Texas Rangers, secret pasts, best friends and loyal neighbors, whorehouses, slow-building love, a murder trial, and, believe it or not, so much more in Texas Tall by Kaki Warner. Ty Benton and Lottie Weyland are two tough and brave souls who are so much like the real pioneers who made the American West what it is today.
But they have to find common ground and compromise if the life they think they can have together has a chance to succeed. They’re coming from two very different places and at the same time have two very different looks on the future. Of course, unforeseen circumstances get the way and the light at the end of the tunnel is doused for a bit while they live and learn the hard way how to make the future brighter and life a little easier.
Be sure to pick up your copy of Texas Tall tomorrow when it hits the shelves. This is a trek you don’t want to miss, and just to back that up, we’re giving you a sneak peek featuring Ty and Lottie. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Seeking vengeance for a tragic past, Tyree Benton joined the Rangers and became a different man—but his brutal actions still twist his conscience. Now he’s found a woman he could love, but she deserves more than a man who makes a living getting shot at. If Ty were honorable, he’d leave her alone. But he can’t seem to stay away….
Orphaned at fourteen, Charlotte Weyland has used her talent for numbers to build enough of a fortune to fund Ty’s dream of owning a ranch…if he’s not too stubborn to accept her help. But when Charlotte’s past catches up to her, she finds herself on one side of the law with Ty on the other. To keep their dreams alive, they’ll have to make compromises, but doing so might cost them everything they have…
If Juno had browbeaten the ranger into taking her to dinner to make up for assuming she was a whore, then, by God, Lottie would make sure he had a miserable time of it. He didn’t like talking to her? She’d make him talk by asking him every question she could think of. Then she’d go after Juno. “Fine. Dinner it is.” Smiling through clenched teeth, Lottie tucked her hand at his elbow. “Shall we try the hotel restaurant?”
As he towed her down the boardwalk, Ranger Ty Benton tried to figure out what had just happened. He’d thought he was off the hook and she wasn’t going to accept the dinner invitation he’d been coerced into making, then suddenly she’d changed her mind. Now he was stuck trying to talk to a woman he hardly knew, when all he wanted was to knock back a few drinks, look over the whores at Juno’s saloon and brothel, then get some sleep.
He wasn’t much of a womanizer. Mostly, he did his job and stayed to himself. Not that he didn’t like women. He liked them fine. But he steered clear of women like the one hanging onto his arm because they didn’t fit into the ranger lifestyle. The Frontier Battalion didn’t allow married men or those with children. There were already too many widows and fatherless children running around Texas since the war, and being a ranger assigned to patrol the Nueces Strip carried a high death rate.
What in the hell was he going to talk to her about?
“What are you doing in Greenbroke?” she asked, jarring him back to attention.
“I was sent to pick up a prisoner but he died in an escape attempt, so I got off the train here.”
“What had he done?”
“Robbed a bank.”
She studied him for a moment, her head tipped slightly to one side. It made him nervous. What did she see when she looked at him that way?
“Do you like being a ranger?” she asked.
“Most of the time.”
“But not always.”
“Not always.” Luckily, his clipped tone discouraged further questions and they walked in silence the rest of the way to the Greenbroke Hotel. But after they’d taken seats by a big window and the pregnant waitress had taken their orders, Miss Lottie resumed her interrogation.
“What would you be doing if you weren’t a ranger?”
“That’s a costly undertaking. Land is expensive.”
He’d forgotten she was a bookkeeper. “My uncle left me a few acres up near the panhandle.”
“How many acres?”
“Eight thousand, or so. You sure ask a lot of questions.”
She smiled. It was less disturbing than the smile she’d given him earlier, but still made him uneasy. “Do my questions bother you?” she asked.
He shrugged, unwilling to admit they did. Her curiosity put him off. Plus, he hadn’t used so many words in weeks, especially to a woman—paid or not.
“I know your first name is Ty. What’s your last?”
Those pretty hazel eyes bored into him with unnerving focus. She would have made a fine interrogator. “Benton.”
“Is Ty short for Tyson? Tyler?” That smile again. “Or maybe you were named after the corrupt Roman emperor, Tiberius?”
That surprised him. Not many people knew about Roman emperors. She was smart, no doubt about it. He would have admired her for it if she hadn’t been so nosy. “Tyree. It’s the name of the island in Scotland where my mother was born.”
“Do you have brothers and sisters?”
“One brother. He died in the war.”
“They’re dead, too. Does it seem hot in here to you?”
Luckily their food came and the grilling stopped for a while. By the time they pushed their plates aside, he’d come up with a question of his own. “Why did you decide to become a bookkeeper?”
“I like working with numbers. How do you think Hayes is doing?”
He was starting to sweat. “Doing about what?”
She laughed in genuine amusement, although Ty had no idea what was so funny. Dropping her napkin beside her plate, she picked up her drawstring bag. “I see my questions have made you uncomfortable, Ranger Benton. I’m glad for it. Perhaps you’ll remember this wretched evening the next time you give a woman false apologies and ask her to dinner when you obviously don’t want her to accept.”
He blinked in astonishment. She’d played him, and so thoroughly he wondered if there were puppet strings coming out of his back. “You thought it was wretched?”
She had him there. “My apology was sincere. Both of them.”
Rising, she smiled down at him. A real smile that bought a sparkle to eyes that nearly matched her dress, and a flush to her pretty face.
Remembering his manners, he stood, too.
“Then I appreciate the apologies, Ranger Benton. Both of them. And the meal . . . if not the company. I’ll tell Juno you did your duty. No need to walk me back. Good evening and safe travels.”
Damn. Ty watched her walk away, so bemused he didn’t realize he stood there grinning like a fool until the waitress gave him an odd look.