Her Honor-Bound Cowboy

Her Honor-Bound Cowboy
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Fast Fiction Historical - short romantic stories to take you back in timeCowboy Josh Baxter hadn't bargained for a feisty widow and her newborn baby when he came home to take over his family ranch. After all, he hadn't even known his brother had married. Bound by duty to care for mother and child, Josh has only one solution—marriage.Emily will do anything to hold on to her share of the ranch she loves—except agree to a proposal of convenience. But she can't deny the tender feelings that overcome her when she sees Josh holding her tiny daughter. And she isn't sure she can hold out against the handsome cowboy for long!


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Her Honour-Bound Cowboy

Linda Ford




Title Page

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty



Chapter One

Josh’s heart thundered in his ears as he stared at the rifle aimed at him. A rifle held by a woman with fierce, blue eyes that pierced him with a don’t-mess-with-me look. A growling dog the size of a wolf stood at her side.

Josh had followed his brother’s directions carefully. This had to be his brother’s home. His too, seeing as they were partners. “Where’s Cody?”

The rifle lowered.

“Who are you?” the woman asked.

Did he imagine the tremor in her voice? Could be she was as frightened as he’d been. “Joshua Baxter. And you?”

“Emily Baxter.”

The name jarred through him.

“Cody was my husband,” she added with a hint of challenge.

“Was?” He didn’t care for the sound of that word.

She nodded. “He died six months ago.”

Silence hung heavy between them as he tried to digest this news. “You might have let me know.”

She shrugged. “Didn’t think I’d ever see you.”

That hurt. “I always meant to come. Cody knew that.” Cody had taken their combined savings and gone to find the land that would become their ranch while Josh had remained behind to continue mining their gold claim until he had enough to buy them a herd of cows.

“A year seems like a long time.”

“We’ve been in touch. But he never mentioned you. Seems mighty strange.” He squinted at her. Was she trying to con him? Well, she’d picked the wrong man to trick. He’d seen most every kind of scam while at the gold camp.

“Lady, I don’t know who you are. Or where my brother is. But I ain’t about to believe he’s married to you. Now maybe you should pack your belongings and move on. Try your shenanigans on someone else.”

A thin wail broke the stunned silence.

She picked a baby from a cradle by the fireplace.

A baby! Was it Cody’s or had she married another man and allowed him to take over the ranch?


Emily cradled baby Cathy close. She’d hoped Cody’s brother would never come and demand his share of the ranch. Would he kick her off the place? She’d fight to keep her share. But if he wanted proof of her marriage, she could provide it.

“My baby needs feeding.” She wouldn’t look at the man until her heart stopped racing and she sorted out how she was to deal with him.

“Fine. I’ll wait. I don’t intend to go anywhere until I get to the bottom of this. Do you mind calling your dog off?”

“Brute. Sit.” Cody had never let the dog indoors but after his death, she’d kept him close. He made her feel safe.

Thirteen-year-old Nancy came in with the eggs. She saw a man in the house and ground to a halt.

“Nancy, this is Josh.” Nancy’s family were neighbors. Her ma had helped deliver the baby a week ago then left Nancy with Emily to help.

Emily left the two staring at each other, Brute watching them and took baby Cathy to the bedroom to nurse her.

“Oh, baby. What are we going to do?”

Chapter Two

Emily fed the baby. It was a job that couldn’t be rushed. Then she clutched her little daughter to her shoulder and left the bedroom with her marriage certificate firmly in hand.

Mr. Joshua Baxter perched on the edge of the horsehair couch. She stuck the paper in his face. “Here’s your proof.”

He studied it at length then stared at her.

His hat balanced on his knee. His hair was the same brown as Cody’s had been, only thick and wavy. The dark brown eyes regarding her could have been Cody’s. No doubting this was the long-absent brother whom she’d prayed would never come claiming his rightful share of the place.

“I don’t understand.” He shook his head.

Poor man. He had a lot to take in. The shock of losing his brother, the surprise of discovering he had a widowed sister-in-law and a week old niece.

She could feel sorry about the first. “My condolences on the loss of your brother.” She really should have let him know but every time she picked up a piece of paper to write to him she changed her mind. If he didn’t know, he’d have no incentive to come.

“What happened?”

She sank to the rocking chair across from him, still holding baby Cathy. The baby nuzzled Emily’s neck providing comfort and strength as she faced her memories. Never had she expected her marriage to end so abruptly, and within months of saying ‘I do.’

“They found him in a coulee. His neck was broke. The Mountie said his horse had stepped in a hole and thrown him.” Her voice seemed to come from far away. “They said he died instantly.” She shuddered and forced herself to look at Josh.

He stared at her, his eyes full of shock and horror. “Who found him?”

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