The Gate to Eden and Christmas in Paradise Box Set
Historical Romance, Western Romance, Holiday Romance
Published: August 2018
Bringing back the old west — a box set for lovers of western historical romances. Two great, award-winning reads from NY Times bestselling author Cathy McDavid.
The Gate to Eden
STEALING HIS HEART. Crack shot Maddie Campbell isn’t your ordinary thief. She’ll do she’ll do anything to insure the safety and survival of her young daughter and the three hundred other widows and orphans left homeless and penniless after a horrific mining accident—including convincing those responsible for the accident to “donate” to the cause. Maddie and her merry band have been getting cleanly away with their thefts until the day former sheriff Scott McSween arrives in town.
He’s been hired by the mining company owner to bring an end to the crime spree. Despite her efforts to throw him off track, he’s convinced Maddie is connected to the robberies. Determined to draw out all her secrets, he plies her with soft caresses, passionate kisses, and nights spent exploring her body in ways no man has previously dared. But when confronted with a truth that can’t be denied, Scott must choose between the woman he loves and the law he’s sworn to uphold.
Christmas in Paradise
The 1916 holiday season doesn’t make everyone in the desert community of Paradise, Arizona happy. Millie Berinhard dreams of an impetuous suitor who will sweep her off her feet with grand gestures. Steady, dependable William Dunlap is nothing like Millie’s ideal man. Or is there more to him than meets the eye?
Edenville, Arizona Territory
THADDEUS NEWLIN DIDN’T LIKE prostitutes. He’d worked too hard and too long building his empire only to risk losing it by succumbing to some dreadful disease acquired from a barroom whore.
He did, however, like women and partook of their pleasure as often as his pressing schedule allowed. Young women with long hair, ample curves, and clear skin were his preference. And innocent — if only in looks. No soiled doves ever found their way beneath his blankets.
His secretary, Zachariah Forrester, had assumed the task of procuring this evening’s entertainment, as he always did when the mood for companionship struck Thaddeus. Mr. Forrester recruited from the residences and ranches of whatever town they happened to be visiting. As times were tough and money tight, he seldom encountered any difficulty locating a willing female who fit his boss’s exacting specifications. Then, like all good secretaries, he conveniently disappeared for several hours after escorting the young woman to the steps of Thaddeus’s private railroad car. Neither did he ask any bothersome questions at the end of the night, regardless of the woman’s disheveled condition.
“Very nice,” Thaddeus said as he watched the pretty little thing standing in front of him slip the narrow sleeves of her camisole off her pale shoulders. Mr. Forrester had done well tonight, and Thaddeus considered giving his secretary a bonus.
“I ain’t never been with a man like this before,” the woman said shyly, lowering her eyes to the richly carpeted floor. “You’re my first…you know.”
Thaddeus doubted the truth of her statement. She might not be a prostitute in the strictest sense of the word, but she’d certainly done this before. The large nipples visible through the material of her camisole and the roundness of her belly attested to previous childbirth. Not that Thaddeus cared. In fact, he preferred experienced women. Just not worldly.
“You don’t have to be nervous, my dear.” He played along with her pretense. “I promise to be gentle.” And he would be gentle. Until the end.
She lifted one stocking clad foot and placed it on the edge of the pinstriped settee, near to his leg. Thaddeus felt himself stirring and smiled. He might be past his prime and have only half the hair atop his head he did at twenty, but he’d not yet lost his ability to perform.
Reaching out a large hand, he stroked her smooth, and surprisingly muscular, calf. “Why don’t we see what we can do about removing this stocking?”
The woman — he couldn’t quite remember her name — pressed a knuckle to her lips. “It were a long walk here from my place. Can I use the…the…chamber pot first?” It clearly pained her to have to ask for the convenience.
“Of course. It’s in there.” He pointed toward a door leading to his sleeping quarters.
She ducked behind the door, quiet as a mouse. No sense wasting time, Thaddeus thought and kicked off his boots. Next, he stood, removed his pants, and tossed them aside. They landed haphazardly on the elegant cherry wood rocker he’d had shipped all the way from Boston last year. By the time he completed undressing, he’d begun to wonder what was detaining his lovely guest.
Wearing only his long underwear, he walked to the door of his sleeping quarters and knocked. “Are you all right, my dear?”
His only answer was a soft scuffling sound.
“Hello.” He knocked again, and the brass knob twisted. Thaddeus smiled and moved away from the opening door. “There you are.”
“So, I am.”
The door swung wide, and the smile on Thaddeus’s face died as the end of a Colt revolver was jammed into his protruding gut.
About the Author
As a sophomore in high school, NY Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling author Cathy McDavid won a local writing competition with her self-illustrated children’s book. Who knew that small triumph would eventually lead to a career writing contemporary romances with over 1.3 million books sold? With forty-four titles to date, Cathy is also a member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll. This “almost” Arizona native and mother of grown twins is newly married to her own real-life sweetheart. After leaving the corporate world three years ago, she now spends her days penning stories about good looking men who ride the range or fight fires or wield hammers while sweeping the girl off her feet. It’s a tough job but she’s willing to make the sacrifice.
To escape an arranged marriage, Mia Carlson, daughter of a U.S. senator, instead elopes with the man she loves. As they are escaping from her Virginia home, heading west, their wagon train is brutally attacked, leaving Mia alone and in grave danger. Rescue comes from a most unlikely source, a passing Lakota scouting party, led by the darkly handsome Indian, Brave Wolf.
Although Brave Wolf has consented to guide Mia to the nearest trading post, he holds himself apart from her, for his commitments lie elsewhere. But long days on the trail lead to a deep connection with the red-haired beauty. Yet, he can’t stop wondering why death and danger stalk this beautiful woman, forcing him to rescue her time and again. Who is doing this, and why?
One thing is clear, however: Amid the flurry of dodging assassin bullets, Brave Wolf and Mia come into possession of a powerful love. But is it all for naught? Will Brave Wolf’s obligations and Mia’s secret enemy from the past finally succeed in the sinister plot to destroy their love forever?
Warning: Sensuous romance and cameo appearances of Tahiska and Kristina from the book, Lakota Surrender, might cause a happily-ever-after to warm your heart.
Other books in The Clan of the Wolf Series:
The Clan of the Wolf, Book 1
Publisher: PK&J Publishing
Published: February 2018
TWO HEARTS BETRAYED
Refusing to believe the rumors that the European prince she was forced to marry had died in a far-off land, the princess, Sierra, sets sail to America, bent on revenge and determined to learn the truth. Because she will require a scout to guide her through the wilderness, she calls in a favor from the man who had betrayed her long ago, the man she had once loved deeply and had hoped to wed, the noble Cheyenne scout, High Wolf.
Many years before, a European prince had invited High Wolf to travel an ocean and as a brother, to live as a member of the royal family. There High Wolf had fallen in love with the princess, Sierra. But instead of an engagement and the planned wedding, the princess had treacherously married his friend, the prince. Betrayed and broken-hearted, High Wolf sailed back to America, determined to forget the princess. But a promise given to her years earlier brings her back into his life, igniting a desire he must resist, for to surrender to her again is unthinkable.
Forced into one another’s company, with the threat of life or death around every corner, overcoming their prejudice might be their only means of survival. But can either of them trust in a love, once betrayed? Or will their past force them apart again, this time forever?…
This book has been previously published.
Warning: A sensuous romance that might fan the flames of desire. Be warned. You might fall in love all over again.
She swung around to glance back in the direction where she’d left him. But where was he?
Panic consumed her. Had he left her?
“Mr. Lakota!” She called again. Then, louder yet. “Mr. Lakota, where are you?”
Nothing… No answer…
“I am…here.” The tone of his voice was deep, reassuring, but farther up the slope.
Relief swept through her. Still, it took several moments before she was able to respond, saying, “Where? I still don’t know where ‘here’ is.”
With that masculine grace which seemed to be as much a part of his stride as was his careful pace, he stepped out from the tall grasses that grew at the top of the coulee.
“Oh, there you are.” She looked up. “But how did you get up there?”
“I climb. Did you not see…wolf?”
“Wolf hungry…crazy. Watching you.”
She caught her breath before she uttered, “A wolf, looking at me as though I were what? Food?”
“Could be. Had to…kill him. Not like to kill a wolf.”
“But how did you know there was a wolf there? Or that there was any danger at all?”
“My…duty to know.”
“Yes, yes. However, I still don’t understand how you could be aware that there was–” She cut herself off short, and paused. “You were so intent on building that lean-to. How do you do that? How do you know of happenings far away from you?”
He shrugged as he stepped down the slope and came down farther into the coulee. “I am…toƞwéya, scout.”
He said these words as though they alone explained the world around them from his point of view. And when she encouraged him to expand upon that a little, and said, “Yes…?” he did little more than nod at her.
“Hear wolf growl?” he asked.
“Wolf…pounce…on you before I kill? Spit and…howl? Bite you?”
His expression didn’t change at all, as he said, “Wolf…rabid. Out of…mind. Had to kill.”
The wolf was rabid?
All at once, the enormity of the danger she’d been in struck her. She swooned, but he’d come to stand close to her, and, clutching hold of his arm, she steadied herself.
“If it had bitten me, then I would surely die a most horrible death.” She swallowed hard and continued to speak as though the words were drawn from deep within her soul. “I am obliged to you once again, Mr. Lakota. I—I hardly know how to repay you.”
“No…claim on me,” he said. “It my…duty.” He touched her hand where she still gripped his arm, and he loosened her fingers. But as soon as she stood on her own, her knees buckled under her, and she fell.
He caught her before she reached the ground, and, as his arms came around her, she gazed up into his eyes. They were the color of a crystal-blue sky and looked so foreign in contrast to the deeply tanned color of his skin. So strange a combination for an Indian.
Then it happened. His head came down toward hers, and his lips were only a fraction of an inch from hers. She was ready for the embrace, and she opened her lips in anticipation of his kiss. But it never materialized.
As though they had both turned to stone, neither one of them moved. Nor did either of them step away from the other. However, neither took action to close the miniscule distance between them.
Her whole body was on fire, and she could barely speak as she asked, “Are you going to do it? Are you going to kiss me?”
“I…dare not,” he whispered, and so close was he, she could feel the movement of his lips on her own as he spoke.
She whispered, “For what you have done for me, I owe you much. If you wish to—”
He put a single finger over her lips. “Do not say it. You…owe me nothing. If I…kiss you, it…be because I want to kiss you, not because you…owe me anything.”
“And do you want to kiss me?”
“Hau.” He shut his eyes.
“That word means yes?”
He didn’t answer.
“Do you not do it because of your pledge to Walks-in-sunshine?”
Again, no answer.
He let his arms fall from around her. With a deep breath, he stepped back from her, putting a little distance between them. When her knees wouldn’t stand under her weight and she stumbled, he quickly moved to catch her, but he placed no more than a single arm around her waist.
He said, “No kiss…because one kiss not enough.”
His words stirred her, caused her to realize that he was as moved by her as she was by him, and, in consequence, she might have gone to pieces and plunged to the ground altogether. She didn’t. But only because he held onto her so tightly.
“These…words,” he continued, “we must not say to…each other. Long…trek. Must not…touch again.”
“Forbidden,” was all he said.
About the Author
Multi-published Author of American Indian Historical Romances, KAREN KAY has been praised by reviewers and fans alike for bringing insights into the everyday life of the American Indian culture of the past. As Reviewer, Suzanne Tucker, once wrote, “Ms. Kay never fails to capture the pride, the passion and the spirit of the American Indian… As in each and every one of her mesmerizing Indian stories, we’re moved beyond words. We feel more, we understand better, we love deeper. They are healing stories of hope, of tenderness, of forgiveness, of great beauty and awe.”
KAREN KAY, whose great-grandmother was a Choctaw Indian, is honored to be able to write about the American Indian culture.
“With the power of romance, I hope to bring about an awareness of the American Indian’s concept of honor, and what it meant to them to live as free men and free women. There are some things that should never be forgotten.”
‘You marry a man he owns you. I won’t do it.’ Will falling in love change her mind?
Victorian England 1872
Lady Henrietta escapes from her locked bedroom and stepfather’s attempt to starve her into agreeing to an arranged marriage that will only be of benefit to him. Underage, she must avoid his clutches until she turns twenty-one, and as Amelia Brown, she finds employment in the household of Damion, Marquis of Ashton.
High-spirited and fiercely independent, Amelia has a chance encounter with Damion, which establishes a powerful attraction between the two. Their passion ignites, the sex between them of an unrestrained delight hat is contrary to the customs of the times.
But the storm clouds are gathering. Amelia will have to take desperate measures to protect herself and the man she loves.
About the Author
Cassie O’Brien is a writer of erotic romance. From A Lady To A Maid is the second book published by Totally Bound. The first was a contemporary romance, The Girls’ Club which was published in February 2018.
When the Duke of Murnane accepts an unofficial fact finding mission to Canton on behalf of the queen in 1838 he expects work to heal him. He certainly doesn’t expect to confront his wreck of a marriage in such an exotic locale, or to find the love of his life. Zambak Hayden follows her brother to China to escape pressure to make a suitable marriage. When she finds the brother drawn into the world of greed, smuggling, opium, and corruption she resolves to both sort out the truth and to protect her brother from becoming prey to all of it—if only she could stop yearning for the one man she can’t have. Can love survive when troubles and war explode around them?
“Don’t go honorable and protective on me, Charles. I know what I want,” she sputtered, grabbing his lapels and snuggling her nose into his shoulder.
“That fills me with more joy than I can explain, Zambak,” he said. He stood, pulling her with him, and turned her outward to face the shore while he put his arms around her waist to hold her loosely from behind. “You aren’t so naïve that you can’t tell how badly I want you,” he whispered in her ear.
Smug and filled with triumph, she spoke without thinking. “I know. I fear I’ve tumbled entirely in love with you, Charles. It is new and precious and—” She sank her head back against him. She felt safe in his arms, yet frustrated. When she wriggled free to face him, he held her at arms length, one hand on each arm.
“You don’t understand what you’re suggesting,” he said.
“Perhaps not entirely, but I’m eager to find out. We can manage this thing between us. I know we can. For now—”
“For now, nothing. Listen to me, dear one.”
Dear one. She felt her smile fill her down to her toes. She sank back on her heels and studied his face, grave in the moonlight.
“You’ve told me over and over again you do not wish to marry,” he reminded her.
“Maybe I was wrong. I don’t wish marriage as dictated by rank and land and the rest. Or maybe I don’t need marriage. There’s Julia in any case and—and I’m jumping ahead.”
He smiled then and loosed his grip, taking a step away. “You certainly are, and I’m making a mull of it.” He reached out a hand to cup her cheek. “Lady Zambak Hayden, I find that I have also tumbled into this maelstrom. I love your brilliant mind and unbounded courage. Your lovely body drives me mad, as you will have noticed. But—”
She growled deep in her throat. Always a “but.” She put a finger to his lips, but he shook his head, and removed his hand from her face.
“Listen to me. You may not believe in marriage, but you deserve no less than my total commitment. I am a married man, who can’t make his addresses with any honor.”
“I thought you and Julia had an agreement,” she reminded him.
“We do. But Julia’s word is always questionable, making any agreement equally questionable. Divorce is tedious and difficult at best, ugly and scandal-ridden at worst. When it’s done, she will have shredded my good name.”
“I know you. I know better. I don’t care.” She didn’t. She couldn’t believe he’d think otherwise.
His smile held infinite sadness. “Your father will care, and your mother wants more for you than a man eleven years your senior with an ugly past.”
“Piffle. Even if that is true—and I doubt it, because they know you. They know what you’re made of—I am of age. They will have to accept it, because I will defy whatever they might do to stop me.”
“Yes, you would,” he replied with a sigh. “You defy them in many things, and it seems to fall to me to keep you out of trouble.”
He reached over and took her right hand between both of his. “Very well, Lady Zambak Hayden, will you—”
She tried to throw herself into his arms, but he held her back. “Wait. Listen to what I’m asking. Will you wait for me to be free? Will you wait as long as it takes to extricate myself from my joke of a marriage so I can come to you honorably and make my offer?”
She sank back, subdued. “I don’t want to wait.” Stony features looked implacably back for a long moment until she gave in. “But I will if you give me no choice, because I promise you this, Charles: there is no other man but you and never will be. I love you.”
His eyes bore into hers. “I won’t hold you to it, Zambak, but I love you for saying it.” He kissed her then—a fierce caress that battered her soul with the enormity of his feelings—stepped away and bowed. “Now I will join the crew on the quarterdeck for both our sakes, since you will not go below.”
He left her in the moonlight, cold and alone, but with hope firmly set in her heart.
About the Author
Award-winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things: traveler, librarian, poet, raiser of children, bird watcher, Internet and Web services manager, conference speaker, indexer, tech writer, genealogist—even a nun. She reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.
Drugged and kidnapped, Shera finds herself on a ship to Morocco to serve the Sultan. Abandoned and alone, Shera must find a way to escape and confront the people who betrayed her. She gets help from an unlikely source: the man who kidnapped her. But, he has his own secrets. And, when their partnership turns to love, the two must face constant danger to endure. But will they ever be free?
The throbbing was relentless. Shera, Lady Edgerton, squinted and reluctantly peeked out from beneath her eyelids. She immediately regretted it. A thousand needles of light stabbed her with brutal fury and she quickly closed her eyes again to ease the misery. She drew in a deep breath, trying to quell the pounding in her head. Mindful of the pain, she very slowly opened her eyes again, fighting the agony of vicious brightness that assailed her. Sunlight pierced the room through a narrow slit in the wall high up in the small space and pooled about her. Nausea threatened but she swallowed hard and stiffened her spine.
Gathering her senses and forcing herself to focus, she looked around. Where was she? A small room made of wood? The walls were bare except for four sets of chains attached to the wood by rings hanging a few inches from the floor. Was this an area used to confine prisoners? But that did not answer why she was here. She was an innocent. Her being here must be a terrible mistake.
She heaved in a deep breath and listened carefully. Naught but a kind of creaking. Raising herself gently, she sat up. Her head spun and she took in a few shallow breaths to ease the dizziness. The space around her gradually took shape. She was indeed in a small room with walls of horizontal planked wood. Beneath her, the floor swayed gently back and forth. And the smell? It was the scent of despair. Someone had been held here before her. Or many someones. And there was also the unmistakable odor of the sea. I am aboard a ship? How is that possible? A slither of terror crawled up her back. Had she been kidnapped? Was her life at risk? Who did this and what did they want? The lack of answers was tormenting.
Shera soothed herself by inhaling and exhaling slowly, then took an inventory of her body. Her back ached and her arms and legs felt heavy. She was most likely bruised, but overall, she was intact. She was still dressed in her beautiful crimson velvet ball gown from the night before, but now it was dirty and the skirt was torn at the hem and along the seams. Her bracelets were missing, as were her rings. But, when she felt for her necklace, she realized it had slipped down into her bodice. She lifted it out and breathed some relief. Set with diamonds and rubies, it was worth a small fortune. She replaced it between her breasts and patted her chest. It could certainly be used as a bribe, but to whom? If she revealed it under the wrong circumstances, it could be taken from her. No, she must be careful to conceal it until the time was right.
She felt her earlobes. The left earring was gone, but the one on the right had become tangled in her hair. It, too, was set with rubies and diamonds and worth much. She extracted it and slipped it into her bodice with the other piece. Just knowing she had some wealth gave her options and more chances, perhaps, to resolve this situation, whatever it was. The possibilities went from the ridiculous to the unthinkable. It could be this was a simple prank, but the clawing in her stomach told her it was no such thing. But, she must control the terror that threatened to confound her thinking.
She had been laying on a mattress of sorts, although it was long overdue for re-stuffing. She refused to even think about the stains or what loathsome tiny creatures might reside within its depths. Looking around again, she realized there were three other such pads lined up in the room. Were others to join her? It certainly appeared as if this cabin was used to secure many more. More what? Captives?
Shera squeezed her eyes shut. This was merely a nightmare. She would open her eyes and be in her own bed in the manor house waiting for a servant to come and help her bathe and dress. Yes, that was it. Upon opening her eyes again, this was indeed still a nightmare, but it was real.
About the Author
Leslie Hachtel was born in Ohio, raised in New York and has been a gypsy most of her adult life. Her various jobs, including licensed veterinary technician, caterer, horseback riding instructor for the disabled and advertising media buyer have given her a wealth of experiences.
However, it has been writing that has consistently been her passion. She sold an episode of a TV show, had a screenplay optioned and has so far produced eleven novels, including eight historicals and three romantic suspense. Leslie lives in Cordova, Tennessee with a fabulously supportive engineer husband and her writing buddy, Jakita, a terrier.