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Authors: Pat Tracy

Beloved Outcast

“You are no gentleman!

“For, If you were, you would know emphatically I am not the kind of female to invite or enjoy a man’s.”

Victoria’s words dwindled. It really was rather tricky to phrase her thoughts and not be.crude.

“A man’s…” Logan prompted, raising one dark eyebrow.

She met his speculative gaze and detected an abundance of silent laughter. She wanted to hurl the heavy book she cradled at him, but there was the matter of the ax.

“A man’s physical attentions,” she said through gritted teeth. “I may be the first one you’ve ever met, but let me assure you I am a lady.”

“Well, then.”

“Well, then,
what?”
she fairly snarled at him.

“Who would have guessed ladies could be so hotblooded?”

She flinched. “If my blood is hot, it’s because you have the capacity to make me angrier than anyone I’ve ever met…!”

Dear Reader,

Beloved Outcast
by Pat Tracy is a dramatic Western about an Eastern spinster who is hired by a man with a notorious reputation to tutor his adopted daughter. And those of you who have read Pat Tracy would probably agree with
Affaire de Coeur
when they recently labeled Pat as “one author definitely worth watching.” This talented author just keeps getting better and better.

Whether writing atmospheric Medievals or sexy Regencies, Deborah Simmons continues to delight readers with her romantic stories. In this month’s
Maiden Bride,
the sequel to
The Devil’s Lady,
Nicholas de Laci transfers his blood lust to his enemy’s niece, Gillian, his future wife by royal decree. Don’t miss this wonderful tale.

Fans of
Romantic Times
Career Achievement Award winner Veronica Sattler will be thrilled to see this month’s reissue of her Worldwide Library release,
Jesse’s Lady.

We hope you’ll enjoy this exciting story of a young heiress and her handsome guardian. And our fourth book this month is
The Wager
by Sally Cheney, the story of a young Englishwoman who reluctantly falls in love with a man who won her in a game of cards. We hope you’ll keep a lookout for all four titles wherever Harlequin Historicals are sold.

Sincerely,

Tracy Farrell

Senior Editor

Please address questions and book requests to:

Harlequin Reader Service

U.S.: 3010 Walden Ave., P O. Box 1325. Buffalo, NY 14269

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

Beloved Outcast
Pat Tracy

Books by Pat Tracy

Harlequin Historicals

The Flaming
#121

Winter Fire
#188

Saddle the Wind #273

Beloved Outcast
#333

PAT TRACY

lives in a farming community outside of Idaho Falls. Pat’s love of historical romance began when she was thirteen and read
Gone with the Wind.
After reading Rhett and Scarlett’s story, Pat immediately penned a hasty sequel wherein the couple lived happily ever after. According to Pat, there is a magic to be found in historical romances that can be found nowhere else, and she enjoys reading the many popular and talented writers who share that magic with their readers. You can write to the author at the following address:

P.O. Box 17

Ucon, Idaho 83454

This book is dedicated to Sheriann Tracy, my youngest
daughter, who is funny, smart, brave, strong-willed,
independent, athletic, artistic and beautiful.

Sweetheart, you’re definitely heroine material.

Mother’s Note: A couple of months after this
dedication was written, Sheriann was killed in an
automobile accident. She was fourteen. Darling, you
have my heart—always. Love, Mom

* * * * * *

Acknowledgments:

I would like to thank Sherry Roseberry, Vicki Scaggs and Martha Tew, gifted writers and true friends. Without your generous editing efforts, I would look sooo foolish. (I’m thinking particularly of my hero being “within” instead of “without.”) And thank you, Patti McAllister, for your last-minute read of the final version. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Chapter One

Idaho Territory, 1868

“S
it down, Youngblood.”

Logan Youngblood stared at the army-issue revolver pointed at his chest. “Somehow this isn’t quite the welcome I expected, Colonel Windham.”

The mustached cavalry officer gestured with the Remington’s barrel toward the chair that faced his desk. “By your own account, you rode for two days and a night to warn us about the fort being attacked. Surely you could do with a rest.”

The only outward evidence of the colonel’s displeasure, other than the drawn weapon, was reflected in his cold blue eyes.

Logan glanced at the other three uniformed men present. They were young lieutenants, dressed in pristine dark blue uniforms trimmed with enough newly minted gold braid to make a dead man stand up and salute. From their uneasy expressions, though, he could tell they were baffled by their commanding officer’s behavior.

Logan moved toward the waiting chair. Until he found out what was going on, he would accept Windham’s not-sogracious hospitality. Unexpectedly, Logan’s thoughts turned
to Madison, and what would happen to her, should the gun barrel he was staring down serve its intended purpose.

But then, Madison’s tumultuous arrival in his life seemed to herald the beginning of a series of complications, not the least of which was the necessity of securing a qualified woman to educate the twelve-year-old girl.

“Wait a minute,” the colonel ordered tersely. “Take his gun, Lawson.”

“Sir?” the young soldier queried, as if he weren’t sure he understood the order.

“You heard me.”

Logan stood perfectly still as the Colt.44 he’d taken to wearing since coming west was extracted from his holster. He didn’t know what Windham was up to, but he was fairly certain the officer wouldn’t shoot him in front of three witnesses.

Logan claimed the proffered chair.

“Tie him up,” came the next tight-lipped command.

Logan shot to his feet. “Enough is enough, Windham. I came here to warn you that several tribes are planning to attack. Now that I’ve done that, I’m going to ride out of here and—”

The ominous click of a service revolver being cocked interrupted Logan. His attention again focused on the drawn gun.

“I don’t like Indian-lovers, Youngblood. As far as I’m concerned I’d be doing the entire territory a favor by killing you where you stand. Unfortunately, because I am civilized, I have to obey the law. So, by the letter of that law, I’m placing you under military arrest for abetting murderous redskins. Now sit the hell down!”

The revolver’s nine-inch barrel remained steady. With four armed soldiers against one unarmed civilian, the odds weren’t exactly in his favor. Still, having survived countless Civil War battles and his first few hazardous months in the Idaho Territory, Logan felt reasonably calm. He couldn’t see his life ending in this room. He was grateful, however,
as he eased onto the chair, that he hadn’t put off seeing to Madison’s future. Thank God his good friend and associate Martin Pritchert had already made arrangements to bring a tutor from the East to instruct the uneducated girl. Since she was now legally Logan’s ward, she would be cared for no matter what happened to him. For the time being, Martin’s wife was watching over Madison.

It took all the self-discipline Logan possessed for him to submit to having his hands tied behind the back of the chair while another length of rope was secured around his ankles.

“Your time has run out, Youngblood.” Windham pushed his face an inch from Logan’s. “I want to know where those murdering savages are camped, and I want to know now.”

Logan stared into Windham’s unyielding features. Somehow, even though he suspected the military man was beyond reasoning with, Logan had to convince him that not all Indians were “murdering savages.”

“Night Wolf’s people are at peace,” he pointed out flatly. “They had nothing to do with attacking the families on that wagon train, and they won’t have any part of assaulting the fort.”

Windham turned his back to Logan and, with careful deliberateness, laid his gleaming revolver upon the desk. Then, without warning, the officer spun around and plowed his fist into Logan’s jaw.

The chair he’d been tied to scraped stridently against the wood-planked floor. Logan’s head shot back, but the pain was tolerable. Windham didn’t pack much of a punch, which was true of most small men wrapped in gold-spangled uniforms.

“That was the wrong answer, Youngblood.”

Through a dull haze of pain, Logan noticed a loop of spittle hanging from the colonel’s curled upper lip. The frozen image of a mad dog Logan had seen once as a boy in Scotland danced briefly in his thoughts. Yet Windham’s manner remained eerily calm.

“It’s the only answer I’ve got.” Logan’s gaze went to the three other men in Windham’s office. Each soldier wore a look of distaste. Logan didn’t know whether their grim expressions were a result of their commanding officer’s violent behavior or Logan’s refusal to provide them with directions to Night Wolf’s camp.

“Leave me alone with the prisoner,” Windham ordered abruptly. Open contempt radiated from his pale blue eyes.

“Sir, do you think that’s a good idea?” one of the young lieutenants questioned, his voice notched with uncertainty.

“He’s tied up, Lawson,” Windham answered with heavy sarcasm. “There’s no danger of him getting free and doing me any harm.”

“Uh, sir—he did bring the warning about the Blackfeet and other tribes going on the warpath.”

“He won’t tell us where to find them,” Windham snarled. “I want to wipe out every heathen man, woman and child infesting the Idaho Territory.”

“But this is Mr. Youngblood here,” Lawson pointed out, his tone placating. “He’s the president of the Territorial Bank.”

“Are you questioning a direct order, soldier?”

Lawson’s cherub cheeks reddened as he snapped to attention. “No, Sir!”

The two other cavalrymen present were already filing from the room. It didn’t take the young lieutenant long to rethink his tenuous position with his commanding officer and follow them.

When the door shut behind the departing soldiers, an oppressive silence filled the commandant’s office.

“Well, Youngblood, it’s just you and me now.”

“Under the circumstances,” Logan drawled, his gaze lowering to his bound arms, “I’m sure you’ll excuse me for not shaking your hand.”

“Always the clever retort.” Windham retrieved his gun from his desk. “You cut quite the figure with the ladies, don’t you?”

“What?” Obviously he hadn’t heard the officer correctly.

“’Passion’s Pirate,’ that’s what they call you,” Windham continued, his neatly trimmed mustache tilting to one side as he made the sneering observation.

“What?”
Logan repeated. This time he knew he couldn’t have heard the cavalryman correctly.
Passion’s Pirate?
What the hell was the man babbling about? Logan had never been to sea, and-”You didn’t know?” Windham’s tone was skeptical. “That’s what the few good women of Trinity Falls call you when they’re gossiping about your bedroom exploits with the town’s bad women.”

Logan knew his mouth was hanging open. He felt as if he’d stepped from the orderly, rational world of his daily existence into a bizarre nightmare. What interest could this pompous, Indian-hating cavalry officer have in his love life?

“Athena is one of them.”

A sense of doom gripped Logan. “Athena?”

“My wife,” Windham responded softly. “My beautiful,
faithless
wife. You remember her. After all, it’s hardly been a week since you bedded her.”

The accusation brought sudden clarity to the strange episode. Unfortunately, it also brought the unsettling memory of the woman.groping him when her husband’s back was turned.

“That’s what this is all about,” Logan said warily. “You think I’ve been with your wife.”

“Don’t deny it. Your guilty expression says it all. I saw how you looked at her. Every man looks at her that way. Every man wants her, but until you came along, she was loyal to me.”

“You’ve lost your senses. I haven’t touched your wife. Damnation, I’ve only seen her three times. You were with her on every occasion.”

That much was true. Except for the minor detail of Mrs. Windham damn near giving him a heart attack when she
bumped against him and her fingertips rested momentarily against the front closure of his trousers. Logan had been so stunned by the unexpected contact he almost yelped.

Another memory knifed through Logan. He shifted against the ropes binding him. Six years ago, the protestations of the older brother he loved and admired had rung in Logan’s ears. Burke had denied seducing Logan’s fiancee. The difference between then and now was that Burke had lied, and Logan spoke the truth.

The officer laughed bitterly. “Am I supposed to believe the denials of ‘Passion’s Pirate’?”

“I can’t be held accountable for the gossip frustrated women spin.”

“Athena isn’t frustrated!”

“I don’t give a tinker’s damn about the details of your married life, Colonel. I came to the fort to warn you that an Indian attack is imminent. Night Wolf’s band has been beaten down to a few old men and some women and children. They are not a threat to you, but you’d better start making plans about how you’re going to fight off the Shoshones and the Blackfeet tribes who
are
on the warpath.”

Windham’s head snapped back as if he’d been struck. “Don’t presume to give me orders, Youngblood.”

“Think of them as suggestions,” Logan answered grimly. “Are you ready to untie me?”

“Untie you?” The man’s mouth curved mockingly. “You must be insane to think I’d do that now.”

Logan knew one of them was insane. Unfortunately for him, it was the man with the Remington.

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