Excerpt from The Lady Takes A Gunslinger

   
      "I'm a wanted man," Reese said. "There's a price on my head and yours, if you stay with me."
     "Not here. Not in Mexico."
     "Is this what you want, Grace?" he asked. "A life on the run as a fugitive? You need a man who can settle down, ply a decent trade, father a house full of children for you, who never has to look over his shoulder. You've got a farm, a home. Don't be throwin' it away on the likes of me."
     "I don't care about that."
     His gaze didn't waver from hers. "That's a bloody lie."
     It was impossible to hide the truth from him. She wanted all those things. With him. "But if we cleared your name—"
     "Even assuming Sanders has given up for now and hasn't followed us here, the second I set foot in the U.S. you can be sure I'm a dead man."
     "That can't be true. I'll see the governor or the president or whoever I have to. I know people in Washington. What's happened to you is a travesty."
     His expression grew grim. "Let it go." He touched her cheek with the backs of his knuckles. "If I'd met you before, if things had been different..."
     She edged closer so she could look him in the eye. "What? You'd let yourself love me?"
     "That won't happen. It'll never happen. Do you understand?"
     "No. Reese, all these years you've let them convince you that you were nothing. Worthless. You let them drive you to a bottle. But that's not you. The man I know," she said, touching his arm, "is brave, honorable, caring."
     "No," he said, edging away from her. "I'm none of those things. I've killed men for reasons of my own and before I'm done, there's yet another I intend to put an end to."
     "Jake Scully?"
     "Aye, as soon as I find him," he admitted. "I'm goin' down, Grace, whether Sanders tracks me or not. But I'll say this. I've found enough good in myself not to take you down to hell with me."
     Unsure of what else to say, she stared at him, a lump rising in her throat.
     "I'll take you to Querétaro and take a stab at rescuing your brother. But after that, princess, I'll be sayin' goodbye."
     Grace pulled the blanket around her, suddenly shivering with cold. She couldn't say good-bye to him. Not next week, not in a hundred years. "Then we'll face that when it comes." Her eyes implored him. "We've so little time and we've wasted so much already. Don't leave me yet, Reese. Just for now, let's just pretend there is no bounty on your head, no one to rescue, no past to haunt us. For now, let's pretend there's only you and me. And that we love each other."
     The ragged rise and fall of his chest betrayed the conflict raging inside him. He reached out and cupped her jaw in his hand. He covered her mouth in a heated kiss. When it ended, he hissed out a breath and closed his eyes. "God, you tempt me, woman."
     Looping her arms around his neck, she let the blanket fall away as she climbed onto his lap. "After all, you can only ruin me once."
     He rocked his hips against hers. "Ah, is that what you've heard?" A soft breath escaped his lips. "Ruination has a million paths leading to its door," he warned against the tender skin of her throat.
     "Perhaps," she suggested, catching his attention fully with a well-placed caress near the valley of his hips, "we should explore a new one."
 
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