Wayward Lady

Wayward Lady

by Nan Ryan
Wayward Lady

Wayward Lady

by Nan Ryan

eBookDigital Original (Digital Original)

$1.99  $8.99 Save 78% Current price is $1.99, Original price is $8.99. You Save 78%.

Available on Compatible NOOK devices, the free NOOK App and in My Digital Library.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now

Related collections and offers

LEND ME® See Details


A steamy historical western romance from the USA Today–bestselling author of The Princess Goes West.
When her fiancé is killed, Suzette Foxworth is left devastated, but not alone. It is Austin Brand, a rich and powerful rancher, who takes her as his wife and secures her future. Though their marriage is one of kindness and security, it lacks the passion Suzette yearns for.
It isn’t until Suzette is taken captive by the bandit Kaytano, long-time enemy of Austin, does she feel the spark of heat her longing heart had been missing. Before long, Suzette willingly becomes Kaytano’s prisoner of love, with no desire to ever be freed from the shackles of his embrace.
“Powerful story and sizzling sensuality have always made Nan Ryan’s romances special.” —RT Book Reviews

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626817425
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication date: 09/01/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 448
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Nan Ryan began her writing career in 1981. She flirted with writing mysteries, but never finished any. Then, as fate would have it, she saw an article in Newsweek magazine entitled "From Bedroom to Boardroom." It was an interesting story on the women who were writing romance novels. Ryan was intrigued. She had never read a romance. She bought a couple, read them, and knew she'd found her calling. She sat down at her Smith Corona typewriter and began her own romance. The first one never left her house. It is buried deep in a trunk and Ryan says it will never be shown to anyone. Her second book sold and she's been writing since. Twenty-two romance novels later, she still enjoys writing and realizes she's been blessed to have found what she loves to do.
Nan Ryan (1936–2017) was an award-winning historical romance author. She was born in Graham, Texas, to Glen Henderson, a rancher postmaster, and Roxy Bost. She began writing when she was inspired by a Newsweek article about women who traded corporate careers for the craft of romantic fiction. She immediately wrote a first draft that she refused to let see the light of day, and was off and running with the success of her second novel Kathleen’s Surrender (1983), a story about a Southern belle’s passionate affair with a mysterious gambler. Her husband, Joe Ryan, was a television executive, and his career took them all over the country, with each new town providing fodder for Ryan’s stories. A USA Today bestseller, she enjoyed critical success the Literary Guild called “incomparable.” When she wasn’t writing, she was an avid sports handicapper, and a supporter and contributor to the Shriners Hospitals for Children and Juvenile Diabetes since the 1980s. Ryan passed away peacefully in her sleep, surrounded by her proud and loving family.

Read an Excerpt


Suzette Foxworth awoke with the first light of day. She smiled, stretched, and pushed back the bedcovers. In one fluid movement, she swung her long, slender legs over the edge of the bed and sat up. Padding barefoot across the room to her desk, Suzette lit the lamp and took her velvet-covered diary from the top drawer. Lifting the ribbon marking the last place she had written, Suzette sat down and began to write:

Today is May 17, 1871. My sixteenth birthday! Life could not be more perfect. Of all the places in the vast land, my home is on the glorious plains of North Texas, where wildflowers abound and blue stem grass as tall as my waist stretches as far as the eye can see. It is here, and only here, that I wish to spend all the rest of my life, and I am forever grateful that my mother and daddy chose to leave their home in Louisiana and come to Texas while I was still a child. If they had not, would I have met the only true love of my life?

I think not! Only in this wild, free, beautiful land could a man such as Luke Barnes be able to breathe. Luke! My handsome Luke of the curly red hair. Luke of the big green eyes that sparkle with excitement when he sees me. Luke of the wide shoulders and broad chest, long legs and trim hips. Luke! Luke! Luke!

Too excited to write more, Suzette slammed the book shut and put it back into the desk drawer. She dashed across the room to the tall bureau. Folded neatly on its scarred top was a bright red silk bandanna which made her smile. She picked up the soft scarf and proudly fingered the bold, blue "L" embroidered at one corner. She had worked painstakingly on the scarf for weeks, pushing the sharp, long needle through the embroidery hoops with an eagerness she usually didn't feel for such feminine chores.

It was a labor of love. Suzette didn't mind the pricked fingers or the frustration of getting the initial crooked twice and having to tear out the stitching. The bandanna was for Luke and she wanted it to be perfect. She was stubbornly intent on having the blue "L" stand out prominently on the red silk. She finally got the effect she was looking for and declared the bandanna finished and ready for presentation.

Suzette placed the colorful square on the bureau. She would give it to Luke at the party tonight. The two of them would slip away from the crowd and when they were all alone she would hand it to him. He would be very pleased and proud of her and he probably would insist on kissing her. The thought of his kiss made Suzette's cheeks grow warm and she closed her eyes and thought of her handsome sweetheart. Shivers ran up her spine. She opened her eyes, giggled, and pulled the long white nightgown over her head. Then she ran to the washstand and began splashing cold water over her face. Sputtering, she hastily patted her face dry and went to dress. Five minutes later she was tiptoeing down the long hall, her boots making little sound on the polished wooden floors. She sashayed into the big dining room and through the swinging door to the kitchen. There she stopped, her hand still on the door.

Her father, Jack County's only physician, sat quietly at the table, a steaming cup of coffee in front of him.

"Daddy." Suzette's voice was soft. Blake Foxworth turned his head. Seeing her, he smiled. Suzette, quickly noting the coat flung over the back of his chair, returned his smile and hurried to him. Forgetting momentarily that she was a grown woman, she dropped into her father's lap and put her arms around his neck. "Did you just get home?" she asked.

His arm, slender and tanned, encircled her narrow waist. "A child out on the Dillingham prairie came down with a high fever. Her mother was afraid of typhus." Blake pushed a thick lock of blond hair behind Suzette's left ear. "Luckily it was just a slight infection. The little girl's already much better."

"You need a partner, Daddy. I worry about you. You look so tired. Have you been having your headaches lately?" She cupped his beard-stubbled chin in her hand.

"No, no. Really. Let's forget about me. What are you doing up so early today?"

"Don't you know what day this is?"

"Hmm, let's see ... it's May 17." He pretended to be puzzled. "No, I can't think of anything special about today."

"You're teasing me." She giggled and hugged his neck. "Can you believe it, Daddy? Sixteen years old! I'm a woman."

"I can't believe it, sweetheart. It seems like only a few days ago that I got my very first look at your little pink face. You were pretty from the beginning. Now you're beautiful."

"You think so? Honest?" Her big blue eyes were on his.

"I know so. You are lovely."

"You don't think I'm too tall and skinny? I mean, Mother's so little and dainty. I'm not very delicate, am I?"

Blake chuckled at her foolish anxiety. "My dear, lovely daughter, you are a tall, slender woman. I suppose you take your height from me. Frankly, I think it gives you a regal look that enhances your blond beauty."

"You mean it?"

"I do." He smiled warmly and touched the tip of her turned-up nose. "However, for one so regal and grown up, I would almost swear she forgot to brush her hair." He narrowed his eyes in mock disgust. In truth, nothing Suzette did displeased Blake Foxworth. He adored his only child and found it charmingly sweet that one day she was the mature seductress, flirting prettily with the young men; the next she was the tomboy, caring not at all how she looked, only how fast she could ride her beloved horse across the rolling plains. This morning was definitely one of the times she chose to ignore her appearance. In a pair of worn buckskin breeches and a cotton blouse that she was rapidly outgrowing, its bodice straining across her chest, she was obviously dressed for a horseback ride.

"Daddy, I didn't have time to fool with my hair. I'll wash it this afternoon before the party." Suzette jumped from his lap and poured herself a cup of coffee. Dropping down into a chair beside him, she said, "This is going to be the most wonderful party Jack County has ever seen, and I can't wait. Aren't you excited?"

"Of course I am, dear. And I hope that I can be here in ..."

"Daddy! Don't you dare miss my party. I will never, ever forgive you. I don't care who picks tonight to have a baby or fall off a horse. I want you right here!"

"I'll be here for at least the last part, darling. Surely you remember I told you that General William T. Sherman has been sent by Washington to make a tour of the frontier forts. He will be at Fort Richardson this evening, and I've promised I'd help make up a delegation to meet with him."

Suzette made a face. "Why would you want to see him? He was a destructive Yankee in the War Between the States, wasn't he?"

Shaking his blond head, Blake said, "You've spent too much time with old Nate. Darling, the war has been over for six years. Don't you think it's time we forget about it?"

She touched a long scar at the side of her father's head, pushing back his thick hair to examine it. "Those Yankees left you with a scarred head and you tell me you can forget about it?"

Blake brushed her probing fingers aside. "Yes, I can. And the meeting with General Sherman is most important. We've got to impress on him that something must be done about the Indians soon."

"Who's afraid of the Indians?" Suzette shrugged slender shoulders. "Nate says we've been as mean to them as they've been to us, and I'll just bet he's right. After all, they were here first, weren't they? Anyhow, I don't care about the Indians or the Yankees or your patients. This is the most important birthday of my whole life, and it's also important for another reason." Suzette folded her hands on the table and looked at her father, an impish grin lifting the corners of her mouth.

"Is that my cue to ask you what else is important about this day?" His voice was warm and teasing.

"You know me too well. The reason it is doubly important is that I've every reason to believe that on this historic May night, a certain Mr. Luke Barnes — who, by the way, agrees with you that I'm not too tall — will ask me to be his wife!"

The smile Blake Foxworth had worn throughout the conversation faded a little. "Suzette, I had no idea it was that serious between you two. Are you sure ... I mean, dear, do you think you're in love with Luke?"

"How can you ask such a foolish question, Daddy? Of course I'm in love with Luke. Good Lord! How could I not be in love with Luke Barnes? He's only the handsomest, strongest, bravest, dreamiest, tallest ..."

"Darling, I'm sure Luke is all of those things, but as your father, I'm more concerned with unimportant things, like: Can he support a wife? Will he take good care of you? Will he treat you right? Will he make you a good husband?"

"I think he will be the most wonderful husband in all the world and I just know our life together will be wonderful! Daddy, Luke kissed me on the lips at the church picnic last month and I knew right then that we were meant for each other. I think I'd like to be a June bride." She wore a dreamy expression.

"Suzette, I think Luke is a nice young man, but marriage is more than kissing at picnics. I have no idea what Austin Brand pays Luke, but I'm not sure it would be enough to provide you with a home. Where would you live if you and Luke married? What would you do when Luke had to be gone on cattle drives for months at a time? What if you should become pregnant?"

Suzette impatiently pushed her chair back, the wooden legs scraping the polished floor. She stood up and laid her hand lightly on her father's shoulder. Leaning down, she kissed his left cheek and said, "Daddy, you worry too much about unimportant things. I'm off now. See you this evening. And you'd better be here!" Whirling, she bolted from the room and collided with her sleepy-eyed mother in the kitchen doorway. "Oops! Sorry, Mother. You're so little I almost didn't see you!" Suzette laughed at the startled expression on Lydia Foxworth's pretty face and gave her a quick hug before stepping around her and hurrying out.

"What is Suzette doing up?" Lydia put a hand in Blake's thick blond hair and gave him a quick kiss on the mouth. Blake grinned at his sleepy wife and pulled her down onto the lap his daughter had recently vacated.

Nuzzling her warm neck, he said, "She's going for an early morning ride, Lydia. Why are you up?"

"Blake, you shouldn't let Suzette go off by herself, especially at this hour. Sweetheart, you know Suzette. If she came upon a band of savage Indians, she'd try to become their friend." Lydia shook her dark head and pushed her hair from her eyes.

Rubbing his wife's back through her soft silk wrapper, he laughed. "You're so right, she probably would. Don't worry. I told Nate that any time our unpredictable daughter rides, he is to follow her if she refuses to let him ride with her."

"Poor good-natured Nate. I'll bet she leads him on a merry chase." Lydia sighed and yawned. "I do wish Suzette would try being more of a lady. I've told her time and again that it doesn't look nice for her to be wearing trousers and riding astride that big beast she so adores."

"Well, dear, I don't know about her being a lady, but it appears she is becoming a woman. She tells me she is in love with young Luke Barnes and is expecting a proposal very soon, perhaps even tonight at her party."

"Such nonsense." Lydia dismissed it with a wave. "She's much too young; she has no idea what love is. Why are you looking at me like that, Blake?"

Smiling fondly, he kissed her soft cheek. "Darling, are you forgetting that you were barely seventeen when we got married?"

"That's entirely different. I was very grown up for my age. I knew exactly what I was doing."

Blake chuckled softly. "Lydia, you were a naive child when I married you. A beautiful, dark, irresistible child-woman. And you know what else? You still are." He kissed her ear and let his lips move back to the warmth of her neck.

"Blake," she giggled, "your behavior is not suited to the kitchen."

"You are so right. Let's go to our room."

A mild flutter of excitement started somewhere in Lydia's stomach. She whispered softly, "Darling, you've been up all night. Aren't you tired? Don't you want to go to bed?"

"Umm, bed is exactly where I want to go, but I want you in it with me." He lifted his head and looked into her dark eyes.

Her fingertips began to make circles on the white shirt covering her husband's slender chest and he knew she was rapidly weakening. Still she mildly protested, "Blake, the sun's coming up and I have so much to do to get ready for Suzette's party. I really should ..."

His mouth covered hers in mid-sentence. He kissed her persuasively, lips warm and demanding. Melting against him, Lydia sighed and kissed him back. When the ardent kiss ended, Blake grinned and whispered, "Suzette can have her party tonight. Let's have ours now."

With that he rose, holding his wife in his arms, and walked from the kitchen. Lydia clung to his neck and covered his lean face with sweet, moist kisses. "Blake, you look so exhausted. Have you been having your headaches again?"

"My dear," he whispered against her dark hair, "there's only one part of my anatomy that is aching, and you alone can take away the pain."

Once in their big bedroom, Blake tiredly sat down on the edge of the unmade bed. While Lydia knelt on the floor and tugged off his high boots, Blake unbuttoned his shirt and-removed it. His wife rose and took off her long silk wrapper, smiling at him. When she started around to the other side of the bed, Blake put out his hand, "Wait, don't get into bed yet, Lydia."

Puzzled, she said, "What is it, Blake?"

He pulled her small hand up to his lips and kissed her wrist. "Take off your nightgown." He released her hand and sat watching her.

"Whatever you say. You're the doctor," she teased as she pulled the soft nightgown over her head. "Satisfied?" she asked timidly, standing naked in front of him.

"Come here."

She took a step closer and Blake pulled her between his knees. His hands encircled her slim waist and he smiled up at her. "Satisfied?" he echoed. "You have no idea." His blue eyes filled with passion and he buried his face in the valley between her full, soft breasts. "You're thirty-five years old, yet you're more beautiful than ever. How could it be possible?"

Hugging his blond head to her, she kissed his hair and said affectionately, "Perhaps it's because you're an old man of forty-two and your eyesight is beginning to fail."

He kissed the undercurve of her left breast, then slowly pulled her down across the bed, moving with her. "Never in my life have I been able to see things so clearly," he whispered hoarsely. "I'm a very fortunate man, the most fortunate man I know. I love you, Lydia. I love you more today than when I married you." His lips covered hers and he kissed deeply while his long arms bound her to him.

Lydia gladly yielded to his heated kisses and clung to him. Through slitted eyes she could see the sun streaming in the tall open windows over Blake's shoulder. In minutes it would be day and she had a million things to do to prepare for Suzette's party. She closed her eyes, shutting out the sun and willing her cares away. "Blake," she whispered against his ear.

"Yes, my love?" He lifted his head to look down at her.

Her dark hair had fanned out around her small, lovely face, and her dark, expressive eyes were smoldering now. Her heavy, bare breasts were rising and falling with her rapid breathing. She smiled and murmured, "If you love me so much, please take off your trousers and show me."

They laughed together as two pairs of eager hands went to the waistband of his black trousers. It was more than an hour later when Lydia kissed her sleeping husband's mouth and stole from their bed, her face still flushed, her lips swollen from his kisses, her legs weak with satisfaction.

Suzette whistled as she swung her saddle down from the wall of the tackroom. Her mother constantly chastised her about this habit, saying that young ladies were not supposed to whistle, that it was a distinctly masculine trait. The first time her mother mentioned it, Suzette had frowned down at Lydia and shrugged her slender shoulders. "Mother, I'm beginning to think that everything in this world of ours is meant only for men to enjoy. It's not fair and I won't have it. When I'm happy, I like to whistle. I'm getting better at it all the time, and it just doesn't make sense that I shouldn't be allowed to do something that is so much fun and completely harmless."

Lydia had sighed and said, "I know, dear. It does seem foolish, but we have to live in the world the way it is. Young ladies are not supposed to ..."

"Shoot! I'm sick and tired of hearing about what young ladies are not supposed to do."


Excerpted from "Wayward Lady"
by .
Copyright © 1987 Nan Ryan.
Excerpted by permission of Diversion Publishing Corp..
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.

From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews