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Roberta Olsen Major
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Ben has secrets he's been keeping from Bess since the day they met. Stubborn and interfering, she wasn't his kind of woman back in Virginia. But here in Texas, things are different. She's sharp as lightning. He's grumbling like thunder. Together, they make one hell of a storm! With a title like BOUND, Roberta Olsen Major wants to be sure she has your attention! But don't let the cover fool you; Bess is the one in the corset, not the shackles!
Texas, 1852. BESS MURPHY, an outspoken, bigger-than-life actress with a traveling theater troupe, just can't say no to anyone in trouble, even if it means heaping more of the same on her own plate. BEN ELLIOTT has the law after him, and Bess is determined to rescue him â€¦ whether he wants her to or not!
Bess stepped out from her hiding place and glared at the two men, her arms akimbo. "I don't know who the hell you two are," she called, "or what the hell you're doing here, but quit arguing and get that man in here out of the rain."
Ajani was so startled at the appearance of the big-boned, ginger-haired woman that he nearly let Ben fall. Recovering, he hurried Ben into the barn, ignoring his feeble protests, and laid him down on a pile of straw.
"What's wrong with him?" Bess was already tossing Ben's hat aside to peer into his bloodshot blue eyes. "You're burning up, mister."
"Gunshot," Ajani said.
Bess was peeling away Ben's jacket and shirt and making a face at the dirty bandage she found around his ribs. "You may as well bring the horses in and rub them down," she said. "This man won't be sitting a saddle for awhile."
Ben tried to shove her hands away, but a brisk Bess was no match for him in his present state. "I'll need hot water," she said. "Go over to the house and tell my sister." She paused long enough to consider the straw and nearby animals. "Better yet, help me get him to the house. This place is none too clean for nursing a sick man."
"Miss," Ajani said hesitantly, "the less people who know about us being here--"
"My sister is the minister's wife," Bess said. "She's a soft touch for strangers in need. You'll be safe enough here. Trouble following you?"
Ajani nodded, his face grim.
"And not too far behind, I'd guess. Well, we'll think of something." There's always the well, Bess thought, but looking again at the wounded man she dismissed it as a possible hiding place. He wasn't up to it. No, they'd have to think of something else. But first things first. "Here, help me get him upright. It's only a few steps to the house."
Ajani was able to manage the smaller man without help, so Bess led them to Emma's back door, which, though more than the few promised steps, was still not too far. Omolara saw them coming and was first off the porch. Her eyes caught Bess's, then skipped past, glancing off Ben's sagging form and coming to rest on Ajani.
By this time Emma was at the door. "What's happened? Who are these men?"
"I need hot water, Em," Bess said, "and a knife, and a bottle of whiskey."
"Whiskey?" Emma echoed.
"Never mind the whiskey. Omolara, get some from the wagon. And your herbs. Come on, mister. We'll put your friend in my room."
As she passed her sister, Bess took quick stock of the look in Emma's brown eyes. Emma won't turn anyone away, she thought, reassured.
Bess just had time to whisk Emma's second-best quilt off the bed in her room before Ajani lowered Ben onto the sheets none too gently and reached to begin tugging off his boots.
Omolara rejoined them, a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a leather bag in the other. "I told your sister how we use whiskey as medicine," she said to Bess with a grin.
"Actors need a lot of doctoring," Bess agreed, straight-faced.
"Waste of good whiskey," the man on the bed said.
Emma was quick with the hot water; Bess used some of it to carefully soak away the crusted bandage, though not without muttered curses and stifled winces from Ben.
"The bullet's out," Ajani offered. "Dug it out myself."
Roberta Olsen Major wore out two toy typewriters as a child before her parents decided it would be more frugal to provide her with the real thing. Throughout junior high and high school, she used two fingers to tap out lurid, angst-filled stories peopled with impossibly beautiful characters speaking highly improbable dialogue.
After earning a BA from Brigham Young University, she worked as a librarian in sensible shoes, before switching her Major to the care and feeding of a scientific husband and two charming children.
A published playwright and reviewer of childrenâ€™s books, she now lives in Texas, where she collects dust, gets taken for daily walks by her faithful Schnauzers, and is, as always, working on her next book.
The Ice Cream Crone: "â€¦a galloping romp of hilarity on a quest of pure enjoyment. Roberta Olsen Major delights her readers with wit, puns, and good old sillinessâ€¦ filled with the perfect combination of chivalry and jovialityâ€¦ Life, love and the pursuit of laughter reignâ€¦â€ --Joyce Handzo, In the Library Reviews, October 10, 2003
The Ice Cream Crone: "â€¦ takes â€˜happily ever afterâ€™ a hop, skip and a jump farther, leading the child in us all on a merry romp through â€˜what ifâ€™.â€ -- Pam Ripling, author of Locker Shock!
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 334
Paper Weight (lb): 14.0
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