Kathryn set her sights on the most wanted bachelor in Denver. But, once she realizes his love is worth more than his loot, will she be forgiven?
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 4.18(w) x 6.87(h) x 0.96(d)
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Daniel Sellington was a rich man. A very, very rich man.
Kathryn Jordan knew little more about him than that. It didn't matter. It was all she needed to know.
She had every intention of marrying him.
Her sweat-dampened fingers clenching, she wrinkled the grimy newspaper she'd clutched ever since she'd found it blown against the soot-streaked back wall of the Schatz House Billiard Hall and Saloon. Never one to overlook the slightest boon, she'd snatched it up. Another crack in the thin walls of her home could be pitifully armored against the winds roaring off the mountains next winter, she figured. But as she considered uses for the paper, the name Sellington, in huge letters black as Satan's heart, had screamed out at her from the front page of the Rocky Mountain News.
She forced her tight grip to relax and studied the face that claimed a full quarter of the page. Edward Sellington, whose name she'd heard her mother curse every single day of the last fifteen years, stared coolly back at her. He'd been a handsome man, she thought dispassionately; she'd always imagined him as monstrously disfigured, as if his outer husk must reveal the evil harbored within. Instead, if the artist could be trusted, he'd owned patrician features. Only his eyes, beautifully shaped and framed by elegantly arched brows, hinted at something else; he had mean eyes. She couldn't have said what made them mean, but anyone who grew up in her neighborhood would understand exactly what she meant, and know enough to steer clear of them.
Pity her father hadn't known.
"Sure were a handsome one, weren't he?" The woman to her left nudged a bare,plump elbow into Kathryn's ribs. "Think this one looks anythin' like him?"
Kathryn eyed her. Cheap red satin, as shiny in the August heat as the woman's lavishly exposed skin, erupted above and below her tightly cinched waist. Though the dress was aggressively improper, Kathryn couldn't help envying the ventilation as she sweated in her heavy black mourning dress, handed down from a generous employer. Fortner employer, she amended bitterly, and formerly generous, for Mrs. Chivington had been anything but generous when she fired her after her son, Richard, claimed Kathryn's behavior was improper when it had been her emphatic lack of impropriety to which he'd truly objected. Mrs. Chivington had made certain that no other of Denver's leading matrons would ever hire Kathryn for anything, either.
The gloomy, stifling dress had been the best Kathryn could dredge up on short notice. She'd hoped the mourning garb might engender a bit of sympathy. She could use every advantage she could get.
"I imagine," Kathryn said, "that this one's very much like his father." Edward Sellington looked like the type that would breed true.
"Oooh," the woman cooed, a grin of anticipation curving her red-glossed lips. "Seems hardly fair, does it? Rich as that, and looks, too?"
"Hardly fair," Kathryn murmured, her fingers crushing the paper again.
There was little doubt why the woman, and three dozen others, had turned up here at two o'clock on a steaming Tuesday afternoon. They clustered in front of a great iron gate, the solid black bars as sturdy as any that caged a fierce zoo creature. Except these bars, of course, were meant to keep the animals out.
She recognized old Blind Willie, bent over his twisted oak cane, who was no more blind than she was. And Mrs. O'Neill, painfully thin and pale, whose husband had died of a lung hemorrhage three months ago, leaving her with five children under the age of six-and, by the looks of things, one more to arrive any day. Though Kathryn didn't know the names of any of the others, she recognized them, too, the residents of tent villages and tenements and vermininfested boardinghouses, equally split between confidence men and women thieves, and the honestly desperate. Oh yes, she recognized them.
She was one of them.
And, just like every one of them, she wanted a piece of the Sellington millions.
Up by the gate, a man with the cadaverous look of a lung patient whacked a stick across the bars, keeping up a steady clang. "Let us in!" he shouted. "We just wants to talk to the bloke!"
The red-clad woman curled a plump lip. "Oh, yeah, that's gonna get them to let us in." She peered at the paper in Kathryn's hand. "Say anything in there about him? What this one's like?"
"It doesn't say much about him." But the News had plenty else to say. Though she already knew much of what the paper had printed, she'd read every word twice.
The article had gone back to the beginning, to the mysterious disappearance of Edward Sellington. One of the richest men in New York, his mining interests in Colorado had only expanded that unimaginable wealth. But nearly fifteen years ago, he, along with his wife and young son, had vanished without a trace.
His mother had spent years searching the West for him. Finally, she'd gone into the monolithic mansion Edward had built on Arapahoe Street and never come out again. Rumor had it grief had finally driven her mad.
There was no fresh news for years. Children avoided the looming house, telling stories of the crazed woman and restless ghosts. The newspapers moved on to more timely topics. But then, five years ago, Edward Sellington's long-lost son, Daniel, had suddenly reappeared to claim his heritage.
Just as they had this week, the newsmen had descended immediately, but he'd been unwilling to talk, steadfastly refusing to explain what happened to him or his father all those years ago. He hadn't stayed in town more than a few months before disappearing back from where he came...or so they'd all believed.
Meet the Author
A former science geek, Susan Kay Law turned to romancewriting as a career because it was the perfect excuse to avoid housework and continue spending all her time doing what she really loved: reading and daydreaming. Also because she was really bad at sitting in a swamp at 5 A.M. in forty-degree weather and tracking bird behavior.
Winner of the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Award and a Waldenbooks Bestseller award, twice nominated for a RITA Award, she confesses that the biggest surprise of her career was when this small town Midwestern preacher's kid was named to New Woman magazine's list of "the steamiest writers of women's fiction." Her greatest joy, however, is spending her days thoroughly outnumbered by four of the best males on the planet her husband and three sons. She currently lives in Minnesota, and plans to be a ski bum in her next life.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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In 1887 Denver, Kathryn Jordan believes she needs to marry a wealthy man to save her family from poverty. She chooses the enigmatic Daniel Hall as her future spouse because his father destroyed her father, leaving Kathryn, her sister, and their mother in these dire circumstances. Many poor people and reporters anticipate Daniel's arrival in town. While waiting for Daniel to come, a journalist interviews Kathryn and mentions that the next day Daniel is leaving town for Minnesota by stage. Kathryn enters the stagecoach with the intention of gaining Daniel's interest. The reporter is on the stage, but Daniel is not there. Outlaws hold up the stage stranding the reporter who is actually Daniel and Kathryn. They walk to a nearby town to await the next stage, but instead fall in love, make love, and marry. However, she knows his true identity and is worrying what will happen her to their relationship once he learns the truth. RWA Golden Heart award winner Susan K. Law writes an entertaining western romance starring a brave but poor heroine and a troubled but wealthy hero. The story line is fast-paced and picturesquely describes late nineteenth century Colorado. Kathryn and Daniel are a wonderful duo whose relationship shakily rests on top of a weak foundation. The support cast provides depth to the plot and motivation to the lead protagonists. When it comes to excellence in Americana romances, Ms. Law remains a law onto herself. Harriet Klausner