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Authors: Jeb Hunters Bride

Ana Seymour

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Praise for Ana Seymour’s previous books

Outlaw Wife

“…a fine romance…”


Romantic Times

“…a satisfying tale…”


Calico Trails

Lucky Bride

“…a lucky find…”


Affaire de Coeur

“A Western winner!”


Rendezvous

“…superb, enchanting…”


Under the Covers

Gabriel’s Lady

“Ms. Seymour is rising to the top of the historical romance mountain at an incredible pace. 4
1
/
2
s.”


Affaire de Coeur

“…a romantic treasure.”


Rendezvous

Frontier Bride

“…a wonderful romance, filled with Western adventure…”


Affaire de Coeur

“…a story that is not to be missed.”


Rendezvous

“The train doesn’t take lone
women,” Kerry said

She’d anticipated a showdown with their wagon leader if her disguise was ever discovered. Well, the time had arrived. And she wasn’t going to let him intimidate her into backing down.

“You’re darn right it doesn’t,” Jeb said. “And for many good reasons.”

Kerry looked Jeb Hunter squarely in the eye. “I’d be interested in hearing those reasons, Captain. But right now I’m more concerned with getting some dry clothes and trying to figure out how we’re going to get my wagon out of the middle of the river!”

She turned her back on him and marched up the bank. Jeb Hunter felt his gut twist. A woman. Damnation, what a development. A lone woman on his train. And not just any woman—one who wouldn’t listen to orders and who had a stubborn streak as wide as Kansas…!

Dear Reader,

If your mother didn’t tell
you
about Harlequin Historical, this Mother’s Day might be a good time to let
her
in on the secret The gift of romance can enhance anyone’s life, and our May books promise to be a spectacular introduction. Critics have described Ana Seymour’s romances as “spirited,” “heartwarming” and “impossible to put down.” This author is sure to please with her latest title,
Jeb Hunter’s Bride,
the story of a feisty adventuress whose journey west heals the haunted soul of a handsome wagon train leader.

And don’t miss
The Wilder Wedding,
by up-and-coming author Lyn Stone, the story of a sensible heiress who believes she is dying and, determined to live for the moment, proposes to a dashing and dangerous private investigator Rae Muir returns with
Twice a Bride,
the second book of her captivating WEDDING TRAIL series. In this authentic Western, a trail scout’s daughter marries a rugged hunter to fulfill her father’s dying wish—only her father doesn’t die…

Rounding out the month is
Lion’s Lady
by award-winning author Suzanne Barclay. In this latest title featuring the stormy Sutherland clan, Lion Sutherland must choose between his duty to his clan and his undying passion for the woman he betrayed.

Whatever your tastes in reading, you’ll be sure to find a romantic journey back to the past between the covers of a Harlequin Historical. Happy Mother’s Day!

Sincerely,

Tracy Farrell

Senior Editor

Please address questions and book requests to:

Silhouette Reader Service

U.S.. 3010 Walden Ave., PO. Box 1325, Buffalo, NY 14269

Canadian. P.O. Box 609, Fort Erie, Ont. L2A 5X3

Jeb Hunter’s Bride
Ana Seymour

Books by Ana Seymour

Harlequin Historicals

The Bandit’s Bride
#116

Angel of the Lake
#173

Brides for Sale
#238

Moonrise
#290

Frontier Bride
#318

Gabriel’s Lady
#337

Lucky Bride
#350

Outlaw Wife
#377

Jeb Hunter’s Bride
#412

ANA SEYMOUR

has been a Western fan since her childhood—the days of shoot-’em-up movie matinees and television programs. She has followed the course of the Western myth in books and films ever since, and says she was delighted when cowboys started going off into the sunset with their ladies rather than their horses. Ms. Seymour lives with her two daughters near one of Minnesota’s ten thousand lakes.

For my aunt and uncle,
Betsy and Richard McCosh, m celebration of the
50th anniversary of their very own Western romance.

Prologue

Independence, Missouri

April 1857

K
erry closed her eyes as the scissors sliced through her long black hair. “Do it quick, Paddy, before I change my mind.”

“I wish you
would
change your mind,” her brother grumbled. “And stop calling me Paddy.” The shears clicked ruthlessly as shimmery cascades of hair fell to the ground around them.

“It’s the name our father called you. Out of respect for his memory, if nothing more, you should use it.”

Patrick Gallivan sighed. “Kerry, you were twelve when we came here—you remember the Old Country almost as well as Papa did. But I was only six. I’m American—I don’t want an Irish name.”

“You’re Irish, too.” Kerry’s eyes were still shut. “Is it too horrible to look at?”

Patrick stepped back and reviewed his handiwork. “Well, you don’t look like a man, if that’s what
you’re asking. I don’t know how you expect to fool anyone.”

Kerry opened her eyes and slowly bent over the silver filigree mirror that had been her mother’s back in Duncannon. “Oh dear” was all she could say.

Patrick put down the scissors with a snort of disgust. “I knew you’d be sorry, Kerry. What a dumb idea.”

Kerry glared at her thirteen-year-old brother. “I suppose you’d rather go back to New York and stack boxes of fish for the rest of your life.”

Patrick shuddered. “I never even want to
see
another fish.”

“Then you’d better help me with this. Because otherwise there’s no way the association will let us stay with the wagon train. Single females are not allowed.”

Patrick’s face softened. “You’re not a single female, Kerry. You have a male protector—me.”

Kerry swallowed the lump that had lodged in her throat the minute she had seen her shorn head, and reached for her brother’s hand. “You
are
my protector, Pad…Patrick, but I don’t think the association leaders will see it that way.”

“The lawyer in St. Louis said that the contract Papa signed was”—he stopped and screwed up his mouth as he tried to remember the legal terms—“transferable in perpetuity to his heirs.”

“Yes, but he also said the members can vote to remove
any
wagon considered undesirable for the welfare of the group.”

For a moment neither said anything. They’d had enough of feeling undesirable since leaving Ireland.
Instead of the golden land of promise they’d expected, New York City had proved remarkably hostile toward the small band of immigrants who had arrived in the fall of 1853 with little money and fewer prospects. It was no wonder that in the squalor of the overcrowded immigrant neighborhood Sean Gallivan had been immediately homesick for the green hills of his homeland. No wonder that he’d dreamed of reaching California, where a man could still live and support his family from the fruits of the land.

Finally Patrick grinned. “Well, if they do have the right to kick us off the wagon train, I guess we’ll just have to be sure they don’t want to. We’ll have to show them what a fine couple of lads we are.” His voice held the same brave determination that had helped Kerry keep going over the past horrible month. Her little brother was growing up, she’d thought more than once as they dealt together with her father’s sudden death. He was growing up just in time to face a world that sometimes seemed too harsh for even the strongest spirit.

Kerry smiled back at him. “So…do I look like a
fine
lad?” she asked with an exaggerated brogue that made the word sound like “foine.” Standing up from the table in the tiny boardinghouse room they’d shared since arriving in Independence two days ago, she put her hands on her hips and stalked across the room with giant steps. She was wearing a pair of Patrick’s trousers, which came well above her ankles, and a jacket of her father’s that hung on her narrow shoulders like a potato sack.

Her brother watched her thoughtfully. “You don’t
have to walk like a rooster. Just move normally…only don’t, you know, sway your hips.”

Kerry’s eyes widened. “I never sway my hips.”

“Yes, you do.” He grinned mischievously. “When the Flanagan brothers used to come around, you would sway them even more.”

Kerry tugged at the hem of her father’s coat to cover more of the tight pants. “That shows how much you know, little brother. I
hated
the Flanagan brothers.”

“Not Mickey…” Patrick teased in a singsong tone.

Kerry gave a huff. “I don’t have time to listen to your nonsense. Tomorrow we face the head of the association, and if we can’t convince him that we’re capable of driving a rig to California, we’re in big trouble. So, truly now, how do I look?”

“You’ll have to wear boots to cover those bare ankles.”

“I’m going to wear yours. You can almost fit into Papa’s by now, the way your feet are growing.”

“Mine are too big for you,” he protested.

“I’ll make do.”

Patrick shook his head, still studying her. “I don’t know, sis. We’ll have to hope that this Captain Hunter is half-blind.”

“I don’t think we want our trail guide to be half-blind,” Kerry observed dryly, flopping down on the narrow cot that was the room’s only bed. Their funds were growing distressingly low, so they had taken the poorest room they could find, and Patrick had slept on the floor for the past two nights. Today they would hire a temporary wagon to take them, along with their father’s tools, which they had brought from New
York, to Westport Landing. There they would join the encampment gathering along the banks of the Missouri River. The fully outfitted Conestoga their father had arranged through painstaking correspondence over the past few months should be waiting there for them.

Patrick laughed. “Well, not blind, maybe, just a little near-sighted. And you’ll have to try to keep out of his way as much as possible.”

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