Tag Archives: Kara O’Neal

Guest Release–The Editor’s Kisses by Kara O’Neal

LOGLINE: A budding suffragette agrees to a fake courtship with the editor for a job…not love.

BLURB:

One kiss changes the whole game…

 Constance Forrester is a suffragette determined to change society. When Stephen Dawson, her school chum, starts a newspaper, she asks Stephen to take a risk and employ her as a journalist.

Stephen immediately turns her down. But his interactions with Constance have made the town princess, Madeline Talbut, curious. Stephen has loved Madeline for years, and he concocts a plan: enter into a fake courtship with Constance, and in return, Constance can be a journalist for his newspaper.

It’s a chance Constance can’t pass up. So what if she has to attend parties and withstand Stephen’s heart-melting kisses? A suffragette must forge through barriers, but when Stephen changes the game, Constance finds herself the object of the editor’s desire…

Book Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/u/31Y1ya

EXCERPT:

Setting: The Talbut Parlor

The Problem: An annoying parlor game

Madeline’s spinning of Constance was a little rough, but Stephen held his tongue. When their hostess let go, Constance fumbled for a moment before Stephen raised himself up and yanked her into his lap.

The shouts of excitement and delight that went around the room nearly deafened him. People playfully called out “cheater”, but Stephen didn’t care, especially when Constance whisked off her mask and looked immensely relieved to see he’d successfully caught her.

They headed to the closet without fuss. Constance almost looked as if she was dying to climb inside. She probably wanted to get the farce over with.

Once they were squeezed into the confining space, with their chests pressed together in a way Stephen had only fantasized about, she said, “Thank you. I don’t know what I would have done—”

He covered her mouth with his hand, having dislodged it from his side. Then he leaned near her ear. “They might be able to hear us,” he whispered.

She flinched.

He lowered his arm, and she let out a slow breath. He wished he could see her face. For more reasons than to satisfy his worry she was all right.

He did everything he could to ignore the touch of her body along his front. He tried not to remember how she looked, how her eyes lit up, how her expression sharpened when she was interested in something. Why had he watched her all night?

But he knew. He knew very well. She was captivating. Intriguing. And so damned lovely.

Why was he having feelings for her? Wasn’t his love for Madeline strong enough to withstand attraction for another woman? But if it was, he would be in the closet with his hostess and not the lady he pretended to the world held his fancy.

He had to kiss her. He had to discover if this attachment was real. Besides, if he didn’t kiss her, everyone would wonder why. And for some strange reason, he needed every fellow out there to understand Constance Forrester was his. He closed his eyes and realized his attitude was no better than a caveman’s. But the need to possess and brand raced through him without pause, and he couldn’t fathom how to check it. Except to kiss her and get her out of his system once and for all.

“Constance,” he uttered. “I’m gonna kiss you.”

She flinched again.

“I won’t hurt you, I swear it. But if I don’t kiss you…they’ll all question us and our…attachment.” He was an ass. He was using their agreement to coax her into acquiescence, and while he knew it, and was ashamed of it, he continued. “It will only be for a second. I’ll just brush my lips with yours.”

In the darkness, he felt her slight nod against his chin. His heart pounded at her quiet surrender.

When she pulled back as far as the space would allow and lifted her head to his, heat slashed through him. He’d never needed a kiss as much as he needed hers.

Madeline had kissed him. Once. Behind the schoolhouse when they were sixteen. And that moment hadn’t caused nearly the anticipation this one did.

He lowered his head and swallowed her gasp. It wasn’t a brush, even though he only set his lips on hers. It was a fire. A shot of whiskey that whipped through him and pooled in his gut. He deepened the connection, and she let him, sighing and sinking into him despite already being as close to him as he could get her.

He melted. He needed to move to the ground and cover her, press her down and make her his. He used his tongue, tasting her. She capitulated instantly and opened her mouth under his. He took what she allowed without hesitation as his free hand came up to grip her waist.

The damn closet was too small. His left hand was wedged between her side and the slender door. But though he couldn’t get his arms around her, he didn’t stop the kiss. It went on and on, stealing his breath, tightening his chest and making him doubt everything he’d ever known about his heart.

Rapid footsteps had him surging backward, and he knocked his head on the wall.

The door flew open, and cool air blasted his cheeks. He and Constance fell out of the space, their limbs tangling as they tried to right themselves.

Peals of laughter rung around them as Stephen reached out a hand to balance her. She latched on as if she didn’t want to let go, and his muscles vibrated with hope she had enjoyed the moment as he had.

It had taken less than a few seconds for him to realize kissing her had been the wrong thing to do. But also the most right, most perfect, most sound judgement he’d ever made in his life.

As those who’d crowded around the entrance to the kitchen went roaring with laughter back into the parlor, he gazed at Constance. And his world tilted.

Her flushed cheeks and bright eyes made his heart constrict with an emotion he was too afraid to name at the moment. But he knew what it was. He knew.

How in the devil had it happened? Was he a fool? A fickle man?

He swallowed. “Do you want to leave?”

And before his eyes, he witnessed a transformation that set his blood on fire. Determination changed her expression, and she lifted her chin.

“Certainly not. I’m quite all right, I assure you.” She gave a shake to her skirts. “We’ve a job to do, Stephen Dawson, and I’ll not let you down.”

She exited the kitchen with a swirl of satin, and he followed with less sure steps. She wouldn’t let him down, he knew it. But he feared he might disappoint her, for if she knew the direction of his thoughts, she would never forgive him. Constance Forrester had no time for any man. She had plans. Plans that didn’t include caring for the heart of the newspaper editor.

Born and raised in Texas, I chose to make the state the setting for my first series. From the food to the fun, like floating the rivers, it is the fire in my blood that inspires me. My family and friends take center stage in my books. My sisters and best friends are my heroines, and my husband created my favorite hero. Love and family are the point of my stories, and I seek to entertain, relieve stress, and inspire people. Books can take one on a journey that one can relive over and over. I am extremely grateful to those authors who did that very thing for me. I learned and I fell in love with their words and characters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

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Blog – The Story Continues — http://www.karaoneal.com/the-story-continues

Guest Interview of Kara O’Neal

Welcome to Kara who has several releases of historical romance fiction.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’m a teacher. I vowed up one way and down he other I wouldn’t enter into the profession. But God had other ideas. While I hadn’t planned on working in education, I certainly never thought about being an author. My sister challenged me to rewrite the end to a book I hadn’t cared for, and I did. In my head. Which opened up a new world, and soon I had four core families in a tiny Texas town in the late 1800s living in my imagination. It took thirteen years, and lots of rewriting, but I published my first book in 2013 and haven’t slowed down.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

Unfortunately, I don’t have time to do anything else. I’m a mother of a cellist, trumpeter, and baseball player. I’d love to continue scrapbooking, but our children are too busy to allow for that kind of hobby. It doesn’t disappoint me because it’s truly a joy to watch them do what they love, to see them grow and change. I can’t believe I am so fortunate as to know them.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

Well, the music I listen to while writing is whatever chant or cheer are played during an Astros or Texans game. I’m usually watching my favorite teams win, or lose, while I pen stories of romance and intrigue.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

I sure have. I am a native Texan and have traveled all over the state with my husband and children. All of my books take place in Texas, however, the 5th story, The Soldier’s Love, starts in Nebraska (I have been there, too.) and ends in Texas. The fort in my 5th book is based on Ft. Davis in West Texas.

Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).

When I get home, I almost immediately start writing. I write while I cook supper. I write in the car while waiting on a child to finish practice, or CCE, or a club meeting. I usually have about 30 minutes in the morning before I have to walk out the door, and I write then, as well. Every free moment I have, I write.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

Ireland. My husband is going to take me for our 20th wedding anniversary. I cannot wait.

In what genre do you read?

I read all books. I’ve read everything from Jane Austen to Tony Dungee (football coach). My absolute favorite author is Jane Austen. She transcends time. My favorite genre is definitely romance, though. I can’t get enough of people falling in love!

Love's Redemption 1019

BLURB

When she was little more than a child, Willa Kramer went to extreme lengths to save her family from their abusive father. After that horrible day, her mother and siblings moved to Tennessee, and Willa had hoped to leave Texas, its memories and Lonnie Davis, the only boy she ever trusted, behind. But fate is unpredictable.

Five years have passed, and Lonnie finds himself reunited with Willa, the only girl he’s ever loved. He’s determined not to let her slip away again, but a figure from the past looms, threatening his hopes for the future.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Resplendence Publishing

EXCERPT

Lonnie excused himself from Willa’s parents, and despite his silent commands to give Willa space, he couldn’t keep from following the lady who had occupied his thoughts for the last several years. It would be odd not to speak to her. They’d been close. Once.

When he stepped into the vacant kitchen, he caught sight of her form through the screen door. She stood on the porch, her hands lightly gripping the rail, gazing at the outbuildings, field and the trees shading Glebe Run. The breeze caressed her, sending wisps of her hair to float around her face.

He paused. His chest tightened. He’d waited a long time to see her, had wondered if he ever would. Years ago, she’d wrapped him around her little finger, and he’d grown so attached to her, he’d thought about moving to Tennessee to be with her. But then she had stopped writing. To say it had hurt would be an understatement. But he hadn’t been angry. He could never be angry with her. Never. And now she was back and near. It was too tempting.

After taking a deep breath, he moved forward then went through the screen door. Even though it gave a loud creak, she didn’t turn. Did she know it was he who stood behind her?

The light breeze ruffled her skirt. Her long, velvety hair grazed the small of her back. An ache centered in the pit of his stomach. He’d missed her. And now she was here. “Hello, Willa,” he said, hearing the gentleness of his tone.

She tensed before facing him. Her gaze was shuttered, as if she needed to protect herself from him. Was she afraid? Had he said something in his letters that had hurt her? An urgency gripped him.

“How are you?” he inquired, tamping down the questions he really wanted to ask. Instead, he searched her face for clues as to why she seemed guarded. In the past, he’d been the person she trusted, the person she leaned on. What had he done wrong?

“H-Hello, Lonnie. It’s good to see you.”

Was it? She didn’t seem happy. “It’s…really good to see you, too,” he couldn’t help admitting.

“Did you meet my step-father?” she asked.

“I did. Seems like a nice fellow.”

“He is. He makes Mother happy.”

When she didn’t continue, he racked his brain for a response. Nothing came to him. Her upturned face held determined lines, and the barriers in her hazel eyes left him silent.

“Greg likes him,” she inserted into the awkward silence stretching between them.

He linked his thumbs through his belt loops. “I haven’t seen your brother yet. Where is he?”

She nodded her head in the direction of the barn. “Checking on his horse. He brought Tracks with us. He loves that animal too much to be apart from him for long.”

Lonnie understood. He was the wrangler on the family ranch and dealt with horses most of the time. He had a special relationship with the animals. “And Shelby?” he asked, inquiring about her sister. If mundane conversation was what Willa wanted, he would respect that. Besides, did he really want to ask why she’d stopped writing? Did he really want to return to the road that led to Willa Kramer? It had taken a while to stop feeling something whenever he thought of her. And he still thought of her. Every day.

“Married. She lives in Oregon. She hasn’t met our step-father, but I’ve written to her about him.”

Which meant Willa had indicated whether or not she trusted the man. Lonnie figured she did. If the man hadn’t earned the respect of Willa, Lonnie doubted her mother would have married him.

“How was the trip down?”

She shrugged. “As comfortable as possible. I hadn’t ever ridden on a train. It was much better than the stagecoach ride from Texas to Memphis.”

The day she’d boarded that coach to leave Pikes Run had ripped out his heart. He’d watched her go, unsure of what she meant to him, what he meant to her. A week after the Kramer family had left, Lonnie had understood he loved Willa. He’d written. And she’d replied. But then, after the fifth exchange, she had stopped. Without warning. Without explanation. What had he done?

As he looked into her eyes, it was all he could do not to move closer, to cup her cheek with a hand. He was falling again. Or had he ever regained his heart? That invisible tug he’d felt around her had returned. In mere minutes.

He refrained from uttering a curse. It wasn’t her fault he was still drawn to her. He’d probably never been free of her, though he’d worked like hell to forget her. But seconds had destroyed whatever barriers he’d managed to build, and he drowned in her eyes once more. And again, just as it had been all those years ago, he only needed her in order to keep his head above water.

But walls lived in the depths of her gaze. Walls against him. His gut clenched. Hurting Willa was the last thing he’d ever wanted to do, but it appeared he had. The need to apologize burned his tongue.

“Lonnie,” a male voice called.

Lonnie spotted a lankier, taller version of Greg Kramer walking from the barn toward the porch. Gladness gripped Lonnie, overtaking the frustrated helplessness rushing through his veins. He met the younger man in the middle of the yard. They shook hands, grinning at each other. Greg was a welcome distraction.

“It’s good to see you,” Greg said.

“And you. You’re taller.”

Greg laughed. “I can almost look you in the eye, huh? Might be able to beat you at arm wrestling now, too.”

Lonnie lifted an eyebrow, a grin still tugging his lips. “We’ll see about that.” He gestured toward the barn. “Willa tells me you brought your horse with you.”

A sheepish expression came over Greg’s face. “I shouldn’t have asked my step-father to pay to stable Tracks on a train, but I didn’t want to leave him. I just got him.”

Lonnie could feel Willa’s eyes on him. His body tingled with awareness, and if he wasn’t careful, he was going to whip around and jump right over the imaginary fence she’d erected and ask her why she’d stopped answering his letters. He had to put some distance between them. “Can I see him?” he asked Greg.

The young man’s face lit. “Of course.”

As they fell in stride with each other, Lonnie heard the screen door creak. Willa was gone. His heart sank to the pit of his stomach.

Kara ONealKara O’Neal was born and raised in Texas.  After surviving those awkward years of 7 to 16, she spent two years at Sam Houston State University where she met her husband.  He followed her to Texas Tech University and was proud when she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Development.  Soon after graduation Kara followed her heart and became certified to teach Special Education.

She married the love of her life in 1998 and had three children.  The happiest times of her life are spent with her family and friends.  Kara is fortunate to be surrounded by the best and most amazing people God put on this earth.

When she was pregnant with her oldest child, Kara wrote her first novel.  And then rewrote it.  And rewrote it again.  She did this while teaching, raising kids, and traveling across Texas with her husband. Thank goodness for spiral notebooks!

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Character Interview From The Soldier’s Love by Kara O’Neal

The Soldier's Love

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

My name is Frank Dawson, and I am a First Lieutenant at Fort Robertson in Nebraska.

Where were you raised?

I was raised in a town in Texas called Pikes Run.

Family members?

Uh….several. Too many to list here, really. But each one is so important to me. Can’t get through life without them.

Did you always want to be a soldier?

Not at all. The woman I loved since I was fourteen decided to go to college instead of marry me. I didn’t take that well, so I left Pikes Run and joined the army. Truthfully, I hoped someone would put me out of misery, but thankfully that didn’t happen, and now I’m happily married to the woman who turned me down. We’re waiting for my papers of release to come through so we can go back to Texas, and I can go into the realty business with my pa.

List your favorite book of all time.

My favorite book will be The Chronicles of Sir Pendergast. My wife has a penchant for making up stories, and I’ve finally convinced her to write them down. She’s gonna be an author, I’m sure of it.

Talk about your favorite setting for courting a woman.

I’ve only courted one, but I’d have to say I did it well. We spent a lot of time on the banks of Pikes Run. With the moonlight, the babbling brook, the crickets singing….She didn’t stand a chance.

BLURB

When Jane Lonnigan refused to marry him, Frank Dawson got the hell out of Pikes Run and joined the army. As he took risk after risk, hoping someone would put him out of his misery, he consequently rose in ranks. Now he’s a First Lieutenant stationed at Fort Robertson, a crack shot, and the main communicator to the Chipsa tribe.

Frank broke Jane’s heart when he refused to wait for her to complete her education. Still, as she embarked on her journey to becoming a teacher, she couldn’t stop loving him. Her first teaching post is for the children of Riley Creek, the town Fort Robertson protects.

When Frank realizes Jane has become a fixture of the settlement he is a part of, he sets out to guard himself from being twice a fool. But as life swirls around them, Frank can’t help but return to her again and again.

A mistake causes Frank to hurt Jane and make her believe all hope is lost. She runs home, needing the welcoming arms of her family. When Frank learns what he’s done, he realizes he’s been a fool. He races after her, intent on winning her back. Can he mend her heart and have Jane as his wife?

BUY LINKS

Amazon

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EXCERPT

First Lieutenant Frank Dawson raced across the newly fallen snow, the bite of the wind searing his cheeks and burning his throat. He kept his gaze on the road ahead, galloping over the land, searching for the stage carrying the schoolteacher.

Three Rivers had come to him, his old eyes worried. Chief Etu had sent his trusted scout to tell Frank warriors had rebelled against his orders and went to intercept the coach. Frank had reassured the Chipsa chief the arrival of the teacher wouldn’t threaten his lands, and the wise chief had agreed. Despite Frank and Chief Etu’s efforts, there were factions of Chipsa seeking war, and now Frank raced to stop the renegades.

Other riders galloped beside him, his Second Lieutenant, Hunter McCoy, and Privates Timothy Elliott and Quincy Peterson. They hadn’t had time to assemble an adequate response of soldiers, but Three Rivers had told Frank only a few rebels had ignored Chief Etu’s command.

His heart pounding hard, he pushed Rounder, his horse, to go faster, desperate to save the woman courageous enough to educate the children of Riley Creek. The ground gleamed white against the deep blue of the sky. The land flattened ahead of them, and Frank bent low over Rounder’s neck, the beast breathing mightily as they bolted down the snow-covered road.

His blood pumped with determination when he heard the wild jangle of horse livery, the frantic rumble of the wheels and the whoops of the braves hunting the coach. Frank and his men crested the rise, giving their own cries of attack as their object came into view. Frank pulled sharp on the reins as his comrades flew past him. Rounder reared against the abrupt stop, but Frank kept his seat.

As the other soldiers darted toward the racing stage, Frank pulled out his long range rifle and took aim. Rounder had been trained to recognize his master’s intent and moved not a muscle. Steadily, Frank drew a bead on the lead warrior. Tracking his progress, Frank didn’t hesitate and pulled the trigger. One second after the shot rang, the rebel’s arms flew skyward, and he somersaulted over the back of his horse.

There were three more warriors, and the other soldiers bore down on them, firing their six guns with accuracy and speed. The Chipsa renegades fell, snow flying upwards as their bodies hit the ground. Frank kicked his horse into a lope, the urgency not as great now that the Indians had been stopped.

As he neared, the coach changed course and turned toward Riley Creek, coming at Frank. The driver remained standing, pulling hard on the reins as he worked to get the horses to slow. The shotgunner climbed over the baggage rack and tumbled into his seat.

The stage came to a stop as Frank drew abreast of the conveyance. The driver and shotgunner wheezed in unison, their chests heaving as sweat slid over their red faces.

“Are y’all all right?” Frank asked. “Any casualties?”

“Damn near thought they had us,” the driver panted out. “My girls were slowin’.” He jabbed a thumb at his partner. “And this fool didn’t get a one of ‘em.”

The shotgunner whipped his hat off and started smacking the driver. “You try shootin’ straight on top of a jumpin’ stage!”

The driver howled and put up his arms, protecting himself.

“It was your damn drivin’ what kept me from doin’ my job!”

Frank sighed and left the two to fight it out. He dismounted and walked to the side of the conveyance, ready to handle whatever state the schoolteacher might exhibit. When he opened the door, he found her huddled on the ground, her arms covering her head. Even through her bulky coat and woolen gloves, he could see she trembled.

“Ma’am?” he called. “It’s over. You’re safe.”

She flinched.

“I’m a soldier at Fort Robertson, ma’am. Have no fear.” He wanted to reach out and help her stand, but he wondered if the action would alarm her further. Was she in shock? As he opened his mouth to reassure her of her safety once more, she lifted her head.

His heart dropped to his toes when her blue gaze met his. Jane. As his brain worked to function, his heart seemed to revitalize in an instant, pounding so hard he couldn’t catch his breath. Jane.

“F-Frank?” she said, relief drenching her tone.

The sound of her voice… To hear his name on her lips after an almost two year absence… He clenched his hands into fists, fighting the urge to snatch her to him.

She moved to her knees, her limbs still shaking. Raising her arms to him, she said, “I c-can’t believe it’s y-you.”

Tears swam in the eyes he’d once adored. Her outstretched plea sliced at the organ she’d effortlessly killed when she’d refused to marry him. His spine rigid, he warred against lifting her from the stage. But the shock of seeing her, the fact she’d been the woman the braves had been trying to kill, was impossible to combat.

Moving forward, he fit his hands around her waist, the feel of her so familiar he almost groaned aloud, and pulled her to him. She circled his neck with her forearms, fitting her nose against his neck, just as she’d always done. The feel of her against him had him swallowing hard over the lump in his throat.

Unable to stop himself, he curled his arms around her, noting the weakness of her body as she leaned fully into him.

“I was so s-scared,” she confessed, her voice quivering. “And here you are. I c-can’t believe you’re here. You s-saved me.”

 

Kara (1 of 1)

Kara O’Neal was born and raised in Texas.  After surviving those awkward years of 7 to 16, she spent two years at Sam Houston State University where she met her husband.  He followed her to Texas Tech University and was proud when she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Development.  Soon after graduation Kara followed her heart and became certified to teach Special Education.

She married the love of her life in 1998 and had three children.  The happiest times of her life are spent with her family and friends.  Kara is fortunate to be surrounded by the best and most amazing people God put on this earth.

When she was pregnant with her oldest child, Kara wrote her first novel.  And then rewrote it.  And rewrote it again.  She did this while teaching, raising kids, and traveling across Texas with her husband.

Becoming an author was a dream she stumbled upon.  With the encouragement of her family and friends, she didn’t discard this risky adventure.  At this time, she would like to express her gratitude to her husband, parents, siblings, children, and friends for their support, love, and suggested revisions.

ONLINE CONTACTS

Website: www.karaoneal.com

Email: kara@karaoneal.com

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Twitter: @KaraONealAuthor

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