Coltby Georgina Gentry
Sent to help an overwhelmed cavalry, Lieutenant Colt Prescott is afraid of nothing, cowed by no one, and ready to ride for what he believes. . .
Hannah Brownley is a Texas girl, through and through. Defiant even after being held prisoner for years by the Comanche, her spirit has kept her fighting--and kept her alive. And it's not about to be broken now/b>… See more details below
Sent to help an overwhelmed cavalry, Lieutenant Colt Prescott is afraid of nothing, cowed by no one, and ready to ride for what he believes. . .
Hannah Brownley is a Texas girl, through and through. Defiant even after being held prisoner for years by the Comanche, her spirit has kept her fighting--and kept her alive. And it's not about to be broken now by a so-called rescue that's separated her from the one person who matters--her son.
But Colt cannot let Hannah return to her captors, even if doing so would appease the ruthless warrior endangering his fort. Nor can he forget her haunted moonlit eyes that seem to see through him, to his deepest desires. Which leaves him no choice: to find Hannah's child and be the hero she's always deserved. . .or die trying.
Praise for the novels of Georgina Gentry
"Pure entertainment!" --Rendezvous on Rio
"Delicious. . .full of action, snappy dialogue, and humorous characters. . .readers will laugh out loud with this winner." --Romantic Times on To Wed a Texan (4 stars)
"The most delightful western of the season." --Romantic Times on To Tempt a Texan (4 1/2 stars, Top Pick, and KISS Award for the hero)
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Product dimensions:
- 4.00(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.10(d)
Read an Excerpt
COLT The Texans
By Georgina Gentry
ZEBRA BOOKSCopyright © 2012 Lynne Murphy
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSpring 1856 Southwest Texas
Second Lieutenant Colton Prescott reined in his shaggy bay mustang and looked at the fort in the distance. "Well, Rascal," he muttered, "here's our new assignment, Camp Cooper and the Second Cavalry."
With that, he straightened his broad shoulders and urged his mount forward. He hadn't wanted this assignment, but the new fort on this outer limits of Texas civilization needed an officer who knew something about Comanches. Colt knew, all right—hadn't he spent ten years among them?
So he'd been sent to this post on the last fringes of civilization, which didn't look like much, just a few stone buildings, most still under construction. He urged Rascal forward. Lowly privates stared at him as he rode past, then returned to their stone laying.
This place couldn't take a major attack by Indians, Colt thought as he reined in before a stone building and dismounted. But then, Comanches weren't likely to attack a fort; they preferred surprise and small, lightly protected settlements where they could find food, weapons, and horses.
He tied his horse up at the hitching rail, returned the salute of the lean private on duty at the door, who seemed to be staring at Colt's ragged, dusty uniform. In return, Colt eyed the other's bright blue uniform with yellow stripes down the legs. What a dandy, he thought. Must be new issue. "Is the officer in charge inside?"
The private nodded. "Yes, sir. Major Murphy."
"Private, get my horse some water and feed. We've come a long way."
"Yes, sir." The private opened the door for him, and Colt bent his head to get his lanky frame through the door.
Inside, a lean older man with gray hair and a new uniform looked up. "Yes?"
"Second Lieutenant Colt Prescott reporting for duty." Colt saluted and drew his big frame to attention.
"Oh, yes, we've been expecting you. Sit down, sit down. I'm not much on formality. Would you like a drink?" The superior officer had a slight Irish accent.
"Yes, sir." Colt sank gratefully into a chair and slapped at the dust on his uniform. "Trail dust mighty thick out there and it's a long way from San Antonio."
The major continued to pour drinks, then paused to look out the window. "Saint Mary's blood, is that beast what you rode in on?" He grinned.
"Mustang, sir, great mount for the Texas plains."
The other handed him a tumbler and returned to his desk chair. "Wait 'til you see what we're riding here at Camp Cooper," the major said proudly. "Best thoroughbreds the United States could buy, and all matched. Each company of horses is a different color."
"Hmm." Colt sipped his whiskey. This was the good stuff from back East, not the rotgut he was used to. "Thoroughbred might be all the go back East, but they won't do out here on the plains, sir. They need corn and lots of care. Mustangs can get by on a little grass and a heavy dew."
"Nonsense." The major sipped his whiskey and wiped his mouth. "The Second Cav is the nation's best and newest Cavalry regiment; Secretary of War Davis has seen to that. We've got the latest weapons, too, including those five-shot Colt revolvers."
Colt raised his eyebrows. "Really? I've never seen one, but I've heard about them."
The major reached to hand his weapon across to Colt. "These Texans have been raising a howl about the Indians attacking their farms and ranches."
"Can't blame 'em, sir." Colt examined the pistol with curiosity. "Have you ever seen what's left after an Indian raid?" Colt's mind went back to sights he'd seen: burned buildings, tortured bodies, livestock lying dead with arrows sticking out all over like big pincushions, women carried off. That made him remember a long time ago, a pretty girl on a wagon train. He'd been a small boy then, and the Cheyenne had surrounded them. The girl's name had been Texanna....
"Yes, Lieutenant, the Second Cav has the best of everything: handpicked men, the best new weapons, the latest uniforms. Half of us are here, the rest of the Second Cav is occupying Fort Mason." The major didn't seem to notice that Colt's attention had drifted.
Now Colt came back to the major abruptly and handed over the gun, very aware of how faded and dusty his uniform was. "I see the new yellow stripes down the legs."
The major nodded. "I hope we've got a uniform big enough to fit you and we'll get you a better horse."
"If you don't mind, sir, I like Rascal. We've been through a lot together and I'd just soon ride him."
"Your choice." The major leaned back in his chair and looked Colt over. "You look a little old to still be a second lieutenant. When were you at West Point?"
"I'm thirty-two," Colt said, "and it's a field promotion. I've never been to West Point. Rank has been hard to come by since the Mexican War."
"Don't I know it." Major Murphy snorted. "My wife's very disappointed I haven't made it to general by now."
"You fought in the war?"
"No, I had a desk job so my wife could stay in Philadelphia, which is where she still is." The major looked relieved. "Texas was too wild and uncivilized for her. My daughter came out with me."
"Beggin' your pardon, sir, west Texas is no place for a woman, especially one from back East."
The major chuckled. "Tell that to Olivia. She's headstrong and does what she pleases; we've spoiled her no doubt. I dare say she'll find you intriguing. I hope you dance, Lieutenant?"
"A little," Colt said. "Don't get much time for dancin' out here on the frontier."
Just then, a beautiful, petite, dark-haired girl opened the inner door and peeked out. "Am I interrupting anything, Daddy?"
"Oh, come in, dear. I was just telling the new lieutenant about you."
Colt jumped to his feet, twisting his hat in his hands. She was the most beautiful girl Colt had ever seen and unlike any he'd ever met: petite, with an elaborate upswept hairdo. She wore a very expensive pink percale dress.
The major stood and hugged his daughter. "Lieutenant Prescott, may I introduce my daughter, Olivia?"
Colt's heart skipped a beat and he bowed as the girl curtsied. "How do you do, ma'am?"
"Very well, thank you." Her long eyelashes fluttered over dark eyes. "Goodness gracious, I love your Texas drawl, Lieutenant."
She had the palest, most delicate skin, Colt noted. Colt didn't know what to say to this elegant lady. Although he was well experienced with cheap frontier floozies, he found himself stuttering for an answer.
The major chuckled. "Well, I see you've had the same effect on this Texan you usually have on men, Olivia."
She blushed. "Oh, Daddy. Now you're going to have this young man thinking I'm just terrible."
"Oh no, ma'am, Miss Murphy, not at all." He couldn't stop staring at her.
"Well," the major said, "I guess that about wraps up this meeting, Lieutenant Prescott. We'll talk more later once you get settled. Olivia, would you mind showing the lieutenant to the officers' quarters?"
He found himself stuttering like a schoolboy. "Oh, I wouldn't want to trouble the lady—"
"Not at all. I'd be happy to." The dark eyelashes fluttered again. "Come along, Lieutenant."
Colt felt like a clumsy boy as he saluted the grinning officer and followed his daughter out onto the boardwalk. He picked up his knapsack and stumbled along behind her, trying to think of some brilliant thing to say. Nothing came.
"Cat got your tongue, Lieutenant Prescott?" She glanced back over her shoulder, smiling.
"No, ma'am, I just wasn't expectin' such a charmin' guide in a far outpost such as this."
"It was a long, miserable trip," she complained. "Over seven hundred miles from Jefferson Barracks in Missouri."
"Very brave of you to make it." Colt tried to match his long steps to her small ones.
"I thought Texas would be a bold, exciting adventure." She sounded miffed. "Instead, it's just hot, dirty, and dangerous. Why, Daddy won't even let me ride outside the fort walls without an escort."
"Your father is right," Colt said. "You don't want to be carried off by the Comanche."
They had reached a stone building still under construction, and she stopped and looked up at him. "Why, I've read Last of the Mohicans and The Song of Hiawatha."
He had no idea what she was talking about. "I don't read much, ma'am. I came up the hard way."
"I just meant I know all about our noble savages."
"I doubt you do, Miss Murphy." Colt frowned down at her. "Most white women carried off are never heard from again or are found scalped and ..." He started to say "brutally raped," but then remembered he was talking to a lady.
"Goodness gracious, I think it would be an exciting adventure." She turned pouty. "Well, anyway, here's your room." She smiled up at him and he thought he had never seen such a dainty, feminine beauty.
"Thank you for escortin' me, Miss Murphy." He bowed low. "I do hope I'll see you again."
"It was an interesting change to a very dull day," she said. "Do you dance, Lieutenant?"
"Not very well, I'm afraid, and not like the polished gentlemen you're used to."
"Oh, all those boys back in Philadelphia are such prissy dandies, not like Texas men at all."
He didn't know what to say. He stood there feeling awkward. "Well, much obliged for the escort," he said again.
"I'll be happy to show you around the fort, such as there is to see. You'll escort me on a ride, won't you, Lieutenant?"
"Yes, ma'am. One thing I do well is ride. All Texans are almost born on horses."
"I ride well, too, much better than I play the spinet or embroider. I'll be looking forward to it." The petite beauty turned and walked away, Colt staring after her, completely enraptured. He'd never met a back-East lady before. He watched her lift her dainty pink skirt above the Texas dust swirling around her feet. Yes indeedy, he'd be happy to take her riding. Now Colt was happy he'd been sent to Camp Cooper. Olivia was so different from the saloon tarts he was used to.
The next morning, he was called into the major's office. "Well, Lieutenant, did you get settled in?"
"At ease, young man." He poured them both a whiskey. It was a little early for Colt, but he accepted the tumbler. He was beginning to wonder if the major drank too much and why.
The major lit his pipe. "Sorry our accommodations are so sparse. We're still building here, you know."
"I've had much worse, sir. I'm not used to bein' coddled." He thought of the nights sleeping under the stars with one thin blanket, or his years among the Comanche, fighting the icy wind wrapped in a buffalo robe.
"I asked for someone who knew something about Comanche ways." The major gave him a piercing look. "Are you that man?"
"I lived among them as a captive ten years, sir." In fact, he had a scar on his arm from the blood-brother ceremony. Should he tell the officer he was blood brother to Spider, one of the most savage chieftains on the plains?
"Have you heard much about the Second Cav?" The major leaned back in his chair and studied him.
"We're a new outfit, pride of the country. Secretary of War Jeff Davis has spared no expense in outfitting us with the pick of Cavalry men, the best horses and weapons, and new uniforms. You've looked around, Lieutenant. What do you think?"
"The men seem good enough." Colt shrugged and sipped his drink. He'd rather have a late-morning cup of coffee, but Easterners didn't know how to make coffee anyhow. Texans liked it strong enough to float a horseshoe. "You've got some of the finest thoroughbreds I've ever seen."
The major nodded and puffed his pipe. "Best horseflesh in the country. Big horses that can cover a lot of ground."
"Like I told you before, sir, you'd find mustangs would be better for the Texas plains."
The major snorted. "You mean like that scruffy little beast you rode in on? I was planning on giving you your choice of our fine stock."
"If you don't mind, I'll keep Rascal. After a few chases across the plains, you see why those fine thoroughbreds won't do. They need too much feed and too much care."
The major laughed. "Saint Mary's blood. We'll see about that. Our assignment out here is to hold back the Comanche. They're playing havoc with these outlying ranches—murder, pillage. Our goal is to drive them farther west, make Texas safe for future settlement. Congress and President Pierce are getting too many complaints from voters in the Lone Star State."
"That's a big order," Colt drawled. "These Comanche live in small bands and can move fast. By the time you get word of an attack, they're already finished and a hundred miles away."
"Well, that's what we're going to try to change." The major sipped his drink. "We're modeled after the French Foreign Legion forces, ready to ride fast and attack, not just sit at forts and wait for the enemy to come to us."
"That might work, sir."
The major ran his hand through his gray hair. "Damned dangerous place, Texas. I really didn't want Olivia to come along, but she's stubborn and willful."
"She's also beautiful." Colt had a sudden vision of the Comanche attacking the camp and what would happen to the petite beauty if Spider or some of his warriors got hold of her. He grimaced.
"What's wrong, Lieutenant?"
"Nothin', sir." He didn't want to share that image with her father. "Miss Olivia is talkin' about going ridin'."
The major snorted. "She doesn't realize how dangerous it is out here, and there's not a man I'd trust to ride with her and protect her. Well, maybe you, Lieutenant."
Colt flushed. "Thank you for your confidence, sir."
"Speaking of women, I know several have been taken captive over the years, that Cynthia Ann Parker and a Mrs. Hannah Brownley about four years ago. What are the chances we'll find them? The back-East newspapers would love that."
Colt shook his head. "Not much, sir. The life in an Indian camp is very rough. They may not even be alive anymore."
"Well, it was just a thought. I keep thinking of anxious loved ones who are almost certainly hoping for a miracle." The major puffed his pipe thoughtfully. "I'll introduce you to Captain Van Smyth and let him take you around and show you the ropes and introduce you to the enlisted men."
"I met Captain Van Smyth at breakfast this mornin'." Colt hadn't liked the captain much; he was too much of a spit-and-polish West Pointer from Boston who didn't seem to know a damned thing about Texas or Indians. His curly yellow hair had been too carefully combed, his mustache was wispy, and his new boots looked polished enough to see your face in them.
"Fine." The major stood up. "Olivia informs me that Captain Van Smyth is an excellent dancer, won the Cotillion trophy back in Boston, I understand. He's younger than you, of course, and hasn't seen any action."
Colt winced. A young, inexperienced officer leading charges against bloodthirsty warriors. But Olivia said he was an excellent dancer. Colt wondered suddenly if he was jealous.
He left most of his whiskey in his tumbler as he walked out of the office. Too much whiskey could destroy a man. Wasn't his own father a prime example of that?
Colt reported to young Captain Van Smyth, who returned his salute. "Glad to have you aboard, Prescott. We'll watch some of the men drilling on the parade ground, and I'll show you our barns and our camp." His clipped, Boston accent grated on Colt, who was used to the soft drawl of Texans.
"Beggin' your pardon, sir, the camp doesn't seem very well protected."
The young captain gave him a sardonic smile and raised one aristocratic eyebrow. "Oh, now, surely, Lieutenant, you don't think a handful of savages is a threat to an army outpost?"
"You never know what the Comanche will do," Colt snapped. "But one thing I've learned is never to underestimate them."
The pink-faced captain chuckled. "I've yet to see a Comanche, just the few Tonks that hang around camp and beg for scraps or scout for us."
"Don't judge Comanches by Tonkawas," Colt said. "Totally different type of Indian."
They were walking across the parade grounds, and he realized the slight Easterner's uniform had been tailored to fit his trim form. Colt tried not to smirk as they paused to watch the troops drilling.
Excerpted from COLT The Texans by Georgina Gentry Copyright © 2012 by Lynne Murphy . Excerpted by permission of ZEBRA BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >