ANOTHER MAN'S WIFE
When the stagecoach carrying Federal Marshal Chris McQuade is the target of an attempted robbery, the handsome Marshal is left alone with a woman he's been attracted to from the start of the long journey from St. Louis to Wind River, WY. It isn't until they're forced to go on alone together that he realizes he's falling in love with the wife of the man he's been sent to bring to justice. Much to McQuade's surprise, Elizabeth Davis has fallen in love, too, and her husband is out for revenge after witnessing a much-too-intimate encounter between his enemy and his wife...
Read an exclusive excerpt:
The sun was sinking rapidly on the western peaks of the mountains and the color streaked the sky with a splendor unlike any she’d seen before. She stared, enchanted and enthralled by the fiery display that crested the snow-capped mountaintops. The orange-gold orb of heavenly fire gradually dipped behind the ridge of darkening mountains, its last searching fingers splaying over the tops, turning everything to purple tinted pink. Chris nudged his horse forward and she followed, caught between the glory atop the mountains and the magnificence of the man and horse moving ahead of her.
Less than an hour later they sat in front of a fire, coffee brewing and filling the night air with its enticing aroma. They shared some of the hard tack and jerked beef from Tom Caden’s saddlebags, and
felt a rare moment of tranquility as she gazed upward at the glittering sky.
The moon was making a slow climb into the center of the tapestry of black
velvet that draped over them, its silvery crescent growing brighter and
“What exactly do you do, Chris?” She finally dared ask the question she’d been thinking about from the first time she’d glimpsed him back in
. St. Louis
“I’m a Federal Marshal, ma’am,” he said after considering the query for several heartbeats of time. He eyed her closely for a few seconds, then posed his own question. “What’s your business in
She hesitated, and for perhaps the first time in her life, she was tempted to lie outright to someone she barely knew. Honesty won out, and she sighed heavily. “I’m supposed to be meeting my husband,” she admitted, and watched the warmth vanish from his eyes. What remained was a dark wall of polite civility.
“I didn’t realize you were married,” Chris commented, once the unexpectedness of her admission passed through his mind and left him feeling vaguely betrayed.
“I find it difficult to recall myself sometimes,” she said with hurt in her tone. “Mark and I married almost a year ago, but he headed west about two months later. I’ve only seen him twice in the past nine months.” Her eyes focused on the shadowy trees that surrounded them like sentinels. “I don’t even know why I thought I wanted to be married to him.”
“Mark Elias Davis is your husband?” Chris asked, a distinct twist of raw anger roiling in his gut as things coalesced in his mind.
a common enough name, but until this moment, he’d never associated Elizabeth
Davis with the man who was his present quarry. Davis
She turned to look him squarely in the eye again, and wariness telegraphed from every fiber of her body.
It was little more than an expulsion of air, the single word carried to him more as a breath than audible speech.
“How much do you love him, ma’am?”
She winced at the bone-chilling ice in his voice and the reaction woke a twinge of guilt inside him.
The word trembled between them and Chris stared at her, drinking in every aspect of her presence as a thirsting man revels in water.
“He’s the reason I’m here,
.” He forced his
tone to indifference that had no connection at all to what churned inside him.
“He’s wanted back in Elizabeth .” Arizona
repeated, irritated by the
stupidity that she couldn’t seem to shake off. “For what?” Elizabeth
She was afraid of the answer. She was more afraid of not knowing. The lack of anguish she felt told her what her heart had known for many months, that whatever she’d felt for Mark Davis in the past had died there. Time and distance had cleared her head of the romantic notions he’d filled her with when they were engaged and full of dreams to chase.
Chris turned away from her and she reached out to touch his face, her palm gentle on his cheek as she made him meet her gaze again. “Please tell me, Chris.”
“He killed a deputy during a bank robbery in
about six weeks ago,” he told her, voice cautious, eyes watchful. He didn’t
know enough about whatever bonds existed between the couple, despite her
insinuation that she wasn’t in love with her husband. The bleak acceptance in
her sigh when she closed her eyes assured him it wasn’t anger she felt at his
words but utter sadness. Her hand fell away and he was startled by how acutely
he felt the loss of her touch. Phoenix
“And they sent you to track him.”
“I was bringing a man to
for trial and was getting ready to
go home when the wire arrived.” St. Louis
Chris watched her for several moments, saw the emotions racing across her features as vividly as if she spoke every thought she was having. Not one of the shifts of expression resembled shock or surprise, and that made him wonder how much she either knew, or suspected, of her husband’s activities since coming west.
“This don’t seem to surprise you much, ma’am.”
She twitched just the slightest bit at the sound of his voice, and he knew she’d completely forgotten his presence. She drew her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them, shutting him out, probably without even realizing she was doing it.
“It doesn’t,” she eventually conceded. “Mark’s changed a great deal since we met a few years back. Especially since he came out here. The rare times we’ve seen each other, he’s been restless and irritable, like he’d rather be anywhere other than with me. I used to think he was just trying to find a way to tell me he’d met someone else.” She laughed, irony the only discernible emotion in the sound. “A year ago I wouldn’t have believed him capable of killing. Now…” She shrugged. “I don’t have the right to question you or judge him, because it simply doesn’t matter anymore.”
The last words caught him well and truly off-guard. “A woman has every right to question a man who tells her that the man she’s married to is a killer.”
“Only if she cares, Mr. McQuade. The last of my dreams were killed the day Mark gunned down that deputy, he just forgot to tell me about it.” She looked into the flickering fire flames reflecting from Chris’s dark eyes, one of the only traces of light in her world at that moment. “I’m sorry we didn’t have this conversation a lot sooner,” she remarked bitterly. “I would have known not to continue west, but to go back home.”
He didn’t reply, and she smiled weakly at him, then rose. “Goodnight, Chris.”
For a long time after she’d fallen asleep, Chris watched the fire and brooded. It was a pattern that would repeat itself over the next two nights, until they reached the foothills of the mountains.
A few past reviews:
"4 Stars!...An enjoyable and short western story. Even though it is predictable in its plot line, I completely enjoyed this book. Chris is extreme in his alpha attitude and so is Elizabeth as a strong independent woman. Together these two characters are well developed for a quick story and flow together well. The sex in this story is hot and passionate, with the love quickly developed and announced. The action is gut clenching and exciting! I definitely recommend this story to everyone, especially those who really enjoy historical westerns."—Vikky Bertling, Just Erotic Romance Reviews
"4 Stars!...An entertaining and sensual historical short story with a few surprises that is sure to delight many readers. Elizabeth is a truly appealing character. She's wary of Chris but also compelled by his presence. Although she's beautiful, she has refreshing qualities for a woman of her times in that she's strong, opinionated and doesn't mind letting people know. I enjoyed reading about a heroine who is voluptuous and curvaceous and feels confident. Chris is a Marshal to die for; he's handsome, tough, and prepared to do all in his power to save the woman he loves. His passionate and romantic nature is well hidden beneath the ruthless facade he projects until he meets Elizabeth. From the first both fight a strong attraction that's simmering between them only to realize they have never felt this way before. This burning desire between Elizabeth and Chris culminates in a very fiery explosion and these two lovers come together in a highly sensual moment, in one of the longest love scenes I've read. Elizabeth and Chris were meant for each other. It was great seeing their story unfold and develop."—Aggie, Just Erotic Romance Reviews
"This quick western will charm readers with the typical Wild West components: outlaws, marshals, and a feisty damsel in distress. But Denyse M. Bridger has written an anything but typical romance. Her vivid writing makes Another Man's Wife a delight to read and the love scenes make you wish you were the damsel in distress. I look forward to reading more from the engaging Denyse M. Bridger."—Tina Burns, The Road to Romance
"5 Angels!...A wonderful, very sensual romance. Although short, the story is fully developed and substantial. Chris and Elizabeth are both likable characters that the reader wants to see happy. The sexual chemistry between them is palpable. Ms. Bridger's has a talent for writing eloquent, extremely passionate love scenes. She gets the point across without being too explicit. She conveys the emotions beautifully, without graphic language. It?s hard to believe this is Ms. Bridger's first erotic romance. It's definitely an impressive start. I hope to see many more just like this one!"—Shelley, Fallen Angel Reviews
"5 Flames!...Ms. Bridger gives the reader a wonderfully vivid setting and fills it with well-rounded, believable characters. Elizabeth is brave and always ready to help out. Chris, strong and capable, accepts her help, which is pleasantly surprising. The love scenes are beautiful and very sensual, but not as graphic as those seen in other erotic romances. This excellent short story is a quick, satisfying read, and I highly recommend it."—Renee, Sizzling Romances
"4 Ribbons!...A great story you'll be sure to enjoy in one sitting. Denyse M. Bridger knows how to write an erotic and entertaining short story. If you like historical romance, then Another Man's Wife is for you. The characters are a big part of any story, and you will love the hero and heroine in this one. Chris is the kind of hot sexy hero that will leave you breathless, and Elizabeth is a wonderful heroine."—BJ Deese, Blue Ribbon Reviews