21 July 2011

Excerpt Thursday: Lorelie Brown

This week on Excerpt Thursday, we're welcoming long-time contributor and romance author, Lorelie Brown, as she celebrates the release of her latest novel, CATCH ME, available now from Carina Press. Join us Sunday, when Lorelie will be here to talk about the novel and give away a copy! Here's the blurb:

Arizona Territory, 1882

Maggie Bullock's father needed expensive medical care and if that meant stealing from their friendly swindling banker, so be it. Once her father was on the path to recovery she would face the consequences. The whole thing was surprisingly easy until she's kidnapped by bounty hunter Dean Collier.

Collier is tired of tracking down worthless scum. He's afraid he'll lose his last scrap of humanity and become a stone-cold killer, just like the men he brings to justice. He jumps at the chance to become sheriff of Fresh Springs, Arizona. The one condition—capture Maggie.

He figured it'd be easy. Until beautiful, loyal Maggie breaks through defenses he'd thought cemented. His feelings for her run the range from fury to confusion to love, but if he doesn't bring her in someone else will. Can there be a future between a sheriff and a fugitive?


The fine hairs across his neck shivered.

He snapped the cylinder into the frame with a flick of his wrist, then let it spin. Loaded, locked and cocked.

In one move he pointed the pistol at a shadowy figure in the trees, perched on a branch. “Come down.”

“No, I don’t think so.” The voice was another surprise. Low and husky, she betrayed no fear. He could almost hear that voice begging sweetly in his ear while he stroked into her. “Who are you?”

The absurd thought of fucking Margaret was easily shaken off. The sharp-edged anger that often filled him swept through and eased the sting of denial. “I’m Dean Collier.”

“You’ll pardon me if I don’t give you my name. I don’t tend to introduce myself to strange men.” She shifted along the thick branch, crouching lower. A stray beam of sunlight worked down to caress her face.

Perched on her high ground, she seemed wild. Half feral. She wore men’s clothing, for one. Snug breeches clung to her narrow hips and curved thighs. Her hair was a tumbled mess, barely pulled back in a horse’s tail. Dark hanks fell around her face. The hair was a weakness. He could wrap the tangled length around his fist and lead her around.

If he could get past the revolver she had pointed dead at his stomach.

Gut shot wounds were decidedly unpleasant. He ought to know, he’d had to carry in three separate prisoners suffering from ones he’d doled out. They’d screamed and cried from the pain enough to give him a bellyache of his own.

“Can’t say as I blame you.” He shifted slowly from his seated position, but it wasn’t going to gain him much. One of the first rules of tactical advantage was to keep the element of surprise and the higher ground. He needed to know what type of woman he was up against, so he’d let her have them. Death didn’t scare him. Hadn’t for years. “But it doesn’t much matter. Your name’s Margaret Bullock.”

She leaned a shoulder around the rough bark. “I generally go by Maggie, but that’s certainly near enough. Should I know you? Beyond the fact that you’ve been following me for three days, that is.”

He kept his joints loose and his knees barely bent. High ground or no, he could shoot her dead before she even thought about firing. “I’ve come to take you in. You’ve got to go back to Fresh Springs.”

She considered a moment, her head tipping to the side. “You think so?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

An exasperated breath fluffed a lock of hair out of her eyes. “Oh, for goodness’ sake, would you please stop calling me ma’am? I’m only two and twenty. Not exactly a spinster yet.”

A shock of surprise perilously close to amusement lifted his shoulders. She didn’t appear to comprehend her situation. “You’re going to trial, Maggie.”

“I didn’t give you permission to call me that, either.”

“It’s either ma’am or Maggie. Your choice.” This had to be the strangest showdown he’d ever participated in.

“Miss Bullock is still available.”

He stepped toward her tree. If he got near enough, he could at least block off her easy escape route. Hell, he’d like to shoot the twit out of the tree. Taking her feet out would be unwise, since he didn’t feel like carrying her all the way back to Fresh Springs. But maybe her hand… He eyed the fingers splayed over the tree bark. Masterson had insisted he bring the woman back unharmed, though. Said he wanted to dirty her up himself. “Miss is for sweet young ladies. You, however, robbed a bank.”