
Luke crouched, biding his time.
At the right moment, when the culprit turned away, he jumped. They went down in a heap, jarred by the unforgiving ground. Off flew the intruder’s hat and a cloud of sweet-smelling hair blocked his view. No hard muscles—just soft, womanly curves.
“Glory?” He blew away the tendrils of hair that swarmed up his nose. The fresh fragrance attacked his jangled nerves.
“What are you doing? Get off me.”
“Me? You’re the one who skulked in here like a common thief.”
No, he took that back. There was nothing common about Glory Day. Stretched out firmly atop her, he felt her racing heart. His toes curled from the sizzling current. Her heaving breasts cozied up against the hardness of his chest like a saloon girl looking to make a bit of change. Have mercy!
“Get off me, you lousy double-crosser!” She beat against his chest
Christmas could’ve come and gone in the length of time it took to pry his fingers loose and lift himself. He battled with the need to hold her close. The bold way her body fit against his made him long for her.
With the deepest regret, he rose, letting her up.
She brushed off her clothes in a huff. Her withering glare might’ve killed a less hardy soul. For him, it would take more than that. Nothing short of death could wipe the grin off his face.
The evil eye she shot him when he didn’t cower under the glare assured him she’d most certainly oblige if given half a chance.
He quickly plucked her Winchester from the dirt where it’d fallen in the scuffle. He wasn’t taking any chances.
“Miss me, huh? Couldn’t stand not having me around?”
“You’re a cheat and a low-down liar.”
“Whoa, there. I’m wounded.” He’d reckoned she’d be mad enough to swallow a horned toad backward, but to come chasing surprised the hell out of him. Didn’t she possess any sense to keep out of harm’s way?
“I don’t suppose you remember we had a deal? It simply slipped your mind that you agreed I’d come with you?”
The rise and fall of her shirt set his imagination ablaze. All that velvety skin lay beneath there. Soft swells he ached to touch. Nipples that begged for attention.
Damn! The honeysuckle still swimming up his nose must’ve pickled his brain.
How could a man fight against something he so desperately wanted? He struggled to pull his stare from her beckoning mouth and lost.
“If I recall, you promised you’d do anything I wanted if I brought you along.” He meant his softly spoken reminder as a warning. The lady trod on his territory now.
She crossed her arms, gifting him with more of those looks that could hard-boil an egg in nothing flat.
“Foolish drivel. Doesn’t matter now. You broke your word.”
He edged closer. He wanted to bother her as much as she did him. And fire and damnation, did she ever!
“Are you quite certain?”
“I’m not bound—”
“Ahhhh, but that’s where you’re mistaken.” His velvet words belied the havoc inside. The attraction between them was far more binding than any hastily spoken agreement.
Panic colored her stone-washed gaze. “I declare our agreement null and void.” She stepped back.
The rifle dropped from Luke’s hand. He barely heard the thump of it hitting the ground over the racket inside his head.
“Too late,” he murmured.
A soft gasp came when he brushed her arm with light fingertips. It didn’t take tugging or cajoling to pull her against him. Her surrender spoke of a need that equaled his.
Anything to oblige a pretty lady.
Tenderly, he caressed her lips with his tongue before he allowed himself to partake of all she gave. He paid no heed to the fact that however much that was, it would never be enough. He’d learned a long time ago to collect each drop of rain. Sooner or later, it’d fill your bucket.
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