As Lady Siena stands on a platform waiting to die, she realizes that she has been doomed from the day she was born. She doesn’t believe she is worth anything, much less love. Her own people believe she is cursed. Siena’s only true blessing is the gift of sight.
The Devil’s Laird
Roderick, Warlord of Kirkurd, is driven by revenge and guilt. When his holding was attacked, his wife ravished and slain, and his son missing, the goodness within Roderick died. He is now known as the Devil’s Laird.
The Meeting . . .
Roderick saves Siena from the hangman’s noose and takes her back to his castle. Siena sees a lonely, haunted man who needs her. But no matter how hard she tries, she cannot completely break down the barrier Roderick has constructed around his heart, nor shake the curse of bad luck that his people believe she carries. Only the Holy Grail can prove if she is good or evil.
When Siena sacrifices herself to free Roderick’s son, Roderick realizes that he has lost his chance to love again. Now he will move heaven and earth to find her before it is too late.
The woman squirmed and struck him several times until he wrapped his arms tighter around her, pinning her arms against her sides. His patience had worn thin. “Och, get still or I swear, lass, I’ll toss ye on the ground myself.”
Roderick realized that the woman had no idea who he was, so he took a calming breath. “I’ll no hurt ye, lass. I’m not one of yer brother’s men. Stop fightin’ me.” Roderick saw uncertainty in one wild, blue eye as the other was swollen. “I’m the one who pulled ye from the hangman’s noose.” Patience wasn’t something he possessed in great quantities and this slip of a girl was trying his patience greatly.
“For Christ’s sake, lass. If I had wanted to harm ye, I’d have left ye to dangle from the end of a rope,” he said, frustrated. “And I’m beginnin’ to doubt the mercy I’ve shown ye.” This woman was going to be more trouble than she was worth, he’d wager. “I’ll loosen my grip if ye will hold still.”
He glared down at her and in a stern voice said, “I’ll have yer promise now.”
Agatha rode up beside them and laid a weathered hand gently on Siena’s arm. “Milady, he is helping us. It will be all right.”
“He is blue! He’s the devil.”
“Nay. He has on warpaint and that is the reason he is blue, milady,” Agatha explained.
At long last the girl relaxed at the sight of her maid, then croaked, “Some water, please.”
“In a minute,” Roderick told her.
Warily, Siena watched the warrior who held her, wondering how she’d gotten in this position when she should have been dangling at the end of a rope.
She remembered seeing a man on a black horse coming through the crowd just before the stool had been shoved out from beneath her feet. She thought it had been the Devil come to claim her, then she recalled her breath leaving her body, and she shuddered at the memory. By the grace of God, she’d been spared. Yet she felt her neck and found it tender to the touch. Apparently, this man had saved her. Now that everything was over, she felt his strong arms around her, and found it comforting. She had no idea why she should feel this way when men had always been trouble in her past.
The intimidating warrior was huge, and his dark eyes were penetrating. She couldn’t help feeling as though he was trying to see deep inside her when he looked at her, but at the moment he wasn’t paying her any attention. “Water,” she rasped again. Her throat was so parched it felt like it was on fire.
At last, the man nodded and nudged his mount over to a clearing in the middle of oak trees. The dead leaves on the ground would provide a good cushion for their tired bodies when they slept.
The sun was lowering, giving a dusky glow the clearing. Only then did Siena notice that there were five other men with them, and they were dismounting too. Who were these strangers? And why had this man saved her? Thankfully, she didn’t recognize any of them. Of course, it was hard to get past their blue painted faces. They would scare the hell out of anyone.
About the Author
Amazon All-Star author, Brenda Jernigan is a bestselling author. She writes both contemporary and historical novels. She has been nominated for several awards – Book Seller’s Best Award, The Maggie Award, The Holt Medallion Award and a RONE Award.
Publishers Weekly says, “Brenda Jernigan writes Romance, Adventure and Magic.”
She grew up as a tomboy and really had no use for books. It wasn’t until she was taking her son to Story Hour at the local library that the librarian gave her a copy of DEVIL’S DESIRE by Laurie McBain. After that Brenda became hooked on historicals. Brenda’s first book, THE DUKE’S LADY, was bought and published by Kensington Publishing and her career as a storyteller took off.
“As usual her characters are interesting, her plot action-packed, and her love story filled with conflict and emotion. A great read from a talented writer.” Rendezvous Magazine.
“The characters had me hooked from the beginning. This book touched my heart and will definitely be one of my recommends for May.” -Cindi Streicher – Waldenbooks, RWA Bookseller of the Year 2002
He was hired to kill her, but he’s not alone. Will he risk his life to save her instead?
Sara grew up on the Erie Canal with Jeremiah Streeter, owner of Streeter’s Ark, and Sam, the Ark’s bully. She never cared about who her parents were or where she came from, not until their helmsman is murdered and they hire a replacement.
Wolfe McKay and his partner have another job to do…kill the leader of the Canaller’s Coalition and his crew, then collect their bounty from the railroad magnate who hired them. But Wolfe soon discovers this job is far more complicated.
As Streeter’s Ark travels from Albany to Buffalo, Wolfe’s purpose takes a drastic turn when he and the crew find themselves the target of a deadly plot and a race against time to stop it.
A beautiful mule driver, the champion fighter who raised her, a half-breed Indian without a heart and an easy-going cowboy team up to track down outlaws and notoriously become known as Streeter’s Gang. This is their beginning…
Hudson Valley, 1852
Horace Vanderbrook sat at his desk with his green eyes planted on the door. At fifty-two years old, he was by far the wealthiest financier in the country. He thrived on a challenge and adored the kill. He had no patience for ignorance or drollery, felt no sympathy for the underdog, and never allowed any margin of error from anyone, not even himself. In all his life, he had made only one mistake. And it was that which had come back to haunt him now.
The butler announced the arrival of his guests and when they entered his study, Horace caught a frown. Both men looked more like desperados than professional gunmen. They wore buckskin pants, tall leather boots, and openly carried pistols about their waist. The blonde was medium built and covered with dirt from head to toe. The other stood over a foot taller with black hair and cold blue eyes. A half-breed, he surmised disdainfully.
“I’m Cole Anderson and this here’s my partner, Wolfe McKay,” the blonde man said as he slapped his gallon hat against his leg to get rid of the dust. “Rodman assured us if we came straight away, you’d make it worth our while.”
Horace remained silent. He wasn’t at all impressed with these men. This matter was an extremely delicate matter that needed to be handled both quickly and quietly, and they hardly seemed the type of men who would be discreet. And yet, he trusted Gunther Rodman. “You both come highly recommended for your efficiency as well as your discretion. This matter demands complete confidentiality.”
Cole glanced over at his partner. “That’s why we’re here.”
He wasn’t convinced, but he offered them a seat and folded his hands in front of him. “I will come right to the point. Jeremiah Streeter is the leader of the canal coalition. He owns a two-bit freighter called Streeter’s Ark and for the past year, he and his crew have used every devious tactic to destroy my railroad business. I want them stopped. Permanently. I am willing to pay you five hundred dollars for your trouble.”
Cole burst out laughing. “Hell, the only thing we’ll do for that pocket change is look for them in the nearest tavern.”
He stiffened. “What’s your price?”
“That depends.” Cole slid back in his seat and crossed his boots on top of his desk. “We usually charge a thousand bucks a head. That’s when we’re told their identity and location. Otherwise, we’ve got to tack on food and lodging expenses. We also need to know the details of their crime.”
“The details?” he asked indignantly. “I thought money was your only incentive.”
“You thought wrong,” Wolfe stated, still leaning against the doorway.
Horace shot to his feet. “For starters, they put three of my best railroad bosses in the hospital. They’ve disassembled portions of my tracks, threatened my workers and awaiting passengers, contaminated coal bins, and continually petition the State against my efforts for expansion.”
“Has the law been involved?” Cole asked.
“I reported a few of the incidences to local Marshalls, but they said they couldn’t find sufficient proof against them.”
Wolfe stepped forward. “Then how do you know they’re responsible?”
Horace glanced down at the small wood carving on his desk. He didn’t want to tell them the rest. He didn’t even want to think about it. But his sister was right in that he had no other recourse. Confiding in the law would merely re-open an investigation that needed to remain buried. If word got out, it would cause a huge public scandal, one that would ruin his business as well as their family’s reputation.
And the last thing he wanted was for the past to be stirred up.
“A blackmail note was delivered to me the other day, which adds extortion to their list of crimes,” he finally replied.
“What did it say?” Cole asked, but Horace continued staring at the wooden horse on his desk and remained silent. “Sir, what did the note say?”
“He claims to have proof that I sunk a riverboat killing twelve passengers and crew. He’s referring to an accident that happened nearly twenty years ago. That bastard is deliberately dredging up the past in another demented plot to stall my railway expansion and I’ll be damned if I let him drag my good family name through the mud.”
“What are his demands?”
“They want twenty thousand dollars placed on a freighter called the Jaybird at the canal docks in Albany two weeks from tomorrow. That’s when Streeter is scheduled to return to Albany, again proving he’s behind this.” Horace finally snapped out of his trance and looked up at them. “I want Streeter stopped. I want him and his damn crew dead and buried by this time next week. I’ll pay you ten thousand dollars for the lot. One thousand now for expenses and the rest will be delivered to you when the job is complete.”
Cole jumped to his feet. “Consider it done!”
“Hold on…” Wolfe said as he reached over and picked up the wooden horse to examine it. “We need to see the note.”
Horace snatched the carving out of his hand, reached into his top drawer, and handed him the note. “Do you want the job or not?”
After Wolfe read it, he nodded in agreement.
Horace tossed the bag of currency to Cole. “Contact Gunther Rodman when you’re finished. He’ll pay you the rest.”
Outside, Cole mounted his horse and hooted, “Now this is what I call easy money! Let’s get ourselves a room and have a night on the town.”
Wolfe stood there, still contemplating the conversation. “I don’t like it. He’s not telling us the whole story.”
“Aw, Wolfe, can’t we just take things at face value for once? Vanderbrook is damn sure Streeter’s behind this and I got a hankering to have some fun tonight.”
“First, we’re heading to Fultonville,” Wolfe told him.
“Fultonville? What for?”
“After we inquire about Streeter’s Ark, we’re going to ask around to see if anyone remembers a woman by the name of Molly O’Brian.”
Cole frowned. “Who the hell is she?”
“Her name and hometown were inscribed on that wooden carving. And there were several others displayed on the corner shelf.”
Cole shook his head. “Why the hell are you always trying to dig deeper?”
“Fultonville’s a small canal town. Why would a wealthy railroad baron have a dozen wood carvings on display by a canal girl and then pay to have the canal leader killed? Not having all the facts just complicates things.”
Cole followed Wolfe down the drive. “Well, I think you’re the only one complicating things.”
The two men reached the small town of Fultonville by dark. After tying their horses to a hitching post, they stopped at the Inn for a couple of rooms and a drink. There were only a few patrons inside the tavern. Cole, being the more social one, struck up a conversation with the barkeep. He told a few fibs about how he was looking for work on the canal. Pretty soon, Zach was buying them a round of drinks and giving them a wealth of information.
First, they learned that Jeremiah Streeter was the one to talk to about a job on the canal and that his boat passed through town the day before making its way to Buffalo. Next, they heard all about Streeter’s bully who had been a champion fighter in his day and wasn’t to be reckoned with. Lastly, they discovered that Zach had lived in this town his whole life, sixty-two years, so he knew everybody.
Wolfe nudged Cole, urging him to pry more information out of Zach. Cole thought for a second, then grinned. “I used to have kin living in these parts, Zach. I don’t know much about them, except that Ma talked all the time about her cousin, Molly O’Brian.”
Zach leaned against the bar. “That would be Patsy’s family. He died of the fever years ago and left his wife, Maureen, and his daughter, Molly, behind.”
“Do they still live around here? I’d sure like to meet them.” When the barkeep fell silent, Wolfe nudged Cole again. “I’d be obliged to know where I could find them, Zach. Ma thought the world of Molly and now that my folks are gone, they’d be the only kin I got left.”
“We all thought the world of her, too,” Zach said mindfully. “Molly was a tiny thing with bright red hair, freckles and the sweetest face. I owned the general store back then and once a week she came to visit. I got a real kick out of her. They didn’t have much money and the minute my back was turned her fingers dove straight into the licorice jar. I let her get away with it, too. Figured she earned that bit of pleasure.” His smile left him. “But she married that fella from downriver and that was the beginning of the end.”
“What happened to her?” Cole asked.
Zach poured himself a jigger of whiskey, obviously choked-up, then came around the bar and sat down next to Cole. “I loved that little girl like she was my own, but she was canal-bred and he was a rich fop. The two just don’t mix, not in my lifetime. Maureen told me that Molly was being snubbed by her sister-in-law and all those other socialites and having a rough time of it. She was on her way up here to visit her Ma when the riverboat went down just north of Albany in Saratoga County. She and her baby drowned. Everybody on the boat died.”
“That’s a real sad story,” Cole said. “How’d the boat sink?”
“No one knows for sure. They said the larboard boiler must’ve exploded and it was ruled it an accident, but there were a lot of rumors flitting around and people pointing fingers.”
“Do you think it was done on purpose?” Cole asked.
“I’d bet my life on it. It’s rare for a boiler to explode and sink a boat in seconds without any survivors. But that was a long time ago.”
“When did it happen?”
Zach let out a heavy sigh. “Nineteen years ago this past May. Molly’s babe was just a month old. Maureen died a year later from pneumonia…and heartache, I expect. Now, all I’ve got left are precious memories and Molly’s carvings.” He pointed toward the small display behind the bar. “That little darlin’ could whittle with the best of them and she always won first prize. She sure loved horses….”
“I hear a packet called the Jaybird needs a deckhand,” Wolfe mentioned, breaking the silence. “Has it been through here lately?”
Zach tore his eyes away from the display and went back behind the bar. “Never heard of it.”
About the Author
Gail Meath composes historical romance novels that grip your heart and imagination. With a refreshing and captivating writing-style, she creates amazing characters who instantly draw you into their world and keep you wanting more, long after the ending. And with her love of historical research, she paints the perfect ambiance to sweep you back in time.
My name is Robyn Echols. Zina Abbott is the pen name I use for my American historical romance novels. I’m a member of Women Writing the West and Western Writers of America, and American Night Writers Association. I currently live with my husband in California’s central valley near the “Gateway to Yosemite.”
I love to read, quilt, work with digital images on my photo editing program, and work on my own family history.
I am a blogger. In addition to my own blog, I blog for several group blogs including the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog, which I started and administer.
The gift of peace of spirit that comes from restitution.
A year after Luke McDaniels broke away from the control of two eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain outlaws and freed Ling Loi from the Chinese brothel in Lundy, one aspect of their escape still plagues his conscience. Even though he made a point to take only what was owed him, and he left sufficient funds to cover the cost of anything he took from others without the owners’ knowledge or consent, there had been one exception. The second horse he planned to “buy” to assure a successful early winter journey was snatched away before his gaze. Another was left in its place. The ten gold half-eagles he allowed was less than the value of the one available to him. He hated short-changing the owner, but Loi, who took on the name of Joy when they married, had been his first priority.
Joy, grateful she has been restored to the way of decency, senses that Luke needs his own restoration. Can she convince him to do what he must to enjoy peace at Christmas?
Feeling Caldwell grow restless beneath him, Luke slowly exhaled. It was time to return to the livery—a place he hoped to soon leave behind him. By the time he returned home, he would be gone slightly over a month. He hoped, in his absence, Pastor and Mrs. Campbell visited to answer Joy’s questions. He wondered if they or his mother already read to Joy the part of the Christmas story she held so dearly in her heart. If not, after he arrived home, he would read it to her. I need to teach Joy to read in English. Perhaps this winter.
Luke pondered over the extent Joy’s love of the Jesus stories changed how they spent their evenings. His mother had been baptized Catholic, but, as an adult, had not attended church. After she married his father who came from a Presbyterian background, they attended his church—when they went. Once David McDaniels died, and the white community of Duluth slowly turned their backs on her, Odette gathered up her little family and fled to the reservation. There she attached herself to her mother’s band. She became more comfortable with the centuries-old midewikwe beliefs of the Ojibwa than she did with the so-called Christianity of white Americans—a religion so many of them did not practice. Yet, one Chinese woman—someone most Americans considered a heathen—reintroduced a study of the teachings of Jesus to his family.
As the most distinguished watchmaker in England, Christian Bainbridge
believes in accurate timepieces, not love. He secretly offered his heart
years ago, and he’s never gotten it back. When Raine Mowbray stumbles
into his life again, Christian realizes the woman he’s worshiped from
afar is still the woman he desires above all others.
Raine Mowbray needs solitude and employment, not love. A housemaid forced
to flee a loathsome earl’s grasp, the last thing she’s seeking
is a man’s amorous attention. When she finds herself unexpectantly
paired with a gorgeous watchmaker in need of an assistant, she’s
unnerved by his wit, kindness—and clandestine devotion to her.
If you like spirited heroines who fight falling in love and charmingly
arrogant heroes who think they know best, then this is the book for you!
Snuggle up with Tempting the Scoundrel, a steamy second chance,
love-at-first-sight Regency Romance!
This is a Downton Abbey-ish novella at 98 pages and 25K words!!
Award-winning author Tracy Sumner’s storytelling career began when she
picked up a historical romance on a college beach trip, and she fondly
blames LaVyrle Spencer for her obsession with the genre. She’s a recipient
of the National Reader’s Choice, and her novels have been translated into
Dutch, German, Portuguese and Spanish. She lived in New York, Paris and
Taipei before finding her way back to the Lowcountry of South
When not writing sizzling love stories about feisty heroines and their
temperamental-but-entirely-lovable heroes, Tracy enjoys reading,
snowboarding, college football (Go Tigers!), yoga, and travel. She loves to
hear from romance readers!
In this passionate, provocative romance, a spirited woman committed to stamping out social injustice finds herself battling a town constable… for her heart.
She is his greatest temptation.
He is her forbidden desire.
A battle of wills leads to love.
Spirited Savannah Connor is passionately committed to stamping out social injustice. Yet, when she arrives in Pilot Isle, North Carolina, ready to take up a new cause, she quickly finds herself on the outs with the town constable.
Zachariah Garrett is the most arrogant, infuriating, maddeningly attractive man she’s had the misfortune to meet. And, suddenly, Savannah is fighting a whole new battle — this one against her own yearning for a man who is impossible to resist.
Ever since his wife’s death two years ago, Zachariah Garrett has dedicated his life to keeping the peace. And, avoiding love. But Savannah Connor isn’t an ordinary woman — and she proves hard to ignore. She’s a beguiling beauty with the power to awaken emotions Zach thought he’d never feel again, and the tenderness to help him forget his fears. And risk his heart once more.
TIDES OF PASSION was originally published by Zebra Books, a Kensington Publishing imprint, and was awarded the Reader’s Choice Best Historical and the Beacon for Best Historical.
Tracy’s storytelling career began when she picked up a copy of LaVyrle Spencer’s Vows on a college beach trip. A journalism degree and a thousand romance novels later, she decided to try her hand at writing a southern version of the perfect love story. With a great deal of luck and more than a bit of perseverance, she sold her first novel to Kensington Publishing.
When not writing sensual stories featuring complex characters and lush settings, Tracy can be found reading romance, snowboarding, watching college football and figuring out how she can get to 100 countries before she kicks (which is a more difficult endeavor than it used to be with her eleven-year-old son in tow). She lives in the deep south, but after spending a few years in NYC, considers herself a New Yorker at heart.
Tracy has been awarded the National Reader’s Choice, the Write Touch and the Beacon – with finalist nominations in the HOLT Medallion, Heart of Romance, Rising Stars and Reader’s Choice. Her books have been translated into German, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish. She loves hearing from readers about why she tends to pit her hero and heroine against each other and that great novel she simply must order in five seconds on her Kindle.