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The Hanging Bride
Pam Labud
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Set in the Black Hills of South Dakota in the late 1880's, THE HANGING BRIDE is the story of Natty Lane, a young woman who, after just inheriting her family's defunct silver mine, has the responsibility for caring for her 'eccentric' uncle. Desperate to find silver in her mine, Natty trades her only possession, her late mother's wedding ring, in exchange for the chance to marry a man who has been sentenced to hang.

Cole Remmington was more than ready to die. After killing the remaining outlaw who'd decimated his life, he'd had every intention of doing the 'hangman's dance.' Unfortunately, the local judge has other ideas, instead pulling him off the gallows and pushing him into marriage to the most determined woman he'd ever known. Now, Natty and Cole must somehow build a life together while dealing with well meaning townspeople, rowdy outlaws, and even a tough Texas Ranger. In spite of the difficult times they face together, Natty knows she must hold on to Cole and teach him that with true love, even the most battered hearts can be mended.

“Well, little girl, just lookie what’s goin’ on! You didn’t tell me we was having another hanging.”

Natty Lane, sole proprietor of the Denton Lane Silver Mine, stood along the edge of the crowd, stretching on tiptoes, and trying to see the spectacle that was gathering at the foot of the gallows.

“Yeah, I did, Dermott. I’ve told you every day for a week. Remember the trial we went to last Monday? And then we talked about how we were going to ride into town and fetch us a man to help around the place?” She squinted against the early morning sun and stared at the newly built gallows.

“Naw, I distinctly remember you telling me we was gonna get us some salt water taffy. I love salt water taffy.”

“Sure you do, Derm. I’ll get your candy, right after I take care of business.” For a moment, she craned her neck, deciding the best way to navigate around the mass of people crowded at the farthest end of Main Street.

“You stay here, Derm. I’ve got to talk to the Sheriff.”

Seeing Sheriff Watkins hauling out the prisoner, she hesitated. The outlaw didn’t look scared, cowed, or even guilty. In spite of his predicament, the drifter held his head high, almost daring the crowd to oppose him. He looked defiant. Damned defiant.

“Sheriff, I need to talk to you,” she lurched forward before her bravado slipped completely away.

“Natty, I’m real busy right now. Come on over to the office when we’re done here. Has Lester Biggins been bothering you again?”

“Uh, no sir. Not since he accused Dermott of setting his outhouse on fire last month. I wanted to talk to you about today’s hanging.”

The prisoner glanced briefly at her. His deep, hazel gaze instantly stung Natty. A hot flush rose up her neck and nearly took her breath away. It took two quick swallows to get her mind back on track.

“What about the hanging?”

“Well, I...um, I want to buy the condemned man.” There. She’d said it.

The Sheriff looked at her with a stunned expression. “You wanna do what? Girl, do you know what you’re saying?”

“I do. My ma told me she read about how some widowed women in Oklahoma needed men to help with their farms, but there wasn’t any. They were allowed to pick ones that were sentenced to hang and marry them. So, she’d decided to do the same to get us some help with the mine. Ma got sick so quick, and then the fever took her. I’ve got to do something. Last year, we almost died cause the winter was so bad.”

“Now, Nat. Don’t be foolish. A girl as pretty as you can get any buck around here. How old are you? I heard you turned eighteen last fall. You should be married, anyhow. And everybody ‘round here loves ole’ Dermott. You won’t have any problem getting someone to take care of him if your new husband won’t.”

Natty chewed her bottom lip. “I ain’t courting any of the boys from around here. Three of ‘em came to my doorstep last spring. Not one of them cared a whit about the mine. Then there was that Bob Devlin. His poor wife died in childbirth less than a year ago. He doesn’t want another wife, just someone to take care of his young’uns and keep house. He ain’t interested in mining silver.”

“Could be you didn’t give any of those fellas a chance to court you right. You’ve still got plenty of time to pick one. I think that Hansen boy is pretty upright. If my Lizzie wasn’t already engaged to Taylor Jones, I’d have picked him right up front.”

“I ain’t marrying anybody but who I want.” She pointed at the prisoner. “I want him.”

“Natty, think about this. How are you going to get the money? You ain’t buying a horse, you know.”

“No, a horse would cost more. I mean to pay with this.” She held out the pure gold band that had been her mother’s wedding ring.

“Aw, Natty,” the lawman muttered.

“It’s my most precious possession, and it’s barely been worn. My Pa won it in a poker game in San Francisco when he met my Ma.”

Since the age of 13, when she asked her parents for only one Christmas present—a typewriter, Pam has dreamed of being a writer. Past President and Treasurer of the Central Florida Romance Writers, she has spent the last ten years working at becoming a published author. An Intensive Care nurse, wife, and mother of two, she spends her time writing historical romantic fiction when she’s not working full time, running kids to dance and school, taking care of four dogs and two cockatiels, and just being a mom.

Fiction Books :: Romance Books :: Historical Books

ISBN: 1590885546
ISBN(13-digit): 9781590885543
Copyright: 2008
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
Binding: Perfect
No. of Pages: 256
Paper Weight (lb): 11.0

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