Today’s a beautiful day — it’s June, which is always nice, and it’s Tuesday, which means it’s release day! We’re especially excited because today Johanna Lindsey has a new historical romance out, Wildfire in His Arms, starring gunfighter Degan, who has to turn outlaw Max in — only Max is Maxine! Complications ensue in this Western that RT’s Kathe Robin calls, “perfect.” Fans will recognize Degan from Lindsey’s One Heart to Win. And because we love you, we’re giving away five print copies of both titles! All you have to do is enter below. Plus, we’ve got an excerpt from Wildfire! Happy reading!
“You toying with me, fancy man? We both know you don’t give a hoot what set me on this road.”
Max clamped her mouth shut after saying that. If Degan’s upbringing required him to engage in polite conversation at a dining table, he could find some other subject to bedevil her with.
“Is that what you’re going to tell the jury at your trial, Miss Dawson?”
“Don’t call me that,” she hissed at him. “And I told you, there won’t be a trial. The people in that town just want me back so they can hang me.”
“Because Carl Bingham, the man I’m accused of murdering, was the founder of Bingham Hills, the owner of it, the mayor of it, and everyone’s best friend–-‘cept mine. But with him being the landlord of all or most of the people in town, and a benevolent one to boot, everyone loved him. Actually, even I used to admire him. It took guts to build a town so far from any others and with the closest fort over a day’s ride away, then just hope he could fill it up with people. ’Course Carl advertised back East and didn’t go broke waiting for folks to show up. He was already rich when he came to Texas, so he wasn’t looking to get richer — maybe he was since he kept building the town bigger. He was looking to leave a legacy behind, a peaceful, self-sufficient town in what used to a not-so-peaceful place. Most folks think he succeeded.”
“So why did you kill him?”
She gave him a pointed stare. “You want to hear this or not?” He didn’t answer and his gaze was a lot more pointed than hers was, so she grudgingly continued, “Life was good in Bingham Hills while I was growing up. I had lots of friends, the boys and girls I went to school with, and we had fun hunting, fishing, and riding. I even enjoyed our sewing circle though I was terrible with a needle, but we did more gossiping than sewing and laughed a lot. But it all changed when I turned sixteen because the boys in town wouldn’t leave me alone. I’d filled out by then and had long blond hair. I told you why I cut it, but I couldn’t do much to disguise my other attributes–-” His gaze moved down to her vest, bringing a slight blush to her cheeks. “Because Gran insisted I dress properly in skirts and blouses except when I was hunting. The boys were paying me so much attention that my girlfriends got jealous and stopped talking to me. Gran took a broom to the boys more’n once, and my brother Johnny would hide in the bushes and shoot rocks at them with his slingshot. Even that didn’t stop them from coming around.”
“So you didn’t always wear a gun?”
“Goodness, no. I never would have dreamed of wearing a Colt over my skirts–-then.” She chuckled for a moment. “I was the hunter in the family after my pa took off and never came back. I never carried my rifle in town, but I started carrying a small gun in my skirt pocket when Bingham junior became more aggressive than the other boys and began making inappropriate remarks and advances to me after I turned sixteen.”
“No, his son, Evan. I used to go fishing with him and his best friend Tom when we were kids, until the day Evan bragged that I’d be marrying him someday because his pa told him I would. I didn’t believe the mayor had said any such thing, but I avoided Evan and his friends after that. Then he started asking me to marry him. That year, he must’ve asked about eight times. I wouldn’t have said yes even if I wasn’t courting the new young man in town at the time.”
She stared at him. “Do I really need to explain courting to you?”
“I think maybe you do.”
“I don’t mean I would’ve asked Billy Johnston to marry me, if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m bold but not that kind of bold. I just let him know I was interested, saved my smiles just for him, that sort of thing. But Billy left Bingham Hill before I was seventeen, and then the mayor himself asked me to marry him. I probably shouldn’t have laughed at the old coot’s proposal.”
Degan raised a brow. “Just how old was this man?”
“Heck, he’s older than my grandmother by some ten years. Even she laughed when I told her about it. Carl had Evan real late in life. Rumor is he went through four wives trying for a kid ‘till he finally got one. But after I refused him, he must’ve figured that compromising me would get Gran to insist on a wedding.”
“I said he figured it would, not that he actually succeeded. But he sure did try, the bastard. He had his puppet of a sheriff take me to his house late one morning. He even got rid of most of his servants for the day ‘cept for his half-deaf cook who wouldn’t hear me yelling. I wouldn’t have known the cook was in the house if Carl didn’t tell me I could stay for lunch after we were done and that the meal would be ready soon. I think he really expected me to be civil afterward, as if his compromising me were just ordinary business for him. But after some tussling on his sofa, I managed to get my little gun out of my pocket so he’d back off. I even shoved it in his gut so he’d know just how serious I was.”
“Then you did shoot him?”
“No, but I sure as hell would have. It turned out my brother Johnny saw the sheriff dragging me to Bingham’s house and followed us. Johnny waited until the sheriff left, then started looking through the windows.
U.S. and Canada residents only, please. The giveaway will be open for one week.
Wildfire in His Arms is out today, in print and digitally! For more historical romances to enjoy, why not visit our Everything Romance page?