The 8th book in the
Struggling to move past her grief.
Victoria Rhyan lost everything during the Earthquakes that tore through Silverpines, including her husband, the town’s mayor. The resulting fear and loneliness has left her in a fragile state, unable to leave her home. To make matters worse, her husband’s solicitor arrives in Silverpines to inform Victoria that the mayor had been embezzling from town’s tax money, and that all of the evidence points to her as the recipient of those stolen funds. Desperate, Victoria sends out a plea for a mail-order-groom, begging for any man with experience at law to come to her aid.
Terrified of the man he has become.
Luther Garrison is a man on the run. He’s running from the law, and from his cousin— the notorious outlaw— Mace Thorne. Shot in the back while trying to escape Mace and his gang, Luther awakens to find himself at the mercy of Victoria Ryhan. She is everything he isn’t. Prim, proper and startlingly attractive, Luther is utterly captivated by her in an instant. But Mace is still hunting him, and it’s only a matter of time before he finds Luther again.
Can Victoria accept help from the lawyer turned outlaw for her own legal troubles?
Will Mace catch up to Luther and destroy both Victoria and himself?
Can love win out over their fear, or is it too late for the woman who took in the Wanted Lawyer?
Catch a Sneak Peek!
Luther Garrison wheeled his horse about as a resounding gunshot rang through the silent night. His heart was throbbing in his ears.
Vern Hannon looked around, an oily grin slinking up his pale face. Luther could see the yellow of his teeth in the gleaming sunlight as the man crossed his forearms against his saddle horn.
“You’re awful shifty, Garrison.” A woman’s scream tore from the house, and his smile broadened. He fixed Luther with a belligerent stare. “What’s eatin’ ya?”
Mace Thorn’s laughter reverberated inside Luther’s clenched jaw. Luther scowled around the homestead, trying not to hear his cousin’s voice as it echoed across the yard from the front door.
The woman screamed again.
Something inside Luther snapped taut. “I didn’t sign up for this,” he spat. In one swift movement, he yanked his rifle from its scabbard and leapt off his horse.
“Mace!!” he bellowed, lifting the barrel of the gun and pointing it at the front door of the tiny house.
There came the sounds of scuffling, and then the loud SLAP of knuckles hitting flesh. Luther prowled through the front gate, his gun still raised, calling out once more, “Mace! That’s enough!”
His cousin didn’t answer him. Luther was two steps away when he heard the woman’s horrified entreaty swell through the still-open door. “No! Please!” Her voice was thick with tears.
The second gunshot split the night in two. The birds in the surrounding trees went silent, and Luther felt fury explode in his chest. He darted across the threshold, and a scene of total devastation met his eyes…
His cousin, Mace Thorne, a notorious outlaw in these here parts, grinned at Luther from beside an overturned armchair.
“Had some fire in ‘er, that one did,” he remarked on a chuckle. He knelt to tug the woman’s bloodied hair back from her face. “Shame and a pity, that.” He gestured with his pistol at the two bodies on the floor. “Left me no choice, they did.”
Luther blinked, feeling the blood drain from his lips. “You killed them.”
His cousin shrugged. “We best be on our way now. Tell the boys to take the horses. I’ll have a look see ‘round in here.” He wiped his hand over his trousers, leaving a streak of red behind.
The gun in Luther’s hands was shaking. He raised it and pointed it at Mace. “I didn’t sign up for this, cousin,” he breathed again. “What’ve you done?”
Mace’s dark eyes flickered. “Put that away, boy,” he hissed. “I practically raised you.”
Luther let out a disgusted snort and spat onto the floor. “Thankfully,” he said, “That isn’t anything close to true.”
Mace cocked an amused eyebrow. “That so? Who you got to thank for that fine North Carolina education, cousin?”
Luther’s eyes narrowed, but Mace threw back his head, laughing. “I’d of thought you’da made something a bit finer of yourself, considering,” he added. “Suppose this sorta’ life is in your blood.”
“I’m leaving,” Luther stated boldly. “I want no part in this. We’re through.”
The amusement slipped from Mace’s face as though it’d been sloughed off with a sponge. “We’re through when I say we’re through,” he spat. He stood up and jerked his collar straight.
Luther didn’t lower his gun as his cousin stomped across the room, kicking aside fallen tables and books. He pointed a dirty, yellow-nailed finger in Luther’s face. “You owe me,” he hissed. “You owe me everything.”
Luther felt his left finger twitch on the trigger, and a sick, twisted desire rose up inside him—borne, no doubt— by the atrocities he had seen committed by Mace Thorne and his ilk. He wanted to end Mace. He wanted to put a stop to the violence.
He took a deep breath as his cousin’s eyes found his. “If you don’t do it,” Mace whispered, “you better hope your ole’ nag can outstrip the rest of us, ‘cause we’ll be comin’ for you.”
Luther lowered the gun. He saw his cousin’s eyes flash with brief satisfaction before Luther swiveled it around and brought the butt smashing against the side of his skull.
With a howl of rage and pain, Mace dropped onto his knees, clutching his head, as Luther spun on his heel and bolted out the door.
There were six men sitting astride their horses just outside the garden gate. Luther shot past them and jammed his rifle back into its holster.
“What’s happened?” bellowed Dan Grayson.
“Where’s Mace?” spat Vern.
Luther ignored them, flinging himself up into the saddle.
“Garrison!!!” Mace’s voice lacerated through the gang’s confusion, louder than gunfire in his fury. Luther looked back over his shoulder as he kicked his horse forward and saw his cousin stumbling over the dew-drenched grass, blood dripping from a gash on his forehead. “Shoot him!!” he bawled. “Shoot that traitorous son of a—”
The rest of Mace’s words were cut off as a bullet whizzed past Luther’s ear. His horse’s hooves thundered over the earth, and he could hear shouts behind him. They were giving chase.
Luther clenched his jaw to keep his teeth from jarring and willed his horse to go even faster. They were over the fields, heading for the cover of the trees.
“Go, go, go,” he chanted.
More shouts. More gunfire.
This time, at least one of his companion’s hands was steady. A searing pain clawed through Luther’s back. He doubled over with agony, his vision flooding with color. His very flesh was on fire; he couldn’t breathe. His horse kept moving, and as Luther slumped forward, he saw that the creature’s eyes were wide with terror.
“Go on, Georgia,” Luther gasped to his horse, feeling blood drizzling down his back and soaking into his shirt. “Go on, girl. Get us out of here.”
Coming to you on June 19th, 2018!
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The Heart of Hope is a companion tale to Josephine Blake’s, Dianna!