Title: Raider of Her Heart
Author: N. Jade Gray
Genre: Romance, Time-Travel, Historical
2019 Paranormal Romance Guilds Reviewers Choice Awards Nominee
2019 Oklahoma Romance Writers of America International Digital Awards Finalist
Judson Stone, a Cavalry Scout, needed to warn Lawrence, Kansas of the impending threat of Quantrill and his raiders. Shot and left for dead, Judson awakes in the year Twenty Seventeen. Guilt riddles him over his failed mission as the days pass and he struggles with finding a way back to his own time and growing feelings for a woman who doesn’t trust him.
Sadie Winters has her hands full juggling a full-time job, a start-up business, and keeping tabs on her Gramps. She didn’t need further complication of caring for a stranger. When the mystery surrounding Judson is revealed, she throws herself into helping him find his way back to his own time, ignoring the love she’s developed for him.
She sank into a chair at the table. Where had her mind been? Produce a half-naked man and her brain short-circuited. You shouldn’t be eyeing him like dessert. But her mind screamed, Bon Appetit. You don’t know the first thing about him, she admonished herself. He could be worse scum than Troy.
Moments later, he joined her in the kitchen. He still remained shirtless. Hadn’t Gramps offered him one? She rose to retrieve the gauze and tape from the counter. “Are you ready? Let’s dress your wound first.” She indicated a chair. “Have a seat, and we’ll have this done in a jiffy.”
She leaned in to examine his injury. Fire radiated from her fingertips as she touched his bare skin. Must concentrate, she berated herself. Damn hormones. She cleared her now-parched throat. “As far as I can tell everything seems normal.” His shoulder twitched as she applied the ointment and bandage. “I found your locket in your pocket before I put your pants in the wash.” She pointed. “It’s there on the table.”
He picked up the locket. Silence hung on the air as he opened the piece of jewelry and ran a finger over the photo.
“The likeness is my mother.”
Mother. His quiet words shimmied down her spine. Why did she feel a little elated he hadn’t said wife? “She’s beautiful.”
He shut the locket with a forceful snap. “One of the many things this war took from me too soon.”
She frowned. “Did she serve in the armed forces?”
His mesmerizing gaze met hers. Pain radiated from his gorgeous orbs. She still couldn’t believe the color of his eyes. “I wasn’t home when it happened.” He swallowed. “If I hadn’t been off on a scouting mission, I could have saved her.”
She waited, but when he didn’t continue she inquired, “What happened?”
He struggled a moment before he answered. “She’d been out doing the wash. That’s where our neighbor found her.” His fingers caressed the necklace. “She’d
been snake bit.”
A shiver started at the top of her vertebra and shimmied all the way down her back. Snakes. She’d always had a fear, but never had known anyone who’d died from a bite. She placed a hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry to hear about your mother. What was her
name?” The heat of his skin had her drawing back.
“A pretty name for a beautiful woman. What about your dad?”
A puzzled expression crossed his features. “What do you mean?”
Had his dad abandoned him like her father had deserted her? “Where’s your dad?
He replaced the locket on the table. “He passed some time ago. I was young. My memories of him are few.”
She bit her lip. She wasn’t the only one who’d dealt with sadness in her lifetime. He’d told the officer he was twenty-nine. Not much older than her twenty-six years. “Do you have siblings?”
His lips quirked. “None I’m aware of.”
A joke? He’d been so serious up to this point his humor surprised her. She chuckled and the sadness enveloping the room evaporated. She took a moment to study his long locks on top of his head. “I’m no professional hairdresser, but how do you want me to cut your hair?”
He waved a dismissive hand in the air. “Do whatever you think best for me to fit in.”
She paused before picking up the comb and scissors. What an odd thing to say. What did he mean? She retrieved a kitchen towel from a nearby drawer, draped it around his shoulders and caught a whiff of the soap he’d used in the shower. Funny, she’d never realized the scent of sandalwood and musk could be so enticing. Gramps sure didn’t smell this appealing when he used the soap.
Her thoughts scattered the minute she touched his silky strands. Her hand shook. The act of cutting his hair shouldn’t have felt so intimate. What wires in her brain had gotten crossed? She took a step back and regrouped. Just because she had a half-naked man at her fingertips didn’t mean she needed to let her hormones take control.
Keep your mind on the task, she admonished herself.
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Runs January 1 – 31, 2020.
Drawing will be held on February 1, 2020.
N. Jade Gray, grew up on a farm in Oklahoma with one sister and three brothers. She began reading romance novels in high school and was hooked. In an attempt to entertain her friends, she began writing stories. The biggest hurdle she had to overcome with her writing was sharing her stories. Her former writing groups, the Wichita Area Romance Authors and Low Country Romance Writer’s, helped with her confidence and shook the needed pom poms to get her motivated for publication. She is also a former member of the Romance Writers of America. She met her husband while attending college and has two grown sons. Not really knowing what she wanted to do when she grew up, she’s held various jobs in the accounting and legal fields. She lives in Kansas with her husband, rescue cats Meera and Mango, and one spoiled dog-named Fabio. Yes, she helped named the dog. She loves to hear her husband calling for his four-legged companion.
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