Read A Chapter Same - an approximately 850 word sample of some of your favorite authors' new releases. Enjoy!
PROMISE ME TEXAS by Jodi Thomas
Berkley books | ISBN: 9780425250747
On a midnight train, four hours away from her wedding, Beth McMurray discovers the devastating truth about the powerful senator she's about to marry. Convinced nothing could make this stormy night worse, the train wrecks, and she tumbles straight into the arms of an outlaw.
Andrew McLaughlin doesn't believe in loving; he loved deeply once and thinks he'll never survive another loss. Aboard a train heading toward Dallas, in the moment before it crashes, he saves a beautiful woman and is injured in the fall. When he wakes up, he finds that she’s claimed him as her fiancé—and now they’re both on the run, and destined to do everything it takes to make an unexpected promise of love come true.
Andrew McLaughlin struggled in and out of consciousness. If it hadn’t been for the pain below his eye, he would have thought he was dreaming or living inside one of the stories he sometimes jotted down in his journal.
A band of robbers. A train wreck. A beautiful lady curled up beside him.
He’d been alone for so long the nearness of her was well worth the pain. He could feel her breathing as her body rose and fell softly against his side.
“Are you awake?” she whispered.
He felt the brush of her words near his ear but didn’t move.
“Yes,” he managed. He didn’t want to open his eyes and find he’d only been dreaming. He wanted her near so he could memorize how she felt and smelled and moved. One more memory, one more to save.
“Thank you for saving my life.”
“You’re welcome.” He hadn’t given it much thought. He’d been leaning on the corner of the platform preparing to jump before the robbery started when she’d almost bumped into him coming out of a freight car. A moment later, the accident occurred and grabbing her had all been instinct.
His confused mind wanted to ask her whether if he saved her, could he keep her, but she’d only think him out of his head and she wouldn’t be wrong.
“I have to know your name.” She nudged him lightly on the shoulder. “They’ll ask me.”
“Andrew,” he answered. “Andrew McLaughlin.” He was floating, feeling like his mind might go underwater and disappear any moment. He wasn’t sure if he was talking to her, or simply hallucinating. “What’s your name?”
“Beth McMurray.” Laughter filtered through her words. “And, if you’ve no objection, Andrew, I’ve told people you and I are engaged.”
Hallucinating, he thought, definitely hallucinating. She might be a dream, but the pain in his muscles told him the wreck and the fall from a moving train had been real. “I had a friend with me. He may still be on the train.”
“I’m sorry, Andrew. I saw the body of the man you climbed on the train with.” She touched his chest as if to offer comfort. “He’s dead along with most of the others. Was he a good friend?”
“No,” Andrew answered, “but, he was the only friend I had left.”
Without moving away, she told him of the wreck on the other side of the tracks. He finally looked at her wondering how long it would be before she left. She had pretty eyes, though, and a voice he could get used to hearing.
Only, she’d leave. Everyone did.
Maybe that was why he’d given her his real name, a name he hadn’t used in years. Not that it mattered. No one knew him by any name. He’d changed it so often he wasn’t even sure sometimes what had been his family name.
His earliest memory was of his mother dancing with a man as he watched from the stairs. She’d stopped when she saw him and laughed saying, “Andrew, this is your new father. We’re changing last names.” And so it went throughout his childhood. Every year or so, she’d change names and he was expected to go along. It really didn’t matter because the names, like the men, were only temporary.
Between husbands his mother always went back to McLaughlin, so when she died, he went back to it as he packed his bag and left one of a long list of houses that weren’t home.
“Beth,” he said when she finally stopped talking about all she’d seen. “How long have we been engaged?”
“Since we were children, dear. I’ve always loved you.”
He could hear others moving closer so he played along. “Oh, yes, I remember.”
Her hand moved along his arm. “Just rest, Andrew. The doctor from town is here to check your wounds.”
Andrew put his fingers over hers. “Don’t leave me too soon,” he whispered as two men knelt down beside him. One, stout in build, wore a badge. The other older with hard eyes carried a black bag. Andrew had no doubt who they were.
“I won’t leave,” she promised as she moved behind the men.
Andrew felt the cold air where she’d been pressed against him as the doctor turned him on his back in the wet grass.
“He’s lost a lot of blood, Harris,” the older one said as he checked the bandages Beth had tried to put on. “We need to get him on the wagon fast. I can’t do much for these cuts out here. They’re deep, but once they’re stitched he’ll live.”
The doctor opened his bag as the sheriff walked away complaining about the train robbers.
Andrew heard the woman called Beth telling the doctor his name and that they were headed to Dallas to marry. He brushed his thumb over the two rings he wore on his left hand. One ring to remind him he’d once known a real love and a smaller one next to it on his little finger so he’d remember to never fall again.