Written in the Cards by Lauren Linwood
Published 21 May 2014 by Soul Mate Publishing, my 4th SMP historical romance
Maggie Rutherford jilts her too-perfect society groom at the altar and flees New York for the American West, where she turns her travels into dime novels that she writes and illustrates under the pen name Lud Madison.
After the Civil War, veteran Ben Morgan marries his childhood sweetheart and takes her to homestead on the Great Plains. Losing her and their unborn child in an Indian attack, Ben detaches from emotion and becomes a roaming gambler. When he kills a cheating opponent in self-defense, the man’s gunslinger brother swears revenge upon Ben.
Ben hides on a cattle drive and brings in a herd to Abilene, where a waiting Maggie wants to find a rough and tumble cowboy to interview for her next story idea. Sparks fly as the dangerous drover and popular novelist wind up living in the same household, running a general store east of Abilene. But with Black Tex Lonnegan hot on his trail, will Ben run from his growing attraction to Maggie and the gunfighter’s promise of death–or will he make a stand for his life–and love?
Ben uncorked the bottle and poured two fingers of brandy into a jelly jar. As he considered the look of pain on Maggie’s face a moment ago, he added another splash. He sealed the bottle and replaced it, bringing the drink back to her.
“You aren’t going to join me?”
Hazel eyes, tinged with a little gold, beckoned him, but not as much as that lush mouth. He couldn’t remember ever wanting to kiss a woman more or wishing he could take down that knot of copper hair. He could almost feel his fingers combing through the fiery tresses.
He handed her the glass jar. She sipped at the amber liquid. Her eyes closed as she did so. It gave him a chance to study her. It wasn’t only her physical appearance that appealed to him so much although the curves on her petite frame would call out a siren’s song to any hot-blooded male.
Ben actually enjoyed her mind. The time they’d spent together that one evening had stayed with him. Maggie Rutherford possessed a quick wit, a keen intelligence, and the most seductive laugh this side of the Mississippi. He found it odd that he was attracted as much to her mind as he was the rest of her.
And that spelled danger.
He intended to live the rest of his life on his own terms, going where he wanted at a moment’s notice. If he had a hankering to play poker in California, he’d leave immediately. If he wanted to feel warmer climes on a whim, he picked up from colder ones and moved on. He would be responsible only for himself.
He knew women wanted two things in life—to settle down with a man they could depend upon and to have children.
He was interested in neither.
Maggie Rutherford was all woman. At this point in their brief acquaintance, she seemed too independent to put roots down in the near future. She certainly didn’t seem very maternal. She exuded spunk and an adventurous spirit. She was sowing a few wild oats of her own, but he knew the day would come when she’d long for a permanent home. And babies.
He wanted to be long gone when that day arrived.
He looked at the beautiful woman sitting on the sofa. He knew without a doubt that if he didn’t get away from her, she would weave a magic spell around his heart. The pull he felt toward her was that strong.
It was bad enough that she’d be around a couple of weeks writing her next dime novel. At least he’d be busy at the store and probably see her only on the rare occasions she dropped by for supplies.
Ben realized he needed to start making plans for his departure from Easton. He’d stay until after Rebecca gave birth and was back on her feet, but he couldn’t be leashed to a small town.
And the temptation of Maggie Rutherford.
Buy link: http://amzn.com/B00KGM0M1O
Buy link: http://amzn.com/B00KGM0M1O
As a child, Lauren Linwood gathered her neighborhood friends together and made up stories for them to act out, her first venture into creating memorable characters. Following her passion for history and love of learning, she became a teacher who began writing on the side to maintain her sanity in a sea of teenage hormones. Lauren’s novels focus on two of her favorite eras, medieval times and the American Old West.History is the backdrop that places her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire and yearning for one another grows into the deep, tender, treasured gift of love. Lauren, a native Texan, lives in a Dallas suburb with her family. An avid reader, moviegoer, and sports fan, she manages stress by alternating yoga with five mile walks. She is thinking about starting a support group for Pinterest and House Hunters addicts.