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The Outlaw: Montana Men, Book 3

By: Vanessa Vale
Published By: Blushing Press
Copyright: �2015 by Blushing Books� and Vanessa Vale
14 Chapters / 37,688 Words
Heat Level:
4.5 Out Of 5 (4.5 on 10)   |  Write a review
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Caroline Turner hopes the decision to become a mail order bride will offer her the freedom she's longed for her entire miserable life. Being abused by her father, she chose the Montana Territory and Mr. Horace Meecham as an escape. Could this man give her the life she'd only dreamed of and make her forget her past?

Finn Masters learns of Horace Meecham, Jr.'s plan to marry his dead father's bride. Finn will have nothing of it. He must save the woman from a cruel marriage, a cruel and ruthless man. The only way to prevent it is to kidnap her from the stage prior to her arrival in town. When he does save her, he falls victim to her beauty and wants her for his own, his possessiveness instantaneous. How can he prove to her she is the woman for him when secrets from her past come between them? How can their love endure when revenge could destroy it all?

Chapter One

Caroline

The little snooze I’d taken between August Point and Lewistown had been an act. Everything for me was an act. So much so that I was afraid I was losing myself. Perhaps I'd already done so, accepting a marriage of convenience as I had. The journey from Minneapolis to the Montana Territory had been interminable, rocking to and fro on a train, then cramped in a stage with two other women who were as nervous, and wary about their fates, as I. Eleanor and Emily, who were also mail order brides, had met their husbands at the appropriate stops, leaving me alone with my thoughts as I journeyed to my final destination. Apex. At long last.

I'd never had close friends; my miserable family life had not condoned, nor made those types of alliances, amenable. A friend from school would stop by to visit, but only stay as long as my father was not present. Once he did make his presence known, she would scurry away to her own safe home like a mouse at the lighting of a lantern. One look at the gleam in his eye, the harsh tone of his voice and they knew his true nature. Evil. And so I grew up mostly alone. No confidants, no bosom buddy with whom to laugh and share nonsensical items such as hair ribbons. Because of the man's perfidy, I had accustomed myself to a miserable, solitary lifestyle. Making the journey west with two others was quite an adjustment.

Not that either Eleanor or Emily were unkind. The opposite, in fact. They were women with whom I felt a kindred spirit - vivacious, lively, light of heart. We were, though, only short-term friends as we were married to men in three different towns, mere dots on the vast landscape of the Montana Territory. I held no hopes of seeing them again, even though we'd vowed to keep in touch, and once alone in the stage I felt the comfort and familiarity of solitude. Solitude was safe. Even now, hundreds of miles from Minneapolis, even knowing my father could not come back from the dead to hurt me further, I remained fearful that I would never stop being wary. Afraid.

The stage was stifling, the air thick with dust, the heat heavy like a winter blanket. I folded back a leather flap, allowing the cool breeze to enter, although the only exposed skin on my body to enjoy it were on my face and my hands. Even the pale blue dress's collar was confining. I longed to undo the tiny buttons at my throat, but this would be unseemly. Appearances were all that mattered. I couldn't let anyone guess as to the real me. The real Caroline. If they discovered where I came from, what I'd done, well...I couldn't consider it.

No one had to know that my mild, pleasant demeanor was all a facade. A facade so well constructed that at times I forgot I wasn't the meek, mild waif I appeared. I couldn't change that I was a waif. Petite and thin, I could be taken for a boy, although my bosom could not be disguised. Emily always commented on how perfect I always looked, with my hair neatly styled, my clothes crisp and fresh. Little did she know it was out of habit - a habit that had saved me from a beating often enough. It was from a sense of self-preservation that I remained so...perfect.

The stage hit a rut in the supposed path and it rocked me into the side of the stage, bumping my shoulder into the wooden wall. Bruises would cover me from bottom to back before my journey was complete. I closed my eyes and breathed through my nose and counted to ten. I could do this. I would survive. I would get by, without Eleanor or Emily, with a husband that was a complete stranger. In a land so foreign from the likes of Minneapolis, it could have been France or Timbuktu.

Quick glimpses of the other ladies' husbands when the stage had stopped had me hopeful that mine would be as appealing. Eleanor's was August Point's sheriff, standing tall with a bearing as dominant as his profession. Emily's man was strong and solid, with a brooding demeanor, yet seemed quite pleased at the sight of her.

Horace Meecham. My husband. Would Horace be as appealing to every feminine sense as the other men Mrs. Bidwell had chosen? The madam who'd arranged and facilitated the marriages could be a lifesaver, or a prison warden, sending me to a lifetime sentence of...I wouldn't think about that.

Glancing out the opening, vast green prairie was all I could see. The grass waved with the breeze, looking like a soft carpet, especially with the warm sun shining upon it. The expanse was inviting to my confined spirit. I longed to roam free, with nothing or no one binding me to their dictates. I'd spent all of my nineteen years beneath the cruel thumb of my father, before being thrust into three weeks of travel with two companions. I'd soon be shackled to a man for the rest of my life. Would there be any time when I was truly free?

A loud crack startled me from my thoughts and it was a moment before I realized what had made the sound. A gun had been fired! The stage lurched sharply to the left and I teetered on the edge of the seat. Had the driver been shot? As the stage slowed, I jolted forward, falling onto the floor, my knees smarting at the hard contact. I heard the driver yell to the horses to slow. I braced my hands on the bench seat in front of me, careful not to bump my head as the stage staggered and shuddered to a stop. Even with the animals halted in their tracks, their snorts and harsh breathing were loud. My heart raced as I glanced out the window, but from my position on the floor, I could only see the blue, cloudless sky.

"What the hell are you shooting at me for, Masters?" Mr. McCallister, the stage driver, yelled, all riled and angry, although that seemed the way of him all the time. The men must be acquaintances if he knew the shooter, which offered me a brief moment of comfort. Then I realized he wouldn't have shot at the stage without a valid reason. McCallister knew an outlaw by name?

"I want what's in the stage." The man's voice was deep, clear. And nearby.

I was in the stage. Quickly, I dropped down to ensure my entire person was beneath the edge of the window, my pale hair a beacon in the sunshine. Darting a glance around the small area, I searched for a place to hide. It was a silly venture; the space was Spartan and offered no escape except through the doors on either side.

"There's nothing of value. No bank box. Nothing." Silence. Then, "Why in tarnation are you taking to robbing the stage? Have you lost your mind? Your spread not keeping you busy enough? Isn't it best to keep your identity a secret, or are you planning on shooting me dead?"

I gulped down the panic that lodged in my throat. Would he shoot us?

"McCallister, quit your yapping," the man replied. "The woman. I want the woman."

My eyes widened in surprise. Oh God. He wanted me. The outlaw wanted me. I'd heard stories of stages being robbed with deadly results. But those had just been stories. This was real life.

"She's destined for Apex and Meecham," Mr. McCallister countered.

"Not anymore."

The man didn't elaborate, as if that was the final say in their conversation.

The voices came from the door at my right, so slowly and carefully, I opened the door on the left, hoping to slip out.

"Did you think to hide in plain sight? There's nothing but prairie all around." The deep voice now spoke to me. Without my hearing, the man had opened the door and witnessed my attempted retreat. If I'd been paying any attention at all, if I hadn't been so panicked, I would have noticed the air was cooler, fresher even. The gloomy space was brighter with the sunshine pouring in the open doorway around the man's figure.

I sucked in lungsful of air, closed my eyes, and started my count that always helped to instill calm.

"Well?" the outlaw asked, disturbing my efforts.

Turning tentatively, I met the man's gaze. Or at least I tried to, but he was just a black silhouette against the brightness. Standing as he was, the stage only showed him from hips up. I could tell he was tall, broad shouldered, solid, and wore a wide-brimmed hat, but that was all.

"Why...." I cleared my throat, squinting from the bright sunshine behind him. "Why do you want me?" My voice surprisingly steady considering the situation. "I'm of no importance."

"Why not?"

"You don't know me." I shook my head slowly.

"You don't know Horace Meecham either," he replied. "Come."

He held out his hand to me, patient. A patient outlaw?

I just stared at it, as if it were a snake with venomous fangs.

He sighed. Loudly. Before I had a chance to retreat, he reached in and grabbed me about the waist, lifting me from the floor and out into the bright sunshine as if I weighed less than a bag of feathers.

"Oh!" I gasped at the surprising move. Squinting once again, I shielded my eyes from the sun and tried to pull away. His hands were large and easily spanned my waist. There was no question he could restrain me readily enough, but he let me go. The warmth of his hands on my skin, even through my dress, had raised goose flesh.

I bolted, in which direction I did not know.

"There's nowhere for you to go," he called out. "You can't hide. I will catch you."

His words halted me in my tracks. He was right. He had a horse and he was a man, and a good head taller. I couldn't outrun him. Unless I was to hide in a prairie dog hole, I could be spotted for miles.

Breathing hard from the brief burst of energy, I stopped, turned around. Looked at the man for the first time.

My breath caught again, yet for a different reason entirely. This man...oh, this man was handsome. Not in the way I was used to - slick and pale, with crisp clothes and standoffish manners. This man had red hair. No. That wasn't the right word. Russet. Auburn. I could see the sun glinting off of it beneath his hat, which meant it was on the long side. His eyes were a striking green, his nose long, mouth full. It was the strong jaw, with a dusting of red whiskers, that was the first hint to his strength. That, and how his blue shirt fit his strong body. It set snugly across his shoulders, and contoured his narrow waist. He was like Hercules, the Greek god I read about in books. Michelangelo's David, perfectly proportioned and a veritable treat for the eyes.

"Like what you see?" he asked, a devilish smirk upturning the corner of his lips.

My mouth fell open at his smugness. Heat flushed my skin, and not from the sun. My nipples tightened beneath the confines of my corset. My body was reacting of its own accord, completely at odds with my brain. The man was bad and I felt every womanly sign of attraction. My hands tightened into fists, not only angry with this man, but with my body's traitorous reaction as well.

"Drive on, McCallister."

"Masters, I can't rightly do this."

The outlaw, Mr. Masters, lifted the gun he held and pointed it at the driver.

Holding his hands up in surrender, the driver capitulated. "All right. All right." The man picked up the reins and flicked them, shouting to the animals to begin their journey once more.

"Wait!" I shouted, raising my arm and calling out to Mr. McCallister to stop. "Wait!"

Of course, he didn't. Once the dust settled, and the sound of the stage becoming more and more muted by the second, I considered my fate. I was stuck out on the open prairie alone with a man - an outlaw with a gun. A handsome man who made me want for the first time. Would those red whiskers feel silky or scratch my tender skin? Would those full lips be soft or demanding when kissing me?

Wait. This was not something to consider now. "You kidnapped me!" I shouted, staying on topic.

He didn't look the least bit sheepish at my words. "It wasn't all that difficult."

I arched a brow. "Have you done this enough to have comparison?"

A smile split his face. Straight white teeth gleamed in the sunlight and he looked, if possible, even more handsome. I was in trouble here, in more ways than one. "This is my first kidnapping. We must be off. Come."

He walked to his horse where it stood contentedly nibbling grass, and picked up the reins that dangled down to the ground.

"I'm not going anywhere with you!" Mrs. Bidwell had matched me with Horace Meecham!

"You can't stay here. You have no food, no water, no bonnet to shield your fair skin from the sun." His gaze raked over my face. "There is no shelter for when it gets dark. It will become chilly. Then there are the animals."

I wasn't keen on any of his valid points.

I placed my hands on my hips. "I will wait for the next stage."

"You'll be waiting a long stretch." He looked to the left, then right down the path the stage took across the prairie. He walked over to stand before me. "I'd say, two maybe three days."

"Horace Meecham is my husband. It has all been arranged! I'm just supposed to ride off with you? That's not much of a kidnapping."

I'd insulted him. I realized my mistake as soon as I spoke the words, my eyes widening in surprise. Fear. I knew never to rile a man, to make him feel devalued or bested by a woman.

He stepped closer still and I flinched, expecting the worst. A bitter taste filled my mouth and I held my breath and waited for the first physical blow, the first volley of harsh words. I didn't cower, for my father always took it as a sign to hit harder.

I watched him closely. He, in turn, watched me, his eyes raking over my face, down my body and back up. His strong jaw clenched tight, his eyes narrowed, but he did not lift a hand.

"Kidnapping does not mean beating." His voice had a dark, menacing tone that had me shivering, even in the bright sunlight. "I will never strike you. Ever. As for Meecham, he would've."

It didn't matter if he spoke the words I'd hoped him to say. He'd kidnapped me and I had to get away. Even if he'd said there was no escape, I had to try. So I took a slow deep breath and then dashed off once again, like a horse prodded by spurs. With one hand, I held up my dress and sprinted, my little legs moving as fast as they would go, my free arm pumping hard as if my life depended on it.

It did.

He was angry, the hard look on his face familiar to me. He was dangerous enough to kidnap me; I could only imagine what else he might do. There was no question he lied about never striking me. His words were false. What man told the truth? What man didn't beat the women in his family?

It was to no avail. My short legs were no competition for his long ones, my body not strong enough for the endurance required to escape him. He easily caught up to me and grabbed me about the waist, spun me around and tossed me over his shoulder as if I were a sack of grain.

"Put me down!" I shouted, panting heavily. "Where are you taking me? Don't hurt me!" My muscles burned from the exertion, long tendrils of hair escaped the pins and hung down in my face.

As he walked back to his horse, I kicked my legs out, which he quickly staunched by wrapping an arm snuggly around my thighs. I switched tactics to pummel his back, but if it bothered him, he did not show it. I couldn't just let him take me away. No one would find me again. If my only hope was Mr. McCallister, I was surely doomed.

"Will you sit upright or do you wish to be across my lap?"

"Put me down!" I repeated.

He lifted one foot into the stirrup and mounted his horse, swinging his leg over and sitting in his saddle without any effort to keep me in place. Moving me as if I were a child, he lowered me across his lap so my feet dangled off the horse on one side, my arms and head on the other. As the horse began its slow gait, I felt the solid muscle of his thighs bunch and flex beneath my belly. Breath was hard to find.

"You can't leave me like this!" I sounded like a veritable shrew, but really, this was intolerable.

A quick, strong swat to my bottom had me stiffening. "Stop talking," he said, his voice stern.

"You struck me!" I stiffened, then slumped down, knowing he had all the power. "You said you wouldn't strike me." The heat, the anger left my words. It did no good to rile an outlaw and I'd surely done that. My tactic for escape had been wrong. I'd been hasty in my thinking.

"This," his palm came in strong contact with my covered bottom. "This is a spanking. You are acting irrationally and I needed to get your attention, to discipline you for your ridiculous behavior."

The horse's brown shoulder quivered, the scent of animal strong. I gripped the man's lower leg to steady myself, although I knew the man wouldn't drop me. Blood pooled in my head.

"Would you rather ride like this or sit upon my lap? Those are your choices. Your only choices."

JANE A on 07/16/2015 06:04pm
Another installment in the Montana Men series with a hot male hero. The heroine is also interesting and has her own story. Again there is plenty of explicit hot sex. The plot was a little simplistic.
anon on 06/01/2015 07:23pm
I have enjoyed this series and this story only adds to it. I understood Mrs. Bidwell’s reasoning in this one, but was glad that Finn stepped in to make a better situation. Finn enjoyed his marriage so much it was giggling fun to share. This is not a detailed, engrossing story, but a fun, happy one.
Marybeth on 05/21/2015 07:31pm
This is the third book in the series of Montana Men. Caroline is the last bride on the stagecoach that was sent by Mrs. Bidwell in Minneapolis. Finn Masters is not the man that she was sent to marry, but her husband had already died. Rather than letting Caroline be married by the son, he marries her. Of course, he, like the other grooms has some definite ideas of how his wife is going to serve him sexually. There is anal sex, nipple clamps and other interesting items to enjoy with Caroline. There is a small mystery, but the majority of this book is how Caroline is turned into a sexy, obedient wife by Finn. I give this story 4 stars.
K.B. on 05/09/2015 08:22pm
It took a brave or desperate woman to become a mail-order bride for an unknown man in Montana. Caroline was both, and she has good reason to keep her secrets to herself. Being kidnapped by Finn was the best thing that ever happened to Caroline; he saved her from certain unhappiness with Horace Meecham, Jr. Finn is a possessive man with a penchant for creative anal and nipple play.
ScarlettPhoenix on 05/03/2015 09:17am
Vanessa Vale has created another great story which keeps the reader's attention and is packed with steamy hot scenes. Caroline feels guilty over her previous actions and keeps vital information from Finn, her kidnapper. The story is told from both perspectives. I'm not usually a fan of this style of writing but it works well here. A wonderful third installment to the Montana Men series.
madpuss on 04/29/2015 02:47am
As soon as Finn and Caroline meet they are instantly attracted to each other. The atmosphere was electric. Finn is very possessive and wants her for his own. A roller coaster ride begins for them with many ups and downs, twists and turns and we are taken with them on this ride. I like that it swaps between both Caroline and Finn's point of view. Their conversation and thoughts at times were amusing. Well-written, highly entertaining, easy to read and kept my attention all the way through.
Redrabbitt on 04/26/2015 07:53pm
Caroline Tuner is the third of the mail order brides married by proxy from Minneapolis through Mrs. Bidwell, to a man, Horace Meecham, in the Montana Territory. The other two mail order brides have already met their husbands at previous stops. Something Caroline does not know is that Meecham is an older man, three times her age and cruel, but fate steps in, several times over. Finn Masters is a not willing to let Caroline become a pawn in the hands of Meecham, Senior or Junior. Is Finn an outlaw or a knight? Will Caroline's secrets continue to haunt her or will she become free to live and love. This story has its twist and turns, mystery and suspense with entertaining characters, witty dialogue, steamy hot sex and some spankings too.
noangel on 04/26/2015 01:45pm
This story is well written with lots of action and hot scenes The story will have you blushing at times and keep you turning the pages This is a action packed must read
SL on 04/25/2015 02:24pm
3 ½ -4 stars This was an interesting erotic read about mail order brides. Carolyn is the woman who traveled from Ohio to meet her new husband. She is kidnapped from the stage just outside of town by Finn. It is an interesting story of Finn trying to save Carolyn from her arranged marriage before hearing all the the facts. Finn has an instant love/lust reaction to seeing Carolyn. Carolyn has the same. There are mostly graphic sexual scenes, as well as anal play and nipple clamps.The book is mostly erotica with a smattering of a good story. There are spanking scenes with hand mostly. There is a happy ending.
SH on 04/25/2015 01:49pm
What a fantastic addition to this series! I loved everything about it! There is a strong detailed plot with memorable characters that will draw you in from page one. My heart hurt for Caroline but boy, did she get lucky with Finn Masters. Their journey has some twists and turns, danger, romance, and love. Don't miss this!

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