“There’s this thing between us that refuses to die. I’d like nothing better than to be able to…” His words faded. He’d give anything to change people’s views about his race…to be able to make her his wife.
But the world wasn’t that simple. Not for people like them.
All his life, Brett Liberty has straddled two worlds: white and Iroquois. The only place he’s truly at peace is with his wild mustangs. But after he’s arrested for the color of his skin, he discovers Rayna Harper in the cell next to him. Rough and tumble Rayna has known little kindness, but Brett sees the depth of her heart hidden beneath layers of hurt and fear, and he refuses to leave without her.
Fierce and loyal, kind and strong, Rayna is everything Brett has ever wanted. But the world doesn’t look kindly on a love like theirs, and he would rather let her go than bring her pain. Yet when the demons of his past threaten her future, Brett realizes he will do anything to keep Rayna safe…and make her his.
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.
Linda Broday’s latest is coming out this December! The final title in the Bachelor of Battle Creek trilogy, Forever His Texas Bride is sure to sweep readers off of their feet. To celebrate her new release, we’ve asked Linda to answer a “Quick Draw” either/or question and to share an excerpt with us!
Dresses or skirts? I like dresses because they make me feel a lot more feminine and you can dress them up or down, depending on the occasion. Add a pair of heels and you’ll turn men’s heads in nothing flat.
Rayna sat up, pushed back her cloud of russet hair, and got up from the bunk in Brett’s jail cell. It was then he saw that she wore a heavy pair of men’s brogans. What on earth! The shoes looked as though they might’ve come off a very poor dead man.
Her dirty dress had been mended so many times it looked like a patchwork quilt with none of the squares matching. But she seemed so spirited, so brave.
If society had ever allowed him to take a wife, he’d want someone like her. He hated to think he’d have spent all his life never knowing what it could be like to be happy like his brothers now were. While he waited to die, maybe they could pretend.
Maybe he could know what it was like to be loved.
Until they led him through those doors to a hangman, maybe he could have the bride prejudice had denied him. The bold notion made ripples dance under his skin.
Brett raised to a sitting position, ignoring the pain shooting through his back. “This may sound crazy, but I’m going to ask anyway. Rayna, do you think you could pretend to be my wife? Just until they take me away? No one will ever know but us, so they can’t hurt you.”
Turning, she dropped down beside him. Surprised tears bubbled in her eyes. “No one ever asked me to marry them before.”
“Is that a no?”
“I’d be honored to be your pretend wife,” she whispered, brushing his face with her fingers. “What do we do now?”
“Do you mind if I kiss you?”
“I’d like that…husband.”
Under her bright gaze, he lowered his head. But before their lips touched, the sound of a key grating in the lock made him jerk back. “Quick, go to your cell before they catch you with me.”
Rayna scurried into hers and quietly eased the door shut.
Just then a deputy sauntered in, taking care to keep his distance from Brett’s cell. “You alive, breed?”
Brett glared. “Disappointed?”
The deputy—a squat man who reminded Brett of a possum with little weasel eyes, grunted, shifting his gaze to Rayna. “Give any thought to my offer, woman?”
No one had to spell out what the deputy meant. Brett sought to tamp down his rising anger. He watched Rayna tilt her head at a defiant angle.
“The answer is the same as all the other times.”
The weasel shrugged and went back out. The minute the door locked shut, Rayna slowly walked into Brett’s cell and sat down beside him again. “I wish I could see the sky and smell the fresh air.”
“How long have you been in here?”
“Over a month, I think. With each sunrise I’ve been making a mark on the wall. The one today makes thirty-one. But no matter how much I want out, I’m not doing what that deputy wants,” she whispered. “I’ll never be a fine lady, but even I have my dignity. No one will ever take that.”
Though still hesitant, Brett took her small, dainty hand. Her skin shone white against his. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d touched someone who wasn’t family, but his pretend wife was different somehow. “Always stand on your principles. In the end, we still have to live with ourselves, look at our face in the mirror.”