Genre: Historical Western Romance
Shot and left for dead, Sam Hixton stumbles into a general store on the Nebraska prairie and collapses into the arms of Cassie Wilcox.
Cassie’s world is turned upside down when the handsome stranger drops into her life. Sam is another complication she doesn’t need: her business is dying and her trouble with the townspeople is escalating. Yet she’s determined to keep the store open — no matter what the cost.
As Sam recovers from his injuries, he hides the truth about his identity and convinces Cassie to let him work in the store. He’s attracted to her and admires her independent nature but quickly realizes Cassie’s in way over her head. They fight their growing attraction, and Cassie questions whether she can trust her fragile heart to a mysterious stranger. Will he accept her once he knows about her troubled past?
Cassie resists Sam’s advances and represses her feelings until one fateful night when they give in to their fiery passion. Together, they work out a plan to save the store but find their efforts are thwarted—and their lives endangered—by the locals.
Sam’s secret returns to haunt him and pulls him away just when Cassie needs him the most. Will he regain her trust when she learns the truth?
Cassie has everything invested in the store—can she save it and find true love with Sam before it’s too late?
“I hate to tell you this, but you have a big problem.”
Sam broke off a chunk of bread and dipped it into the chicken broth. “Honey, I’ve got a lot of problems, starting with the fact that I got shot and nearly died. What else do I have to worry about?”
“A man who stands about six foot six.”
His heart skipped a beat. “Shit. Tell me it’s not your husband.”
“No.” Cassie laughed. “Luke, the sheriff. He was here this afternoon asking questions about you. Holloway’s a small town. Everyone knows everyone else’s business. Folks are bound to be curious when a shot-up stranger wanders into the only store, bleeding to death.”
He slurped more soup.
“Luke thinks you’re wanted, an outlaw, or… I don’t know, whatever he can dream up that might get him a reward.”
“I’m not wanted.” He gazed into Cassie’s brown eyes. “I know you have no reason to believe me, but I haven’t done anything wrong.”
“Luke will be back tomorrow morning, and he’s determined to talk to you. He’s gonna ask how you got here and who shot you. I don’t care what you tell him.” She rose and uncorked the bottle of medicine on the tray. “Drink this.”
“Doc left two?”
“No. This is something different. I took this off the shelf downstairs.”
“Won’t you get in trouble with your boss?”
Cassie chuckled. “Nope. I am the boss. It’s my store. I can take what I want.”
“Oh.” That was unusual. Most women couldn’t handle the responsibility of running a business. How had Cassie come to own a store?
“What’s in it?” he said, eyeing the bottle warily. Patent medicines, or snake oil treatments, often made you feel worse than if you took nothing at all. They were full of arsenic, turpentine, or kerosene. “I don’t take well to these medicinal potions.”
“And I don’t regularly offer them, but this should dull the pain.” She poured a spoonful of the amber liquid and held it out. “Open up.”
He was about to argue, then thought better of it. If this poison helped him sleep, he’d be content with that much, at least. “Couldn’t I have whiskey?”
Cassie grinned. “This concoction is about three-quarters whiskey. That’s why I keep it on the shelf.”
He gulped the medicine down, and his eyes watered. “It sure burns like whiskey,” he said, clearing his throat.
“Good. Now that you’ve had food and medicine, I’ll let you sleep.” Cassie set a glass of water on the side table and headed for the door. “I’ll come back for the tray in an hour. Try to rest. Luke will aim to catch you muddle-headed in the morning. I told him you were still unconscious.”
“Why did you lie?”
“I figured you could use the time to get your story straight. Luke’s nosy, like everyone else in this damn town. We don’t get strangers coming through here, so you’re a curiosity. People are going to be suspicious of you.”
He nodded, grateful for the warning. The less Cassie and the other townsfolk knew about him and his past, the better.
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels.
In 2016 Kelli began re-releasing her romances previously published by Amber Quill Press. Visit her website and blog for a full title list, book summaries, and other information. Kelli’s third Medallion Press historical romance, Lies, Love & Redemption, was released in September 2016.
Her writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative non-fiction guide based on her 15 years of experience as a writer. It’s filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.
If you like to be scared, check out Kelli’s horror ebooks: Dead Til Dawn and Kropsy’s Curse.
Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor. She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/.
Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings, read book excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb.