I am so excited to finally...FINALLY...be able to announce
my newest release here at Sweet Americana Sweethearts!
Just in time for Christmas!
by Kathryn Albright
This is the story of Gemma Starling, a woman running from her past. Gemma travels two thousand miles form her former life to flee the crime she committed. As the new schoolteacher in Clear Springs, she tries to blend in, but the sheriff in town is not so easily deceived. Gemma's attempts to avoid Craig Parker only intrigue him more. When her life is threatened, he realizes that his personal feelings for her have far surpassed his professional responsibilities for the case. He cannot lose her...yet does he even know who she truly is?
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"I loved this western romance. Ms. Albright provided us with old fashioned romance, a mystery, and Christmas --all of my favorite things."
Teri Donaldson - Amazon Reviewer
He breathed hard trying to catch his breath while
looking back and listening to make sure they weren’t being followed. With any
luck on their side, the cougar had been protecting its kill. When they left it
would have settled down to eat. He turned back to attend to Miss Starling. “I
think we’re oka—”
She gripped his vest hard, and tucked her face into his chest, breathing hard. Her small shoulders shook.
Surprised by the sudden change in her, he didn't know what to do at first. "It's okay, Gemma." He looked down on the straight part in her brown hair. Her hat had fallen off during her wild ride and how hug by its ribbons on her back. "We're safe. You're fine."
Her breaths came in disjointed gasps.
He didn't know what the heck to do with his arms, flummoxed as he was by her sudden move to cling to him.
"Is it gone?"
"I think so." Her hair know was half out of its coil and falling down her back. He breathed in her jasmine scent. What had happened to Miss 'I can do it myself'? He was beginning to realize there was a lot more to Miss Starling than she cared to admit.
"Wha...what happened?" She spoke into his chest, her breaths still coming in gasps.
"Not sure. Probably the cat was being protective of its kill."
"Are we safe?"
"Yeah." He said it, but he wasn't all that sure. He listened for the big cat, which was foolish since cougars hunted quieter than any other large animal. It would be on them before they knew it wanted them.
Finally, he slipped his arms around her shoulders and simply held her. It was awkward at first. He felt stiff. She hadn't wanted to close the gap to call him Craig, but here she was in his arms. He didn't know what to make of it. Then she shifted on her saddle, moving closer. He tightened his hold. "Take a big breath and let it out slow."
She did as he said, her breathing still unsteady, her body still shaking. She was a tiny thing. The only other woman he'd held in his arms was Charlotte who was a good five inches taller than Miss Starling. Bigger frame too. Feeling Miss Starling's shoulders heave with every small gasp made him want to hold her tighter and ease her fear. He brushed the tendrils of hair off her cheek. Her skin felt even smoother than it looked. His fingertips tingled and the urge to repeat his stroke tugged at him.
After a while, her breath evened out. She pushed away from him, breaking the moment of comfort. "I'm all right now."
He studied her, liking the way she looked all disheveled with her cheeks flushed and her brown eyes soft and self-conscious.
She pushed a hairpin back into place.
He snorted softly. "Don't think that'll do it."
Her cheeks pinked up.
She was embarrassed. He found it rather fetching.
"If I may just take a moment..." She then proceeded to comb out her hair with her fingers.
The sight of all that rich brown hair flowing loose, the sunlight glinting on it, did odd things to his gut. This was a most intimate part of her day and he was suddenly privy to it. He would have liked to reach out and stop her. He would have liked to do the combing with his own fingers and touch those silky waves. Instead, he gripped his reins tight and simply stared, fascinated.
She rewound the thick strand with a practiced hand and coiled it again upon her head. She repinned it and then set her hat just so to cover the slightly mussed-up appearance of her hair knot. Her gaze skittered to his as she tied the ribbons under her chin. "I hope my horse was running the right way."
It took him a moment to pull out of the spell she'd cast over him. He pointed with his chin to the small cross-section of road ahead of them. "Smart horse. Knows the way home."
Christmas Kiss from the Sheriff
Copyright 2016 by Kathryn Albright
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.
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Kathryn Albright writes sweet historical romance. Her stories celebrate courage and hope with a dash of adventure. Kathryn's stories have been finalists in the distinguished RWA Golden Heart and the HOLT Medallion as well as several other industry contests. She enjoys hiking, long road trips with her husband and being caught up in a great story. She lives with her family in the rural Midwest.
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