some things money can’t buy…
was no better than kidnapping! Besides, women came with
too many issues. Dubious, T.J. Blake refuses the request
to retrieve the daughter of a wealthy widow. But when
the tune of five thousand dollars dances in his ears, he
quickly changes his mind. Surely this woman’s daughter
couldn’t be as bad as her snobbish mother. And if she
was, he’d have the rope ready.
There’s only one condition to retrieving the stubborn
beauty in question—Sarah is to be delivered untouched.
After a lifetime of dealing with outlaws of the worst
kind, surely Blake can escort one woman across the
country without giving into temptation. He has five
thousand reasons to ensure it will be an easy task. But
Blake doesn’t bank on the value of his heart being worth
far more than Sarah’s Bounty...
that Sarah knows changes the night she is grabbed.
with questions, anger and hurt at discovering her whole
life has been a lie, Sarah resolves to find out why her
natural mother would abandon her to be raised in a
saloon while she lives a life of luxury.
To gain the answers she seeks,
she calls a truce with her kidnapper, agreeing to follow
his rules. To ward off suspicion, they pretend to be man
and wife. But how far will the role go? Why couldn’t her
captor have been hideous? Blake causes stirrings in
Sarah she’s never felt before and soon she has a request
of her own. Only when she’s denied the second kiss she’s
so curious about does she face the truth—is the promised
payout worth more to Blake than her love?
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Copyright © 2012 Terri Crews
In a matter of a few minutes, she’d
come to and the kicking and screaming would commence. Far be it
for a woman to be reasonable.
Blake slung her over his horse and
mounted behind her, gathering her in his arms then slowly
creeping out of town through back alleys. When he was far enough
away, he kicked the horse into a full gallop.
With her so amiable, Blake made good
time. Only when he was far enough no one could hear her screams
did he slow the horse. He expected her to come to anytime,
screaming and scratching.
Several minutes ticked by, but she
remained lifeless. Blake began to worry. He drew his horse to a
halt and leaned down, placing his ear to her chest and listening
to her heart. He found a steady, quick beat.
Suddenly her hands shot up, burying
like claw daggers in his hair.
“Damnation, woman!” Blake never knew he
was so tender-headed until now. “Let go!”
“I’m going to make you sorry you ever
laid eyes me!”
So she wasn’t the screaming type after
all, he thought. He gritted his teeth with the pain. This was a
new experience. He found it hard to keep his wits and control of
“Let go, Sarah!”
The horse paced nervously under them.
“You’re going to cause us to be
Blake tried his best to steady the
horse while attempting to pry her hands free before she removed
his scalp. But his one hand was no match for the both of hers.
Her fingers buried deep and held tight.
“Let go!” he ordered again.
“Not on your life, mister!”
Then she managed to bite the one hand
that clutched the reins.
With this new onset of pain, Blake lost
his grasp. The nervous horse paced more rapidly and with no
tension on the reins, reared. They both landed with a jarring
thud on the ground, Blake breaking her fall as the wind was
knocked from him.
The impact momentarily loosened his
hold on her and it took all of a breath for her to realize her
freedom. Sarah claimed her chance, scrambling to her feet.
“Ouch, hellfire!” he bellowed as she
used his leg for leverage. Blake scrambled to his feet as she
Sarah could hear him just steps behind
her. She attempted to gather her long skirts but they still got
in the way, the loose fabric tripping her.
Blake watched her go down and sighed
with relief. It gave him the break that he needed. Before she
could find her feet, he was upon her, his weight pinning her to
Beneath him, she struggled to move. He
knew how heavy he must be. Wrapping both his arms around her
middle, he rolled on his back and took her with him.
Minutes they both lay there. Her
breathing labored as hard as his. As time passed, her closeness
began to wreak havoc with his senses. Her scent and soft,
womanly feel screamed danger to a lonely man. Blake loosened his
arms and just as he did, he realized his mistake. She struggled
and kicked wildly again, this time making contact with his
groin. He choked back a well-earned oath.
He rolled again and pinned her beneath
him. The force of his weight stopped her in her tracks and she
“Woman, you are trying my patience.”
She sniveled again.
Blake refused to feel sorry for her.
His mind over matter had returned with full force. He closed his
eyes and took several breaths to keep from smothering her for
“Please, I can’t breathe,” she
“I’ll get off you only if you promise
“Okay,” she managed.
Slowly he rolled again. “Better?”
“Yes.” She nodded in the dark.
“Are you hurt anywhere?” He couldn’t
afford to arrive with damaged goods.
“Just my pride.” Defeat laced her
Blake smiled. The girl had wit even
with her predicament.
“Mine has seen better days. I won’t say
anything if you don’t,” he returned.
In his mind he could see the headline—Well-known
Bounty Hunter Takes Whipping from Hundred-pound Girl! He
wanted to laugh, but smiled despite the situation.
“Well, what’s going to happen now?” she
“I think what needs to happen now is
for me to get a rope—for your safety and mine.”
“You wouldn’t dare.”
“I would,” he said.
His main motive why reminded him as he
moved. He groaned inwardly with each step.
After several minutes and more
struggles, Sarah found herself tied to one end of a rope that
looped around her waist. And guess where the other end was tied?
“There, that should do it.” Blake
adjusted his end.
“This is ridiculous,” she complained.
“This is necessary. Now Sarah, if you
He pulled on the rope slightly.
She rooted herself where she stood.
“We need to ride and be far away from
here by sunup. We got a long way to travel.”
Blake walked toward his horse. The rope
tightened with dead weight. She could at least move with him. He
reached and gave it a forceful yank due to her reluctance.
Sarah braced herself against the force.
It was her mistake—he only pulled it harder.
“Mister, will you please tell me why
you’ve kidnapped me?”
She stumbled forward, huffing in
“Well, for starters my name is Blake,
Sarah gasped at the name and tugged at
the rope in determination not to be treated this way. The
notorious bounty hunter, J.T. Blake! It’s hopeless, she thought.
J.T. Blake was one of the best.
“Well, Mr. Blake, I insist you tell me
who has hired you to kidnap me and why!”
“You can call me Blake, no mister
necessary, being how we’re going to be acquainted many days and
nights, as I warned you earlier when you got the notion to try
to run off.” He pulled on the rope again as a reminder. “I was
hired to bring you to someone,” he explained. “And I aim to.”
“Who?” she asked through clenched
She wasn’t an animal. She jerked the
rope toward her to let him know how it felt.
“I’m getting there.” He hauled her
toward him again. “Your mother.”
With that, he turned toward the horse.
“My mother? Why on earth would Ruby
hire someone to kidnap me?” she whispered.
Blake waited on her to take the hint to
climb on the horse, but she just stood there gawking. He sighed
and circled her waist with his hands.
“Not Ruby. Your rightful mother.”
Finding she weighed as much as a child,
he placed her on the horse.
For once, Sarah was rendered silent.
Ruby wasn’t her mother?
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