Title: The Unwilling Husband
Genre: Historical Western Romance
Release Date: May 5, 2014
Cover Art: Renee Rocco
Publisher: Lyrical Press - A Kensington Imprint
For adventurous Margaret Flemming, arrived from Boston to be with her father, the Old West town of her childhood is a far cry from the drawing rooms and balls of the high society life she’s used to. Her fancy gowns and proper manners have no place in the dusty, cruel land inhabited by Indians and rough cowboys.And her fiercely independent streak constantly gets her in trouble. When tragedy strikes, there’s only one person she can turn to--her childhood friend, Garret Shaw--but he’s disgusted with her Society ways.
With his ranch under attack from the land-grabbing Jennings, the last thing Garret needs is to be saddled with a high-falutin’ lady. Even if she is his friend’s daughter and her kind ways tug at his hardened heart. Duty to her father forces them to wed, but he knows sure as anything, when the chance comes along, she’ll go back to Boston. No matter how much he wants her, loving her is not a risk he can take.
Tera Shanley, author of An Unwilling Husband here, and in honor of the book’s brand new release, I thought I’d have some fun and write one of my favorite scenes from another perspective. In the book, Maggie and Garret’s first meeting is filled with fireworks, of the non-romantic kind. Garret, unwilling husband that he is, sure can make a new girl feel unwelcome. In the book, we see the scene from Maggie’s perspective and boy-oh-boy does she have some innerestin’ thoughts about our sexy cowboy. This is a scene, exclusive to you, that shares Garret’s thoughts about the first time he meets Maggie.
Garret Shaw’s heart beat a little faster as he kicked Rooney into a trot. It had been a couple of weeks since he’d seen Roy and he had to admit, he missed the old codger. Two minutes talking to him and all memories of his tyrant father would be vanquished. Roy just had that way about him. Kind, honest, with a dry wit that made him funny as hell. He saw the world differently and in the rugged land they’d made home, it was refreshing.
He’d take an hour long conversation with Roy before he’d take a shot of moonshine any day, and be healthier for it.
The old man’s cabin came into view as Rooney’s hooves pounded the compact dirt road beneath him. Lenny and Cookie rode behind him, but he couldn’t hear their Indian ponies over his towering chestnut horse.
Stifling a grin when Roy barreled out of hiscabin’s rickety front door with a rifle at the ready, he kicked Rooney into a gallop. His father may have been a wash, but Mother had instilled in him manners, and a decent man didn’t make another wait.
A woman, petit and frilled from hem to neckline in cream colored fabric poured out of the ramshackle cabin, nearly dismounting him with shock. The contrast of her dress was ridiculous against the home’s backdrop. Did she even realize she was standing no more than two inches from a stack of drying furs? A leg of beef hung from the rafters, attracting flies by her head, and if she took two steps back, she’d stomp a fancy booted heel in Roy’s old spit can.
Anger flared in his chest as he approached the porch. A proper lady belonged out in the wilderness of Texas like she belonged on the deck of a fishing ship. Neither environment was made for dainty gloved hands or polite language.
Roy lowered the weapon and waved, and Garret pulled Rooney to a stop in front of the porch and tipped his hat. Not to the idiot lady who’d obviously landed in the wrong state, but to Roy.
Her gaudy dress was just as outrageous as he’d thought from afar and the outfit was topped by a tiny hat that wouldn’t keep a drop of sunlight from her fair skin. She’d fry like an egg if she stepped off the porch. His impression that she didn’t have a brain to her name deepened. Her existence in this godforsaken place was downright offensive. Crazy, suicidal woman.
But her eyes. Bright green to contrast her pale, lightly freckled cheeks. And her dark hair, pinned in some high fashion that belonged in a ballroom, made them look even brighter.
Rooney fidgeted under him and he allowed him a jumpy turn before he nodded toward the small herd of cattle Roy had corralled. “Those the ones you’re driving into town?”
Roy nodded. “Yep, sure are. You drivin’ some too? I heard the prices are decent right now.”
“Yes, sir. Day after tomorrow. We only have eight hundred head so I figured we could take yours up too, if you want. Tell me how many you have and I’ll get you the money after we get back. Save you the trouble.”
“Mighty kind of you. I’d appreciate that.”
Garret’s neck itched every time his gaze drifted to the woman. She wouldn’t stop staring. And her full lips, as attractive as they were, were made less so hanging open like that. What was wrong with her? And why in damnation was she here, pestering him with her stare? Furious with her inability to look anywhere but him, he glared.
Roy glanced at the woman and cleared his throat. “This is—”
“Maggie Flemming,” she interrupted, smiling broadly.
He didn’t give two flying horsefly farts what her cushy name was. But there she stood, focused on him still, and apparently waiting for him to speak to her. Damn, she was pretty. Pretty, privileged women dropped like flies around here.
Finally, he broke the heavy silence with a growl. “Garret Shaw. Come on, Roy. Let’s go take a look at the cattle we’re taking.”
He waited impatiently for Roy to mount the old gray tied to the railing and blasted around the corner of the house toward the cattle. That woman fired something in this blood. What could Roy be thinking bringing someone that high maintenance all the way out here? His entire homestead would go to hell in a season with the effort it would take the old man to coddle her.
Getting a thorough head count would have to wait. His mind was filled with Maggie-What’s-Her-Face and the obnoxiously low cut of her dress that hung right above her deliciously heaving breasts.
Dammit. Stop that right now, Shaw. Roy was already looking at him like he’d lost his mind. Maybe he had, but if so, it was her fault somehow.
Roy shook his head and walked his horse back to the front of the house. The woman talked easily with Cookie but looked up when Rooney skittered to the side under Garret and bugled his want to run. His hired hands started down the road that led home and he made to follow. He should just leave and voice his concerns to Roy when he wasn’t halfway to pissed off.
Aw, hang decorum.
He wheeled Rooney and the horse started but obeyed. “Roy, I don’t know who she is, but you and I, of all people, know a lady don’t belong out here.” Garret kicked the skittish horse under him and shot her a fiery glare, turned his mount and took off after the others.
This wasn’t Chicago, and he wasn’t a gentleman. If she expected a friendly welcome, she’d have to go back to whatever froufrou city mansion she’d come from.
About the Author
TeraShanley writes in sub-genres that stretch from Paranormal Romance, to Historic Western Romance, to Apocalyptic (zombie) Romance. The common theme? She loves love! A self-proclaimed bookworm, she was raised in small town Texas and could often be found decorating a table at the local library. She currently lives in Dallas with her husband and two young children and when she isn’t busy running around after her family, she’s writing a new story or devouring a good book.Any spare time is dedicated to chocolate licking, rifle slinging, friend hugging, and the great outdoors. For more information about Tera and her work, visit www.terashanley.com.