Lila does so much for everyone else at the mission she and her late husband, Emmett, started, she has no time to think of her own wishes. It comes as quite a surprise when she finds herself attracted to Bronx Sanderson—especially since she’s vowed in her heart to keep the mission—and her preacher husband’s memory—alive.
With advice from Doc Holliday and a meddlesome landlady, can Bronx and Lila make their own future? When a Pinkerton detective shows up, Bronx is between a rock and a hard place—but he’s determined to quit running. Lila’s domineering brother-in-law also arrives in Leadville to try to force her to marry him. If Bronx is arrested, what choice will Lila have?
Downstairs, the parlor was empty, full of worn yet snug wingchairs wrapped in a brown plaid, and a hard straight settle. A china teapot hunkered beneath a knitted cozy and Lila warmed her hands at the roaring fireplace. Two rocks and a large pinecone balanced atop the mantel, and a cheap porcelain princess danced in the middle of it all.
“Rebekah? Rebekah? Is it you?”
A man’s low drawl from behind all but stopped her heart. Oh, she heard grief and pain every day, gulped, and planned her virtuous little homily. Had he lost Rebekah? Or was he running from her?
Lila wheeled around, and her heart stopped for real. He was so magnificent, this cowboy in front of her, her breath ran away from her. Then she called it right back. Miss Frieda might have left them alone on purpose, but she didn’t know the truth. Lila’s spirits sank for the thousandth time. Emmett had made it clear, all she lacked to be a true woman. But once she’d studied Art. It was natural to admire such beauty as stood before her.
Oh, and beautiful he was. Dark unruly hair, mussed by a hat. Stubbled cheeks that somehow would feel soft under a woman’s touch and a mustache tickling lips that, well, a normal unmarried woman might desire to kiss. Eyes the color of a moonless sky at midnight filled with shock, dismay—or delight? She couldn’t tell which.
Shock had so furrowed the man’s brow she somehow ached to smooth his forehead. Closed arms, bent head...either holding Rebekah close or hiding himself from her. What had this woman done to him? Emmett had taught her well how to read people, but this tale she couldn’t cipher.
His arms tightened. No. He didn’t seem delighted at all. And she, she was not free to give her heart. It landed on her toes.
“No, I’m not Rebekah.” Lila cleared her throat. “Whoever she is, she isn’t...isn’t me.”
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