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Sally Sweets' Sister

In the cattle boomtown of Wichita, Kansas, prim preacher's wife, Rachel Stanton, has dedicated her life to her husband's calling, but after five years of a sterile marriage, she's grown dissatisfied. When he's murdered, she's the only suspect and must turn to her sister, a notorious madam, and flashy gambler, Sean Kelly, for help. Can two such ungodly people save her from the gallows? Grateful because she once saved his life, Sean is determined to clear Rachel of the murder charge and return her to the kind of life such a good woman deserves. But when they flee a lynch mob onto the isolated prairie, his devilish attraction to her threatens his good intentions.

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release


Sarah Winn

Sarah Winn was born in Kansas. She resided for a time in both Hawaii and California but is now firmly settled in her adopted native state of North Carolina. After a thirty-year career in scientific research, she became a full-time writer of romance fiction.

To date, she has published three historical novels, one of which won the Eppie as the best historical romance of 2003. Another published romance is a time/travel with a contemporary setting. In the midst of doing research for historicals, it dawned on her that she could take advantage of her education and working experience in the sciences by writing a science fiction romance. Of course, there's a lot of difference between food science and space travel, so she still had to research.

Sarah found that combining science fiction and romance provides unique opportunities for exploring the development of loving relationships. By creating new worlds, she could change human characteristics in ways that emphasize the adjustments needed when two people fall in love and seek to combine their lives.

She also found other fun things to do in science fiction, such as calling on her food science background to create unique food for the inhabitants of her fictional planet.

Reviews

"This was a sweet western romance. Rachel, Sally, and Sean are all bound together because of events in their past. As a result they all have their own baggage that has shape them into the people that they are. Although this is not a complex story it is still an entertaining one that was a fast read. Ms. Winn has done a fine job bringing the west to life and peppering her story with interesting characters."

Luv2readinBruxelles -- E- Romance Writers - A Romance Designs Community Website


"I read the e- book, Sally Sweets' Sister by Sarah Winn, and found this historic western to be a great read. I was immediately drawn in and the author kept my attention until the end. The sisters being like night and day or should I say, sinful and virtuous, made the story even more interesting ... I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. Take a bow Ms. Winn, you created a wonderful Historic Suspense/Romance. I truly enjoyed this book."

Nicki Hand -- TCM Reviews


"Sally Sweets' Sister expertly blurs the traditional genre fiction lines between history, romance and mystery. It is a compelling romance within a strong mystery."

Karen Troxel -- eBooks N'Bytes


"Part comedy, part court-room drama, and all romance, Sally Sweets' Sister is sure to please a variety of readers. Well worth a trip to the bookstore!"

Heidi Horner -- Escape to Romance


"I found myself eagerly flipping through the pages wondering how in the world shy Rachel and ex-gambler turned cattle baron, Sean, can overcome their very different pasts and other obstacles so they can be together. Sally Sweets' Sister is a definite winner!"

Jan Springer -- Road To Romance
Excerpt


Chapter One

Kansas—1875

"TEXANS ARE TURNING Wichita into a den of iniquity," Mr. Wainwright said in a loud voice. "You can see for yourself how many saloons are here on Douglas Avenue. These kinds of businesses were supposed to stay across the river, in Delano, but all the town council cares about is making money. The decent citizens of this town have to take a stand. We need a leader."

Rachel nodded her head in full agreement, knowing her husband, Chester, would be that leader. She wasn't surprised that Mr. Wainwright, a banker and civic leader, had chosen Chester to clean up this modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. Although Chester's previous ministry had been restricted to riding a circuit of frontier outposts, she had always known he would do great things.

Several men wearing the leather chaps of cowboys passed by on the boardwalk and frowned at their little group. She supposed they were conspicuous with Mrs. Wainwright, Chester, and herself clustered around the bombastic Mr. Wainwright, but those men probably were some of the very people Mr. Wainwright was condemning.

She looked at her husband listening to Mr. Wainwright so earnestly that his lanky body curved toward the man.

Let the reprobates beware.

Mr. Wainwright's censure would be slight when compared to Chester's. She would be by his side, serving as his helpmate more fully than she had ever done before.

Mrs. Wainwright gasped and caught hold of Rachel's forearm so tightly that Rachel turned and looked at the matronly woman in surprise.

"There she is," Mrs. Wainwright hissed, her bosom swelling in outrage. "The very woman I was telling you about, that horrid Sally Sweets."

Rachel followed Mrs. Wainwright's gaze and saw a bright blue, fringe topped surrey approaching them. A large, brutish man sat alone on the front seat, handling the reins to the dappled gray horse with surprising finesse. Two women rode on the seat behind him. Both wore dresses that seemed much too fancy for a carriage ride on a hot June afternoon. One of them, a petite brunette, waved and called out to men on the street in a most unladylike manner.

As her gaze moved to the second woman, Rachel's eyes widened. A chill ran up her spine. Blonde curls trickled onto the woman's forehead and trailed along her nape from beneath a small flower bedecked hat. Her dainty features were at odds with her brightly painted lips and cynical smile.

As the surrey drew nearer, the blonde woman looked directly at Mr. Wainwright. Her smile broadened, a dimple creased her cheek. She winked. Then she eyed Chester up and down and nodded as though in friendly greeting. His rigid expression expressed his disapproval.

When her gaze moved to Rachel, her icy blue eyes sent a shaft of arctic air. Rachel's hand flew to her chest; she gave a small, startled cry.

Mrs. Wainwright released her arm. "What's wrong, dear?"

Rachel couldn't draw her next breath. She stared, her mouth agape. The blonde woman looked like her dead sister, Sara Jane. The carriage passed them, and all Rachel could see were the bouncing blonde curls.

Chester slipped his arm around her shoulders. "Rachel, you're as pale as a ghost. Are you ill?"

His voice cut through the roaring in her head. "I…I…" She drew a deep breath. "I don't know what it is. I suddenly felt faint."

"Perhaps it's the sun. You should carry a parasol," Mrs. Wainwright said.

"More likely it's the sight of those two godless hussies." Mr. Wainwright huffed. "You see what I'm talking about, Reverend Stanton, what the decent women in this town are exposed to?"

"I need to lie down," Rachel said. "Could you take me up to our room, Chester? Then you can come back and finish the tour with the Wainwrights."

"Of course, my dear."

With his arm around her shoulder, Chester made hurried excuses to the Wainwrights and walked her into the lobby of the nearby Douglas House.

"Are you sure you can't go to lunch with us? It's important that Mrs. Wainwright likes you," he whispered in her ear.

Rachel shook her head. She needed time to sort through her confused thoughts. Chester left her at their door then hurried back to the Wainwrights.

Alone in their room, she moistened a cloth at the washstand to bathe her face and neck. Could the woman in the surrey possibly be the sister who had disappeared eleven years ago on the banks of the Little Osage?