Two Wanted Men [Badlands 2] (Siren Publishing Menage Amour)

BOOK: Two Wanted Men [Badlands 2] (Siren Publishing Menage Amour)
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TWO WANTED MEN

Badlands
2

Elle Saint James

MENAGE AMOUR

Siren Publishing, Inc.

www.SirenPublishing.com

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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK

IMPRINT: Ménage Amour

TWO WANTED MEN

Copyright © 2009 by Elle Saint James

E-book ISBN: 1-60601-586-9

First E-book Publication: August 2009

Cover design by Jinger Heaston

All cover art and logo copyright © 2009 by Siren Publishing, Inc.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission.

All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.

PUBLISHER

Siren Publishing, Inc.

www.SirenPublishing.com

DEDICATION

To my sexy and amazing husband. I will love you far longer than forever.

Elle

TWO WANTED MEN

Badlands
2

ELLE SAINT JAMES

Copyright © 2009

Chapter One

Perrysburg
,
New York
- 1890

Miranda Herrington startled awake and sat bolt upright in bed the moment she heard the back door of her home bang open. She threw off the bed sheets and quilt, grabbed her robe and quietly retrieved the pearl handled derringer from her unmentionables drawer. She checked to ensure it was loaded, exited her room and hastened down the familiar long hallway to the top of the staircase without the aid of a candle. Another clattering sound drifted to where she stood.

Was that from outside the house? She couldn’t tell.

Gun clutched securely in her right hand, she hurried silently down the first several steps and paused on the staircase landing. The sound of a door closing drifted up.

Now she wasn’t alone.

The inky darkness surrounded her vivid imagination now filled with dire possibilities. She listened closely to assure herself the ruckus she heard was only her father stumbling in as per the usual after drinking himself into delirium, also as per the usual. This wasn’t the first time she’d grabbed her gun after hearing her father bumbling through the back door in the middle of the night.

Sadly, it wasn’t even the first time this week.

“Damn it.” The additional sound of a muffled male voice from downstairs made her heart pound just a little bit faster. Was it her father?

Silas Herrington, Perrysburg’s only local physician, arrived through the back of the house as often as the front door depending on which saloon he was drinking at during the evening. The one on the north side of town was closer to the back door when he decided he’d had enough or the bartender sent him tottering on his way.

It wasn’t often that the town drunk was also the town’s doctor, but her once loving father had crumbled with the reality of losing her mother, and the love of his life, to a wagon accident.

Miranda had done the best she could to pick up the pieces of their life and also keep his meager medical practice afloat, but it hadn’t been easy. She, too, had mourned her mother, but only briefly and very silently due to her father’s overriding needs.

Prudence dictated she go back upstairs to her room regardless of whether her father stumbled in or not, but some sixth sense didn’t allow her to heed the caution. Her heartbeat sped up a notch. Instead of retreating, she tiptoed silently down the stairs and rounded the corner on a route heading straight to the back of the house where her father’s medical office resided.

“Hold tight. I’ll be right back.” The decidedly male voice emanating from the direction of her father’s medical office froze her in mid-step. It was most assuredly
not
her father’s voice.

Moonlight filtered through the curtains and Miranda realized she’d stepped into an illuminating shaft of light.

Before she could even think to get her feet moving, a tall shape moved out of the open doorway headed directly into her path. The gun in her hand was suddenly covered with a larger hand and wrenched from her fingers. The stranger pushed her against the wall covering her with his firm masculine warmth. The moment his body connected with hers, Miranda squealed in protest.

A wicked sensation rose inside at the realization that she was dressed only in her sheer nightdress and an open robe and pressed intimately to a strange man.

“Goddamn, you scared the shit outta me.”

Miranda mentally tamped down the heart-pounding sensation of being ensconced in strong muscular arms. “How odd since this is
my
house and you’ve broken in. I believe I’m the one who has the right to be alarmed here, not you.”

He ignored her attitude, and added, “And what the hell are you doing with a gun?” He pushed her a little harder against the wall. With his firm chest pressed so close, she could practically count the muscles on his torso. Not at all unpleasant, which was a shocking thought to have, given the perilous situation.

“A strange man broke into my house in the middle of the night. The gun seemed like the best idea to rid myself of the problem.”

His silence greeted her retort. She held her breath wondering what might happen next. The familiar tick tock of the grandfather clock from the adjacent wall was the only sound in the room. After a few moments, he eased back.

“Sorry, ma’am. Didn’t mean to alarm you, but this is an emergency.” Every part of her body was squeezed tighter in his steely grasp. Her instincts told her to resist, however her body’s reaction remained completely the opposite. Somewhere deep inside, she softened a little at the unexpected event of simply being this close to another person. A very masculine person.

While this man smelled very nice and his arms around her suggested a certain level of protected comfort, he was unfamiliar. A stranger.

The fingers resting along her spine branded the skin beneath her two thin layers of nightclothes. Correction, he was a sexy stranger.

“Please remove your hands from my person.” Part of her wasn’t quite as convinced that he should let go, but her practical side spoke up and did the talking before she could stop it. Proper decorum dictated that she shouldn’t be so aroused by having a strange man pressed to her body, but Miranda found she lacked the desire to end the embrace on her own.

“Sorry, ma’am,” he muttered again. Ever so slowly, he relinquished his hold and she backed up a step out of his reach. Her vision finally adjusting to the dark, Miranda moved cautiously to a table nearby and lit a candle to illuminate the situation.

In the meager light, the man standing only an arm’s length away looked like a desperado. He was tall, dark, and muscular, with hair as black as pitch and his sinfully handsome face sported a day’s growth of beard. Miranda sucked in a spontaneous breath at the sheer beauty of him. The flame flickered as she studied his handsome face. Her gaze traveled downward past his wide muscular chest to his hips. Arms hanging by his sides, she noticed her small gun was dwarfed by his large hands.

“Want your gun back?” He offered it handle first.

She reached for it without answering, but he didn’t relinquish it until her gaze shot to his eyes again.

Once he had her attention, he let go of the gun. He stuck a thumb over his shoulder. “I need the ‘sawbones’ for my friend. He got shot. Could you get him down here?”

Miranda cleared her throat once to keep from squeaking a response. “The doctor isn’t here.”

“Shit.” He twisted his head to look behind over one beefy shoulder and then just as quickly turned to stare at her again. “When do you think he’ll be back?”

“I have no idea.” She lifted the candle and peeked around his shoulder. She saw the rough shape of another man in her father’s office slumped in the chair near the back door.

“Is he out helping someone? I could go fetch him back here—”

“No. He’s not out doctoring.” Her sour tone of voice was unintentional, but for some reason, she was angrier than usual about her father being out drinking to excess tonight. Even if he’d been in residence, he wouldn’t be any good to a wounded patient needing care.

The man in the other room called out, “Reese? What’s taking so damn long?”

Reese
. Miranda tucked away the name of the gorgeous man before her.

Reese’s gaze focused on her with an intensity she found intriguing. Something in the desperation of this man’s eyes wanting to help his friend made her relax a notch.

Miranda pondered the radical idea of suggesting that “she” might be able to help his friend. However, more often than not, any offer of her medical services was met with a wide range of emotions, from derisive laughter to outright hostility, at the mere suggestion that a woman do any doctoring.

“Is there something you could do?” he asked quietly. “I’d be grateful for any help you could give.”

Miranda was so surprised by the request, she paused and stared at him until a moan and a curse escaped the lips of the man in the adjoining room.

“Yes. Of course. I’ll help.” In order to put him at ease, she added, “Who do you think doctors the local folks when my father is gone?”

“I’m guessing the answer is you.”

She allowed a smile to shape her mouth. “Let me take a look and I’ll see what I can do to help.”

Truthfully, no one in town had ever allowed her to so much as pull a splinter out unless her father was in the room. And sometimes not even then. That two strangers would ask for
her
help bolstered her flagging confidence and a rare feeling of self-worth swelled in her chest.

Ignoring the utterly masculine scent Reese trailed in his wake, Miranda followed him through her own house to where he’d deposited his friend near the back door’s entrance. Seated on a chair, the other man’s dark outline showed him slumped against the wall.

Reese bent down to his seated friend. “Doc’s gone, but I found someone to help.”

Miranda set the candleholder down on a table near the doorway. Her hand went unerringly to the box of kitchen matches grabbing a few. She proceeded to light the other four wall sconce candles surrounding the tidy room to add some light.

The examination table behind her waited clean and ready for the next patient. Cleaning up was typically her only responsibility regarding any medical procedure. But that was about to change.

Once she could see a little better, Miranda approached the wounded man and bent closer to assess his injury. She caught a good glance at his face, too. Blond hair, blue eyes and deep dimples framing his mouth greeted her. A feeling of lust socked her in the stomach so fast, she inhaled at the surprise. Her sudden visceral emotions were probably because she had a tender spot for those needing care. However, once she got near enough to see this man closely, she discovered him even more attractive than his friend. And Reese was very handsome.

Given the choice between them, she didn’t know which man she’d pursue. With such fanciful dreams gracing her mind, perhaps she’d chase both of them. Although pursuit of any man remained the last thing she should be thinking about.

Shaking her head internally at where her wanton thoughts strayed, Miranda straightened her spine and proceeded to bustle around the room gathering the needed supplies from her father’s medicine cabinets. The folly of her one-sided attraction should be ignored or better yet extinguished from her mind all together regarding a potential patient anyway.

“Help him up onto the table.” Miranda didn’t look at Reese when she gave the command.

“What’s your name, darlin’?” The injured man asked as Reese helped him onto the table centered in the room.

“I’m Miranda Herrington. The doctor’s daughter.” She added her relationship as further proof that she was as competent to render aid as her father, but they didn’t seem to need any testimony as to her skills. It was a refreshing change from the normal, “you’re not a doctor, get away from me,” response she usually received.

“Thank you for helping me, Miss Miranda. My name is Luke Quinton and I guess you already know my good friend Reese Martin.”

Miranda glanced at Reese and smiled. These two were certainly attractive men.

Once Reese had helped his friend Luke onto his back on the waist high table centered in the room, Miranda brought her candle taper closer to take a look.

The bullet hole was in the belly region halfway between his hip bone and the lower end of his ribs, only two inches from missing him completely. The wound wasn’t as serious as it could have been. And she didn’t fail to notice how attractive his body was either.

BOOK: Two Wanted Men [Badlands 2] (Siren Publishing Menage Amour)
6.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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