Kaitlin Kanatzer receives threatening letters that promise dire consequences if she doesn’t stop her suffragist activities. Bent on solving problems on her own without interference, she blocks every attempt Bryce makes to help her. Can she abandon her convictions and open her heart to love?
Bryce Stanton is at his wits end in dealing with his new responsibility. When he becomes guardian to an eleven-year-old hoyden, he seeks the girl’s aunt Kaitlin for help, never realizing the danger he must confront. Through many trials, he discovers more than a desirable woman; he discovers his equal.
Retrieving a broom from the kitchen, she tackled the task of cleaning. Absorbed in the chore, the front door banging open startled her. She whirled around, broom raised high. A tall, lanky figure swept off his hat and dusted the flakes of snow from his trench coat. Bryce Stanton had returned.
“You’d better have a good excuse for breaking my window and running off like that.” She raised the broom higher.
“Holster your six-shooter, lady.”
She gave him a puzzled frown.
“The broom.” He nodded at her weapon.
She lowered the broom, but kept it in hand. He hadn’t done anything yet to earn her trust. “I’d like an explanation now.”
He shrugged out of his coat, keeping a suspicious eye on the broom. His caution pleased her. She wanted him to know just what kind of woman he dealt with. As president of the newly formed Mountain Ridge Chapter of Colorado Suffrage Association, Kaitlin could not afford a weak front before this man. She had to set an example for all womankind. And – she had no desire to repeat the same mistakes she’d once made with James Latham.
Before hanging up the coat, Bryce dug around in the pocket. Slowly, he pulled out a rock. Digging deeper, he withdrew a scrap of paper.
“Here’s your explanation.” He handed her the rock.
“Yep. It sailed through your window with this attached.” He unfolded the wadded up paper and held it for her perusal. She reached for it, but caught his hand instead. The sudden contact made her uncomfortable. As Bethany had reminded her time and again, she was a homely version of Adam’s rib. She snatched at the paper with more force than she’d intended. Her odd looks hadn’t bothered James. Except, she’d discovered too late he’d only been attracted to her land.
The paper crinkled. You’ve ignored previous warnings. Maybe this one will carry more weight. Leave Denver or Else.
She lowered her hand, the note still gripped between tense fingers. There had been many such warnings this past year, but none had ever resulted in violence.
“Well?” Bryce clearly expected a response.
She crumpled the note, crammed it in her skirt pocket, and began sweeping at the shards of glass. “A prank. It was just a senseless prank.”
“Senseless pranks don’t throw rocks through windows with threatening words attached.” His voice held a note of irritation.
She kept the broom in motion, fearing he would read the lie in her eyes. She needed many things, but she didn’t need the intrusion of this stranger into her business.
Without warning, his hand shot out and grabbed the broom. Her head snapped up, incredulous he would dare such a high-handed maneuver.
“What gives you the right to manhandle me like that, Mr. Stanton?”
“You.” His gaze held accusation. Gone was the polite cowboy who’d knocked on her door. Before her stood a hard man, a man determined to unravel the mystery. “That note? That wasn’t your first, was it? You’ve had other threats, haven’t you?”
“Now, see here . . .”
He let go of the broom. Urgent strides carried him past her and toward the parlor. She rushed after him. He located the stack of unopened mail. Realizing what he intended, she dropped the broom and grabbed his arm. Muscles rippled beneath her ineffective hold.