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Historical Romance Series



Will Brody and Laura get a second chance for happiness?


     “Brody.  Brody is that you?”

     Slowly he turned.

     Laura stood before him like a vision from the past that he wasn’t sure was real or imagined. All the pain and confusion from ten years ago rushed through him, filling his head with so much chatter he couldn’t hear a word.

     Brody rocked back and forth from his heels to his toes. This little ruse of his had been a stupid idea from the get-go.

     He should leave Laura to deal with Hawkes.

     But he couldn’t.

     Hawkes destroyed everything in his path. He couldn’t let the man destroy Laura. He had to get her out of there.

     His head demanded he leave.

     His heart propelled him to her side.

     “Tell me straight.  Why’d you come back here?” He clenched his fists at his sides to keep from reaching out, from taking her in his arms.”

     “It’s not what you think, Brody.”

      Again, that look he remembered well, as if she was peeling back his skin and looking straight inside him. His heart beat faster. His chest felt tight. Once upon a time he thought he knew her. Now he had no idea if he ever had. His gut clenched. He wouldn’t be making that mistake again.

     “You have no idea what I think.”

Don’t miss this heart-warming Western Historical Series,

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

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     What a picture-perfect day for a wedding!  Amanda circled the group of guests, wondering why she felt so lonely in the midst of a party.  An only child, her life had always felt pretty solitary with only her and Ma.  Living in a small town in the shadow of Yuma, Arizona, Amanda told herself she preferred the small-town life.  But how could she be sure when that’s all she knew?  She felt restless.  Ready for some sort of change.
    On the far side of the dance floor she spotted Bradley standing alone, his face in shadow.  Perhaps he felt as lonely as she did, part of the reverie but never really belonging.  One more thing they had in common. Before she had a chance to talk herself out of it, she set down her glass and followed him, not overly surprised by his destination.
    Somehow, she instinctively knew he preferred the company of animals over humans.  The barn’s interior was dim, its only illumination from the lanterns outside, the air peppered with the smell of hay and warm animal flesh.  As she walked past the shadowy stalls and heard the occasional snuffle or stirring of sleeping animals, her feet made no noise against the straw-strewn floor.
    She heard Bradley before she saw him.  Caught the low murmur of his voice as he soothed an agitated mare in a nearby stall.  She saw him crouch down and run a large, capable hand up the mare’s front leg, as he spoke in soothing tones.  Amanda stood still as stone, envying the bond between man and beast.  The moment was both intimate and poignant.
    Suddenly, aware she was intruding, she spun to leave but the hem of her gown caught on a nearby pitchfork and sent it clattering to the ground.  Bradley bolted upright.  Their gaze met.
    “What are you doing here?”
    Amanda opened and closed her mouth several times but couldn’t seem to find any words.
    She cleared her throat and tried again.   “Maybe I was looking for you.”




     Henrietta heaved a sigh of relief as Braydon sauntered back to the bride and groom’s head table. “Don’t encourage him,” she hissed under her breath to her friend, Percy.

     Percy shook his elegant head. “Darling, Henny. Men like Braydon Mason don’t need encouragement. They thrive on any sort of challenge.”

     Henrietta sniffed. “As long as he doesn’t consider me one. I was warned he fancies himself quite the ladies’ man. He was raised in a brothel, of all places.”

     Percy laughed out loud, causing a few of the guests to look their way, wondering if they had missed a good joke. “I don’t know if I ought to envy the bloke or pity him. Oops, don’t look now, but here he comes.”

     Sure enough, Henrietta looked up to see Braydon making a bee-line for their table. She rose before he reached them, scanning the room for the nearest exit, but only made it two steps before he caught her arm. She glanced back, horrified to see he held her shawl and her reticule in one large, sun-browned hand.

     “Forgetting something?”

     There was no mistaking the teasing glint in his dark eyes. She tossed her head proudly. “Not at all. I was just …” She glanced around, seeking an excuse for her attempt to flee. “I was just going for another glass of Champagne.”

     “Great idea. I could use a beer.” Before she knew it, her hand was tucked in the crook of his elbow, and secured there with his free hand. The warmth of his clasp sent unwanted tingles of awareness up her arm and beyond.

      Henrietta felt the curious gaze from more than a few pairs of eyes following their progress, and much as she wanted to pull away and tell Braydon Mason to keep his filthy hands to himself, she reminded herself there was a time and a place for everything. She was the newcomer here, and something of a curiosity to the locals.

     “’Nuther beer, Bray?” the bartender greeted him.

     “And Champagne for the lady, Mac.”

     “Coming right up.”

     “Thank you,” she said, accepting the glass Braydon held her way, relieved when he released her to pick up their drinks from the bar.

     “My pleasure.” The way he watched her over the rim of his glass implied his pleasures were vast and varied. And that he wasn’t above sharing.

     Two could play at that game!

     She leaned against the bar, not taking her eyes from him. “I hear the women in town are all wondering who will be the next Mason brother down the aisle, and with which lucky lady.”

     “I’ve got four other brothers in the running. I’ll sit that race out.”

     “Don’t be saying that too loudly,” Henrietta said. “I can’t bear the sight of female tears.”

     “One more thing we have in common.”

     “I wasn’t aware we had anything in common, Mr. Mason.”

     “I told you. Braydon.” He reached forward and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear with an easily familiarity that annoyed her. She went to bat his hand away, but he caught her hand in his and raised it to his mouth. Before she could jerk free his tongue made the most delicious warm, hot swirls across her palm at the same time his thumb stroked the sensitive underside of her wrist.

     Pulling her hand away was the furthest thing from her mind.

     Instead, she dashed her glass of Champagne in his face.




     It was a perfect day for a wedding.  The gazebo in the town’s park was decked in yards and yards of ribbon, shiny white posts adorned with sprays of wild flowers.  Smack in the center of the gazebo, the seven Mason brothers waited in a straight line.
     Storm, alongside her fellow bridesmaid, Amanda, wiped her sweaty palm on the skirt of her frock and clutched her nosegay tightly.  This was her first time being a bridesmaid.  It was also her first time in such a fancy dress, edged in lace and all, crafted by her own hand.

     From her vantage point, Storm watched Henrietta, the bride, appear on the arm of her long-time friend, Percival Bloom.
     As the ceremony got underway, Storm snuck a subtle glance at Blake Mason, flanked by his brothers.  From Laura Mason, the first Mason Bride, she had learned that Blake had a secret, something she could relate to.  She had a few of her own.  If only her “big secret” was as innocent as Blake’s.  Lots of folks out west couldn’t read.  As a librarian, she was no stranger to witnessing their struggles, and happy when she was able to help.
     After the ceremony, she saw Laura beckoning to her.  “Did you have a chance to talk to Blake, yet?”  Laura lowered her voice so no one near them could hear what she was saying.

     “Not yet.”  Already, Storm was regretting her offer to try to help Blake learn to read.  She had only met a few folks in her travels who were word blind, and eventually managed to overcome the affliction to learn to read simple words.
     “Well, there he is, all alone over there.”  Laura gave her a tiny push.  “Now’s your chance.”

     Head high, Storm nodded.   It was important she maintain control, in every aspect of her life.  Especially where men were concerned.
     “Laura said I should come ask you to dance,” she said brightly.
      Poor Blake reminded her of a trapped animal, eyes sliding from side to side as if seeking escape.
      “Weddings make me uncomfortable too,” she confided.  “You, at least, have had some practice lately.  What with three of your brothers tying the knot in the last short while.  Do you boys really build a new cabin for each couple on the ranch?”
      “Yes, ma’am.”  Blake swallowed thickly, his Adam’s apple bobbing with the movement.  “I’m afraid I’m not much on the dance floor, Miss Storm.”
      “Good.”  She took his arm.  “Neither am I.  Two left feet, I believe, is the expression.”
      She schooled herself not to freeze up or flinch when she felt his hand rest tentatively on her waist.  Not every touch was designed to inflict pain.  She found a slight modicum of comforting in knowing he was at least as uncomfortable as she was.

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A con man with a conscience.

Helping others is new to Bishop, but one thing he understands is family.

Rose can’t locate her kidnapped sister without Bishop’s help. In return, she offers her assistance to help avenge his brother’s murder.

As they set out after Rose’s sister, their scheme to extract vengeance goes terribly wrong.

Bishop learns the hard way that life is never all black or all white. But life without Rose will be bleak and gray forever.

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     Barron should be no stranger to weddings, what with five of his brothers having recently taken the plunge.  So why did he feel so uneasy standing here listening to his twin pledge himself to Rose till death?  Sounded like one heck of a long time.

     He glanced reluctantly at Rose’s sister, Lily.  There was something about the woman he didn’t trust.  Far better for everyone if she high-tailed it some place far, far away.  He knew, sure as he drew his next breath, that if Lily stuck around she was bound to raise havoc on all their lives.

     He didn’t buy any part of her story other than she had been kidnapped, and only because Rose claimed to have seen the whole thing.  When they found her, Lily pretended like she’d lost her memory, along with her ability to speak.  Pretended to not even know her own sister.  Convenient how fast her memory returned when it suited her.

     He started when his arm was pinched, bringing him back to the present.  Lily stood next to him, practically on top of him.  “The ceremony is over, in case you hadn’t noticed.  This is where you take my arm and we follow the bride and groom down into the yard.”

     “Right,” he said with a near growl.  Just his luck to be best man to Lily’s maid of honor.  As if the woman before him had any sense of honor.

     Not that he was exactly anyone’s idea of a “best man”, given the things he’d seen and done.

     He gritted his teeth as Lily tucked her arm through his.

     “The receiving line will be over here.  In case you weren’t paying attention the other day.”

     Barron’s breath hissed between his teeth.  Why did the woman irritate him so much every time she opened her mouth?  “I paid attention.  It’s not exactly my first time at the rodeo, you know.”

     Once they had taken their places in line, she said. “I hope you have your speech all prepared.  I’d hate to see you make more of a fool of yourself than usual.”

     He ground his teeth together and clamped his lips tightly shut.  Lots of things he’d like to say to her, none of which was appropriate on his twin’s wedding day.

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     Georgina watched Lily, the latest Mason bride, make her way to the side of her intended.  She dabbed the moisture from her eyes, heaved a sigh, and tucked her hankie back into her reticule.  She was happy for Lily, delighted that Lily and Barron after a ‘pretend wedding’ last month, had decided they couldn’t live without each other.

    Her sadness came from knowing this was the last Mason wedding she would be on hand for.  No one knew yet that she planned to sell the café and move to Seattle.  She hadn’t wanted her news to take away from this special day for the newlyweds.

    Her gaze drifted past the other brothers to Benjamin, same as it always did.  No doubt he would miss her for a short while.  But she couldn’t pretend any longer.  Pretend to be his friend.

    Keeping up the pretense would mean she would also have to pretend she was happy for him when it came his turn came to marry.  Pretending to be happy would be impossible—given that a little piece broke off her heart every time she spoke to him knowing he would never look at her the way Barron was looking at Lily right this minute as she reached her side.

    Wedding over, Benjamin followed the rest of his family into the hotel lobby.  He spotted Georgina in the dining room supervising the laying out of the wedding feast.  Marshal Philips stood alongside her chatting her up, and doing a good job of it judging by Georgina’s laugh.  He’d never heard her laugh like that with anyone other than him.

    “You could go join them, you know.”

    Benjamin stiffened and turned to face Laura, his sister-in-law.  “Why would I want to do that?”

    Laura just gave him that knowing smile of hers.  “I don’t know, Ben.  Why would you?”

    “I don’t want to,” he said shortly.  “Georgina’s free to spend time with whomever she chooses.”

    “Strikes me there have been a lot of times lately when you were her first choice.”


    “Maybe she’s tired of being taken for granted,” Laura said.  “Of being told she’s like a sister.”

    “I don’t—”  He bit off his words.  Hadn’t he told her that very thing just a few minutes ago?

    “What’s wrong with that?” he said.  “She has no other family since her ma passed.”

    “Georgina wants the same thing as most women.  A home.  A family.  Someone to cherish her and make her feel special.”

    Ben glowered across the room.  “Philips seems to be doing a mighty fine job of that right now.”

    Laura followed his gaze.  “It’s time someone did.”

    When Laura wandered over to join her husband, Benjamin headed to the bar for a badly needed beer.