Nathanial Carroll has been a thorn in Cassie Bjorn’s side ever since they were children. He has tormented her by dipping her blonde hair in ink, pouring honey into her school bag, and teasing her relentlessly. Now, grown up and more handsome than a man ought to be, Nathanial is determined to make Cassie his wife, although she loathes him with a passion. The task before him is formidable, and Nate will have to make amends for past behavior and court Cassie properly.
Cassie knows Nathanial as a womanizer and drunkard with appalling manners. Any well-bred young lady would give this man a wide berth, as she has done for years. But Cassie’s mother and Nate’s mother are the best of friends, and they see fit to broker an engagement. To compound matters, an accidental kiss during a shootout sends the town’s gossips into a furor,and Cassie finds her reputation in tatters. There’s only one man to blame for this predicament—Nathanial Carroll.
Preview of Cassie, Brides of the Rockies
A carriage waited, two horses grazing on the grass behind the hitching post. Nathanial opened the door for me, and I ducked my head, stepping inside. Once he had released the lines, he sat next to me, his form filling the interior, his head nearly touching the ceiling. The aroma of leather lingered, but not the smell of whiskey.
“Are you sober?”
“I am. For the first time in my life.” He called to the horses. “Come on, girls. Get a move on.” The carriage gently swayed, the wheels crunching on gravel.
“I was at your mother’s house this morning.”
“She invited us to tea.”
His eyes skimmed over me. “Your face looks better.”
“I’m healing. It was just a scratch.”
“What were you doing at the Courier?”
“Talking to William.”
“Oh, it’s William, is it?”
“And it’s none of your business.” I crossed my arms over my chest.
“You look like you were crying. There are streaks of dirt on your face that look suspiciously like tears.”
“It’s none of your cotton pickin’ business.”
“He broke things off, huh?”
“None of your business.”
“You know, they’re gossiping about us something awful. I am sorry I kissed you the other day, but you … you looked so darned handsome. You look just as handsome now, but you’re a dirty little thing.”
I glared at him. “Just get me home. I don’t want to talk to you.”
He sighed, glancing at the street out the window, the carriage trundling along the avenue before the Barton House. “Well, it’s gonna be a quiet life then, if we never speak.”
I had no idea what he was talking about, not caring in the least.
“If we’re gonna marry, a few words should be spoken, don’t you think?”
“I’m not marrying you,” I grated. “People need to stop harping on about that.”
“I wish you would.”
Dash it! I wasn’t supposed to speak. “No.” I sensed his attention, my skin prickling with awareness.
“Well, I wouldn’t normally force a woman to wed me, but I think I might have to agree with my folks on this issue. You, Cassie Bjorn, are a stubborn woman, who doesn’t know what’s good for her. If I had some doubts about that before, the kiss cleared it all up. You might think you hate me, and maybe you do, but I know in my heart we’re right for each other.”
Was I supposed to respond to that?
“So, on that note, I do hope you plan on giving me a chance, now that Mr. Stuart has cut the ties.” We neared my house, mercifully. As Nathanial brought the carriage to a stop by the fence, I prepared to spring from the conveyance, but he grabbed my arm, stopping me. “Cassie?”
“I’ve nothing more to say to you, Mr. Carroll. Thank you for seeing me home, but that is all I’ll require of you.” His hand felt warm around my arm.
“All right, be like that, but it won’t change a thing.”
“You’re wasting your time, if you think I’ll marry you.” I glanced at him, wishing I hadn’t. He looked handsome in his deputy attire, a wide-brimmed hat shading his forehead, but his eyes bore into me with their intensity, the golden depths flickering in an odd light.
“You are a stubborn woman, but … I can be just as pigheaded. This isn’t over, Cassie. Not by a long shot.”