Satin Boots: Six Short Western Romances
The Mail Order Bride's Choice
Moira headed to the small attic room she shared with the Swinburnes’ other maid. Caroline, who had the next Sunday afternoon off, likely toiled in the kitchen at that moment helping the cook prepare a lavish feast for that night’s supper party. Moira collected her meager belongings, stuffing them into a worn satchel purchased secondhand and given to her by her mother five years prior. Mama had also given parting words of wisdom: “Stay true to yourself, Moira. Your virtue is all you truly possess. Give it to no man without the security of wedding vows.”
Having grown up the bastard daughter of a tavern wench, Moira knew her mother spoke from harsh experience. A butler’s daughter who had learned to read and write and expected to rise to respectable employment as some nobleman’s housekeeper, Edith Saccarrigan had fallen for a nobleman’s blandishments and false promises with the obvious consequences. Poor decisions and ruin followed her from Ireland to America. She gave her daughter the only gifts she could: advice and the skills to read and write.
Moira could still hear her mother’s soft Irish brogue as she sang the sad, lilting songs of her homeland.
The Swinburne’s butler met her at the back door—the servants entrance—with the salary owed her. He gave her a melancholy look and said, “You’re a good worker, an honest girl. Should anyone inquire of me, I’ll recommend your employment. I’m sorry, girl.”
“I’m sorry, too,” she replied. “You’ve been good to me, Mr. Conley.”
He nodded and stepped back to allow her to pass through the doorway. Neither acknowledged that no one would ask the butler for his recommendation of a potential employee. Moira carried her belongings to the post office where she greeted the clerk and picked up the single letter waiting for her. Stepping aside and taking a seat on a public bench, she opened it. What good fortune! Her expression brightened as she picked up a ticket for the stagecoach from within the folds of paper.
Dear Miss Saccariggan,
Our amiable correspondence has convinced me that we will make a good life together. Please use the enclosed ticket to meet me in Redstone Falls in the Colorado Territory. I will greet you at the stagecoach depot and we’ll marry.
Very truly yours,
Tucking the letter and ticket securely into her satchel, Moira left the post office and walked to the nearest stagecoach depot.
“When does the next stagecoach depart?” she inquired.
The clerk looked at the schedule posted on the wall beside the ticket window and replied, “Tomorrow morning, promptly at six o’clock.”
Moira pursed her lips as she considered what to do next. She had little money to spend.
Raking his gaze over plain clothing, the clerk frowned and said, “You can’t spend the night here, miss. The company don’t allow passengers to loiter.”
She sighed. The clerk obviously had experience with passengers like her.
“Do you know of an inexpensive place—someplace respectable—where I could stay for the night?” she asked.
Willow: Branch 3 of the Tree of Life
“Two rooms,” she blurted.
The clerk hesitated. Dane bent down and murmured in Willow’s ear, “One room. I need to protect you.”
She turned wide eyes up at him and shivered and wondered who would protect her from him. Oh, no, she did not believe for a moment that he’d hurt her—at least not beat her up, stab her, or attempt to kill her. (Attempt? Hah.) No, what she feared was a different kind of assault that would dissolve her resistance and bind her to him irrevocably.
At that point, the evening shift manager rushed through an office door and said, “Are you victims of the hotel collapse?”
“We are,” Dane confirmed.
He turned to the clerk, who looked confused, and explained, “The Palm Springs Palazzo Hotel has collapsed! Police are sending those victims who are ambulatory to other facilities. Make sure they get a room. We can’t be seen turning away customers who need us in this time of difficulty unless every single room is full.”
Willow suppressed a snort. Of course the hotel wouldn’t be turning away the rush of customers. The problem would be in collecting payment for the room nights and food, since she was sure many people wouldn’t have their money or belongings with them.
“One room,” Dane said. “Others are coming in even as we speak.”
And it was true, Willow realized. People whose bank accounts could withstand The Palms’ room rates were filling the lobby.
The clerk swiped two key cards and handed them to Dane. Efficiently, she gave him the room information and directed him to the elevator bank.
“Come, Willow,” he commanded softly and started walking. Once again, Willow was nearly jerked off her feet and she scrambled to keep up. The elevator doors opened almost immediately and in moments they were in their hotel room, a spacious junior suite. Only when the door had closed behind them did Dane release Willow’s hand. She determinedly stepped beyond his immediate reach and glared at him.
“What the hell is going on?” Willow demanded hotly.
Dane bolted the deadbolt and latched the safety to prevent unwanted entry, then unwrapped a glass from its protective paper and filled it at the bathroom tap for a drink. He drained the glass and set it down carefully before answering her.
“I’ll stand, thank you.”
“Sit,” he repeated, eyes glittering dangerously.
Tree of Life Series Branch 3 :
Be care what you wish for, because you just might get it.
Willow should have taken heed of that familiar warning, because she wanted Dane’s attention and then got it. She wasn’t ready.
On assignment protecting a paranoid client at a convention, Dane Karl has finally found his mate, a very young sidhe ill-equipped to deal with a legendary mercenary warrior, fierce weretiger, and powerful sidhe all wrapped up in one big, badass package.
His plan for a slow courtship ruined by the catastrophe that destroys the conference hotel, he claims Willow as his mate to keep her safe from the demons hunting sidhe flesh and sidhe magic. Willow must find her strength to stand up to her legendary husband’s overbearing ways, deal with the shade of his long dead, sidhe wife, and survive the demons after them.
Can an ancient warrior learn to love? Can a young, untried sidhe find her strength?
This is the third and final book of the Tree of Life trilogy.
Posted by brriske
Willow is a young sidhe who was determined to branch out on her own from her very sheltered parents and her village. Of all places for her to work, she works for the National American Vampire Association. But sidhe blood is poison to vampires. She’s a pure white sidhe, a healing sidhe and runs across a fallen woman. It’s her nature to heal. She realized she’s healed the famous bain sidhe, Rowan Nemad. Rowan gives her a parting piece of friendly advice of locking down her glamour tighter because there are many things hunting sidhe and would claim her against her will. They chatted through some of the conference and Willow’s eyes fall on the famed bodyguard Dane Karl. And for some reason, he asks her for coffee. She’s very intimidated by the weretiger, as much as he’s trying to put her at ease. He recognizes her as his soulmate and knows that he has to court her.
She concentrated, delicately calibrating her body and releasing the tiniest amount of tigress pheromones into the air.
A convention attendee stopped to ask about membership benefits, commanding Willow’s attention. She smiled pleasantly, showed him the list of membership benefits and explained them, and described the membership fee structure.
Dane stopped in front of a booth promoting eighteen karat gold fang caps, with and without gemstone embellishments. His nostrils flared and the back of his tongue tingled, detecting the stimulation of pheromones almost too faint to detect. He inhaled more deeply through his mouth and followed the whisper of scent to a slender brunette who seemed to be completely unaware of his presence as she addressed an attendee’s questions. There she is. A tingle of awareness shivered through his body as he studied her from across the aisle. He watched her thank the attendee for his interest, press some literature in to his hand, and slowly realize that someone was staring at her.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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