She vowed not to love the gunfighter who made her burn with desire.... A shivering cold angel... Maura Reed was all alone in her Montana hotel, curled up in her robe and slippers, when the blizzard hit. It was cold, quiet, and lonely--until a rugged gunslinger blew in from the storm demanding shelter. Just for this night--this wild, stormy night--Maura wanted someone, something. Recklessly, she abandoned herself in his arms, knowing he would be gone by morning. The last thing she ever expected was the need that drove her into the wilderness . . . to find the stranger who haunted her dreams. . . . A hot, dangerous devil... He was the fastest gun in the West, a man who feared nothing until he met the woman who touched his heart. Quinn Lassiter didn't even recognize Maura when she cornered him in a distant saloon months later. Never in his wildest dreams did he see himself married--until he said the words that made her his wife.
When a one-night stand with Quinn Lassiter leaves Maura Jane Reed pregnant�and desperate to leave the ramshackle hotel owned by her adoptive brothers, the Duncans�she flees to a frontier town in pursuit of the mysterious gunslinger who has fathered her baby. After initial resistance, Quinn agrees to marry Maura and settle her safely on his ranch in Hope, Wyo., then return to his dangerous gun-for-hire life. Struggling against a mutual attraction, Maura and Quinn attempt to negotiate the terms of their arrangement; meanwhile, a local gang of outlaws and Maura's brutish brothers threaten the couple's chance for happiness. The outlaws kidnap Maura in hopes of trapping Quinn, but the couple is finally united in a rousing if obligatory heroic rescue. After this satisfying episode, however, Gregory (Never Love a Cowboy) adds a second, gratuitous threat to Maura's life that mars an otherwise engaging book, supported by a well-drawn cast of townspeople. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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February 23, 2012
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Excerpt from Cold Night, Warm Stranger by Jill Gregory
"Wait--wait just a minute!" Maura pushed his hands away as he began to sweep her nightshirt over her head. She tugged it back down. "I never said I would let you . . ." "You never said you wouldn't." "You didn't give me a chance to say anything!" Breathing hard, she knew she had to decide: stay or go. Yes or no. Once and for all. "Well?" he growled. "What do you want to say?" Maura had no idea. She simply stared at him, trying to think, trying to keep her mind on the decision before her, when he looked so ruggedly handsome, all she could think about was how she'd like to comb her fingers through his black hair, or touch that dark stubble along his jaw, or . . . kiss him. "Time's up," he announced suddenly, and with one movement swept the nightshirt over her head and tossed it on the floor. Her hair cascaded down, bright as the flames of the fire, to swirl around her shoulders, and her golden-brown eyes went wide with shock. Now she wore only her thin white camisole above the long johns and coarse brown socks. She was practicallynaked. "Just hold on a minute," she cried. Breathing hard, she crossed her arms over her breasts. "I have to think." "I thought you wanted to stay warm." "Taking off my clothes doesn't seem like the way to do that!" He seized her then, and pulled her close. "Trust me--it works." For a moment she was dizzy with the nearness of him. Her breasts were thrust up against his chest, the rough flannel of his shirt scraped her tender flesh. His breath was warm on her cheek, and his mouth was only scant inches away from hers . . . "I don't even know your name," she whispered desperately. There was a heartbeat of silence. Then he spoke flatly. "It's Lassiter." Snowflakes hurled themselves against the window as he braced himself for her reaction. He knew damn well what was coming. It was always the same. "Lassiter?" He heard her sharp intake of breath. She jerked back, but not before he'd felt the slamming of her heart against his chest, the shudder of fear jolting through her bones. "Not . . .QuinnLassiter?" she asked in a trembling voice. "The same." He watched her grimly. He knew what they said about him, what she would believe just by hearing his name. Quinn Lassiter, deadliest man in the West. Fastest gunfighter alive. There's a lump of steel where his heart should be. He kills as casually as most men spit. She went pale as the snow swirling outside the window. "I've heard of you," she croaked. He shrugged. "Probably a pack of lies." "They say you've killed more than twenty men. Is that . . . true?" "More or less. But--" "And they say you shot Johnny the Kid between the eyes, and captured the entire Melton gang single-handed. Is that t-true?" "I reckon. But--" "And last spring," Maura plunged on, her pulse racing, "you fought three gunfights in one morning and killed all three men with only two bullets . . ." "It wasn't anything special," he growled. As her lips parted and her eyes grew glassy, he lifted a brow. "I reckon this means youarescared of me?" His hands went to her bare, creamy shoulders, so narrow and vulnerable beneath his fingers. She was tense as a knot of wire. Fear, hesitation, and uncertainty vibrated through her. "Am I right? Answer me." "Scared? Why, no. Why in the w-world should I be scared? It's only--" Maura jerked back from beneath his hands and bolted off the bed as though she'd been shot from a cannon. She snatched up her nightshirt and held it in front of her