A tie to her past becomes Emma's key to her future...if she's prepared to trust her heart.
Luke Reinhardt has always felt like an outsider looking in. The child of a Chippewa mother, his upbringing was one of rejection and humiliation at the hands of the pale-skins. Emma Sarris knows pain as an adopted child. Though loved and nurtured by her adoptive family, unanswered questions plague her. Who are her real parents? Why did they abandon her? An intricate silver brooch, worth far more than its weight in precious metal, is the only link to her past.
When Emma's brother loses her heirloom in a poker game to Luke, Emma will stop at nothing to get it back. She will leave her fianc?, her parents, and the safety of her home, in a desperate effort to convince the handsome, mysterious stranger to return what is hers. But what will she have to give up in return?
(66 pages) Sweet
"Miss Sarris, keep your money. Your brother gambled and lost. That is the end of it."
He entered the stage and closed the door behind him. Emma remained staring at the empty space he'd occupied. He'd just shrugged her off as he would an annoying gnat. It took a moment for her initial shock to convert to anger. With fists curled, she marched to the stage and opened the door. The woman with the plumed hat gave her an irritated look. Beside her, a wiry man close to her father's age, wiped sweat from his reddened neck. Emma realized the woman's uncompromising rotundity had blocked him from view earlier. Mr. Reinhardt sat on the leather-upholstered seat facing the disparate couple. Apparently engrossed by the newspaper in his hand, he failed to glance in Emma's direction.
"Mr. Reinhardt, I assure you, you will be adequately compensated."
He raised the paper higher to conceal his face. "It's not for sale, Miss Sarris."
"Young lady, we need to be going," the old woman said with a cluck of her tongue.
Nibbling her bottom lip, Emma saw the driver emerge from the hotel and climb into the driver's seat. Panic mushroomed in her belly. In a matter of minutes, her brooch would be lost to her. She couldn't just stand there and do nothing. Without a second thought, she ran to the front of the coach. "Sir, I'll just be a moment," she told the driver.
"You gettin' on little lady?" he asked between bites of tobacco.
Emma nodded and dashed into the hotel. The clerk at the counter informed her the stage was headed to Santa Fe. That gave her plenty of time to talk Mr. Reinhardt into returning her brooch. After purchasing roundtrip tickets, she ran back outside.
The driver looked at her over his shoulder. "No bags?"
Gathering her flouncing skirts, she entered the stagecoach and took a seat beside Mr. Reinhardt.
"Miss Sarris, what do you think you're doing?" he asked, a mixture of surprise and amusement glimmered in his blue eyes.
"What does it look like, sir?" Emma arranged her skirts, ran a hand over her hair. "I will not leave your side, Mr. Reinhardt, until you return what belongs to me."