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Day Six of my American Collection Celebration Week... Renegade Love

What do you do when the heroine from the second book in the series is already married when you introduce her in the first book of the series but you have no idea who her husband is? You wait for him to show up. That’s how Renegade Love came about.

When I introduced Rosalita in Untamed Fire I found her to be meeker than I expected and I wondered why. She hadn’t been raised by a loving family as Gaby had, which definitely contributed to her docile nature. But there were other things that became apparent about her as well, the courage she had but hadn’t recognized and her generous heart. As I wrote about her I grew more curious than ever to meet her husband. I was not at all prepared for how he entered the book or who he turned out to be.

I said it before and I’ll say it again… I’m thrilled to finally be able to write this book. I had hoped to write Renegade Love right after Untamed Fire (that was over 20 yrs. ago) but my publisher at the time turned the book down… didn’t care for my hero… too violent of a past and too dangerous. I’m so happy I am not able to tell Esteban and Rosalita’s story.

Here’s the part in Untamed Fire where Esteban shows up, though you never see him. Let me set the scene for you. Raphael and his men have just rescued Gaby and Rosalita and the trio have been sitting around the campfire talking.

 

Rafael suddenly sat up straight and looked about, his brows drawn in a frown and his lips set tightly.

“Is something wrong?” Gaby asked, feeling the tension in his body.

“I thought for a moment…”  He let his words trail off. “It’s nothing.”

“Your instincts are as good as ever, Rafael.”

Rafael remained still at the sound of the deep voice that seemed to echo out of the darkness.

His men instantly aimed their rifles into the blackness that surrounded them.

“Hold your fire!” Rafael yelled. “And put the weapons down.”

“Wise decision, my friend,” the voice said.

“I know you too well. Your men surround my camp. We have no chance against you.”

“This is true.”

Rafael released Gaby and stood. He spoke into the darkness as if the strong voice had the power to be everywhere at once. “What is it you want, Esteban?”

A dark figure emerged from the shadows of the night, but kept on the outskirts of the campfire’s light so as not to be seen.

“You have something that belongs to me.”

Rafael stared at the black figure, puzzled. “I have something that belongs to you?”

“Yes, although through no fault of yours, but I must insist you return it.”

“I don’t know of what you speak, but if I have it in my possession and am free to return it, I will gladly do so.”

“Good, then you’ll receive no trouble from me.”

“I’m glad to hear this. Now, what is it I have?”

“My wife.”

“Your what?”

“Wife!”

“I don’t have your wife. Gaby belongs to me and Rosalita—”

“Is my wife and belongs to me.”

Rafael turned and looked at Rosalita as if it could not be possible. This sweet young woman could not be married to such a monster.

Rosalita stood slowly. “I’m sorry. I should have told you.”

“I can understand why you didn’t. Esteban isn’t known for his kindness,” Rafael whispered, feeling sorry for the young woman. “Do you wish to go with him?”

“Do I have a choice?”

“Of course you have a choice,” Gaby said, standing and joining the two by the fire.

Rosalita smiled at Gaby as if she was a child unaware of the danger that surrounded them.  “It is best I go.”

“Rafael, tell her she doesn’t have to,” Gaby insisted.

“No,” Rosalita said. “I will not place any of you in danger.”

Gaby turned and stepped away from the fire. “Rosalita is staying here with us,” she shouted.

Rafael ran his hand over his face in frustration and Rosalita cringed.

“You control your woman good, Rafael,” Esteban said with a laugh.

“She is my sister,” Rosalita yelled to protect Gaby. “You will not hurt her.”

There was a heavy silence. Rafael reached out and pulled Gaby back behind him.

“Rafael may not object to his wife speaking such, but you will hold your tongue or suffer the consequences.”

Gaby opened her mouth and Rafael quickly clamped his hand over it. “Shut up,” he ordered sternly. “You will only make it worse for Rosalita.”

He released her and she remained quiet.

“I will go,” Rosalita said.

“But—”

“No, Gaby, I must go,” she insisted before Gaby could object any further. “You have given me strength and courage, and I am grateful.”

Gaby threw her arms around her and hugged her tightly. “I shall miss you.”

“And I you,” Rosalita said with tears in her eyes.”

“Will I see you again?” Gaby asked.

“I will be in touch with you somehow. I must learn how my father is. Take care and thank you for all you have done for me.”

Rafael stopped her from going any farther with his hand to her arm. It got the desired response.

A fierce growl sounded before Esteban warned, “Let go of her.”

“I will, but understand she has been through much. She has a bruise on her face and I imagine on other parts of her from the fight she took part in.”

“Who inflicted this bruise?” Esteban demanded angrily.

“The man is dead,” Rafael informed him.

“Then I owe you a favor, my friend.”

“Not necessary, Esteban, just be gentle with her. As I said, she has been through much.”

“Thank you,” Rosalita whispered to Rafael before walking away from him toward the dark figure.

As she approached a hand reached out and quickly snatched her into the mouth of darkness.

Gaby shivered fearful for Rosalita and Rafael hugged her to him.

“Who is he?”

“A very dangerous man.”

 ~~~

 Renegade Love will be available either late 2012 or early 2013. If you would like to be notified when the book becomes available send an e-mail to donna@donnafletcher.com with Renegade Love in the message box.

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