Stipulations of his grandfather's will demand Richard Rayburn marry by his twenty-fifth birthday or he'll lose a valuable piece of land. On the eve of his birthday, his fiance breaks his engagement and Richard finds himself in a bit of tight situation. Where will he find a bride in less than one day?Desperate enough to steal to put food on her table, the widow Julia Blackmon assumes the disguise of the Black Bandit to strike fear in the hearts of her potential victims. But her first and only victim turns the tables and captures her After a night held hostage, tied to his bed, Julia discovers the wanton within herself and talents no cowboy should be without in her captor Richard.When the morning of Richard's twenty-fifth birthday arrives, he's made his decision to marry the bandit. Richard offers her an ultimatum. Marry him or go to jail. What is a desperate widow to do?
t’s a short story but I found it to be a wonderful introduction to this writer for me. Richard Rayburn must marry by tomorrow or lose his inheritance–the family’s spread of land. His fiancée has backed out of their marriage the day before his wedding that would have secured his future. His neighbor Mathis must have paid her off. Mathis is to receive the land if Richard does not marry.
Richard's grandfather’s will stipulated he must wed by his 25th birthday or the 600 acres of land the grandfather homesteaded will go to the neighbor. With his fiancée jilting him, Richard is desperate and accepts a well meaning neighbor's offer to hold a ball in his honor so all the eligible local women can vie for his attention. Unfortunately, that means a room full of prospects like the 15 year old "with all her teeth", the mother proudly proffers. Richard surveys the girls glumly. He needs to get away from the sea of marriage-hungry vultures and their vulturette daughters.
His brother tells him he should stay in town tonight and warns him to be careful of the Black Bandit, a thief who has been attacking travelers on the roads surrounding the area. He is known to wear a broad-brimmed black hat and a black mask and rides a black stallion. Richard is a brawny man, a rancher, who is not easily scared ... except perhaps by the room full of trussed-up, powdered females. None of them are what he's looking for. These women would wither in the heat of the sun and couldn't handle life on a ranch. As he starts to leave, he runs into a harried Julia Blackmon who is not interested in being a prospective wife. That alone intrigues him. The fact that she's a feisty and sultry beauty only adds to the lusty thoughts he has as he talks with her.
Julia is a woman with a mission. She needs the cover of Richard's marriage ball to execute it. She's a desperate widow who's been left with debts and liens thanks to her no good gambling husband and the only way out of it is to impersonate this Black Bandit and hold up some of the party revelers who are decked out in all their jeweled finery. Getting into position on the road leading west out of town, she waits for her first victim.
Well of course it's Richard. She wants all his cash and, oh by the way, how about that watch and ring he has on? Richard feels deep regret because the watch belonged to his grandfather and the ring his dad. The ring and the land were the only things he had left of his father. He manages to throw dirt into her horse’s eyes who rears into the air, dumping the bandit to the ground. Julia's out like a light.
She wakes in his bed. Her clothing is gone. She’s secured to the headboard by thick leather straps. Alone at his ranch, she tells a disbelieving Richard she’s not actually the Black Bandit. A devilish smile curving on his lips, Richard tells her he has so many punishments for the wannabe bandit to choose from. The possibilities are indeed endless, he suggests, as he tugs the thin sheet off her breasts and runs a hot finger across one peaked nipple and then the other …
Okay, you say. Been there, done that. Yes, I agree. But at 38 pages, this is fun and well written with enjoyable characters and it packs a lot of story into so few pages. I read lots of quickies and this grabbed and held my attention. Reading it gave me one of those sly smiles we women wear in public when we're out with our Kindles and don't want the world knowing what we're reading. Worth the time, ladies. It's amusing and sensual.
“I don’t even like you.” Her breath caught in her throat at the naked expanse of muscles barely out of her range. Would he drop the trousers? Would she find him even more magnificent there than he was everywhere else? The spit dried in her mouth and she licked her tongue across her lips. Drop the trousers.
“No?” His hands rose to his hips. “Are you not even curious about what it would feel like for me to slide inside you?”
“Not in the least,” she lied, her body coming alive to his words …. Drop the trousers.
I laughed out loud at Julia's epithet when she finally gives in to Richard's knowing touch. An adorable read. A lush little story that I'd give a 4.5 of five.