Maggie Rutherford jilts her too-perfect society groom at the altar and flees New York for the American West, where she turns her travels into dime novels that she writes and illustrates under the pen name Lud Madison.
After the Civil War, veteran Ben Morgan marries his childhood sweetheart and takes her to homestead on the Great Plains. Losing her and their unborn child in an Indian attack, Ben detaches from emotion and becomes a roaming gambler. When he kills a cheating opponent in self-defense, the man’s gunslinger brother swears revenge upon Ben.
Ben hides on a cattle drive and brings in a herd to Abilene, where a waiting Maggie wants to find a rough and tumble cowboy to interview for her next story idea. Sparks fly as the dangerous drover and popular novelist wind up living in the same household, running a general store east of Abilene. But with Black Tex Lonnegan hot on his trail, will Ben run from his growing attraction to Maggie and the gunfighter’s promise of death–or will he make a stand for his life–and love?
Maggie squealed with delight. “I saw this contraption demonstrated when I was in Denver this past spring. The man’s fingers flew over . . . oh, what is it called? A keyboard, I think. He punched keys marked with letters of the alphabet, and they struck a piece of paper. The words formed along a line almost by magic. It was amazing!”
“Then let’s open the parcel and see it for ourselves.” Ben used his pocketknife to open the box. He extracted the typewriter, a small pamphlet that accompanied it, some black ribbons in cases, and a ream of paper.
“It’s heavy,” he told her. “It would be bulky for a woman to carry, much less travel with.”
She struck a pose with her good left arm, flexing a muscle. “I am stronger than I look, Mr. Morgan. I’ve had actual boxing lessons from an Irish brawler. I could probably take you on and knock you down before you knew what hit you.”
Ben’s lazy smile warmed her inside, all the way down to her toes. “You are a constant surprise to me, Maggie Rutherford.”
They unfolded the instructions, and she read them aloud while he affixed the ribbon in the prescribed manner. He then loaded the typewriter with a piece of white paper that sat upon a roll. They took turns striking the keys, marveling at the words that appeared upon the page. The pamphlet illustrated how certain fingers were designated to strike individual keys.
“Once the pattern is learned, this will be a remarkable way for me to write my novels. I’ll have to come up with stories at a faster rate, but that won’t be a problem at all. I have so many ideas that run through my brain now, I sometimes have trouble getting them all down on paper.”
“You can type out your ideas, Maggie, as well as your novels. That way you won’t lose any of them.”
She beamed at him, elated at the idea he proposed. She wished her wrist would be healed immediately. She couldn’t wait to teach her fingers to dance across the keyboard. Nothing would make her happier than quickly setting down all the storylines that skittered through her head. Nothing.
Until Ben leaned over and kissed her.
Then her idea of happiness took a seismic shift.
* * *
Lauren Linwood became a teacher who wrote on the side to maintain her sanity in a sea of teenage hormones. Her romances use history as a backdrop to place her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire and yearning for one another grow into the deep, tender, treasured gift of love.
Lauren, a native Texan, lives in a Dallas suburb with her family. An avid reader, moviegoer, and sports fan, she manages stress by alternating yoga with five mile walks. She is thinking about starting a support group for Pinterest and House Hunters addicts.
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