Weekenders Romance Watch
Author: Lizzi Tremayne
Genre: Mainstream Romance
She didn't expect to become a target, but she is one now!
Seventeen year old Aleksandra, trained in the Cossack arts from infancy by her father, finds herself alone and running to prevent her Pa's killer from obtaining a secret coveted by the Russian Czar, one which could alter the forces of power in Europe. Disguised as a Pony Express rider in 1860's Utah Territory, she finds herself in even deeper trouble when she rides full speed into the middle of the Indian Paiute Wars. Her Californio boss Xavier has a strength to match her own, but can they overcome their differences before the ever-increasing odds overtake them?
'Sguir! Aleksandra, stop!' Aleksandra heard Scotty bark, and then continue in a low, steady voice. 'Wouldn't move, 'f I was you, Xavier. Her da's Cossack-trained and it 'pears she is too.' Scotty chuckled.
She felt Xavier ease his hold on her, but he didn't let go, despite the blade at his neck.
'Now a nighean,' Scotty admonished her, 'Xavier's a charaid, a friend. He's been watchin' over ye for the best part of the afternoon.'
She relaxed the death-grip on her shashka, removing its tip from Xavier's throat. Her gaze met his smooth cocoa eyes fringed by long, black lashes, crinkles of laughter showing at their corners. Aleksandra's bronze-skinned benefactor had the look of a dark Spanish lord.
'The vixen has teeth,' Xavier said with a grin. Aleksandra gave him the ghost of a smile, then frowned at his hands still upon her. White scars crisscrossed his right one, and his knuckles. He let go of her and stepped back from her side.
'Well Aleks, feelin' better after yer little rest?' Scotty approached cautiously, removing the sword from her shaky grip. 'How 'bout a drink of water?' He reached for the filled mug. 'Ye ready to talk yet?'
She nodded slowly, eyes on Xavier.
'Where's yer da, Aleks?' Scotty's brow wrinkled, his voice tender.
Aleksandra's heart sank as she struggled to sit up. Reaching for the proffered cup, she drank slowly. The liquid's coolness soothed her cracked lips and parched throat. Handing the vessel back, she wrapped her arms about herself tightly, chin to chest. When she swayed again, she dimly noticed Xavier moving closer, and was surprised to recognize that she didn't mind his all-too-familiar closeness.
'Papa is at rest,' she said haltingly, so softly they had to move in close, 'with Mama and my brothers.'