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Incident at Cold Creek by Tessa Berkley

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  • Tejas Conspiracy, Book One

    Lilly Prentiss must come to grips with her husband’s untimely death and the harsh reality of his many secrets. When a handsome drifter rides in with the promise of helping out, she accepts his offer, even if she doesn’t believe he’s telling the truth. A cut of the cards with a gambler who holds the deed to her ranch seals her fate. She has no choice but to play the hand she’s been dealt, even if it costs her life.
     
    Texas Ranger Tyrone Dixon is on the trail of the prime suspect in the killing of a judge. When the trail leads to a rundown ranch in Cold Creek, he finds the man’s wife bathing his body for burial. As Ty pitches in to help get her ranch running again, he finds his badge can’t shield his heart when it comes to the Incident at Cold Creek.

    Rating: Spicy
    Page Count: 356
    Word Count: 89690
    978-1-5092-1142-5 Paperback
    978-1-5092-1143-2 Digital

    Excerpt

    Lilly felt his arms tighten, holding her closer, if that was possible. She placed her ear to his chest and listened, hearing the telltale thump of their hearts beating in unison. Then she heard his voice.

    “I can feel it, Lilly. I felt it that first night on your porch. I knew I was in trouble when I bathed that dark red clay from your cheek.”

    His hand grasped her chin and gently tilted her face toward his. “And it’s because I know I can never have you that I’ve got to do this.”

    She shook her head, and her fingers tightened around the material of his shirt as his lips claimed hers. A sense of urgency drove her. Her hands slid along his shoulders until they encircled his neck. The common thread that held them pulled tight, and his tongue tortured her lips until they opened.

    His kiss and her response rekindled the fire. She could feel her effect on him, and hungry for what he would give her, she held his head tighter, afraid if she let go he would walk away.

    He tore his lips from hers and brushed them against her cheek. “Oh, Lilly—” His voice broke in harsh emotion.

    “Stay with me. We’re almost done. Yellow Jack is beaten.”

    As soon as she said the gambler’s name, she felt him pull away. The muscles beneath Ty’s fine red shirt stiffened, and she heard his deep intake of air. A sob tore from her throat as the wind swirled around her and he stepped back. No longer sheltered in his embrace, she watched him pull her hands from around his neck. Tears filled her vision as he walked away and mounted.

    “If you leave me, I’ll hate you,” she said in a loud voice. “I’ll hate you,” Lilly taunted him again.

    In disbelief, she watched him adjust his hat lower so she couldn’t see his eyes. With a nod to the two young men, he reined his horse toward the open range and tapped his heels. She heard the other two horses hurry away, her focus instead on Ty. She stepped forward.

    “Ty, Ty, don’t do this. Don’t ride away,” she cried out, her feet moving faster.

    His horse began to trot. She began to run. She moved alongside him, her heart beating wildly. Her hand turned into a fist, and she pounded his leg.

    “I hate you,” she cried, as his horse moved faster. “I hate you,” she screamed, falling behind because her legs were not fast enough to keep up with the now cantering animal. “I hate you…” Her cries penetrated the air. Falling to her knees, Lilly sobbed hysterically, her hands covering her eyes, unable to bear the sight of his shadow growing smaller and smaller.

    “I-I love you,” she cried out, as her hands fell away and he was gone.

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Incident at Cold Creek

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