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Authors: Anne Carrole

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Saving Cole Turner

BOOK: Saving Cole Turner
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Copyright (c)2013 by Carol Aloisi

Cover Art by Rae Monet at
www.raemonet.com
 

Formatting by
www.formatting4U.com

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems—except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews—without permission in writing from the author at [email protected]. This book is a work of fiction. The, names characters, events, and places portrayed in this book are products of the author’s imagination and are either fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

 

For more information on the author and her work, please visit
www.annecarrole.com

ISBN: 978-0-9885616-1-8

 

Love Western Romances

 

 

 

Saving Cole Turner

 

By Anne Carrole

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 7

CHAPTER 8

A WORD ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

OTHER TITLES:

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Washington Territory, 1871

 

“I’m not going to marry you.” Cole stared in disbelief at the pretty young woman who stood before him. Pressure pulled tight across his chest like a rope around a calf’s ribs. How could she even think such a thing?

“You’re a coward, Cole Turner.” Kate Flanders spat out the words so hard her sweet face got all twisted up with emotion.

Had a man called him that, he’d have drawn already and fired his shot, likely killing the idiot. That all he wanted to do was collect her in his arms and kiss the blazes right out of her said he was
loco
, not a coward.

Cole looked around the copse of pine trees that hid the couple and their two hobbled horses and wondered how he had gotten into this predicament. Nothing to do but gather the splinters of his temper and address this reasonably.

“Kate, you know I’m not the marrying kind. I wouldn’t make a good husband and you...” He paused to take a needed breath. “Wouldn’t make me a good wife.”

She bristled like a porcupine under siege. Those blue eyes of hers went wide then narrowed as she shook her head. Auburn colored strands tumbled from her fancy hairdo to frame her delicate face.

She was a beauty. He certainly knew how to pick ‘em where looks were concerned. Where he apparently fell short was accounting for temperament.

“I’d make you the best wife and you know it.” She stabbed a slender finger in his chest, giving several pointed taps. When she leaned in closer, he could smell the scent of roses. “I’ll save you from yourself.”

Damn if that pouty red mouth of hers wasn’t distracting. He’d kissed her senseless last night.

Apparently she’d recovered.

“I don’t need saving.” He’d packed too much sinning into his twenty-three years for there to be talk of saving.

Her face turned red and her backbone went straight as a newly hammered post. “You need to settle down. You need to marry me. We need to make babies.”

“I’ll be happy to do the last part.” He gave her a grin that had gotten him into bed with more than one woman. “The other two—ain’t gonna happen.”

He wasn’t so much afraid of her temper as those clenched fists bunched on her hips.

Last night under the stars, she’d let him touch the soft breasts hidden now under her silky blue dress. Guess she thought that entitled her to some sort of declaration on his part.

Not that he didn’t find her attractive, and, if he were a man with prospects, he’d be tempted to court Kate, maybe even marry her, since that’d be the only way into her bed. But he wasn’t a man with prospects.

“Cole Turner, don’t you be making wise with me. It’s Kate Flanders you’re talking to, not Polly at the Red Bull.” She stomped her booted foot on the ground.

“Exactly why I’m not going to marry you. For Christ’s sake, Kate. Your father would never allow it.” That truth angered him more than it should have. His large hands settled on shoulders so delicate he took extra care to be gentle. “I’m a bounty hunter, Kate. I kill people for money. I’m no good.”

Tears sprang to her blue eyes like metal to a magnet, making him regret his remark. But it only proved what she should already know: he wasn’t fit to be her husband, and what he wanted didn’t matter in this at all.

She unclenched her fists and wrapped her arms around his neck, and damn if he wasn’t powerless to stop her. “I love you,” she said in a single breath that nearly stole his away.

She buried her face in the crook of his shoulder while those three words dug into his soul. Involuntarily, his hands pressed her into him.

He kissed her auburn hair and breathed in her scent. Fresh. Womanly. Rose-perfumed. “It would never work,” he whispered, curling around her like a cocoon around a caterpillar.

Kate had been raised for finer things than the life he was leading. She’d grown into a beautiful young woman, a lady, while he was away. Seeing her all decked out in her frilly dresses with her hair styled like she’d stepped out of the pages of some ladies’ magazine had opened his eyes to the magnitude of the differences in their lives.

“You could become a rancher. You said you’ve earned a lot from…from what you do.” Her voice faded.

He
had
earned a bit—more than he’d ever imagined, actually. It was secure in a bank in Seattle. And the job that had brought him back home to Three Bridges, working for Matt Tyler to catch those rustlers, would earn him a whole lot more when he finished.

But Kate was still a Flanders, daughter of the largest rancher in three counties, courted by the likes of Jake Parrish, county representative to the Washington territorial government.

“I don’t think so honey.” He rubbed her back for her comfort as well as his. His hands itched to caress more of her. “Besides, I don’t know a thing about cattle.”

“You can work for my father,” she said, her face still nestled into his leather vest, her breath warming a spot near his heart.

Work for her father? That’d be the day. William Flanders hated all things Turner. Had tried to move his family off the measly parcel of land that, in sober times, his wife-beating father had tried to homestead. And then when Cole had done what he’d had to do, William Flanders had been the one to send the law after him. Cole had gotten released, no witnesses to say otherwise, and his mother had refused to disclaim his recollection of what’d happened.

“Your father would as soon kill me as let me marry you, Kate.”

She raised her head. “Make love to me, Cole.” Her voice was breathy, hesitant. Hopeful. “Please.”

Blood drained from him as if he was a lynched man. Her face held an innocence that belied the words she was saying, what she was asking.

Not that he wouldn’t give just about anything in the world for the right to lay her down where they stood and undress her. To be able to touch her anywhere. To awaken the passion he knew lay just below the surface of that cool outer layer. To claim her as his with one swift thrust inside, burying deep within her heat, spilling his seed to make that baby she wanted.

Cole was many things, most of them bad, but he would never betray her trust. Not Kate Flanders. Not the little girl he’d played with down by the creek that had separated her land from his. Not the girl he pined for in the tree house he built to escape the brutality of his father. Not the one person that had given him hope during those bleak days.

“We’re not married, Kate.” He ground out the words in careful tones as if talking sense to a six-year-old.

“If you made love to me, my father would force you to marry me.” Her dare hung in the air like a guillotine’s blade.

Cole would never understand the workings of a woman’s mind. “He’d come after me to kill me, and I’d have to kill him first. Did you think of that?” He had, many times. If it ever came to a showdown, he had no doubt who’d win the battle.

“Not if I told him I loved you. That I gave myself to you.” Her eyes brightened to a sapphire glow. God she was tempting.

“Especially if you told him that. He thinks you’re marrying Jake Parrish.” Cole’s stomach pitched like a raft in the rapids at the thought of that lowlife lizard touching his sweet Kate.

“I don’t love Jake Parrish. Besides, Lizzie is sweet on him and I’d never betray her.”

“Have you told Elizabeth Morgan about us?” He gulped, swallowing around the rock that had replaced his Adam’s apple.

“Of course, but she’ll keep our secret. She’s my best friend, Cole.”

“She ain’t mine. And you’ve got to get this fantasy out of your head.” It was time for him to head back. He’d already gotten more aroused than was pleasant, and he hadn’t even kissed her yet.

“It’s not a fantasy. I’m marrying you, Cole Turner, and nothing is going to stop me,” she huffed.

He had to laugh. “Not even me?”

He should back away, but she looked so appealingly determined he couldn’t. His finger brushed a tendril of hair from her lips. Soft, sweet lips filled with innocent promise and honest desire. He knew. He’d kissed her. But he’d taken nothing more from her despite the need that pulsed through his body and the ache that throbbed between his legs with just one look from those soul-searing eyes.

“Only way to stop me is to say you hate me.” Her chin jutted up at him.

There was only one thing to do, the thing he’d wanted to do since she’d ridden in.

He kissed her. Kissed her deep, hard, tested her sweetness with his tongue, pressed her into him so she’d know he couldn’t say those words. She opened for him, her velvet tongue mating with his, her hands clinging to his arms like he was saving her from disaster…only he was the disaster she needed saving from.

When he released her his voice was gruff with the hunger he always felt for her. “Go back home, Kate. Clear the fairy tale from your head. I’ll be leaving in a few days.” He stared into her blue eyes and saw a longing that matched his own. “Without you.”

She whirled out of his arms like a force of nature, causing him to step back as she headed toward her horse. Once settled atop the sidesaddle, she reined the mare around. “I’ll be looking for you tomorrow, same time. Don’t be late,” she cautioned.

“Will you give up this fantasy?” He didn’t know how often he could turn down the invitation to bed her.

Leather squeaked as she shifted in the saddle. “I’ll meet you by the creek. It will be cooler there.”

A backward glance and she was off, horse and rider shrinking in the afternoon sun.

His mind said
give her up
.

Too bad his body wasn’t listening.

 

 

 

Chapter 2

 

Securing her horse, Kate paused on the steps of the large, wood frame house. Strength ebbed from her like water flowing down a drain and she slumped onto the spur-scarred stoop. Wiping her damp brow with her sleeve, she ignored the voice in her head that said she’d ruin her favorite blue dress if she sat among the splatter of porch dust.

What was she going to do? Cole was going to die if she didn’t save him somehow. And the only way she could think to save him was giving him a different life—one with a wife and child who loved him.

The man had feelings for her. She’d felt those feelings nudging up against her thigh when he’d kissed her today. He wanted her and she wanted him. Why didn’t he take her?

He doesn’t want to marry me
. The truth had followed her the whole ride home, causing a weakness of spirit that was exacting its toll now.

Could she be wrong about his feelings? Was it lust and nothing more? She didn’t believe that. She wouldn’t believe that.

BOOK: Saving Cole Turner
13.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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