Zanna's Outlaw -- Julie Lence


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Hot Western Nights

Amy Jansen is known for her high-brow ways and her infatuation with Creel Weston. Truth be told she loves Ryan Jansen and realizes her dream of becoming Ryan’s wife after Creel moves away. But words misspoken during an argument cause a rift between her and Ryan that she’s hard-pressed to mend. Apologies fall on deaf ears, and when Creel returns, even jealousy doesn’t provoke a response from Ryan. She’s finally deduced the best way to prove her love and loyalty to him, only he sends her away, vowing he doesn’t love her.

Though he loves his wife, Ryan Jansen has come to realize he never should’ve married her. Amy has loved Creel Weston since childhood and there’s nothing he can say or do to change that. To keep his sanity, it’s best he and Amy divorce, until a preacher shows up on his doorstep with a startling truth—Amy does love him. But he sent her away, and now he must find her and convince her they’re meant for each other, that this really is A Summer to Remember.  



Ryan rubbed a hand over his jaw and stared blindly at the land passing by the window, recalled every smile Amy bestowed on him, every sweet kiss. Hours later, heart still hammering, the train chugged into another station. His mouth dry, he peered out the window across the aisle for a water barrel and froze. A green dress, holding a carpetbag as she approached the train; he slouched down and tugged his hat low.

Footsteps of passengers boarding reached his ears. The conductor shouted. The whistle blew, and the train inched forward. Ryan waited a long spell before pushing his hat back and stepping into the aisle, his gaze honing in on a blonde braid. She sat in the middle of the car staring out the window. Striding forward, he wondered what she thought, struggled for words and heard himself say, “Mrs. Jansen, a woman as pretty as you shouldn’t travel alone.”

Amy gasped, and jerked her attention his direction. Her surprise over seeing him was expected. So was her unease, but past those emotions, he detected favor―for him—and caught himself before he tumbled face-first into her lap.

“What are you doing here?”

“We need to talk.” He stretched his hand toward her and caressed the curve of her cheek, savored the softness of her skin.

“Why? You made your feelings for me perfectly clear. What more is there to talk about?”

“Plenty,” he thumped, lowering his hand to her elbow. “Join me at the back seat. Please?”

“I don’t think that’s wise.”

He chuckled. “Not many things about us have been wise. That’s about to change.” He tugged her to her feet, lifted her carpetbag. “C’mon.”