Forged in Desire

(Desire, Oklahoma: The Founding Fathers 6)

Erotic Romance, Historical, Cowboys, MF, HEA

Leonora Tillman worked in her father’s store in Tulsa, Oklahoma, always hoping that Emmett Pike from the Circle T would come to town.

Emmett Pike looked forward to going to Tulsa and seeing Leonora, not suspecting that this trip would change both of their lives forever.

Returning to the Circle T with an injured bride, Emmett soon discovered that Leonora was even more desirable than he’d expected.

Her passionate nature soon enthralled him and he found an outlet for his playfulness with his willing wife.

They became closer by the day, and when an unexpected chance to go to Tulsa again arrived, they went together so that Leonora could check on her father.

But when the owners of the Circle T made Tillman an offer, no one suspected the turn of events that would follow that would bring them even closer.


Emmett watched the doctor cut away the shoulder of her dress, bracing himself for what came next.

As he’d expected, the doctor turned to meet his gaze. “I need you to hold her. If she doesn’t move, I can do this quickly. If she moves, it could cause even more damage.”

Emmett inclined his head and met Leonora’s gaze. “I’m sorry.”

“Just do it. Don’t let me move.”

“I won’t.” Emmett held her firmly, clenching her jaw through her cries and struggles as the doctor removed the bullet. “Come on, Doc. Get it out.”

The doctor lifted the forceps from her wound, the bullet clasped in them. “It’s out.”

Emmett grabbed the cloth again and wiped the tears and sweat from Leonora’s face and neck. “You’re so brave. Just a little more for Doc to stitch it up.”

“Can I hold on to you?”

Emmett smiled. “Dynamite couldn’t tear me away.”

Leonora nodded, her smile tense. “Thank you. How’s Pa?”


Leonora grimaced when her brothers, Stan and Henry, burst into the doctor’s office. “Lord have mercy. Doc, please hurry.”

“Pa! What happened?” Stan rushed to his father’s side, paling when his father didn’t answer.

Eb stopped Henry from shaking him. “He’s resting. It’s his heart. He needs rest and quiet.”

Henry rushed over to stand at the foot of the cot, glaring down at Leonora. “We heard he was shot. What the hell are you doin’, lyin’ down instead of sittin’ with Pa?”

Emmett didn’t often lose his temper, but he came perilously close. “Do you see the doctor workin’ on her? The blood?”

Leonora gripped his hand tighter and winced when the doctor pierced her skin with the needle. “Shootout. I got shot.”

Eb seemed to recognize Emmett’s mood and moved to stand between him and Henry. “There was a shootout in the street. A stray bullet shattered the store window and hit your sister.”

Emmett held Leonora’s gaze. “Almost done. Right, Doc?”

Doc smiled, not appearing at all intimidated by his tone. “One more stitch. Henry, Stan, if you can’t be quiet, get out.”

“What the hell were you doin’ in the store? I told you to sew my shirt!” Stan’s anger toward Leonora frayed the edges of the control Emmett fought for. “I’ll bet you didn’t fix supper either! Doc, finish fixin’ her up so we can take her home to make supper.”

“Stop talkin’ to your sister that way.”

Eb rushed back to Tillman’s bed. “Easy, Tillman. Don’t get worked up.”

“If I die—”

“You’re not gonna die. Just lie back and relax.” Eb’s low tone contrasted sharply with the anger glittering in his eyes.

“If I die, they’re gonna make her their slave.”

Emmett turned back to Leonora, breathing a sigh of relief when the doctor tied off the last stitch. “Can she have a little more laudanum?”

Leonora shook her head, wincing. “No. Pa needs it. I have to go back to the shop and board up the window.”

Emmett turned to glare at Stan and Henry. “No. You’re not. I think Stan and Henry can handle that.”

Eb bent low and spoke to Tillman. “We took our order, and I went to the bank and gave them the money. They’re puttin’ it in your account.”

“Thank you.”

Henry turned. “You coulda given it to me.”

Tillman took a deep breath and winced. “You woulda spent it at the saloon. Lee, you need to get married. If I die, your brothers ain’t gonna ever let you get married.”

Leonora released Emmett and used her good arm to try to sit up, but Emmett caught her, flattening a hand on her back to hold her up.


Leonora had paled even more. “Pa, I’m not marrying Charlie Mason.”

The doctor bandaged her shoulder and glanced at Emmett. “Hold her arm here so I can put the sling on.”

Keeping a hand at her back to support her, Emmett held her arm in place, furious at her brothers. “Calm down, darlin’.”

Stan leapt forward, clearly enraged, but he stopped abruptly when he saw Eb’s and Emmett’s faces. “She’s our sister. You can leave now. We’ll take care of her. Come on, Lee. Let’s go home. We’re hungry.”

Emmett waited until the doctor had finished securing the sling before rising to his feet, enraged. “She’s not going home with you.”

Stan placed his hands on his hips, probably in the hopes of making himself look bigger, when both of Lenora’s brothers were the same height as her and barely came up to his shoulder and were so thin that a strong gust of wind could blow them over. “This is none of your business. Henry and I will take care of everything until Pa’s better.”

Eb shifted slightly, placing himself between Emmett and Leonora’s brothers. “Emmett, we—”

Emmett strode past Eb. “She’s not going home and cooking dinner for you.”

“She’s our sister, and as long as Pa is under the weather, we’re in charge of her.”

Emmett’s hands tightened into fists at his sides. “In charge? Not that you’re responsible for taking care of her, but that you’re in charge of her? She’s a woman, and she’s been shot!”

Henry shrugged. “It’s not like she’s a dainty little thing. She’s as tall as we are and strong as a horse.”

Eb chuckled. “She’s as small and dainty as you both are.” He lowered his voice. “So what are we doin’ here, Emmett?”

Emmett scraped a hand over his jaw, watching Leonora leaning back against a pillow and apparently sleeping. “I can’t leave her here with them. Tillman’s gonna be out of commission for weeks. If he survives.”

“So what do you want to do?”

Emmett looked back at Leonora again. “I’m gonna marry her and take her back to the ranch.”