Cadence is Book 13 of The Widows of Wildcat Ridge. The series is winding down. Only three more to go. Are we getting eager to see whether Mortimer Crane gets his comeuppance? You bet. You can get a taste of this in Cadence.
A foolish mistake left Cadence Biggler and her little sister, Regina, at the mercy of strangers in a strange town—until Mortimer Crane stepped in, paid her bills and offered her a job as a maid at his Gentlemen Only Salon in Wildcat Ridge, Utah Territory. Soon, she realizes Crane wants more from her than her labor. More than she’s willing to give.
Since the salon is no place for a child, he takes Regina to stay with a family, then refuses to tell Cady where the little girl is.
Garrick Brant became a traveling photographer to make a living and search for his missing sister, July. He’s drawn to Cady the first time he sees her, but Mortimer Crane orders his thugs to keep him away from her. How can Garrick and Cady’s romance develop under such restrictions? Can Garrick help Cady find Regina and free her from Crane’s clutches? Can Cady help him find his sister, July?
One thing is certain, they’ll have to fight Mortimer Crane every inch of the way.
Here is an excerpt:
For a long time, Cady petted the cat and let her thoughts ramble. Nothing was going right. Would she ever see Regina again? The thought was a sword in her side, like Garrick’s bullet wound.
Would he recover fully? Would he forgive her?
Thoughts whirled through her mind like a dervish keeping her from achieving a deep sleep.
As she dozed, she heard the door open. Her breath caught. “Garrick?”
Rooster stirred beside her and growled. She swallowed. Maybe it wasn’t Garrick. He should be in bed. He wasn’t well enough yet to be up wandering around.
“Please answer me, Garrick. Is that you?”
Maybe she was wrong, but who else could it be and why wouldn’t they answer?
She sat up and fumbled for matches to light the lamp. “Whoever you are, I heard the door open. Don’t play games with me, plea—”
A sudden weight knocked her back onto the bed, crushing her into the feather mattress.
Cady laughed. “Goodness, you don’t need to be so rough.”
The only answer she received was strong hands encircling her neck.
“What are you doing? That hurts.”
All doubts fled. This wasn’t Garrick. No matter how angry he might be with her, he wouldn’t hurt her.
The hands squeezed harder, and she gasped for air. The scents of body odor, dirt and whiskey filled her nostrils. Whoever lay atop her was shorter than Garrick but weighed more.
No, he wasn’t this thick around the waist.
She shoved at him fruitlessly. Her screams came out as muffled groans.
He meant to kill her.
Air. She needed air.
Cady clawed at the hands choking her. Clawed at his face.
Rooster’s snarling and hissing came to her, sounding close.
With an exclamation of pain, the man jerked, cussed, released Cady and swung backward. Rooster cried out.
Cady attempted to roll away, but the man’s weight returned to pin her in place. She tried to buck him off, tried to jab him in the eyes. He cursed and squeezed harder.
The room swirled around her. Her fingers went numb and lost the ability to grip, while her own will to fight faded.
Her lungs screamed for air but could find none.
“Die, you damned she-dog,” a rough voice growled in her ear. “Die.”
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Charlene Raddon has been writing for nearly 40 years. Originally published by Kensington Books, she is now an Indie Author. Her first book was a Golden Heart Finalist. She also received a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award Nomination, Romantic Times Pioneer Award and won or placed in several contests. Besides writing, she also designs book covers, specializing in western historical.