Confederate officer, Lieutenant Jesse Coleman is ordered to bring in the most dangerous spy in the area, the "Black Widow." Problem is, Jesse's already gotten a look at Maggie and decided she's about the most alluring woman he's ever seen. When he meets her, she stirs every lustful thought he’s ever had. Despite their attraction, he still has a duty, but if he obeys orders, he'll lose the one thing he wants most….Maggie.
When the war ends, things have changed, although a lot of people haven't, and Maggie is on the run for her life. She has a big surprise for the man who promised to help her.
Once Maggie shows up again, Jesse seizes the chance to have a life with her, but even if they survive all the dangers ahead of them, can he live with her Love Rules?
Genre: Historical romance, IR/multicultural, western
Heat level: 3
Word count – 69k
Cover art by Dara England
August 1864: Texas-Arkansas border
“Take a good look out there, son. That’s what killed nearly five thousand of our men yesterday morning,” the sergeant said, spitting his tobacco out and squinting from the rising sun.
Lieutenant Jesse Coleman adjusted the spyglass and propped himself on his elbows. The air rushed from his lungs as he licked his lips, wiped his spyglass, and shifted on the grass. He watched the vision of a woman near the creek bed. He couldn’t take his eyes from her. Although he should, it just wasn’t going to happen. He’d never seen a naked woman before. Not like this one. This woman was a mullato, the best parts of each, he decided. Her skin was almost a golden brown. As though God himself had baked her bronze. Her hips were round and full and firm looking, her legs long and thin, her waist tiny, her bosom titillating as though seeking a kiss from the sun. The only things marring that perfect body were the huge whip marks on her back, about ten of them. Cut to the quick at one time. The very thought of the beautiful creature enduring such pain made Jesse want to protect her from all harm. She intrigued him in the most basic way, but there was something more than the physical that made him watch her. Gazing upon her excited him more than he could say.
She drew a breath and his mouth fell open as his tongue seemed to lick the air. Throwing back her head, the woman let her long hair fall against her back and hips. Her breasts hardened and grew as she inhaled the glorious day. He’d never seen hair that long on a Negress. She basked in the pre-dawn of morning. The warmth of sunrise kissed her skin. He wasn’t sure he could stand much more of her torture. His muscles tensed, relaxed and tensed again. A man could endure many things, but seeing a beautiful woman and not being able to touch her was excruciating.
The long fringe of her lashes cast shadows on her glowing cheeks.
As a gentleman he shouldn’t stare at her so, obviously she didn’t realize anyone was about so early in the morning. Pre-dawn and the dew still dampened the grass. However, he couldn’t put the spyglass down. No man could! Her beauty was God given, and not to appreciate it would be a sin.
Her long, dark hair dangled about her shoulders and back, and she tossed it to the side to brush it. Her hair wasn’t too curly, but hung more in a long wavy mass. Black and sleek and shiny. Her face was sweet, innocent almost, her wide eyes like almonds, her mouth full like a ripe peach, her nose straight, flaring just a bit. He licked his lips. With each stroke of the brush her full breasts jiggled, creating an ache in Jesse that was sure to cause marching problems later. He dropped his chin to the ground and groaned.
Native Texan, Rita Hestand puts stock in family, country and God. She likes to fill her home with children and laughter. A grandmother of seven, she has one great grandson. Rita writes contemporaries, historical, and children's books. She dabbles in poetry and short stories. She had a variety of jobs, which has helped to build a rich background of things to write about. She loves old movies, westerns, Indian music, and bowling. Research to Rita is more than a little fun, as she learns new things to broaden her self-education. Rita believes, "If you want something bad enough, work hard, learn everything you can about it, and keep trying to achieve it. Don't ever give up! If someone knocks you down, get back up. If someone says you can't do it, show them you can, even if it takes the rest of your life to do it. And God bless you."