Read An Excerpt

by Dorothy Garlock

Genre: America, Western, Historical Romance

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Anna lay on her back on the train platform, stunned, the world strangely and suddenly not where it was supposed to be, a dull ache making its way down the length of her arm. An odd mixture of confusion and embarrassment filled her. What had happened? One moment she was getting off the train, her stomach clenched tight with nervousness, ready to face the crowd, there’d been a shout, and then she’d been struck.

“Ouch,” she said with a wince, rising on an elbow.

A man stood before her, a cowboy hat slightly askew on his head. Because of how close he was, as well as the way everyone in the depot was staring at them, Anna knew that he was responsible for knocking her to the ground. Instead of offering her an apology or extending his hand to help her back to her feet, he stared at her silently, his mouth slightly open, his eyes never leaving hers. But rather than being angry at what he’d done or at his doing nothing to make it right, she just returned his stare.

It was his looks that disarmed her.

Broad across his shoulders, the taut muscles on his forearms both pronounced and tanned by the sun, his simple blue shirt marked across the chest with a streak of grime, he looked powerful. Her eyes roamed his face, noticing the curls of black hair that peeked out from beneath his hat, the curve of his whiskered jaw line, and even the hint of a mark on his chin, the skin swollen and red. But it was his eyes that drew her in and refused to let go. Narrow and dark, they looked to Anna like jewels, hidden pools in which she could drown; even as the seconds ticked past, they never wavered from hers. The sudden, desperate need to know his name filled her. But just as she was about to ask, Samuel was beside her, his hand carefully gripping her by the elbow, and easing her back to her feet.

“Are you all right?” he asked with concern.

“I’m . . . I’m fine . . .” Anna managed, her gaze flickering from the movie producer to the stranger. “I’m not hurt.”

Relief washed over Samuel’s face, but then, just as quickly as it had appeared it vanished, replaced by a barely restrained anger as he turned  on the other man. “What in the blazes were you thinking?” he snapped. “What irresponsible fool knocks a woman to the ground and then isn’t enough of a gentleman to offer his hand? You should be ashamed of yourself!”

For a moment, Anna was certain that the only response Samuel was going to get was to be punched in the face. A dark cloud passed over the stranger’s face, his eyes narrowing, his hand bunching into a fist, his nose flaring.