Cherishby Catherine Anderson
He Longed for...
Race Spencer's gunslinging days are far behind him. He is now a rugged, respectable rancher, but it's a solitary life. Then Fate leads Race to an earthbound angel—lost and alone' the sole survivor of an outlaw attack—and even his hardened heart is moved. He sweeps the ivory-skinned beauty into his arms and carries her away from/p>… See more details below
He Longed for...
Race Spencer's gunslinging days are far behind him. He is now a rugged, respectable rancher, but it's a solitary life. Then Fate leads Race to an earthbound angel—lost and alone' the sole survivor of an outlaw attack—and even his hardened heart is moved. He sweeps the ivory-skinned beauty into his arms and carries her away from danger.
A Woman to Cherish
When innocent Rebecca Morgan wakes up in a stranger's embrace, her life has been changed forever. Race's touch makes her blood sing and stirs up emotions in her she never knew existed. But this man has a fearsome reputation. And though her life may depend on him, can she trust him? Is it love she sees in her rescuer's dark eyes.?
Race Spencer's gunslinging days are far behind him. He is now a respectable racher, but it's a solitary life. But then Fate lead Race to an earthbound angel—lost and alone, the sole survivor of an outlaw attack—and even his hardened heart is moved. He sweeps the ivory-skinned beauty into his arms and carries her away from danger. When innocent Rebecca Morgan wakes up in a stranger's embrace, she knows her life has been changed forever. Though Race's touch makes her blood sing and stirs up emotions in her she never kenw existed, she knows this man has a fearsome reputation. And though her life may depend on him, she doesn't know if she can trust him. Can it really be love she sees in her rescuer's dark eyes?
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Meet the Author
Catherine Anderson is a bestselling American romance novelist. She resides in the pristine woodlands of Oregon, is married to her high school sweetheart, and has authored more than 30 award-winning historical and contemporary romances. Throughout her career, she has made numerous bestseller lists, such as the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Ingram, Waldenbooks, and Barnes & Noble. She has received nominations for the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Awards, as well as being a RITA® Award finalist, and was given a Career Achievement Award by Romantic Times for Contemporary Romance.
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Read an Excerpt
Southeastern Colorado, 1868
There was nothing quite as distinctive as the scent of human blood, Race Spencer thought grimly. Warm and slightly sweet with a coppery tang, it put him in mind of his childhood and the stolen pennies he'd often clutched in one grubby fist.
All his life, he'd heard men tell of seeing things so terrible it curled their hair. Race, whose wiry, jet-black locks were as straight as a bullet on a windless day, had always believed those tales to be flapdoodle. Until now. Judging by the prickly feeling under his collar, the short hairs at the nape of his neck were curling as tight as the topknot on a bald-faced calf.
Even his horse Dusty was all het up, withers twitching, ears cocked, freshly shod hooves nervously striking partially buried slabs of rock on the sandy rise. Race leaned forward in the saddle to stroke the buckskin's muscular neck. Not that he figured on it doing much good. Dusty knew the smell of death, and like any living thing with a lick of sense, the horse had a hankering to make fast tracks.
"Easy, old son," he murmured to the mount who was also the best trail partner around. "Give me a minute to eyeball this here mess before we decide to hightail it."
In the arroyo below, a half dozen wagons sat in a loose circle around a lone candelabra cactus. The stretch of sun baked, yellow clay between the wagons was littered with all manner of possessions and so many dead people Race had trouble counting them in a sweeping glance. All were dressed in black clothing, with large, crimson patches staining the yellow earth under their spread-eagle bodies.
Though a few rays of fadingsunlight were still visible over the distant peaks of the Rocky Mountains, Race felt chilled to his marrow. A shudder did a do-si-do up his spine, and his skin went as knurly as a plucked goose.
Over a mile back, he had started catching whiffs of the blood. Knowing it was fresh and most probably human, he should have been braced for the sight that greeted him now. But to say these people had died violently was like saying Methuselah was sort of old. This was a massacre, nothing less, the type of thing Apache warriors might do, only as far as Race could see, there hadn't been a single scalp taken.
All totaled, Race counted eleven bodies in the rubble, six middling-aged men and five women. Citified folks, he reckoned, lured west by the promise of free land and wide-open spaces. It was disheartening to think that high hopes for a better life had led them to such a sorry pass.
From the looks of things, they'd traveled a far piece, probably clear from St. Louis, a hell of a journey for both man and beast. A fellow lying in the foreground wore boots with patched soles, indicating that he'd walked many a mile, and the canvas on the rattletrap wagons was tattered and sported so many holes, it reminded Race of the punctured Arbuckle can that his biscuit roller, Cookie Grigsley, used as a strainer.
The poor damned fools. What craziness had led them to leave the main wagon train? And after doing that, why in the hell had they ventured off the Santa Fe Trail? He supposed they might have taken a wrong turn. The Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail meandered in a northwesterly direction for quite a spell before it dove south toward New Mexico, and sometimes inexperienced travelers got to thinking they were headed the wrong way. When they tried to correct their course, they often got lost.
He heaved a weary sigh, knowing even as the questions circled darkly in his mind that he'd come up with no answers. None that made sense, anyhow. After hiring out his gun to Santa Fe Trail wagon masters for ten long years, Race knew that all westward-bound travelers were warned repeatedly that it was dangerous to light out on their own. Unfortunately, in almost every caravan, there were those men whose high opinions of themselves outflanked their common sense. For whatever reason, these folks had broken off from the main group.
It would be their last mistake.
In his thirty years of living, Race had seen more things to turn his stomach than he cared to recollect, but this beat all. Even most of the oxen had been slaughtered, only two of the creatures still standing. Whoever had done this was plumb loco.
The ticklish sensation at the back of Race's neck suddenly became more pronounced. He scanned the surrounding terrain. He wasn't alone in this place.
Another man might have pooh-poohed the notion, but Race had learned when he was knee high to a tall grasshopper never to question his hunches. Maybe it was the dash of Apache flowing in his veins, but he had always possessed keen senses. Like his being able to smell blood from well over a mile off. No how, no way could he explain that, yet to him the ability was second nature.
Putting all else from his mind, he pricked his ears to listen, his body motionless, his breathing slowed almost to a stop. What he saw and heard -- or in this case, what he didn't see and hear-was mighty worrisome. On a prairie grassland at this time of evening, the homed larks and prairie chickens usually twittered to beat the band, and small creatures always darted to and fro through the foxtail barley and blue grama. grass. Not so in this place. An eerie quiet lay over everything. Even the wind seemed to be holding its breath. Not so much as a twig moved in the tall stands of saltbush that dotted the sand hill at the opposite side of the arroyo...Cherish. Copyright © by Catherine Anderson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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