Authors: Kaki Warner
Table of Contents
PIECES OF SKY
“Readers may need a big box of Kleenex while reading this emotionally compelling, subtly nuanced tale of revenge, redemption, and romance, but this flawlessly written book is worth every tear.”—
“In her auspicious debut, Warner kicks off the Blood Rose Trilogy ... Warner develops [the] romance with well-paced finesse and great character work ... Warner makes great use of the vivid Old West setting.”
“Romance, passion, and thrilling adventure fill the pages of this unforgettable saga that sweeps the reader from England to the Old West. Jessy and Brady are truly lovers for the ages!”—Rosemary Rogers
Pieces of Sky
reminds us why New Mexico is called the land of enchantment.” —Jodi Thomas,
New York Times
“Generates enough heat to light the old New Mexico sky. A sharp, sweet love story of two opposites, a beautifully observed setting, and
—a romance you won’t soon forget.”
—Sara Donati, author of
Into the Wilderness
“From the first page, it’s clear why debut author Warner has won several awards. Her western romance is a striking portrait of the territory in all its reality, harshness, and beauty. Like Francine Rivers, Warner creates a novel of the human spirit’s ability to conquer emotional and physical obstacles. She conveys her characters perfectly, giving them lives of their own. Readers will be waiting breathlessly for the next book in the Blood Rose Trilogy.”—
“A very good book.”—
All About Romance
“It’s been a very long time since I read an engaging and sweet historical romance such as
Pieces of Sky
... I absolutely loved Kaki Warner’s writing.” —
Babbling About Books
“I loved everything about this book.”—
Berkley Sensation titles by Kaki Warner
PIECES OF SKY
CHASING THE SUN
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Copyright © 2011 by Kathleen Warner.
by Kaki Warner copyright © by Kathleen Warner.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
SENSATION and the “B” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Berkley Sensation trade paperback edition / January 2011
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Chasing the sun / Kaki Warner.—Berkley Sensation trade pbk. ed. p. cm.
1. Single mothers—Fiction. 2. Ranchers—Fiction. 3. Ranch life—Fiction. I. Title.
To Jason—brave, brilliant, bodacious.
And to Carlee, the beautiful lady who loves him anyway.
This trilogy wouldn’t have been possible without a vision, a lot of luck, and many hours of hard work by people too numerous to list. And it wouldn’t have become a success without people who were willing to take a chance on a new author. So I thank you, dear readers—for your support, for your lovely e-mails and kind words, and for welcoming the Wilkins family and me to your bookshelves.
Bless you all.
March 1873, San Francisco
“DESIRE ETHERIDGE.” MR. MARKHAM FROWNED AT THE paper atop his desk in the tiny manager’s office behind the stage. “That’s an odd name. Desire.”
“Desiree,” Daisy corrected, pronouncing it
She pointed to the paper. “If you’ll notice, there are two
’s on the end.”
He squinted up at her, rolling an unlit, well-chewed cigar stub from one corner of his mouth to the other. “You French or something?”
“I try not to be,” she quipped.
His teeth clamped down, snapping the cigar stub to attention. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“N-Nothing,” she stammered, taken aback by his challenging tone.
“My mama was French.”
That explained a great deal. “I didn’t know that.”
“If you got something against the French, missy, then you can just march your skinny ass out of here right now.”
Mortified by the reprimand, yet pleased that he thought her backside skinny, she forced a smile. “It was a poor joke, Mr. Markham. I like the French. Truly.”
The stub relaxed, rolled to the left side of his mouth and settled between his gum and cheek like a damp little rodent sliding back into its burrow. He returned to his perusal of her application. “Says here you been singing at the Silver Spur. That in the red light district?”
“No.” But it was near enough to open the eyes of a farm girl from Quebec who had to walk past those busy doorways every night after work.
“Still, it’s a saloon,” Markham went on without looking up.
Since it wasn’t a question, Daisy didn’t respond. Besides, it seemed every time she opened her mouth lately it got her into trouble. How was she to know that the drunken lout who had tried to stick his hand down her dress during last night’s chorus of “Bridget’s Lament” was the mayor’s wife’s second cousin’s son?
She studied the man before her, wondering if he was any better.
He was old, at least double her twenty-one years, judging by the gray in his whiskers and in the curly sideburns showing beneath his bowler hat. He seemed fit enough, but there was a weary slump to his shoulders. He reminded her of a sour old draft horse that kept plugging along, no longer caring where it was headed or where it had been, just getting through the day.
When she didn’t respond, his head came up, a challenging thrust to his chin, the cigar stub battle-ready. She watched his gaze slide over her, coming to rest on the bosom that always seemed to draw attention no matter how tightly she corseted. “You’re not a whore, are you?”
“Of course not,” Daisy sputtered, addled that he would say such a thing. Nervously she pressed a hand to her chest, wondering if a button had come undone and a breast had escaped, but both dress and breast were securely corralled.