Sherry Robb Literary Prop | Other books by Sherry Robb Literary Prop
Published By: HarperCollins e-books
Published: Oct 06, 2009
ISBN # 9780380755615
Available in: Secure Adobe Epub eBook
Leaving behind the sheltered life of a French convent, Miranda journeyed to the New World and an arraged marriage to a prosperous Texan rancher. Arriving in America, the innocent European met her fiance's freind Derek Bragg, a rough-hewn Texas Ranger, whose harsh manner and candid comments about her beauty enraged the shy miss. Although Bragg fought to deny his feelings for his charge, he knew that he was falling in love with her. Miranda, too, was struggling with her desire for her escort as they trekked across the treacherous wilderness. Drawn to the lawman--enflamed by his raw masculine virility--will Miranda sacrifice her innocence to the fire blazing out of control in her heart?
Miranda was afraid.
They had stayed in Natchez four days, waiting for her fiance to show up to escort her the rest of the way to his ranch just east of San Antonio. He had not appeared. Miranda was very, very glad, because all she wanted to do was to go home, to France, not England, back to the safety and security of the convent. She prayed, selfishly she knew, that the man her father had betrothed her to had changed his mind.
Miranda was as frightened of marrying this stranger, who had to be a barbarian-he was a Texan, was he not? -- as she was of the country she was going to. It was a land she knew of only vaguely from her studies, but upon her father's startling disclosure, she had made a point of learning all she could about it. Mon Dieu! Her father was banishing her to a wilderness of savage Indians, wild animals, and barbaric men! How could he do this to her!
The shock had come so suddenly. One day Miranda was content-although maybe a bit restless -- performing her duties at the convent, and the next she was being sent home, upon her father's request, with no explanation. She had been reluctant to leave, dreading the thought of seeing her father again, although she had been excited at the prospect of seeing her mother. Angeline had come to visit her several times over the past decade. She had seemed quite different, with a glow on her face, her eyes bright and sparkling. Miranda didn't understand it. She didn't understand, either, her mother's sadness when she'd asked Miranda if she wanted to return home and Miranda had replied that she preferred to remain at the convent.
Angeline couldn't have guessed that Miranda would have chosen anything to avoid going home-her childhood memories were vivid and insurmountable. Home was a place of terror. The convent was a haven of comfort, security, and affection. She was loved there, even if she was occasionally the despair of the mother superior, who thought her too curious in some ways for her own good.
There had been nothing but shocks, one after the other. Her father in his study, looking exactly the way he had the last time she had seen him, ten years ago. He was huge and animallike, his face was covered with unkempt growth, and his eyes were red, very red, as if he had been weeping.
"Papa," Miranda said, curtsying formally. She held in check her fear of this monster -- she would never forget what he was. "Is Maman here?"
Her father rose unsteadily. "No. No. I am sorry." His voice was hoarse, barely audible. "She's left me, Miranda. Left . . . "
Miranda started, thinking that her mother had run away again, finally, after all these years.
"She's dead," Edward cried in anguish, "She died in childbirth -- and God, I killed her! I killed her!" He reached out suddenly and drew her into his embrace. "Your mother is gone!"
Miranda couldn't believe it-no, not Maman! Not beautiful, gentle Maman! "No!" she screamed, twisting away. "No!"
:'I'm sorry! Miranda, God -- "
'You killed her!" she cried in uncharacteristic rage. She had never felt such rage; in fact, anger of any kind was a totally unfamiliar emotion to her. "I hate you! You killed her! Oh, Maman!" Without waiting for permission, Miranda fled from his study.
Her father didn't speak to her for a week. Miranda lived in a state of extreme fear. How could she have talked to her Papa like that? He would surely beat her, maybe even whip her-and it was no more than she deserved. She had been rapped on the knuckles a few times by the nuns, when she had been too wordly or too mischievous. And then there was that one time, when she was so young, when her father had struck her....