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Here's another scene you can enjoy in the meantime:
The moonlight only emphasized her loveliness. He brushed a tangled strand of hair from her wet cheek, and her eyelids fluttered. Her lips parted with a gasp, and he wondered if she kissed her ghostly husband in her sleep. Before he could stop himself, he gave in to his pent-up frustration and longing and brushed his lips across hers.
He expected her to sink back into the bedclothes, dead asleep, or, worse, wake up. Instead, her lips quivered against his. Her arms tightened around him, sliding up to grip his shoulders. The pads of her fingers dug into his back. He couldn’t help himself. He deepened the kiss, aware of his rising ardor, but unable to contain it. She twined her fingers in his hair, pulling her to him with an urgency he didn’t want to fight. Every fiber of his being vibrated with sparks ignited by her kiss. His muscles weakened with each passing moment, as did his resolve to leave in the morning. How could he sneak out of the cottage like a criminal, when she was so alone, so desperately alone?
He would have to go soon, regardless. His presence was too much of a risk for her. For himself, he cared little. But he could not put the burden of harboring an enemy upon her.
He broke the kiss gently so as not to awaken her. Cradling her in his arms, he lowered her to the pillow and pulled the quilt up to her chin. He kept watch by her side to ensure she didn’t have another nightmare, but she slept heavily. She resembled an angel in sleep, with her golden hair tumbled across the pillowcase. In sleep, she was more the young woman he sensed dwelled beneath her daily sorrow and mournful burden. It was a shame, truly a shame, that she could not cast the burden aside and give her heart again.
Despite the almost painful urge to hold her through the night, he pulled up a hard-backed chair and sat beside her. He did allow one indulgence, which was to take her hand from the coverlet and hold it lightly. Her fingers closed around his.
Just before dawn, he staggered from her room and unpacked the flour sack of Caleb Quinn’s belongings before falling into a dead sleep on his pallet.
Dear readers, do you prefer one historical setting over another? Looking for more dukes and fewer cowboys, or are you ready for some good, old-fashioned American heroes? Leave your comments and I will draw a name out of the hat in 2 weeks! Stay tuned for more excerpts and surprises!