They are the women of Primrose Creek, and their strength and passion is a match for the Nevada frontier they call home. Linda Lael Miller masterfully captures the hardships and dangers of a country swept by the winds of war -- and the daring and determination, the hopes and dreams of four unforgettable women -- in a thrilling new series.
An elegant jewel from an English finishing school, Christy McQuarry was bound to turn heads when she and her younger sister, Megan, came to settle in Primrose Creek. Town marshall Zachary Shaw knows that Christy sees what few men in the rugged pioneer town can provide: a secure future and a comfortable home. But he is not immune to Christy's charms....
A wild attraction sparks between the lady and the marshal, but Christy -- left penniless after her mother's death -- cannot afford the distraction of such an unpredictable and reckless passion. Promising her hand to the local lumber baron, lovely Christy stubbornly tries to ignore the lawman who makes her heart pound wildly at every glance. But Zachary Shaw is just as determined -- to win her love for a lifetime.
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August 31, 2001
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Excerpt from Christy by Linda Lael Miller
Fort Grant, Nevada
With no small amount of trepidation, Christy McQuarry peered through the late Mrs. Royd's limp lace curtains, assessing the man sent to fetch them home to Primrose Creek. It had been alarming enough, during the long, dull winter passed at Fort Grant, to consider putting herself, Caney, and especially Megan, her younger sister, in the charge of some mere passerby for the remainder of the journey. A grizzled old prospector, for example, or one of the seedy-looking scouts who came and went on occasion, foul-smelling and full of horrendous tales involving Indians and outlaws. For some indefinable reason, she found this particular man, fair-haired and blue-eyed, insolently handsome in his ordinary but obviously clean clothes and well-worn hat, almost equally disturbing. He rode a splendid cocoa-brown stallion with a pale mane and tail, and a .45 caliber pistol rested low and easy on his left hip, seemingly as much a part of him as a finger or a foot.
"I don't like him," she confided to Caney Blue, the tall and angular black woman who had worked on the McQuarry farm, back in Virginia, for as long as Christy's memory reached. Which, since she was nearly twenty, was a considerable distance. "He's too handsome. Too sure of himself."
Caney was smiling her broad and luminous smile, watching as the man dismounted and offered a hand and a grin to the aging army officer who had gone out to greet him. "That so?" she said, her dark eyes following the man as he spoke with the colonel in the street just beyond the window of the modest parlor. There was precisely one house at Fort Grant, if indeed such a rustic structure could be described as a house, and it belonged to the recently widowed commander of the installation, Colonel Webley Royd, who had kindly given the place over to the women upon their arrival the previous October with the first flurries of snow. "Well, I think he's right purty. And I like a man who thinks well of himself."
A star-shaped badge glinted on the front of the visitor's shirt, and Christy clamped her back teeth together for a moment, without quite knowing why a stranger should affect her so. She might have been struck by a runaway freight car, so great and so confounding was the impact of merely seeing him. What would it be like to actually meet him? To travel in his company?
"Colonel Royd told me his name is Zachary Shaw," Megan put in eagerly, from her post on the other side of the window. Being just sixteen, she could not be expected, Christy supposed, to exhibit any real degree of good judgment. She had a headful of dreams, Megan did, and at the same time one of the finest minds Christy had ever encountered. She meant to see that her sister didn't waste that gift by settling for a house and a husband and a half dozen babies, which she feared Megan was wont to do. "He's a U.S. Marshal."
He's trouble, Christy thought to herself. At just that moment, as if to confirm this opinion, Marshal Zachary Shaw seemed to sense her perusal; his gaze met and captured hers through the gauzy veil of lace. Held it fast.
Infuriated, and stirred in a way that was not entirely proper, Christy glared at him, in hopes of hiding the fact that she could not look away until he chose to release her.