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Love On The Run

After botching his request for Elizabeth Beaudreax's hand in marriage, Andrew Leroux learns his worst fear has been realized. Beau Manning has escaped and promises to kill everyone involved with his unfortunate incarceration. To make matters worse, Elizabeth is his main target. And of course she refuses to believe Andrew. Elizabeth believes he never really loved her. So Andrew does the only thing he can think of. Kidnap her. Now he must keep her from escaping him, protect her from Beau and prove his love is real.

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release


Barbara Donlon Bradley

     Barbara Donlon Bradley has always had a vivid imagination and an odd sense of humor. She tried being normal but when she found out her name meant strange, weird or different she decided not to fight it. It didn't work anyhow. Now she lives in Virginia Beach with the most wonderful man (he didn't fight his husband training) and the sweetest son on the planet (most days anyway) and her dragons.

Reviews

"Love on the Run is a sequel to A Portrait in Time; however, I found it to be a totally stand-alone read. This was a wonderfully penned novel that brought the past to life and gave the character's breath. I found myself experiencing life through the eyes of the character. I was sad to see the story end! I intend to go back and read the first novel in the series and to watch for more reads by Barbara Donlon Bradley."

Pam Bless -- Round Table Reviews


"This novel is very fast-paced and full of suspense. I was guessing until the end who betrayed Andrew to the criminal gang he was seeking. Fans of novels set in the Old West will appreciate the historical significance of the Pinkerton agency, which is who Andrew works for. I really like the attention to detail that Bradley gave to writing this book; I felt tired and dirty after reading about the train rides and would have liked 'three fingers of bourbon' for myself! This is a very enjoyable novel which I highly recommend."

Carrye -- Romance Reader at Heart



4 flames-rare find

"I really enjoyed this entertaining tale. There is plenty of action, adventure, humor and sexual tension as Andrew and Beth are forced to share more intimacy than either can easily accept. The madcap humor helps disarm the inevitable clichÃ(c)s in the genre. The author maintains the atmosphere of the times in an authentic manner and keeps her characters true to the era as well. The supporting characters are all realistic and add variety and flavor to the story. Lovers of adventurous western romance will relish this tale. It is a sequel to Portrait in Time, but stands alone and does not have to be read after Portrait."

Alergia -- Word Museum
Excerpt


Chapter 1

Southern Louisiana, 1878

"NO!" JACQUES BEAUDREAUX'S meaty hand slammed against the table. "No daughter of mine's going to marry the likes of him."

Beth watched the table shake violently. She didn't think her father would get this angry. A quick glance at Andrew revealed his frown as he ran his hand through his blond locks. "Sir."

Jacques Beaudreaux stared at Andrew for a moment before turning his attention to his daughter again. Pointing his finger, he continued his tirade. "I knew I should never have let you become friends with that Dalton woman."

"Papa, Miss Alexandra is my friend."

Beth knew this meeting between Andrew and her father was a big mistake. Although her father's comment might seem odd to anyone else, Beth knew he wasn't really angry at Alexandra. He hated the type of work Andrew did, and for some strange reason, tied Andrew and his job together. Too bad Andrew didn't understand why her father disliked his job so much. She hadn't had a chance to explain how her father might react before Andrew confronted him. If it wasn't for her uncle….

Beth sighed.

"Some friend, letting you near a man like this."

Beth couldn't stop the blush from spreading clear up to her hairline.

She glanced at Andrew, who didn't know her uncle… or how he died. The look on her father's face told her he planned to explain it thoroughly before Andrew left their house this evening.

No. This wasn't good at all.

She stole a glance at Andrew, wondering how he would take the information, and how angry he would be with her for not telling him before this.


***

AS MUCH AS ANDREW hated it, he knew Beth's father was right. After all, he was a Pinkerton man, and not much above a criminal in the eyes of fine, upstanding folks like Jacques Beaudreaux. But he had come here to ask for Elizabeth's hand in marriage, and he wouldn't take no for an answer. His amber eyes snapped with anger as he stared at Elizabeth's father.

"Mr. Beaudreaux, your daughter and I want to get married. The only reason I'm here is because she asked me to come. If it'd been up to me, you'd have heard of the marriage after it occurred." Andrew steeled himself against Elizabeth's sharp intake of breath. This probably wasn't how she wanted him to handle her father, but his anger controlled him and he refused to back down.

"And how will you take care of her? You givin' up your outlaw ways?"

"I'm not an outlaw." Andrew didn't understand the man's anger. He had grown up in this town, yet Elizabeth's father couldn't see past his job. Why?

"You might carry a shiny badge, Mr. Leroux." Jacques sneered as if Andrew's name left a bad taste in his mouth. "But I know what you really are. You aren't worthy of my daughter."

Andrew clinched his hands so tightly he felt his nails cut into the skin in his palms. If the man said one more thing, he'd take a swing at him, future father-in-law or not.

"And what is worthy of your daughter? Being trapped in this two-bit town for the rest of her life slaving over at that general store of yours? You don't want your daughter to be happy. You just want a man who'll marry her and take over the family business."

"Out!" The shout shook the roof. "Get out of my house. Right now."

Beth grabbed Andrew's arm and tried to drag him away. Her chocolate brown eyes pleaded with him to leave before more damage could be done.

Andrew shook her off. "Your father and I aren't done."

"Yes we are, boy. My brother died because a Pinkerton man was a bad shot. The same won't happen to my daughter."


***

ANGER SIMMERED JUST below the surface as Andrew stomped up to the door to his ancestral home. He shook his head when he found it unlocked. Even though he practically begged his mother to lock her doors at night, she refused.

He found an envelope propped against his bottle of bourbon. The one place his mother was sure he would see it. He snorted. His mother knew him better than he thought.

You received a telegram while you were out.

Love you,

Momma

Then again, she knew he was going to speak to Elizabeth's father and probably guessed how the evening would go. He wondered if she knew about Mr. Beaudreaux's brother. That one had caught him off guard.

Andrew poured three fingers of bourbon into a glass and downed it.

Why hadn't Beth warned him? He thought their relationship didn't have any secrets, but she hadn't trusted him enough to tell him about her uncle.

He walked over to his desk and sat down.

He couldn't believe he'd lost control though. If Jacques hadn't said anything about his brother, they would have come to blows. "Wonder what old Jacques would've done if I'd hauled off and hit him?"

Andrew poured more bourbon into his glass and opened the telegram, consuming the fiery liquid while he read.

Beaureguard Manning has escaped Stop Return immediately Stop

His gasp caused the alcohol to slip down the wrong pipe. Coughing and choking, he tried to clear his throat. Gulping in air, he fought to regain control of his breathing. Coughs still escaped after he finally could breathe again.

Quickly he scribbled a note for his mother, explaining he had to go to New Orleans unexpectedly and would be back as soon as possible. Grabbing his coat, he dashed down the front porch steps into the humid night.

He guessed finding out why Beth hadn't told him about her uncle would have to wait until he recaptured Beau.


***

BETH SIGHED AS SHE wandered about the study. It had been three days since Andrew had confronted her father. Had her father's words frightened him away, or worse, was her father right? Was Andrew unworthy? Rumor had it he'd left town that very evening, but she had no proof.

She wished she knew the truth. But if Andrew had left, wouldn't he have gotten in touch with her somehow? Yet there had been no note, no messenger. Had her father intercepted any note and just destroyed it? Would he do that to her?

She shook her head. Too many questions with no answers.

The study door squeaking open brought her a reprieve from her tangled thoughts.

"Elizabeth? You've received a telegram," said her mother.

Her heart jumped. Maybe it was from Andrew. Although she wanted to run, Beth took her time and walked to her mother's side. Taking the telegram, she flipped it over and lifted the flap.

"It has been opened." Elizabeth cast stricken eyes at her mother.

"We felt it best to see who sent it before we gave it to you."

Her heart plummeted. Now she knew the answer to one question. If it had been from Andrew, she probably wouldn't have gotten it. Unless it said something her father wanted it to say.

Beth couldn't bring herself to pull the telegram out.

"Go ahead, dear," urged her mother.

Taking a deep breath, she pulled it from the envelope and read it quickly, then reread it when she realized it wasn't from Andrew.

"Aunt Martha wants me to visit?"

Her mother nodded. "We heard she's been very ill. I think this would be good for you. It'll give you time to think."

"Think about what, Mama? The fact Papa will never accept the man I want to marry? That I'll have to choose between my family and the man I love?"

"I don't want it to come to that." Her mother paused for a moment. "Let's walk out in the garden."

Beth followed her mother out into the rose garden.

"I thought this visit would give you and your father a chance to think about this marriage proposal without constantly confronting each other."

Beth stopped walking. She looked up at her mother in surprise. "Papa hasn't seen this telegram yet, has he?"

"No." Her mother bent to one of her flowers. "Your father means well. He fears for you, dear. Losing his brother to a stray shot during a gunfight has affected us all. Andrew's position with the Pinkerton Agency revolves around the one thing your father can't abide right now.

"I want you to be happy." Beth's mother straightened and touched her arm. "As long as you and your father are angry with each other, neither of you will see the other's side. You spending time with your aunt should help both of you realize what is really important."

Beth doubted it.

"I've spoken to Miss Rose. She's agreed to be your chaperone for the trip," her mother continued before Beth could respond.

"Rose Dalton? Papa won't agree." Beth knew her father's feelings about the Daltons. He blamed Rose's niece-in-law, Alexandra, for introducing Andrew to her.

"He will when I give him his second choice."

"Alexandra?" asked Beth.

"Yes."

"The lesser of two evils?" Beth smiled.

"But you have to convince him you want to go or this won't work."

"Yes, Mama." Maybe this was for the best. She'd always wanted to travel, one of the reasons she was first attracted to Andrew. And if she were lucky, maybe she'd get a touch of adventure, too.

"Good girl. Now, let's go talk to your father."