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Authors: Lauri Robinson

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Guardian Bride

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Guardian Bride

by Lauri Robinson

The Wild Rose Press

www.thewildrosepress.com

Copyright ©

First published in 2010

NOTICE: This eBook is licensed to the original purchaser

only. Duplication or distribution to any person via email,

floppy disk, network, print out, or any other means is a

violation of International copyright law and subjects the

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overrides the Adobe Reader permissions which are

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This eBook is displayed using 100% recycled electrons.

2

Guardian Bride

by Lauri Robinson

CONTENTS

Praise for the Author

Dedication

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

A word about the author...

Thank you for purchasing

* * * *

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Guardian Bride

by Lauri Robinson

The jingle of harnesses and the creak and clatter of wagon

wheels interrupted the casual tweets of the prairie songbirds.

Frowning, Snake moved beyond the end of the long rows

of wheat. The small plume of dust had grown closer. He

squinted. With the force of a lightning bolt, his heart

plummeted into a dark, spooky place.

An old mule, wearing a hat that someone had cut long slits

in the brim so the animal's ears could stick out and full of

purple and pink flowers, trotted along the trail. Dust rose into

the air in the animal's wake. Two women sat on the seat of an

odd shaped, little wagon. He began to shake. They didn't

need to come closer for him to know who they were. The

driver wore a hat to match the mules, minus the ear slots,

and the woman beside her toted a well-used shotgun.

Fear like he'd never known raced over his body, and he

scanned the vast ground, erratically trying to figure out which

way to run.

Just as he hefted a leg, which felt like it weighed three

hundred pounds, a rough voice sliced the air. "Don't move! I

got you in my sights!"

"Aw, shit!" The two women—together—could only mean

one thing. Turning back to the wagon, he shouted, "Put the

gun away, Ma, you ain't gonna shoot me."

"You don't know that!" she reiterated.

On second thought, a good round of buckshot wouldn't be

as bad as the alternative—marrying the woman who sat

beside his mother, glowering at him like he'd just killed her

mule, hat and all.

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Guardian Bride

by Lauri Robinson

Summer Austin flinched as the gun in the woman's hands

clicked. Out of the corner of her eye, she checked if the

woman sitting beside her had cocked the trigger.

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Guardian Bride

by Lauri Robinson

Praise for the Author

KENDRA'S CHOICE

"Fast-paced and entertaining. I loved the book and highly

recommend it."

~
Brenda Talley, The Romance Studio

"Lauri Robinson, with remarkable timing [and] humor,

creates a love story of two strong characters that give off

sparks and vibes that keep the reader turning pages."

~
Camellia, The Long and Short of it Reviews

"Ah, Lauri Robinson sure knows how to make her

characters go through obstacles."

~Night Owl Reviews (Top Pick Award)

"
BADLAND BRIDE
is romance at its finest." ~
Romance

Junkie's Reviewer Audrey
.

"I really enjoyed everything about
BADLAND BRIDE
The

Quinter Brides, Book 2."

~
Chrissy, Love Western Romances

"Lauri Robinson has once again written a wonderful

engaging romance."

~
Mixed Book Bag

A SOLDIER FOR CHRISTMAS

"This beautifully written story makes one believe in

miracles. I loved the humor, the surprises, and, most of all,

the LOVE."

~
Camellia, The Long and Short of it Reviews

[Back to Table of Contents]

6

Guardian Bride

by Lauri Robinson

Guardian Bride

The Quinter Brides, Book Four

by

Lauri Robinson

[Back to Table of Contents]

7

Guardian Bride

by Lauri Robinson

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and

incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or

are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons

living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is

entirely coincidental.

Guardian Bride: The Quinter Brides, Book Four

COPYRIGHT (C) 2010 by Lauri Robinson

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or

reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written

permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press except in the

case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or

reviews.

Contact Information: [email protected]

Cover Art by
Nicola Martinez

The Wild Rose Press

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0706

Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com

Publishing History

First Cactus Rose Edition, 2010

Print ISBN 1-60154-857-5

Published in the United States of America

[Back to Table of Contents]

8

Guardian Bride

by Lauri Robinson

Dedication

To Virginia Robinson, my mother-in-law.

Rest in Peace.

[Back to Table of Contents]

9

Guardian Bride

by Lauri Robinson

Chapter One
Southwestern Kansas

1885

"What the hell?" Snake, otherwise known as Scott Andrew

Quinter, jerked against the eerie sensation rippling his spine.

He lifted his head, scanning the area with a good once over.

The rich, fertile soil of the plains making up western Kansas

lay out in all directions. It was like a mine, a gold mine, and

he was a miner claim-staking the mother lode.

A spectacular sky, profound blue and adorned with clouds

that looked like pillows of bleached cotton, housed the bright

sun that made sweat pour down his back. He let his gaze

make another circle, convinced it took more than a trickle of

perspiration to make his entire body quake.

Other than a small puff of dust far off on the horizon, there

was nothing to blame for the uneasiness that seared his

bones. He shrugged, but it was to no avail. Besides the

eeriness, a heavy gloom shrouded him lately. Forcing his

mind to ignore it all, he bent to examine the roots of the

winter wheat he'd sowed last fall. The hearty plant had

thrived in the rich soil and was well on its way to proving this

hybrid of wheat he'd created was the one—the seed that

would turn Kansas into the breadbasket of the nation.

The quiver came again, eating at his bones like a bug

devouring a leaf. He snapped upright and stomped toward the

end of the field, kicking clods of dirt out of the way as he

went. What the hell was wrong with him? Ever since that

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Guardian Bride

by Lauri Robinson

stupid poker game in Dodge, he'd had a dark cloud hanging

over his head and an irritating, nagging voice in the back of

his mind. It wasn't as if he'd cheated anyone, in all reality,

he'd folded—threw away a full house, Queens over Aces. In

his mind, it had been the only honorable thing to do. July

Austin—the man he'd played against—had thrown his

daughter into the pot.

Austin had said she was of age and more than willing to

comply with the deal, but Snake didn't think it was

appropriate. No, siree, gambling a daughter away wasn't

right, no matter how willing she was. Another shiver raced

over his shoulders, and sweat not caused from the sun,

dripped off his forehead.

In all actuality, the whole situation had been too close to

home for comfort. His mother had married off three of his

brothers—against their will for the most part. Not that it

hadn't worked out for Kid, Skeeter, and most recently, Hog,

but he, Snake, wasn't about to let it happen to him. His

brothers were all happier than peas in pods, but marriage

wasn't in his future. He had farming to do, between this

hybrid, and the new irrigation system he was structuring—he

flat out didn't have time for anything else—but more than

that, women made him nervous.

He was all male, and had visited the upper floors of

saloons before. What flesh and bone man didn't? Those visits

were needed, and those girls didn't make him uneasy—there

were a few he grew damn right excited to see again. It was

women like his sisters-in-law that made his throat swell up

like he'd rolled in a patch of poison ivy. They were sweet,

11

Guardian Bride

by Lauri Robinson

kind, and could make a man run in circles faster than a cat

with two tails.

The jingle of harnesses and the creak and clatter of wagon

wheels interrupted the casual tweets of the prairie songbirds.

Frowning, Snake moved beyond the end of the long rows of

wheat. The small plume of dust had grown closer. He

squinted. With the force of a lightning bolt, his heart

plummeted into a dark, spooky place.

An old mule, wearing a hat that someone had cut long slits

in the brim so the animal's ears could stick out and full of

purple and pink flowers, trotted along the trail. Dust rose into

the air in the animal's wake. Two women sat on the seat of an

odd shaped, little wagon. He began to shake. They didn't

need to come closer for him to know who they were. The

driver wore a hat to match the mules, minus the ear slots,

and the woman beside her toted a well-used shotgun.

Fear like he'd never known raced over his body, and he

scanned the vast ground, erratically trying to figure out which

way to run.

Just as he hefted a leg, which felt like it weighed three

hundred pounds, a rough voice sliced the air. "Don't move! I

got you in my sights!"

"Aw, shit!" The two women—together—could only mean

one thing. Turning back to the wagon, he shouted, "Put the

gun away, Ma, you ain't gonna shoot me."

"You don't know that!" she reiterated.

On second thought, a good round of buckshot wouldn't be

as bad as the alternative—marrying the woman who sat

12

Guardian Bride

by Lauri Robinson

beside his mother, glowering at him like he'd just killed her

mule, hat and all.

Summer Austin flinched as the gun in the woman's hands

clicked. Out of the corner of her eye, she checked if the

woman sitting beside her had cocked the trigger.

Stephanie Quinter had. Moreover, one gnarled finger was

set to pull the lever back the rest of the way.

Summer swallowed, stirring up the bile that already

churned in her stomach. Marrying Snake Quinter wasn't

necessarily what she wanted, but he was her ticket out of

Dodge, and she had to take it. Another option wasn't likely to

come along, and time had run out.

He, the man she was about to marry, stood at the edge of

a fading-green field. Soon the stalks of wheat would turn

gold—that is if locusts or hail didn't wipe the crop out before

it ripened and diminish the entire lot. Summer had seen it

before, the way Mother Nature could destroy a crop in the

blink of an eye, and a piece of her hoped it wouldn't happen

to Snake.

For the most part, from what she knew anyway, he was a

good man, kind to strangers and children alike. Nor was he a

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