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Cheyenne Trilogy Megabook
by Carolyn Lampman

Category: Romance/Historical Fiction Night Owl Romance Reviewer Top Pick
Description: THREE COMPLETE NOVELS, ONE MEGABOOK SERIES LOW PRICE! The entire Romance/Historical Fiction series from Bestselling author Carolyn Lampman, including: MURPHY'S RAINBOW: Wyoming Territory in 1869 is no place for a woman, but when Kate Murphy's husband dies of Cholera, she is stranded there with no money and no way to leave. At the end of her rope, she accepts a job as a saloon girl in the tiny town of Horse Creek. There she is discovered by the mysterious Jonathan Cantrell who hires her to keep house for him and his two unruly sons. Jonathan has the face of an angel and the devil's own temper. But sweet Kate has a temper of her own and is more than a match for him. Living together in a small cabin on an isolated ranch their clash of wills gives way to an attraction neither of them expects nor wants. Then the past surfaces to tear them apart and create suspicions on both sides. Will their new-found love be strong enough to survive the secrets from the past? SHADOWS IN THE WIND: Cole Cantrell has no premonition that his life is about to change forever when he saves the life of a beautiful stranger. Still haunted by his wife's death, he fights his growing attraction to the mysterious Stephanie, afraid that she belongs to another man. Stephanie has no memory of who she is or how she came to be in the middle of Wyoming Territory among strangers. Her only clues to the past are frightening dreams, a gold wedding band, and a confusing note that poses more questions than it answers. The only certainty is her love for Cole Cantrell. Will it be enough when they learn the truth about her past, or will their happiness prove to be as insubstantial as Shadows in the Wind? WILLOW CREEK: Nicki Chandler was too busy fighting natural disasters on her homestead and trying to avert a range war to worry about romance. She was more likely to chase a man off at gunpoint than invite him in to tea. Then a handsome stranger with a mysterious past came looking for a job. In desperate need of a strong back to help with the work, Nicki reluctantly allowed him to stay, completely unprepared for the assault he would make on her heart. Falling in love was the last thing Levi Cantrell expected when he took a job on the tiny homestead. Nicki Chandler ignited longings within him that he couldn't deny but would she still want him when she found out who he really was? BUY THE COMPLETE THREE VOLUME SERIES IN THIS LOW PRICED MEGABOOK SERIES RELEASE!
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: September 2009

eBookeBook

9 Reader Ratings:
Great Good OK Poor
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [1.3 MB]
Words: 296569
Reading time: 847-1186 min.


"Ms. Lampman has written the perfect western [Murphy's Rainbow]. You feel like you are living on the western frontier. Everything is described with great intensity. You will feel the cold of the blizzards and the very heated loving that warms them. This story is an emotional read that will have you laughing one minute and crying the next."_Reviewed by Sherry from CoffeeTime

"I was totally absorbed while reading SHADOWS IN THE WIND, Carolyn Lampman's second book of her Cheyenne Trilogy. Lampman spins satisfaction out of nonstop action and appealing characters. Just as Stephanie did, I found in charge Cole to be powerfully attractive. I highly recommend Carolyn Lampman's full length novel, SHADOWS IN THE WIND, to all of my friends."_By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Kathleen R

"Willow Creek is much more than a romance; it is a bit of history. Carolyn Lampman has researched her topic well bringing to life the turbulent past of WY. The plot is interesting and well-written. The characters are delightful. Nicki is strong willed and vulnerable. She must find forgiveness. Levi has his own nightmares to deal with. Together they are unstoppable. The supporting characters each have their own distinctive voice. Liana and Peter must overcome prejudice. While much of the plot is predictable (most westerns are), it grabbed my attention and held it. I could not put Willow Creek down and read long into the night. This would make a great movie! Fans of romance and westerns, order your copy for good reading."_5 Stars!--Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com A Night Owl Romance Reviewer Top Pick! "I enjoyed reading the Cheyenne Trilogy Megabook. The three novels, Murphy's Rainbow, Shadows In The Wind, and Willow Creek cover the lives of Jonathan Cantrell and his sons Cole and Levi. All three are well written romances set in Wyoming Territory during the 1800's. If you like historical romances then this compilation is the book for you. I liked reading all three books in order and being combined into the same volume made it like reading the next chapter to go on to the next book. I liked all the characters except the heroine of the last book, Nicki Chandler. Nicki's personality got on my nerves but that's just me. The only other thing I had a problem with was the use of a couple terms I'm not sure were used back in the 1800's, I have to give all three books a 5 and a recommended read, just for the sheer great story telling." Penny Ash, Night Owl Romance


Chapter 1

Cholera! For Katharine Murphy, it had become a living, breathing entity, a dark creature of the night that sucked the life from Bryan's body. It hardly mattered that the wagon train had gone on without them, or that the single candle burning near at hand was almost gone. Bryan Murphy was dying, and they both knew it.

"Katie?" Bryan's voice was thin and raspy as he fought the painful cramps.

Folding his cold dry hand into hers, Katharine swallowed the tears that threatened to overwhelm her. "I'm here, Bry. Don't try to talk. Just rest now."

"I have eternity to rest." His face was pinched and gray, the brilliant green eyes, once so full of life, now sunken and defeated. "Go to your Uncle Matthew in Denver." He shook his head weakly as she started to protest. "I know, Katie. But he loves you, and he'll keep you safe until you decide what to do with your life."

"Without you, I have no life."

"Here now. That doesn't sound like the Katie McAnespie I married for her courage!" Bryan lifted his free hand and traced the line of her cheek. "Remember, every storm has a rainbow and--"

"And there's a pot of gold at the end of it," she finished for him. "There won't be one this time, Bry."

"You're a fighter, Katie. You'll find a way to go on, and you'll find that pot of gold." He gazed at her as though memorizing her features. "My beautiful Irish rose." His hand slipped from her cheek and fell back to the bed. "I love you, Katie."

"I love you, too," Katharine whispered, but it was too late. She was alone.

* * * *

The sun was well up in the sky before Katharine finished digging the grave. The hole yawned at her feet, the raw earth stark against the green of the prairie. She lifted her head as a movement to the west caught her eye. It was single rider coming toward her at an easy lope. From the loose-limbed way he sat in the saddle, it could only be Sam Perkins, a scout from the wagon train.

When he reached her, he swung down from his horse and stared at the freshly-dug grave. At last he cleared his throat. "I'm right sorry about your husband, Mrs. Murphy. Reckon I can bury him for you."

Not trusting herself to speak, Katharine merely nodded. She had already bathed Bryan and wrapped him in their wedding quilt. There was nothing more she could do. In silent agony, she watched as Sam placed the man she loved in his final resting place and began the grim task of filling in the grave. Wincing as the clods of dirt struck the body below, Katharine reminded herself repeatedly that Bryan could no longer feel, that he was beyond pain.

At last the job was finished, and Sam gave her a look of sympathy. "If you know some words to say, best do it now."

Katharine stared numbly at the mound. From somewhere inside came a prayer: The Lord's Prayer. Softly, she repeated the words adding a few of her own at the end. "And please take my Bryan into your heart and keep him safe." With one last look, she turned away.

Avoiding her eyes, Sam twisted his hat in his hands. "If you want to collect a few things, I'll take you to that little town I saw two or three miles back."

Again Katharine nodded, unsurprised that he hadn't offered to escort her west to the wagon train. Those so-called good people had already turned their backs on the Murphys. Other than Sam, only one man had shown any concern for them by offering Katharine a revolver for protection from the riffraff who roamed the prairie. Refusing to accept money from the contaminated wagon, he had taken the team of oxen as payment. At the time, Katharine had been too worried about Bryan to think of anything else. Now she wondered if greed rather than compassion might have been the man's motivation.

Katharine made an awkward bundle out of her extra dress, hairbrush, nightgown, and clean underwear. Then she dug to the bottom of the trunk to retrieve the stocking that held what was left of their life savings. It wasn't much--only a single twenty-dollar gold piece--but she wasn't about to risk someone coming along and stealing it before she could get back for the rest of her belongings.

Thrusting the sock into the center of her clothing, Katharine considered taking the handgun. No, it would only add to the already cumbersome load. She hid it in the trunk and climbed down from the back of the wagon. Her milk cow, Suzette, was already tied to Sam's saddle horn.

"If you'll give me a hand with the chicken crate, I'll be ready."

"Chicken crate! Are you crazy?"

"Well, I can't just leave them out here, can I?"

"Look, Mrs. Murphy, I've only got one horse. There's no room for a crate."

"Oh." Katharine looked abashed as she glanced at the horse. Then her face lit up. "How about if I stick them in a flour sack? I really hate to lose them after bringing them all this way."

Sam started to say something, then seemed to change his mind and gave her a curt nod instead. Though the four birds complained loudly at such rough treatment, they were soon sacked up and tied to the horse.

Sam hoisted her onto the saddle and handed her the reins. "Hang onto these while I take one more look around."

Recognizing the signs of a man who had already been pushed too far, Katharine was afraid to tell him she didn't have the faintest idea how to control a horse. Not sure what else to do, she talked in a soothing voice to the animal, complimenting him on what a wonderful creature he was. Apparently the horse was not immune to flattery for he stood perfectly still until Sam returned a few minutes later.

Katharine barely had time to wonder what she was supposed to do before Sam swung up behind the saddle and reached around her to take the reins. Without a word, he prodded the horse into motion, and they took off at a jarring pace.

Katharine contemplated the possibility that Sam had lost his mind. As the chickens squawked in terror, she turned to see how Suzette was faring. The sight that met her eyes wiped out every other thought. A thick cloud of black smoke was pouring from both ends of her wagon.

"Nooooo!" she screamed, twisting out of Sam's grasp. She hit the ground, stumbled, then struggled frantically to her feet and started to run, her breath coming in gasping sobs. She was still a long way from the burning wagon when Sam caught up with her. Wrapping his long arms around her, he restrained her, though she fought him with every ounce of strength she had.

"It had to be done," he said. "That wagon was full of cholera."

"I thought you came back to help us," she cried, beating his chest with her fists. "But you just wanted to make sure we didn't catch up to the wagon train."

"No, that's not true. I came to do what I could for you both." He lifted his head to stare at the wagon now engulfed in flame. "I had no choice. "I'm sorry."

"You're sorry. Everything I owned was in that wagon."

"I know," he whispered, patting her back clumsily. "I know."

He let her cry, holding her tightly until the last sob finally died away. "Reckon we best get a move on," he said at last.

Pulling away from him, Katharine gazed first at the new grave and then at the smoldering ruins of the wagon. "Might as well," she said dully. "There's nothing left here."

The trip was accomplished in almost total silence. Sam tried several times to start a conversation but eventually gave up when he got no response. Even the chickens were subdued, lulled by the darkness inside the sack.

Katharine had paid little attention when the wagon train had passed the town the day before. Now she saw it was disappointingly small. Only a store, blacksmith shop, saloon and a handful of houses dotted the prairie.

Sam stopped in front of the blacksmith's shop and dismounted. Tying the horse to the hitching rail, he looked up at her. "I'll go see about boarding your stock."

Stock? Katharine felt a hysterical bubble of laughter rise in her throat. Four chickens and a cow? She and Bryan had such wonderful plans when they'd started out. They'd have a beautiful little farm where they could raise a family. But there had been no babies, and their other cows had died on the trip. Now Bryan was gone too, along with everything from their life together. Katharine looked around. This was the pot of gold at the end of Bryan's rainbow, a dismal little town in the middle of nowhere?

Sam returned with the smith. "Mr. Jones here says he'll keep your animals for the milk and eggs."

Katharine forced a smile. "Thank you, Mr. Jones."

"Glad to oblige. The young fella told me about yer husband." He shook his head. "To die in a fire like that. Must have been awful for you."

Katharine turned shocked eyes to Sam and encountered a warning look.

Luckily, Mr. Jones didn't seem to expect an answer. "You better go to Mrs. Cline over at the store." He gave Katharine an uncertain look. "She ain't the friendliest, but I reckon she'll take you in for a few days. Might want to leave this young feller here, though."

Katharine started to get down, but Sam grasped her around the waist and swung her to the ground. While Mr. Jones took Katharine's animals to his corral, Sam untied her things from the saddle. "I told him your husband knocked an oil lamp over in the wagon," he whispered. "Folks tend to get stirred up about cholera."

Accepting her meager bundle, Katharine gave him a direct look. "I know, Mr. Perkins. I've already seen it." Without another word, she turned on her heel and walked away.

Sam stood watching her for several long moments. Then, with a shake of his head, he remounted and set out to catch up with the wagon train.

* * * *

The store had an almost military neatness about it. Nowhere was there any of the friendly clutter that usually characterized such places. With a cursory glance at the only other customer in the store, Katharine approached the woman who stood ramrod straight behind the counter. "Are you Mrs. Cline?"

"I am."

"Mr. Jones over at the blacksmith shop said you might be able to give me a place to stay for a few days."

"Oh he did, did he? And who might you be?"

"I'm Mrs. Murphy."

"Mrs.?" She stared pointedly at the bundle in Katharine's hand. "Where's your husband?"

"Th-there was a fire," Katharine stammered. "M-My husband d-died."

"Hmph! A likely story."

Katharine blinked in surprise at the woman's unexpected hostility. "I ... it would just be until the stage comes in, and I can pay."

"There's some things money can't buy, and respectability is one of them. The saloon is the place for the likes of you." She folded her arms across her narrow chest. "As though I can't tell a decent woman from a piece of dance hall trash."

"But I--"

"Save your breath, Mrs. Murphy," said the other customer, a tall redhead, as she walked up and slapped a packet of needles down on the counter. "Once Mrs. Cline makes up her mind to something, she don't change it." She placed a few coins next to the needles and flashed Katharine a friendly smile. "The stage don't come to Horse Creek, but you can stay with me for a day or two."

Mrs. Cline gave an audible sniff of disdain and pushed the woman's change across the counter as though afraid of making contact with her.

The redhead gave a low chuckle as she tucked her money and needles into her reticule. "It's always a pleasure to do business with you, Mrs. Cline." She turned and strolled from the store with Katharine following behind.

"Self-righteous old biddy," the redhead muttered as soon as the door closed behind them. "Any fool can see you ain't from no dance hall." She gave Katharine a sympathetic look. "Looks like you've had a rough time of it, though. Heard you tell that old prune you lost your husband. I'll wager it wasn't very long ago."

Katharine nodded, barely to speak around the knot in her throat. "L-last night."

"You poor thing." She sighed as they started across the street toward the saloon. "Sure hope I'm doin' the right thing, taking you home with me."

"If you don't have room..."

"Lord bless you, honey. It ain't that." She glanced at the saloon and made a face. "Most folks would say you shouldn't even be talking to me, let alone staying with me."

"Why not?"

"Mostly 'cause of the work I do."

"I don't..." Katharine stopped in confusion. They were no longer walking, and the redhead was studying her as though waiting for something. With a start, Katharine realized they were standing in front of the saloon, and that her new friend was watching her closely. The revelation must have shown in her face, for the redhead's expression became cold and distant.

"Well," Katharine said quickly. "I don't guess a few nights in a saloon will damage me much. Never cared what anybody thought about me anyway. You'd be amazed how many narrow-minded people in the world looked down their noses at us because my husband was an Irish Catholic."

"It ain't quite the same thing," the redhead said dryly. Then she grinned. "The name's Rosie. Welcome to the Golden Spur."

Katharine returned the smile and followed her through the swinging doors, praying she wasn't making a big mistake.

* * * *

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