Beth Williamson / Emma Lang - Romance Novelist
Read a Book, Ride a Cowboy
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Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
Gideon slides onto the shelf in paperback

Yeehaw y’all! The last devil has finally arrived in paperback. GIDEON, oh my sweet captain, is now available in print from Samhain Publishing.

I began the journey with my devils in December, 2006, more than five years ago. That’s when the idea of these five men took root inside my imagination.

The first book, NATE, arrived in 2007. Followed by JAKE in 2008, ZEKE in 2009, LEE in 2010 and finally GIDEON in 2011.

Each of these men was damaged, inside and out in one way or another. I chose to make them Confederate soldiers because their world had to have been destroyed by war–there was nothing left of their former lives. After a war, it doesn’t matter what side you fought on because everyone loses.

Helping these men, my screaming devils on horseback, find their lives, find their souls, find their love, that has been a journey of tears, joy and triumph for me. I love each and every one of them. It’s a bittersweet moment for the final book to hit the paperback shelf – it is the end of their journey and mine.

***

Handing over the reins is hard. Handing over his heart…damn near impossible.

Gideon Blackwood is on the run—from Tanger’s meddling matchmakers. With no intention of following the rest of the Devils down the aisle, he heads for the hills to reassess a life spent leading and caring for others…and runs smack into the business end of a shotgun. At the trigger: a curmudgeonly woman with a broken axle and a load of responsibility.

In Chloe Ruskin’s experience, men take what they want and leave a mess of trouble behind. The safety of two orphans and her granny is at stake, and the last thing she needs is Gideon’s “help”. This time, though, she has no choice but to allow the big cowboy to fix her wagon.

As they work into the night, grudging admiration grows into attraction—and desire. Gideon finds he can’t dig his boot heels in hard enough to avoid falling for the opinionated little female.

When Chloe’s family disappears, her suspicion threatens to destroy any spark of love before it catches fire. Gideon finds himself making promises his pride won’t let him break—even if it costs him the love of the woman who owns the missing half of his soul.

***

Gideon was furious. Not only had he allowed the stranger to keep them tied up and captive for a good portion of the day, but Chloe had changed their circumstances instead of him. It was his job to be the one doing the rescuing and planning, not hers. Yet he had hesitated to do what needed to be done because he was afraid she would get hurt.

Now the idea made him nearly snort. She was not only fearless, she was smart and quick as hell. They’d been tied together, yet she’d managed to injure the peddler woman, maintain her balance and give him the opportunity to disarm their enemy. It was damn embarrassing, frustrating and impressive.

After they were far enough away to be safe for now, he climbed up into the wagon and sat beside Chloe. He set the shotgun in front of them on the floor and held out his hands. She just raised one brow.

“What makes you think I’m gonna let you drive?”

Gideon gritted his teeth. “Because I’m the man here.”

“I’d say we’re equal partners, Blackwood. We were a team back there, and you’re gonna have to let me hold the reins now and again.”

It made sense, of course. Logic over emotion and all that, but he didn’t give a shit about logic. He just wanted to feel as if he was in control, even if he wasn’t.

“For right now, just hand it over.”

She must have seen something in his expression, because she sighed dramatically and gave him the reins. Gideon wondered if she were humoring him but didn’t want to take that thought any further. Right now he would focus on the trail ahead of them and getting back to where they had been as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the team was old and plodded along slower than he thought possible. They would need some fresh blood to pull this wagon, or they would never catch the people they chased.

They moved along at a snail’s pace, the sound of the merchandise in the wagon behind them clanking and banging together as the wheels hit dips in the trail. It was a strange kind of music—one he did not want to get used to hearing. He planned on getting rid of the wagon as soon as they found the Ruskins. For now he would endure it and its hideous stench.

“Do you think we can find our way back to the packs we left behind?” Chloe’s voice was surprisingly calm.

“Maybe, but with all the shit in this wagon, we don’t need any supplies.”

She murmured something he didn’t quite catch. Five minutes later, she apparently could not control her tongue any longer. “I want that pack back. It’s likely all we have left of our things, and I don’t want to show up on my aunt’s doorstep with nothing but dirty drawers and bugs in my hair.”

“This is the same trail we followed west. If we keep going, we’ll end up where we were this afternoon.” He could almost feel her grinning at him. “But there’s no guarantee we’ll find the exact spot, and we can’t afford to be poking around in the woods.”

She nodded. “I understand that, and I would probably say the same thing. But in this case, I can find the spot.”

“How is that possible? It was a bunch of trees with no distinguishing landmarks.” Gideon thought maybe she was trying to trick him into searching for the packs. There was no chance she could find a bush in the middle of the thick woods they had left them in.

“Distinguishing landmarks? You sure do talk fancy.” She shook her head. “I cut an X in the tree bark.”

“You did what?”

“You heard me. I marked the tree with my knife when you was getting captured.” Chloe sounded so damn smug, his annoyance notched up further.

He told himself not to react, to let her have her moment of triumph. Overall, Gideon was the better soldier, even if she’d been the one who freed them from their captivity. She was a young woman, cocky and sure of herself. There was no reason for him to get riled up.

But damned if he didn’t.

Before he even realized what he was doing, Gideon dropped the reins and yanked her close to him for a bruising kiss. It was a clashing of lips, teeth and tongue, different from their midnight sex. This was primal, elemental and overwhelming. Perhaps it was because they had faced danger together and escaped. He knew he was lying to himself, but thinking wasn’t an option at the moment.

In fact, he could hardly breathe.

***

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