Title: Lily and the Gambler
Author: Linda McLaughlin
Genre: Historical Romance
A mail order bride sets out for a new life only to be tempted by a charming gambler. Can he convince her to pass up a sober businessman for a foot-loose card sharp?
After the death of her lover, Lily Penhallow has learned the cost of flaunting convention. Reinventing herself as a widow, she travels to California as the mail order bride of a prosperous mine owner. But on the riverboat from San Francisco, she meets an irresistible gambler. Against her better judgment, she finds herself drawn to the handsome charmer.
King Callaway believes that since life is a gamble, there's no point in planning for the future. After meeting Lily, he knows he has found his Queen of Hearts. But she’s engaged to his uncle, a man King respects.
Lily finds herself torn between two men and two ways of life. Will she choose respectability or love?
Lily and the Gambler is a Second Chance at Love western historical romance.
If you like mail order brides, charming scoundrels and sensual romance, why not take a chance on Lily and the Gambler?
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Lily smiled at him. “That was quite a trick. Do you tell fortunes, too?”
“As a matter of fact, I do. Is the lady interested?”
“Perhaps,” she said, aware he was flirting with her again and annoyed with herself because she was enjoying it. “There should be a deck of cards here somewhere.”
“No cards required. Just let me see your palm.”
Unable to stop herself, Lily stripped off her gloves and let him take her hand. He held it in his left hand, and with his right index finger, traced the lines on her palm. Shivers ran up her arm at each caressing touch. His scent, a mixture of bay rum, male musk, and a faint hint of tobacco, overwhelmed her.
“What do you see?” she asked, her voice suddenly breathless.
“Health and long life.”
“What, no handsome stranger?” she joked.
He raised his head and stared into her eyes. “Oh, yes, I see romance ahead for you. With a dark haired fellow. But he isn’t a stranger.”
For what seemed an age, she stared into his green-gold eyes while her pulse quickened and warmth stole through her veins. It would be so easy to surrender to the feelings he evoked.
“I also see a fork in the road ahead,” he added softly. “You have a decision to make. A very important decision.”
She snatched her hand away, knowing she couldn’t afford to be distracted by him. It wasn’t as if he had made her any promises. “I think you need to practice your fortune-telling skills, Mr. Callaway.”
He chuckled. “There’s something else I’d like to practice.” Cupping her chin, he stared at her, his eyes full of half promises. “Oh, hell, I may get my face slapped for this, but…” His hand moved to the back of her neck as he lowered his head and captured her lips in a kiss that stole her breath away.
For a moment, she closed her eyes and gave herself up to the kiss. Then a door slammed somewhere in the house, reminding her of where they were. She pushed him away. “How dare you?” she hissed.
He gave her a lazy grin. “What’s that old saying? Nothing ventured, nothing gained?”
“I think you’d best be going.”
He paused at front door, turned and held her gaze for a moment, then left.
She sighed and leaned against the doorjamb. What had she been thinking to let him kiss her, however briefly?
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Lily and the Gambler is a second chances, bad boy/good girl romance with a twist. The “good girl” isn’t as good as she wants everyone to think she is. And while King is quite the charmer, he isn’t as bad as his reputation indicates. But who doesn’t love a bad boy hero? Especially one with a heart of gold.
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Linda McLaughlin grew up with a love of history fostered by her paternal grandmother and an incurable case of wanderlust inherited from her father. She has traveled extensively within the United States and has visited Mexico, Canada, Australia, Europe and Iceland. She now lives near the ocean in Orange County, California.
Linda writes historical and Regency romance under her real name and spicier romance as USA Today Bestselling Author Lyndi Lamont.
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