They are the women of Primrose Creek, and their strength and passion is a match for the Nevada frontier they call home. Linda Lael Miller masterfully captures the hardships and dangers of a country swept by the winds of war -- and the daring and determination, the hopes and dreams of four unforgettable women -- in a thrilling new series.
An elegant jewel from an English finishing school, Christy McQuarry was bound to turn heads when she and her younger sister, Megan, came to settle in Primrose Creek. Town marshall Zachary Shaw knows that Christy sees what few men in the rugged pioneer town can provide: a secure future and a comfortable home. But he is not immune to Christy's charms....
A wild attraction sparks between the lady and the marshal, but Christy -- left penniless after her mother's death -- cannot afford the distraction of such an unpredictable and reckless passion. Promising her hand to the local lumber baron, lovely Christy stubbornly tries to ignore the lawman who makes her heart pound wildly at every glance. But Zachary Shaw is just as determined -- to win her love for a lifetime.
"There it is," the marshal said, with obvious relief, doffing his hat to indicate a meandering stream, winking with silvery patches of sunlight as it flowed across the valley tucked amid the peaks of the High Sierras. Trees bristled on all sides, ponderosa pine and Douglas fir mostly, so dense that they appeared more blue than green, though there were splashes of aspen and maple, oak and cottonwood here and there. "That's Primrose Creek. The town's over yonder, about two miles southwest of here."
Christy stood in her stirrups and drew in a sharp breath. The air was soft with the promise of a warm summer, and the view was so spectacular that it made her heart catch and brought the sting of tears to her eyes.
Megan, riding beside her, drew in a breath and then exclaimed, "It's Beulah Land!" She pointed eagerly. "And look -- that must be Bridget and Skye's house, there by the bend in the stream. Oh, Christy, isn't it grand?"
Some of Christy's own delight in their arrival faded. She and Megan had passed the war years in Great Britain, at the insistence of their mother, Jenny Davis McQuarry, who had kicked up considerable dust back in Virginia by leaving her drunken rounder of a husband, Eli, and running off with a titled Englishman. Jenny's new love, a relatively minor baron as it turned out, and not an earl as he had led her to believe, was nonetheless the master of Fieldcrest, a small estate in the heart of Devon. He had promptly sent both his bride's daughters off to St. Martha's, a boarding school outside London -- over Jenny's anemic protests -- and had never made a secret of the fact that he would have preferred to leave them behind with their ruffian relatives in the first place. When Jenny had died suddenly of a fever in the winter of 1866, he'd been quick to pack them off to America.
Christy would have been overjoyed to return, except that by then they had almost no family left; their father and Uncle J.R. had both been killed in the War between the States, and their passage had been booked when word of their beloved grandfather's death reached them in the form of a terse letter from Gideon McQuarry's lawyers. Already grief-stricken at her mother's passing, and now Gideon's, Christy had been in a private panic. She'd succeeded in putting on a brave front, for Megan's sake, and had impetuously written her cousin Bridget, an act she would soon regret, offering to sell their half of the inheritance, hers and Megan's, as outlined in the copy of Gideon McQuarry's will. There had not been enough time for a response from Bridget before their ship sailed, and, besides, she did not have the right to dispose of Megan's share of the bequest in the same way as her own. With only their clothes -- including ugly school uniforms and a few ball gowns garnered from their mother's wardrobe -- a set of china that had belonged to their grandmother Rebecca, and the few modest jewels Jenny had managed to acquire during her two tempestuous marriages, they crossed the sea and arrived in Virginia to find strangers living in the house they had loved. Granddaddy was buried in the family plot, alongside the beautiful wife who had died in a riding accident when the girls were small. Uncle J.R. rested beside his father, his grave marked with an impressive granite stone declaring him a Union hero. Christy and Megan's father, Eli, lay next to Rebecca, but a little apart from the others, or so it seemed to Christy. He had fought bravely, his wooden marker claimed, under the direct command of General Robert E. Lee.
There had been no reason to stay in Virginia, with everything and everyone they loved gone.
"Ma'am?" the marshal prompted, bringing...