The mine lay deep in Colorado's San Juan Mountains, near the town of Silverthread,
and was rich in ore, overflowing with wealth that could make a family's fortune-or
destroy it. In it would begin the weaving of a web of deceit, a murderous tapestry
of lies that would mean the deaths of many innocents.
But also in the shadowy mine lay the path to redemption and love. Its labyrinthine
tunnels held a magic that could draw a woman one hundred years into the past,
into the arms of one who could make her life whole. But crossing time was only
To right the wrongs already done, to paint a new future, one brighter and full
of love, Cara Reynolds would have to unravel several mysteries. She would have
to depend upon the rugged man who emerged from the mine, trust his vow that he
would keep her safe and cherish her forever. Then, and only then, would she truly
understand the danger-and the power-of the Promise.
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
don’t believe I’ve ever been this happy.” Cara Reynolds hugged
herself in the backseat of the car. “It’s been such a marvelous day.
“Well, you’re the only daughter we have.” Her father’s
voice was filled with love. Cara felt it reach out and surround her as she met
his eyes in the rearview mirror. “Besides, you’re only going to be
“Thank goodness. I’m not certain I could take this kind of excitement
every day. First you give me the new foal, and then you take me up to the Mountain
Retreat for skiing, and then dinner at the Bristol. And now this.” She held
up the pendant hanging around her neck. “It’s a wonder I’m not
“Who says you aren’t?” Her father’s voice was filled
with laughter, and Cara thought again how incredibly lucky she was. Not everyone
had the family she did. A mother and father who doted not only on her, but on
each other. A grandfather who loved them all. She sighed with contentment. Life
was practically perfect.
“Do you really like the necklace?” Her mother shot a smile over
Cara caressed the smooth silver, her fingers memorizing each line of carving.
“It’s wonderful. It even feels old.”
“Almost a hundred years.” Her father squinted suddenly as a sharp
white light appeared over the top of a hill. “Come on fellow, cut your damn
brights.” His voice changed, his tone becoming irate.
“Jim.” Her mother reached over to place a gentle hand on her father’s
arm. “There’s no need to use profanity.”
Cara watched mesmerized as the light came closer and closer, its beam filling
the car with clear white light, throwing everything into relief. Her vision intensified,
her mother and father etched in her brain like a photograph.
There was an odd grinding noise, and she thought she heard her father curse
again. Then, against the sound of metal on metal and shattering glass, the world
spun totally out of control. She was thrown forward and then whipped backward
again, her head slamming into something hard. Light exploded in her brain, then
vanished, pain crescendoing and then dissipating, blackness rushing up to meet
her, engulfing her…
The world was amazingly quiet. And cold. Something soft and wet was tickling
her nose. And her head hurt. Not just run of the mill hurt, but threatening to
explode hurt. She tried to remember where she was, but her brain could barely
function over the power of the pain. With a deep breath, she forced her eyes open.
She was lying in the snow.
Which made absolutely no sense at all.
Gritting her teeth, she slowly pulled herself up on her elbows, trying to remember
where she was. The ground was bathed in an eerie light. Flickering. Firelight.
In a rush everything came back.
There’d been a wreck.
Her vision cleared and she focused on the burning wreckage. A pick-up was balanced
precariously on two wheels, its frame resting against something solid. She fought
against a wave of nausea, narrowing her eyes. Their car.
Her brain kicked in with a rush, overriding the pain to send a terrifying message.
Her parents. Oh God, where were her parents?
Biting back a sob, she screamed out their names. When her attempts to stand
failed, she crawled forward, inch by inch, still calling for them, her eyes searching
the wreckage, her heart slamming against her ribs, the blood pounding to her brain.
The truck shifted, slamming down on the sedan underneath. She opened her mouth
to scream, but before the sound left her mouth, both cars suddenly exploded, hot
flames shooting up into the air, the falling snow doing nothing to dampen the
A second explosion rocked the night. And hope died. Completely. Irrevocably.
Cara dropped to the snow, sobs wracking her body. The pain almost unbearable.
This time when the blackness came, she didn’t fight it. There was no pain
in its mind-numbing embrace.
No pain at all -- only peace -- blessed, blessed peace.
Michael Macpherson pulled his sheepskin coat tighter around him. It was cold.
Ball shattering cold. He bit back a laugh, hearing his father’s voice in
his head. Duncan Macpherson wasn’t one to mince words.
And he also wasn’t about to be out in this kind of weather looking for
cattle. No sir, he preferred to freeze his balls off up in the mountains looking
for that elusive mother lode. Or maybe, if he was really smart, he was holed up
somewhere with a bottle of whiskey for company. Michael had to admit that, right
at the moment, the idea held a certain appeal. Not that he would trade places
with his father.
Duncan had his share of problems. But then he also had Rose. Michael’s
mother was the love of his life and, truth be told, Michael longed for someone
like that in his life, too. Someone to wait up nights for him, the fire stoked,
supper warming. Someone to share things with, to build a life with.
He sighed. His mother always said there was one man for one woman, and that
his was out there somewhere. Waiting for him. All he had to do was find her. Not
that he was in any hurry. After all he was only nineteen. For the time being,
he was content to wait. There was plenty of time left.
He squinted into the falling snow, and tightened his hold on the reins. The
storm was worsening. The wind whipping the snow into a frenzied dance. The force
of it bordering on a blizzard.
He urged his horse forward, searching the gloom for lost cattle. Pete should
have been out here with him. He could have used the help. But the ranch hand was
laid up with a bum knee. An accident in the corral. And Patrick…
Hell, who knew where the kid was these days? At the Irish Rose helping his
mother and Uncle Owen, no doubt. Patrick had no interest in ranching. He’d
made that more than clear. Michael reined his horse in, his eyes catching the
shadowy mound of a cow under a tumble of rock.
Damn. It looked dead. He swung his leg over the saddle and dropped to the ground,
his long-legged stride taking him over to the fallen animal. It was covered in
snow, and he bent down to brush it off, his heart heavy. He needed live cattle
if he was going to make a go of his homestead. And the harsh Colorado winter,
seemed determined to take them from him one by one.
hand touched soft, cold skin and he froze, eyes widening in surprise. It wasn’t
a cow at all. It was a woman. He knelt beside her, searching for a pulse, his
eyes locked on her pale face. There were streaks of blood on her cheeks and her
hair was crusted with snow and ice.
An ice princess.
She was exquisite. Not a woman. A woman-child. And, unless he was badly mistaken,
she certainly wasn’t dead. He wrenched his gaze away from her and glanced
up into the blinding fall of snow.
One thing was certain, if he didn’t get her to shelter fast, neither
one of them would be alive much longer...