She’s escaping a life of prostitution. He’s wanted for murder. With their enemies closing in, can they trust each other?

Fearing the threat of prostitution, Dallas Paxton escapes years of captivity by traveling under the guise of a mail-order bride. After her stagecoach is ambushed by an Apache war party, she escapes yet again with the help of a wanted murderer.

Known as “the Apache”, Flynn Malone is wanted for a murder he did not commit. Running from vigilantes, he stumbles across his old nemesis, Geronimo, as his war party attacks a stagecoach and its passengers, including a courageous redhead who is in over her head.

Working together has proven successful for Flynn and Dallas in escaping their enemies, so far, but will they lose their hearts in the process?


Chapter 1

Pecos, Texas, Summer 1877

“Bea, what in the hell have you done?” Dallas Paxton planted her fists on top of the messy desktop and glared at the woman who’d been like a mother to her. Bea was the only constant in her life after being kidnapped as a child by the man running the saloons where they worked. “We have enough problems without you adding to them, you know.”

Bea Paxton shook her head, her thin, bright red lips pressed together. “You know we can’t stay here much longer, Dally. It’s only a matter of weeks before Jimmy forces you to move from the saloon to the brothel. Becoming a mail-order bride is the only option you have. The only option either of us have. Without the groom’s money for stage tickets, hotel rooms, and food, we’re stuck here but good, and you know it. Stop arguing and open your eyes, girl!”


With a small sigh, Dallas folded her arms across her chest and stepped away from the desk. “I know, I know…but marriage? I don’t know the first thing about being someone’s wife. I don’t know how to boil water, much less cook a meal, and I sure as hell don’t know how to take care of children. I hear a baby crying and run in the opposite direction. You’ve seen me do it, too.” She twirled a thick strand of her fiery red hair around her finger, a nervous habit she’d had since childhood. The more stressed and worried she became, the faster she threaded the strand from one finger to the next, twining them around the first three fingers in a fluid motion.

Bea leaned forward against the desk, her chin practically resting on her crossed arms. Her short stature behind Jimmy Thom’s massive desk presented such a comical picture, it would have been comical if Dallas hadn’t been so distressed from their current predicament.

“You know what you got to do, girl. You know as well as I, Jimmy ain’t gonna wait much longer. You’ve given him every excuse imaginable as to why you can’t work in the brothel. He’s been more patient with you than I’ve ever known him to be, and Jimmy ain’t a patient man. You mark my words, Dally. You’re playing with fire. I’ve seen him break the girls’ arms and legs for less.”

“He’s not very smart. Who would do that to the very people bringing in the money?”

“It doesn’t matter to him. Jimmy is the owner of a very lucrative brothel and saloon…a saloon where you work, I might add. Dally, you’ve made that man rich dancing in the Silver Palace, but the time’s come to think about your future.”

Dallas let out a frustrated sigh. “I know you’re right, Bea, but I don’t know what to do.”

“Do about what?” Jimmy Thom barked from the doorway, his loud voice making both women cringe. He strode into the room, his limp more pronounced than usual, and glared first at Bea, then Dallas.

Dallas had never liked his dark brown, almost black eyes. Every time they touched on her, a cold frisson of fear settled deep inside her. They were empty, evil eyes. Fitting for the despicable man looking through them.

“I can’t decide which dress to wear on stage tonight, the green one or the blue one. I asked for Bea’s opinion.” Dallas returned his stare with a nonchalant flick of one hand, which she knew would irritate him. She held her breath, hoping the quick lie would deter further questioning, which he was prone to do. He was the most paranoid person she’d ever known and had a quick temper to match. The man second-guessed himself and everyone else for fear someone was out to get him. With his line of work and the way people—mainly the dancers and prostitutes he employed—disappeared, it wasn’t a far stretch to think someone wanted to kill him. She wanted to kill him herself.

“The green one will do nicely, Da…Ginny,” Bea said, almost forgetting to use Dallas’s stage name.

She would never be able to escape from Jimmy if he knew her real name, which both she and Bea had kept silent about. Bea was right about the mail-order proposal, though. If she were to marry, her last name would change. But marrying a total stranger was the last thing she wanted to do. What if she was going to a man even worse than the one who’d kept her a prisoner since she was five years old? Now twenty-seven, it was high time she had a life of her own…and if Bea had anything to do about it, a family of her own as well.

“Now, Jimmy,” Bea said, pulling Dallas from her own morbid thoughts. “Why are you chargin’ in here like the world’s ending?”

He jerked Bea from his chair and sat down with a loud creak as the wooden legs protested the heavier weight. Bea stumbled but quickly righted her small-statured body. She smoothed down her rich burgundy skirt and gave Dallas a quick scowl, warning her to keep quiet.

“Problem’s already being taken care of. My number one client may be more trouble than his money’s worth, though. This is the third girl who couldn’t hold up to his expectations.” Jimmy motioned for the man standing in the doorway to enter. He walked across the room then leaned down as Jimmy whispered something to him. The man straightened and without a word, left the room. Dallas frowned.

“What girl?” Bea asked Jimmy, who stared through the empty doorway, his fingers slowly drumming on the desk. “Jimmy! What girl are you talking about? Do I need to go fetch the doctor?”

Jimmy’s fingers slowed but didn’t stop as he turned his head to Bea and gave her a quick shake of his head. “The client was with Elly. She won’t be needing anything…from anyone.”

Bea sucked in a sharp gasp, but didn’t say anything. Dallas glanced up and saw the warning in the other woman’s eyes, so she pressed her lips together and dropped her gaze to her lap, staring at the white knuckles of her clenched hands. Dallas knew little to nothing about the brothel side of Jimmy’s business, and never wanted to. Oh, he’d asked her several times if she would take on a few clients who’d evidently asked for her, but she’d steadfastly refused. Dancing in the saloon was one thing, but selling her body for a few pennies? Never. Unfortunately, she knew Jimmy wasn’t going to be put off much longer, especially now.

An uneasy sensation crawled over her. She slowly raised her head and met Jimmy’s snake-like grin as he stared back at her. “You don’t have a choice now, darlin’.”

Reviews:Elizabeth West on GoodReads wrote:


It was amazing! As always I love to read this author. The historical backgrounds and storylines are believable. The romance in this book was written perfectly for the story.

Meri Overstreet on Amazon wrote:



A perfect western historical! The magnificent prose provides a tale of the loner and thee runaway fighting side by side and coming up roses with the big surprise ending. ENJOY!

AJ on Amazon wrote:


6 stars!

love, Love, LOVED this story. Loved both complicated characters and their back stories. Great supporting characters and a lovely surprise ending!