A Man of His Word
Sarah M. Anderson
Lawyer Rosebud Donnelly has a case to win.But no one warned her that the head of the company she’s fighting would be so…manly. From his storm-coloured eyes to his well-worn boots, Dan is a cowboy.Her yearning for the Texas tycoon goes against reason. And yet, inexplicably, in Dan’s strong arms, Rosebud feels she might be ready to risk everything…
“This is about you and me, Rosebud.
This is about me liking you and you liking me, slow dances to fast songs and not going down without a fight. You promised me you wouldn’t go down without a fight, and I’m going to hold you to that. Have dinner with me tonight.”
Which was a hell of a lot different from “I won’t.”
“Someplace quiet,” Dan continued. “That’s all I want. Just you and me.”
“What makes you think it would be any different the next time?” Her voice shook as she blinked rapidly and pulled away from him. “Or the time after that? Or any time? We can’t hide forever. I can’t, anyway.”
Anger flashed through him. “I do not hide, Rosebud—and you don’t, either.”
This story began when an image popped into my head of an Indian Princess riding bareback out of the past and into the hero’s present. Before the hero could figure out who she was, she took a shot at him and rode away. This image was so powerful that it stayed with me for months while the characters waited for me to figure out who they were, why she’d put a bullet through the hero’s hat and, most important, how they could ever fall in love.
I like to think of this book as my Polaroid
book—the story took a long time to develop, but it was worth the wait. The hero turned out to be Dan Armstrong, the Chief Operating Officer of an energy company looking to build a hydroelectric dam. The heroine was Rosebud Donnelly, the tribal lawyer for the Red Creek Lakota, whose reservation will be flooded by Dan’s dam. I imagined that having your whole world sunk to the bottom of an artificial lake was a good reason for a woman to be fighting-mad, and Rosebud agreed.
The surprise to Rosebud was how much Dan, an oil tycoon, turned out to be a man of principle and honesty. On top of all that integrity, he is one good-looking cowboy who knows his way around a horse—and a woman. He’ll use all that charm to get to the bottom of who killed his hat. The question Dan has to answer is, what else is he willing to lose?
A Man of His Word is my first Mills & Boon
Desire™ book, and for that alone, it will always be one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Be sure to stop by www.sarahmanderson.com and join me when I say, long live cowboys!
About the Author
Award-winning author SARAH M. ANDERSON may live east of the Mississippi River, but her heart lies out west on the Great Plains. With a lifelong love of horses and two history teachers for parents, she had plenty of encouragement to learn everything she could about the tribes of the Great Plains.
When she started writing, it wasn’t long before her characters found themselves out in South Dakota among the Lakota Sioux. She loves to put people from two different worlds into new situations and see how their backgrounds and cultures take them someplace they never thought they’d go.
When not helping out at school or walking her two rescue dogs, Sarah spends her days having conversations with imaginary cowboys and American Indians, all of which is surprisingly well-tolerated by her wonderful husband and son. Readers can find out more about Sarah’s love of cowboys and Indians at www.sarahmanderson.com.
of His Word
Sarah M. Anderson
To Mom and Dad, two history teachers who planned
family vacations around national monuments and Civil
War battle sites instead of theme parks and beaches.
For today’s ride, Dan Armstrong had brought along his custom-made six-shooter, but he couldn’t believe he’d need it.
He didn’t normally wear it, but his uncle had told him to take a gun if he went out alone. And since it had been years since the man had shown a whit of interest in Dan’s well-being, he’d listened. Now he was glad he’d done so because his imagination was working overtime.
There was something about this forest that said Old West, South Dakota style. His sprawling estate outside of Fort Worth was a jewel, but north Texas didn’t have stands of pines this pretty or the carved sandstone bluffs that ran along the Dakota River.
It was a damn shame the trees, the river and the land wouldn’t be the same once his company got done with them. His uncle, Cecil Armstrong, who ran one half of Armstrong Holdings, wanted to clear-cut these hundreds of acres before building a dam on this river, about five hundred yards upstream. No sense in throwing away perfectly good logging rights, Cecil had said. Logically, Dan couldn’t argue with that, but he’d hate to see this forest go.
He didn’t doubt that this place looked the same today as it had hundreds of years ago, back when cowboys and Indians rode the range. If he closed his eyes, he could almost hear war whoops and the thunder of hooves.
He twisted in the saddle, squinting as he looked into the afternoon sun. He really did hear hoofbeats.
The sound stopped when he moved, and by the time he got his eyes shaded with the brim of his Stetson, all he could see was a dust cloud about a hundred yards back, down the well-worn deer path he’d come in on.
Instinctively, Dan dropped his hand to the butt of his pistol. Sure, the engraved nickel firearm was only good for six shots, but he’d wanted a piece that was specifically weighted to his grip.
His hand flexed around the gun and waited. The dust settled around a figure. The sunlight provided an almost sparkly air around her. He blinked. What he saw didn’t change, so he shook his head. Still there.
A Native American princess sat astride a paint horse. Her hair hung loose behind her, blowing in a breeze that Dan couldn’t feel. He couldn’t feel much of anything but sheer shock. What the hell?
Her horse took a step closer. She wore nothing but an old-fashioned, unadorned buckskin dress that rode high up on lean thighs that clung to the sides of her paint horse with natural ease. It was clear this princess knew how to ride bareback. The length of her legs ended with simple moccasins. Her horse’s face was coated in red. Was that war paint?
Could this be happening? She looked like she belonged to a different time, as pure and untouched as the land around her. He’d seen a few Lakota Indians in the three days since he’d arrived, but none of them looked like this.
None of them looked at him like she was looking at him.
One of her hands held the reins of her horse, the other was relaxed by her leg. She tilted her head, sending all that black hair off to one side. She was stunning. A princess of the high plains.
Dan’s heartbeat picked up and he slid his hand away from his revolver. She was not what he expected. Cecil had warned him that the local Lakota Indians were a bunch of lazy drunks—but not this woman. The proud way she held her body as her clear eyes swept over him made it obvious that neither of those adjectives applied to her. He’d never seen a woman as stop-what-he’s-doing-and-stare beautiful as she was. She leaned forward, and he caught the shape of her buckskin-clad chest. His pulse wasn’t the only thing that picked up. What the hell was wrong with him?
The princess flashed him a smile, which didn’t help. He had trouble reading her expression at this distance, but there was no mistaking the wide grin or the brightness of her teeth. Then, as quickly as she’d smiled, she was a blur of motion. Her horse shot forward in the same second her hand shot up. His hat went flying as an explosion rocked the valley.
His horse jumped and spun, and Dan lost track of the woman. His first instinct was to rein in Smokey; his second was to duck for cover. That explosion had sounded a hell of a lot like a gunshot.
By the time he got his stallion turned back around, she was gone. Dan didn’t think, he just acted. He touched his spurs to the horse’s side and took off for the deer trail. Fueled by adrenaline, he plunged into the shadowy woods. Beautiful or no, no one took a shot at him. No one.
He could hear the sound of a large body crashing through the underbrush, over to his left. Whoever she was, she was abandoning the deer path. Dan blinked hard, forcing his eyes to adjust to the dim light. He thought he caught a flash of white ahead.
The harder he rode, the madder he got. In the oil business, he’d dealt with plenty of shady characters—men with agendas or histories—but no one had ever taken an unprovoked shot at him. Hell, no one had ever taken a shot at him, period. He didn’t have enemies because he didn’t make them. That “man-against-the-world” crap might have been the way of things back in the old days, but Dan was no gunslinger. He was a businessman—a successful one. His word was his bond, and his lawyer rode herd when a deal went south.
He caught the flash of white again and froze.