Sunday, August 14, 2016

Author Spotlight: Love Under Two Gunslingers - Cara Covington


Sold into marriage by her father, Sarah discovers she’s drawn to the two gunslingers escorting her to her new home. Caleb and Joshua Benedict look nothing alike, yet these twins both make Sarah’s body shiver and her heart quiver. When danger threatens, her protectors lead Sarah into the untamed wilderness of Indian Territory.
Terrified and torn, Sarah offers herself to the brothers—seizing her only chance to taste love before she begins her sentence of a loveless marriage.
Caleb and Joshua Benedict are twins who’ve always agreed on the most important things in life, and one thing they agree on is they both want Sarah. When they discover someone’s trying to kill her they know they’ll move heaven and hell to keep her safe. And when she comes to them to offer all she is, they know they’ll do anything--anything at all to keep her.

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When you read a Siren published book, you need to realize right away you won’t be reading the next Pulitzer winning publication.  With that in mind, I did enjoy reading Love Under Two Gunslingers.  You definitely have to keep in mind that this has elements of insta-lust/insta-love in it.  This may require you to suspend your disbelief a little bit.  I don’t mind this, it’s part of what reading is about.  I don’t know what’s so hard about believing in insta-love within a novel versus believing in dragons within a novel but that’s neither here nor there.

This is a historical romance set in the West.  Sold into marriage to a man she doesn’t know, Sarah is left to travel from Chicago to Waco, TX with two strangers.  Caleb and Joshua Benedict are brothers who have fought by each other’s sides for years and took on this task as a favor to an old army buddy.  When they meet Sarah, they are instantly attracted to her but hold off on doing anything about it because they believe she’s married.  Things begin to happen as they hit the road and eventually the chemistry and growing attraction between them gets to be too much.  It gets steamy and kind of dirty, if you like that sort of thing.

It was really neat to see where and how the town of Lusty, TX began.   It’s an enjoyable read.  I’m looking forward to reading more.  I have a lot of catching up to do though. -Peace and Love, Buxom J


The men looked lean, mean, and dangerous.
From her position at the top of the staircase in her father’s house, Sarah Carmichael Maddox could see without being seen. She needed this, needed to observe the men her husband had entrusted her safety to, who would take her from all she had ever known into a world of strange people and even stranger lands. The men who would then deliver her to her husband.
Her husband.
Sarah looked down at the simple gold band on the third finger of her left hand, still unused to seeing it there.
She didn’t feel married. Who could blame her? She’d met her husband for the first time three weeks ago at her father’s dinner table, became his lawfully wedded wife the very next day, and then kissed him goodbye when he left to return to his ranch the morning after the ceremony.
And now she was expected to leave the only home she’d ever known in the company of these two dangerous-looking characters? She could see their guns just under their long, weather-beaten coats, and the way they stood, as if ready to defy God himself. Why, they looked the very image of cowboy outlaws!
Sarah had been expecting Pinkerton agents in suits, gentlemen of a certain age and professional demeanor who would have perhaps contracted the services of a female traveling companion as chaperone for her.
Instead, waiting just inside the front door stood two of the scruffiest, most disreputable looking men she ever laid eyes on. Colleen, her father’s housekeeper, stood ramrod straight before them, having just admitted them into the house and received the calling card they’d proffered, likely an introduction from Sarah’s husband.
“If you gentlemen would please have a seat in the parlor, I’ll inform Miss Sarah of your arrival.”
Sarah could tell Colleen wasn’t happy, not one bit. Of course, this entire situation hadn’t set well with the older woman right from the start. This latest twist in the farce Sarah’s life had so recently become had poor Colleen as near to stuttering as she’d ever seen her.
“Miss Sarah? I thought she was Mrs. Sarah?” the taller and darker of the two callers asked. His voice sounded as rough as dirt, the words more drawled than spoken.
“As you say,” Colleen replied, giving no quarter.
“We don’t need to be sitting. Just fetch the lady and we’ll be on our way,” he said.
“You’ll wait here, then.”
Because she’d been watching, she noticed the other man, the blond haired one, begin to cast his glance about, taking in his surroundings. Quickly, she stepped back, farther away from the railing, not wanting to be caught spying.
Indignation reverberated in every step as Colleen ascended the stairs toward Sarah, leaving the visitors to wait alone.
Under normal circumstances, Sarah would have hastened to her dressing table, so the older woman would have no evidence of her having eavesdropped.
The circumstances were far from normal.
Sarah met her housekeeper’s green-eyed gaze. She thought she would see traces of temper there and instead read fear.
Without saying a word, Sarah turned and entered her bedroom. Not until Colleen came in and closed the door behind her did she speak.
“May I have the card, please?”
“This isn’t right, lass,” the housekeeper said as she handed her the calling card. “I don’t think you should go.” Though older, Colleen didn’t stretch beyond Sarah’s shoulder. Her red hair, braided, then wrapped into a bun atop her head, showed just a few strands of silver. Her round face carried no wrinkles despite the fact she’d entered her fourth decade.
Colleen had practically raised Sarah after the death of Sarah’s mother when she’d been only ten.
“I’m going to miss you with all of my heart,” Sarah said softly.
“What kind of a man would send such rabble to escort his wife into dangerous territory, I’d like to know?”
Sarah turned away, not willing to let the woman who’d been her mother in so many ways see her own distress.
Had Miranda, her stepmother, not revealed the truth of the circumstances surrounding her sudden and unexpected marriage, Sarah would be doing all she could to remain in Chicago for as long as possible.
That option had been taken out of her hands. She’d lain awake these last several nights trying to come up with an idea, a plan…something. Anything. But the truth had dawned with the sun yesterday morning.
She had no choice but to go to Texas and live with her husband. She wasn’t wanted here, and after learning of her father’s betrayal, she no longer wanted to be here.
These thoughts she could share with no one. Just as in some ways she’d felt all alone since her mother’s passing, she understood she truly was all alone now.
“Perhaps Mr. Maddox is wise in his choice of escort. Perhaps the best candidates for the job of taking me through dangerous territory are dangerous looking men.”
She turned and gave Colleen her best smile.
“I should have made arrangements to go with you.”
“How could you? All of your friends, your sister and her family are all here in Chicago. They need you.” I need you. But those words could never be said.
Colleen belonged here, in this city that continued to literally rise from the ashes of its past. Her sister had lost her home and her husband to the fires that had raged just a few short years before. Colleen’s family did need her. They needed her presence and the money she brought in as housekeeper for a wealthy family. The latter was why Sarah wouldn’t tell Colleen what her father had done. The woman would quit on the spot on principle.
The time had come for Sarah to finally grow up. She’d bowed to her father’s wishes and married the man he’d chosen, not that she had any real choice in the matter. And while her belief that he’d chosen Mr. Maddox for altruistic reasons had been proven false, it did not change the very real fact that she was married to the man.
She would go to Texas and make the best of this new life.
Sarah reached for her hat, taking stock of her reflection in the mirror as she did. The simple brown traveling dress, a two piece plain outfit made of cotton, fit comfortably, made of a durable enough construction to wear well. Her white blouse, also cotton, featured long sleeves and a button at the neck. The camisole and petticoat beneath were of a light weight, perfect for early spring weather. The hat she’d chosen, a plain brown with a bit of beige lace, and a small cluster of feathers looked good on her. She’d fashioned her blond hair that morning into a chignon. It took only a moment to fasten her hat in place.
 She’d followed her husband’s instructions and packed just enough clothing for the trip, expected to last no more than a week. She would travel with but one valise. Colleen had been instructed to pack and ship the remainder of her clothing after her departure, and her husband informed her that the sister of his houseman, an accomplished dressmaker, could provide her with ample clothing until her own arrived.
In these modern times, travel was no longer the months-long ordeal it once had been. The improvements made to rail travel meant it had become easier than ever for people to journey farther than they had in decades past.
Sarah understood there’d be a train ride from Chicago to St. Louis, Missouri, and then a small stagecoach ride to Springfield. To better accommodate the second phase of the journey proved the reason for the limit of one valise. From Springfield, she would board another train that would bring her to within a few hours’ carriage ride of her new home.
Her father assured her when he’d announced her betrothal that Mr. Maddox—Tyrone—was a financially successful, well-established rancher. Father had known him for years, so she supposed if there had been anything truly untoward about the man, her father wouldn’t have sold her to him.
I’ll likely have to beg God’s forgiveness for my mean-heartedness.
Although she thought that maybe, this once, God would understand her sentiments.
She turned to Colleen with a smile on her face, determined to comfort the older woman. “This isn’t forever. I’m sure I’ll visit. And I will write. To father, of course, as a dutiful daughter should. But I’ll write to you, too.”
“Aye, I’d like that very much, Miss Sarah.”
Sarah felt her heart lodge in her throat. Colleen’s eyes shimmered, and she knew hers did as well. Tears pooled, and would flow, despite her earlier resolution they would not. Sarah had more to say before that happened.
“I love you, Colleen. Thank you for being a mother to me all these years. Thank you for hugging me when I cried and swatting me when I needed it. Thank you—” Sarah stopped, unable to continue without bawling like a baby. “Just thank you. For everything.”
She’d promised herself last night as she’d dried her tears that today she would leave this house dry of eye and determined of spirit.
“My wee lass,” Colleen whispered.
Sarah nearly lost control when the familiar female arms pulled her close, when the ever-present scent of roses from Colleen’s perfumed medallion enveloped her. Colleen’s arms clamped on tightly for one long moment. Then they eased, and when she drew back, Sarah straightened up.
“Well. I guess I best not keep the gentlemen waiting much longer.”
Colleen harrumphed. “Gentlemen indeed. Wait until you see them up close.”
“Do they stink?” Sarah asked, grinning.
“Well, no,” Colleen admitted. “And their clothing appears to be clean, if worn.”
“Do you remember when Marissa went to New York City with her parents to visit her uncle and aunt? She wore her favorite pink linen day dress on the train. And when she arrived, she had to throw the garment away. It had become covered with such grime. Perhaps the gentlemen are wearing older clothes for that very reason.”
“Well now, I never once considered that possibility.”
Sarah knew she’d nonplussed Colleen by giving the older woman her own constant lecture about putting one’s best foot, and best thoughts, forward.
“Will you walk me down?”
“Aye, and I’ll carry that bag. I want those ruffians to see you’re a lady, unaccustomed to indelicate endeavors. Perhaps they will have a better care of you.”
“I’m not. Well, yes, I’m a lady but I’m not unused to indelicate endeavors.”
Colleen winked as she reached for Sarah’s valise. “I can think of no good reason for either of those two gentlemen to know that.”

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