In honor of Father’s Day, the Bachelors & Babies series is on sale for a limited time.
Find the titles on the Amazon series page here.
In honor of Father’s Day, the Bachelors & Babies series is on sale for a limited time.
Find the titles on the Amazon series page here.
1890, Bear Valley, CA
Rancher Gibson Bartleigh travels to Pine Knot to investigate how his younger brother was swindled out of his mining claim. He finds the suspect, businessman Bernard Heinrik, at a poker table and squares off opposite him. Gib goads the man into betting big, staking the mining claim and then ends up with the winning hand and retrieves the deed. Goal achieved, he heads back to the hotel, planning how he’ll leave in the morning and arrive triumphant in Redlands at the family home in time for holiday festivities.
Mail-order bride Trudel Andersen traveled from Los Angeles to Pine Knot to meet up with her fiancé, Mister Heinrik, with whom she’s been corresponding for several months. But he’s a day overdue in meeting her. She waits in the hotel lobby with her lace-making materials and her little dog, Butterscotch. Released from the orphanage two months earlier, Trudel has been on her own and terrified she will always be so.
When Gibson realizes he’s the cause for the lovely lady’s misfortune, he’s stuck with a dilemma. If he confesses what he did, he’ll have to offer the woman a ride back to where she came from. Propriety demands they marry, and both agree it’s only for the duration of the trip. But will forced proximity deepen the relationship into something more?
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Daydreamer Melisande Avenelle wishes all the social engagements her mother insists on would just disappear so she can focus on her quilt making. Where some artists see images in dabs of paints, Melisande imagines landscapes made from the fabric of the dresses worn at a tea party. After her refusal of the third man put forth by famed matchmaker Madame Treszka, she’s informed she must choose from three groom candidates arranged by her mother. Thinking Texas can’t be as bad as Newport, Rhode Island, for social engagements, Melisande boards a westbound train with the matchmaker as chaperone.
Widower Quinton Azar has a six-year-old son who wants a mama. Since his late wife’s passing four years ago, Quint divides his days between breaking horses for the Army and parenting his son with no time for courting. His mother manages the household and tends to her youngest grandchild, although she would love to move to Galveston to live with her sister. The telegram announcing the arrival of his mail-order bride—a woman his mother corresponded with—on the next stagecoach is a shock. Quint drives the wagon into town, intending to pay for her return ticket. The beautiful, but disheveled, woman who disembarks the stage is too dazed to trust traveling on her own. What has his mother arranged for his life?
If only she could back home, and in her sewing room, working on her latest fabric creation. She looked toward the closest window. Ah, to be outside and breathing the fresh breezes off the Rhode Island Sound. Through the glass spread a bounty of pink buds on a cherry tree. If she gazed long enough, the edges of the tiny blossoms would blur, creating clouds of—
“Did you hear me, Miss Avenelle?”
Jerking her head to the left, she cleared her throat. Had the man across from her asked something? Earlier, his droning, nasal voice delivering his highly acclaimed poem scattered her thoughts, like they escaped ahead of a buzzing bee.
Abner Thistle arched a bushy eyebrow and looked down his long nose, an action which flattened his double chin.
“No, Mister Thistle, I didn’t. Could you please repeat it?” Melisande dared not look in her mother’s direction for fear of the condemnation she’d see. Mother dragged her to this poetry reading for the specific purpose of encouraging another meeting with the acclaimed poet.
Please don’t ask what I think of your work. She would hate to have to admit she’d been transfixed by Penny Dunbar’s gown of green faille silk patterned with yellow and white flowers. With a reinforcing layer of muslin, the fabric would be perfect for the patch of landscape in her latest quilt hanging commission.
“I asked if you had any thoughts on the poem I read.” He wedged the Delft-patterned tea cup under his long mustache and slurped. His watery blue gaze stared across the low table between their seats.
She expected to see drips falling from the whiskers but they remained dry. “Oh, yes. Of course, you’d want to know.” How could she politely verbalize she really had no thoughts about the plight of a slug working its way across a gravel pathway? She’d read the great poets—Lord Byron, William Wordsworth, Phillis Wheatley, Robert Burns —and Mister Thistle would not be remembered among their number. “Well, sir…” She glanced down, wishing her cup wasn’t empty so she might stall by taking another sip. “I like to spend time in our garden and appreciated your inclusion of a lesser-known insect in your work. Not everyone appreciates how hard life is for slugs.” A statement containing a compliment and an indication that she had been listening must prove worthy of polite conversation.
His brows pinched, and he huffed out a breath. “Not an insect, Miss Avenelle. Slugs are gastropods.” He set aside his cup on a nearby table and leaned his elbows on his thighs. “I chose the slug because its vital purpose of ridding the garden of dead vegetation is often overlooked. I thought the imagery was so clear. But you appear to have missed the entire spine of the poem. I was making a comparison about how hard man must struggle through the dead ends of life to achieve each and every reward.”
Why did he use the word spine about a creature who possessed none? Telling her she didn’t understand the poem’s theme bordered on rudeness. Rather than dwell on hurt feelings, she admitted, at least to herself, she just hadn’t cared. “Oh, I see.” But she truly didn’t. If that’s what he meant to say, why not use those words? Weren’t poets supposed to be masters of the English language?
FREE in KU
I’m thrilled to announce my next story in the “Entertainers of the West” series is now available. Set in the Montana Sky world established by Debra Holland’s award-winning books, Chasing Adventure takes place in the fall of 1887 in Sweetwater Springs and Morgan’s Crossing.
Dime novelist, Thora Alviss, seeks out an ex-US Marshal, Harte Renwyck, for an interview, but he wants no more publicity about his past life. Determined to make her stories better, city-bred Thora rushes into exploring the frontier life. Thora’s thirst for a good story is stronger than her ability to get herself out of danger and Harte comes to the rescue time and again. Will she give up and return east, or will she learn the survival skills she’s been writing about?
Ex-US Marshal, Harte Renwyck, has left his past behind and looks for no more acclaim, but a pesky author wants to interview him about his former profession. While Harte can’t deny a growing respect for her efforts to make her stories stronger, he’s been wronged by the press in the past and fights to keep his distance. Can he look past his prior grudge and see the adventurous woman close at hand?
Free in KU and for purchase at AMAZON
“No hotel?” Wide-eyed, she stumbled and grabbed for the rail. “How will I ever find him?”
At her words, Harte narrowed his gaze. She sought a man but hadn’t made arrangements for said man to meet her? Strange. The woman’s face paled, and Harte edged close, fearing she might faint. If ever a woman was out of her element, that person was Miss Alviss.
“I’ll help the lady, Jack.” Before thinking through the situation and realizing what he obliged himself to, he’d opened his mouth and made the offer. Why not? He had to walk in the same direction to return to the office and could carry a bag or two. A stroll through town with a pretty lady on his arm could prove a pleasant diversion. He thought back to the last time he’d walked out with a woman. A casual activity he hadn’t enjoyed in too many months to count. Or could even be years.
Miss Alviss flashed a smile, creasing a dimple at the left corner of her mouth. “What a truly chivalrous and gentlemanly offer, deputy. I do admit to being a bit travel weary and the assistance is much appreciated. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.” Giving a nod in his direction, she continued up the steps.
Lofty praise for lending a neighborly hand. When was the last time he’d had such pretty words aimed in his direction? Moving with the speed of Mercury, Harte vaulted the steps to the platform and rounded the corner of the depot office. A small mountain of luggage comprised of a portmanteau, two valises, two carpetbags, and a satchel squatted beside a wooden bench. His boots skidded to a stop. Looked like he’d be the one making multiple trips.
“Oh, dear.” She let out a sigh. “In New York City, the porter used a push cart, and the quantity of my bags didn’t pose such a problem.” She dashed forward and grabbed the satchel, lifting the long strap over her head so it rested on her opposite hip. Then she leaned over and reached for a carpetbag.
Knew she was from a really big city. Not wanting her to strain anything, Harte moved to her side. “I offered, although I didn’t know you had so many pieces. But I’ll manage. Somehow.” For a man accustomed to traveling light, he couldn’t imagine what she packed inside all these cases.
Cheeks blushing, she straightened and turned her head, her neck stiff. “Deputy, I am a healthy woman perfectly capable of assisting with the transport of my own belongings.”
“Duly noted, miss.” His words came out more clipped than he intended. Years of dealing with criminals had stolen his ability for idle talk. Setting his jaw, Harte hoisted the portmanteau to balance on his left shoulder then stooped to grab the handles of the matching carpetbags. “If you lift the valise, I can stretch my fingers around the handle.” Barely, but for his pride’s sake, he needed to make the offer.
Bending over, she lifted both valises. “I’ve got them. Now, if you’ll indicate the direction, we’ll be on our way.”
The corner of the leather case dug into his shoulder, and his right hand already ached from the weight. “Head toward the brick building down a ways on the opposite side of the street. The boardinghouse is past the mercantile.” He trudged down the steps, each move jolting his shoulder muscles. The lady’s rigid posture and swishing bustle informed him she still resented his thoughtless remark. Not exactly how he envisioned his morning walk through Sweetwater Springs. Chivalry, my backside.
Lockets & Lace is a multi-author series of sweet historical romance set from the 1850s to the 1910s. Each author, contributor to the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog, wrote in a favorite time period and some tied their contribution to an existing series.
TENDING TROUBLES is also book 7 in my Dorado, Texas series.
Traveling west to become a mail-order bride is the most adventurous act Bostonian Imogene Franklin ever did. Unfortunately, the groom chose another so she must tables in the Dorado café.
Guilt hangs heavy over Reggie Othmann, who thinks his childhood illness caused both his parents’ lives. His goal of becoming a doctor is met, but he’s unsure of his abilities with patients. When illness descends on the town, Reggie and Imogene tend the townspeople, but is their emotional tie born of the closeness of the ordeal or perhaps something more?
BUY LINK through the January 29th release day only 99cents (rising to regular price of $2.99 on Tuesday)
Also, join the fun at the Facebook event announcing the launch. Prizes include a book locket, a lace handkerchief and a $40 Amazon gift card.
BLURB Rilleta Northcliffe’s world has already been turned upside-down with her father’s arrest. While traveling to Colorado as a mail-order bride, she is traumatized by a gang of thieves. Only the steady green gaze of a stranger keeps her sane. Dairy farmer Wit Vanderveer wished he could have done more to prevent the blonde’s involvement with the gang. Safely in Jubilee Springs, neither can stop thinking of the other. Is the shared danger the lure between these individuals, or did Rilleta and Wit discover they have much more to offer one another?
This story is book 9 in the multi-author Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs series and features the younger sister of the heroine from book 1, Perfectly Mismatched. Readers who enjoy clean romance set from 1820-1929 might be interested in the Sweet Americana Book Club on Facebook.
Where is the southbound train? He had to get back to Jubilee Springs to handle the evening milking. Straightening to his full height, he looked over the majority of the heads of the milling crowd. The lines of passengers at the ticket windows were three or four people deep. He added himself to the back of the closest one and bit back a groan. Inactivity never sat well. Nor did time away from the land he’d worked so hard to improve and nurture. While he waited, he glanced around, interested at the travelers who appeared to come from all walks of life.
Outside, a black carriage with gold filigree accenting the doors drove up to the front curb of Union Station and stopped. The driver hopped down and jogged around the back of the carriage.
The matched pair of chestnut horses caught Wit’s eye. Nice form and confirmation, well muscled with luxuriant manes and tails. Someday, he’d add a matched pair for pleasure riding to his stable of Belgian draft horses. Someday.
The driver pulled open the side carriage door, and three well-dressed ladies stepped out in quick succession—a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead. They moved toward the entrance with the driver bringing up the rear as he juggled several satchels and valises.
His gaze was caught by the slender blonde lady with ringlets that swayed and bounced with each step. Wide-eyed, she glanced in all directions, like she’d not traveled much and the comings and goings of the depot were as entertaining as a circus. For a moment, he lost sight of her through the narrow arched windows as she ascended the steps, even though he rose onto the balls of his feet. Then he spotted her silhouetted in the doorway and couldn’t break his stare. A small straw hat with a white ribbon perched on her head. The cut of her blue dress fit her figure well, and the full skirt swished along the polished parquetry floor.
A throat clearing from behind snapped his attention to where he stood. The line had progressed while he’d been occupied—more like gawking—with the lovely stranger. With one long stride, he closed the gap.
A hiss of brakes sounded followed by three sharp blares of a whistle.
Finally. Wit stepped out of line to check on the engine’s number. As he moved toward the conductor calling passengers for points south, he collided with someone who stepped into his path. The heady scent of lavender tickled his nose, and he reached out his free hand to steady her. “Pardon me.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry, sir.” A giggle sounded. “I wasn’t watching where I was going. I’m anxious to find my train.”
The sweet sound, light and airy, rang like a tiny bell in his head. Wit wrapped his hand around a feminine elbow, thin enough his fingertips touched his thumb. Vaguely, he registered this woman was the same young one whose arrival he’d been watching. He looked down into a pair of bluish-purple eyes the color of a Rocky Mountain columbine that grew at the highest elevations of his meadows. When he finally registered the lady’s expression had changed from wide-eyed surprise to frowning concern, he released his grip and gestured his abdication of the right of way. “Please, proceed.”
The woman dipped a curtsey. “I’m obliged. Would you know if that’s the train to Jubilee Springs?” A hand covered in a lace glove waved toward the train. But her gaze roved his face, eyebrows winged high.
His heart stuttered in his chest. This lady is traveling to my town? Not used to being the object of female scrutiny, Wit shuffled his boots and nodded. “That it is, miss.”
“Thank you.” Then she turned and waved a hand. “Missus Millard? This train is the one.” She scurried to rejoin the other two ladies.
Within a few seconds, Wit lost sight of her in the passengers gathering around the conductor. Then he shook his head. Just as well. All his energy should be focused on streamlining the dairy procedures for optimal output. After moving through one car with no aisle seats, he claimed one in the next passenger car. A quick glance at the other passengers located the group of three ladies sitting together at the far end. All he saw of the blonde were the ringlets dangling below her hat. Again, not his business.
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.
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?
For those who love to read a series from the start:
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)
If you read historical romance and want a couple of great bargains, try my Montana Sky Kindle Worlds stories that are on sale during June for only 99cents each.
Laced By Love is one of the original 14 launch novels that expanded the little mining town of Morgan’s Crossing established by Debra Holland in two of her books, Mail-Order Brides of the West: Prudence and Mail-Order Brides of the West: Bertha.
A vaudeville troupe arrives in Morgan’s Crossing late in the traveling season. When an event occurs that shakes up the troupe, seamstress Cinnia decides to say no to older sister Nola who has made the sisters’ decisions since being orphaned a decade earlier. Leather worker Nicolai Andrusha is lying low and using an alias until the patent is approved on his family’s leather tanning formula. But he finds the auburn-haired poetess irresistible. Will Nicolai oppose his family obligation to help the stranded beauty who has caught his eye?
buy link Amazon
An Unlikely Marriage follows the second York sister’s relationship in a marriage of convenience story.
Helping injured cowboy Torin Quaid drive mustangs north seems like a good 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. Easy-going Torin liked the pretty brunette the first night he saw her performing on stage, and he admires her determination to complete the drive.
The temporary marriage is solely for propriety’s sake to avoid scandal on the week-long overland ride to Meadowlark. 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?
Buy link Amazon
Now here’s my entry in the “Grandma’s Wedding Quilts” series. I set this story in my “Dorado, Texas” world so many of the secondary characters are known to my readers. But that won’t stop your enjoyment–the story stands on its own merit.
When Ione Forrester calls off her wedding, she becomes the social pariah of Des Moines. Much to her society parents’ chagrin. To escape the gossip, Ione accepts a teaching job in Dorado, Texas, vowing to avoid scandal at all costs. Relocating from a doctor’s household with cook and maids to a room in a boarding house is quite an adjustment. Then she has to face her biggest challenge—a schoolhouse full of students.
Carpenter Morgan Shipley’s business is doing well and now he’s looking for companionship. An ad for a mail-order bride brings a deluge of letters, which prove more than he can handle. To his surprise, an intriguing woman from a big city arrives in his small Texas town. Correspondence is nothing like interacting with a flesh-and-blood woman every day. But gossip-leery Ione wants nothing to do with Morgan’s attempts at courting, which makes him try even harder.
Amazon buy link SPECIAL 99cents today (price will rise to regular $2.99 after release day)
Morgan tracked the woman’s progress around the backs of the occupied chairs to the empty one to Penn’s right. He noticed everyone else watched her movements, as well. Strangers in this small town were always objects of speculation—like he’d engaged in hours earlier. Lowering to his seat, he again forced himself to look away to avoid appearing rude.
“Ivey, will you announce tonight’s menu?” Missus Treadwell unfolded her napkin then started serving big spoonfuls onto plates and passing them.
As she pointed to the meat platter, Ivey grinned. “The main course is a ragout of pork with mushrooms, wild onions, and turnips.” She gestured toward other bowls. “Mashed potatoes with chopped garlic and parsley, pickled beets and artichoke hearts, buttered corn, and rolls.” She removed the cover from the closest bowl and scooped a spoonful of potatoes onto the plate before handing it to her left. “As is probably obvious, I’m the cook here at the boardinghouse.”
“Berg Spengler, town blacksmith.” The bear of a man ducked his head as he passed the plate.
“I’m Maisie Treadwell, and I’m the maid.” The woman with honey-blonde hair served a portion of beets and handed the plate top the next person, quickly repeating the gesture with the next one.
“I hope the potatoes don’t have too much garlic.” A dark-haired boarder giggled. “I have to work tonight.” She added a serving of cut corn and passed the plate. “Oh, I’m Olivia Domingo, and I am a barmaid at the Golden Door.”
Morgan glanced across the table in time to see the new woman’s eyes shoot wide and her backbone straighten before she passed the plate to Penn.
Then she pulled her expression back to neutral. “My turn, I suppose.” The stranger leaned forward and gave a little wave.
Ah, she speaks. Morgan savored the sweet sound of her voice.
“My name is Ione Forrester, and I have been hired to be Dorado’s new schoolteacher.”
“Welcome to Dorado, Miss Forrester. We’re glad you’ve joined us.” The rapid words spewed from his mouth before Morgan gave them any thought. Which made him look like an awkward schoolboy.
Anyone leaving a comment here or on my post on the Sweet American Sweethearts blog today will have a chance at winning an e-copy of Wandering Home, the first novella in the Dorado, Texas series.
Cora left England for a new life in America as a mail order bride – only to find the man she’s come to marry has been killed in a gunfight. She has a sister in Kansas, but how can she get there?
Jesse needs this job driving cattle to Kansas so he can marry the woman who’s given him an ultimatum – buy land and settle down, or she’ll marry someone who will.
But, his cook’s been killed in the same gunfight, leaving him without anyone to drive the chuckwagon. His right hand man, an old cowboy with a soft heart, has a solution for both Cora and Jesse – one he might not like.
Dressed as a boy, Cora heads off with a team of cowboys, led by a man who isn’t happy about her being there. Kansas is a long way away…and a lot can happen before they get there.
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I am a stay at home mom, who loves to read and write clean historical romance. I enjoy thinking back to a simpler time, a time when men and women were true heroes. I also believe that a good romance can be told without needing to know all of the details;)
All of my stories will tell of people who find true love, and who find their happy ever after. Sometimes the road might be rocky, but that makes it all worthwhile!
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