Brodie’s Gamble, Book Two, MacLarens of Boundary Mountain Historical Western Romance Series
“Every book of Shirleen’s never fails to draw me in and make it impossible to put down until I devour it!”
Brodie MacLaren has a dream. He yearns to wear the star—bring the guilty to justice and protect those who are innocent. In his mind, guilty means guilty, even when it includes a beautiful woman who sets his body on edge.
Maggie King lives a nightmare, wanting nothing more than to survive each day and recapture the life stolen from her. Each day she wakes and prays for escape. Taking the one chance she may ever have, Maggie lashes out, unprepared for the rising panic as the man people believe to be her husband lies motionless at her feet.
Deciding innocence and guilt isn’t his job.
Brodie’s orderly, black and white world spins as her story of kidnapping and abuse unfold. The fact nothing adds up as well as his growing attraction to Maggie cause doubts the stoic lawman can’t afford to embrace.
Can a lifetime of believing in absolute right and wrong change in a heartbeat?
Maggie has traded one form of captivity for another. Thoughts of escape consume her, even as feelings for the handsome, unyielding lawman grow.
As events unfold, Brodie must fight more than his attraction. Someone is after Maggie—a real threat who is out to silence her.
He’s challenged on all fronts—until he takes a gamble that could change his life or destroy his heart.
Brodie’s Gamble, book two in the MacLarens of Boundary Mountain historical western romance series, is a full-length novel with an HEA.
“How old were you when you met Stoddard?” He hadn’t meant to ask the question, didn’t need to know more about her than he already did. Maggie’s age didn’t matter. It only mattered that he held her as a suspect in a murder.
“Eighteen. I’m twenty now.” She spoke with a staid calmness, as if detached, speaking of someone else. “I wish I could tell you the time flew by, but that would be a lie.” This time, her voice held the bitterness he expected. Closing her eyes to still the moisture beginning to pool, she sucked in a deep breath.
He didn’t know what triggered his quick response—her shaky voice, the tremble of her body, or the tears she couldn’t hide—but he reached out, wrapping his arms around her and drawing her close. Splaying his hands across her back, he rested his chin on top of her head as she settled her cheek against his chest.
“Shhh, lass. He can no longer hurt you.” Brodie’s heart pounded, his chest tightening at the same time he tried to provide her comfort. He couldn’t imagine the horrors she’d been through. If Arnie weren’t already dead, it would’ve taken all the strength Brodie possessed to not kill the man himself. Feeling the tears soak through his shirt, he drew back, lifting her chin with a finger.
“You must try to believe it will be all right, Maggie.”
Her glassy blue eyes stared up at him as the faintest sliver of hope crossed her face. A hope he could encourage or dash with a rash word or careless gesture.
“Do you truly think it will work out for me?”
Brodie didn’t know what more to say. Instead, he did the most foolish thing imaginable. Lowering his head, he brushed a gentle kiss across her lips, feeling her tense, then relax against him. He kissed her again, losing himself in the taste and feel of her.
Awareness of the colossal mistake he was making sliced through Brodie an instant before he tightened his hold, fitting Maggie snuggly to his body, his lips pressed against hers, claiming her mouth with fierce desire.
Her heart thundered and stomach churned as Brodie continued his gentle assault. The warmth of his body, the hardness of his chest and muscled arms sheltered her at the same time heat ripped through her, as if she were engulfed in a circle of flames.
Brodie couldn’t get her close enough. He wanted to lift her into his arms, carry her to his bed, and lay her down. Kiss every inch of her body, caress…
He pulled back, his abrupt departure causing her to whimper as she buried her face against his throat. They had to stop. He had to stop. The madness, which gripped him moments before, gave way to guilt and self-loathing. How could he have surrendered so completely to the charms of one woman? A woman who’d done nothing except look to him for help?
Setting her aside, he straightened, steeling his features. “We need to go back.” He could see the slight shiver of her body as she swayed toward him. “Now, Miss King. You need to get back in your cell, and I need to get back to my work.”
The hurt in her eyes did nothing to dispel the remorse he felt. He’d crossed a line, and he could blame it on no one except himself.