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Runaway Bride (With This Ring? Collection): A Kincaid Brides and Trouble in Texas Novella

Runaway Bride (With This Ring? Collection): A Kincaid Brides and Trouble in Texas Novella

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Runaway Bride (With This Ring? Collection): A Kincaid Brides and Trouble in Texas Novella

valoraciones:
4.5/5 (8 valoraciones)
Longitud:
122 página
2 horas
Publicado:
May 3, 2016
ISBN:
9781441228949
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

1870s Texas

Big John Conroy is a Texas Ranger asked by a friend to assist Carrie. He catches up to Carrie and her brother Isaac and races away from a dangerous man who will stop at nothing to make the beautiful young woman his wife. Soon Big John's feelings for Carrie turn to more than simply protective, and Carrie finally feels that she's in the presence of a man she can respect--something she's never known. Fans of Mary's The Kincaid Brides and Trouble in Texas series will enjoy catching up with those characters.
Publicado:
May 3, 2016
ISBN:
9781441228949
Formato:
Libro

Sobre el autor

Mary Connealy (www.maryconnealy.com) writes "romantic comedies with cowboys" and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has sold more than half a million books. She is the author of the popular series Brides of Hope Mountain, High Sierra Sweethearts, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie's Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.

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Runaway Bride (With This Ring? Collection) - Mary Connealy

© 2016 by Mary Connealy

Published by Bethany House Publishers

11400 Hampshire Avenue South

Bloomington, Minnesota 55438

www.bethanyhouse.com

Bethany House Publishers is a division of

Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan

www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—for example, electronic, photocopy, recording—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

ISBN 978-1-4412-2894-9

Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, incidents, and dialogues are products of the authors’ imaginations and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Mary Connealy is represented by Natasha Kern Literary Agency.

Cover design by Dan Thornberg, Design Source Creative Services

Contents

Cover

Title Page

Copyright Page

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Epilogue

Excerpt from No Way Up.

About the Author

Books by Mary Connealy

Back Ads

Chapter One

HOUSTON, TEXAS

MARCH 20, 1879

Quiet, she had to be quiet.

It was the darkest hour of the night. She had a while before the sun came up and Mother would start fussing at her, needing a cool cloth for her fevered brow. Then Carrie would need to cook breakfast. With one maid coming in weekly, all the daily chores fell to her.

Isaac.

She packed more for him in the valise than she did for herself. He knew tonight was the night.

Carrie listened at the door, then slipped into the hall and rushed on silent feet to her brother’s room. She opened the door only inches, and he was there. She thought she’d have to wake him and nag him to dress, but he’d taken his part of this with dead seriousness.

He jerked his chin at her, careful not to even whisper. They turned to the back stairs, farthest from the rooms her mother and father slept in, and tiptoed down, flinching at every creak.

Father came to bed late, and Mother got up early. There wasn’t much time when one or the other wasn’t awake and demanding something.

They reached the landing at the bottom of the stairs and went out through the kitchen. Still, without speaking for fear a window was open on an upper floor, Carrie reached in the pitch-dark of the minuscule backyard and brushed Isaac’s hand. He clasped it, and she realized that this wasn’t a child’s hand anymore. Her little brother was growing up. In fact, having him along was more comfort than burden.

They left the yard behind and rushed down the alley until they were a good distance away. But it wasn’t just Mother and Father who had to be fooled; the neighbors too couldn’t know of their passage tonight.

They needed to vanish without a trace.

It was either that or agree to Father’s loathsome plans.

Audra had promised to come, and Carrie trusted her, but they’d left it too late. The wedding, announced just days ago, was scheduled for tomorrow. And the man terrified her. He was old, although that alone wouldn’t send her running into a treacherous world. It was the gleam of cruelty in his eyes that had shaken her, the sense that he was buying her. And he’d do as he wished with what he owned. Father must have lost too much, and he was paying his gambling debt with his own daughter.

He’d done it before.

The night held a thousand dangers, and Carrie knew she was risking her life, or worse, her little brother’s life, by going out like this. She had squirreled away money and could buy horses—not good ones but good enough. They’d ride so that no one would see them at a train station or a stagecoach stop. And there was only one place she wanted to be. Halfway across the continent.

Death lurked at every turn. But it more than lurked at home. It was there, in the flesh. She didn’t believe she was overreacting to her marriage. She believed it would lead inevitably to her death.

Isaac squeezed her fingers firmly, drawing her out of her dark, fearful thoughts.

She whispered, the first words they’d spoken, Are you sure? There’s still time for you to go back.

It’s not just to stay with you rather than cast you out into the world alone. His voice sounded suddenly deeper. At sixteen he was nearly a man now. He was still shorter than her but not by much, and she needed to quit thinking of him as a boy.

I don’t want to be what he is. Then his voice cracked and rose to a higher pitch and he was her little brother again. He’s already using me at the track and teaching me how to help him cheat at cards. If I don’t do something, he’ll have me in as deep as him before I’m old enough to get away.

They passed a gaslight, new to this Houston neighborhood, and for a moment she saw Isaac. Their eyes met, and she barely looked down an inch. Her little brother was right; they both needed to escape.

Their hands held tight, they exchanged a firm nod, then fled together into the night.

Carrie reached the end of a dark lane that ran along the back of a group of mansions, including hers. Then she ran straight into the biggest man she’d ever seen. He grabbed her by the arms.

Her stomach twisted. She was sickened by whatever fate awaited her, and what danger she’d led Isaac into. She opened her mouth to scream, but a hard hand clamped over her mouth.

Big John Conroy couldn’t believe it, but this had to be her.

A fist slammed into his head. The boy. He had the punching force of a gnat.

The girl wriggled in his arms and kicked his ankle.

Get your hands off of her!

Shut up, both of you. We’ll get caught. Audra sent me. Audra Kincaid.

He’d been wondering how he’d find Carrie in the mansion. He’d been plotting his invasion for two days. He wasn’t much on city life and he sure as certain wasn’t much on mansions. He figured, though, he could sneak in and hunt around until he found what he was looking for.

Instead, Audra’s younger sister had delivered herself right into his arms.

The girl stopped fighting, and for one distracted second he knew he’d have to stop thinking of her as a girl. He definitely had a full-grown woman in his arms.

Finally the boy quit beating on him. Audra sent you? Our big sister Audra?

The hope in the boy’s voice could almost hurt a man’s heart.

Big John had about ten questions, and the first one was: Since when were there two people for him to haul all the way to Rawhide, Colorado?

This was what he got for saying yes when his friend Luke’s, sister Callie’s, husband Seth’s, brother Ethan’s, wife Audra needed a favor. Looked like a few details got lost as the message passed from hand to hand—such as the girl being a full-grown woman with a half-grown boy coming along.

Are both of you coming? Big John asked.

Carrie said, Coming where?

To see your sister Audra, of course.

So Audra really did send you?

He’d just said that, hadn’t he? John wasn’t a man who did a lot of talking, and he saw no reason to say things twice. But just this once he’d do it. Yep.

A soft, slender, absolutely grown woman’s body hurled into him—again. She flung her arms around his neck and broke into sobs.

In the flurry of finding her and getting beaten on and trying to calm her and her brother down, John hadn’t taken in too many details, but now he looked and realized he could see the boy in the dim light.

The kid shrugged his shoulders. Carrie doesn’t cry much, but it’s been a mighty bad week.

John didn’t have time to cheer her up. He scooped her into his arms. Let’s hightail it. I’ve got two horses around the corner, and you can have one until she quits her caterwaulin’. I can tote her with me till she can sit a horse, and then you two can ride together.

The boy nodded. I’m Isaac.

I’m John Conroy. They call me Big John. I’d shake your hand, but I don’t have one to spare. Let’s move.

Isaac fell

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