THE GUNSLINGER’S VOW (Runaway Brides Series, Book 1) by Amy Sandas
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Genre: Western Historical Romance
Three runaway brides
Determined to escape their fates
Flee West to find freedom that can only be had
in a cowboy’s arms…
Alexandra Brighton spent the last five years in Boston, erasing all evidence of the wild frontier girl she used to be. Before she settles, she’s determined to visit her childhood home one final time. But when she finds herself stranded far from civilization, she has no choice but to trust her safety to the tall, dark and decidedly dangerous bounty hunter, Malcolm Kincaid.
Now that Malcolm finally has the location of his brother’s killer, he has no intention of wasting time protecting a pampered Eastern lady. But something about Alexandra speaks to the heart he long thought frozen—and her slow transformation from proper miss to wild-eyed beauty leaves him shaken. By the time they reach Montana, Malcolm must decide if seeking justice for past wrongs is worth losing a future with the woman he never expected to need…
After knocking sharply, he lowered his chin, crossed his arms over his chest, and waited. He chose not to analyze why the idea of disturbing her sleep gave him a perverse sort of pleasure.
He was about to knock again, when the lock released and the door opened to reveal a very sleepy— and very undressed—woman blinking at him with wide blue eyes.
“Mr. Kincaid? Is something wrong?”
Wrong? Hellfire and damnation. Malcolm could barely think.
The foolish woman stood there in nothing more than a white towel wrapped around her body from chest to knee. The creamy skin of her limbs and shoulders was entirely exposed, and dark hair fell in heavy waves down her back. She looked soft and feminine and too damned enticing.
Lust swept hot and furious through him. He ground his back teeth hard to stop his body’s instant reaction to the sight of Miss Brighton in such a state.
“What the hell are you doing opening the door like that?” Malcolm growled, glancing down the hall to make sure no one else was about.
Her eyes grew wider as she looked down at herself. A swift blush pinkened her cheeks, and she tried to step back around the edge of the door. “I was in a deep sleep,” she explained. “I forgot I wasn’t dressed.”
“What if it hadn’t been me knocking?” he asked angrily.
It was probably his tone that had her lifting her chin and narrowing her gaze. “Well, it is you, isn’t it? And you still haven’t told me why you have come to bother me in the middle of the night.”
“It’s barely ten o’clock.”
Apparently over her embarrassment, she crossed her arms over her chest in a perfect copy of his own stance and lifted her brows in question. The action plumped the upper swells of her breasts, and Malcolm’s mouth went bone-dry.
Forcing his attention back to her face didn’t seem to help much. Not with her eyes all soft from sleep and those lips looking so damn kissable.
“I’ll take you to Montana,” he said abruptly, trying to shake himself free of the sensual snare he’d walked into.
Her mouth dropped open in surprise. “You will?”
Malcolm was tempted to back out then simply due to the strength of his unbidden desire. He did not want to entertain the idea that his attraction to her was growing stronger rather than fading. But it was the damned truth. The journey was going to be torturous in more ways than one. He had no intention of acting on the lust she inspired, but that didn’t mean he didn’t feel it, and it didn’t mean he’d always be able to hide it.
But he couldn’t in good conscience leave her stranded. Doing so would make him no better than Lassiter, and there was no telling what manner of character she’d end up in the hands of if he wasn’t there to keep her out of trouble.
“We do things my way,” he stated firmly. “No arguing.”
She nodded vigorously. “Of course. Whatever you say, Mr. Kincaid.”
Malcolm narrowed his gaze. Her ready agreement was suspicious, but he’d made his decision. “Malcolm,” he muttered.
Her eyebrows lifted in surprise. Then she smiled, and Malcolm’s gut clenched. The curve of that lower lip was going to be the death of him.
“All right, Malcolm.” She unfolded her arms to extend her hand. “And you may call me Alexandra.”
Malcolm knew he shouldn’t take her hand. Not there in the dark while she stood in nothing but a towel, not when desire ran rampant through his blood at the simple sight of her. But she kept her hand extended and lifted a brow as though in challenge.
He took her hand in his, noting its softness and how easily it became folded up in his larger grip. His bicep tensed with the urge to give a quick and forceful tug so she’d tumble toward him until her breasts flattened against his chest, her thighs bumped his, and her breath spread across his throat. It’d be so easy to take her in his arms and claim her mouth.
But she was innocent and far too trusting—not to mention way the hell out of his class—and Malcolm had never taken anything from a woman that wasn’t freely given. Miss Brighton was not for him.
Oblivious to his train of thought, she gave a surprisingly firm handshake. Her smile never wavered as she declared, “You won’t regret this. I promise.”
Malcom released her hand and stepped back. “Be downstairs by seven o’clock tomorrow.”
“I will. Thank you, Malcolm.”
“And ask who’s at your door before you open the damned thing.”
Malcolm held his position until the door closed and he heard the lock click into place. Then he stalked down the hall to his own room, taking slow breaths to rein in his body’s fierce and unwelcome craving. He’d need to see to his own relief tonight. There was no way he was going to start on the trail with that woman wound as tight as he was.
Not if he hoped to survive the journey.
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Amy Sandas’ love of romance began one summer when she stumbled across one of her mother’s Barbara Cartland books. Her affinity for writing began with sappy pre-teen poems and led to a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She lives with her husband and children in Wisconsin.