The Salvation of Sarah


Self-published
Print: June 26, 2018
eBook: June 26, 2018


Read an Excerpt


Book 3

Betrayed By Her Own Heart

Sarah Spalding has learned to forge her own way and never to trust anyone—least of all a Yankee. But when her companion abandons her while on a train to Colorado, Sarah begrudgingly accepts the help of Whitman Kendrick—a Yankee, yes, but one with the most bewitching green eyes. Allowing Whit to be her traveling escort is one thing, taking him as a lover is another—even though she’s tempted beyond reason…

Whit Kendrick isn’t quite sure what to make of the sharp-tongued, sassy woman sharing his train compartment. All he knows is that Sarah is refreshingly different from most women—and his urgent, primal attraction for her is unlike any he’s experienced. Breaking down Sarah’s wall of defense won’t be easy. But Whit is determined to prove to Sarah that they’re more alike than different—and loving each other is all they need…

 

*This book has been previously published as "The Stranger's Secrets"




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Excerpt

The dining room was nearly bursting at the seams. There was only one unoccupied table by the time Sarah and Whitman arrived to eat. Unfortunately it was in a corner and made for two.

“Told you to hurry,” Whitman grumbled under his breath.

Sarah couldn’t stop a very unladylike snort, again. “Next time I’ll run up the stairs and you stand at the bottom then.”

He didn’t respond, but she saw the corner of his mouth twitch, as if he was holding in a laugh. Perhaps the serious Yankee did have a sense of humor after all.

When they sat down, Sarah realized it was the first time they were face to face. On the train and even walking to the hotel, they’d been beside each other. Facing Whitman was an entirely different experience.

He wasn’t classically handsome, but damn, he was exactly the kind of man Sarah was attracted to. His face was angular, the late day whiskers only added to his appeal, his nose was slightly crooked, and a few scars were scattered here and there as if he’d been wounded by small pieces of something.

But it was his eyes which captured her attention. Deep, green and framed by those long eyelashes, Whitman had the sexiest gaze she’d ever seen. Fortunately or unfortunately, she felt a tug of sensual awareness just looked at the tousled chocolate locks above those eyes.

Hell and crackers.

He frowned. “Why are you scowling at me?”

“I’m not scowling.” She fiddled with the fork and knife on the table while hoping the missing waitress would appear to save her from the awkward situation.

Damn Mavis Ledbetter. The woman was over by the window with that same gentleman, completely ignoring the fact she’d been paid to take care of Sarah. Whit had been right—she was going to fire Mavis and leave her in whatever town this was.

“She said she was a spinster.” Whit followed Sarah’s gaze. “Looks as if she hasn’t given up the quest for a husband though.”

“She spent so much time declaring she was a spinster, she kept most men away from her.” Sarah frowned at Mavis. “Nobody in town wanted anything to do with her because of her reputation.”

“You’re from the same town then?”

His question was one anyone in polite company would ask, but Sarah found herself unwilling to answer any personal questions. So she decided to insult him to keep him disliking her. “You’re nosy.”

“You’re rude.”

“You’re pushy.”

He barked a laugh. “And you’re refreshingly honest.”

Sarah found herself holding back a chuckle. What was it about this annoying Yankee that set her on her head? Aside from being handsome, there wasn’t anything else remarkable about him. She needed to figure out his appeal so she could combat it and keep her distance, at least as much as she could considering they were stuck in a train compartment together for fifteen hundred miles.

“Then you won’t mind if I continue being honest.”

He nodded. “I wouldn’t expect any less.”

Why in the hell did that make Sarah’s heart thump like a bass drum? Back home when she ate a meal, it was with her friends, a group where everyone chatted and relaxed. Sitting with Whit made me feel jumpy and awkward—a condition Sarah was definitely not used to.

“You make me uncomfortable,” she blurted.

His eyebrows went up. “I do?”

Now that she’d gone down that path, she had to finish her thought. “I’m sure you’ve heard the song before, Mr. Kendrick, but Yankees aren’t high on my list of favorite folks, much less one I have to rely on. It’s going to take some time for me to ah, adjust, so if you can, be patient with me.”

Whit nodded. “I’ll do my best.”

She didn’t want to demand anything from the man. After all, there was no reason for him to help her. His actions told her more than anything that he was a gentleman. “When life kicks you once, you get back up and move on. When life kicks you a dozen times, you’re less willing to forgive and trust.” That was as far as she planned on going with that train of thought. He seemed like a sharp man and could likely understand why she felt uncomfortable.

“Don’t worry. I won’t give you any cause to kick me back. I promise.” The sincerity in his gaze made her want to believe him.

Ridiculous of course, why should she trust a stranger? She had to rely on him to be her companion, however that would turn out. Yet expecting him to carry her bags was a far cry from trusting him with her life. Sarah could take care of herself, for the most part anyway, and she regretted the fact she couldn’t do it all the time.

“Good because I bite when I kick.” She fought back a grin.

“Somehow that doesn’t surprise me in the least.”