Cinnamon and Roses - 2014 CoverResissued April 2014
January 2000
Leisure Historical Romance
ISBN 0-8439-4668-7

The High Cost of Loving A plain, hardworking seamstress, Rebecca had no business being attracted to wealthy Caleb Adams. Born fatherless in a brothel, Rebecca knew what males were made of. And Caleb was clearly as faithless as they came, scandalizing their Kansas cowtown with his fancy city women. Though his carnal lips tempted Rebecca beyond reason, she couldn’t afford to love a man like Caleb. For the price might be another fatherless babe …

Why, Caleb mused, would he be drawn to a calico-clad dressmaker when sirens in silk were his for the asking? Still, innocent Rebecca unaccountably stirred him. Left him indifferent to costly perfumes. Made him crave her simpler scents of cinnamon and roses. Caleb vowed to trust no woman with his heart. But he had to have sweet Rebecca, no matter what the cost …

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REVIEWS & AWARDS

Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award “Heart Beat” Reviewers’ Choice Award Nominee Heart of Denver RWA’s “Aspen Gold Award” Finalist “Cinnamon & Roses is an engaging and fast-paced tale with a wickedly handsome hero I won’t soon forget…a well-crafted debut novel that will leave readers eager for Ms. Betts’ next one. Excellent!” ~ Rendezvous (ASM)

“In Heidi Betts’ debut historical for Leisure, Cinnamon & Roses contains cinnamon and spice and everything nice and will warm romance readers’ hearts!” ~ Patricia Rouse, Romantic Times columnist

“Talented newcomer Heidi Betts scores big with Cinnamon & Roses, a sizzling tale of passion, intrigue, and enduring love set in the American West. A great read for history buffs and romance fans alike!” ~ Best-Selling author Merline Lovelace

EXCERPT

CHAPTER ONE
Leavenworth, Kansas 1880
If that arrogant pig thinks he can get away with this, he’s sadly mistaken. Rebecca’s hand tightened around the bill that had been delivered to her several minutes ago, along with only half the payment due. Not that Caleb Adams couldn’t afford it. The man’s father owned the Adams Express stagecoach company, Leavenworth’s only form of public transportation. It was bad enough that Caleb Adams had come to town three weeks earlier with his mistress in tow, but now he refused to pay Rebecca for the elaborate gown the woman had ordered. He’d sent what he thought “the gown was truly worth.” The gown was worth a small fortune in labor alone! Sabrina Leslie had taken nearly an hour to look at all the fashion plates, then decided that not one of them really appealed to her. Rebecca spent the next three hours drawing sketch after sketch until Sabrina declared it was “Perfect!” Rebecca thought it just plain tawdry. The gown was blood-red with a nearly non-existent bodice, the sleeves mere threads of silk covered by matching feathers. Feathers! Contrary to Sabrina’s beliefs, not every seamstress had red feathers just floating around in case some man’s mistress wanted them on a dress. Rebecca had been forced to buy a chicken from a farmer outside of town. Thank God he killed it for her before she’d had to pluck it and dye the feathers to match the gown’s material. If that isn’t worth a few measly dollars of Caleb Adams’s family fortune, Rebecca thought, I’ll eat my shoe! Which was now getting very dusty as she stomped down the main street of town toward the Adams Express office. For a Saturday afternoon, Leavenworth was fairly busy. Most days there were no more than half a dozen people on the sidewalks. But in mid-June, the local ranchers sent their cattle to be sold. That left the small town crowded with herds being brought in every day by men who needed a good night’s rest and a hot meal before moving on to Kansas City where they would ship the cattle east by railroad. The cattle drives would continue throughout the summer, making Leavenworth a bit of a boom town. Rebecca’s mind was not on the visiting cowboys, however, but on the man she was about to see. Don’t let his wealth intimidate you. Remember, you’ve seen richer men than Caleb Adams with their britches down around their ankles. He’s no better than you are. You deserve that money. Rebecca’s quick footsteps echoed on the boardwalk as she stormed into the Adams Express office, letting the door slam open and swing back on well-oiled hinges. Built all of oak, the walls were covered with maps, stagecoach designs, and time schedules. A marred but freshly polished counter stretched the length of the room, separating the ticket seller from those waiting on the available bench for their stage. Holbrook Adams, a gentle-looking gray-haired man in his fifties, stood behind the counter, his black waistcoat pulling tightly across his thick middle. He had always been very amiable and Rebecca thought that if she could choose a father, it would be someone as gracious and good-natured as Holbrook Adams. She was sorry he would be witness to the tongue-lashing she intended to give his less impressive son. “May I help you?” he asked, bushy salt and pepper eyebrows lifted curiously. Rebecca swept the room with a glance, spotting the dark figure of Caleb Adams sitting behind a desk in the small back office. “I’m here to see him,” she said and started forward. Holbrook made no move to stop her. Caleb’s tall form was bent over the table, scrutinizing the work in front of him. His suitcoat was slung haphazardly across the back of one of the extra chairs in the room, leaving him in a wrinkled white shirt. A loosened black string tie hung miserably around the collar as if it was about to give up all hope of surviving and plunge to its death. A tuft of pitch black hair fell forward, covering one of his dark-lashed eyes. She was sure he heard her entrance, but Caleb Adams had yet to look up. Rebecca stopped in front of the cluttered, scarred mahogany desk and waited. She thought about slamming the office door for emphasis but decided against it; she wanted his attention, she wanted her money, but she did not want him to think she was addlepated. Taking this opportunity to study him, she wondered how she ever could have found him the least bit attractive. When he had brought Sabrina to her shop to be fitted, Rebecca’s first impression of him was that he resembled an Arabian stallion. He stood half a foot taller than she, and in her mind she could easily place him running wild across a night desert, his dark coloring mixing with the shadows, his dark brown eyes flashing, reflecting the glow of the moon and revealing his desire to be free. But whether or not Rebecca found him handsome was a moot point. She had no intention of ever getting involved with a man. “Mr. Adams?” Rebecca forced through clenched teeth. Long seconds passed as he finished what he was writing and with aggravating slowness set the pen aside and lifted his head. “Yes?” “Mr. Adams,” she said again in a calm, business-like voice, holding the bill out for him to see. “You brought Miss Leslie to my home two weeks ago to be fitted for a gown, instructing me to send you the bill. I did that. But in this morning’s mail I received only half payment. Would you mind paying me the rest of what you owe?” Caleb Adams reached across the desk and took the crumpled papers from her hand. “Did you read the letter I enclosed?” he asked with calm diplomacy. “Yes, I did, and I must tell you that the gown I made was worth every penny I charged.” “I beg to differ, Miss . . . uh, what was it again?” “Rebecca.” “Well, Rebecca,” he said smiling lazily, his eyes glittering. “I’ve bought many gowns for Miss Leslie–some even more extravagant than the one you made–and they have never cost so much. You must understand that I won’t pay more for a gown out here than I would in New York City.” Rebecca pressed clenched fists into her hips, stifling the urge to throttle the arrogantly handsome man who stared up at her as if she were the one who didn’t understand the value of a dollar. “Mr. Adams, might I remind you that you are in Kansas now. Things may cost a bit more. Especially when supplies have to be transported from larger cities. The silk used for Miss Leslie’s gown, for instance, I ordered from New York. So, you see, it most likely would cost less if you had the dress made there.” “Still, the price you’re asking is outrageous. I won’t pay.” “You will,” Rebecca said calmly, though her blood was boiling. “I will not,” he repeated, smiling that maddeningly complacent smile once again. “Oh, but you will,” Rebecca insisted, stepping forward until the edge of the desk pressed against the front of her thighs. “If I have to be your shadow every day for the rest of your life … If I have to haunt you, even after death, you will pay me for that dress.” “Be my shadow? Haunt me?” A deep, sardonic laugh filled the room. “Would you really go that far, Miss Rebecca?” “Mr. Adams,” Rebecca said, tilting her head forward a bit, stressing his name as he had hers. “You have no idea how far I would go to collect what is owed me.” Caleb leaned back in his chair, calm radiating from every pore of his body. “That could be very amusing. You haunting me through all eternity over a silly gown Sabrina will probably wear only once.” Rebecca bit the inside of her mouth, expecting to taste blood. She tried to breathe evenly, waiting until the urge to kill Caleb Adams passed. “Do you have any idea how long I worked on that gown or what I had to do to please your Miss Leslie?” She could feel her body turning hotter with every word. “I had to pluck a chicken. Do you hear me? A chicken!” “Whyever would you want to do something like that?” Rebecca gave in to her fury and kicked the foot of his desk, succeeding only in redirecting her anger from Caleb Adams to his equally despicable furniture. “I did not want to pluck the damn chicken! I did it because Miss Leslie guaranteed me that you would pay generously for my trouble. Otherwise, I assure you, she could have gone without those blasted feathers!” Not waiting for a response, Rebecca swung around, stormed out of the office and through the front door–a little less gracefully than she had entered. Without a glance, she passed people on the street she normally would have stopped to talk to and brushed off their concerns over her noticeable limp. How dare he refuse to pay her! She had slaved day and night over that dress, sewed until her fingers bled. And for what? Half of what the wretched thing was really worth. Rebecca didn’t stop her fast pace until she reached the peace and solitude of her home. She slammed the door behind her as hard as she could and went directly to the stove to put on a pot of water for tea. Now what would she do? How would she ever break even? Rebecca mumbled a curse under her breath, damning Caleb Adams to eternal Hell.
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