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Linda Lael Miller

McKettricks of Texas

Linda Lael Miller Mckettricks Of Texas Austin
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Series:

McKettricks of Texas

Excerpt from book:

Blue River, Texas
November


The evil brides were gaining on her, closing the gap.

Paige Remington ran blindly down a dark country road, legs pumping, lungs burning, her heart flailing in her throat. Slender tree branches plucked at her from either side with nimble, spidery fingers, slowing her down, and the ground turned soft under her feet.

She pitched forward onto her hands and knees. Felt pebbles dig into her palms.

Behind her, the brides screeched and cackled in delighted triumph.

"This is only a dream," Paige told herself. "Wake up."

Still, sleep did not release her.

Flurries of silk and lace, glittering with tiny rhinestones and lustrous with the glow of seed pearls, swirled around her. She felt surrounded, almost smothered.

Suddenly furious, the dream-Paige surged to her feet.

If the monsters wanted a fight, then by God, she'd give it to them.

Confronting her pursuers now, staring directly at them, Paige recognized the brides. They were—and at the same time, in that curious way of dreams, were not— her sisters, Libby and Julie.

Wedding veils hid their faces, but she knew them anyway. Libby wore a luscious vintage gown of shimmering ivory, while Julie's dress was ultramodern, a little something she'd picked up on a recent romantic getaway to Paris.

"We just want you to try on your bridesmaid's dress," the pair said in creepy unison. "That's all."

"No," Paige said. "I'm not trying on the damn dress. Leave me alone."

They advanced on her. Garment bags had materialized in their arms.

"But you're our only bridesmaid," the two chorused.

"No!" Paige repeated, trying to retreat but stuck fast.

It was then that a voice penetrated the thick surface of the dream. "Hey," the voice said, low and male and disturbingly familiar. "You okay?"

She felt a hand on her shoulder and woke up with a jolt.

And a faceful of Austin McKettrick.

"It just keeps getting worse," she marveled, gripping the arms of the poolside chair where she'd fallen asleep after a solitary lunch in the ranch-house kitchen.

Austin laughed, drew up a chair himself and eased into it with the care of a man much older than his twenty-eight years. His beard was coming in, buttery-brown, and his hair looked a little shaggy.

It ought to require a license, being that good-looking.

"Gee," he drawled. "Thanks."

It galled Paige that after all this time, he could still make her heart flutter. "What are you doing here?" she demanded.

Austin settled back, popping the top on a beer can, letting her know he meant to take his sweet time answering. A scruffy-looking dog meandered in and settled at his booted feet with a little huff of contented resignation.

"I reckon if anybody's going to demand explanations around here," Austin said at long last, "it ought to be me. I live here, Paige."

She'd set herself up for that one. Even seen it coming. And she'd been unable to get out of the way.

Paige drew a deep breath, released it slowly. "I've been staying in the guest suite for a couple of days," she said after a few moments. "The lease was up on my apartment and the renovations on our old house aren't quite finished, so—"

Austin's eyes were a lethal shade of blue—"heirloom" blue, as Paige thought of it, a mixture of new denim and summer sky and every hue in between. According to local legend, the McKettricks had been passing that eye color down for generations.

He studied her for a long time before speaking a"Miller's third Stone Creek novel gets as hot as the noontime desert. Miller's portrayal of Sarah as a strong, independent woman sets this novel apart from customary tales of the damsel in distress and the rescuing hero...Well-developed, personable characters and a handful of loose ends will leave readers anticipating future installments." --Publishers Weekly on The Rustler


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