Renegade Most Wanted - By Carol Arens

Author Note

I have always been fascinated by the stories and the people of the Old West. Homesteaders in particular were a resilient lot who worked hard to build their homes and raise their families. My great-grandmother was one of them. She left behind the special gift of her memoirs.

She echoes through the pages of Renegade Most Wanted. You will find her in both our heroine, Emma, and her friend Rachael. Like Emma, my great-grandmother was a homesteader, and sold patent medicine for the relief of “female complaints.” Like Rachael, she was a preacher.

I am thrilled to bring you Emma Parker and her outlaw cowboy, Matt Suede. Come along with them while they wrench their love, their family and their home from the stubborn Kansas prairie.

I hope you enjoy reading this story as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

You may contact me at [email protected].

Warm wishes!

While in the third grade, Carol Arens had a teacher who noted that she ought to spend less time daydreaming and looking out of the window and more time on her sums.Today, Carol spends as little time on sums as possible. Daydreaming about plots and characters is still far more interesting to her.

As a young girl, she read books by the dozen. She dreamed that one day she would write a book of her own. A few years later Carol set her sights on a new dream. She wanted to be the mother of four children. She was blessed with a son, then three daughters. While raising them she never forgot her goal of becoming a writer. When her last child went to high school she purchased a big old clunky word processor and began to type out a story.

She joined Romance Writers of America, where she met generous authors who taught her the craft of writing a romance novel. With the knowledge she gained, she sold her first book and saw her lifelong dream come true.

Carol lives with her real-life hero and husband, Rick, in Southern California, where she was born and raised. She feels blessed to be doing what she loves, with all her children and a growing number of perfect and delightful grandchildren living only a few miles from her front door.

When she is not writing, reading or playing with her grandchildren, Carol loves making trips to the local nursery. She delights in scanning the rows of flowers, envisaging which pretty plants will best brighten her garden.

She enjoys hearing from readers, and invites you to contact her at [email protected].

Available from Harlequin® Historical and

Carol Arens

*Scandal at the Cahill Saloon

*Part of the Cahil Cowboys continuity

With love to my husband, Rick.

Cheers to thirty-six years!


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen


Chapter One

Dodge City, Kansas, 1881

Land sakes! What did a woman have to do to get a husband in this cowboy-thick town—dance naked on the back of a steer?

Emma Parker licked a film of dust from her lips to make them look moist and alluring, but it was no use. She had been perched upon the bench outside the land office for so long that the wind, a perverse thing that spared no regard for a woman’s appearance, had spun her into a mound of bedraggled frippery.

No wonder the men passing by paid her no mind. July sunshine burned down like a blister to complete the ruination of her gown. Damp pink taffeta clung to her throat while a hank of droopy lace sagged against her bosom. Truly, what had ever made her think to spend a years’ worth of egg money on the ineffective garment?

A drip of perspiration trickled between her breasts, not unlike the disturbing sensation of a spider skittering over her skin. Mercy, for a dime she’d take a plunge into the Arkansas River flowing south of town, new dress be hanged.

There might have been a cooler, less dirt-ridden part of town to seek a spouse, but the men here kept up a constant coming and going. Not a moment passed that one didn’t come out of the mercantile or go into the saloon. This ought to have been as easy as plucking peaches from a tree.

To bolster her spirits, Emma touched her breast where a letter from a former employer was folded between her skin and the lace of her shift. She no longer needed to see the letter in order to read it. Every word was memorized, burned into her heart, giving life to her dreams.

“‘Dear Emma,’” she recited in a whisper. “‘We