Tag Archives: Texas

Release Promotion–Destiny’s Secrets by Kara O’Neal

I’m so excited to introduce you to Andrew and Ben, mischief-making twins, who are private investigators and catch the case of their life. They must reunite sisters who were kidnapped and torn apart at ages 3 and 2.

I have to tell you that my fingers flew over the buttons of my laptop on this one. There was so much to write, so many characters to flesh out. And I absolutely adore that steadier, calmer, and quieter Andrew gets trail-blazing, pants-wearing, veterinarian, Jo Tatum as his lady love, while fun-loving, never serious, mischievous Ben ends up with Charlotte Ryan, a math wizard who has more courage in her pinky than you can shake a stick at.

These sisters don’t know each other, and Andrew and Ben must bring them together. It’s a story filled with joy, sorrow and bravery. I loved writing every word of it.

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Pike’s Run, Texas, 1882

Andrew and Ben Lonnigan, brothers and private investigators, have accepted an important case—to reunite the long-lost DuBois daughters with their rightful inheritance. Abducted from their childhood home in New Orleans when they were three and two-years-old, Jo and Charlotte were adopted by separate families.

Andrew heads north to find Josephine Tatum—a pants-wearing, spitfire veterinarian who challenges his mind and captures his heart. Ben travels south to find Charlotte Ryan—the financial mind behind her father’s ranch, with a sweet disposition and, unfortunately, a fiancé.

As the sisters journey toward destiny, Charlotte must guard her heart against Ben, a man too daring to ever return her love. And Andrew must hide his feelings from Jo, a woman determined to carve her own path. While the foursome battle feelings, they must also war with a villain from the sisters’ past, one with the will and the means to destroy everything the DuBois daughters hold dear.

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EXCERPT

“You aren’t gonna talk just because I won’t sleep in the tent with you?” Andrew asked.

Jo took a deep breath and glared at him, trying to rein in her temper.

“That’s more of a punishment for you than me,” he went on. “I’m not much for conversation. My brother is better at it. I prefer silence, but you sure seem ready to explode with things to say.”

He looked at her with such ease that her good sense left her. “I think it’s rude of you to tell me outright that you find me ugly.”

“When did I say that?” he replied.

“When you told me you weren’t going to sleep in the tent with me.”

He made a face. “No, I don’t think I said that.”

She rolled her eyes. “Fine. You implied it.”

“No, you inferred it. I implied something altogether different.”

She sat ramrod straight. “What do you mean? What else could you have meant?”

He shrugged. “Maybe I can’t share that cramped space with you because I find you too damned attractive.”

She reared back.

“Maybe I’m trying to protect you from my inability to leave you be and not touch you.” He watched her carefully, his gaze direct and intent.

Her breath came more quickly. “Do you mean to tell me…that you…you find me desirable?”

“I do.”

She almost declared the ridiculousness of the statement. But it wasn’t. Not at all. It shouldn’t be. What was absurd was his honesty. And even more unbelievable…she tried the control of someone as disciplined as he.

Pleasure burst through her. She couldn’t help but grin at him.

He cursed.

The heat in his gaze made her pulse race, and she stood.

He shot to his feet.

And now she picked up on his nervousness. It was subtle, but she could tell he considered running away. He’d given her a powerful piece of information, and he didn’t even know if she found him attractive.

She walked the ten paces necessary to get to him.

He didn’t back away, but she could sense he steeled himself against whatever she planned.

“You can sleep in the tent with me. I’d like that very much.” She heard the husky note in her voice.

His brown eyes went warm, and her body melted. She refrained from leaning into him.

“We probably ought not to,” he ground out.

“Why?” she murmured, stepping even closer. Her breasts almost pressed against his chest. “I won’t tell anyone.”

He narrowed his eyes at her. “Have you done this before?”

“What?”

“Seduced a man.”

“Is that what I’m doing?”

“Yes,” he clipped.

Born and raised in Texas, I had 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.

WEB CONTACTS

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Blog – The Story Continues

Guest release promotion–The Cowboy’s Embrace by Kara O’Neal

Fate brings his greatest regret back into his life…

 

Sixteen years ago, Lily Spero lost her parents and siblings to a villain on a white horse. When she visits the Swinging A Ranch, her past collides with her present, opening wounds long buried and shockingly creating hope where none had been before.

Deacon Tolbert is the foreman of the Swinging A Ranch. He’s carved a niche in the world all his own. But when Lily Spero arrives, the girl he abandoned years ago, he’s forced to face the most gut-wrenching moment of his life.

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EXCERPT

He would come back soon. He would. He wouldn’t leave her here.

Lily assessed the park with its strong oaks and maples and winding packed dirt paths. She bit her lip and worked hard not to cry. She was a big girl. She was eleven, and he’d asked her to be brave while he was gone.

As she hid in the shade, she sank down to the grass, huddled against a trunk and hoped no one noticed a frightened, stranded, black girl. Where was he? What was taking so long? He only went to find food for them.

Morning turned into noon. People came. Some to eat their lunches on blankets they spread on the ground. Others to walk the picturesque paths. She pulled her knees into her chest and buried her nose in her dirt-caked pinafore. It had been yellow once. A pretty color as bright as the sun.

As she rocked back and forth, she prayed. She repeated over and over the words her mother had taught her. With her eyes clamped shut and her lips moving without ceasing, she implored to Heaven for Deacon to return.

But hours passed. Faces swam before her, asking her questions, giving her food. She couldn’t answer the nice strangers. Just gazed down the path, hoping, waiting, her heart dying.

Where are you? Please come. Please come back.

She silently begged to see his familiar form, dressed in overalls and a threadbare work shirt, coming around the bend to carry her away. But he didn’t come. And the kind people didn’t leave. They took her home with them, and Lily didn’t argue, even though their pale skin struck uncertainty in her heart. She couldn’t think. Deacon, she grieved.

And his name was the pained whisper on her lips every night, the perpetual cold ache in her heart…that could never be filled.

Born and raised in Texas, I had 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.

WEB CONTACTS

Website

Bookbub

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Goodreads

Blog

Blog – The Story Continues

 

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.

WEB CONTACTS

Website

Bookbub

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Goodreads

Blog — http://www.karaoneal.com/blog

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

Backlist Promotion–Sparked by Fire

I have my very own Fourth of July story that contains more than one type of sparks. Sparked by Fire is the fourth (see a pattern?) story in my “Dorado, Texas” series of sweet historical romance stories.

sparked.fire.web

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Ivey Treadwell, cook at her family’s boarding house, wants to accomplish something big. For now, she satisfies herself with improving on the traditional recipes for the boarders by adding gathered herbs and spices. An incident with a broken pot causes her to see Berg Spengler, the town’s blacksmith, in a new light.

Stigmatized for his huge size and blamed for his brother’s injury, Berg has discovered being alone is safer for his heart. But when he sees interest spark in Ivey’s eyes, he decides to take a chance and approach her. The pair discovers an attraction that heats up each time they are alone together. Will Ivey convince Berg his wandering days are over and his home is here with her in Dorado?

BUY LINKS

Inside Romance

KOBO Books

Amazon

For those who love to read a series from the start:

AYearOfRomance.web

The collection titled A Year of Romance includes the first four holiday-related stories of the “Dorado, Texas” series: Wandering Home, Storybook Hero, My Heart Knew, & Sparked by Fire. (also available in print from Amazon)

BUY LINKS

Inside Romance

KOBO Books

Amazon

 

Release Day–My Heart Knew

myheartknew.web

I am proud to announce the release of the third story in my western historical “Dorado, Texas” series, My Heart Knew. The story of Maisie and Dylan first appeared in an anthology but this novella has been expanded and revised.

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Tomboy Maisie Treadwell is restless, feeling confined in her small Texas frontier town. From the moment she meets cowboy Dylan MacInnes, the sparks and words fly. Of course, if she didn’t cause his ankle sprain, their relationship might have gone more smoothly. To appease her mother’s worries over the boarding house’s reputation, Maisie is at the mercy of meeting Dylan’s demands. A shared interest in adventure stories draws them closer. Soon, Maisie can’t wait to spend time reading aloud to the recuperating virile man. Until the afternoon she overhears him explaining that his demands were meant to teach her a lesson. Can Dylan find a way to again win her trust?

BUY LINK for $.99 (KU is free)

Amazon

EXCERPT

The sound of a throat clearing made her whirl and swipe the back of her hand at the hot tears tracking down her cheeks. “Oh.”

Mister MacInnes filled the doorway, balancing on his right foot with a rough-cut tree branch under his left arm as a crutch. “Ready for me?”

Those three words struck her like a match to kindling. Many times Maisie had been inside a boarder’s room with that male present. But never had her palms itched like they did now. Could that be guilt? Or some other feeling? Quickly, she set down the volumes and ran a hand over the quilt, wondering if he’d be bothered by daisies and summer ferns. “A straight-back chair usually sits by the window, and I’ll have to locate it. Or I can carry in a cushioned one from the parlor. And bring in a footstool.” Hoping to move the attention away from her babbling, she swept a hand in that direction. “I’ve placed an extra pillow for resting your foot on the bed.” What was she saying? The fully-grown man knew why the pillow had been put there.

Mister MacInnes stared at the bed with a narrowed gaze and then shook his head. “Let’s try the bed.”

“What?” She jerked and stepped back, knocking a boot heel against the wall. Heat flamed in her cheeks, but she restrained herself from covering them with her hands. The heightened color drew enough attention to her embarrassed state.

He flicked his gaze to the pillow and back to her before speaking. “I meant, could you help position the pillow under my foot? Maybe even fold it double.”

“Of course, sir.” Maisie slid the pillow tight against the carved wooden footboard and waited as he limped across the rag rug and eased onto the quilt-covered mattress. This man was so tall he might not fit in her bed.

The ropes supporting the straw mattress creaked under his weight, and he scooted until he’d centered his large body in the bed. Clasping both hands under his knee, he lifted and then jerked his head. “Okay, slide it under.”

Maisie jumped forward to comply to center the pillow. “There, how does that feel?”

“As good as can be expected for having a sprained ankle.”

The mention of his injury shot contrition through her. “I want to tell you how truly sorry I am about running into you and causing this.” She swung a hand toward his bandaged foot and accidentally bumped it.

“Damnation, girl.” He sucked in a lungful of air through clenched teeth.

“Oh, I’m so clumsy. Again, I apologize, Mister MacInnes.” To keep from causing another accident, she clamped both arms around her middle. Not until she spotted his granite-stiff expression relax did she breath out a sigh of relief. She pitched her voice low. “And I’ll be thanking you for not revealing to my mother the composition of what I was wearing when first we met.”

Mister MacInnes cocked an eyebrow and looked toward the doorway. “She doesn’t know her daughter dresses like a man and rides alone on the prairie.”

Doesn’t Everyone Love a Field Trip?

One aspect of being a writer I enjoy a lot is the research. Lots of information can be gathered by spending time online. Now, the trips we used to take to the reference desk at the local library are reserved only for when we get stuck. Clicking links at the bottom of Wikipedia pages can sometimes be like going down the proverbial rabbit hole. Some can lead to obscure articles. But I have followed URLs and found original sheet music from the 1850s or playbills from a 1870s opera. I lucked out when I located a vaudeville poster from the 1880s (in Google images) that gave me great ideas on what to include in my story Laced By Love that featured a traveling vaudeville troupe. Yesterday, I needed a reference to Catholic saints for a short story titled Golden Moments and found who I needed on Wiki. Did you know a patron saint exists for clowns and carnival workers? Amazing.

Today I’m driving, heading almost as far south as Texas extends—to South Padre Island to a writers retreat with friends from my San Antonio chapter. Yesterday, I spent time in a small town that I’ve kept in my mind as being the one I’ve used as a base for my fictional town of Dorado. I wanted to walk the layout of the real town, snap some pictures, and see any historical buildings or places. The series, Dorado, Texas, contains both contemporary and historical stories with ancestors, descendants, and entangled families. My goal following this trip is to write an origin story for how the town was first settled. With what I learned, I know the creation will be easier.

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

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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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My Sexy Saturday–On With The Show

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This week’s theme is A Long Sexy Time and focuses on couples who have known each other a long time. This theme fits perfectly with the story in my novella, On With The Show, that includes high school sweethearts who meet up years later. Read on and enjoy…

The steering wheel jerked in his hands, and Dietz pulled his full attention back to the road. Too many sideways glances at the tense woman illuminated by the dashboard lights could put the SUV in the roadside ditch. Hell, he shouldn’t enjoy seeing the flash in her whiskey-colored eyes and her lips tighten into a straight line. But he did…always had.

Probably why his marriage to Trina had only lasted two years. She’d been too damn compliant. Too late, he’d learned a passive personality wasn’t what he’d wanted in a partner. “How are you faring in the big city?”

“Big city? You make Houston sound like another planet.” A deep inhale sounded and she ducked her head. “Sorry. I’m primed for my family to ask the same question. Guess I shouldn’t take out my frustration on you.” Shifting in her seat, she turned and her lips spread in a smile.

His gut tightened. In a flash, he hurled backward more than a decade when her light brown eyes focused on him with adoration. Regret ran through him and he tightened his grip on the steering wheel. “Just asking if you’re still happy there.” When what he really wanted to ask was if she’d ever thought about moving back home. About giving life in small town Texas another chance. Don’t go there, don’t open those old wounds.

The truck jostled over a pothole and his hand shot out to hold her back, the sleeve of his coat brushing her breast. Smooth, Reinhardt. “Sorry.” He barely got out the words on a whispered breath. Then he dropped his arm to rest his elbow on the console.

“I’m okay.”

Had he heard her voice squeak on the last syllable?

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