Jessica Depre's life is in tatters. She’s on the run, thanks to her abusive husband Robert, who needs to silence her about his criminal escapades and the part he forced her to play in them. When bounty hunter Drake Adams walks into the boarding house where she works, Jessica slips away into the night. Her only hope of surviving and protecting those she loves from her husband’s rage is to vanish forever.
Unable to accept that the only woman he ever loved left him standing at the altar and married another, Drake Adams has given up a good law practice in the Wyoming Territory. If he’s not hunting down bounties, he’s pursuing the bottom of a bottle of bourbon. When Drake learns his former fiancée, Jessica Majors-Depre, has a price on her head, he decides he will collect the reward.
Can the bounty hunter and the bank robber ignite a future from the ashes of their past when they are trapped by a blizzard in a mountain shack or will playing with fire burn them both?
Jessica opened her eyes and lifted her head. Drake stood with his outstretched arms braced against the mantel, his head bent nearly to his chest. She had been wrong, so horribly, horribly wrong. There was nothing she could say that would heal the wounds she had inflicted on him. She couldn’t make this right.
The silence between them grew. When the quiet became intolerable, Drake straightened and turned to her. “Now you know what happened. I loved you once, Jessie. Loved you so much I would have walked through hell on Sunday for you. And you threw it away.” He took a step closer to her. “Why couldn’t you believe you were all I ever wanted? All that mattered to me? Why couldn’t you believe me?”
The misery closing her throat hurt. She could only shake her head.
He closed the distance between them with one more step. For a heartbeat he towered over her before he grabbed her and pulled her to her feet. Jessica pressed her lower arms and fisted hands against his chest, trying and failing to push him away. A thread of fear traced along her spine. She didn’t know this man, didn’t recognize the remoteness and anger and pain in his face. She dropped her gaze to the first button on his shirt. This was Drake, she tried to reason with herself. He wouldn’t hurt her.
“How the hell could you even think what we had was anything I would jeopardize with that woman? With any woman?” He shook her. “Jessie, you were everything to me.”
There was no answer she could offer him. She pushed against his chest again but she might as well have been trying to shove the Medicine Bow Range aside. “Drake, please, let me go.”
“I wish to hell I could.” He let go of her arms only to catch her face between his hands. The taut control over his expression and tone was gone. In its stead was a burning that ignited in the depths of his eyes and etched the lines of his face with a desperate hunger, and rasped in his voice. “I wish to hell I could be done with you.”
Her arms were still trapped between them. Almost of their own accord, her hands unclenched. The stubble darkening his jaw rasped against her fingertips as she traced the line of his jaw. She felt his chest hitch with his quick intake of breath.
His gaze raked over her face, as intense as if he was touching her, lingering on her lips.
The kiss that hung between them, unfulfilled, was there if she just leaned into him. Heedless of the consequences, she licked her dry lips.
The heat in his eyes grew and his breath hitched again as she worked her arms loose enough to encircle his neck, plying her fingers through the waving curls of his black hair.
“You’re playing with fire, Jessie.”