If western romances are your reading cup-of-tea, then my novel, THE COMANCHERO’S BRIDE, might just be a story for you. It’s a good old fashioned tale of love, jealousy, and revenge that’s not too hot and not too sweet. It is a loose retelling of the old country music ballad by Marty Robbins, Meet Me Tonight in Laredo.
NOTE: The Comanchero’s Bride is also available in the boxed set, Under a Western Sky.
Beautiful heiress Elizabeth Bradford White is exiled to Texas with family friends until she “comes to her senses” and agrees to marry the prominent politico her parents have chosen for her. Grayson Beal is certainly not the man of her dreams—she finds him so revolting she welcomes her exile and makes a new life for herself in south Texas.
When she is approached at a fiesta by dark-eyed, handsome Mingo Valderas, she knows her heart will never be her own again. But Mingo has a checkered past—a reputation as a Comanchero, and a man who is as fast with his knives as he is with his gun. An ex-outlaw with many secrets, Elizabeth gives her trust to him, and their whirlwind courtship begins.
But Grayson Beal will stop at nothing to claim Elizabeth and her inheritance, along with the political influence her parents have. In a deadly cross-country race for her freedom, only one man stands between her and the monster who follows her. Fueled by their love and dreams of a future together, Elizabeth and Mingo stay one step ahead of Beal…but will that be enough?
EXCERPT (PG rating)
In one long, powerful stride, Grayson towered over Elizabeth, shaking a thick finger in her face. “I have to be accepted into Denver political circles in order to gain some critical support in Ohio. I also have a hunting expedition with Baron Van Doren coming up, and I expect you to do your part with entertaining the right people during our stay. You already have an appointment to attend some silly women’s group holiday tea at the Cooper mansion. You know these activities are vital for my political future. I won’t have it any other way.”
She batted his hand down. “Your political career is only important to you and my parents.” She clenched her fists at her sides, aggravated that she’d allowed herself to be drawn into conversation instead of walking away. It was fully dark and well past time to meet Mingo. “I have a prior commitment.”
Waving her off, Grayson said, “What you have is a duty to your family and to me as my wife, you missed—”
“I am not, nor will I ever be, your wife.”
He pushed right over her interruption. “You missed a gubernatorial inaugural dinner party in Columbus last winter and several other important events since then. I’m tired of making excuses for your absence. I won’t do it any longer.” He leaned forward. “So, congratulations. You’ve made your point. Now, it’s time to come with me and get on with the business of being my wife.”
Fuming, Elizabeth held her ground. “I’m not going to marry you, and I’m certainly not your political or social plaything. Don’t forget that it was you who convinced my father to banish me here. You sent me away from everything I knew—from all the things I thought I needed to be happy. Then I found out that not only do I not need them, I no longer want them. Listen to what I’m saying, Grayson. You’ve made the trip here for nothing. I’m staying in Laredo.”
“This is ludicrous!” His booming voice bounced off the walls. “Our wedding date is set and invitations have been sent.”
He loomed over her like large tree branches bending toward the ground in the raging onslaught of a violent wind. He was a formidable man when he wasn’t angry, and she’d often seen him use his physical size to intimidate people. Although she’d never once backed down from him, she now fought the urge to turn from his wrath.
Elizabeth drew herself up with every ounce of her courage. “Then un-announce it. I’m not marrying you. Not now. Not ever. I won’t—”
Grayson grabbed her, slammed his mouth on hers, crushing her lips as he lifted her almost off her feet. Struggling against the iron grip of his bear-like hands, she wrenched an arm free and slapped him with her gloved hand hard enough to knock his spectacles askew. Yanking out of his grasp, she reeled backward. Adjusting his glasses with deliberate care, he appeared outwardly under control, but Elizabeth knew he was seething, and would find some way to punish her for striking him.
“Had I bedded you a year ago, we would not be having this conversation. We’d be married, and there would be a child on the way.”
Until now, she’d never been frightened of him, only annoyed with his loutish manners toward her and everyone else he considered beneath him, but the lusty gleam in his eyes was new. A repulsive, crawling quiver skimmed along her skin.
She sensed movement behind her an instant before she heard the slight jangle of Mingo’s spurs. Whirling, she saw him in the middle of the room, feet spread, coat opened wide, and his eyes glowing with a dark, lethal fire. Grayson took advantage of her distraction and grabbed her arm. Jerking her back, he held her trapped against his body, and the more she struggled, the tighter he held her.
“Hombre, remove your hands from Isabel, or I will kill you where you stand.”
Recognition registered on Grayson’s face that Mingo didn’t wear his gun belt for show. Beal released her. Mingo motioned for her to move behind him. Grayson took his time looking Mingo over as he rubbed the deep red hand print on his cheek and smoothed his hair down.
“What is this Isabel nonsense? And who the hell are you?”
“Domingo Valderas.” His voice was level and sure. “If any man marries Isabel, it will be me.”
Grayson stared then burst into condescending laughter. “You? Good lord, man, you’re nothing but a Mexican—”
“Be careful with your words, pendejo.”
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Until next time,
Writing through history one romance upon a time
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