Join seven Texas Rangers on the hunt for a menacing gang, who run straight into romances with women who foil their plans for both the job and their futures.
The Ranger's Reward by Gabrielle Meyer
Texas Ranger, Griffin Sommer stops to check on the young widow, Evelyn Prentis minutes before the Markham gang arrives at her farm needing a place to hide. Griff and Evelyn are forced to pretend they’re married to keep Griff’s identity a secret, but will Evelyn’s young son let the truth out before Griff can bring the gang to justice?
More Precious than Rubies by Lorna Seilstad
Fun-loving, charismatic Texas Ranger Whit Murray is restless for an adventure. When bandits attack the train he is on and steal jewels Violet Tatienne is transporting home to her father’s jewelry store, the two of them must work together to find the thieves. Will each one’s individual goals keep them from discovering the real treasure is in each other?
Jesse’s Sparrow by Amanda Barratt
Former soiled dove, Sara Byrne longs for escape. . .and rides straight into danger. Ranger Jesse Rawlings wants only to defend and protect. . .no love involved. But when Sara’s stagecoach is robbed and her possessions stolen, can she find the strength to aid a man she deems anything but trustworthy in bringing justice to the perpetrators?
The Countess and the Cowboy by Kathleen Y’Barbo
Ava Becker is furious that her brother sold her favorite stallion to the irritating Texas Ranger Ezra Creed. When the horse goes missing, Ezra blames Ava, who sets out to find the horse, landing in an outlaw’s camp instead. Can Ezra protect the persistent Ava without falling in love, or will love make for a dangerous chase?
Simple Interest by Susan Page Davis
While making his monthly deposit, Ranger O’Neal Brewster is forced to watch robbers escape with the prim and pretty bank teller as their hostage. Augusta Ferris quickly makes the outlaws regret kidnapping her, but she is determined to get back the bank’s money—whether the Ranger helps her or not.
Partners in Crime by Vickie McDonough
Micah McCullough, a Texas Ranger working undercover in the Markham gang, is tasked with guarding Laurel Underwood, a silversmith, who was kidnapped to create plates for printing counterfeit money. Laurel knows she doesn’t have the expertise. Her only option is to stall and seek escape. What will the outlaws do when they learn her secret?
Guard Your Heart by Erica Vetsch
When Constance Spanner witnesses a murder, Branch Kilborn is tasked with protecting her until she can testify against Cass Markham. This is the Ranger squad’s chance to abolish the Markham gang once and for all, but Branch soon finds that protecting Constance has become about more than just the job.
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About the Author
Susan Page Davis is the author of more than seventy Christian novels and novellas, which have sold more than 1.5 million copies. Her historical novels have won numerous awards, including the Carol Award, the Will Rogers Medallion for Western Fiction, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest. She has also been a finalist in the More than Magic Contest and Willa Literary Awards. She lives in western Kentucky with her husband. She’s the mother of six and grandmother of ten. Visit her website at: www.susanpagedavis.com.
Bestselling author Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams in her fictional stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie is the award-winning author of more than forty published books and novellas. Her novels include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series and the Land Rush Dreams series. Vickie has been married forty-one years to Robert. They have four grown sons, one of whom is married, and a precocious ten-year-old granddaughter. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website: www.vickiemcdonough.com
Gabrielle Meyer lives in central Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi River with her husband and four young children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people and events. Gabrielle can be found at www.gabriellemeyer.com where she writes about her passion for history, Minnesota, and her faith.
Lorna Seilstad brings history back to life using a generous dash of humor. She is a Carol Award finalist and the author of the Lake Manawa Summers series and the Gregory Sisters series. When she isn’t eating chocolate, she’s teaches women’s Bible classes and is a 4-H leader in her home state of Iowa. She and her husband have three children. Learn more about Lorna at www.lornaseilstad.com.
Erica Vetsch is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves books and history, and is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical romances. Whenever she’s not following flights of fancy in her fictional world, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two, an avid museum patron, and wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul mate. Erica loves to hear from readers. You can sign up for her quarterly newsletter at www.ericavetsch.com
And you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact her on her author Facebook page.
Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than eighty novels with almost two million copies in print in the US and abroad. She has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and is the winner of the 2014 Inspirational Romance of the Year by Romantic Times magazine. Kathleen is a paralegal, a proud military wife, and a tenth-generation Texan, who recently moved back to cheer on her beloved Texas Aggies. Connect with her through social media at www.kathleenybarbo.com.
Read an Excerpt
Monday, January 25, 1886
Griffin Sommer sat on his bay gelding at the crossroads outside Hartville, Texas, leaning on the saddle horn and looking long and hard down the road that would lead him away from town. He squinted as he glanced at the setting sun, guessing it to be past suppertime, trusting his growling stomach, which never lied. It had been a hard three-day trip to San Antonio and back. He'd left Ezra and O'Neal there to investigate a burglary that Captain Sterling suspected was tied to the Markham Gang. Though Griff had wanted to stay and help, the captain had other ideas. He'd asked Griff to hurry back and check on Widow Prentis instead.
With a groan, Griff clicked his tongue and pulled on the reins to turn Bolt away from Hartville and all the comforts he'd been longing for. He just wanted a fresh shave, one of Miss Etta's warm meals, and his narrow bunk. But Captain Sterling had asked this favor, and he suspected the captain would be disappointed if Griff didn't oblige.
"I thought I'd be doing something that mattered once I joined Captain Sterling's company," Griff groused to Bolt. "Prisoner transfers, checking on old widows, and running a few errands to the post office aren't what I had in mind when I planned on becoming a ranger."
Bolt shook his head and snorted in understanding, twitching his tail for emphasis. Griff smiled and leaned down to pat Bolt's neck. "I suppose you haven't seen much action either."
They plodded toward the Prentis farm and Griff's tasteless errand. He'd worked long and hard to finally make it to Texas to learn, once and for all, if his father was the hero his mother proclaimed or the coward his stepfather despised. But the only man who could answer his question was the man who took Father's life — Charlie Markham. On old-time outlaw who hadn't been seen in nearly a decade, though Captain Sterling believed he was still running with his son Cass.
It didn't take Griff long to find the Prentis farm. He scanned the property as he made his way up the long driveway, surprised to find it well maintained and clean. Maybe Old Widow Prentis had a grown son or two looking after the place — but if she did, why would Captain Sterling ask Griff to check on her?
The driveway led to the spacious farmyard, complete with a large white clapboard house on his left and a two-story barn on his right. A pigpen took up space near the barn, with a large sow lying in the mud looking at Griff with deep disinterest. Beyond the red barn, a corral held a pair of beautiful mahogany Morgans nibbling on the grass, though their ears perked up when Griff and Bolt drew near the house.
From his initial impression, the place looked good — better than good. The paint on the buildings was fresh, all the fences were secure, and the roof of the house and barn were in nice shape. It was one of the finest farms Griff had seen, and he'd seen plenty.
He almost felt foolish coming to check on the widow. What could she possibly need help with?
The screen door opened and a young woman stepped onto the covered porch. Her blond hair was pulled into a bun at the nape of her neck with soft tendrils of hair dancing in the wind. She wore a white apron over a blue dress, which made her blue eyes stand out. The sun glinted off a gold band on the ring finger of her left hand, sending a twinge of disappointment through Griff.
"May I help you?" She spoke with a sweet southern drawl, different than the Texas drawl he'd been getting used to since leaving Minnesota behind.
Griff sat a little straighter in his creaking saddle and reached into his vest pocket to remove the badge Captain Sterling had recently given to him and the other members of Company B.
The lady's face became wary when he reached into his vest. She took a step toward the house, reaching for the door.
"No need for alarm, ma'am." He dismounted and held Bolt's reins as he walked toward the house, his badge displayed in his hand. "My name is Griffin Sommer. I'm with the Frontier Battalion of the Texas Rangers, Company B." He slipped the badge back into his vest pocket and took off his Stetson, feeling a bit of pride at the title he'd finally earned. "Captain Hugh Sterling asked me to stop by and check on Old Widow Prentis, see if she's in need of assistance."
The young lady raised her delicate brows. "Old Widow Prentis?"
He didn't like how she said old, but he nodded as he put his hat back on. "Yes, ma'am."
"Mama!" A little boy ran out of the house and let the screen door slam as he stood on the porch, his hands on his hips. "Is this man botherin' you, Mama?"
The young'un couldn't be more than five or six years old, yet he glared at Griff with a scowl meant to intimidate. He'd be lucky to scare off a jackrabbit, with those big blue eyes and mop of hair. Griff tried to hide his amusement at the boy's greeting, suspecting that he was trying to protect his mama, just as Griff had done a hundred times with his own mother.
"Sorry, ma'am," Griff said to the lady on the porch. "I don't mean to alarm anyone. Just here doing my job."
"And what is that?" she asked, putting her hands on the boy's shoulders. "I don't believe I asked for Captain Sterling to interfere in my business."
"Your business?" Griff scratched the back of his head, causing his Stetson to tip forward over his brow.
"I am Old Widow Prentis, after all."
She was the widow? Suddenly he suspected Miss Etta had more to do with this errand than the captain.
"And I'm Harrison Prentis," the boy said, crossing his arms. "And we don't need no help."
"Harrison." His mama shook her head. "Mr. Sommer was misinformed; no harm done." She inspected Griff with the prettiest eyes he'd ever seen. "I'm just setting supper on the table. I'll be happy to offer you something to eat, and then I'll be just as happy to send you on your way." She indicated her farm with a nod of her head. "As you can see, we have everything under control here."
Her tone was confident as she lifted her stubborn jaw.
Griff's stomach rumbled again, and he nodded. "I'm much obliged at the offer, ma'am." He was eager to return to Hartville, but he rarely passed up a home-cooked meal — or an invitation from a nice-looking lady.
Branch Kilborn's warning sounded in Griff's mind. Women and rangering didn't mix. How many times had he heard the seasoned ranger tell him that in the short month they'd been in Hartville? Griff would be smart to head back the way he'd come, yet what was the harm in one meal?
"Harrison," Mrs. Prentis said, "please show Mr. Sommer and his horse to the barn while I finish setting the table." She paused on her way back into the house. "Your horse appears as trail weary as you, Mr. Sommer. Why don't you rub him down and give him some oats, let him rest up a bit before taking him back to Hartville."
"That's mighty generous of you, ma'am."
She didn't respond but stepped into the house and closed the door gently.
"This way," Harrison said, tilting his head toward the barn like a grown-up might do and shoving his thumbs in his denim trouser pockets.
Griff turned toward the barn and slowed his stride so the little chap could keep up with him. He wasn't used to walking so slowly. Almost everywhere Griff went, he went with purpose and drive, getting the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. He sensed things were different with a child underfoot.
"So, it's just you and your ma on the farm?" Griff asked nonchalantly.
"Yep. But we got us a tenant farmer who lives over yonder." Again, he didn't bother to point but simply tilted his head toward the north. "Mr. Griswold's his name."
It was clear the child spent his time with adults. Made Griff think of himself at that age. He'd always wished he had a brother or two, but it had only been him and his ma, then just him and his stepfather. No one else.
Griff unsaddled Bolt and rubbed him down, allowing Harrison to help — though Griff rarely let anyone near his horse. The animal could be temperamental around strangers, but the gelding simply looked at Harrison with curiosity instead of irritation.
After feeding Bolt, they left the barn and returned to the house. Harrison led Griff inside, and his mouth began to water at the aromas wafting out of the kitchen.
A fancy parlor sat to the left and a dining room to the right. Straight ahead was a set of stairs.
Mrs. Prentis came through a swinging door, holding a platter of steaming meat. She must not have heard their arrival, because she paused in surprise on the way to the table, taking Griff in again.
It didn't take long for her to find her voice. "If you'd like to wash up first, there's a pitcher of water in the kitch —"
Her words were cut off by the sound of pounding hooves on the road out front.
"Now, who could that be?" She set down the platter and wiped her hands on her apron. "I declare, we've had more visitors in one day than we've had all month."
Griff followed her line of sight out the window just as a group of riders pulled into her drive. Windblown and dusty, they wore bandanas over the lower half of their faces and looked like trouble.
Lifting his Colt .45 from his holster, he spoke calmly to Mrs. Prentis. "Do you know them?" She shook her head but didn't answer as she pulled her son to her side.
Four rough-looking men came to a halt in front of the house. One was bent over, almost falling off his horse, while the other three dismounted.
"Stay inside," Griff said to Mrs. Prentis. "And keep the boy with you."
Mrs. Prentis seemed to dither for a moment, as if she wasn't about to let Griff tell her what to do, but then thought better of it and nodded once.
Griff stepped toward the door, but before he could grab the knob, it swung open and one of the men stepped over the threshold. He tugged his bandana off his face, smoothing the curled tips of his handlebar mustache. He looked from Griff to Mrs. Prentis in one calculated glance.
"We have an injured man. Where can we put him?"
"Put him?" Mrs. Prentis bristled. "You can put him back on his horse."
Griff lifted his pistol, but before he could aim it, the other man grabbed Harrison with one hand and pulled a gun from his holster and pointed it at Mrs. Prentis with the other. "Hand over your weapon slowly, farmer," he snarled at Griff, "or your wife and kid die."
"He's not —" Mrs. Prentis began to speak, but Griff shook his head to silence her. The last thing he needed was for them to know he was a Texas Ranger. The longer they believed him to be a simple farmer, the better.
Slowly he lowered his Colt to the floor, never taking his eyes off the desperado. With a gun pointed at Mrs. Prentis, and Harrison in the stranger's grasp, Griff couldn't start any trouble. Better to do what they wanted for now and find a way to get the widow and her son to safety later.
"Now walk away," the outlaw said, "and stand by your wife."
Two other riders hauled in the injured man. His eyes were closed, and blood dripped from a wound in his left shoulder. One of the men carrying him was also wounded, just beneath his eye on his right cheek, though it didn't look as serious.
"Where should we put Red?" the man with the wounded cheek asked.
The leader looked at Mrs. Prentis. "Well?" "Turn my son loose and I'll tell you."
He didn't hesitate but pushed Harrison away, causing the boy to fall to his knees in front of Mrs. Prentis. She gasped and reached down to pick him up, a scowl on her face as she clutched her son close and started toward the stairs without another word.
"Do what she says," the leader told them. "And keep a gun on her. She looks like a firecracker."
They hauled Red up the stairs and out of sight. The leader kept his gun pointed at Griff while he reached down and lifted Griff's Colt off the floor. He put it in his holster and moved toward the table where the food was still steaming hot. "Looks like we've come to the right place." Griff clenched his fists as the man dug in his pocket and pulled out a coin. He tossed it to Griff, a sneer on his face. "Payment for services rendered."
The coin flipped through the air, and Griff caught it on instinct.
A cinco peso with a hole shot through the middle.
Griff's insides went cold.
He was holding the calling card of the Cass Markham Gang.
* * *
Evelyn held Harrison tight as she directed the outlaws to put the wounded man in the guest bed. She tried not to think about the bedsheets her grandmother had sewn for her when she had married, which would now be ruined from the blood. She tried not to think about four dangerous men in her home, one of them on the brink of death. And she tried not to think about the Texas Ranger in her dining room, who had been mistaken for her husband.
All she should think about was how to get Harrison out of the house and to safety.
The outlaws had their back to Evelyn, and she used the opportunity to move toward the door, her son at her side.
"Where do you think you're going, pretty lady?" The only man who wasn't wounded stepped into her path, a half-smile on his wide face. He wasn't very tall, but he was muscular, with a square torso and thick neck, making her think of a prizefighter.
Evelyn didn't say anything as she stared back at the strange man. She didn't owe him an explanation. This was her house.
"You need to take care of Red," he told her. "He's been shot."
It was clear how the man on the bed had gotten his name. Thick, wavy red hair covered his head, with a matching red goatee. He didn't appear much older than Evelyn, at the age of twenty-nine, but at the moment his face was drained of all color and he lay limp upon her bedding.
"Dusty," the man with the cheek wound pointed at Red's feet. "Take off his boots."
"Who's gonna watch the pretty lady, Willie?" Dusty's smile was still trained on Evelyn.
Willie ran his sleeved arm over his cheek to wipe away the blood. He was a handsome man, with brilliant blue eyes and a baby-face complexion. Under other circumstances, he looked like he would be at the center of every good time — but not now. Worry lined his face. "My pa's not here, so you'll need to take care of Red," he said to Evelyn. "It's real important he don't die."
Evelyn bit the inside of her lip as she surveyed Red's motionless form. Where did she begin? The only experience she had with the sick and dying was during the war when their plantation had become a hospital for the Confederate soldiers. But she'd been so young, she didn't know how to treat a gun wound.
"Now." Willie grabbed her arm and shoved her to the bed. "The man's dying."
Her heart slammed against her ribs as she pulled Harrison closer, almost losing her step.
"I don't much care if I have to hurt you to get what I want," Willie said with steel in his voice. "I won't let Red die."
Harrison began to cry, and she put her hand up to shelter him from the gruesome site. Her son had already lost his father — he couldn't lose his mother, as well.
She spoke calmly for Harrison's benefit and no other. "I want you to go to your room and stay there, do you hear?"
Fear filled Harrison's beautiful eyes, but his face screwed up in anger and he fisted his hands, turning to the outlaws.
"Go." She spoke in a stern voice before he could stand up to Willie and Dusty.
He hesitated for only a moment before leaving the room, first with a backward glance, and then at a run.
After she heard his bedroom door click shut, she unbuttoned her cuffs and rolled up her sleeves. If she was going to be in charge, then these men would have to listen to her.
She directed her attention to Dusty. "Do as Mr. Willie says and take off Red's boots."
Without waiting to see if he'd comply, she went to the head of the bed to examine the patient. One thing she recalled the surgeon doing when a soldier came in with a gunshot wound was to check if it had gone all the way through. If it hadn't, he'd have to try to remove it, or it would cause infection for sure. Just the thought of trying to extricate a bullet from inside a man made her head swim.
"Here." Willie tore Red's shirt off his shoulder, revealing a bloody shoulder.
Evelyn grimaced as she put her hand behind his shoulder and felt around for an exit wound. His skin was slippery with blood, and she had to force herself not to gag.
But there! She felt another hole.
Quickly she pulled away and grabbed a towel from the washbasin, wiping her hand clean.
Excerpted from "Seven Brides for Seven Texas Rangers"
Copyright © 2018 Erica Vetsch.
Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc.
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.
Table of Contents
The Ranger's Reward,
More Precious Than Rubies,
The Countess and the Cowboy,
Partners in Crime,
Guard Your Heart,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Do not waste you time...,all these special box sets are not good books. Just very bad stories.
Seven Brides for Seven Texas Rangers was a delightful and exciting story! It was wonderful to step back and visit Hartville again! And to catch up on old friends. This book was very exciting to read! Each story had its charm and characteristics. I loved how the stories centered on Texas Rangers - a tough, law abiding group built solidly with muscles, stubbornness, and grit. Each story is covered with action as they try to catch Markham gang. And you cannot forget the romance! Prologue by Erica Vetsch And let the story be born of the Seven Mighty Rangers. A great lead into the story from Erica Vetch! The Ranger’s Reward by Gabrielle Meyer A Texas Ranger sent on assignment to check on a what he thinks is an old widow, gets more than what he bargains for. Griff and Evelyn have their fair share of playacting to do, but when it is all over, they discover far more worth in each other. More Precious than Rubies by Lorna Seilstad This is a great quote! “The storms will come. They always do. But we must remember where our shelter can be found.” Whit expects adventure all his life. Violet is shy and leads a quiet life as the jeweler’s daughter. A train robbery brings these young sweethearts back together. And together they discover more than adventures but treasures of the heart. Jesse’s Sparrow by Amanda Barratt Sarah runs for freedom. Captured as a child to be used and abused into prostitution. Jesse meets her after her stagecoach is robbed. Together they are a force to be reckoned with. Love comes along with trust. The Countess and the Cowboy by Kathleen Y’Barbo Aza and Ezra were supposed to elope. A continent, a lie, then restoration brings these two back together. Aza and Ezra work together to get his horse back but they find something more valuable than in each other. Simple Interest by Susan Page Davis Augusta is a bank teller. O'Neal comes to the bank to deposit his earnings. A bank robbery happens while he is there. They take off with Augusta and he is hot on their trail. These two cook up a scheme to get the money back and love stirs up. Partners in Crime by Vickie McDonough Micah's undercover. Laurel's been kidnapped. He becomes her protector in the gang camp. Together they escape. Together they find value and love. Guard Your Heart by Erica Vetsch Two people more determined than ever not to marry. Constance ran from Shrevport because of false accusations from her ex-fiancé. Branch a fierce Ranger set in his ways. These two are thrust together after Constance witnesses a murder and Branch is ordered to protect her. Love and marriage doesn't seem impossible. Disclosure statement: I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.