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The Stolen Kiss

Written by Lauri Robinson

From rivals…to lovers!

The moment beautiful Cassandra Halverson arrives in Tulsa, Micah Bollingerknows she'll be trouble. No sooner has she set up her dressmaker's shop than she starts poaching his customers. Determined to beat Cassandra at her own game, Micah decides to keep his enemy close!

Cassandra wants nothing more than to create a new life doing what she loves and to leave her past behind her forever. But the presence of her infuriatingly gorgeous competitor threatens it all. When an unexpected kiss takes them both by surprise, it's not long before fury turns to red-hot passion!

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Chapter One

1878

Oklahoma Indian Territory

Faded by a sun as relentless as the wind, the red letters on the side of the weathered building announced she'd arrived. Cassandra Halverson hitched the skirt of her olive traveling suit and stepped off the MKT train amongst a splattering of Army men, Indians, and those she'd rather not notice.

Tulsa.

The last depot before entering Indian Territory. Trains didn't even go west from here. Only Indians, horse thieves, Mexican traders, whiskey peddlers, desperadoes and those associated with the U.S. Army were brave or crazy enough to do that.

She'd chosen Tulsa, or Tulsy town as some called it, because of that. People here didn't question others about their past. The town was growing fast, and would continue to now that the railroad was here. Every man, woman and child would need clothes, and she was here to sew them.

She was making a name for herself, and a living, but could make much more if not for Micah Bollinger. Besides his golden-brown hair and gold-flecked brown eyes, Micah had a silver tongue, which he used to wrangle customers out of her shop and into his.

A flit of elation put a smile on her lips. She'd outsmarted him this time. No longer Gambling Irv's daughter or Wesley's poor wife, she was Cassandra, and no man would ever get the best of her.

She found a spot near the building, where porters unceremoniously dropped luggage and cargo of the travelers ending their voyages while others scurried to load trunks and bags for those departing. The train didn't depot here for long, and to her sensible mind, something she prided herself on, it would be more prudent to wait for the chaos to slow rather than attempting to rifle through it.

Before long, and in between two loud steam-filled blasts, the conductor shouted a boarding call, which had the crowd dispersing.

"How was your buying trip?"

Despite air so hot that the feather on the new straw hat she'd purchased in Wichita drooped over her left eye, every drop of blood in Cassandra's veins froze. She hadn't told anyone where she'd gone, especially not Micah.

"Missed me, didn't you?" he drawled.

Without glancing his way, she asked, "Would a dog miss fleas?"

"I don't know, I've never had a pet," he answered.

There was a smile in his tone, which greatly irritated her one and final nerve. A second later, that lasting nerve snapped. Having pulled one of her crates forward, Micah had crouched down, preparing to hoist it in his arms. A man who sewed clothing for a living should not have the arms of a blacksmith. They should be scrawny.

"Leave my belongings alone, Mr. Bollinger."

As if she hadn't spoken, he hefted the crate into the air. "Who else is going to haul all this to your shop?"

"Anyone but you," she snapped. The crate was far too heavy to simply take it from his hold, and kicking him in the shin would be unsightly, but she wanted to. Not just kick him in the shin, but into the next territory.

Carrying her crate, he started walking. "My wagon's right over here. Be careful of that hole in the platform."

Cassandra grabbed her traveling bag and the satchel filled with thread, lace, and fancy buttons, and followed, stepping over the board hosting a hole from where a knot in the wood had been knocked loose. "Why would your wagon be at the train station?"

"Because I knew you'd be home today."

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About the author

Although he didn’t know it, Little Joe Cartwright was my first b...

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