Painted by the Sun

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A Woman On A Desperate Quest
Working as a traveling photographer, Shea Waterston is following the path of the orphan trains west, searching for the son she was forced to give up ten years before. She pays for her search any way she can, including setting up her camera to photograph a hanging. When that lands her in Judge Gallimore's jail, Shea never dreams that soon after, she'll have the chance to save the ...
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Overview

A Woman On A Desperate Quest
Working as a traveling photographer, Shea Waterston is following the path of the orphan trains west, searching for the son she was forced to give up ten years before. She pays for her search any way she can, including setting up her camera to photograph a hanging. When that lands her in Judge Gallimore's jail, Shea never dreams that soon after, she'll have the chance to save the judge's life.
A Man With A Terrible Secret
Colorado Territorial Judge Cameron Gallimore is a strong, just man who damned himself years before with one fateful decision. Only this mysterious stranger from Denver truly touches the empty hidden places in his heart.  Then, with nothing more than a chance photograph and the haunting familiarity in a young boy's smile, they both find the past catching up with them.  But will its secrets drive them into each other's arms?  Or out of each other's life forever...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553580136
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/1/2000
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Read an Excerpt

ONE

Breckenridge, Colorado Fall 1875

Cameron Gallimore hated hangings. He hated the gallows standing  stark against the sky. He hated the way crowds gathered beneath it hours  before. He hated the anticipation in their faces and the bottles of  whiskey they passed from hand to hand. He especially hated hangings  when he was the judge who'd condemned the man to die.

Drawing a dry, sharp breath of resignation, Cameron resettled  the low-crowned Stetson on his head and stepped off the end of the  boardwalk. The vacant lot near the edge of town where the gallows had  been constructed was full of miners. As he waded in, the men closed  ranks around him, clapping him on the back and offering  congratulations.

Their approval rankled him. It wasn't as if he'd done anything  to be proud of. It wasn't as if he'd earned the right to condemn a  man by setting a fine example. He'd done his job. He'd done his job  so well in the last four years, he'd sentenced eleven guilty men to  the rope.

They'd hang the twelfth this afternoon.

Cam was pushing his way toward the base of the scaffold steps  where he would stand to watch the sentence carried out when he caught  sight of something he'd never seen at an execution before. Dead  center and half a dozen yards back from the deck of the gallows a  photographer had set up his camera.

The very idea that someone was going to immortalize Crazy Joe Calvert's  execution stoked up a firestorm in Cam's chest. He came about in mid-stride and  shouldered his way toward where the photographer stood all but hidden in the

folds of the camera's focusing cloth.

Dear God! Cam thought with a shudder. What kind of a man took pictures of  a hanging?

No kind of a man, as it turned out.

Cam stopped dead when he saw there was a green twill skirt flowing from  beneath the drape of the camera's dark-cloth. Scuffed black leather boots with  high heels and embroidered shanks peeked from below the skirt's fashionably  banded hem. The hand adjusting the knob on the side of the lens was small,  delicately boned, stained black at the fingertips--and distinctly  feminine.

Feeling unaccountably more aggrieved, Cameron stepped closer and smacked  his own big palm down on the top of the square oaken box. "What the hell do  you think you're doing?" he demanded.

The figure beneath the heavy fabric jerked back, popping from beneath it  like a gopher bolting out of its burrow.

The photographer was a woman, all right--a small, sweetly rounded  woman; all startled and smudged and glaring mutinously. She'd hung her bonnet  over one of the camera's tripod legs, and the friction with the  dark-cloth had  mussed her hair. It stood out in curly, gingery-brown wisps and straggled in

corkscrews at her temples, cheeks, and nape. Her jaw angled gently above the

high, banded collar of her jacket, and her mouth was bowed and soft as a  baby's. It was a far more open and arresting face than Cameron had been  expecting.

"And just who are you, sir," she demanded, narrowing eyes of cool,  luminous green, "that you've a right to ask me what I'm doing here?" Though  the words were clearly belligerent, they were sweetened with the hint of Irish  brogue.

Around the two of them a few miners turned from the contemplation of  their whiskey bottles to something that might, for the moment at least, prove  more diverting.

"I'm the man responsible for all of this, and I can't say I recall  giving a photographer permission--"

The woman straightened from her shoe soles, which brought her delicate,  upturned nose almost level with the center of Cameron's chest. "I don't  suppose I really need your permission to take this picture, now do I?" she  asked. "This is a public street. This is a public  event . . ."

Cam wasn't sure what was strictly legal, nor did he mean to debate with  her, but the question was on  his lips before he could help himself. "What purpose  could you possibly have for taking photographs of a  hanging?"

There was neither apology nor compromise in her demeanor. "Selling  photographs is how I earn my livelihood."

"And someone will be willing to pay you for--for a picture of  this?" he asked, incredulous.

"Newspapers back east," she confirmed. "If I send them the  particulars, they'll write a story and make an engraving from my photograph.

Sensationalism sells papers."

It was true enough. Newspapers these days would print anything.

All at once Cameron glimpsed the businesslike determination in the set of  that jaw and the clear, hard practicality in those pale eyes. But then, it  wasn't as if her reasons for wanting the photograph mattered to him. Even  someone who'd stabbed his partner to death in front of witnesses deserved to

die with a modicum of dignity.

"Well, I'm afraid you'll have to find something else sensational to send  them," he said and reached for her camera.

"Here, now!" she cried, catching at his sleeve. "What do you think  you're doing?"

A few more men turned to stare at them.

Though she clung like a terrier, Gallimore managed to shake her off and  collapse the tripod. "I won't have you taking pictures of one of my  hangings."

"One of your hangings?" she echoed, her voice rising. "Just how  exactly is this your hanging? Is it your neck they'll be  stretching?"

Some of the miners around them snickered.

Cam ignored the men and shifted the weight of the camera against his  shoulder. He lifted the legs of the tripod off the ground. The contraption was  a good deal heavier than it looked.

"I'm Judge Cameron Gallimore," he told her. "I presided over Mr.  Calvert's trial, and I'm responsible for seeing his sentence carried out."

"Then go on and see to your job, Your Honor," she told him pointedly.  "Just unhand my camera so I can see to mine."

"Go ahead and let her take her picture," one of the miners encouraged  him. "What harm can it do?"

"Aw, don't t-t-t-take her c-c-c-camera, Your  Honor," another pleaded. "M-m-m-making photographs  s-s-s-sure doesn't seem like a c-c-c-crime to  m-m-m-me!"

There was a slurry of laughter.

Heat blossomed along Cam's jaw. He wasn't about to let a few drunken  miners interfere with him doing his duty.

"All the little lady wants, Judge, is a picture of Crazy Joe swinging,"  someone else called out.

Images from the last four years suddenly washed over Cam--memories  of stockinged feet dancing their final dance, of inert forms spinning slowly.  Of the crisp blue sky and the stench of death. They were visions that stalked  him as he drifted to sleep, visions that prodded him awake at night. They were  the memories that lurked at the edge of his consciousness every moment of every  day.

He was right to take this woman's camera, to do what he could to prevent  her from planting those barbarous impressions in anyone else's mind. "I'm  confiscating your camera," he advised her grimly and turned in the direction

of the sheriff's office.

"You can't do that!" she protested.

"I can do anything I damn well please on the day of a hanging."

The miners hooted as he stalked away. Above the sound of their derision  Cam could hear her behind him, hurrying to catch up.

"Wait," she gasped, struggling to push her way through the thickening  crowd. "Wait!"

He deliberately lengthened his strides.

She stumbled up beside him, breathless and panting. "Please let me have  my camera back!"

"I'll see the sheriff takes good care of it."

"But I need to take that photograph!"

Cameron glanced down at her, recognizing something dark and desperate in  her eyes. For an instant he hesitated. Then he imagined what he'd feel, being  able to see the very moment of Joe Calvert's death frozen in time.

Chills chased down his back, and he hitched the camera higher on his  shoulder. He caught the woman's elbow with his free hand.

She cheeped either in surprise or with the unintentionally hurtful  strength of his grip. "What are you doing?"

"I'm taking you where you can keep an eye on the camera. You can have it  back when the hanging's over."

"But that will be too late!" she snapped.

"Yes," he agreed and hurried her up the steps to the sheriff's  office.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2000

    Great

    Shea Waterston was a widow who had been forced to give up her son ten years ago to an orphan wagon train. Working as a traveling photographer, she and her assistant had been searching for her son for years. By chance, she ran into Colorado Territorial Judge Cameron Gallimore and saved his life. She took a bullet for her trouble. This meant she and her assistant stayed with Cameron, his sister, and his son, until she healed. Then it was too close to winter to continue the search. By staying through the winter, she opened a photography shop. Then she found the boy she believed to be her son! Only now, he was Cam's son! Seeing how Cam, her son, and Lily (Cam's sister) were a close, loving, and happy family, she began to believe she should keep her secret. She had no right to disrupt the boy's wonderful family life. <BR><BR> In the meantime, someone was after a picture Shea had taken earlier in the year and would do anything to get it. And that someone had a past with Cam. A past that Cam did not want to remember. <BR><BR> *** A book destined to pull out the tender concerns of all mothers. Elizabeth Grayson is a marvel! Excellent book! ***

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent hstorical tale

    In 1875 Colorado Territory, Judge Cameron Gallimore hates the idea of hanging someone, but knows the importance of completing his job as he has done eleven times in the last four years. However, he draws the line with a photographer wanting to take a picture of the upcoming hanging of crazy Joe Calvert. Instead, he locks up photographer Shea Waterson until the deed is done. <P>Unable to accept that the handsome judge incarcerated and took away her camera, Shea wonders how she will earn money to continue her quest for her child she was forced to give up almost a decade ago. Shea follows the path of the orphan train, but has had little success. As Shea and Cameron become acquainted they begin to fall in love with one another. However, she starts to believe that the son he adopted in 1866 is her biological child and he still carries guilt from a Civil War raid that hurt innocents including his own sister. <P> PAINTED BY THE SUN is an Americana drama centering on various types of relationship. The relationships seem genuine because the charcaters involved feel real and their motives make sense. The story line is filled with action, love, and a touch of history as Elizabeth Grayson paints a picturesque tale of the Reconstruction Era in the Rockies. <P>Harriet Klausner

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