An Avon True Romance: Samantha and the Cowboy by Lorraine Heath | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
An Avon True Romance: Samantha and the Cowboy

An Avon True Romance: Samantha and the Cowboy

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by Lorraine Heath

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When she manages to get herself hired for the cattle drive, all of Samantha's prayers seem to be answered. The hundred dollars she'll earn will pull her family's Texas farm out of ruin and pay off their debts. But keeping the cowhands fooled that she's a boy becomes harder than she'd expected where one cowboy in particular is concerned.




When she manages to get herself hired for the cattle drive, all of Samantha's prayers seem to be answered. The hundred dollars she'll earn will pull her family's Texas farm out of ruin and pay off their debts. But keeping the cowhands fooled that she's a boy becomes harder than she'd expected where one cowboy in particular is concerned.

The Cowboy

Matthew Hart wants two things: to forget the tragedies he witnessed on the front lines of the War Between the States, and to reclaim his cowboy life. The last thing he wants is the responsibility of a tagalong youngster on the cattle drive. His closed mind and hardened heart are territory best left unexplored, until a fateful moment turns his world upside down.

Matt discovers what and who "Sam" really is, and he is furious. But soon a stronger emotion takes hold, and bound by Samantha's secret, Matt is torn between revealing her identity and his own sudden and frightening love for her.

Editorial Reviews

Samantha, desperate to help her family financially, passes herself off as a boy and signs up to move cattle from Texas to Kansas. Sam, never having done this before, is determined, courageous and bold enough to get the position. Matthew, whose father owns the cattle, but is not in charge of the hiring, takes a liking to Sam and not only gets her hired but mentors her along the way. Matt, an unusual 18-year-old, has survived the Civil War but it left an indelible mark on his memory, and he is determined to watch over Sam and keep her safe from harm. He does not realize that Samantha is a female. This is an enchanting story, and although the outcome is easily discerned, it still is a charming coming-of-age tale. Spending an afternoon involved in Sam and Matt's story will delight romance readers. (Editors' note: See the others in this series reviewed below; two more books in the series are also available: Margaret Moore's Gwyneth and the Thief and Meg Cabot's Nicola and the Viscount.) (An Avon True Romance) Category: Paperback Fiction. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2002, HarperCollins, Avon, 250p.,
— Sherri Forgash Ginsberg; Chapel Hill, NC

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



With her heart thundering, Samantha Reynolds read the notice that someone had tacked to the wall outside the general store. A hundred dollars seemed like a fortune. What she wouldn't give to be a boy, so she could have the opportunity to earn that money for her family!

At sixteen she could barely remember the last time that coins had jingled in her reticule. Mr. Thomas, the owner of the general store, allowed her family to buy on credit. He kept a tally of supplies purchased and debts owed. Samantha didn't want to consider how long their tally sheet was getting to be. It had been months since her mother had been able to hand any money over to Mr. Thomas.

p>At this very moment her older brother, Benjamin, was loading their most recent purchases into the wagon. At twenty, he was old enough to be hired for the cattle drive. But she knew it would be nearly impossible to convince him to go. Since he'd returned from the war that had devastated many of the southern states, he was reluctant to do anything that took him away from their farm.

Her sister Amy was fourteen, old enough. But just like Samantha, she wasn't a boy. Her younger brother, Nate, was only twelve. He wouldn't qualify.

Samantha thought about the bolt of blue calico she'd seen inside the store. She wanted to sew a new dress, but the material was expensive as all get-out at ten cents a yard. She was wasting her timelonging for it and hankering for any of the frippery and finery that the general store was slowly starting to stock, now that the war had ended.

Still, she did yearn for things. She wanted the life she'd had before the War against Northern Aggression,as most folks in these parts referred to it. She longed for people to start laughing again. Or if they couldn't laugh, at least to smile once in a while.

A hundred dollars wouldn't return life to the way it had been, but it would purchase several bolts of calico, canned goods to last through the winter, a new hoe, some chickens, a cow, and too many other things to count. She got dizzy with the possibilities swirling through her mind.

"I think we ought to have us a spring dance," the girl standing beside her on the boardwalk said.

Lost in thought, Samantha had almost forgotten Mary Margaret Anderson had been visiting with her. They'd been best friends forever. They'd sat beside each other in the one-room schoolhouse until they were fourteen and passed the exam that proclaimed they knew all that was to be taught. They'd shared confidences and dreams.

"We finally have some fiddle players in the area, and most of the boys learned to play a harmonica while they were away," Mary Margaret added.

"Do you even know how to dance?" Samantha asked distractedly, more interested in the notice than in dancing. If she stared at it long enough, maybe the words would change to include girls.

"For pity's sake, Samantha Jane, I could learn," Mary Margaret told her. "So could you."

"Why would I want to learn to dance?"

"Because we're growing up!" Mary Margaret pointed out.

Samantha knew she should be excited at the possibility of attending a dance, but she had very little interest in boys. She remembered a time when she'd raced against them, climbed trees with them, even on a few occasions wrestled with them, but that was years ago.

Before most of the boys in the area had run off to join the army as soon as they were old enough to beat a drum.

She'd matured into a young woman with no males around to speak of, except for those who were too old to fight and those too young to hold a weapon. She'd experienced no dances or Sunday picnics or peering coyly beneath her eyelashes at a young man across the classroom. The war had taken the young men from the classroom and placed them on the battlefields.

Although many had returned home, none had struck her fancy. Mary Margaret was constantly talking about boys. How handsome Jeremy was, or what pretty eyes Luke had.

If Samantha noticed boys at all, she noticed how strong they looked, mentally figuring how many acres of land they could plow in a clay. She certainly had no desire to have one stepping on her toes while they danced.

She didn't want to talk about the local boys or the possibility of a dance. She preferred to discuss ways to case her mother's burden, but once Mary Margaret turned her mind to a subject, she stuck with it.

"Do you think Benjamin would ask me to dance?" Mary Margaret asked.

Samantha snapped her gaze to Mary Margaret. She had her complete attention now. "Benjamin?"

She was surprised to see twin spots of red appear on Mary Margaret's cheeks.

"I think your brother is fine looking," Mary Margaret admitted.

"Do you fancy him?" Samantha asked. She'd never thought of her brother attracting any girl's attention — least of all Mary Margaret's.

"Of course I do. Not that it does me any good. I'm invisible, as far as he's concerned:' Frustration rippled through her voice.

"Benjamin isn't noticing much of anything these days," Samantha said kindly. Benjamin had returned from the war minus an arm. She didn't blame him for resenting his loss, but it did seem that his anger was hurting him more than anything else had. "He's still adjusting to coming home not quite whole."

"Lots of fellas lost limbs," Mary Margaret said....

An Avon True Romance: Samantha and the Cowboy. Copyright © by Lorraine Heath. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Lorraine Heath always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals, press releases, articles, and computer code, but something was always missing. When she read a romance novel, she not only became hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She's been writing about them ever since. Her work has been recognized with numerous industry awards, including RWA's prestigious RITA®. Her novels have appeared on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists.

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