A binding contract…five determined nuns…and a runaway French beauty – riverboat gambler, Brennen Benedict has just been dealt a full house, and his queen of hearts holds all the cards.
With the Mississippi River his playground, ex-Confederate Cavalry Captain now affluent gambler, BRENNEN BENEDICT lives life by his own rules – until a winning hand saddles him with the deed to a ramshackle Kentucky plantation. Refusing to be tied down, his quick sale is thwarted by Ursuline nuns who hold a lien on the property. To satisfy this obligation and rid himself of the burden, Brennen is forced to fulfill a contract made by the previous owner and provide the nuns with bricks for their new orphanage from a kiln on his property. Annoyed and unable to hornswoggle himself out of this mess, Brennen agrees to the sly Mother Superior’s terms, as well as allowing one of her ‘nun’s’ to oversee his brickmaking progress until the commitment is fulfilled.
Charged with a murder she did not commit, French-born beauty ANNABELLE SWAN is forced to flee Philadelphia. Offered safeguard by the kind-hearted Ursulines of St. Joseph, she disguises herself in their black-and-white garb and travels with them to Kentucky. On a riverboat en route, she bumps into Brennen, a gambler as charming as he is generous. However enticed she may be, his devilish nature assures her he’s a man best kept at a distance. Once they reach their destination, Annabelle hires an attorney to prove her innocence while she assists with the nuns. Her plans to keep a low profile are shattered when the abbess assigns her to oversee the brickmaker’s progress. Frustrated by the turn of events, she struggles with her ever-growing fascination for the wicked rogue who represents everything she despises in life.
From the first moment they met, Brennen is suspicious of Annabelle – for the captivating minx with soft, womanly curves and a worldly attitude is like no other nun he’s ever known. Regardless of his doubts, when her true identity is revealed, his attraction for her escalates, vexing him as much as do her dangerous secrets. He damns the draw, determined to return to the riverboat…Still, the needs both try to deny blaze ever hotter. They’re swept into a fiery passion…Until Annabelle’s greatest secret is unknowingly exposed. Can Brennen win the most-important game he’s ever played to save his little minx? Or will the gamble cost Annabelle her life?
About the Author
Cindy is also honored to be a contributing author alongside notable NYTimes writers in the delightful SCRIBBLING WOMEN & The Real-Life Romance Heroes Who Love Them. All proceeds from this non-fiction anthology go straight to charity. She is a member of numerous writers groups, and her work has finaled or won countless times in competitions — including the prestigious Romance Writers of America National Golden Heart Contest. A luscious blend of history and romance, her stories meld both genres around fast-paced action and emotionally driven characters.
Please join Cindy at her Facebook page for her Monday-Friday morning “Coffee Klatch” — as well as on Twitter at @cnord2.
Indeed, true love awaits you in the writings of Cindy Nord.
Cindy Nord brings the south to life in this enthralling tale of a dissolute gambler who comes up against a group of irascible nuns and a French beauty in danger.
Brennan wins a plantation in bad repair and a debt he must repay to the nuns holding a lien on his land. The last thing he wants or needs is the distraction of Annabelle Swan-a damsel in distress. But he can’t ignore the attraction he feels and soon finds himself in the gamble of his life.
I thoroughly enjoyed the escalating tension between these two and the wily Mother Superior!
I give By Any Means 4.5 lovely kisses!