1868 Wyoming Territory
Elizabeth Coyote will do anything, anything at all, to save the ranch she loves, including marrying Asa MacIntyre, a broad shouldered, lean hipped silver eyed gunslinger with a ruthless reputation for getting the job done. Asa dreams of a place of his own, a wife, and the respect that comes with both. Marrying Elizabeth may have started as a means to an end, but nothing in Asa’s wildest dreams prepares him for the excitement of unleashing the carnal woman beneath his wife’s prim and proper exterior.Books in Series:Promises Series by Sarah McCartyBooks by Author:Sarah McCarty Books
It wasn"t every day a lady strolled into Dell"s. A few strumpets graced the place, but Asa was willing to bet every dollar in his pocket that the last time a buttoned-down, poker-backed lady had entered this rundown excuse of a saloon was never. One by one, the other patrons noticed the gray clad intruder. The cacophony of voices dropped until, with a resounding clank on the keys, the piano player took note.
Asa watched as the woman turned this way and that, no doubt straining to see through the murk. He lifted his whiskey to his lips, took a sip, and waited. He wondered whether it was a husband or a lover she was seeking. He hoped it was the former. A wife in search of an errant husband was bound to put on a better show.
With a sharp tug on each finger, she yanked off her gloves. Backlit as she was by the doorway, Asa had an excellent view of her silhouette. Petite and curvaceous with softly turned hips that had Asa thinking in terms of sinking deep and riding hard. He took another sip of his whiskey. As it burned the back of his throat, he tried to figure out why the sight of this woman had his cock sitting up and taking notice. Maybe it was the way she stood that piqued his interest. Kind of a cross between it"s-snowing-in-hell panic and hell-bent-for-leather determination. Then again, maybe he was just the contrary sort and his cock followed suit, longing after what he could never have. Respectable women like her were the wives of bankers and judges. They were never seen within a country mile of a saddle tramp such as himself. Just because this one was perched on the doorstep of the seediest saloon in town didn"t change that fact.
The sun peeped out from behind a cloud. The feeble shaft of light curved around the door, illuminating the woman"s profile. His cock came fully erect and he almost wasted a swallow of rot gut choking on his surprise.
A man could look at a face like that for years and never get tired. It wasn"t that she was beautiful, though she was mighty easy on the eyes. It was the way the planes and hollows came together in a delicate balance of strength, humor and bone-deep sensuality that had him gaping like a green kid. A face like that spoke of endurance and character. A face like that invited visions of naked bodies and long, lusty, leisurely nights. And her mouth, hell, her mouth was a fantasy unto itself. He couldn"t begin to corral the ideas the sight of those wide plump lips had running through his head.
He shifted in his chair to ease the pressure on his manhood and reigned in his imagination. The woman might be every fantasy he"d ever had wrapped into one delectable armful, but she was about as attainable as the moon. And the sooner he forced himself to accept that fact, the better he"d be. He"d stopped lusting after what he couldn"t have about the same time he had realized the son of a whore and a passing through gambler was good for only one thing in the townsfolk"s eyes. Cleaning up other people"s messes. He"d gotten real good at cleaning up over the years, and someday he was going to take the money he had earned bringing in robbers and murderers, and he was going to buy a future for himself and his kids. Someday.
He forced his fingers to relax their grip on his glass before it cracked under the pressure. He didn"t know why this woman was stirring up old demons, but he didn"t like it. He"d long since adjusted to the way the world worked, and he wasn"t about to let the sight of a woman, no matter how temptingly packaged, upset the peace he"d made with life"s ironies.
A quartet of poker two tables over from Asa broke into yells. A fancy gambler with his back to the door let out a hoot and leaned over the table, raking in the winnings.
As if that were the signal she"d been waiting on, the woman launched into motion. Head high, shoulders back, she crossed the cramped room with a determination that sent the working girls in her path fleeing for cover. Asa released the breath he"d been holding and tipped his chair back on two legs until his shoulders connected with the wall. Raising his glass, he toasted her grit. Not many women had the wherewithal to confront their man"s shortcomings.
Her voice was well modulated, without any hint of a drawl.
The blond-haired gambler froze in the act of raking in his winnings. The woman moved around the table, murmuring "Excuse me" as she went, stopping when she reached the man"s side. The flickering glow from the oil lamps set off the red highlights in her scraped-back hair. Those sparks were nothing compared to the fury raging in her vivid green eyes. One of which was black and blue.