Allison Webster ran out of the train station, cursing herself. How had she managed to miss the porter’s call for everyone to board? She had to catch that train. She couldn’t risk staying any longer in Omaha. Someone had followed her to the boarding house last night and even though reason told her she was being foolish, she was certain she recognized the man as Nathan Garrison, from Colton County, Georgia.
“Wait!” Allison ran as fast as heeled boots would allow. Her small carpetbag banged against her leg as she chased after the train. “Please, wait!”
She caught up to the caboose, but the train was increasing speed. Black smoke belched from the behemoth’s massive diamond stack. A man poked his head out of a boxcar just in front of the last car. Even running for all she was worth, she noticed his smirk.
“Toss that bag up here and give me your hand,” he shouted, holding his hand out to her.
Without thinking of the possible consequences, Allison tossed her little bag into the car and grabbed the offered hand. He caught her wrist, and with one pull, lifted her into the air and swung her into the livestock car. Momentum carried her forward, and she fell to her knees in the straw, presumably bedding for the two cross-tied horses. At least it was clean, she comforted herself, and she hadn’t landed in anything distasteful. She knelt for a few moments to catch her breath and gather her scattered thoughts. Goodness, she never would have thought it possible for someone to pick her up and throw her as if she was little more than a sack of feed.
After several gulping breaths, she pushed herself to stand and turned to the man who had rescued her. He stood in the open doorway, leaning a shoulder against the frame, his back to the landscape speeding by at a faster and faster pace. He wore a threadbare grey overcoat, the double row of brass buttons tarnished, the elbows patched. Fraying canary yellow overlay bordered the cuffs and stand-up collar. A single gold star graced either side of the collar, the thread in the embroidery faded to almost the same shade as the frayed overlay. Three thin stripes of age-dulled gold braid spiraled up the sleeves from the cuffs in an intricate pattern. A battered, sweat-stained cavalry styled hat covered his head and shaded half his face.
Allison Webster dreams of having an adventure like the characters in the books she loves. But there is no romance in being pursued by a man who wants her dead for educating the children of former slaves. Unlike the heroines she reads about she doesn't have a trusty companion to rescue her...until she literally runs into A.J. Adams, a former Confederate cavalry officer. Now, she just has to convince A.J. he really is the honorable man and hero depicted in the dime novel she is reading.
Branded a "traitor" for more than ten years, scarred by harsh treatment in an inhumane prisoner of war camp, A.J. Adams wants revenge. Allison Webster's arrival into his life provides the bait to destroy the men who murdered his wife and daughters and kidnapped his little brother. The men pursuing Allison are the very same men he has sworn to kill. Falling in love and admitting he might actually be a hero means surrendering his need for vengeance. Surrender is not part of A.J.'s battle strategy.