What happens when a bounty hunter finds his prey only to discover shes his mate?
The Malloy Family, Book 1
Nicky Malloy is on the runfrom guilt, fear, and a murder charge. After three years, the notorious bounty hunter Tyler Calhoun catches up with the elusive lady outlaw. The intensity of their dislike for each other is only matched by the growing passion they cannot seem to control.
A loner by nature, a cold hard hunter by choice, Tyler fights his feelings for his prisoner the only way he knows howby denying them. Hes not prepared for how deeply his feelings will run, or how hard it will be to hold her life in his hands.
Pursued by two hapless cowboys bent on taking Nicky in themselves, Nicky and Tyler are forced to turn to each other for aid, trust, and comfort as their journey progresses on its rocky road. Caught in a web of lies and murder, they hold on to each other as they travel to Wyoming to confront the man that brought them together. Tyler has to decide if his love for her is worth more than the bounty he was sent to find.
This book has been previously published, but substantially revised and repackaged.
Warning: This title contains the following: explicit sex, graphic language, some violence.
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Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
April 17, 2006
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from The Bounty by Beth Williamson
Over the next several days, Nicky took it upon herself to study Tyler Calhoun, to gather all the information she could about the tight-lipped bounty hunter. Something she could use to escape, a weakness, anything. Trying to keep her plans unknown, she studied him when she thought he wasn't looking. As they rode side by side across the plains each day, he never seemed to be interested in her at all, which gave her the opportunity to complete her surreptitious study.
She decided that he truly was as extremely handsome as she had originally thought. He had a broad chest and shoulders, narrow waist and hips, and thick black hair which all fit together in one nice package. His jaw was set in a hard line, his chin was covered with light stubble only hours after he shaved, his nose was straight and fine, his thick mustache rode a pair of lips that were just the right size for kissing.
She had to stop thinking about kissing him. It was a one time occurrence--never to repeat itself. If she kept telling herself that, she might believe it.
It was his eyes that truly haunted her. She'd never seen eyes quite that shade of blue before. They suddenly flicked over to hers. He had caught her looking at him. Chagrined by her actions as well as her pitiful, susceptible heart, she affixed him with an innocent look.
"You've been staring at me for two days. Something you need, Nicole?"
She didn't trust that soft tone for anything.
"Yes." She scrambled for a reason. "Since this is going to be a long journey, I thought we could at least talk. The silence is making me jumpy."
He shook his head, then turned his gaze forward again. Nicky squeezed her lips together in determination. Now he'd pissed her off by dismissing her. She would make him talk.
"How long have you been a bounty hunter?"
The silence was only broken by the sound of the horses' hooves clopping on the hard-packed dirt and the jangle of the chain that bound them together.
"Have you caught many men?"
Still nothing. He obviously underestimated a woman that grew up with six older brothers. She could be a pest's pest when she wanted to. Time to get dirty.
"Was Hermano the first time you'd been captured? How embarrassing."
Clip-clop went the horses' hooves.
"Where are you from? Texas? Sounds like it. You went all the way from Texas to Wyoming for this job? Owen must have waved a lot of money under your nose."
His hands tightened on the reins, and she smiled at his growing impatience.
"Wife? Children? Friends? Enemies? Favorite things to do?"
Tyler finally turned his head toward her. His eyes glittered like chips of blue ice, cold and hard.
"You're worth six thousand dollars to me...alive, anyway. That's all you need to know. What makes you ask all these questions about me?" His tone certainly did not match the look on his face.
Her heart dropped along with her stomach. They were dragging behind the horse now.
Six thousand dollars. That's a damned fortune. Who in their right mind would turn that down to capture an outlaw?
"Ah, well, ah...y-you seem to know, um, to know everything there is to know about me..." she stammered.
His gaze raked up and down her body. Those ice blue eyes found hers. His expression hadn't changed. "No, not everything," he said as he turned away from her again.
"You know more than most men," she retorted.
His head snapped back to hers. The coldness had intensified in his eyes. Thankfully, the sun burst through the clouds at that moment and the brim of his hat shaded most of his face.
"Have you known many men? Like Nate maybe? I couldn't find you in any whorehouse, but maybe that means you had your own business going. You're a nice piece of calico--it could happen."
Nice piece of calico?
Now she was getting angry. She was no whore, dammit. And one kiss didn't change that fact. She yanked on the chain that bound her to his saddle. Tyler grabbed the chain tightly with one hand.
"What I have or have not done with men is none of your damned business, Calhoun. Why are you being so all-fired nasty to me?"
"I could ask you the same question."
"All I wanted to do was pass the time. You wouldn't talk so...I made you talk. I win."
He snorted. "Bullshit, Malloy. Now shut up and keep riding."
His voice was firm as he kneed his horse to a faster pace.
"I still win. Can we stop for dinner?"
He didn't answer her.
"I will throw myself from my horse and drag you down with me," she said sweetly but with a touch of ice. "If you don't stop and let me rest."
Calhoun turned to look at her. She saw a flash of something--irritation?--cross his features, then he was his cool self again.
"As long as you'll stop your blathering, magpie," he said through his clenched teeth.
So, too much talking bothered him? She wasn't normally a chatterbox, but being talkative could be an easy weapon to wield against her captor. Oh, joy! She mentally rubbed her hands together at her newly found bit of information.
"Thank you, Calhoun," she cooed with a bright smile.
Tyler snorted at her thanks. He stopped the horses at a small pond, and dismounted in one fluid motion. He unlocked the shackles from the saddle horn and reached his arms up to lift her down.
Nicky's arm bumped the brim of her hat, knocking it off and letting her curls loose like a small explosion of hair. They tumbled down, brushing Tyler's face.
Nicky caught her breath at the desire she saw flame in Tyler's eyes. His hands felt like branding irons on her sides. Ever so slowly, her feet touched the ground. Her breathing quickened as they stood between the horses, his hands still on her waist.
It seemed like a moment frozen in time, as if they existed outside here and now. Nicky licked her lips as she searched Tyler's eyes. For what, she didn't know. She could smell his scent exuding from him like a beckoning knell. She breathed deeply, inhaling Tyler into her body. She raised her hand to his face. When her fingertips made contact with his cheek, he didn't jerk away. He closed his eyes. Nicky would swear she felt him shudder.
She didn't dare take a breath. The moment was as fragile as a butterfly's wing.
In answer to her silent plea, Tyler's eyes opened and he pulled her to him hard as his mouth descended on her parted lips. His body was long and muscled but curved into hers like a key in a lock. Nicky expected his lips to be as hard as the rest of him, but they were soft and demanding. His mustache tickled her cheeks, sending delightful shivers down her back. His tongue was tracing the outline of her lips.
So sweet, so sensual. God, it was like heaven.
Her heart was hammering against her ribcage so loudly she was sure Tyler must hear it. Uttering a small moan, she opened her mouth to his slick tongue and pressed herself against him fully, her hands probing his muscled chest. This is what she wanted, what she craved, what she needed.
Tyler released a primitive, animal-like noise deep in his throat as his hands roamed up and down her back. One hand settled on her behind, squeezing gently. The other anchored itself in her hair. His tongue delved into the dark recesses of her mouth where no man had ever been.
Nicky's head was spinning as she kissed him with every fiber of her being. Every nerve ending jangled, every inch of skin sang. Her breasts felt constrained in her chambray shirt. Her jeans felt too tight as an incredible ache between her legs intensified with the kiss. The rawness of her reaction was frightening.
Nicky clung to Tyler for dear life as a near maelstrom swirled inside her. Never, never had she felt anything like this for a man.
And oh, sweet Jesus, she wanted more. Her hands clutched at his shirt pulling him closer. The ridge of his arousal pressed into her mons and she clenched deep inside. She let her body take over and just feel.
"Free my hands, Calhoun," she said against his lips.
He dragged his lips from hers and stepped back, getting as far from her as possible. The chain from the shackles bound them together as the two regarded each other. Both were breathing raggedly. Nicky's cheeks were hot, and her lips felt puffy.
Tyler wiped the moisture from his lips with the back of his hand. Nicky's heart hiccupped at his obvious disgust.
"You should keep your hands to yourself, Malloy. Don't try escaping by using that tempting body of yours," he said, his voice raw.