Authors: Joan Johnston
The man’s jerk on her ankles interrupted Cricket’s speech, sending her to the ground on her rear amidst a whorl of dust and sagebrush. She was so astonished by his attack she didn’t have a chance to move before he rolled over and lunged at her.
Cricket swore a nasty oath when her quiver pressed painfully into her back, as the stranger shoved her down and came to rest on top of her. All thoughts of the stranger’s attractiveness faded as she grabbed her hunting knife from its sheath. She got a painful taste of his strength when he knocked it away into the undergrowth.
“No more weapons between us, Brava,” he snarled.
A shiver of fear ran down Cricket’s spine when she realized the stranger was considerably stronger than she and perhaps even more agile. She lashed out at him with the only weapon she had left, slashing several furrows down his cheek with her fingernails.
“Dammit, that hurt! Settle down.”
He captured her punishing fists and fingernails with his powerful hands as she bucked for freedom beneath him. Frantic, Cricket tried to bring her knee up to the naked man’s vulnerably exposed manhood, but he was ready for her. He pressed his sinewy thighs down hard against her own more supple ones.
“Whoa, Brava. I intend to stay the capable stud I am.”
“You bragging ass! You lop-eared mule! Let—me—go!”
“Not a chance.”
Cricket shoved with all her strength, but she might as well have been an ant trying to lift a watermelon. Slowly, inexorably, the horse thief pushed her wrists into the crushed columbine blossoms on either side of her head.
“You won’t escape,” Cricket hissed.
A broad smile broke out on the stranger’s face. It was clear she was in no position to enforce her threat. Cricket turned her head away from the horse thief’s arrogant grin, her breathing as harsh and uncontrolled as her thoughts about him.
“I have no wish to escape,” he said.
A Dell Book
Random House, Inc.
New York, New York 10036
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 1998 by Joan Mertens Johnston
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the Publisher, except where permitted by law. For information, address Dell Publishing, New York, New York.
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