Innocent Fire

Innocent Fire

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Leaving behind the sheltered life of a French convent, Miranda journeyed to the New World and an arraged marriage to a prosperous Texan rancher. Arriving in America, the innocent European met her fiance's freind Derek Bragg, a rough-hewn Texas Ranger, whose harsh manner and candid comments about her beauty enraged the shy miss. Although Bragg fought to deny his feelings for his charge, he knew that he was falling in love with her. Miranda, too, was struggling with her desire for her escort as they trekked across the treacherous wilderness. Drawn to the lawman—enflamed by his raw masculine virility—will Miranda sacrifice her innocence to the fire blazing out of control in her heart?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380755615
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/29/2008
Series: Bragg Saga , #1
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Brenda Joyce is the bestselling, award-winning author of Promise of the Rose,Scandalous Love and The Fires of Paradise. All nine of her historical romances have been highly acclaimed, and four of them, including the first three novels in the "Bragg" saga Innpocent Fire, Firestorm, and Violet Fire have won six awards from Romantic Times and Affaire de Coeur. She has also won three industry awards for her trendsetting promotional bookmarks from Affaire de Coeur. Brenda Joyce is currently working on her next novel.

Read an Excerpt

Innocent Fire
Chapter One

Natchez, 1840

Miranda was afraid.

They had stayed in Natchez four days, waiting for her fiance to show up to escort her the rest of the way to his ranch just east of San Antonio. He had not appeared. Miranda was very, very glad, because all she wanted to do was to go home, to France, not England, back to the safety and security of the convent. She prayed, selfishly she knew, that the man her father had betrothed her to had changed his mind.

Miranda was as frightened of marrying this stranger, who had to be a barbarian-he was a Texan, was he not? — as she was of the country she was going to. It was a land she knew of only vaguely from her studies, but upon her father's startling disclosure, she had made a point of learning all she could about it. Mon Dieu! Her father was banishing her to a wilderness of savage Indians, wild animals, and barbaric men! How could he do this to her!

The shock had come so suddenly. One day Miranda was content-although maybe a bit restless — performing her duties at the convent, and the next she was being sent home, upon her father's request, with no explanation. She had been reluctant to leave, dreading the thought of seeing her father again, although she had been excited at the prospect of seeing her mother. Angeline had come to visit her several times over the past decade. She had seemed quite different, with a glow on her face, her eyes bright and sparkling. Miranda didn't understand it. She didn't understand, either, her mother's sadness when she'd asked Miranda if she wanted to return home and Miranda had replied that she preferred to remain at the convent.

Angelinecouldn't have guessed that Miranda would have chosen anything to avoid going home-her childhood memories were vivid and insurmountable. Home was a place of terror. The convent was a haven of comfort, security, and affection. She was loved there, even if she was occasionally the despair of the mother superior, who thought her too curious in some ways for her own good.

There had been nothing but shocks, one after the other. Her father in his study, looking exactly the way he had the last time she had seen him, ten years ago. He was huge and animallike, his face was covered with unkempt growth, and his eyes were red, very red, as if he had been weeping.

"Papa," Miranda said, curtsying formally. She held in check her fear of this monster — she would never forget what he was. "Is Maman here?"

Her father rose unsteadily. "No. No. I am sorry." His voice was hoarse, barely audible. "She's left me, Miranda. Left . . . "

Miranda started, thinking that her mother had run away again, finally, after all these years.

"She's dead," Edward cried in anguish, "She died in childbirth — and God, I killed her! I killed her!" He reached out suddenly and drew her into his embrace. "Your mother is gone!"

Miranda couldn't believe it-no, not Maman! Not beautiful, gentle Maman! "No!" she screamed, twisting away. "No!"

:'I'm sorry! Miranda, God — "

'You killed her!" she cried in uncharacteristic rage. She had never felt such rage; in fact, anger of any kind was a totally unfamiliar emotion to her. "I hate you! You killed her! Oh, Maman!" Without waiting for permission, Miranda fled from his study.

Her father didn't speak to her for a week. Miranda lived in a state of extreme fear. How could she have talked to her Papa like that? He would surely beat her, maybe even whip her-and it was no more than she deserved. She had been rapped on the knuckles a few times by the nuns, when she had been too wordly or too mischievous. And then there was that one time, when she was so young, when her father had struck her. But she had never been beaten before. He was a monster, a beast, like most men Sister Agnes had told her horrible stories about what had happened to her. She had been raped! — not that Miranda knew what that was. She didn't know anything about the facts of life, she did not know how babies were conceived, she did not know that men and women coupled. But she had heard her father's agonized, guilt-ridden words: I killed her! Papa had killed Maman! She hated him, feared him, and grieved for her beautiful mother all at once.

Edward called her into his study a week later. He had shaved and dressed neatly, and his eyes were no longer red. His face was lean and hard, and his virility, his magnetism, frightened her. His presence was overpowering. She couldn't help trembling.

"I have chosen a man for you to marry," he said bluntly.

Miranda gasped.

"I want grandchildren. A grandson. Your mother would want that, too. You are too beautiful and too rare to rot away in that damn convent." His dark eyes held hers and she could not look away, although she was stunned by his sacrilegious manner. "If you are at all like her, you will not regret my doing this."

Miranda couldn't speak. Her entire world had been crumbling piece by piece, and now lay in ruins around her feet.

"I met him a few years ago. He lives in Texas. He has a ranch, and thousands of acres of land. He is a gentle man, educated, and he will not hurt you. You only have to please him and he will worship you, believe me."

"Marriage! Texas! Papa, no, please . . ."

"You will not change my mind. He is already in love with you. He saw your portrait, the one Angeline gave to me two years ago, and he fell in love. He asked me then for your hand, but you were too young. I told him I would think about it. Last year, I agreed...

Innocent Fire
. Copyright © by Brenda Joyce. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Johanna Lindsey

Captures and doesn't let go.

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Innocent Fire (Bragg Saga Series) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
God, Miranda is wicked cold! I feel sorry for her husband! She acts like she's 11 years old. Weird story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Depressing, but hey. We all know Life isn't just rainbows and lollipops. I like it. Nice names, too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*Shade sat on a small wooden crate, thinking of the argument he had earlier with his divorced mom.* <br> "Tyrone, if you get arrested one more time. I will put you out of this house for good!" <br> 'Shade, you ready?' Said Teepoc,as he slide a pistol into his belt buckle. "Yea.." replied Shade. *Shade stood and pulled his skeleton mouthed,blue bandana over his nose & mouth, covering his blue pigmented skin. He followed closely behind Teepoc, until they saw Dead Rice, Juicy Jar, and Rad Money standing by a 2013 Black Mustang.* "Eh! Dead Rice! We ready!" Yelled Teepoc. 'Okay! Teepoc, get in the passanger seat. Juicy, you got the upstairs. Money & Shade, you two are gonna enter the store. Let's roll out!' *Shade tucked his pistol in his belt buckle and climbed into the backseat next to Rad money.* <p> *Shade & Money casually entered the convenience store and pulled out their pistols. Money pointed his pistol at an old chinese woman* 'Whwre's the money!' "Under the counter.." 'Shade, get the money!' *Shade hopped over the counter and grabbed a huge jar of money. He set it on the counter and climbed back over.* 'Yo, Shade! Get some beer too!" *Shade went toward the back,when yelling occurs. The yelling is followed by two gun shots and someone screaming. Money runs out the store with the jar of money; Shade walks toward the front. He sees his mom, bleeding to death on the ground. A shot to the chest & neck. He drops the beer and runs over to his mom* "Mom! Stay with me! Mom! No! Mom! Don't Go! Mom!!!!" <p> *The police sirens flash in the convenience store as they pass to follow Teepoc and them. Shade held his dead mother in his arms crying softly. The chinese ladywatched from her office, wondering if she should comfort him.* <br> *a police car pulled up to the store and Shade made a ran for it, after kissing his mom's cheek.* "We shall meet again..." <p> If you liked this chapter, I'll make another. Plz comment and give me advice. Okay! Bye now!
mds84 More than 1 year ago
loved it
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I found Miranda extremely frustrating. She was so "innocent" she was plain stupid. She was kidnapped three times by Comanches and was completely helpless. She was not an inspiring or likeable character. I will give Brenda Joyce credit for trying to come up with a different romance story. Miranda's christianity is mentioned throughout the story.