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Night After Night [The Happily Ever After Company, Book 4] [MultiFormat]
eBook by Kate Donovan

eBook Category: Romance/Historical Fiction
eBook Description: There's no beast love can't tame? The Happily Ever After Company, Book 4 Maggie Gleason isn't looking for a husband, just a place to disappear. When a kind marriage broker finds her a teaching position in a tiny mountain town, complete with a room in a boarding house that boasts a cozy little library, Maggie is sure she's found heaven. Or, at least, peace. There's one problem: fellow boarder, Alex Coburn. The rude, reclusive bounty hunter has staked out his claim to the library, virtually daring her to set foot inside it. Despite his intimidating countenance, the lure of rows and rows of leather-bound books is too much to resist. And Maggie is through cowering before demons. Amazed at her own temerity, she commandeers a tiny corner of the library for herself. She even manages to form a fragile truce with the mysterious, masterful beast of a man. Yet just as she dares to imagine that with time, something more might develop between them, Alex is gone. On a job? Some emergency? As if to make her humiliation complete, an ugly demon from her past returns to remind her once and for all that no matter how far she runs, she will always end up alone? This book has been previously published.

eBook Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., Published: 2012, 2012
Fictionwise Release Date: October 2012


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He was seated to the left of the fireplace, and had repositioned his leather chair so he could prop his feet on the raised stone hearth. His clothing--black shirt, black trousers, shiny black boots--appeared fresh and clean, so she assumed he had changed, although she couldn't guess why he would dress this way for an evening by the fire. The outfit was more appropriate for a gunfight, although his pistol wasn't anywhere in sight. He was armed only with a thin, leather-bound volume, which he half closed as he raised his gaze to hers.

No further acknowledgment, either through a greeting or, more appropriately, by his rising to his feet, was forthcoming, so Maggie took a deep breath, then smiled warmly. "I'm so pleased you're awake. We started off badly, all because of a misunderstanding. But since we're going to be neighbors of a sort, we ought to try again. Don't you agree?"

He seemed to consider the statement for a moment, then shrugged. "You won't be living here for long, Maggie-Margaret, so there's no need to engage in the usual niceties. Just pretend I don't exist, and I'll return the favor."

"My name isn't Maggie-Margaret. It's Miss O'Connor, if you don't mind."

"Miss Gleason-O'Connor, wasn't it?"

She bit back an angry retort, and tried again to be civil. "I'm told you have a fondness for books. It's something we have in common, so I was simply hoping...well, that we could coexist. In silence, if you wish, but companionable silence. This library is large enough to accommodate us both, wouldn't you say?"

With an exaggerated sigh, he set his book on the hearth, then stood to tower over her, his midnight-blue eyes suddenly blazing with condescension. "If you're looking for male companionship, Maggie-Margaret, may I suggest you try the logging camp west of town?"

"How dare you!" Maggie stepped backward but didn't look away from his scornful expression. "I was trying to be polite, but apparently, civilized behavior is quite lost on you."

"Quite," he agreed with a mocking grin. "But if you're interested in engaging in some uncivilized behavior, we could adjourn to my bedroom--"

"Be quiet!" She forced herself not to run away from his leering invitation. After all, Mrs. Blake and the others were close at hand, so presumably Coburn wouldn't physically advance on her against her will. And she simply had to stand her ground, if only to ensure that he'd never make so alarming a suggestion again, so she advised him in a suitably icy voice, "Don't ever dare speak to me like that again. In fact, don't speak to me at all, from this moment forward."

His grin faded into an expression of cool victory "We understand each another, then?"

"Completely."

To her chagrin, he then retrieved his book, returned to his seat, and began to read again as though nothing had transpired.

She wanted to make a graceful, even haughty, exit, but the experience had played havoc with her nerves and so she dashed for the back staircase instead. Taking the steps two at a time, she didn't pause for a breath until she flew through her little muslin "door" and threw herself onto her bed.

"Now you know the truth: you have nothing in common with that beast!" she warned herself aloud through gritted teeth. "To think you compared him with Ian! He isn't simply ill-mannered or uncivilized, he's perverse and ignoble. How tragic that Mrs. Blake's need for income forces her to house such a hideous man."

For the first time since the age of fourteen, Maggie was actually tempted to go out and find herself a husband--a very wealthy one--who could give Mrs. Blake whatever she needed to live comfortably for the rest of her years. And he could punch Coburn in the nose for good measure! Which meant, of course, that he'd have to be bigger and stronger than Coburn, although Maggie wasn't sure she could ever again enjoy the sensation of feeling dwarfed by a male. It had often made her feel protected in the past, but now and forever, it would remind her of danger. And humiliation. And Coburn.


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