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Excerpt from Texas Rose - eBook Discovery

Excerpt from Texas Rose - eBook Discovery

Evie felt a swell of

Evie felt a swell of reassurance at his appearance. This had to be the man she was looking for. Of course, he was much younger than she had expected. A man who had done everything that Pecos Martin had done should be older and grizzled and weather-beaten. She had expected one of the derelicts in shirtsleeves and vest with three-day's growth of beard to be the man Daniel had told her about. But this man was obviously accustomed to sun, more so than anyone else in here. His hair lay in thick lengths of sun-licked gold. Peering through the gloom, she thought his features were probably quite handsome. She hesitated to call a cold-blooded killer handsome. But he was definitely remarkable-looking. Reassured by those looks, certain she was in the place described by Daniel, Evie approached the gambler without hesitation. The scene was just as she had imagined. "Mr. Martin?" she inquired as she approached, her petticoats rustling in the silence. She didn't want to disturb anyone's concentration. The men in the card game with the golden gambler scarcely noticed her presence. She wasn't accustomed to that, but she wasn't accustomed to frequenting dens of vice, either. The gambler grinned as his gaze raked over her new walking gown. Evie hoped he noticed the clever way she had cut the gussets so the tunic fit her waist neatly before flaring out over the full skirt and modified bustle. He certainly seemed to be appreciating some aspect of her attire, anyway. She smiled tentatively. "Deal me out, boys," the man murmured, laying down his cards and scooping up the coins and greenbacks littering the table in front of him. He crushed his cheroot against the table and rose without a word of protest from the other players. They

almost seemed relieved to see him go. "How may I help you, my dear?" he inquired as he took her hand and placed it on his linen-covered arm. When she seemed prepared to withdraw her fingers, he held them and started toward the door. "Let us go outside. This is no place for a lovely lady such as yourself." Deciding there was no harm in holding a man's arm even though it was more muscular than she had ever dreamed, Evie followed him through the gloom to the brilliant Natchez sunshine outside. She was well aware that this was not the kind of place where ladies strayed, but she knew of no other way to obtain her goal, and she wasn't known for giving up. Don Quixote wouldn't have given up at the sight of a few cigars and the smell of unwashed bodies. The blacksmith and buggy shops of Under-the-Hill might harbor men of the lower orders, but Evie had full confidence that they wouldn't be interested in harming her. It was broad daylight, after all, and the street was filled with horses and wagons and buggies. She realized the shuttered buildings like the gambling hall and other establishments of even less repute were dens of iniquity, but she wasn't exactly certain how iniquity could affect her if she simply walked by it. With full confidence of her power to appeal, Evie smiled up at the gentleman holding her hand and launched into her prepared story. "Daniel told me all about you, and I knew you were the gentleman who could help us out. I am Maryellen Peyton, Mr. Martin. I'm pleased to meet you." Tyler Monteigne smiled as his gaze took in the full glory of this creature he had only dimly assessed earlier. She wasn't so young as to be innocent, but young enough not to be jaded. Her

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