Tag Archives: heartwarming historical

Backlist holiday promotion–Silent Signals

Will the valley’s feud between cattlemen and shepherds keep Konrad and Anora apart?

After losing half his herd in the Great Blizzard of 1886, rancher Konrad Werner needs to safeguard his cattle. Tomboy Anora Huxley trains the Australian Shepherds and Kelpies that run the family’s sheep herd. Although cattlemen and shepherds are at odds, the pair discovers common interests. A threat is overheard, and Konrad rides out to Anora’s ranch to protect her. The tense situation reveals their true feelings. Will Anora be swayed by family loyalty, or will she listen to her heart that responds to Konrad’s silent signals?

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EXCERPT

Mikel returned, dropping two rolls of wire onto the counter. “I have a new shipment of barbed wire too. Perhaps that works better for your needs?”

Konrad turned and laid a hand on the smooth wire. “The fence to pen in my cattle has several components, so this is what I need. But thanks, Toussaint.”

The shopkeeper shrugged. “Some ranchers prefer the barbed.”

“I do too, and I may have to resort to that when the winter weather sets in. But I’ll wait on that purchase.” He leaned his other hand on the counter. “This year, I’m building a brush fence. I’ll use what I can from downed branches and rocks cleared from the field that will be planted in the spring.” He shrugged and straightened.

“Makes sense.” Mikel nodded as he pulled the pencil from his ear. “I remember those types of fences in old country. Uncle had them around his vineyard.”

Konrad was sure his wasn’t the only sad story the store owner had heard over the last year. “Gotta come up with the cheapest solution for protecting my cattle.” He shook his head. “The ranch can’t withstand any more losses like last year.”

“Excuse me, sir.” A female voice floated in the air.

The tone was pitched low, almost intimate. Konrad shifted and raised an eyebrow at the tall woman dressed in an ill-fitting coat and a split skirt that showed several inches of boot-encased legs. “Are you speaking to me?”

“Have you considered using herding dogs to contain your cattle?” The blonde woman took one step closer, her gaze intent.

“No.” This stranger had an opinion about how he ran his ranch? His body stiffened.

“I train the dogs that work the sheep at Green Meadows Ranch, and I don’t see why the dogs couldn’t be used with cattle.” She glanced over her shoulder and then back to connect with his gaze. “The principles are the same, as long as the person uses the right cues.”

He squinted at the green-eyed woman who stood only a few inches shorter than his six-foot height. Wisps of blonde hair had escaped the edges of her plain black bonnet and straggled along her cheeks. Her face was pleasant enough—probably would be more so without the frown creasing her forehead. “Have we met?”

“I apologize, Mr. Werner. I’m Anora Huxley.” A blush reddened her cheeks. “I am acquainted with Gaelle.”

His younger sister by five years. Which explained why he didn’t know this woman from his schooling years. Huxley did sound familiar, though. But he didn’t have time to contemplate why because the woman now stood by his side. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a thick-set scowling man hovering two feet away who looked madder than a newly branded steer. The second member of the arguing duo.

“My dogs are exceedingly smart. A special breed with strong herding instincts. They respond to hand signs and whistles, and from a distance of more than ten rods.”

He held up a hand lest he be stuck here listening to her run down every detail. “I do not wish to be lectured on how to run my ranch. My brush fence will suffice.” Regretting the stiffness of his tone, he lifted a finger to tap the brim of his hat. “Good day, Mrs. Huxley.” He spotted the brief widening of her gaze before scooping up the roll of wire and headed toward the storeroom. Irritation at the outspoken women and her high-handed advice put an extra punch into each footfall.

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New release–A Match for Althia

 

This novella is book 7 in Marianne’s Mail-Order Brides, which is an offshoot of the wildly popular Pinkerton Matchmaker series.

Chicago socialite Althia Heathley feels pushed out of her life by her father’s new wife. Convinced all she needs to write a great novel are a few more life experiences, she agrees to become a mail-order bride. But once she arrives in Denver, she’s not so sure she’s cut out to live in such a wild and less-than-civilized city.

Leather worker Diego Roldan needs a bit more culture in his life to help attract new business clients. But his first sight of his prospective bride clues him that maybe he asked for more than he can handle. She’s so refined and proper that he wonders how he can provide her with what she needs.

One of the men Diego put in jail during his years as a bounty hunter comes seeking revenge. Will Althia fall to pieces in a panic, or will the pair work together to save their fragile relationship?

Amazon link

Release of Amata

Grayson’s adopted daughter is all grown up and not following Papa’s directives.

After completion of her studies at a teacher’s college, Amata Wainwright returns to her Cheyenne, Wyoming, hometown. Her worry is she must inform her state senator father that she didn’t earn the expected diploma. Determined to help a younger brother who suffers with dyslexia, she starts tutoring him and his friend using unorthodox methods.

Rancher Harlan Thorpe has his hands full and needs no more distractions. He’s establishing a breeding program on his ranch, keeping an eye on his stubborn son who keeps ditching school, and riding herd on his younger brother who would rather drink and gamble than put in an honest day’s work.

The mischievous young boys contrive situations to get Dario’s sister and Liam’s dad together. Each time, the adults don’t know what has hit them, but the growing feelings are definitely not in either one’s plans.

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EXCERPT

A familiar surrey with a matched team of roans stood near the holding corral where transported animals were off-loaded. A group of saddled horses stood tied to the railing.

A shaft of sunlight reflecting off a depot window blinded her. She averted her face then lifted a hand to shade her eyes. Several men gathered near the corral with a couple of them sitting atop the corral railing. The broad-shouldered one with the wide-brimmed hat looked like Chester. Why was the family’s man-of-all-work waiting there instead of on the platform to greet her?

The ground beneath her shoes shook. She glanced down but saw nothing amiss.

Pounding hooves beat the dirt, followed by masculine hollers and whoops.

An echoing set of hard footfalls thrummed from the opposite direction.

“Get out of the way!”

What’s going on? Amata looked between a tall man bearing down on her from the left and a beast of a cow thundering her way from the right. Her pulse kicked up.

The stranger waved an arm. “Move back, lady!”

Two hands grabbed her upper arms and jerked her off her feet. A muscular body slammed her back against the railroad car, pressing close. He tucked her head under his chin and clamped her to his chest. Grasping handfuls of soft cloth, she gasped and inhaled warm cotton and male sweat overlaying the scent of fresh soap.

Seconds later, the cow barreled past followed by a galloping horse, both kicking up clods of dirt.

Amata squirmed, which only dragged her fists across hard-as-granite muscles. Such awareness was scandalous. Heat invaded her cheeks, and she stiffened. “Sir, unhand me.”

Another horse charged past.

“Not yet.”

“I beg your pardon.” She lifted her head but only moved an inch under his strong hold.

“My men need to get that steer controlled.”

The metal car at her back kept her upright and as far away as possible from the rampaging cow. Unfortunately, her feet dangled several inches above the ground, hardly a position from where she could issue directives. “At least allow me to stand on my own two feet.”

His stance eased away. “Sure enough, miss.”

Even with her feet under her, Amata was adrift. Their bodies no longer touched, but the skin on her arms tingled where his grip held her safe. Her breathing was too fast. Blood pounded in her ears, and yet again, her hat hung askew. Except at a few dances as a youth, she’d never been held in a male’s embrace.

Freed from his iron grip, she shook herself and glanced up into eyes of the bluest blue. A lock of sandy brown hair hung over one eyebrow. The stranger was quite a handsome man…as long as she didn’t factor in his brutish manners.

“Cupids and Cowboys” is a multi-author series. Previous titles are:

Harriet by Pam Crooks

Lainie by Cynthia Woolf

Vella by Charlene Raddon

Alice by Margaret

To find these and upcoming titles, go to the series page on Amazon.

99 cent sale on Libbie: Bride of Arizona

Libbie.200

Just in time for Black Friday…steal away to when times were easier. Or maybe not.

On her own for the first time, tomboyish Libbie Van Eycken accepts a mail-order proposal and travels across country to find a place to call her own. Arizona rancher Dell Stirling needs a wife but didn’t count on the eccentric creature that brings chaos in her wake.

Can they overcome cultural clashes and unrealistic expectations to create a real marriage?

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Sale continues through November 28th

EXCERPT

“I placed an ad in a newsletter called the Grooms’ Gazette. Months ago on a business trip, I saw a similar publication in Phoenix.” Plus he’d overheard a recent conversation at the Cabinet Saloon about a rancher out in Chino Valley who was quite happy with the wife he’d acquired this way.

Maida’s sigh lasted a couple of seconds. “So, she’s a mail-order bride.”

Just like his sister to go all dewy-eyed. He guessed mail-order was the appropriate term, but he didn’t like it much. Dell unfolded the telegraph office stationery that by now had well-worn creases. Hoping to make her words flow better, he omitted the ‘stops’ at the end of each sentence.

“Dear Mr. Stirling, Your ad in the Grooms’ Gazette caught my eye above all the others.”

He paused and glanced up to see if anyone would comment on that statement. This first line was his very favorite.

“I, too, have an affinity for animals. In fact, I’ve spent a good portion of my life on my family’s Australian cattle stations.”

“Australia? I thought you said she’s from Boston.” Skip pointed an accusing finger.

“I’m reading what the lady in question wrote.” Dell shook the paper. “Let me finish.” Then he glanced down to find his place.

“I’ve helped with branding, herding, and calving. I sling a mean loop, and my boomerang-throwing skill is proficient.”

He rested a finger on the foreign word and looked up. “I’m not sure what she means here.”

“At twenty-one years old, I’m not a stranger to hard work. I enjoy all types of music and feel most at home in natural settings, especially warmer climates. My circumstances have become unsettled, and I will relocate immediately. Miss Libbie Van Eycken.”

Aware of tightness invading his shoulders, Dell flexed them before lowering the paper to the table and waited.

“Now, I’ll get the pie and coffee.” Hazel reached for Skip’s plate and stacked it on top of hers as she stood. Her lips pinched tight, and she studied Dell for a long moment before turning away.

“Mama, I’ll help.” Maida shot to her feet, cleared Dell’s plate, and reached for the bowl of carrots. “No one says another word until we return.” Then she scurried toward the kitchen.

Good. Dell needed time to think. He knew while the women were absent, none of the men would exchange a single word. As he’d read Libbie’s words aloud, he suddenly realized how very few details she’d included. In his ad, he’d requested an experienced cook and housekeeper, but Libbie mentioned neither of those skills. Nor had she described what about her circumstances had changed. Why hadn’t he noticed these omissions before? Since hers was the only response he’d received, he’d counted himself lucky that she understood a rancher’s life. Maybe he’d been too hasty.