Who Is Honesty McGuire?
That's what undercover Pinkerton agent Jesse Justiss wants to know. Honesty claims to be a helpless innocent alone in the big bad West -- but Jesse's been conned by the best of'em...and this sassy beauty is the best he's ever seen!Jesse can't trust anything but a feeling in his gut that this double-dealing lady might help him locate a missing heiress...and this fire in his heart that insists Honesty is someone he'd like to know intimately!
Honesty herself doesn't know who she is -- not after the shocking confession from the grifter she thought was her father! She doesn't know who Jesse Justiss really is either -- the stranger with smoldering blue eyes who she's hoodwinked into accompanying her as she hunts down her past. Jesse's strong, sculpted body may be as tempting as sin...but he's obviously spinning her some tall tales of his own! Can Honesty and Jesse stop scamming each other long enough to passionately explore their true feelings -- and their blossoming, most unlikely love?
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About the Author
Sheli Morgan is the author of four previous Western romances for Avon. She lives with her husband and children in Texas.
Read an Excerpt
Last Hope, Colorado1886
She didn't know who looked worse: the man, or the horse he rode in on. Both carried the mark of miles of weather and wear in their slouched postures and dust-caked hides, both looked as if they hadn't seen a meal in ages, and both seemed incapable of taking another step without toppling over.
From her room above the saloon, Honesty McGuire squinted through the window for a better look at the lone rider as he drew closer, stirring up dust on a street that hadn't seen traffic in weeks. To her dismay, the worn brim of the Stetson pulled low over his brow cast most of his face in shadow, and the heavy whiskers around his mouth and jaw hid the rest. A filthy duster covered him from neck to spur, and dirty, matted hair fell past his collar. He was a bit too scrawny for her tastes, too, but often what a man lacked in brawn he made up for in speed.
All right, so he wasn't the knight in shining armor she'd been hoping for; considering her choices to date, he was by far the most promising of the lot. At least he was young. And sober.
And who knew? His disreputable appearance might even play to her advantage, giving her the opportunity to search places she wouldn't dare explore alone. If Honesty had learned anything in her twenty years, it was never to overlook an opportunity.
No matter how pitiful it appeared.
So that left only one question: since the mines had played out, only two kinds of people ever showed up in Last Hope anymore those looking forsomeone, and those running from someone. Which was he? The hunter? Or the hunted?
A drink, a meal, and a bed. Jesse Justiss craved all three so badly he'd have given up his four-dollar boots for just the sight of them.
Navigating around yet another pot hole in the road, he directed his horse toward a warped hitching rail and forced his weary body out of the saddle. A sharp hiss tore through his lungs the instant his boots hit the ground and a spear of agony shot through him from heel to heart. His knees came close to buckling.
Jesse dropped his sweat-drenched forehead against the saddle skirt and cursed ten ways to Sunday through gritted teeth. Twice before, he'd found himself at the receiving end of a bullet, and he couldn't remember taking this long to recover.
Maybe he should have heeded the doc's advice and given his shoulder a couple more weeks to mend before tearing up one side of the Rockies and down the other. Maybe then it wouldn't now feel as if hot railroad spikes were being driven through his chest. But Jess never had been very good at taking advice.
Once the pain finally subsided to a dull, tolerable ache, he pushed away from Gemini's side and circled the horse. Fresh blood on the animal's foreleg caught his eye. "Hell and damnation," he swore under his breath. "What have you done to yourself this time, old pal?"
Gem nickered and bobbed his head.
Crouching low, Jess ran practiced hands along the black stocking, careful to avoid the ragged gash just below the knee a fresh cut, more than likely from the trip down the mountain where sharp limbs and scrub littered the aspen-populated slopes.
Well, he couldn't detect any swelling. That was a good sign. But it didn't mean the animal hadn't pulled a tendon or suffered an even more ruinous injury. It just meant Jess had caught it in the early stages.
He wiped his hand down his sunburned face and cursed again. So much for making it to Canon City by nightfall. The last thing they could afford was another delay, but neither would he risk riding Gemini now and crippling him for life. The mustang had been a gift from the prettiest horse thief he'd ever had the pleasure of knowing. Jesse had laughed when Annie Corrigan had told him he'd never find a finer mount or more faithful friend, but over the last eight years he'd lost count of how many times Gem had proved her right.
Jess brushed his hands together and straightened, then squinted into the sunlight to give the town if it could be called that a full sweep. It looked like any of a dozen there-then-gone mining communities he'd passed through, with false-fronted structures lining either side of the road. What windows weren't busted through or covered with boards wore a layer of grime so thick he couldn't see through them. Paint peeled from signs that creaked on rusty chains. Patches of weeds had sprung up between cracks in the boardwalk and were taking over sections of the packed dirt road, and a general odor of defeat had settled over the area.
"We picked a helluva place to land in, didn't we, Gem?" Jesse grumbled.
With a sigh as dismal as his surroundings, he turned toward one of the only establishments still open, a two-story lumber structure with THE SCARLET ROSE GAMING PARLOR AND SALOON painted in bold, sweeping strokes of red across a whitewashed backdrop. It couldn't have been more appropriately named, for the building stood out from the others like a perfect blossom in a row of tumbleweed.
As if to remind him that even the most perfect blossoms had their thorns, the hair along Jesse's arms suddenly stood on end. The cords in his neck went rigid. Prickles of unease danced up his spine.
Table of Contents
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In 1886 Last Hope, Colorado, Honesty McGuire needs to know who she really is. Three months ago, the man she thought of as her father, Deuce McGuire, a renowned con artist, died. Before his death, he informed her that he was not her biological father though he loved her like she was his daughter. Because several thugs are after Deuce and by default Honesty, she dishonestly puts up a front that he still lives to keep herself safe. Undercover Pinkerton Agent Jessie Justiss, using the alias of Jones, seeks Deuce for abducting and killing the two daughters of San Francisco magnate Anton Jervais sixteen years ago. When Jessie meets Honesty, both lose the edge that made them so successful as a detective and con artist respectively. Instead, love enters the relationship, but what will happen when they learn the truth about one another? AN UNLIKELY LADY is an amusing western romantic romp starring two inviting lead characters that dance quite a tango between them to the delight of the audience. The story line is humorous, but contains a wonderful investigative subplot as well as a warm romance between two wary ¿warriors¿. Rachelle Morgan shows her abilities to tell a gregarious story starring strong protagonists who hopefully soon will return during the story of Honesty¿s missing twin sister. Harriet Klausner