Injured ballerina Savina Lombard seeks refuge on her cousin’s ranch outside Morgan’s Crossing, Montana Territory until her foot heals. A dashing horse breeder/trainer arrives for his annual summer visit. Estefan del Vado comes from a family who raised championship trotters and his goal is to prove to his father the value of his cross-breeds. To accomplish that, he needs to win one of the season’s pacer harness races. On the Rolling M Ranch to train, he’s distracted by the delicate beauty who is determined that trick riding will be her new career. Using her dancing skills atop galloping horses is sure to win her a spot in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West exhibition. For a few glorious weeks, they share an enjoyment of the horses and getting acquainted. But when the time comes to pursue their separate goals, Savina and Estefan are split apart, geographically and emotionally. How will they discover a path they both can walk?
An Unlikely Marriage is a Montana Sky Kindle Worlds novella that stars characters Torin Quaid and Nola York who played a secondary role in the first story. Laced By Love, is still on sale for 99 cents and is on the best selling western romance list.
BLURB: Helping injured cowboy Torin Quaid drive mustangs north provides a way for vaudevillian Nola York to earn a train ticket east—and get one step closer to her goal of auditioning for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West stage production. The temporary marriage is solely for propriety’s sake. Until disaster strikes, and the two must rely on each other—emotionally and physically—to safely reach Torin’s ranch. Will a marriage of convenience turn into more on a trail drive through Montana Territory?
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A coil of rope hung from Banan’s saddle, and Torin fumbled with the ties until they came loose. He glanced around for a flattish rock to use to cut the hank. Darn this bum arm. Tensing, he stomped over to a gray rock that would serve. “If you hold the rope taut, then I can cut off a length from one end.”
She complied and, between the two of them, the eight- or nine-inch piece was cut free.
The length in her raised hand hung like a top-heavy shaft of wheat. “Should I just twist apart the wound coil?”
“Only one ply at a time.” If he had two good hands, he’d be almost done by now. “After each removal, check if it fits in the loop.”
Nola shot him a narrowed-eyed look before she stripped off her gloves and picked at the end of the strand, pulling a strip loose.
Maybe his voice wasn’t as calm as he’d thought. He crossed his right arm under his left to support the wrist.
“Don’t you have a story that goes along with a situation like this?” She stretched a ply away from the remaining length. “When we were in Morgan’s Crossing, you always had lots of stories to share.”
Torin clenched his jaw. Her gentle, precise movements reminded him of how his mother unwrapped a present at her birthday or Christmas. Favoring the strip-and-shred method, he’d never understood slow and savoring. He shifted his boots in the thick grass. Somehow, as Nic’s houseguest, he’d felt like he had to earn his keep by being especially congenial. No better way to make light of his stupid mistake in handling the wild stallion that caused his injury than to make fun of himself. “Nope. Never had to repair a wagon before.”
“Huh.” Her nose crinkled as she concentrated on peeling the rope.
Needing to feel like he contributed to this repair, he dug out the chain loop from his pocket and held it up.
Nola aimed the end toward it, but the strand was too wide. “Aren’t all ranchers supposed to know how to do those types of chores?”
The slander of his profession didn’t sit any better than the sting against his pride. He unclenched his jaw before responding. “Not when several men split duties on a ranch. Each has his own specialty.”
For a moment, her hazel eyes widened and she sucked in a breath. Returning her concentration to her task, she went silent.
Being terse toward your new bride on the first full day of your marriage was probably not the wisest act. Torin slipped his good hand into his back pocket and walked a few paces away, tipping up his head to study the wintery sky. Grayish-white clouds bunched together like tufts of cotton formed a puffy bank toward the north. He needed to keep an eye out in case they grew any darker.
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Monday, April 11th at noon/1:00/2:00/3:00p.m. or
young prostitute at the Blue Feather, keep her baby if she decides to leave the
whorehouse and become a respectable woman. But Beth hadn’t counted on the
obstacles she and the new mother will face from society in the mining town of
Lundy. From the obstinate landlady, Mrs. Ford, to her intractable German boss,
Gus Herschel, Beth must fight for the woman she’s promised to help. But Beth
Dodd never gives in, and she keeps her word with a stubbornness that Lundy folks
are not accustomed to seeing from a woman.Once Lulu, now known as the more respectable Louisa Parmley, starts working for
Gus in his kitchen, she proves that Beth was right to take a chance on her. She
has every intention of making a good life for her new daughter. But can she
also hope to find happiness with Gus? And will Gus be able to accept her and
baby Sophie Ann as his? Love was never in the cards for Gus, but Louisa dreams
of happiness with the stoic man, and Beth is determined to bring them together
through HER INDEPENDENT SPIRIT.
straightened and turned to Louisa. “You take care of yourself now, Miss Lulu.
Even though you’re no longer at the Blue Feather, you can still count me as
your friend. If anyone gives you any trouble, you get word to me and I’ll run
them off for you.”
glanced over at Mrs. Ford who stood only a few feet away. She did her best to
ignore the woman’s crossed arms and her face screwed into a grimace. “Thank
you, Albert. Your friendship has meant a lot to me. I-I hope I have no need to
call on you to help me, but I appreciate your offer. Good-bye.”
nodded and turned to leave.
Albert,” Beth stopped him.
turned back to face her. “It’s just Albert, ma’am.”
she ain’t Lulu no more. She done left that kind of life behind. If you have
call to speak to her again, it’s more fittin’ if you ask for Miss Parmley.”
stared at Beth for several seconds while he absorbed her words. Then he turned
back to Louisa and nodded. “Good-bye, Miss Parmley.”
This is not a photo of Mrs. Mary Ford, the Irish immigrant widow who owned the
Pioneer Boarding House in Lundy and also invested in the local mines. However, the
clothing style is correct for 1884, and this is how Zina Abbott pictures her.
Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels. You may
find the first two novellas in the Eastern Sierra
series, Big Meadows Valentine and A Resurrected Heart,
by clicking on the hyperlinks for the novel titles or by going to Zina Abbott’s
Amazon Author Page by clicking HERE.
links for Her Independent Heart:
#AmazonGiveaway on Blog Blitz:
I’m so pleased to announce the release of the first book in my Dorado, Texas series of western historical novellas. Wandering Home is an expanded version ( by 4,000 words) of a story previously available in a Halloween anthology.
Widow Vevina Bernhard sees mysterious lights at night and believes her Texas ranch Shady Oaks is haunted. She needs protection for herself and her 4-year old son but the town’s sheriff offers no help. Ex-Texas Ranger Kell Hawksen hires on as a farrier while hoping to collect the bounty by staying in the area and tracking a stagecoach robber. On Samhain, fire erupts and Vevina and Kell battle both the danger and the depth of their feelings.
Spotting the stone structure that must be the jail, Kell drew close enough to read the “Dorado Jail” sign. So, that’s the town I’m in. After weeks on the trail, he accepted the fact all the towns blurred into one. His usual contacts were only the sheriff and the proprietor of whatever saloon or boarding house had the cheapest room rate. Once his questions were answered about the quarry he sought this time, he’d be riding toward the next town.
After he reined in Pepper and dismounted, he fought back a groan at the dull ache in his legs. On the fourth day of his trek from Victoria, covering thirty miles a day, he was ready for a night spent on a straw-filled mattress, instead of the hard-packed caliche. First, he needed to check in with the sheriff to let the man know he was on the lookout for the stage robber Bert Benton.
Old habits died hard. Then, he’d seek out a quiet room, a cleansing bath, and a hot meal—in that order. Tied to the hitching rail was a bay horse and partway into the alley next to the jail stood a single horse buggy.
With swiping motions, he cleared the dirt from the day’s long ride from his shoulders and the front of his clothes, then shrugged off his long duster and tossed it across the saddle. Removing his wide-brimmed hat, he ran a hand through his too-long wavy hair, hoping for an appearance that looked a bit less wild. As he settled his hat on his head, he climbed the wooden steps, hearing the thud of his boot heels on the wood planks, aware of the rattle of his spurs.
At that same moment, he registered the sound of a pair of raised voices and a child’s cry coming from inside the office. Training kicked in, and he moved on instinct. Leaning flat against the rough-wood wall, he scanned the almost-deserted street for anyone watching the jail. Seeing nothing suspicious, he steeled himself for what he might find then threw open the door, letting it crash against the wall. He stepped inside, knees bent and hand hovering over the Colt slung at his hip, and took note of the room’s occupants.
A short woman jostling a tow-headed boy on her hip stood in front of the battered desk. A plain brown bonnet covered her head. Whimpering, the youngster rubbed at his eyes with fisted hands.
Lounging in a wooden chair resting on its back legs sat a dark-haired man smoking a thin cheroot. His shiny boots were propped on the desk, and a tin star adorned the breast pocket of a chambray shirt pulled tight over a bulging stomach.
All three people turned toward the door and stared.
No dangerous situation here. At the sight of the attractive woman, Kell straightened to his full height and dragged his hat off his head. “Beg pardon. I heard the young’un’s cry and thought to be of assistance.” Might be I need more than a single night’s rest.
Here’s a peek at the covers for the stories yet to come in the series: Storybook Hero and My Heart Knew