New York City’s Grand Central Terminal was certainly living up to its name, decided Adriana Coster. Feeling on the verge of panic, she navigated between this line of passengers and that stack of luggage and another bunch of porters scurrying about like an overturned hill of ants. Not to mention the fact that so much bustling humanity only added to the noise, the confusion, and the overall heat of a late August day in 1902, no matter how towering the ceiling or how vast the use of marble.
Somewhat lost and disoriented during this, her first visit to the enormous and imposing edifice, she had asked several uniformed employees along the way for directions and instructions.
“A boarding pass, miss? Certainly. One moment.” The ticket seller, sedate and solicitous at her post behind the counter, selected the necessary materials. “And your destination?”
“Um. Chicago? Yes. Chicago.”
“Very good. However, I can sell you a round-trip ticket from there, back to New York, for quite a substantial discount. Interested?”
Adriana looked startled. After making her decision and taking this most difficult first step, the possibility of any return was a concept she had never considered.
“Absolutely not. I intend to leave this city, and I’m never coming back. One way, please, direct to Union Depot in Chicago.”
“That’s fine, then.” The woman handed over the pass in return for a fair amount of cash, then called out to one of the porters with his cart. “Oh, Mr. Matthews. This lady will be boarding the nine o’clock. Please get her and her luggage settled.”
A tip of two fingers to the leather bill of his cap, and the man nodded. “For sure, Mrs. Emory. Ma’am, you come along with me.”
Deliberately choosing a seat on the passenger car in the far corner, separated somewhat from others climbing on to find their places, Adriana collapsed with a sigh of relief that she had actually gotten this far, alone and unaided. And, thus far, unharmed.
The hours of this early morning had been so filled with hectic—and secretive—activity that she hardly knew whether she more resembled a grand diva from the Broadway stage or one of Macbeth’s three witches. Overcome by curiosity, and the admitted need to appear at her best, no matter the circumstances, she pulled a small silver compact case from her leather handbag and brought the mirror into focus.
Ah. No damage done, despite the rushing around and the heat and the near-tears due to unfamiliar locations and the helplessness of an alien situation. Her thick blonde hair had held to its neatly coiled knot at the nape of her neck, thanks to the application of several pins, and her clear hazel eyes gave no hint of the turmoil going on around and around her insides.
She was dressed simply but fashionably for travel in a silvery-blue suit, long-sleeved and long-skirted, with masterly touches of black at the collar and cuffs. Her hat, suitably much smaller than the huge leghorns so much in favor now, seemed perfection itself, from the upturned brim on one side to the pair of black silk roses and the swirl of blue plume at the crown.
With another sigh as the great locomotive began powering up its engine and the wheels began turning on the shining steel track, the forward movement began to shift everyone slightly forward, and she felt she might finally start to relax. Whatever hue and cry might have been set off by her disappearance from the family mansion, surely she must be safe from capture by now.
Still, it took forcible effort to unkink a whole multitude of muscles that had tightened almost into spasms over the past few days. Stress. And tension. And apprehension.
Mainly, worry that Adriana Coster, the most sheltered of the sheltered, would be unable to put her grand plan into motion and make her escape into a world whose every bit and piece she had so rarely explored before. To say that she was frightened of this mad venture upon which she had embarked would be entirely correct. Even more correct, she was absolutely terrified.
At least, in contrast to many unfortunate travelers, she was not without means to purchase whatever she might need, extravagant or not.
After the very recent death of her mother, due to an unexplained but quite painful and distressing illness, and with the accidental death of her father fifteen years ago, on the eve of her fourth birthday celebration, she had inherited everything. And that constituted a lot. Stocks and bonds, cash accounts and brokerage accounts, the lavish mansion and all its outbuildings, several other real estate holdings, and a solid investment portfolio filled with the worth of numerous corporations.
No, Adriana was certainly not wanting for financial assets.
Nor for physical assets, either, because her wardrobe and jewelry and fabulous collection of hats were made of the highest quality and the most sumptuous fabrics.
Why, then, this frantic flight away from all she had known and loved?
“Faith, bejaysus, and begorrah, what a cryin’ shame it is to see you sittin’ all by your lonesome back here, in the corner,” a rich tenor voice interrupted her introspections, and she glanced up. “Are you waitin’ then for a companion? If not, may I be granted your permission to join you?”
He was a well-dressed young man of medium height and frame, quite good-looking, with curly black hair and eyes of a deep dark brown sparked by good humor. Or mischief. Charming as the devil, with dimples galore and an Irish lilt to his words that could soften any girl’s resolve.
Adriana was no novice to any relationship between the sexes. After all, her attendance at an early-learning academy, private schools, and a finishing school had provided an education geared for women in the twentieth century. Naturally, those years had included every avenue of social life, such as formal balls, debutante parties, teas and dinners, trips to the opera or the symphony, musicales, art gallery showings, and so on. All with the plan, hatched by many parents, to deliberately introduce fluttery young ladies to callow young men, and a hope for the best.
Perhaps some companionship during part of her journey would provide a distraction from her worrisome thoughts.
Besides, this was hardly Victorian times, when no reputable woman dared associate with a man not her husband. The country had moved way up into the Edwardian era!
“The car is but half-full, sir,” she politely pointed out. “There are plenty of other places to sit.”
“Well, I’ll be switched. You’re right.” Grinning, he reached down one hand to lightly touch hers. “But the view is so much more pleasant right here, my lady. Or miss. At least, I’m hopin’ it’s miss.”
“Currently. I am Adriana Coster. And you are?”
He bent forward in a tiny bow, almost snapping his polished heels together in military fashion. “I am truly delighted to meet you, Miss Coster. My name is Jared Blakely, and I am bein’ on my way to Chicago on business. How far is it you’ll be travelin’, then, your own self?”
She could feel her eyes widening in surprise. “Why, how coincidental. I, too, am on my way to Chicago.”
“In that case, it’s happier’n a June bug I shall be to keep you company, if you are confident that arrangement will suit you.” Without waiting for a response, he suited his actions to his words and took the aisle seat. “Have you a good amount of luggage to deal with, Miss Coster?”
“Enough for my needs. What sort of business are you in, Mr. Blakely, and how long will it keep you away from your home?” She had learned her lessons well, both in the classroom and in the ballroom: engage your male companion in conversation by asking pertinent facts about his life and goals. Then listen.
He laughed and settled in. “To be tellin’ you the truth, this is my first experience with long-distance commercial affairs. I am representin’ my gracious father and our firm at a conference, so I’m bringin’ my best bib and tucker and polishin’ a speech they’re expectin’ me to give.”
Some time passed in pleasant dialogue, while the miles stretching westward were being eaten up under the inexorable rolling wheels of Central Midwest Railways. The track swung north from New York City to Buffalo, then westward past Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Both were quite impressive bodies of water, merging so well with the distant horizon that no line of demarcation existed between blue and blue-gray.
Adriana, watching this new and fascinating scenery from the window, was relieved when her newfound companion excused himself to retire to the smoking car for an indeterminate time. As surprised as she had been to discover that he wanted to know more about her, in contrast to so many eligible males, she was appreciating some quiet time to ponder her situation once again.
All that wealth, all those financial resources—supposedly, according to her father’s Last Will and Testament, bequeathed to his only child.
All that inheritance, now in question and up for grabs, thanks to Charles Halliwell Westwood, the Coster family’s next-door neighbor at a palatial estate in a whole district of palatial estates, the man who was trying to marry her off to his widowed younger brother. Charles Westwood, former close friend, business consultant, and attorney to James Coster, had somehow been able to claim most of James’s assets for his own after the man’s sudden death.
Katherine, Adriana’s mother, with the value of her remaining holdings much depleted, had complained again and again that the acquisition had been managed only through some manipulation of funds and criminal acts. To no avail. Over the years, Charles had put too many fingers into too many corporate pies, and his influence had spread far and wide. Not a single qualified lawyer, fearing reprisals from the powerful Charles Westwood, was willing to take on Katherine’s case to represent her in her quest for justice.
But then Katherine had died—under suspicious circumstances, it was thought, but went unproven—and, during the process of clearing out her personal possessions, Adriana had discovered the letter.
A letter with incredibly far-reaching and monumental effects.
“Ah, lucky me, I’ve not been replaced by another likely lad.” That was Jared Blakely, returned from his sojourn in masculine territory and smelling faintly of tobacco and spirits as he slid easily into the seat beside her. “So much the better.”
Roused from her self-absorption, Adriana smiled. “No, not at all. Although we’ve stopped and started several times, and travelers have gotten off and gotten on quite regularly. This must be quite a busy route.”
“Ah, you’ve not been on this one before, then.”
She drew in a short, sharp breath. “No. Never before on any one. I’m terrified of trains, and I never travel on them.”
“Never? Then what in the world are you doin’ on this one, pray tell?”
“Oh.” She swallowed. Her mission was a personal one, of great immediacy, to be undertaken in confidence and secrecy. She had no intention of providing such information to a relative stranger, no matter his beauty and charm. “Well, just seeing some of that world. And this was the only convenient method.”
He scooted down on his spine, seeking a comfortable position. “Well, I’m right sorry about that, miss. What is it that’s causin’ this fear, if I may ask?”
“Long-held, I’m afraid. As a small child, I was with my mother on board a local express when it derailed for some reason.” Briefly, she closed her eyes with remembered horror, then shuddered. “Chaos. Blood and screams and broken bodies everywhere. We were fortunate—bumped and bruised but not badly hurt. Especially in comparison to so many others.”
Watching her with sympathy, he took advantage of the moment to clasp his hand over hers.
“No wonder you’ve been so terrorized about boardin’ another one of them steamin’ monsters. I’m that sorry for your ordeal, Miss Coster.”
She managed a wan smile. “No one will ever know how much nerve it took for me to climb on board this morning. I’ve been simply waiting for a crash, and meanwhile shaking like a leaf.”
“Not surprisin’, a’tall.” Was that admiration she saw in the depths of those warm brown eyes? “You must be a strong woman indeed, miss, and that’s the truth. I’m wagerin’ you could see your way through anything bad happenin’.”
“Oh. Well. Thank you. I think.” Adriana felt a trifle flustered. “I’m not sure that’s true since I’m just beginning to find myself, but—”
“Ah, a voyage of discovery, then!” Beaming at her, he tightened his hold on her hand. “Well, I’m right happy I decided to take this particular train, then. We can be makin’ that voyage together, all the way to Chicago. And, who knows to where from there?”
Adriana was not now, and never had been, one of those giggly simpering fools she had so often encountered at various social functions. Still, she almost felt like giggling and simpering at this moment, in light of her seatmate’s significant declaration. Weren’t many long-lasting romances begun aboard cruise ships? Why not aboard a railway car?
So she gave him her best smile and settled in for more such pleasant attention.
All amid more stops at various cities along the way: Erie, at the very tippy-top edge of Pennsylvania, and Cleveland, built to last on the shores of Lake Erie. Heading west, the sun was beginning a slow descent to the horizon, with lights fading into darkness on the track to the rear and lights brightening into brilliance to the front.
“Were you bein’ aware of the fact that Cleveland’s Public Square was the first outdoor space to become illuminated?”
“I believe I did read of such a thing,” Adriana, starting to feel the day’s lack of exercise and restricted accommodations, said while fending off a yawn. “Amazing, isn’t it?”
“Aye, we’ve a fortunate place to be livin’ in these days. You’re lookin’ that tired, Miss Coster. My recommendation is that I escort you to the dinin’ car for supper, and then you can get some rest.”
“Oh, that sounds like a wonderful idea. Yes, I am tired. And there’s a cozy bed waiting in the Pullman with my name on it. Will you be left having to spend the night upright in that seat?”
Chuckling, he rose to his dapper feet and extended one hand to her for assistance. “Just down the hall from you in that very Pullman, no doubt. My father was quite generous in providing a travel allowance. Come. Let us go have a bite to eat.”
The evening could not have passed more enjoyably; the camaraderie could not have existed more compatibly. Jared kept her interested and amused with his stories of a raucous childhood, parents probably far too indulgent, and various experiences in his family’s (as yet unspecified) business—some humorous, some poignant.
By the time the white-coated steward brought coffee to their table, Adriana was frankly, but politely, yawning behind the palm of one hand, and apparently, Jared was staving off his own yawns.
“That’s it. Away to bed with you, Missy, for a good night’s sleep. C’mon along, I’ll turn you over to the ministrations of the porter, and I’ll see you bright and early in the mornin’.”
Her compartment, while suffering somewhat by comparison with the luxurious confines of her bedchamber at home, boasted quite a commodious arrangement. After a hasty sponge bath, a relaxing change into her lightweight silk nightwear, and a few minutes of reading the small book tucked into her handbag, Adriana settled between fresh linen sheets and onto a plump pillow. Within minutes, sleep dragged her down into velvety darkness, and she drifted off to the easy rocking motion of clacking wheels with a smile of contentment.
Not so much the next morning.
In fact, not at all.
Dressed and ready for the day, as the train approached Chicago somewhere in the distance, she tucked all personal items into her coveted Damier-patterned overnight bag and emerged in search of breakfast and her newfound traveling companion.
Mr. Blakely was nowhere in sight.
“Ah, he’s overslept,” she realized, approaching the rear corner seats used in yesterday’s satisfying tête-à-tête.
Both were still empty and unclaimed, so she sank down onto the plush velvet. It would be all right to wait a few minutes, but she was already missing her breakfast. Much later and she would make her own way to the dining car, no matter in which Pullman compartment he might still be snoozing away.
After a while, spying the conductor, she asked as to the whereabouts of Mr. Jared Blakely.
“Oh, that nice-lookin’ young feller? He got off the train long ago, ma’am, way back at the Toledo station.”
“Toledo?” she repeated blankly. “But—Toledo…that’s nowhere near Chicago. That’s—behind us…”
The conductor, already on his way to answer another call, paused with a chuckle. “Oh, yes, way back in Ohio. Took a long time gettin’ himself from the car to the station, too, needin’ help. He had a lotta luggage to deal with.”
Something suddenly struck her smack-dab in the middle, like a closed fist. Adriana’s heartbeat almost stopped, and an icy trickle of fear raced down her spine. No. It couldn’t be. Could it?
“Um—excuse me. That luggage…were there several large pieces by Louis Vuitton, in a brown checked design?”
“Dunno about the brand name, miss, but the cases did have that kinda colorin’. Excuse me, ma’am, there’s someone at the end of the aisle needin’ help.”
He hurried away.
Adriana collapsed like a boneless blob onto her cushioned seat as she was hit by the full realization of what had happened.
Jared Blakely—if that were even his real name—was a flimflammer, a con artist, a man on the make. He had sweet-talked her into a pleasant relationship, made promises he had no intention of keeping, and, while she lay asleep in the dead of night, he had stolen away everything she had brought to begin a new life.
She was marooned, in the middle of a railway car, in the middle of the tracks, in the middle of the nation. She was bereft.
And all because, feeling so lonely and friendless, needing some reassurance even that provided by a stranger, she had talked too much, shared too many details. He had known exactly which pieces of luggage were hers, perceived that the contents were no doubt quite pricey, and acted accordingly to his own interests.
Bam! Just like that, she was left almost destitute.
The shock rendered her speechless and motionless, unable to speak or move.
How could she possibly cope from here on?
She paid little heed to the surroundings of Union Depot after she had disembarked from the Central Midwest, with only the meager travel bag and handbag left of all her luggage. Feeling sickened and slightly dizzied by the events of the past couple of hours, she wandered through the mobs of people milling throughout the various corridors, unsure now of what to do or where to go.
Adriana could only lay the blame for her predicament wholly upon her own shoulders.
It was she who had chosen to flee an unwanted marriage to a detestable groom. It was she who had boarded the rail car heading west, with the destination being Chicago. It was she who had accepted the perfectly respectable advances of a complete stranger, a man who had then robbed her of all the belongings she had so lovingly packed for the future.
At last, reaching the exit outside and the somewhat fresh if hot and humid August air, she paused to take stock. If only her usually active brain would start working again.
My, my, what a busy area! Street traffic, pedestrian traffic, construction traffic. And noise, what overwhelming noise. Did one ever grow accustomed to such racket? Had she lived so isolated an existence at the Coster estate as to never have been attuned to New York City’s own brand of clutter and clatter?
Finally, she realized that her light-headedness and the rather nauseous feeling in her middle were partially due to hunger, since she had missed breakfast in the dining car. Best, then, to find some sort of restaurant or even a little café nearby. For whatever might lie ahead, she would need sustenance.
Straightening her pretty plumed hat, settling her shoulders in their silvery blue suit, she set off in search of opportunity. Who knew when it might come knocking at her door?
Except that, after a few blocks of marching along, sidestepping businessmen and panhandlers, nothing presented itself. She was growing tired; her feet, in their leather pumps, meant more for mincing across a carpeted floor than pounding upon a pavement, were beginning to hurt. Even the fashionable feather at her hat’s crown was drooping. It was time to hail a carriage.
And hope that enough cash remained in her handbag to pay the fee.
The driver of an approaching vehicle stopped, settled her inside, and, pressed for advice as to nearby eating places, happily set off only to halt some distance away at a place called Chippy’s Charhouse. Adriana stared askance at the less-than-prepossessing storefront.
“It’s much nicer than it looks, miss,” the man, laughing at her expression, was quick to offer reassurance. “I guarantee you, Chippy has the best food in town. Not costly, either.”
Lifting out her one remaining piece of luggage, he escorted her to the door, which he opened with a flourish, accepted her thanks and her payment, and departed to corral his next fare somewhere in the downtown area.
Adriana, needing a minute or two for her sun-dimmed vision to clear, paused just inside. The restaurant’s narrow width provided a row of tables against one wall, a tall counter holding glass cases of bakery goods against the opposite wall, and an ample aisle in between. Its general air, redolent with enticing aromas, seemed nothing more than a beehive of activity. Customers were placing orders, waiters were moving to and fro in quick-step, tables were being cleared and tables being set, crockery was clattering, and cutlery clinking.
Such business was not surprising; this was lunchtime, after all, when most of the working world was released from its confines to scuttle off for replenishment.
“Miss?” A scurrying, white-aproned server approached. “My name is Victor, Miss, and I’m here to help you. We’re very busy, miss, as you can see, every table is full. I apologize, but you may wait if you like. Or, if you wouldn’t mind sharing space with another single diner—” He shrugged but indicated, with the sweep of one hand, her choices.
Adriana was hungry. Almost perishing for food, in fact. Also, she needed desperately to find a quiet place just to sit and think. The quiet place clearly would be beyond attainment. But, at this point, she was willing to sit beside anyone at all—Jack the Ripper included—if it meant being able to obtain something substantial to fill her empty middle. Soon.
“I shall be delighted to share,” she said crisply.
With a nod surely of relief, he led her to the very rear of the café, where a man in rough gear had just set down a cup of coffee to look up as she approached.
After a few quick words of explanation, their waiter yanked out a chair, handed her a menu, and disappeared like a puff of smoke.
Meanwhile, her involuntary host had risen to his feet as she was seated, then resumed his own position on a bench propped against the back wall.
“Please forgive the intrusion, sir.” Adriana, slightly flustered by the circumstances, awkwardly attempted to smooth over her inadvertent interruption of his meal. “But there was no other place available, and so I—”
“Don’t worry your head about it.” He held up one hand to stave off her anxious words. “I’m happy to have the company, ma’am. Riley Sherman, at your service.”
“I am Miss Adriana Coster, sir, only just arrived from New York, and I am pleased to make your acquaintance. Thank you for allowing me to share your table.”
Another seat in the corner, Heavens above! And another extremely attractive and no doubt charming man with whom to converse. Was she reliving yesterday’s experience aboard the railway car? Would she be left high and dry again, and her few remaining possessions stolen?
Victor returned with a silver urn to refill Mr. Sherman’s cup, fill her own, and take her order for lunch. It was substantial: a plate of salad, a bowl of the Chophouse’s famous beef stew, plenty of fresh bread and marmalade, and whatever fresh fruit might be available. The man opposite, listening, merely raised expressive brows and went back to his coffee.
Which gave Adriana a chance to observe. Her gaze shifted from his deft movements with cream and sugar to his face. It was a nice, square, lived-in face, tanned by what must be exposure to the outdoors, with very faint lines fanning from each corner of bright blue eyes, strong planes of brow, nose, and chin. He had overlong curly brown hair and a matching, very short beard. From what she could see—at least, from the waist up—he was dressed in working garb of black-and-white plaid shirt with the cuffs unbuttoned and rolled back over hairy forearms.
Overall, Riley Sherman gave the impression of controlled muscular power, dignified reserve, and capable masculinity.
“You just come to visit the heartland?” he asked casually over the rim of his cup.
“Um. Well. I’m not quite sure.”
Her vague response garnered a slight upward turn to his mouth, which must indicate amusement. At her expense. “Ahuh. Long way to travel when you ain’t real positive what you’re doin’ here.”
“Perhaps.” Feeling just a tad miffed, she lifted her chin to stare at him. “I might ask the same of you, Mr. Sherman.”
“Oh, that’s easy enough. Got folks outside of the city a ways—both Ma and Pop, two brothers, and a sister—and I came in on a Chicago train to see ’em for a mite, b’fore I head back home.”
“Home? And where is that?”
“Well, I hail from Payton, a little town barely on the map, just to the west. But I left all that behind some years back, got myself a sweet little ranch out in Montana.”
“Montana. What a distance, Mr. Sherman.” Considering, Adriana began to dip her spoon into the appetizing mixture of the bowl just placed before her.
It was quite probable that Charles Westwood, with his army of private detective minions, would be able to track her to Chicago, and she didn’t dare be caught, or she would lose everything she had, thus far, sought to retain. But—Montana! Probably she should have considered traveling that much farther, into the unknown, for her bolt hole. What chance would her sworn enemy have of finding her in so remote an area?
“Born and raised in New York as I was, sir, I am not familiar with the workings of a ranch. Pray, tell me more about it,” she encouraged.
She was to discover, as he spoke, that his descriptive abilities and vocabulary were as attractive as his outer persona. Within minutes, she was figuratively gathered up and whisked away to a land that might have been inhabited by kings and queens for all his reverence of it. The heights of the mountain peaks, the depths of the icy lakes, the stretches of rolling hills and prairie grass. The range of colors, from pink and rose-gold sunrise to dark the green of spiky ponderosas to brown or black of grazing cattle. The daily chores, including animal husbandry and stewardship of vast acreage.
The man painted such a vivid picture that Adriana sat still and silent, enthralled.
Eventually, having finished most of his blackened steak in the meantime, he paused with a sheepish grin and a little shrug of the shoulders. “Well, look at me, rattlin’ away like an empty cart. Sorry, Miss Coster. You happened to hit on one of my favorite subjects.”
“No apology necessary. I was fascinated by stories of that wonderful property of yours.”
“Well…” This pause was for several sips of hot beverage, most likely to soothe a dry throat. “Reckon you can see how anxious I am to get back.”
“Ah. You’ve purchased your return ticket, have you?”
“Naw, not yet. Not sure just how long I’m stayin’ with the folks. Now, since I’ve talked your leg off, “ he said with a full-fledged grin that was rife with self-deprecating amusement, “you’d oughta return the favor and tell me about your own self.”
It was easier to move bread crumbs around on the plate with her fork than to meet those frank blue eyes. “There isn’t really all that much to tell. Although my father died suddenly on my fourth birthday, after that, my childhood was remarkably uneventful. Then my mother recently passed away, so I decided—um—to leave all that behind and travel.”
His fingers were wrapped loosely around the handle of his cup, tapping softly on the earthenware edge while he studied her. “Seems like that’s enough death in anybody’s lifetime. You’re in mournin’, then?”
She shifted position slightly. His question had struck close to a nerve.
“I should be, I know. She was my mother, and I do miss her. But I—I am not.” She bit her lip. “My mother and I did not enjoy a close, warm relationship. I cannot remember a single instance of affection or pride and joy in my existence. Why not? I have no idea. I did my best to please her.”
“Her Heart’s Open Horizon” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
Adriana Coster, raised amidst luxurious excess and privilege, suddenly finds herself facing a fate not of her choosing. Bereft of parental love and recently orphaned, she is hurled into chaos when her father’s former ally usurps her inheritance, plotting to shackle her in a loveless marriage.
Will Adriana unravel the key to her salvation within a cryptic letter, or will she succumb to the despair enveloping her?
Riley Sherman, a rugged Montana cowboy, steps off his train in bustling Chicago, never expecting to cross paths with a desperate heiress fleeing an unthinkable future. Despite his skepticism regarding her story of pilfered wealth and impending forced marriage, he can’t help but be drawn into her turbulent journey out west.
Can he step up to become her unexpected protector?
Caught in a relentless search for lost kin, an endeavor to reclaim what’s rightfully hers, and the intricate web of their shared pasts, a tender flame kindles between Adriana and Riley. Could a sheltered heiress find lasting love in the arms of a hardened cowboy? Or will their diverging worlds shatter this fragile bond, leaving Adriana at the mercy of her relentless pursuers?
“Her Heart’s Open Horizon” is a historical western romance novel of approximately 60,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.