From Stilettos at High Noon Western Romance Anthology!

Hope you enjoy!

On the run from her vicious Kiowa husband, Catherine seeks shelter from a supernatural dust storm when labor begins. Fate steps in when retired tracker Elam appears to help Catherine deliver the child. But outside, biding his time until the squall passes someone longs to claim both of their lives.

The angry wind moaned outside and seeped through the fissures of the timbered walls. What did she expect for such a remote dwelling at the end of this godforsaken wilderness? Evidence someone once lived here existed, but had spent little time adorning the rough-hewn walls.  A chamber pot peeked out from beneath a dingy mattress; one Catherine knew the occupant shared with bedbugs and other unimaginable crawlers. Although in desperate need of hot water, she couldn’t risk a fire. Chimney smoke would draw the wretched heathens tracking her to Hell and back. Gomda’s evil face rose behind her swollen, grit-ridden lids. What method of torture he’d inflict if he found her was anyone’s guess, but her death would not be swift. She’d witnessed too often their thirst for revenge, their never-ending lust to torture and maim.

Delirium and reality warred in her brain, and yet one thing was clear--the man spawned from Satan had commandeered the wind to hinder her escape once they discovered she’d fled the village. That too she’d witnessed, Gomda’s power to alter the elements, call the rain from the sky or force the sun into hiding.

Her spirit hungered for freedom, had hungered for ten years to reclaim the life they stole from her. She had schemed and plotted, chosen the worst time and yet the best time, to flee from the devil’s minion. During those desolate years, dishonor, shame and guilt had cloaked her every thought, but she bade her time and took a chance when her enemies least expected it. Wolf-dog emitted a guttural growl and her spine curdled with fear. How had they found her so soon? Poor beast would be killed first . . . before they descended on her. In her condition, she could do nothing to prevent the creature’s demise, much less thank him for leading her through the dust storm to this temporary sanctuary. While the phantom of death circled her head, she pulled the knife from the knee-high moccasins and focused on the one thing that mattered, the cause of her horrendous pain and the only reason to stay alive for now.  Wolf-dog rose to a squat, shoulders down, rump high in the air and his long, white fangs bared for attack. He would take down one, and she would the steal the breath from another before . . . .

The door flew open. Underneath the frame stood a tall, dark form, his leather duster open and hugging a pair of high, black boots. Saddlebags rode his left shoulder, and a shotgun that could blow both her and wolf-dog to smithereens in one blast rested against his right. A revolver rested in a leather scabbard across his chest, and the haft of a Bowie knife extended beyond the top of the black boot on his right. Her weak limbs trembled with ironic relief. At least he wasn’t wearing leggings and a breechclout. Gomda hadn’t found her, but the vision of hell and damnation devouring the door frame had. A thatch of burnished, chestnut hair framed a pair of brown eyes, eyes so dark, they were almost black. With a wary look in his eyes, his body primed for danger, he scanned the dim corners of the cabin.

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