Friday, May 14, 2021




Caroline Clemmons 


Western historical romance 


About the book 


After fleeing an abusive husband six years ago, Beth Jeffers wants nothing more than to protect her son Davey and to help her mother operate a boarding house. The women in her family have had no luck with men, and she has no intention of letting any man influence her son. Not even Matt Petrov, no matter how much her lonely heart urges otherwise. 


Federal Marshall Matt Petrov, also known as Lone Wolf Peters, fell in love with Beth the first time he saw her. Back then she was another man’s wife, so he kept his longing a secret, and saved his love for her for six horrific years. Now, the lovely widow and he have crossed paths again. This time, he intends to risk all for a chance at happiness. First he must rescue his distant kinsman from an assassin’s clutches. Will Matt succeed before his kin is killed? And will his secrets shatter the love he and Beth share? 

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“Nice.” He held her hand to his chest.  

She tugged free. “You need sleep.” She turned out the lamp then came back to pull the sheet over him. Light from a full moon poured in the window to outline her. “I folded the quilt back so that if it turns cool toward morning you only have to pull the edge and it will slide right up.”  


“Yes?” She set his boots beside the bed and hung his shirt and jacket on the chair back. 

“Please… don’t go yet.” He didn’t deserve it he knew, but he needed her near him. He’d made an error tonight and almost died because of it. Knowing it was mostly his own fault didn’t ease the pain or make the experience any less frightening.  

She reached for the chair. “Well, I guess I could sit with you a while.” 

“I mean stay.” He patted the bed. “Here. Just for tonight.” 

“Matt, what will people think? It’s not proper, even if you’re injured.” 

“Who’ll know… or care? I’m wearing my britches and you’re all bundled up. I’m so stove up I can barely move.” He must have lost his mind. Sounded like he begged. 

“I-I guess I could sit a bit. Maybe you could tell me about Lionel?” 

“Not now. Shut the door and stay beside me.”  

Just this once he wanted to experience being in a real home with a good woman. A sample of how life should be, something he could take with him to savor on all the lonely nights to come. He closed his eyes and prayed.  

Lord, give me one night and I’ll never ask another thing.   

The soft click of the door sent his eyelids open. Had he disgusted or insulted her so she left the room? No, she padded silently around the bed and slid beside him.  

Thank you, God. 

“Matt? I’m sorry I yelled at you because I thought you’d been drinking.” She laid her hand on his arm. 

S’all right.” He moved her arm to his chest and exhaled. “Good. You’re here, I feel better now.” 

She nestled her head against his shoulder. “Then go to sleep.” 


She raised her head. The moonlight played across her skin and reflected in shades of silver and gold on her hair. “What now.” 

“I always thought you were beautiful, but the moonlight makes you even prettier.” He skimmed his hand up her arm. “Kiss me goodnight.” 

“Matt Petrov, you are not only the nerviest man, you’re plain out of your head. Go to sleep.” 

He pulled her to him and claimed her lips. Softly, so he didn’t scare her. After her treatment from Jeffers, he figured she’d be skittish. She resisted for an instant then leaned into him. He deepened the kiss and she parted her lips for him. 

Sweet heaven, he’d never known a more satisfying kiss. He tugged her until she stretched along his body.  

When she broke the kiss, she moved her legs back to the mattress but laid her head on his chest. “Why’d you do that?” 

“Needed to. For six years. Can’t say I’m proud of wanting you when you belonged to another man, but I won’t deny I thought about you.” 

He felt her shudder with sobs, her tears ran wet on his chest. Caressing her back, he cursed himself for as big a fool as Jeffers. “Beth? Aw, honey, I didn’t aim to make you cry. Forgive me. I’d never willingly do anything to hurt you.” 

“You didn’t. Matt, I’m ashamed. I hated the person I was when I knew you before. You saw me weak and abused. Heard Lionel yell awful things at me. When you came here, I was mean to you because you’d known me then. I didn’t want to be reminded of those times.”  

She sobbed again. “As if I could ever forget them. Then, when you told me about him being dead, I—I felt relief. I’m sorry, but only what you’d be if you read there’d been a train wreck and people you never knew died. I must be a terrible person not to mourn him.”  

“No, you’re a wonderful person and it’s not like you lived with him long or had seen him recently.” What a hell of a position to be in. How could he tell her how Jeffers died? He stroked her silky hair. “I’m sorry you’re upset, but I’m glad I found you. You’re a different person in a way, but you were a sweet woman then and you are now. And a good mother and daughter.”  

He thanked God he’d given Jeffers the money for her ticket home, but he’d never let her know about that. She’d hate him for sure if she learned her no-good former husband had borrowed the money from Matt to send her away in disgrace. It’d done her a world of good, though, and had probably saved her life. 

She sniffed and rubbed her sleeve at her face. “I’m glad you came, too. I-I’d wondered what happened to you and where you were and if-if you’d met someone.” 

He couldn’t tell her where he’d been, at least, not right now. “I didn’t meet anyone.”  

“I’m glad. I, um, I mean, I’m sorry you’ve been alone all this time, but I’m glad you don’t have a woman waiting for you to come home.” 

“Don’t have a home.” He didn’t add that he didn’t deserve one, that he’d had one once and lost it. 

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