Title: Callie's Convict
Author: Heidi Betts
Published in July 2002 by Dorchester Publishing
Genre: Historical -late 1800's Texas
Lily White was getting out of the business. She wasn't born a whore, but sometimes life just wasn't what you expected. She was done now, and after this, she will be a wife and a respectable woman. That was why she made the awful trip to this hellhole of a prison. She had the means to secure the man she had decided on as a husband...Wade Mason. She had witnessed the whole thing, knew he was innocent. She saw Brady Young shoot his father in the back! His freedom should be worth marriage to her, she always liked Wade. When she gets Wade out, they will have a good life, and that is all that matters now. He will be grateful. Heck, he'd been locked up here in Huntsville Penitentiary for six months....seduction would be easy, and the rest would follow.
Innocent. That was not a word that rang in Wade Mason's ears. He had spent 18 months in that place, and he wasn't going back. Damn that Lily! Why did she die and why did let him rot there? If she knew he was innocent...oh, yeah...she was angry when she left him there. Well, he was out now, and he was going to get his son and prove his innocence. The Circle M was his ranch and he was going to get it back. He remembered every inch of that land and it was his home. He planned to take his son and raise him where he belongs....on HIS ranch. Purgatory, Texas was home, and no posse, not that land grabbing Brady Young, and no meddling woman was going to keep him from his goals. Thankfully Callie Quinn hadn't turned him in yet. It felt good to have the shackles off, and be clean. Callie had been fighting him tooth and nail about Mathew, his three month old son. There were still questions racing in his mind. The letter from Lily, her deathbed confession about what she saw that night. Information that she carried to her grave. The son she left behind. Another question, why did Lily leave his son with Nathan Quinn's sister? He didn't know if Callie had the answers he needed, but this didn't seem to be the time to ask. Yes, he was in her house, his son was being well taken care of, and her arguments were pretty good. The biggest question was her belief in his innocence. Did she believe him?
Callie Quinn had no idea what to do with this man who barged into her house in shackles, interrupted her bath, and demanded his son. She wished that her brother Nathan hadn't left her here on their small farm, but she can handle it. Wade Mason. The name was right, he was obviously an escaped convict, but there was something about he man that didn't feel right. He was gentle with Mathew, and seemed to care a lot more than she would expect from a criminal. He had numerous opportunities to hurt either of them, but he hadnt. He claimed innocence, and for some reason she thought he just may be telling her the truth. Heck, he was even a better cook. She was really filled with mixed emotions. Mathew was hers, Lily gave him to her and now this man, this convict wanted to take him away. She cannot even think about the fact that Wade IS Mathew's father, or these odd feelings that he is causing her to experience. I guess it all boils down to the truth. She can't watch him with Mathew and believe he is guilty of Neville Young's murder. She really doubts he could've shot anyone in cold blood. Could he prove it? Could she help?
Once again, Heidi Betts has taken us to Purgatory, Texas. A town that has been known in the past as a town where you could pay the law to look the other way, and even get away with murder. A town that has been changed recently by the new Sheriff, a former Texas Ranger named Clay Walker. This is a different town from when we visited the last time. This is a town where an innocent man just might have a chance, and the excitement, hardship, and danger that comes with the territory is only a normal part of life. Wade and Callie's story is a very touching blend of everything that the town has to offer. The road to freedom is fraught with potholes, like falling in love with a sharp-tongued woman, a three month old child, and the realization that there is a lot more to lose than just a ranch. Heidi has given us a wonderfully exciting trip back to a familiar town, a few familiar faces, and a couple of people who seem destined for love. For those of you who remember Purgatory, you will pass some old friends. For those of you who haven't been there yet.....Welcome to Purgatory. Life isn't easy here, but it is MORE than worth the trip. This is one you really don't want to miss, so you better put "Callie's Convict" on your must buy list now.
Yours in good reading,