Madeline LaFontaine was a woman who thought she knew herself. The Wild West was changing, she told herself, and with those changes came civility and education. She planned to be a teacher and make an independent living.
What she didn't plan on was her stagecoach getting attacked by renegade outlaws. And she certainly didn't plan on being rescued by Cole Darden and his mixed-blood friend, Hawk.
As the trio make their way slowly back to civilisation, Madeline finds herself falling in love with both men. Can she choose one over the other? Does she have the courage...two choose both?
"The Passion of Madeline" is the story of one woman's awakening to the limitless potential for passion, set against the backdrop of the Old West. When Madeline's is kidnapped by a roving band of outlaws, her worst fears are realized. But just when it looks like the outlaws will foist themselves upon her, she's rescued by two men--Cole, a wealthy cattle baron, and Hawk, other his mixed-race best friend. Madeline never counted on simultaneously falling in love with both men, just as they never counted on falling in love with her. They also never counted on the outlaws coming back...with bloody vengeance in mind!
“How many do you think there are?” Cole asked. He pulled a Winchester carbine from the scabbard under his right thigh and worked the action, levering a fresh round into the chamber.
“I count eight horses.” Hawk pulled his own lever-action rifle from a saddle scabbard. “They won’t be as exhausted as we are.”
Making up lost time had drastically sapped their energies.
Hawk said, “Let’s go in easy. They’ll be looking at the girl, not at us. Let’s use that to our advantage.”
Hawk heard the woman scream again, then say, “Stop it! Stop it! Just stop it!”
He smiled. She was still alive and still fighting. That was good. At least, she hadn’t already been killed. That idea had been his constant fear since he and Cole had found the bullet-riddled stagecoach and the bloodied corpses.
Cole moved to the right, putting distance between himself and Hawk. Over the years the two men, both in their early thirties, had learned to act in accord without speaking. They simply knew what the other one would do. Words were unnecessary—especially at a time like this, when the element of surprise was critical, and sudden death was a heartbeat away.
As he neared the peak of the hill, Hawk dismounted and crept forward slowly, the reins in his left hand, the Winchester in his right.
The girl screamed again. This time he clearly heard her call them ‘stinking bastards!’ A half-smile tugged at his mouth. The girl was feisty, she was. Hawk knew almost nothing about her, but his respect for her went up. She was against insurmountable odds, and still she fought back, cursing her tormentors. Giving up would have been easy—but she just wouldn’t do it. Spirit like hers was rare. Hawk was a man not often impressed with people, but he was impressed with the girl, whoever she was.