Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: SAVING THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE by Linda Broday

 

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SAVING THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE (Outlaw Mail Order Brides Series, Book 2) by Linda Broday

Publication Date: April 30, 2019

Genre: Historical Western Romance

Synopsis

84EE6BE2-AF36-487C-9792-CB648CABEB7EWhen the West was wild
And man’s law favored the few
These extraordinary women could be found…
…in the heart of an outlaw.

He may be a wanted man, but all outlaw Jack Bowdre ever desired was a second chance. Now he’s on his way to jail, completely unaware that his unexpected—and unexpectedly beautiful—traveling companion is none other than Nora Kane…his mail order bride.

It’s too bad Nora doesn’t know Jack is her groom-to-be. All she sees is a scoundrel. But when their stagecoach crashes and the truth comes spilling out, they’re suddenly left to fend for themselves—and each other. The longer they’re together, the stronger their feelings grow. Hounded by desperate men bent on doing them harm, Nora and Jack will do whatever it takes to find their happily ever after…but first, they’ll have to shake the devil from their trail.

~*~*~*~

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Excerpt

For Nora there were lots worse things than being shackled to Jack Bowdre. Why she trusted this outlaw was hard to explain yet instinct told her he wasn’t a threat—not to her. She gave Jack’s rugged profile a sideways glance. He seemed deep in thought the way he stared into the distance.
Maybe how to get rid of her?
Panic swept up her spine. What if he got their handcuffs unlocked and left? How would she survive?
He rose. “I need to find a good rock so I can break this chain. I had planned to shoot out one of the links, but without bullets, the gun is useless.”
“You can break these iron links apart with a rock?”
“Planning to.”
“Can’t you use the butt of the Colt?” That sounded logical to her.
“That’ll damage it and it won’t fire.” He said that like it was something everyone should know.
“But we have no cartridges so why keep something that doesn’t work?” Lord help this poor outlaw.
Jack stopped and stared as though she’d suggested he gnaw through the iron links with his bare teeth. He inhaled a slow breath and seemed to be…counting? “Even if a gun has no ammunition, it still has plenty of worth. If someone corners us, I can still point it at someone. I’m very good at making men believe they’re about to die.”
“Oh. I guess that’s why you’re the outlaw and I’m…a bride you kept secrets from.”
The way color flooded his face said he didn’t appreciate her remark. “Over there.” He pointed to a group of rocks that seemed to have been stacked on purpose.
She allowed him to pull her along, and he chose a hefty one, about nine by six inches. Although he had very large palms, she still had no idea how he’d lift the makeshift sledgehammer and slam it onto the chain with one hand. But with his inability to accept criticism, she thought it prudent to hold her tongue.
Stretching the six-inch chain across a boulder, Jack lifted the rock. The mighty blow jarred her, sending vibrating waves along the chain and stinging her wrist. Plus, the impact didn’t even put the slightest dent in the iron. He slipped his free arm out of the duster sleeve and tried again. Nothing. He unbuttoned his shirt, tugging at the collar, and Nora sucked in a breath at the sight of that broad chest with rippling muscles.
My oh my!
To run her hands over that. She’d always assumed men who lived by the gun would be too thin, too pale, their bodies too…standard. After all, what work did an outlaw do other than ride his horse and shoot?
Apparently, Jack did physical work of some kind. She tried not to stare, but her eyes refused to obey.
Over and over he pounded the chain and with each strike, she flinched, dodging the flying chips of stone. Sweat poured off him despite the cool day. Frustrated curses slipped from his mouth, although he restrained himself far better than she expected.
“I have a hairpin if you want to try picking the locks.” That idea made more sense to her.
“I’ll get this in a minute. It’s stubborn, that’s all. I have to hit it just right.”
The sun rose higher, he kept working until the rock finally broke in half…but the chain held.
He met her gaze. “Failure is just the opportunity to begin again. We’re not licked.”
Nora cocked her head, catching a faint sound. “Someone’s coming.”
“Hurry.” Jack took her hand and led her down into a ravine, where they flattened against the side. “Don’t make a sound.”
Her heart hammered in her ears. Or was that his heartbeat? He put his free arm around her and pulled her against all that brawn. The scent of the wild Texas land melded with leather and manly sweat, and Nora could do nothing but sag against him as limp as warm jelly.
His mouth was mere inches from hers.
Perspiration trickled between her breasts, and she could barely draw a shaky breath into her lungs. No one had a right to be so rugged, so enticing, so…so sensual.
What would it be like to feel his lips on hers? Her pulse raced.
He shifted a little, knitting his brows, frowning down at her. Shoot! Had she spoken aloud?
The empty Colt tucked in his waist pressed into the area above her belly, reminding her they were in grave danger. In truth, she was having trouble forming a complete thought.
The hoofbeats became louder until the rider was right above them. The horse snorted with impatience. Other than the horse, all was silent.
Good. That meant only one person, not a whole posse.
Jack removed his hat, gripped the empty gun, and took a look. The suspense proved too much for Nora. She raised on tiptoe to peek and froze.
The horseman was the man she’d caught following her in Fort Worth. The white of her discarded bustle bulged from his saddlebag.
She ducked, pressing the trembling length of her body tightly against Jack. How could the tracker have found her? If he’d seen the stagecoach wreck, he’d put two and two together.
Jack’s hard gaze followed the man as he rode on. “Who was that? You recognized him.”
Careful. The lies would pile up on top of each other until she couldn’t keep them straight.
Her eyes widened. “No one here in Texas would have absolutely any interest in me. I came to marry you, Jack, and I have to say it’s been a rather arduous trip. If I could just go back to the moment when I snapped the marshal’s handcuff on me and threw the key I would.”
She smiled brightly, refusing to let the outlaw’s dark scowl worry her.
“We’ll have to talk about the marrying part, Nora.”

~*~*~*~

Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

~*~*~*~

Giveaway

3 Copies of Saving The Mail Order Bride

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~*~*~*~

About the Author

Linda Broday_newAt a young age, LINDA BRODAY discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. 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 Award. She resides in the Texas Panhandle and is inspired every day.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: TO CATCH A TEXAS STAR by Linda Broday

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TO CATCH A TEXAS STAR (Texas Heroes, Book 3) by Linda Broday

Publication Date: July 3, 2018

Genre: Historical Western Romance

Synopsis

53614F0A-7BC4-48F6-9238-FDB8E5F55D28He’ll do what it takes to prove his love

The son of a notorious outlaw, Roan Penny yearns to make his life count…but heroism comes with a price. Left badly injured, only the kindness of a gentle stranger can save him. He longs to be with the captivating beauty—his savior, his Texas star, his Marley Rose McClain—but he knows he’d bring her nothing but trouble.

If only he could convince his heart of that.

Marley’s lived a charmed life, and she’s determined to spend the rest of her days at her quiet hero’s side…but she isn’t what she seems. A life-long secret threatens to destroy everything she knows—and everything she could hope to be. As dangerous men threaten to pull her back into the shadows, a desperate Roan must ride hell-bent for leather to save the other half of his heart…before he can lose her light for good.

~*~*~*~

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Excerpt

Unable to bear the torture, Roan whirled and crushed his lips to Marley’s.

A hunger so powerful that it hurt to breathe spread through him, rushing along his limbs and touching off a whirlwind inside him. He stood in the storm and let the emotion wash over his body, healing his ragged spirit and muzzling his fear.

A raspy moan escaped. His heart beating like a thundering herd of buffalo, he held Marley so tightly against him that he expected her to complain. If he could somehow open himself up and draw her inside, he would. He’d protect her with every bit of strength he had and carry the beautiful woman with him forever.

Dear, God, he wanted her. Wanted her more than anything in the world. His hands roamed over her curves, memorizing every indentation and soft swell. She seemed to be learning every inch of him as well, and the way she clutched, kneaded, and caressed him spoke of a great need of her own.

The air seemed to vibrate with this craving that swept through him. His senses filled with her, Roan deepened the kiss and backed her against a work table where they repaired harnesses and saddles. Tightening his grip, he lifted her onto the planks. She reached for him, knocking off his hat and it tumbled to the floor.

His heartbeat roared in his ears and drowned out everything except this overpowering desire for her.

How long they stood wrapped in each other’s arms, he didn’t know. He was barely conscious of where they were, or of the dawn breaking. Men and children would spill out any second and find them.

It took everything he had to break the kiss. He tenderly brushed a tendril of hair from her eyes and studied her dark eyes. “You’re like those shooting stars we watched. You blaze across a man’s life with such a streak of color and pageantry it steals a man’s breath. You’re my Texas star, Marley Rose McClain. That is if you don’t object to the title.”

His Texas Star. Yes, that’s exactly what she would always be.

Marley’s breath hitched. “That’s beautiful. I’ve never been compared to a shooting star before.”

“Well, you are. I don’t know what the future holds or if I’ll ever see you again,” he mumbled against her mouth. “Keep shining, Texas Star, for as long as you live.”

“I will.” Marley’s glistening gaze met his and she ran a fingertip along his jawline. “No promises, no regrets.”

“None.” The rooster finally crowed, reminding Roan he’d best hurry. “Maybe you’ll write a story one day about me and how you saved my life one frosty morn.”

Tears bubbled in her eyes. “You’d better come back or I’ll come looking for you.”

“You will, huh?”

“I’ll brave a den of snakes and go through a hail of bullets to get to you, and you can count on that.” Marley straightened his collar and picked a piece of lint from his coat. “You’re a handsome man, Roan Penny. Women are going to chase you, but it doesn’t mean you have to let them catch you.” Her voice broke.

Roan swallowed a lump in his throat. This was tearing him up inside.

With a cry, she tangled her fingers in his hair and pulled him close for another kiss.

“I’ll pray for you, Roan,” she whispered.

“Save your prayers for those who believe in their power.”

Before the banked fire had a chance to flare again, Roan stepped away from her and issued a stern warning. “Don’t come after me. I mean it. You don’t know the danger waiting in San Saba. If they knew I cared for you, they’d kill you. Promise you’ll stay here. You have topromise not to come after my sorry hide. Go on with your life.”

Marley shook her head, her dark eyes large in the low light. “I can’t do that.”

~*~*~*~

Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

~*~*~*~

Giveaway

5 Copies of Knight on the Texas Plains

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~*~*~*~

About the Author

Linda Broday_newAt a young age, LINDA BRODAY discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. 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 Award. She resides in the Texas Panhandle and is inspired every day.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: THE COWBOY WHO CAME CALLING by Linda Broday

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THE COWBOY WHO CAME CALLING (Texas Heroes Book 2) by Linda Broday

Publication Date: February 6, 2018

Genre: Historical Western Romance

Synopsis

A5DD3F48-06E8-4593-BA4D-8BA2D8D3C605He’ll do what it takes
To win
Her heart

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.

~*~*~*~

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Excerpt

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.”

~*~*~*~

 

Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

~*~*~*~

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of the first book in Linda Broday’s Texas Heroes series, Knight on the Texas Plains

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~*~*~*~

About the Author

Linda Broday_newAt a young age, LINDA BRODAY discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. 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 Award. She resides in the Texas Panhandle and is inspired every day.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: TO MARRY A TEXAS OUTLAW by Linda Broday

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TO MARRY A TEXAS OUTLAW (Men of Legend, Book 3) by Linda Broday

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Genre: Historical Western Romance

Synopsis

5048D2B0-F399-455B-A45F-0B941561ADFEThree Brothers. One Oath.

No Compromises.

The MEN of LEGEND

The Outlaw

Outlaw Luke Weston survives by his wits. On the run for a murder he didn’t commit, the last thing he needs is to go looking for more trouble. But when Luke stumbles across a fiercely beautiful woman struggling against two heavily armed men, it’s obvious that trouble has found him.

After all, he never could resist a damsel in distress.

Josie Morgan’s distressed, all right—and hopping mad. She has no idea why she’s been kidnapped…or who she is…or why her body melts for the mysterious gunslinger who saved her life. But as the lost memories come tumbling back together, Josie is faced with the stark reality of why she and Luke can never be…even as her heart is telling her she will always be his.

~*~*~*~

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Excerpt

Lawmen surrounded the wagon and forced them to stop.

“Morning, gentlemen,” Luke drawled. “Mind getting out of our way?”

“We’re looking for a woman.” The old sheriff had a crooked nose that must’ve been broken countless times.

“The only one I’ve seen is—”

“Me. His wife,” Rose interrupted and gazed with what she hoped was adoration up at Luke. “Don’t be shy saying it, sweetheart. But it’s still sort of new, I reckon.” She cupped his jaw and turned to the riders. “You see, we were married two weeks ago and we’re on our honeymoon. My darling sugarplum promised to take me to Fort Worth.”

She pressed her lips to his in a long, searing kiss. He didn’t respond for a moment, then shock and thrilling tingles rippled over her as he kissed her back. When she parted her mouth, he slipped his tongue inside as bold as you please. His hand curled just under her breast and sent waves of aching hunger through her.

“Ahem,” one of lawmen said. “We need a word if you don’t mind.”

“Oh, dear sir, but we do mind,” she murmured against Luke’s mouth. “Very strenuously.”

“Damn, woman,” Luke whispered. “Aren’t you overdoing it?”

“Me?” she argued low. “What was the tongue for?”

“Added effect.” His eyes held a devilish gleam.

“Sorry, ma’am,” another of the posse tried. “Give us a quick word and we’ll be on our way.”

Luke raised his head. “My wife Rose is very…passionate. Why are you looking for this other woman?”

“She murdered her husband last night, mister.”

Rose gasped. “My heavens, how horrible. Did she shoot him?”

“Oh no, ma’am, nothing that tame,” said the lawman with the mole. “She gutted him.”

“Where did this take place?” Luke asked, nuzzling Rose’s neck.

“Doan’s Crossing.”

Rose stiffened in panic.

“Careful,” Luke whispered. “Just a little longer.”

“Do you know her name by chance?” Rose asked quietly.

“Josie. Josie Morgan,” the man answered. “From the description, she’s the spitting image of you, ma’am.”

She shivered even as Luke’s arm tightened around her. Could she have done something like that? Was she a murderess?

“If we happen to spot her, we’ll report it to the first lawman,” Luke promised. “Now, if you don’t mind, we have somewhere to be and my wife, bless her sweet soul, is a very impatient woman.” He winked at the posse. “You fellows remember what it was like to be newly married, don’t you?”

A murmur of agreement came from the group.

Rose glanced down and her heart pounded to see the duster had slipped, exposing a big portion of her bloody skirt. Slowly, so as not to draw the lawmen’s gaze, she tried to tug the shield back into place.

“Say, don’t I know you, mister?” One of the lawmen in the back, a younger man, moved forward, staring at Luke. “What’s your name?”

Rose held her breath as Luke’s hand inched slowly down toward his Colt. Desperate to draw the riders’ attention, she loosened the top buttons of her dress and moved the fabric aside. “My goodness, I’m so hot!” She touched her cheek with a fingertip and drew it painstakingly down the long column of her throat, past her collarbone and into her cleavage. The young lawman swallowed hard.

“Name’s Jones. I’m from Tascosa,” Luke drawled. “The town’s wild and woolly but it’s where I met my beautiful Rose and tied the knot.”

“I never thought I’d ever find such a handsome man to give me a second look.” Rose batted her eyelashes. “Ours is a match made in heaven.”

“I must be mistaken.” The young man turned aside, mumbling to himself.

The hawk-nosed marshal leaned over. “There’s a lot of blood on your dress, ma’am. What happened?”

Panic raced through Rose. “Blood? Oh, good heavens no!” She forced a giggle. “This is nothing but red mud. My mama always complained about the North Texas red dirt and was never able to get it to wash out of anything.”

The marshal’s white brow lifted in apparent skepticism.

Luke quietly added, “My wife likes to make love in the…uh, creek. It’s really embarrassing to talk about.”

She patted his vest. “Sweetheart, these men don’t have time to be gossiping like that! They simply have to find that Morgan woman before she kills again.”

The men shook their heads, chuckling, but one leaned forward for a better view.

“Sorry to have held you up.” The old sheriff touched the brim of his hat and the group galloped off, kicking up a cloud of dust around the wagon.

Luke jiggled the reins and the team began to move. “What the hell was that back there?”

Her spine stiffened. “What do you mean?”

“Attacking me like that.”

“Wait one minute. If I recall, you didn’t appear to object.”

“You enjoyed every second of that,” Luke accused.

“And you didn’t?”

Luke glanced back to check on the lawmen. “Where did that performance come from?”

“I noticed a spark of recognition in that young one’s eyes and I knew I had to save you. He was a step away from arresting you.” She thought he’d at least be grateful for her efforts.

“Don’t ever try to save me again.” Luke’s voice held a sharp edge. “I’ll only get you hurt—or dig you a grave.”

~*~*~*~

Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

~*~*~*~

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of To Love a Texas Ranger by Linda Broday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~*~*~*~

About the Author

Linda Broday_newAt a young age, LINDA BRODAY discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. 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 Award. She resides in the Texas Panhandle and is inspired every day.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: KNIGHT ON THE TEXAS PLAINS by Linda Broday

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KNIGHT ON THE TEXAS PLAINS (Texas Heroes, Book 1) by Linda Broday

Publication Date: August 1, 2017

Genre: Historical Western Romance

Synopsis

cvr knight on the texas plainsHe’ll do whatever it takes
To keep them safe

Duel McClain has lost everything he’s ever loved: his wife, his son, his sense of self. But when a strange twist of fate—and a poker game he’ll never forget—leaves an innocent little girl in his care, Duel vows to defend his new family to his very last breath. If only he knew a single thing about taking care of babies…

Just as Duel swears his life can’t get any more complicated, a beautiful woman stumbles into the light of his campfire, desperate for help. Jessie Foltry is hungry, tired, and running for her life. She agrees to help Duel care for the child in exchange for his protection, even as she fights to guard her broken heart. But Duel will do whatever it takes to make Jessie see that the Texas plains have more than one kind of knight, and perhaps their salvation is closer than either of them could have dreamed…

~*~*~*~

Excerpt

Duel McClain lifted the whiskey glass and let the fiery elixir slide down his throat. The burning path brought an odd sort of relief, momentarily dulling the permanent ache in his belly. The dealer slapped three cards in front of him. Duel took his time picking them up. A baby, whimpering at the men’s feet, unraveled the tightly knit threads of his composure. How could he concentrate with that?

A glance at the first card revealed an ace of spades. He stuck it between the eight of hearts and the two of clubs in his hand. Then he turned over an eight of diamonds. A pair might take the hefty pot in the middle of the table—that is, if he cared enough to try. Shielding his last card from the curious eyes of his opponents, he lifted it slowly. An ace of clubs.

His blood turned to ice.

Aces and eights—the deadman’s hand.

A resigned calm welled up. If lady luck rode with Duel tonight, the only space he’d take up would be on Boot Hill.

Something brushed the leg of his trousers. An animal must have sneaked under the swinging batwing doors and beneath the table. The baby’s sniffling grew louder. Tiny hands gripped his leg getting his attention. What in blue blazes? He leaned down. The baby had crawled to him and now tugged, trying to pull itself upright. Thin and dirty, the child stared up at him and he fought against the protective urge that rose at the sight of tears glistening in the kid’s big brown eyes.

“Up the bet, mister, or fold.”

The dealer broke his trance. Duel pitched two bits onto the pile. He just wanted to get this over with and leave. One by one each opponent around the table tossed down their cards in defeat until just two remained in the game—him and the stranger. The baby gurgled and played with the fringe running the length of Duel’s leg.

He shifted in his seat, feeling as if a gang of horse thieves had staked him out in a red-ant bed. If he had a lick of sense he’d fold and get the hell out. Deadman’s hand be damned.

A smug expression drifted across the face of the babe’s father when Duel closed up his cards, intending to lay them down.

Revulsion made Duel ache to smash the stranger’s jaw. Instead, he reached into his pocket for six bits—all that he possessed. He hesitated for only a split second, glancing down at the filthy child who deserved more out of life than the sorry-assed father it had gotten. Then he shifted his gaze, savoring the look of surprise on his opponent’s face when he placed his bet.

The sour-faced weasel had been ready to reach for the pot, sure he’d won. His face colored. He was reduced to turning each of his pockets inside out for more coins. None came to light.

“Whatcha gonna do, Will? Either come up with more or Duel here wins.” The dealer’s impatience grew.

“Hold your horses.” The man named Will leaned down. “Gal, where’d you go? Git your useless hide over here to your pa. Don’t know why I didn’t drown you when you was born.”

So, the child was a girl. Duel reached down and drew her up.

The weasel snatched the girl by one fragile arm. “Tryin’ to steal my daughter?”

Ignoring the question and the loud wails that came from the child, Duel leaned forward to scoop up his winnings.

“Not so fast, mister.” Will sat the baby in the middle of the table. “I’m puttin’ up this here brat. She’s worth six bits, I reckon. You win an’ you got yourself a young’un.”

“I won’t gamble with a man’s flesh and blood,” Duel said.

The dealer frowned. “The bet’s proper, I say. Let’s get on with it. Show your cards, Will.”

Tears ran down the baby girl’s face leaving white trails amid the filth. For a split second, Duel wished he held more than the lousy two pair, wished he could alter the hands of fate. But he’d never been able to change it before. What made him think he could now? He’d spent a lifetime making choices, and most had turned out wrong.

“Quit your sniveling, you brat,” Will snapped at the child as he flipped his cards face up. Two pair also. Kings and deuces.

Quiet calm washed over Duel. He gave the group a wintry smile and revealed his hand.

“Aces n’ eights. Beats your pair, Will. Done in by the Deadman’s hand.” The dealer straightened his silk vest and poured himself a generous drink.

Duel stuffed the coins from the pot into his pockets. What on God’s earth did a man like him need with a babe? The girl had stuck a thumb in her mouth and sucked noisily on it between whimpers. He’d sooner grow wings and fly than take on the responsibility for another human being. The best thing would be to saunter out the door.

“Ain’t you forgettin’ something, mister?” Will’s nasty snarl whipped the stale air like a thin, razor-sharp piece of leather.

Much as he sympathized with the babe’s lot, he couldn’t accept her. “Take her home to her maw. Don’t have any need for a kid.”

Will grabbed his daughter’s sparse hair and pulled her small face next to his own. Ignoring her sharp cries, he yelled, “Ain’t got no maw. See there, Marley Rose. Ain’t no one wants you. You’re about as worthless as one of them Confederate greenbacks. Ain’t never goin’ to be any good for nothin’. Any o’ you cowpokes wanna buy a snot-nosed brat? Sell her cheap.”

Duel found himself reaching for the scared, helpless babe. “Changed my mind. Believe I’ll take what I won.” Tiny hands clung tightly to the neck of his collarless shirt as he strode for the door before he could backtrack.

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knight on the texas plains spotlight

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Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Knight on the Texas Plains by Linda Broday

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About the Author

Linda Broday_newAt a young age, LINDA BRODAY discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. 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 Award. She resides in the Texas Panhandle and is inspired every day.

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: THE HEART OF A TEXAS COWBOY by Linda Broday

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THE HEART OF A TEXAS COWBOY (Men of Legend, #2) By Linda Broday

Publication Date: May 2, 2017

Genre: Historical Western Romance

Synopsis

9781492630203-PRThree Brothers. One Oath.

No Compromises.

The MEN of LEGEND

The Cowboy

One bullet is all it takes to shatter Houston Legend’s world. He swore he’d never love again, but with the future of the Lone Star Ranch on the line, he finds himself at the altar promising to love and cherish a woman he’s never met—a woman whose vulnerable beauty touches his heart.

All Lara Boone wants is a name for her baby. She never expected to fall in love with her own husband—or any man—after the heartache she’s endured. Yet when her troubled past catches up with them, Houston will move heaven and earth to protect his bride…and discover depths to a marriage of convenience neither realized could be theirs.

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Heart of a Texas Cowboy Spotlight Graphic

Excerpt

With night wrapped around her like a cloak, Lara hummed while she washed the dishes and put everything away.

Houston sat on the ground with Gracie, his back against his saddle. The babe lay on his chest with his hand patting the small back. He caught Lara looking and winked as boldly as some scoundrel. Heat rose to her cheeks. She lowered her gaze and made quick work of the dishes.

“Do you want me to take Gracie to her bed?” Lara asked, joining him.

“If you can pry open her fist to get my vest out of it. For such a little thing, she’s sure got a grip.”

Houston was so near his soft breath fanned her cheek. Her pulse raced. This man she’d married invaded every thought. He’d shown kindness and caring and brought hope back from the grave where she’d buried it.

He laid a hand on her arm. “You’ll be back?”

“Yes. I won’t be long.”

“I’ll only be in camp a little while,” Houston said, yawning. “Have to spell the other drovers.” At her questioning glance, he explained, “Everyone shares guard duty, me included.”

She nodded and hurried to lay Gracie in her crib next to her crib beside the chuck wagon. With her precious daughter sleeping soundly, she returned to the fire to find no sign of Houston. Her heart sank with disappointment. She’d missed him, missed her goodnight kiss that he’d begged for.

Houston called quietly from the deep shadows. “Over here, Lara.”

Following his voice, Lara discovered him leaning against the trunk of a mesquite tree. Rays from the full moon lightened the dark brown strands nestling against his collar, adding glints of silver.

“I didn’t want to take a chance on us being interrupted so I walked out here,” he explained.

Lara wet her lips. “I thought you’d changed your mind.” That he didn’t want to kiss a woman so scarred.

“Not a chance, lady,” he growled low and pushed away from the tree. “It’s all that’s been on my mind since you agreed.”

When she moved to him, he opened his arms. She walked into his embrace as though it was door and pleasure awaited there. Inhaling the scented air, she laid her head against the hard wall of his chest. She wanted to stay there forever.

Houston lightly rested his chin on the top of her head. “I’m real glad you came on this drive. Nights can get lonely out here.”

His deep voice vibrated inside her. It was like he became part of her. “I’m glad I did too. Even though I had to work to convince you.”

“Yeah, well, I’m a stubborn fool.”

He put a finger under her chin and lifted her face. Without a word, he lowered his mouth. The minute his warm lips touched hers, Lara had to clutch his arm to keep from falling. Her heartbeat pounded as though trying to keep up with the blood racing through her veins.

A hot, demanding, achiness swept over her. She needed this man and at the moment didn’t think she could live without him. Nor did she want to try.

With a low cry, he placed his large hands under her jaw and deepened the kiss, sending a series of quickenings into her stomach similar to the ones she felt when Gracie curled in her womb. Maybe these stirrings signaled life much in the same way her baby’s movements did to let her know she was alive and couldn’t wait to be born.

Maybe she was being reborn.

Maybe she could forget the past and start fresh.

Maybe this was what she’d waited so long for.

As she leaned into him and gripped Houston’s vest, pleasure like she’d never felt swirled inside her. She clung to him afraid if she let go, he’d vanish and she’d discover it was a dream.

Could this be tiny stirrings of love?

Lara suddenly pushed away. No it wasn’t love because that didn’t exist. Not for her. It was too dangerous to believe in love. To believe she had anything to give any man.

What’s wrong, Lara?” Houston gently pushed back her hair. “Did I do something to upset or frighten you? I shouldn’t have grabbed you like that.”

“You did nothing wrong.” It was her. She almost let herself believe that someone could love her. One look at her reflection showed the impossibility of such a thing. “I’m sorry,” she murmured brokenly.

Through tears, she stumbled back to the light of the campfire, escaping all that brought pain.

The past.

Herself.

An impossible future.

Escaping everything. If only it was that easy.

Houston stole up behind her and touched her shoulder. “Talk to me. I want to understand.”

She owed him some explanation. Impatiently dashing away the tears, she turned and let anger spill. “It’s not you, Houston. It’s me. I’m broken. Too broken to fix. You can’t repair something that’s missing the pieces. Blackstone took a lot more than….” she paused, “He stole….”

“Your soul,” he supplied quietly.

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Giveaway

Enter to win one of ten copies of To Love a Texas Ranger by Linda Broday

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About the Author

Linda Broday_newAt a young age, LINDA BRODAY discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. 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 Award. She resides in the Texas Panhandle and is inspired every day.

Social Networking Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway: To Love a Texas Ranger (Men of Legend) by Linda Broday

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To Love a Texas Ranger (Men of Legend) by Linda Broday

Publication Date: October 4, 2016

Genre: Western Historical Romance

Synopsis

img_4458Gravely injured on the trail of a notorious criminal, Texas Ranger Sam Legend boards a train bound for his family ranch to recuperate…only to find himself locked in battle to save a desperate woman on the run. Determined to rescue the beautiful Sierra, Sam recruits an unlikely ally. But can he trust the mysterious gunslinger to fight at his side?

Sam is shocked to discover his new ally is not only an outlaw, but his half-brother. Torn between loyalty to his job and love of his family, Sam goes reeling straight into Sierra’s arms. Yet just as the walls around his battered heart begin to crumble, Sierra is stolen away. Sam will risk anything to save her—his life, his badge, his very soul—knowing that some bonds are stronger than the law…and some legends were born to be told.

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Excerpt

“Stop, Weston! Stop, damn you!” Sam raised his gun and fired. A large tree trunk shielded the outlaw as he rode by, the bullet splitting the bark. Weston never looked back.
Only one thing remained—see if the outlaw had left them a horse, or untied and run them all off.
The overlapping branches had kept back much of the deluge. Though water dripped from the leaves, the ground was firmer here. He moved forward, afraid to hope. It wasn’t for him but for Sierra. She wouldn’t last long afoot.
He finally glimpsed movement through the leafy forest and made out the shapes of horses.
Sam gave a sigh of relief. At least they had a way to travel.
That Weston had again shown a smattering of compassion came as a shock. He’d done wrong but had turned around and tempered it with good. Just like the time he’d shot Sam in the leg then sent help.
Damn, if he could only figure the outlaw out!
A sound from behind alerted Sam Legend. Was it Luke doubling back and sneaking up behind him? He whirled, his finger tightening on the trigger, and shoved his Colt into the person’s face.
A jolt raced through him as he stared at Sierra.
She gasped, her eyes wide in fear.
“Thought I told you to stay in the shack.” He hated the angry words, but he reeled from the shock of how close he’d come to ending her life.
His jagged nerves had trouble settling for several beats of his heart. He could still feel his finger pulling back on the trigger that would’ve sent a bullet into her. Sam’s hand shook as he returned the Colt to his holster.
“I couldn’t wait. Something’s going on. What’s wrong, Sam?” A quiver in the words spoke of Sierra’s fear. “Where’s Andrew?”
“Andrew Evan is the outlaw Luke Weston, and I’ve been chasing him nigh onto a year.” At her soft cry, he put his arm around her and held her next to him. “I recognized him this morning when I finally saw him without his hat. Those eyes are burned into my memory.”
“I liked him. He seemed real nice. You suspected, didn’t you? That was the reason for the tension I kept feeling.”
“I knew he was familiar, but it’s been hard trusting my instincts lately.” He smoothed back her tendrils of dark hair. “Forgive me? I almost shot you. Lady, you scared me out of ten lives.”
“Of course. I should’ve done as you told me, only I heard shots. It’s my fault.”
Sam tried to drag his stare from her tousled hair and soft curves that the trousers did little to hide. She was a sight for sure. He swallowed hard, trying not to think about running his hands over her satiny skin and kissing her until neither had an ounce of breath left.
He felt more like his old self, and he realized it was because of her. She’d fixed him by pushing back the darkness and allowing light into his life. By giving him something—someone—to be a hero for. A swell of deep gratitude rose as he struggled to contain his emotions.
“No, no. I beg to differ, pretty lady. I see no fault at all with you.” He looked deep into her blue eyes that saw only goodness. “Since you’re here, can you help me bring the mounts to the shack?” Somehow, someway, he’d return the horses that didn’t belong to the Ford gang to their rightful owners.
“Sure, Sam.” Pride, and maybe a little sadness too, rippled in her pretty eyes. They reminded him of a pale blue sky. In fact, he wasn’t sure if they were blue or gray. Maybe a combination of both. Whichever, he loved looking at them.
Her softly parted lips beckoned like a light that guided sailors on a dark, storm-tossed sea.
Kissing her was the only thing on his mind. Not Luke Weston. Not the trials they faced ahead. Not the time he’d have to spend twiddling his thumbs on the Lone Star Ranch. He knew he had to taste her mouth or die wanting.
Placing his large hands below her jawline, Sam lowered his head and gently pressed his lips to hers. Heat pooled low in his gut as he tasted the tangy sweetness that did faintly resemble wild honey. Just as he’d imagined.
He tried to hold back, to make the kiss light and meaningless, but his need for her made it impossible. In seconds, the gentle kiss turned urgent, demanding a response.
And Sierra did answer his invitation. With a smothered cry, she leaned into him, clutching a handful of his shirt, holding him to her. The passion and desire that filled Sam seemed to have swept her along.
That she didn’t pull away sent joy through him.
A low moan rumbled in his throat as he slid his hand into her dark hair. The satiny strands wrapped around his fingers, tethering her to him. Closing his eyes, he savored the feel of her soft curves molding against the hard planes of his body.
In that second he knew heaven wasn’t only golden streets and angels playing harps.
Heaven was Sierra Hunt in his arms.

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Author Guest Post

Ever since I’ve been writing and publishing westerns (14 years now) I’ve heard that this genre is dead. I don’t know who started that nasty rumor but I have to say that historical western romance is very much alive. Romance readers love books about cowboys—whether they’re historical or contemporary. Cowboys are much more than men who babysit a bunch of cows. These men have a deep love for the land, for their families, and for animals. I want to share one of my favorite westerns with you. It’s a 5-star read in my book.

FUGITIVE HEARTS by E.E. Burke will keep you turning the pages. From the opening line—“Sheriff, I just killed my husband”—to the very last page, Burke will hold you in suspense. Is she a killer? Is she crazy? Or is she covering for someone? As Frank unravels the mystery, he’s torn between his love for her and his duty to bring her to justice. Claire Danes with her level head and logic is the perfect match for Sheriff Frank Garrity. He needs someone to help heal the hole in his heart and Claire is just the one to do it. This is book #4 of her Steam! Romance and Rails series. Fugitive Hearts is a riveting story woven together with amazing skill.

What’s your favorite Western?

I hope you’ll try out my newest – TO LOVE A TEXAS RANGER. Texas was a wild place and one man, Texas Ranger Sam Legend, answered the call to help tame it. He’ll take you on a dangerous journey full of twists and turns. Follow along as he finds love where he least expects it.

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Giveaway

5 copies of To Love a Texas Ranger

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

At a young age, Linda Broday discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up! 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 Award. She now resides in the panhandle of Texas on the Llano Estacado.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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