Only Beauty can heal this Beast...
War left Broc Kinkaid with scars he can't hide and a mission he can't avoid. He came to the Lazy T Ranch knowing he'd find nothing but trouble...and instead he found Amanda Liscomb. This fearless beauty is the only woman to ever see past his wounds, but will she give him the time of day when she discovers exactly what brought him into her life?
Amanda might be beautiful, but that won't keep her family's ranch from slipping between her fingers. All men ever see is a pretty faceBroc is the only one who ever truly cared. But there's something dark inside him, some secret pain she's not sure she can reach. Can she convince him to let go of his past to find a future with her before it's too late?
The war has changed them all, and each of the Night Riders must decide what is more important: love or revenge?
Night Riders Series:
Texas Homecoming (Book 1)
Texas Bride (Book 2)
Born to Love (Book 3)
Someone Like You (Book 4)
When Love Comes (Book 5)
Texas Pride (Book 6)
Heart of a Texan (Book 7)
What People Are Saying about Leigh Greenwood:
"A joy to read."Long and Short Reviews for No One But You
"If you enjoy adventurous, heartfelt stories with a western flavor, this one is for you."Blue Ribbon Reviews for To Have and To Hold
"If it's a Greenwood cowboy story, readers are guaranteed an emotional, rich, adventurous romance with strong heroes and courageous heroines."RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars for Forever and Always
About the Author
Leigh Greenwood is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Seven Brides, Cowboys, and Night Riders series. The proud father of three grown children, Leigh resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. He never intended to be a writer, but he found it hard to ignore the people in his head, and the only way to get them out was to write. Visit him at www.leigh-greenwood.com.
Read an Excerpt
When Love Comes
By Leigh Greenwood
Dorchester PublishingCopyright © 2010 Leigh Greenwood
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTexas, 1869
Broc Kincaid stood before the spare, somber figure seated behind a plain table in what passed for the sheriff's office. He didn't want to look the judge in the eye, but his own stupidity had gotten him into this mess. He wasn't going to compound his error by adding cowardice to his list of transgressions. Getting arrested for brawling in public was humiliating enough.
"Have you been arrested for something like this before?"
"No, your honor. I've always managed to keep my temper under control."
The judge looked at a sheet of paper in front of him. "If these witnesses' statements are correct, I'm surprised you didn't do more than break Felix Yant's jaw and fracture his arm."
Broc had tried to ignore the man's vicious taunts about his face even when Felix had followed him from his hotel to the restaurant to the saloon. Broc had tried to convince himself the man wasn't worth his attention, but it was the laughter that did it. "I didn't mean to lose my temper. I apologized to his wife."
"I understand you paid for the doctor's bill."
"Yes, your honor." The man had two children. They didn't deserve to suffer because of their father's cruelty.
The judge sighed. "It goes against the grain to punishyou for doing what is essentially a public service."
"I understand, your honor."
The judge's features hinted at a smile. "I'm going to give you a job I expect you'll dislike even more than spending a couple of nights in the lockup. If you can accomplish it within two weeks, I'll wipe this case from the records. If not, I'll have no recourse but to send you to jail."
Broc pulled his hat brim lower to shade his eyes from the intense glare. It was only midmorning, but the Texas sun was so hot drops of perspiration had begun to trickle down his chest. It made him long for the cool days and evenings he'd spent in Rafe Jerry's home in California. Though Rafe had encouraged Broc to stay, he knew it was time to return to Texas. He wasn't sure he was cut out to be a cowboy-it was a long way from his days as an entertainer on Mississippi riverboats-but he was positive he didn't want to be a farmer like Rafe. Cabbages and artichokes held no fascination for him.
Laveau di Viere, a traitor to the crack regiment they'd all served during the war, had escaped once again, this time after kidnapping Rafe's half brother and attempting to kill Rafe's stepmother. The only good thing to come from his latest crimes was that Broc and his friends finally had something any court in the country would accept if they managed to capture him. When they captured him. Every time Broc saw the reflection of his ruined face in the mirror, he renewed his vow that Laveau would not continue to escape justice.
Laveau's latest escape had left Broc in a rotten mood for most of the trip to Texas. Maybe that's why he'd gotten into the pointless fight with Felix Yant. He knew it was impossible to change the attitude of men like Yant, even by beating their faces in. The best course was to ignore them.
But he'd let his temper flare out of control, and now he was saddled with collecting a debt from a family he'd never seen before. That ought to make him about as popular as fire ants at a family picnic. It wasn't a small debt, either. Not many people in Texas had seven hundred dollars. If they did have something worth that much, it was usually difficult to turn into cash.
Virtually impossible in the thirteen days he had to complete his mission.
He couldn't go to jail. It wasn't the time he'd be forced to spend behind bars that bothered him. It was the damage it would do to his reputation. All he needed was to add jailbird to scarface, and his place in life would be fixed forever.
His unhappy ruminations were interrupted by the sight of a bull emerging from a brush-filled creek bed that paralleled the trail at a distance of about fifty yards. The beast was clearly not a range bull but a valuable blooded animal brought to Texas to improve the quality of the owner's herd. Longhorns were hardy animals, but they didn't carry much meat. Broc wondered if the owner of the bull knew it had escaped. The animal looked strong, but if it got into a fight with one of the wild-eyed range bulls, it wasn't likely to survive without injury. He supposed the best thing to do would be to lasso the bull and lead it into town. He'd seen a sign a few miles back telling him a place called Cactus Bend was eleven miles ahead. Surely someone there would know where the bull belonged.
Cactus Bend was also where he was supposed to collect the debt.
Before he had time to uncoil his rope, a young woman and a boy emerged from the streambed. The way the young woman held the rope told Broc she didn't have much experience handling it. A rope dragged the ground from the boy's saddle. Maybe the rope that had been on the bull before it escaped. Broc uncoiled his own rope and wheeled his horse to go after the bull. The bull made an attempt to evade Broc's rope, but it was too slow and Broc's horse was too fast. The bull tried to fight the rope, but the harder it fought, the more the rope tightened around its throat. Realizing its mistake, the bull decided to charge the creature that was threatening its freedom.
"Get a rope on him!" Broc shouted to the woman. "I don't want him to gore my horse or me."
The next few minutes were some of the most challenging of Broc's short career as a cowhand. The bull was crafty and mean, but its weight slowed it enough that Broc's horse was able to avoid its horns. Deciding to fight fire with fire, Broc spurred his horse in a different direction from the bull's charge, pulling the rope taut and throwing the bull off balance. Before the bull could regain its balance, Broc changed direction. When he changed directions so quickly the bull went to its knees, he shouted to the woman, "Throw the rope before he gets to his feet." He was relieved when, after three previous failed attempts, the woman's lasso settled over the bull's head.
"Let's hold him between us." A needless directive, for the woman's lasso was already looped around her saddle horn. The bull was smart enough to realize fighting was a waste of energy. After bellowing its rage, it snorted twice and pawed the ground before giving up the struggle.
The boy was at Broc's side almost immediately. "That's our bull. You can't steal him." The boy looked torn between his desire to stop Broc and his fear that this strange man with the terrible face might do something to hurt him.
"My brother is right." Once she was certain the bull was under control, the young woman also turned her attention to Broc. "We've been trying to get a rope on him for the last two hours."
Broc's impulse was to turn away to spare the young woman the shock of seeing the disfigured left side of his face, but rather than recoil in horror or disgust, she seemed curious, even sympathetic. Broc wanted nothing to do with either reaction. He just wanted to forget he was different from everyone else.
"I wasn't trying to steal your bull," Broc said. "I got the feeling you weren't used to handling that rope much."
The young woman flushed. "Is it that obvious?"
"My sister could have roped that old bull any time she wanted," the boy said.
"Eddie, there's no use stretching the truth further than it will go. I just said I've been trying to rope him for two hours."
"You would have roped him fine if he'd stayed in the open," Eddie said.
"If he'd stood still with his head at just the right angle," his sister said. "Sorry," she said, turning to Broc. "Eddie thinks it's his job to defend me."
"Somebody's got to," the boy said, "'cause Gary won't."
"He would if I needed it," the woman said. "Please excuse my bad manners. My name is Amanda, and this is my brother Eddie. My family owns the Lazy T ranch."
Broc had passed identifying signs of several ranches, but none of them were the Lazy T. If Amanda's bull made a habit of wandering onto other ranches, it could lead to trouble. Preventing trouble wasn't his responsibility, but he had nothing against helping a beautiful woman. "I'm Broc Kincaid. I'll be happy to help you get your bull back home and in his pen."
"I couldn't put you to so much trouble."
"It's no trouble if your ranch is on the way to Cactus Bend."
"It's just outside of town."
"We used to own a saloon there," Eddie informed Broc. "My sister sings there."
Amanda blushed again. "It would be more accurate to say I wait tables."
"You do sing," Eddie insisted.
Broc tightened the rope on the bull and clucked to his mount. "You can tell me all about it on the way into town," he said to Eddie. "I like singing. Do you know what her favorite songs are?"
Given an invitation to talk, Eddie proved himself up to the challenge. Broc didn't have a chance to get in more than a sentence or two before they reached the lane leading to the Lazy T.
"You really don't have to come with us," Amanda said.
"I don't think your brother is ready to take on a full-grown bull."
"I am, too," Eddied declared. "I've already done it."
"Only once," Amanda said.
Eddie stuck out his jaw. "But I done it."
"It's okay," Broc assured both of them. "I'm planning to spend the night in Cactus Bend."
"What are you doing here?" Eddie asked.
"Eddie, it's rude to ask a question like that."
"Ma's going to want to know before she lets him inside."
Broc laughed. "I'm not planning to go inside."
"You must meet my mother and allow her to thank you," Amanda said.
"If old man Carruthers had got hold of that bull, we'd never have got him back," Eddie said.
"You don't know that," Amanda said to her brother.
"That's what Ma said. I heard her."
"She was just upset. The bull is very valuable."
"She's going to be even more upset when he comes riding up to the house." Eddie pointed at Broc. "What happened to your face?"
Amanda gasped and flushed crimson.
"I got shot in the face," Broc explained.
"That was a mean thing to do. Who done it?"
"Eddie, you can't ask such questions."
"I already did."
"I apologize for my brother," Amanda said. "He's too young to understand that there are certain things it's not polite to mention."
"I do, too," Eddie said, indignant. "I know it's not polite to mention the black hairs on Mrs. Dunn's lip. And I know it's not polite to tell anyone that Niall Toby's thing is so small even the whores won't have anything to do with him."
Broc thought Amanda would faint from embarrassment. He knew he shouldn't laugh, but it was impossible not to be amused.
"I was shot in an ambush during the war," Broc explained.
Eddie's eyes widened with excitement. "Did you kill the man who done it?"
"No, but my friend did. He was about to shoot me again."
"That's enough, Eddie," Amanda said in a voice Eddie had obviously heard before.
"My other brother and I are out of the house a lot, which leaves Eddie to look after our mother," Amanda said to Broc. "She's something of an invalid. I'm afraid she indulges him too much."
"Ma says she can't get along without me." Clearly Eddie was proud to be so valuable to his mother.
Broc was impressed by the ranch house they were approaching, a rambling, wood-frame dwelling that appeared to have at least six rooms. The wide front porch reminded him of his childhood home in Tennessee. Three other buildings, all of rough-hewn timber, seemed to be a barn, a bunkhouse, and probably a henhouse.
"Nice place you have here," Broc said.
"It belongs to me, too," Eddie informed him.
"My father told us he bought it for the family," Amanda explained.
"Which part do you get?" Broc enjoyed Eddie's confusion.
"He gets the chickens," Amanda said. "That's his job."
"Chickens are for girls." Eddie's disgust with his job was plain to see.
"I gather you don't have a little sister," Broc said to Eddie.
"Just Gary and her," Eddie said, gesturing to Amanda. "Everybody bosses me around."
"Well, I won't," Broc said. "Now let's get this bull in his pen."
The pen turned out to be a large pasture. "We can't afford to let him run loose," Amanda explained, "so we bring the cows to him. We have a small herd. Without him, we'd have no hope of making the ranch pay."
"Gary doesn't want it to pay," Eddie told Broc. "He wants it to fail so he can spend all his time in the saloon."
"Mr. Kincaid doesn't want to hear about our problems," Amanda told her brother.
"I'm just passing through," Broc said. "I'll have no reason to tell anyone there's dissension in the family."
"You don't have to," Amanda said with a sigh. "Everybody knows it."
Broc decided it was time to be on his way. "I'd better go," he said to Amanda. "Be careful when you drive cows into his pasture."
"That's Gary's job," Eddie informed him.
It wasn't difficult to put the bull in its pasture. Eddie jumped down to open the gate. Keeping the bull between them, they led it into the pasture. Once Eddie had closed the gate, Broc released the bull, which ambled off as though its escape were a routine part of the day. Dismounted, the three of them leaned against the gate and watched the bull try to excite the interest of a young heifer.
"Is it a lot of work to round up cows for him?" Broc asked Amanda.
"Not really. Our ranch isn't very big, and we have a creek running through the middle. Since the best grass is near the creek, our cows never wander far."
"Old man Carruthers's cows eat our grass," Eddie informed Broc.
"You know cows are allowed to range free," Amanda said to her brother.
"Amanda, who is that strange man? What's he doing here?"
The sound of rustling skirts and footsteps on gravel caused Broc to turn and face an older woman he assumed was Amanda and Eddie's mother. Her features were those of a woman still shy of her forties, but her demeanor was that of someone much older. She walked with stooped shoulders and leaned on a cane. Her face was devoid of energy or expression. Even her voice sounded thin and frail. Unlike Texas women, who wore simple dresses with only a single undergarment, her gown of rich green was worn over many petticoats. Her adornments included a necklace made of a single strand of dark green beads and a cream-colored lace cap over immaculately groomed hair. She looked like the women Broc remembered seeing before the war. Her reaction to his face was to recoil so violently, she might have lost her balance had she not held a cane. Amanda looked horrified by her mother's reaction.
"This is Mr. Kincaid, Mother," she said quickly. "He caught the bull for us and brought it back home."
Taking a moment to recover her balance, Amanda's mother paused before lifting her gaze to meet Broc's. "I'm Mrs. Aaron Liscomb. Thank you for helping my daughter."
Broc hoped he covered his surprise better than Mrs. Liscomb. Aaron Liscomb was the man from whom he had to collect the debt. It was all he could do to keep from turning his head to see if Mr. Liscomb might be approaching.
Mrs. Liscomb turned to look at her daughter, but did it so naturally she didn't appear to be averting her face. "Where's Gary?"
"He sneaked into town," Eddie told her.
Amanda kicked her brother's ankle. Apparently she'd intended to keep that information from her mother.
"He wouldn't do that before he'd finished his chores," Mrs. Liscomb chided. "You've got to stop being jealous of Gary. You'll be a big boy like him one day."
Amanda laid her hand on her brother's shoulder to keep him from making the sharp rejoinder Broc was certain hovered on his lips. "I don't know where Gary is," Amanda told her mother.
"I'm sure he's with the herd. Earl Carruthers wouldn't miss a chance to run off some of our cows. He wants that bull almost as much as he wants our ranch."
Feeling he was being drawn too deeply into the private problems of people from whom he had to collect money, Broc thought it might be better to leave. "It was nice to meet you, but I need to be getting on my way. I need to find a room in town and hunt up some dinner."
"You must have dinner with us," Mrs. Liscomb said. "You Won't find anything good in Cactus Bend."
Excerpted from When Love Comes by Leigh Greenwood Copyright © 2010 by Leigh Greenwood. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Broc Kincaid's face was scarred during the Civil War. By 1869 he remains extremely sensitive about his visage so when moronic Felix Yant tauntingly comments, an irate Broc batters the man. The Texas judge warns him about losing his temper, but commends him for paying the doctor bills so that Yant's wife and two kids did not have to suffer; still he sentences him to collect a debt. That will wipe clean the record or spend time in jail Broc agrees to go to Cactus bend to collect what rancher Aaron Liscomb owes. He arrives at the Lazy T ranch to find the man dead. His wife Amanda runs the spread with the help of her three young children Eddie, Gary and Amanda. None of the four family members know anything about a debt. Broc assumes they lie, but decides to learn the truth. He obtains work on the ranch, but as he falls in love with the widow and her three kids, he also realizes they are honest; which means the judge or someone else is using him to pull a scam. This is a super extremely complicated western romance that feels in some ways like an amateur sleuth as the hero struggles to learn the truth starting with going undercover. The romantic subplot takes a somewhat back seat to Broc's investigation, but fits perfectly as he begins to wonder if love taints his perspective. Leigh Greenwood affirms why he is one of the sub-genre's top guns with his latest historical. Harriet Klausner
I reviewed this book for Romance Reader At Heart website. RRAH's THOUGHTS AND PONDERINGS: First thing that comes to my mind after reading this book is what a lost opportunity to tell a really heartwarming story of two people with the same problem. The heroine was a beauty who would rather be plain, so people would see HER and all that she accomplishes while struggling to keep her family and the ranch together. A hero whose face marks him a beast, but deep down, a very honorable man in a need of a woman that would love him for himself, overlook his disfigurement and sooth his pain. Instead of that story, I read a book devoid of all emotion. There was hardly any description of it and almost every emotional instance was described through dialogue. Let me tell you, there was so much dialogue that at one point, it felt like I was reading a movie script. The best word to describe the content of this book is "flat". I also had a problem with the pacing. When I read a book, I need to be slowly initiated and not parachuted into it, making me run in all directions. Even the romance portion of this book was poorly written and left me wondering if I was reading a romance novel or just a western. At the start of the story, our heroine is keeping her ranch afloat by waiting tables and singing in the villains' saloon?! How plausible is that? Can a woman earn that much money?! And don't start me on the villain. This dude was laughable and cartoonish, and for that matter, all the characters in this book were as well--from the heroine's mother to the stupid bull that kept running away! If you want to read a book that lacks development of story and characters, as well as direction, then you just might like WHEN LOVE COMES. I, however, feel that I can't recommend it. I'm not even tempted to read any other books written by this author. Melanie
Excellant story about Broc. 3rd book in the Night Riders series. About 253 pages. D
RT rated WHEN LOVE COMES with 4 stars. It's a fast-paced story with a likable H & H, and a quirking little brother named Eddie, who is the most memorable character in the story. However, the author depends mostly on the dialogue to get a character's emotions across to the reader. The story tells more about how a character feels than it shows. There's little to no description of the different kinds of eye contact. (Tom Cruise finds this element of acting as very important to conveying emotion. I would imagine most actors do.) I read little to no heart pounding. No knotted stomachs. No gasps of surprise or gulps in horror or sweating from fear. No sighs of relief or frustration. Little to no physical reactions a person experiences when faced with all kinds of emotions and situations, romantic or otherwise. And paragraphs and pages after the fact is too late. Western Romances are known for the inward and outward display of emotion. This story lacks that important dimension. It's also short on colorful similes and metaphors most historicals are famous for. At times I was confused at who was speaking due to the lack of simple tags sometimes needed to keep characters' speech straight. I found a few holes in the plot that if the hero would've in the beginning simply asked the judge why and who the heroine's family owed this debt to he was being sent to collect, the hero would've gone to the her with the proper information, instead of dragging out a thin mystery halfway or more through the story unnecessarily. The sensuality in this story was rated as hot. The love scene did have a fair amount of emotion. But it was far from hot. If you're a Leigh Greenwood fan, and have always been happy with the lack of emotion or creativity, you should like this story, too.