In his arms, she discovered how tender—and how bold—true passion could be…
Lily Chalmers wanted only two things from life—a farm of her own, and to find the sisters she hadn’t seen since they were all little girls heading West on the orphan train. She certainly had no desire for a husband. Yet proud, innocent Lily had no idea what desire meant until she met Major Caleb Halliday, a man who could ignite her very being with a single touch…a glance…a whisper. Sheltered in his arms, Lily rode the crest of a wild, helpless passion. And though she struggled against her own willful heart, she knew she could never choose between the dazzling man who had claimed her love so completely, and her bold, long-cherished dream…
This book may contain explicit intimate scenes, so if you are not 18+ then I probably wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers.
I’m going to be very vain and say that the covers is what drawn me into the Orphan Train series. They aren’t extravagant, but still very appeasing to me. Originally I was only wanting to read ‘Emma and the Outlaw’, but I thought what the heck, I’ll tackle them all from the beginning, which I’m glad I did.
Caleb stood on the Tibbet porch, gazing after Lily through the thin veil of rain sliding down from the porch roof. He’d been employing the tactics the colonel had recommended, and he’d liked the results—until he’d noticed Lily leaving the house with Corporal Pierce. When he’d seen her take that green kid’s arm and look up at him as though he’d just cured all the ills of humanity in a single sentence, Caleb had wanted to vault over the porch railing and run after them, shouting protests like a fool. He ached, knowing Lily wouldn’t have made such a familiar gesture with him, even after all they’d been to each other.
Lily stepped back to admit him, her gaze catching on the chocolates again. It was Caleb’s aim to make her look at him just the way she was looking at that red satin box. He extended the candy and knew by the pleasure in her eyes that she’d received few gifts in her life. And for one insensible, fevered moment Caleb wanted to give her everything. He wanted to drag the world to her feet and make it bow.
Lily lifted one corner of the chocolate box and peeked inside. “Do you suppose Mrs. McAllister would notice if I ate just one piece before supper?” she whispered. “Eat the whole box if you want,” Caleb replied, oddly touched. Lily cautiously chose a chocolate from the box and popped it into her mouth. Caleb watched as she rolled it around on her tongue, savoring it, and his blood turned hot as kerosene in his veins. “Would you like one?” she asked, holding the box out to him. Caleb drew a deep breath and let it out slowly. Time. He had to give things time. “No, thanks,” he said hoarsely. Lily looked delighted that she didn’t have to share, the greedy little scamp, and Caleb wanted to laugh. He also wanted to carry her off to his bed and make her completely and inexorably his own.
I’ve never read a book by Linda Lael Miller, so I had no idea how humorous this would turn out to be. Lily and Caleb’s banter was down right gut busting at times. I really loved the scene where she thought they were being attacked by Indians when secretly Caleb was on good terms with them (it was a humorous ploy into getting her to east with him), and their spats where they build two houses by each other – you’ll have to read it to understand. Aside from the humor, they sure do fight like cats and dogs throughout a good portion of the book, but that was mainly due to Lily not wanting to give up her dream of owning her own piece of lander where she can farm it. And man, I don’t know if this an occurrence in other books of Linda’s or not, but Lily and Caleb were at it like rabbits. I literally lost count of how many sex scenes there was, which I last counted was 6 or 7. Let’s just say Caleb was a lust fellow from the beginning to the end.
“It’s wonderful to see you falling in love at last, Caleb. I was beginning to think I’d never dance at your wedding.” Caleb went to the porch swing and sat down beside her, taking her hand in his and giving her knuckles a brief kiss. He didn’t know if he was in love, but he wasn’t about to spoil Gertrude’s delight. “If I can’t have you,” he teased, “I’ll have to settle.” “She’ll still be giving you trouble when you’re ninety, you know. Lily’s exactly what you need, Caleb. She’ll try your patience many a time, but she’ll also bring out the best that’s in you. And she’ll give you fine, handsome children.” Caleb allowed himself to imagine Lily bearing him a child and felt his groin tighten. “Are you suggesting that I court her?” he asked in a light voice, to cover the sweet despair he felt. “I know what John told you,” Gertrude answered, “and to a great degree I think he’s right. Lily’s the kind of person that’s got to be challenged; she doesn’t believe that anything worthwhile comes easily.” Caleb got up and walked to the porch railing again, bracing his hands on the whitewashed wood, searching the distance for Lily, but there was no sign of her. “I think she may drive me crazy before too long,” he said. Gertrude laughed, and the swing hinges creaked. She came and patted him gently on the back. “That’s a sure sign she’s the right one,” she said.
“Caleb,” Lily whispered. He turned from the horses to glance at her curiously. “What?” “Indians,” she managed to say. “Over there, on the rise!” He turned in a leisurely fashion to look toward the hillside, making no move to take his pistol from its holster or dive for the rifle Lily had seen him put under the seat back in Tylerville. “Son of a gun,” he remarked, sounding interested but not alarmed. Impatient, Lily started to reach under the seat. “No sudden moves, sodbuster,” Caleb warned calmly without even glancing in her direction. “They don’t take well to things like that.” Lily sat still as a stone, her fingers itching for the rifle even though she didn’t have the faintest idea what to do with it. Do something! she wanted to scream as the Indians rode down the hill at a cautious pace. “They’ll probably scalp me,” she fretted through her teeth. “If they don’t, I will,” Caleb replied. […] “This Blue Coat’s woman?” he demanded, gesturing toward Lily. Caleb shook his head. “She’s her own woman. Just ask her.” Lily’s heart was jammed into her throat. She had an urge to go for the rifle again, but this time it was Caleb she wanted to shoot. “He lies,” she said quickly, trying to make sign language. “I am too his woman!” The Indian looked back at his followers, and they all laughed. Lily thought she saw a hint of a grin curve Caleb’s lips as well but decided she must have imagined it. “You trade woman for two horses?” Caleb lifted one hand to his chin, considering. “Maybe. I’ve got to be honest with you. She’s a lot of trouble, this woman.” Lily’s terror was exceeded only by her wrath. “Caleb!” The Indian squinted at Lily and then made an abrupt, peevish gesture with the fingers of one hand. “He wants you to get down from the buggy so he can have a good look at you,” Caleb said quietly. “I don’t care what he wants,” Lily replied, folding her trembling hands in her lap and squaring her shoulders. The Indian shouted something. “He’s losing his patience,” Caleb warned, quite unnecessarily. Lily scrambled down from the buggy and stood a few feet from it while the Indian rode around her several times on his pony, making thoughtful grunting noises. Annoyance was beginning to overrule Lily’s better judgment. “This is my land,” she blurted out all of a sudden, “and I’m inviting you and your friends to get off it! Right now!” The Indian reined in his pony, staring at Lily in amazement. “You heard me!” she said, advancing on him, her hands poised on her hips. At that, Caleb came up behind her, and his arms closed around her like the sides of a giant manacle. His breath rushed past her ear. “Shut up!” Lily subsided, watching rage gather in the Indians’ faces like clouds in a stormy sky. “Caleb,” she said, “you’ve got to save me.” “Save you? If they raise their offer to three horses, you’ll be braiding your hair and wearing buckskin by nightfall.” The Indians were consulting with one another, casting occasional measuring glances in Lily’s direction. She was feeling desperate again. “All right, then, but remember, if I go, your child goes with me.” “You said you were bleeding.” Lily’s face colored. “You needn’t be so explicit. And I lied.” “Two horses,” Caleb bid in a cheerful, ringing voice. The Indians looked interested. “I’ll marry you!” Lily added breathlessly. “Promise?” “I promise.” “When?” “At Christmas.” “Not good enough.” “Next month, then.” “Today.” Lily assessed the Indians again, imagined herself carrying firewood for miles, doing wash in a stream, battling fleas in a tepee, being dragged to a pallet by a brave. “Today,” Lily conceded. The man in the best calico shirt rode forward again. “No trade,” he said angrily. “Blue Coat right—woman much trouble!” Caleb laughed. “Much, much trouble,” he agreed. “This Indian land,” the savage further insisted. With that, he gave a blood-curdling shriek, and he and his friends bolted off toward the hillside again. Lily turned to face Caleb. “I lied,” she said bluntly. “I have no intention of marrying you.” He brought his nose within an inch of hers. “You’re going back on your word?” “Yes,” Lily answered, turning away to climb back into the buggy. “I was trying to save myself. I would have said anything.” Caleb caught her by the arm and wrenched her around to face him. “And there’s no baby?” Lily lowered her eyes. “There’s no baby.” “I should have taken the two horses when they were offered to me,” Caleb grumbled, practically hurling her into the buggy.
“All right, you,” she said, narrowing her eyes and pointing the shotgun. “Get out of here right now. Just ride away and there won’t be any trouble.” The Indian stared at her for a moment, then had the audacity to burst out laughing. “The major’s right about you,” he said in perfectly clear English. “You are a hellcat.” Now it was Lily who stared, slowly lowering the shotgun. “So that’s why Caleb wasn’t alarmed that day when you and your friends rode up and made all that fuss about the land. He knows you.” “The name’s Charlie Fast Horse,” the man said, offering his hand. Lily’s blood was rushing to her head like lava flowing to the top of an erupting volcano. “Why, that polecat—that rounder—that son-of-a—” Charlie Fast Horse set his coffee aside and held out both hands in a plea for peace. “Calm down, now, Miss Lily,” he pleaded. “It was just a harmless little joke, after all.” “When I see that scoundrel again I’m going to peel off his hide!” Charlie was edging toward the door. “Lord knows I’d like to warm myself by your fire, Miss Lily, but I’ve got to be going. No, no—don’t plead with me to stay.” “Get out of here!” Lily screamed, and Charlie Fast Horse ran for his life. Obviously he didn’t know the shotgun wasn’t loaded.
I enjoyed this book immensely, much more than I thought I would, I guess the humor is what did it for me. One day I hope to add this one to my physical book collection due to I enjoyed it so much.
Caleb pushed back his chair and fetched his hat from the bed, but not before he put his hand on the mattress and pressed to make the bedsprings squeak. The sound was so loud that Lily cringed, knowing what Wilbur and his men would think. “Caleb, stop!” she cried angrily. Caleb only grinned at her and repeated the process, once, then again, then again and again. “Damn you,” Lily whispered, “stop it.” He paused, watching the color climb her face. After deliberately stalling for several minutes he put on his hat, swatted Lily on the bottom as he passed her, and left the shack whistling. Loudly. Lily was so mortified that she could not bring herself to go outside, even after she heard Caleb riding away.
She was standing there, naked as a Greek statue, when the door suddenly opened and a gust of cool night air raised goosebumps all over her body. “I forgot my hat,” Caleb announced flatly, but his amber eyes burned as they moved over Lily’s naked form. She covered both breasts with her arms and lifted one thigh in an attempt to hide herself. She was so angry that for a long moment she just stood there, staring and shivering. Then she snapped, “Get out.” “You should lock the doors at night, Lily,” Caleb reasoned, collecting his hat from the peg beside the door. “I could have been a client.” Lily was seething. “Believe me,” she ground out, “I’ll lock it the moment you step outside.” Caleb chuckled and walked around behind Lily for another perspective. She turned, of course, but she wasn’t quick enough. She watched in helpless fury as he tossed his hat onto the table and raised his hands to his hips. “You know, Lily,” he remarked easily, “if you don’t get on with that bath of yours, the water’s going to get cold.” “I’d be happy to finish my bath,” Lily hissed, “if only you’d leave!” He laughed, then caught her suddenly around the waist with his hands. He raised her out of the water, and she was trapped against his chest. “I want a good-bye kiss first,” he said. “You’ll be lucky if I don’t bite off your nose!” Lily spat. She prayed no one was passing by the window and seeing her naked body silhouetted against Caleb’s frame. “Will I?” He carried her across the room and tossed her onto the bed.
“I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time,” he said in a dangerous drawl, “and you just gave me the excuse I needed.” “What—what are you talking about?” Lily demanded, stepping backwards. A drop of rainwater from the leaky roof landed with a disconcerting ker-plop on the top of her head. Caleb was unbuttoning his cuffs, rolling up his sleeves. “I’m talking,” he replied evenly, “about raising blisters on your sweet little backside.” Lily was careful to keep to the opposite side of the table. “Now, Caleb, that wouldn’t be wise.” “Oh, I think it would be about the smartest thing I’ve ever done,” Caleb answered, advancing on her again. Lily kept the table between them. “I might be pregnant!” she reasoned desperately. “Then again,” Caleb countered, “you might not.” The muscles of his forearms were corded, the skin covered with maple-sugar hair. “I wasn’t going to shoot you—I only wanted to scare you away.” Lily dodged him, moving from one side of the table to the other, always keeping it between them. “Caleb, be reasonable. I wouldn’t shoot you—I love you!” “I love you, too,” Caleb returned in a furious croon, “and right now I’d like nothing better than to shoot you!” Lily picked up a chair and held it as she’d seen a lion tamer do in an illustration in one of her beloved dime novels. Helga of the Circus, if she remembered correctly. “Now, just stay back, Caleb. If you lay a hand on me, I assure you, you’ll regret it!” “I doubt that very much,” Caleb replied. And then he gripped one leg of the chair, and Lily realized what a pitiful defense it had been. He set it easily on the floor even as his other arm shot out like a coiled snake and caught Lily firmly by the wrist. Like a man sitting down to a cigar and a glass of port after a good dinner Caleb dropped comfortably into the chair. With a single tug he brought Lily facedown across his lap. Quick as mercury he had her skirts up and her drawers down, and when she struggled he simply imprisoned her between his thighs scissor fashion. “Caleb Halliday,” Lily gasped, writhing between his legs, “you let me go this instant!” “Or else you’ll do what?” he asked evenly. Lily felt his hand caress one cheek of her bottom and then the other, as though charting them for assault. “I’ll scream, and Hank Robbins will run over here and shoot you for the rascal you are!” Caleb laughed thunderously at that. “You’ve had your little joke,” Lily huffed, “now let me up!” “No,” Caleb replied. Lily threw back her head and screamed as loudly as she could. “You can do better than that,” Caleb said. “Hell, nobody would hear a whimper like that in this rain.” Lily filled her lungs to capacity and screamed again. She was as surprised as Caleb when the door flew open and Velvet burst in, ready for battle. Color filled her face when she understood the situation. In no particular rush, Caleb released Lily, and she scrambled to her feet unassisted, blushing painfully as she righted her drawers and lowered her skirts. Caleb chuckled at her indignation and then stood up respectfully. […] Lily pretended he hadn’t spoken—that he wasn’t even there, for that matter—but the moment the door closed behind him Velvet burst out in uproarious laughter. “If this don’t beat anything I’ve ever seen!” she cried between yelps of mirth. Lily relived the incident in her mind and reddened accordingly. “He wouldn’t really have struck me,” she insisted. “He wouldn’t have dared.” Velvet’s guffaws became giggles. “His hand was about this far from your bottom when I stepped through the door,” she said, showing an inch of space between her thumb and index finger. “Yes, sir, if I’d been a second later, he’d have walloped you one.” “I don’t want to talk about it,” Lily said. “I don’t even want to think about that man.”