Lust and Sin in the Gold Rush...
When the handsome young rancher and wealthy landowner, Jacob Charles, tries to buy the land right out from under two aspiring prospectors, it's up to Sarah Wilson to protect her family's claim against the powerful, resourceful man. Ever the gentleman, Jacob accepts her refusal to sell, vowing to return with an even more compelling offer.
But when Sarah discovers large quantities of gold while panning the river, she's quickly set upon by a gang of opportunistic ruffians. Things seem bleak for the young woman... until Jacob, weilding a six-shooter and possessing deadly aim, manages to rescue her.
Suddenly Sarah is exposed to softer, more noble side of the young rescuer - but will mutual competition over the gold come between their budding attraction for each other?
Sarah smiled up at him, placing her free hand over their entwined ones to reassure him. “You did. I don’t know how to thank you. I can’t imagine what – ”
“Don’t,” Jacob broke in. “You’re fine, and that’s all that matters. As for thanking me,” he went on, with a slow grin. “You could accept my apology and call us even.”
Confused, she asked, “What apology?”
“This one.” He removed his hat and placed it over his heart. “I’m truly sorry for my behavior yesterday. I was raised better than to try and intimidate a lady, especially when she’s alone.” His smile turned wry as he added, “Even if said lady refused to be intimidated and was able to smell a plot before a single word had been spoken.”
“My brother taught me well,” Sarah said, grinning back at him. “And I accept your apology. Jacob.” She looked him up and down. “I must say, you’re a hell of a shot.”
Jacob nodded. “I’ve been in my fair share of gunfights. I wasn’t always this well off, had to learn how to protect what was mine.”
“Well then, Mr. Rancher, I suppose I’m glad you’ve decided to protect me.”
He smiled at her then, a brilliant, dazzling expression of happiness, and it was as removed from his usual smirk as night was separate from day. Sarah was struck with an abrupt urge to see more of the real him, the one he kept hidden behind his arrogant veneer.
They stood unmoving in the clearing, beaming at each other without reason. The amiable silence was only broken when Jacob frowned and said, “You’re hurt.” He ran his thumb gingerly across her cheek and Sarah’s breath caught in her throat.
“Am I?” she whispered. “I can barely feel it.”
She wasn’t lying; in that moment, all she felt was his calloused palm stroking her skin. All she saw were his eyes; bright and bluer than the sky, their attention was focused on her, and nothing else. It was exhilarating, completely unlike anything Sarah had ever experienced before – and she wanted more.