Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical romances. Robyn currently lives with her husband in California, USA, near the “Gateway to Yosemite.”
She is a member of Women Writing the West, and American Night Writers Association. She enjoys any kind of history including family history.
When she is not piecing together novel plots, she pieces together quilt blocks.
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Running from hostile Indians attacking Salina, Kansas in 1862, feisty Kizzie Atwell, Grandma Mary’s oldest grandchild, runs into freighter Leander Jones traveling the Smoky Hill Trail. He is as interested in her as his stallion is in her mare. The two join forces to prevent the Fort Riley Army captain from requisitioning their beloved horses for the cavalry. Avoiding bushwhackers and fighting off a thieving bullwhacker binds their bargain.
In 1865, at the victory dance held at Fort Riley to celebrate the end of the Civil War, Kizzie is asked to participate in a fund-raiser to aid the Sanitary Commission helping injured and sick soldiers. It involves chaste sweetheart kisses in exchange for tickets purchased by officers and guests. As a contract freighter for the Army, Leander is invited. Much to Leander’s chagrin, before his chance to claim his kiss, Kizzie’s uncle steps in and puts an end to the kissing game.
Is Leander out of luck, or will the bargain Kizzie and Leander made three years earlier to save their horses lead to a more romantic bargain sealed with a kiss?
“But, you’re Indian. You’re at least part Indian, aren’t you?”
“My mother was Kaw. Some call us Kansa Indians.” The man smiled again and a teasing tone crept into his voice. “We’re one of the tame tribes. My name is Charlie Gray Cloud, miss. Mr. Jones and I have known each other a long time.”
Leander Jones turned to give Charlie a puzzled look. The Kaw man just stared back, almost as if his eyes were warning Leander about something. Leander returned the look and spoke slowly. “Charlie is our scout for the trip, miss. I trust him with my life.”
These two might trust each other, but Kizzie wasn’t sure she could trust either one of them. “I’m overjoyed you’re reunited and happy to see each other. Now, please let go of my horse. I need to go.”
Kizzie tried to pull away, but Leander held the reins tight. “First tell us what you know about the Indians.”
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