(Brides of Little Creede Series – Book 4)
Izzy sneaks into the Gamblin’ Galleria in a desperate bid for food and shelter.
Instead, Sam finds her.
With that, CiCi’s latest addition to Little Creede begins, on a hot August day in 1882, at Gleason’s Gamblin’ Galleria. This time around, it’s an innocent young woman escaping unimaginable circumstances, and a former hired gun whose lifestyle doesn’t include things like hearth and home. That they find each other is in itself a surprise and kind of a miracle. As for the rest of the story, well . . .
You’ll have to see for yourself.
What Early Reviewers Are Saying:
“Once I started reading I couldn’t stop! It’s a wonderful story. I enjoyed my return visit to Little Creede. The town is full of loving caring people who fiercely protect their own and still have room in their hearts to welcome newcomers in search of respite and healing . . .” (Amy P., 5-Stars)
“CiCi Cordelia’s Brides of Little Creede have made me a fan of western romance. The Runaway Wife, the fourth book in the series, raises the love quotient to the I-have-to-go-to-sleep-but-I-can’t-put-this-book-down level . . .” (Jennifer R., 5-Stars)
“I really like CiCi’s writing style. It’s honest yet witty and the characters seem to come to life right away (no long plot build that has you falling asleep in the 1st couple chapters). This book was by far the best of the whole series! And I love the way the town is coming to life, seeing it develop with the characters!” (Michelle H., 5-Stars)
We hope you enjoy this short excerpt:
Searching for the pie server, a thump and a muffled oath brought Sam up short. He spun toward the sound, coming from the cavernous pantry where most of the dry goods and supplies were stored.
Silently he advanced across the large room, drawing his gun as a precaution. He wouldn’t put it past some drunken sot to stagger in from one of the gaming rooms, searching for money, thinking any Galleria staff would be dumb enough to keep a safe in here.
The pantry door stood open an inch. The whisper of rustling and more muttering hovered in the air. Tensing, he readied for possible danger. Thumbing the latch, he brought up his gun arm and yanked, hard.
A mound of tattered clothes and dark curls tumbled out of the opening, landing on the floor at his feet. What the—?
Sam bent and caught a thin, flailing arm, jerking the thief upright. From the cracked, scuffed boots to the downcast head of tangled, choppy hair, this was no gambler desperate for extra coin, only a young boy starving for something to eat. Narrow-shouldered, dressed in torn trousers and a shirt studded with burdock stickers, the kid could probably cram an entire cherry pie into his gullet and his britches would still slide down his backside.
Tamping down any feelings of sympathy, he marched the now-struggling pantry poacher across the kitchen and shoved him into the nearest chair. The boy tried to bolt, so Sam gripped one bony shoulder. “Stay put and tell me who you are.”
A dirt-encrusted face raised to his. “Let me go!”
He frowned, taking a more focused look at the boy. Full lips. High cheekbones underneath the crud. Long lashes framed remarkable blue-gray eyes. Delicate ears were visible from between the shorn locks.
“You’re a girl.” She squirmed in her seat and made to escape. Sam’s grip tightened, holding her in place. “You’re not going anywhere, missy.” He hooked another chair on the toe of his boot and dragged it over to block her in, trapping her against the wall until she had no choice except to remain still. “Start talking.”
Her grimy fist pounded the table surface. “You’ve no right to keep me here.”
Sam didn’t have time for this foolishness. “Your name. Now.”
She strained against his hold on her shoulder and spat out, “Izzy.” Her mouth firmed. “Now, let go.”
“Last name.” He gave her a brief shake. “I’m fast losing patience, and our jail doesn’t have any niceties for females.”
At the mention of jail, what color remained in those high cheekbones leeched out. “Don’t lock me up! I only wanted a place to rest and maybe something to eat.” Dejection came off her in waves. “My name is Izzy McDougall. Please don’t stick me behind bars.”
He eased up on his grip, cupping her shoulder with more care to examine her, looking for lies and finding nothing more than a scared girl. If she was more than eighteen or nineteen, he’d eat his hat for supper. Judging by what he now determined were bruises underneath all that dirt and grime, he realized someone had mistreated her.
Anger tightened his jaw. Where her ragged shirt gapped, a man’s fingerprints marred her slender neck. Doubtful a woman would have such a large grip. A growl rumbled in his throat. The urge to track down whoever’d hurt her—and beat the shit out of them—rose swiftly inside him.