Circle Eight Book 3
A Texas Ranger, a lady blacksmith, a fierce passion, a dangerous game.
Caleb Graham has spent the last four years in too many dangerous situations to count. As a Texas Ranger, he knows no fear, or at least he never shows it. When he's sent to force a blacksmith off government seized property, he runs face to face into the woman who will change his life.
Aurora Foster grew up on the very land the obnoxious Ranger is trying to throw her off of. Her parents and her husband died for it and there is no chance she would leave without a fight. A lady blacksmith might be an anomaly but she has the strength of the steel she forges and the courage to fight for what she believes is right.
When Aurora is inadvertently injured by Caleb, he seeks medical help from a neighboring ranch. The sprawling hacienda is full of the finer things in life and the one person Caleb never expected to see again... his youngest brother Benjamin. Forced to flee from a man who has kept the boy captive, the trio become traveling companions in a deadly game where no one wins.
Life turns upside down and sideways for Caleb and Aurora, caught in a game neither of them expected while they desperately try to save the boy who was lost to his family. Pursued and hunted, the three of them ride for the Circle Eight ranch. The unlikely pair of rescuers fight their attraction and for their lives.
Also In this Series:
"Emma Lang has given us another great family to enjoy in her Circle Eight series. With strong female characters, hunky alpha males, the backdrop of Texas in the 1800′s, and some hot and heavy love scenes this book is one you don’t want to miss and one I’ll read again and again!"
4 1/2 stars, Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
"This installment is filled with much more action and adventure than the previous books and the ride is fast paced and enjoyable."
-Smexy Books Romance Reviews
"I love how lost Caleb is, but also how determined in life and even willing willing to fall in love with the unconventional Rory."
-Romancing the Book
"Emma Lang’s newest release Circle Eight: Caleb is a fast-paced and action filled historical romance…Another wonderful installment of the Circle Eight series that fans are sure to enjoy."
-Book Reviews & More by Kathy
"Caleb is an absolutely delightful read… There are times it is as if the characters leap from the pages, and the situations are so life-like. I find this historical romance stirring, emotional, full of love and eye-catching in every aspect. All hands down, Ms. Lang spins a read that has grabbed this reader immediately."
-5 cups, Coffee Time Romance and More
"With Emma Lang’s strong and colorful characters, the Graham legacy promises to continue on, and excitedly so."
-5 Stars, Book Obsessed Chicks
"Caleb and Aurora are not instant combustion, they are a slow burn."
-4 Feathers, Under the Covers
"CALEB is a great western romance with a sultry cowboy and a fierce heroine that take you on one wild adventure…Buckle up and prepare yourself for a novel with a great cast of characters, witty dialogue and a passionate romance."
5 Stars, The Romance Reviews
"In Lang’s first full-length self-pubbed novel, readers must hold onto the reins tightly as she takes them on an unforgettable ride…"
4 1/2 stars, TOP PICK!, RT Book Reviews
"Lang provided adventure, danger, spirited arguments, the power of family, and character growth."
"I love, love, LOVE this series."
-5 Stars, Scorching Book Reviews
"…you’ll love The Circle Eight series."
-5 Stars, For Whom the Books Toll
"The author does a fine job not only with the story’s main characters, but also with the novel’s supporting cast, leading the reader to hope that other visits to the Circle Eight ranch are coming."
-Publishers Weekly (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, Semi-Finalist)
Caleb wiped his eyes and blinked, the bright light of the day making it worse. He took off his hat and fanned his face, trying to clear some of the residual stinging. The woman definitely had balls like a man.
He was finally able to focus without weeping like a girl. All he saw was his horse, happily grazing. Justice apparently didn’t care that his master was attacked by a lady blacksmith with an attitude. There were no unusual sounds, no feet pounding, no hooves, and thank God, no laughter.
He didn’t know what Rory hoped to do by dousing him with smoke. She’d run like a rabbit, leaving the very property she refused to leave. He was suspicious of her motives. Why would she do what she refused to do the last hour? It made no sense.
With more trepidation than fear, he walked around the side of the building then around the back. No sign of the confounded woman. He stepped into the tiny shack. The woman continued to surprise him. Her house was neat, organized, and full of the things she had obviously forged. There were no personal items beyond a few clothes on nails in the corner. It was a lonely little house, no more than a small piece of the house at the Circle Eight. Beyond it he saw the charred remains of something else. Grass had grown up around it but it had been a house at one time. Now there was only this shack, which at one time might have served as a smokehouse or storage for the smithy. It was better than sleeping on the ground each night and the house had a wooden floor. It wasn’t the worst he’d seen, but it was definitely meager.
Unfortunately she wasn’t in the house, or she’d managed hide in six inches of space beneath the bed. He left the shack and turned around to find Justice fifty yards away. Someone had untied him from the tree branch he’d secured him to. Smoke still poured from the smithy, turning the visibility murky but he could still see the damn horse.
“Son of a bitch.” He whistled and Justice stopped to look at him. The horse threw his head back and whinnied. “Get back here.”
With apparent reluctance, the gelding trotted back to Caleb. It seemed the blacksmith wanted to play games. He could play too, only she wouldn’t like his games. The warning of riding with her belly down on his horse wasn’t an idle one. He’d done it before, he could do it again.
“You’re making this harder on yourself.” He spoke to the air around him, knowing she was nearby and listening. Why else would she have released the horse? “I will take you off this property one way or the other.”
It was an implied threat. A ranger had to make plenty of hard choices but he would never cross the line and kill a woman. Unless she was shooting at him and even then, he would aim for a leg or a shoulder. The vivid memory of his mother’s body still haunted his dreams. There was no excuse for what had been done to her—Caleb would not join the ranks of men who murdered women. Ever.
“The Republic has plans for this patch of land, Rory.” He waited for the backlash for using her nickname again but only the wind spoke to him. “If it isn’t me, then it’s a group of rangers or possibly troops.”
He had no idea if that was true or not but it sounded good. All he knew was Texas claimed it when Lowell Benson died and now this woman claimed to be his daughter. Or at least he thought she did.
“This land belonged to Lowell Benson, not Foster. You might claim this land but you don’t appear to have a legal right to it.”
Again the wind was the only thing that answered him.
“I will sit right here and wait on you, Rory. I’ve got a lot of patience. Had to with four sisters.” He picked a likely spot to camp beneath a big oak tree right in front of the smithy.
Sooner or later, she would return. If he was right, the woman cared a great deal about her business and the building it sat in. She wouldn’t let it be destroyed by the untended fire inside or the voluminous amounts of smoke leaking from its closed hatches.
All he had to do was outwait her.
The afternoon crept by while he waited, poking around her things. He knew she watched him but he couldn’t spot her. Damndest thing ever. To find a woman like her was like a punch to the gut. She unmanned him with her frank and sneaky ways.
He would have shot a man in the leg. A flesh wound of course, but it slowed them down. No way he could do that with a woman. It went against all he’d been taught. Even if she cussed and swung a hammer, she was a female and deserved a measure of chivalry, or a flavor of it anyway.
When she sat down beside him, he had to tell himself not to react. It was damn hard. She was warm, hot even, with a firm body he could clearly see outlined in the trousers she wore. They were pulled tight on her ass and hips. There was a hell of a lot more curves than he expected.
“I’m sorry I pulled that dirty trick on you, Ranger. I was angry. Still am.” Her tone was honest but tight with that anger she professed to.
“Understandable, but I’m an officer of the law for the Republic. I could arrest you for assault.” He would do no such thing. It would embarrass the hell out of him but she didn’t need to know that.
“Facing a dangerous person like me must be exhausting.”
A chuckle crept up his throat and he managed to swallow it. “I have my fair share of perilous situations in this job, Mrs. Foster. You’re not the first and you won’t be the last.”
“Hm, I’m sure that’s true.” She didn’t sound as though she believed him. “I have a proposition, Ranger.”
For a moment, perhaps two, he wondered if her proposition involved naked bodies and the promise never to tell what they’d done. Hot, sweaty bodies in the tall grass, firm curves and an afternoon of pleasure he would never forget.
“I want you to leave and forget you found me. Tell the government they made a mistake and this land belongs to me.”
He blinked, his fantasy about her curves in his hands gone in a puff of reality. “Pardon?”
“The way I see it, you can’t admit I bested you and I have nowhere to go. Leave now and no one has to know.” She had a smug expression on her face, as though she had solved both their problems with her foolish notions.
“You didn’t best me.” He crossed his arms and gave her his best lawman stone cold stare.
“Yep, I did. You just don’t have the balls to admit it.” She got to her feet and brushed her trousers off. His gaze slid to that posterior, its round shape giving him all kinds of ideas of how it would feel if he took her from behind.
Caleb blinked, surprised by the direction of his thoughts. A few days ago, he had Mary in his lap, her tits in his face. Yet he hadn’t had one thought as lascivious as what had rolled through his head about the lady blacksmith. Maybe he should have found his pleasure with sweet Mary and he wouldn’t be twisted up about Aurora Foster.
“I’ve got balls, big ones. You wanna see them?” He reached for his trouser buttons.
She held up her hands. “I’ve seen enough men’s balls to last me a lifetime.” Her eyes widened after the words fell out of her mouth, then, to his amusement, she blushed. That’s when he noted her amber eyes, a deep shade that shone in the speckles of sunlight coming through the leaves.
“You’ve seen plenty of men’s balls then?”
“No, but more than I ever need to see.” She backed up a step. “Now I need you to leave.”
“I ain’t going without you. I will make sure you leave this property, pack up everything and find a new place to live.” He gestured to the house.
“I’ll help you pack up.” It was kind of him to offer, even she had to admit that.
“I’m not leaving.” She backed up two more steps. “And I can guarantee you won’t make me.”
He chuckled. “You can’t guarantee a damn thing, Aurora.”
“You do not have my permissions to use my given name.” She was now ten feet away from him and from the looks of her, ready to run like a rabbit.
“Don’t disappear again.” He still didn’t get to his feet, confident whatever she did, he would be victorious in this little skirmish. Hell, he was an ex-soldier and a Texas Ranger. One lady blacksmith was no match for him.
“This is my land. It belonged to my father and now it belongs to me. You cannot make me leave.” She reached the fifteen foot mark and he moved to stand.
Quick as lightning, she was gone into the shadows with nary a puff of dust to give away she’d even been there. He stared at the spot, stunned by the speed at which she moved.
Damn. This was going to take a lot longer than he thought.