Tess Kinley wants to leave her society life behind to go live out west, and if it means running away from an arranged marriage and imposing herself on the unsuspecting Calloways, then that's what she'll do.
Experience has taught Gabe Calloway that city girls have no business living out west, and he has no intention of letting this one get too comfortable on his ranch. If he has any say in the matter, he'll see her on the next stage out of town.
Luckily for Tess, that gives her some time to prove her worth to Gabe, in more ways than one. Despite her willingness to dive in and do any task he sets before her, he isn't convinced she should stay, but as time goes by, Tess begins to get under his skin, something he must fight with every breath. When his heart softens, an encounter with a rattle snake reminds him once again why city girls don't belong on his ranch.
He orders her off his land, but Tess is determined to see her plan through and simply finds alternate arrangements. Gabe is more confused than ever, torn between shutting Tess out of his heart and life forever or letting himself love her, knowing at some point she'll either succumb to the hardships as his mother did, or she'll realize she belongs back in the city, as Catarina did.
By the time Gabe realizes how much he loves Tess, it might be too late, but he's hell-bent to make her his wife no matter what. Once the bullets start flying, the final decision is out of his hands and he can only hope Tess survives.
© copyright 2005
Tender and light as a summer breeze, his lips brushed across her brow, the tip of her nose, then both eyes. Her breath held in her throat, her legs no longer able to hold her. She melted against him, into him, her face turned up to meet his. His lips were warm and sweet against hers, gently coaxing a response from her.
Tess floated away on that dream, knowing on more than one level it was simply that – a dream – but refusing to give it up yet. Her mouth curved into an unconscious smile. If dreaming were the only way she could have Gabriel, then she would dream forever.
And that was how Gabe found her a short while later – a beautiful angel lying in an iridescent bed of flowers, her only cover being the huge blanket of stars above. His heart ached to look at her. It would be so easy to scoop her up and take her home, to give her anything and everything she wanted, to love her, to make love to her.
To love her. He couldn't let himself do that knowing eventually, whether she knew it or not right then, she would leave him. Whether it be on the stage coach out of town or on the wings of an angel, she would leave him. Either way, whatever the circumstances, it would mean the certain death of Gabe Calloway.
He climbed down from his saddle, leaving Zeus to graze freely, and slowly lowered himself to the grass beside her. Even asleep, she radiated such a glowing vitality, an intense magnetism, Gabe had to fight the urge to wake her up and abandon himself to the pleasures of her flesh. God help him, he wanted to, but. . .
But he couldn't very well leave her there, either, so he pulled off his thin canvas jacket and draped it over her, then lay down in the grass and pulled her gently into his arms. He was only trying to keep her warm, was all. It didn't matter it was the warmest night of the year so far, or his jacket alone would have sufficed in keeping her warm, he couldn't risk her catching a chill because then she wouldn't be able to leave on Friday.
She snuggled closer against him, the top of her head resting under his chin, her tiny left hand pressing flat against his chest. Warning bells blared in Gabe's brain – bad idea, really bad idea. His pulse leapt, his heart hammered and every last drop of blood raced south of his belt. He should let her go, lay her back in the grass and get as far away from her as he could. But damn it all if she didn't smell like heaven itself. And she fit against him like nothing he could ever imagine.
"Drewry's debut is filled with the charm of a romance, the grit of an earthy Western and the rapier dialogue and verbal battles of a clash-of-wills love story that are sure to make her a favorite of love-and-laughter readers. What a way to begin a promising career. FOUR STARS" --Kathe Robin, Romantic Times
". . .a warm-hearted romance. Gabe and Tess are perfect for each other. . .an enjoyable and funny tale." --Rob Preece, BooksForABuck
". . .the romance between Tess and Gabriel is wonderful. . .secondary characters are strong and interesting. . .cleverly plotted and well written. . .satisfying in every way. Don't miss it!" --Karen Troxell, ebooksnbytes
". . .a very fun story. With strong, likeable characters, fast and humorous dialog, and a story line that is all romance, this new author's book is sure to be a success." --Brooke Wills, Romance Junkies
". . .a very refreshing novel. . .witty and emotionally charged dialogue, fast-paced scenes, vivid and interesting secondary characters, emotions that cause the heartstrings to be tugged and a smile to tug at the lips. . .I eagerly await the next novel by Laura Drewry. Hopefully the wait won't be too long... --Connie Payne, Once Upon a Romance