Terms of Temptation by Lorrie Farrelly. While we wait for him to arrive, I'll mention that Ms Farrelly is also the author of Terms of Surrender and Terms of Engagement. Perhaps, for the sake of her characters, her next book should be Terms of Punctuality.
Howdy. Name’s Killoran. I reckon you’re expecting me, and …
(low whistle) Well, I’ll be. Ain’t this some first rate set-up you got. Never expected to see anything so newfangled as this around these parts. Oh, I know progress has got up a good head of steam and it just keeps roaring on, even out here in Wyoming. Railroad’s gonna come all the way to Lander soon enough, but even so …
Good evening Mr. Killoran. Welcome to Nighthawk Talks. If you could just have a seat here.
(clears throat) Sorry. Tongue ran away with me there. It’s just that, well, some things have been happening lately that are pretty hard to get a handle on. Now seeing all this … (blows out a breath) ... kinda confounds a man, don’t it? Knocked me for a loop, all right. But there’s always stranger things, I reckon.
Anyway, if you got the time later and it ain’t too much trouble, you reckon you could show me how some of these contraptions work? I’d be much obliged.
I think that could be arrange. Meanwhile, for the sake of our listeners, could you tell us a bit about yourself.
Well, like I started to say, my name’s Killoran. Deputy Game Warden Bram Killoran. Chief Warden sent me on over here to spread the word about the new Fish and Game laws. Illegal hunting and trapping has just about taken down our whole population of pronghorns, bighorns, and elk, along with nearly every kind of fur-bearing critter and game animal you can think of. Even trout are getting mighty scarce here about. Far as I’m concerned, every damn – uh, beg pardon – dang poacher in Wyoming oughta be locked up and the keys melted down for scrap. I hope those no-account varmints are listening to this, so’s they can consider their sorry selves informed. I got a job to do, seeing wildlife and livestock both thrive in this state, and I dang well aim to do it.
And while I’m at it, I might as well let one stubborn, hardheaded Miss Kinley Cantrell know that nobody – not even her – is gonna get in my way. I’ve been doing my job on my own for a long time, and I sure enough don’t need her assistance to keep on doing it. So if you’re listening, Miss Cantrell, hear me good. If I have to hogtie you to my pack horse and send you on home that way, why, I’ll do it.
Miss Cantrell has a prominent part to play in your adventures. I'm not sure that hogtying her will do much good or why you'd feel the need. It seems a bit extreme.
Truth is, though, I ain’t too sure how things got so out of hand with Kinley. I’ve always been a solitary kind of man, one who was never meant to be tethered. I’d purely hate being tied down. That’s why I’m suited to being a game warden, you see, since it’s a footloose sort of job, and I can work on my own time in a territory wide as the sky. Now, don’t get me wrong, I surely do like women, but marriage just ain’t for me. I reckon if I ever did take a wife, she’d find me to be just one darn disappointment after another. But a sporting girl or two, well, they know there ain’t no strings attached, you catch my meaning?
Yes, Mr. Killoran, I catch your meaning.
(Sighs) But I never before met a woman like Kinley Cantrell. I swear, that infuriating little bit of a thing is more trouble than a spitting bag of bobcats. One minute she makes me want to tear out my hair, and the next, danged if I don’t want to tear off every last bit of clothing she’s wearing. Thing is, I owe her my honor and my protection, but how am I ever gonna live the settled, confined life she’ll expect of me? I reckon I gotta figure it all out pretty darn soon, since my life – and more importantly, Kinley’s – depend on it.
Are you sure that's what she expects of you? I haven't met Miss Cantrell, but everything I hear leads me to believe that she's pretty independent herself. have you asked her what she wants? Are you sure you know what you want?
What the heck do you mean, what do I want? Want is what got us all tangled up in the first place. I want that stubborn, spirited Kinley Cantrell ’til I can’t think straight, ’til I’m half-crazy with it. But don’t you see? Now it ain’t just about what I want anymore, no matter what she says. It’s gotta be about making things right. You dance to the music, you got to pay the piper. That’s the only right thing to do, ain’t it?
Sounds like you are totally stuck on her.
Sweet Holy Hannah, a man can only stand so much. Exasperating as she is, Kinley just about makes my heart pound out of my chest. I swear, I get near her and I can hear the blood rush in my veins. I got no idea why she moves me so, why she makes my heart squeeze and every sane thought I got fly right out of my head. She just about turns me inside out.
So unless I figure out how to keep from breaking her heart, the most danger to Kinley ain’t gonna be from those lowdown, good-for-nothing, snake-in-the-grass poachers. It’s gonna be from me.
Before you start tearing your hair out again, why don't I give you that tour of the studio.
Find out more about Bram Killoran and Kinsey Cantrell in Terms of Temptation.. To learn more about the author, Lorrie Farrelly, check out her author pages on Amazon or Goodreads.