- Available in: Ebook
- Published: June 25, 2011
More than the law will be tested when a marshal meets a feisty widow.
Sean Reilly had the bad luck to be assigned the blue marble – the “cursed” marble shunned by the four other marshals in the Arizona Territory. He’s sent to take care of a land dispute for a widow named Lucille Quinn. He has no idea just how his life will change because of the dang blue marble.
Lucille Quinn needs help to settle the matter of some missing cattle. The marshal that arrives is unexpected as he is good-looking – he’s also the man who left her five years earlier. Beneath the anger lies an attraction that never died, it simply smoldered until flaring back to life the moment she saw him.
The meeting is by pure chance, the result is pure magic.
Lucille Quinn was sweating like nobody’s business. It dripped down her cheeks, her neck, down her back and even off the tip of her nose. Yet still the stupid cow would not budge. Mabel had always been stubborn, but today was the worst. She’d gotten stung by a bee in the lean-to she lived in, and now refused to get back under it for the night.
With the coyotes and other critters, both two-legged and four-legged, it wasn’t safe to leave her in the pasture for the night. However, there was no way Lucille could move a thousand pound bovine by herself. The sun would set in a matter of hours and she’d done no more than raise half a dozen blisters on her hand and ensure she’d need a bath that night.
“Move, move, move!” She pushed against the cow’s hip, feeling more like a fly than anything.
“Can I help you ma’am?”
Lucille dropped to one knee, the pistol from her hip in her hands in seconds. The late afternoon sun was in her eyes, but she was able to see the silhouette of a man, and all she needed to do was hit him in the head or chest once.
“Get the hell off my land.” She cocked the pistol, the metal hot and familiar in her hand.
He held up his hands. “I’m only here to help, ma’am. My name is—”
She fired off a shot to his left, sending up shards of rock that rained down around him. He shifted to his right and Lucille shot the scraggly tree, which threw pieces of bark on him, too.
“Jesus Christ, lady! What the hell are you doing?” He stopped moving, his hands still high in the air. “You trying to shoot me?”
She maintained a firm grip on the pistol. “If I was trying to shoot you, you’d have a new hole in your head. Now get off my land.”
“My name is—”
“I don’t give a rat’s fart what your name is, mister. Now git.” She cocked the pistol, the sound echoing through the still early evening air.
“You sent for me.”
This made Lucille pause. “I sent for you?”
“I’m a U.S. Marshal. You sent for help with missing cattle, didn’t you?” He bit off the words as if they were chunks of the rock scattered around him.
“You’re a U.S. Marshal?” She started to move to the left, never losing sight of the man. The way he moved rang in her memory but she pushed it aside. Sean Reilly was making a fortune mining somewhere not in the middle of the territory.
“Yes, ma’am. I tried to tell you but you keep—”
“Prove it.” Lucille could see the man clearly now. She had to remind herself that men were the root of all evil and no matter how good he looked, he was bad. But damn he sure did look good. It was him.
It had been more than five years since he’d left her in Kansas City to follow his dreams. That’s when she met Patrick, and ended up out here with him, now alone without him for more than a year. She could hardly believe Sean Reilly had come strolling back in her life claiming to be a U.S. Marshal. Fate sure did have a fickle funny bone. Particularly since Sean apparently didn’t recognize her.
His hair was as dark as pitch, overly long and curling around the bottom of his brown hat. Whiskers, which had obviously been in residence for a few days, matched the dark color of his hair. His eyes glittered in the afternoon sun, the color of green glass. His shoulders had grown broader, nearly as wide as her door, draped in a chambray blue shirt that just made the rest of his coloring stand out. Long, muscular legs encased in skins.
He’d been handsome at twenty-one, at twenty-six he was stunning.
Sean was trouble with a capital T. That didn’t mean her body didn’t react to just how handsome and appealing he was. He had been her first lover, the ghosts of his touch still hovered over her skin. She knew firsthand Sean could show a woman how much pleasure a body could have.