- Available in: Ebook
- Published: July 10, 2017
Malloy Family Series Book 10
Josephine Chastain doesn’t expect to contract typhoid on the way to Oregon and she certainly doesn’t expect to have to stay behind with the one man who drives her to distraction. Yet Declan Calhoun becomes her nurse, her savior and her faux husband.
Declan doesn’t want to be a hero but he also doesn’t want Jo to die so far from home, away from her family. While she fights the disease, he finds himself falling for the bookish Chastain sister. With a spine of steel and smarter than any human he’d ever met, Jo is everything he could never be.
After a daring escape from their quarantine, the pair set out to find John and Francesca Malloy, the only family Jo has left in Wyoming. The wilderness tests their strength, their fortitude and their endurance as they fight their way across the unforgiving land. With hostile men in hot pursuit, Jo and Declan find more than they bargain for and the love they both crave.
Josephine Chastain wanted to kick the big Irishman until he begged for mercy, crying like a little girl. She clenched her fists hard enough that her nails dug into her palms, but she kept her face impassive, never letting Declan Callahan see how much he affected her. How much she wanted to punch him. It damn sure didn’t help that her stomach had been off for the last two days on top of this stress. She didn’t need or want any of it.
He was infuriating and condescending. A man who had no business speaking to her as though she were a three-year-old child or someone who had been dropped on her head as a baby.
“Do ya see what I’m saying, darlin’? This part goes through the hole here.” He pulled the cinch tight on the oxen’s belly. She’d learned to do it months ago in Missouri before they even left for Oregon. Now this great lummox was showing her for the sixth time in two weeks. She had nodded her head and stayed mute, letting him feel useful.
Yet he’d pushed her too far this time. He called her darling. Her. Plain old Jo Chastain, book lover, a quiet, thoughtful nineteen-year-old with brown hair and brown eyes. Nobody in his right mind would call her darling and mean it, to which she concluded he was making fun of her. The big, handsome, black-haired man with the easy smile was a cruel bully with his words. She hadn’t remotely forgotten he had kidnapped her sister, regardless of the penance he’d served by helping the wagon train and her family.
“I know perfectly well how to secure the oxen, Mr. Callahan. This lesson is completely irrelevant and highly annoying. I thank you to stop trying to instruct me in tasks I can already perform.” She pointed at him, surprised to see her finger wasn’t trembling. “You can return to your other duties as soon as possible.”
“Well, I’ll be damned. You can talk.” He shook his head. “The entire time I’ve worked this wagon train I ain’t heard you breathe a word.”
“Of course I can speak. I’m not mute or deaf.” She scowled at him. “I am also not an idiot.”
“You talk fancy too.” He grinned, white teeth shining from behind the thick black beard.
She hadn’t seen him smile before, not even once. The experience knocked her a little sideways and she had to blink to clear the image that burned into her vision. “I speak like a learned person.” She fluttered her hand in the general direction of the rest of the wagon train. “I’m sure someone does need your assistance. You do not need to spend any additional time with me.”