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Emily and Elias Jessup left their home in southern Texas, tired of living a life of poverty. They soon find out that life is no better alone on their own. With not a penny to their name and no job prospects, the siblings turn to stealing from the rich to survive. Constantly on the run from the law, the two know that their days are numbered before the law catches up to them.
Ellen Holladay comes across a handsome 'farmer' in desperate search of his sister who has been kidnapped. But can a handsome face and winning smile hide the fact that he is obviously lying to her? When his sister, Emily, is found in the arms of bounty hunter Cade Singleton – Eli’s true identity is revealed.
Elias willingly turns himself in to Holladay, in an effort to make peace with the woman that has captured his heart. In a strange twist, he is suddenly married to her and sworn in as a bounty hunter himself. Can his new wife see past his previous sins, giving him the chance to start again? Can she accept her new husband and the dangers that being a Lawkeeper can bring? Is falling in love worth the risk … and the greatest reward?
Here's an excerpt:
Here's an excerpt:
“Elias! Elias!” He heard his name yelled aloud in the darkness. A voice he never hoped to hear laced with tones of horror and panic. His sister, Emily, wasn’t prone to flightiness or one to exaggerate either. She tended to be pretty cool and level-headed, with an occasional flare-up of temper just like any of the others in the Jessup family.
Something was wrong, and Emily had been right. Elias didn’t take lightly to his younger sister being accurate in her premonition of their attempt at a robbery, especially when she claimed to have seen a bounty hunter in town. Now, he’d sent her straight into the devil’s clutches, a rich devil named Masterson. He had been the local braggart that Elias had bet his hat on earlier in the day. Elias assumed he’d be an easy target. Older, thin and spry. He figured that if Emily could ply him with drinks and lure him out into the alleyway, it would be easy to wrest his money from him. Masterson had boasted that he’d made a killing in the horse auction he’d held here in Cleburne a few days prior.
Elias grabbed the reins of the two horses that he held in the darkness and began to run as fast as he could with the animals trailing behind him. Those horses would be their means of getting away. While he wanted to leave them and race to her aid, he couldn’t, or they’d be trapped without the horses. He pulled harder on the leather straps, pulling with all his might. His boots slid in the dirt from the two anchors that wouldn’t seem to budge any faster than at a slow pace. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. The horses normally responded easily and carried them quickly. It was almost as if they knew that something was wrong and didn’t want to be a part of it.
Elias heard his sister’s voice scream his name and dropped the reins there in the street behind him, moving into action. He pulled his Colt from the holster. He knew he would be in for a verbal lashing from Emily for using a gun, but the moment called for it. He had to save her from whatever was wrong! She hadn’t entered the alleyway that they’d planned on and now he was praying that she was in the blackness just ahead of him that ran alongside the restaurant. His eyes had been adjusted to the night’s inky darkness. But as he got closer to the building, he stepped into the light, blinding him momentarily. Darting forward regardless, he struggled to adjust his eyes to see what was going on. Ahead of him, he could see something was happening and hoped it was Emily he saw moving.
The high-pitched, blood-curdling scream as a dark figure hit the ground confirmed it was her. He’d never heard the likes of it before and felt his face drain of all color. Was she dead? No! She was flailing on the ground in the darkness and he heard vomiting. Perhaps she was simply ill. Something was very wrong!
The dark figure that stood over her morphed into two inky bodies before his very eyes. Elias held his gun up and noticed that his hand shook with fear. He wiped the sweat from his brow and concentrated on the black mass that had doubled, thinking he’d lost his mind. As Emily’s body was dragged upwards in the darkness before him – he confirmed it was her that had been on the ground writhing about. This was madness and he’d crossed the bend! What in the world was going on? He could barely discern the shadows ahead of him and if he hadn’t realized that the dark mess on the ground was his sister, he’d have never known for sure otherwise.
“Help! Help me!” Emily’s voice pierced white-hot at his gut, moving him forward. His eyes were finally adjusting a bit to the change between the light that had blinded him and the pitch of the black alleyway. “Eli? Elias, where are you?” he heard his sister moan, causing guilt to burn through his veins. Guilt, remorse, and rage.
Elias yanked his gun up again. He saw his hand still shook and took aim far away from where he assumed Emily was. Just before he pulled the trigger, he saw, gratefully, that she was dropped to the ground again. Her voice let out an awful yelp indicating something was wrong or she was hurt in the fall. He didn’t care because if she was on the ground that meant she was out of range of his bullets. He focused instead on the frighteningly tall figures before him that were shrouded in black.
He pulled the trigger. An explosion of fire burst from the barrel of his gun, causing his hand to jerk up and shocking him at the recoil. Eli forgot how powerful the gun was in the moment. He’d only shot it a few times for hunting or to test it out. He’d never fired at a man before. He’d never had a reason to yet.
“No guns!” Emily whimpered from the ground. Eli stared at her dumbfounded. Didn’t she realize he was trying to save her from whatever was causing her to scream? No one else had come running into the night yet, but he was sure it wouldn’t be long! No guns? Was she kidding? His sister had been bodily attacked on a mission he’d given her. She was on the ground, potentially injured and a horrific, foul smell was emanating from her direction. Squinting in the darkness, he stared at her and realized that the smooth, classical woman she wanted to portray earlier was gone. She was completely disheveled in the dirt.
“Oh, mercy,” he breathed quietly in horror. Had Em been raped in the alleyway? He’d kill the man! His sweet, innocent little sister! “Em? Em? Emily, are you okay?” he asked shakily in a voice he didn’t recognize. Elias stared at her on the ground, his heart clenched in terror. His mind racing with all sorts of horrors that had occurred, along with how he’d right the wrong that had been done to her. Faintly, he heard another voice. It didn’t match Masterson’s snotty, booming, arrogant voice that he’d heard earlier in the day as they had sized up their prey.
“Elias Jessup! You and Emily Jessup are under arrest! Don’t you move! Silence, boy! You are under arrest for the murder of Edward Masterson and wanted for robbery.” This cold voice demanded attention and respect, both of which he brushed off as he stared at Emily on the ground.
“No! Not murder, no guns!” Emily whispered faintly in the dark, staring where he stood. Comprehension finally dawned on him. They were under arrest? This was the bounty hunter from earlier in the day? He was the tall figure that stood in the darkness between him and his sister. Who’d he shoot then? Did he miss? Was it Masterson? If he shot the bounty hunter, he’d hang for sure regardless of if he died or not! The law didn’t take kindly to their own being injured on the job.
“Emily!” he called out shakily. Eli needed to know she was okay and safe. He could hang as long as she was all right. His eyes tried to read her face in the darkness, but he could barely see her. All he could see was milky blue taffeta on the ground and shadows. Her face was a mere hint of paleness in the inky shadows. What he wouldn’t give for just a bit of light right now so he could verify that she was all right.
“I’m fine, Eli – run!” Emily ordered weakly. “Go! Run!”
“Don’t make me shoot you in front of your sister, Jessup! Girl, you are to be silent!” the voice barked and, deep down, he knew the man was the bounty hunter she’d claimed to see from earlier in the day. He’d scared her and Eli didn’t listen. He heard the faint click of the hammer being drawn back and stared up at the barrel.
“Go away,” Emily said aloud, in a voice that sounded stronger. She was a fighter and he… he had the full attention of the lawman. They were in danger, both of them. If they were both captured, they would both stand trial for robbery. He, however, would stand trial for murder and swing from the nearest tree. If he died, it would leave her alone in the world, since neither of them was welcomed home anymore, after their choices had led them astray in their father’s eyes.
“I’ll come for you, Em,” he promised. Shoving his gun back in the holster, he turned and ran while he still could. It made him feel such shame to be leaving Emily behind, but he knew that he wouldn’t rest until she’d been freed. The horses had not moved from the spot where he’d dropped the reins.
The bounty hunter would be coming quickly behind him and he’d be lucky if he wasn’t shot in the back while fleeing. Keeping low, he picked up the reins and quickly hurried into the saddle. Nudging the horse’s flank gently, the steed needed no other encouragement to pick up the pace and get them both out of town. As he ducked down low in the saddle, he hugged the horse’s neck to stay safe and free from harm.“Emily, stay strong.” He vowed again, “I’m coming for you.”
Ginny Sterling is an avid romance writer. She enjoys telling tales that tug at the heart. She enjoys reading and creating stories that leave the reader smiling, laughing or crying. She mostly writes Western Romances Books - including two new series: Broken Road Romances and The Lawkeepers. She also writes Contemporary romance, as well as the Timeless Brides Series (Time travel romance).
Having lived in several different parts of the United States, she and her family have settled in Kentucky. She spends all of her free time writing, quilting, or shopping for coffee mugs to add to her collection.
E.E.: What is the first book you remember reading.
Ginny: Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein. Ickle me, Pickle me, Tickle me too is still my most favorite rhyme/story ever. I remember having it read to me when I was little and reading it to my children. My first fiction book had to be Clan of the Cave Bear and I recall being so impressed with the world woven by Jean Auel and then I got to *THAT* scene and was shocked that people do that! LOL!!
E.E.: If you could interview one person, who would it be?
Ginny: Oh gosh, I feel like I should give some regal or fabulous answer (like George Washington, Queen Elizabeth, the Pope) but in all honesty? I'd love to interview Alan Shephard or Neal Armstrong. I'm a space nerd (in fact, I got to describe a launch in my time travel book, Enchanted by You) and would probably disgrace myself with the amount of nervous giggling and questions I'd ask. I mean, there are so many things that rattle off constantly in my head at the idea of weightlessness and being in space that peak my interest. The Mars project, what are their opinions? Thoughts? Would they go back up knowing what they know now? Serious. space. nerd.
E.E.: Tea or Coffee?
Ginny: Coffee, cafe, koffe, java, the bean, brew ha ha, nectar of the gods... I might be slightly addicted. I drink it black, with sweetener and cream, just cream, flavored creamer, or blended with Irish butter and cinnamon.
E.E.: Whats your favorite kid joke?
Ginny: How do you make a hanky dance? Put a little boogie in it!
E.E.: What does it mean to love someone?
Ginny: Oh wow. I mean, how do you describe something so beautiful and so personal? I believe in happily ever after and a deep, true love. When I write, I try to develop that bond with the characters. Everyone has off days and things that annoy them...but everyone has a need as well. There is something so vital about finding someone that just 'gets' you and understands who you are at the very heart of your being. Someone that loves you for who you are, not who you could be. Its a perfect pairing of differences that make you realize that when people say 'he's my better half' - that is because they mean it. You don't see the person, you see the soul and how beautiful it is. *That* is what I try to convey in my books <3
E.E.: What is the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Ginny: Call my mama.
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