Read And One Rode West Online

Authors: Heather Graham

Tags: #Historical Romance

And One Rode West

“WILLING OR NO, MY LOVE, YOU’RE RIDING WEST.”

“You don’t like me. You don’t like a single thing about me, and you can’t possibly want me with you.”

“There’s where you’re wrong, Christa. I admire your courage very much. And your strength. I think you’ll make an exceptional cavalry wife,” Jeremy said softly.

Her head was pounding. Christa slipped down from his horse without his assistance. Her skirt caught on the saddle and he had to release it for her.

“Then there’s the reason that although I very much hate to admit it—to add more flattery to that defiant Rebel head of yours—I do find you very beautiful. Exceptionally so. And …”

“And?” she whispered, startled by his last words.

“And you’re my wife, and I’ve determined that you’ll accompany me.”

“I—I can’t!”

“But you will. So prepare yourself, Christa. Willing or no, my love, you’re riding west.”

AND ONE RODE WEST

CRITICAL RAVES FOR
HEATHER GRAHAM
and her best-selling, award-winning novels

AND ONE WORE GRAY

“The long-awaited sequel to
One Wore Blue
was well worth the wait … a great story.”

—Heartland Critiques

“SUPERLATIVE READING … excellent characterizations … the scenes are filled with compassion and we see the anger, the fear, the dread that all the brave men who fought this war faced.”


Rendezvous

ONE WORE BLUE

“A stunning achievement … Heather Graham does for Harpers Ferry what Margaret Mitchell did for Atlanta. Without losing an ounce of sizzling sexual tension or intense emotions, or one moment of romance, this author brilliantly entwines historical details within the framework of a glorious love story.”

—Romantic Times

“Ms. Graham fills this book with deep emotions and excellent characters that bury themselves so deeply in our hearts we’ll remember them always.”

—Rendezvous

“Graham paints a vivid and detailed picture … she is an incredible storyteller, a weaver of words.”

—Los Angeles Times

“A FIVE-STAR RATING!… a well-written plot, excellent characters and scenes.”

—Affaire de Coeur

THE VIKING’S WOMAN

“Heather Graham is a writer of incredible talent. Once again, she brings to life a sometimes violent but always intriguing era of romance and adventure.”

—Affaire de Coeur

SWEET SAVAGE EDEN


SWEET SAVAGE EDEN
IS A KEEPER! An engrossing, highly sensual nonstop read. You’ll be captivated by the engaging characters and the fascinating portrait of early colonial life. Heather Graham never disappoints her readers. She delivers high quality historical romance with three-dimensional characters and a sizzling love story that touches the heart.”

—Romantic Times

A PIRATE’S PLEASURE

“The sexual tension in
A Pirate’s Pleasure
sizzles like the hottest summer sun. Heather Graham’s sense of humor sparkles throughout this delightful and well-researched tale … just one more shining example of why Ms. Graham is a best-selling author. She continually gives us hours of reading pleasure.”

—Romantic Times

LOVE NOT A REBEL

“A very, very hot, fast-paced, ‘battle-of-wills’ love story that is guaranteed to thrill Heather Graham’s legion of fans … enough historical details, colorful escapades, biting repartee, and steamy sexual tension to keep you glued to the pages.”


Romantic Times

DEVIL’S MISTRESS

“The familiar and charged role of the unwilling bride showcases Graham’s talents for characterization and romantic tension.”


Daily News
(New York)

Published by
Dell Publishing
a division of
Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.
1540 Broadway
New York, New York 10036

Copyright © 1992 by Heather Graham Pozzessere

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the Publisher, except where permitted by law.

The trademark Dell
®
is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

eISBN: 978-0-307-81514-9

v3.1

Contents
Prologue
Late September, 1865

Slowly rousing from a restless doze, Christa became aware of the man.

Her heart seemed to fly to her throat, ceasing its beat, then pounding furiously.

He was tall, and he filled the entryway to the tent. His shoulders were broad, and cast against the darkness of the velvet, stormy night, he was touched only lightly by the blood-red blaze of the low-burning fire in the center of the tepee.

Terror filled her in those first few seconds. The red and gold light made him appear like some ancient pagan God of this wild, raw land, some indomitable being, created of muscle and sinew and vengeance.

Dear God! Who was it? Standing in the firelight and shadow, she knew he had come for her.

It must be Buffalo Run, she thought, coming to take his revenge. He would have what amusement he could find from her—and then he would have her scalp. She knew the Comanche sometimes tortured their captives, cutting their tongues out if they screamed in the night.

And when she died, her scalp, with a long black tress
waving from it, would be stuck upon a pole high atop a plain’s butte for some other traveler to discover.

Just as they had found that blond scalp themselves, not so very long ago. The blond scalp that must have belonged to a young woman, as Robert Black Paw and Dr. Weland had determined.

Dear God, no!

Jesu, sweet Jesu, let her open her eyes again and see that the man at the entry was gone! That she had imagined the towering figure of a man there in the darkness, touched only by that flickering light! Once it might not have mattered so fiercely. But it did now. She wanted to live. She wanted to live for her child. She wanted to live for the life that they might share together.

She opened her eyes. Her heart seemed to shudder. He was still there. He stared at her in the firelight, and she saw he had the advantage, for he was cast against the blackness of the night while she was bathed by the golden flames. She swallowed hard.

She didn’t show fear, Jeremy had told her once, and that was, perhaps, the one thing he admired about her. Lying in their tent beneath the stars one night, he had admitted with a bitter tone to his voice that she was no simpering belle, no matter how she liked to play the part of the grand dame. Had she been in the midst of the fighting, Grant might never have taken Richmond.

She knew how to fight! But could she fight now? She had fought her way right into the middle of this disaster. Now the red and gold fire lit up the tepee from its center, casting some objects into amber light and some into crimson shadow. How menacing those dark shadows seemed.

How menacing the man who stood between that ominous play of light and dark!

Her heart slammed, seemed to cease its beat, then began to pound with a fury to rival the drumbeats.

The man cast in the light began to move. He took a step forward into the tepee.

Outside, it had been storming. Now, the rains had stopped. Only the chill wind remained. Anguished moans turned into tearing howls, cries that haunted the landscape. She could still hear the endless monotony of the drums as she watched that towering figure come toward her.

The night was savage. So seemed the man.

She placed a hand above her eyes, trying to see him. All around her, the pulse of the drumbeats continued as the seconds ticked by.

What did those drumbeats mean, she wondered desperately. Was she to become a sacrifice to a pagan god? Did each beat spell her doom?

Jeremy would know. He knew the Comanche ways well, just as he knew the Apache, Cheyenne, Pawnee, Ute, and the other tribes along the long trail west. To some of the soldiers, they were all just savages. But Jeremy knew them individually. He had taken the time to do so.

And he had warned her often enough about the Comanche. They could be savage, indeed. But there was more to it than that, he had warned her often enough. They were fiercely proud. They were independent.

She felt a scream rising in her throat. Instinctively, she cast the back of her hand against her mouth, praying that she might choke it back, then wondering why she even cared.

Maybe there was a chance. Comanche sold their captives too. Raped them and sold them to the Spaniards in Mexico, making sure that they only traded soiled goods.

It was warm within the tepee, she realized dimly, despite the pelting rain that had fallen, despite the howling cry of the wind. The Comanche knew how to keep their portable dwellings secure from the rain and
the cold. They knew how to live off of this hostile land. They knew how best to torture captives.

Other books

I'm the One That I Want by Margaret Cho
Hot Six by Janet Evanovich
Practically Perfect by Katie Fforde
Howzat! by Brett Lee
Shepherd's Crook by Sheila Webster Boneham