BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF WESTERN HISTORICAL ROMANCE!
Caroline Clemmons writes historical and contemporary genre fiction. Historical romances, contemporary romantic suspense, mysteries, and paranormals are among her current works. Learn more about her at www.carolineclemmons.com
At least, my characters are back. Announcing
THE RANCHER AND THE SHEPHERDESS, Loving A Rancher Series book 2, is once again
available gives me great pleasure!
This book is linked to AMANDA’S RANCHER.
Both were originally part of Debra Holland’s Montana Sky Series for Kindle World. Now that
the rights have reverted to me, all of Debra’s characters and place names have
been changed because those belong to her. My characters remain the same.
the books are mine, they will be available worldwide as well as being in Kindle
Unlimited. They are also available in print. The universal Amazon buy link is http://mybook.to/Rancherbook2
RANCHER AND THE SHEPHERDESS, Gormlaith (a Gaelic name pronounced Gormley)
McGowan is an Irish immigrant who’s lived in America two years since marrying
the man her father chose. What a mistake marrying that man was! Now she’s escaping
a desperate situation after the accidental death of her brutish husband.
late husband’s mother and bullying brother believe she should remain in New
York and marry the brother. If not, they vow to make Gormlaith pay by accusing
her of killing her husband. After two years with her drunkard, gambling, and
wife-beating husband, she has no intention of remaining in that family. She
escapes by immediately leaving for Montana to become a mail-order bride.
for Gormlaith, while she’s on her way to Montana, the man who sent for a bride
dies. She arrives in Cottonwood Springs with almost no money, no place to stay, and no
groom. What a situation. The Cottonwood Springs sheriff comes to her assistance
and suggests bachelor rancher Garrett McDonald marry Gormlaith. Once Garrett
sees the beautiful woman and hears her lilting brogue, he’s convinced.
AMANDA’S RANCHER, Garrett was foreman on the Kincaid ranch. Now he’s bought his
own place from a large family moving to California. Luckily for him, they left a
few pieces of their furniture in the six-bedroom log home. He’d planned to
write for a mail-order bride in the spring. No need now that Gormlaith and he are wed.
an excerpt from the morning after Gormlaith and Garrett arrive at his ranch.
She’s still marveling that she married a man who never hits women. She’s
prepared breakfast while he cared for the animals:
Gormlaith was beside herself with worry. Though she was
certain the large range was a wonder, she hadn’t learned to regulate the beast. After
she set the food on the table she wanted to break out in tears. She’d so wanted
to impress her husband.
He came in and hung his coat and hat on pegs by the back
door. “I’m hungry as a bear coming out of hibernation.”
She wrung her hands. “Sit down and let me explain.”
He took his chair and stared at the food. “Well, this looks
She poured his coffee and set the coffeepot on the table. “I
had a little trouble figuring out this fancy stove. I’ll learn to use it, but…
today didn’t turn out as I’d expected.”
He picked up a biscuit and dropped it onto his plate with a
thud. He met her gaze and raised his eyebrows. “I thought you said you were
good with bread.”
“I am… I was in New York… and in Ireland. In those places,
the stove was tiny and hardly compares to this one. I thought this big one
would be easier. I’m sure the beast will be once I get used to the thing, but
there’s more to regulate and figure out.”
“Sit down and we’ll eat what we can.” He took a piece of
bacon so crisp it broke when he tried to pick it up. “I do like my bacon crisp,
but this is overdone even for me and likely to break a tooth. How are the
She twisted her napkin. “They turned out a bit better than
the rest. And we have potatoes fried with onion. There are a lot of potatoes in
the cellar and quite a few onions also. I remember you bought more potatoes so
I thought you must like them.”
“I do. I guess any Irishwoman knows how to cook potatoes.”
He picked up his fork and dug into his food—except the biscuits.
Throughout breakfast, she kept glancing at him but he didn’t
speak. She picked at the meal on her plate. After he’d eaten his fill and had a
second cup of coffee, he pushed away from the table.
He rose and put his hand on her shoulder. “Save all those
biscuits and put them in a basket by the door.” He kissed her on the head. “We
can use them for ammunition if we’re ever attacked.”
He donned his coat, clamped his hat on his head. She picked
up a biscuit and threw it him. The missile hit him on the thigh.
He used his hands as a shield, but he was laughing. “Ow, ow,
mercy, please. If that had hit my head I’d have a concussion.”
She threw another at him but he sped out the door, his
rumbling laughter drifting her way. Ammunition indeed. She’d show him. She’d
learn to deal with this beast of a stove and cook the best food he’d ever
Gormlaith learns a tremendous amount about being a rancher’s
wife by the end of this book. Garrett’s new knowledge is about his feisty,
hard-working wife. Each must overcome difficult situations to forge a strong
If you haven’t read THE RANCHER AND THE SHEPHERDESS, why not
get your copy now? Again, the universal buy link for Amazon is http://mybook.to/Rancherbook2
Don't miss the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the post!
Dangerous Secrets Book 0.5
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Failure isn't an option…
Ken Shepherd's witness is murdered, leaving him to want more than just to
arrest the criminals and walk away. A career change to the Witness
Security Program gives the opportunity to help people who made bad
decisions find a second chance. But will high expectations lead to
happiness or is death lurking around the corner? Never isn't as far
as it seems in this action-packed prequel to the Dangerous Secrets
UNTIL TOMORROW Excerpt:
Colton sat at the table with a pen in hand and glanced at the duffel bag waiting at the door. Precious time ticked away—if he was going to leave, every second mattered. The explosion minutes before ensured law enforcement would be banging on the door soon and, once they came, there would be no getting away.
With a heavy breath, he placed pen to the paper, and then lifted it off. Going home could mean death, but as he tapped the pen on the table, other options seemed limited. With a heavy breath, he quickly scribbled down the words he would leave behind.
I consider myself a smart man. Not brilliant. Not Ivy League, genius-scoring, Einstein-equal kind of smart, but, you know. Smart.
I also consider myself a good man who admits to making mistakes. I became involved with the wrong people, was driven by the buck. And the biggest mistake I made was putting those I love in danger. That, and never telling her I loved her before it was too late.
We do that, don't we? We never realize the importance of someone or something in our lives until that someone is gone. There's a reason that parable exists.
And if you want me to be completely honest with you, I do have regrets. I regret ever meeting Red, ever seeing the dollar signs instead of the questions, or his reasons for coming to someone so freshly assigned to managing accounts. I regret my ego driving the bus instead of my head. But I don't regret anything as much as I regret not telling her I loved her.
Just don't tell anyone else I said so.
Colton folded the paper in half and left it on the table, stared at it for a couple seconds with consideration. A chance existed that the wrong person would find the note. There was some risk in leaving the note behind.
Good thing he was a gambling man.
He hurried to the door, snatched the bag from the floor, and ran outside to the canoe.
When everything is taken from you, all you have left is what comes next...
The perfect career became the perfect nightmare. Now the only solution is
for Colton Paine to leave his life behind to enter the Witness
Security Program. Though he has many regrets, abandoning Savana
Wyler, just as she's entering remission from cancer—and before he
has a chance to tell her he loves her—rips his heart out. But
Colton will do whatever it takes to protect her, even leave forever.
Relocated to a tiny northern Washington tourist town, Colton fights to regain his footing in a new life constructed of lies. Haunted by thoughts of Savana, he breaks the rules and keeps track of her. When the same people who want him dead appear on Savana's news broadcasts, it becomes clear leaving wasn't the answer.
Convinced Savana is left unprotected, Colton abandons WitSec in a desperate
attempt to save her. But did his impetuous actions endanger them
RM Alexander is an author of romantic suspense. With driven characters
who suffer the worst kinds of betrayals, RM's novels promise a good
read with unexpected twists and turns.
When she's not writing, RM spends time with her husband and two children. She loves to travel, especially to Walt Disney World, and is addicted to orange juice and Ghiradelli chocolate. She is often found on Twitter and Facebook chatting with other authors and readers.
What do you do when tragedy comes into your life and takes everything
away? Charly Stevens’ life was turned upside down when a drunk
driver took her beloved husband Kevin from her, making her a widow at
24. Charly has two choices, stay in the dark pit of despair that has
become her life for almost a year, or take a chance and enter the
world of the living and move forward again. Lucky for Charly, she has
some excellent friends who support her, but she will also have to
face the next step in her life when a man from her past reappears and
shows definite interest. Charly gets caught up in a murder
investigation with some unusual help from her rescue dog, Lola. After
Kevin was taken, he finds a way to help Charly realize her place in
the world again with Lola’s help.
Mrs. Paulson was just sitting down at the table with a cup of coffee in front of her, and there was a second cup sitting in front of the chair across from her, steam rising from the cup.
“Take a seat dear, I won’t bite.”
I smiled and slid into the chair across from her, all the while trying to figure out how she knew I was coming, there is steam coming out of the cup meant for me!
She lifted her eyes to meet mine, “When did you lose him?”
“Almost a year ago,” stuttering at first. Just saying it out loud felt like someone just stuck an ice pick in my chest. “How did you know?”
Mrs. Paulson, “EJ” as she told me to call her again, began “I was married to a wonderful man, Harold, for 36 years. We were never blessed with children, but Harold and I loved animals something fierce and we spent our love on our animals. Harold was such a wonderful man, he would give you the shirt off his back...actually, that’s how we met,” she said with a wicked little smile.
I chuckled as EJ continued, a sparkle in her eyes, “Harold was always helping people, he would deliver meals to people who were sick or injured. We both volunteered at the local animal shelter to help them find people to adopt the animals that came in. One night, Harold was on his way home after delivering meals and a drunk driver came careening through a red light and struck my Harold broadside, he died instantly according to the police.”
I made an audible gasp and my hands started shaking while tears fell down my cheeks. EJ smiled a half smile and put her hand over mine, “Harold and I had 36 beautiful years together, I can’t complain.”
I grabbed a napkin from the holder and dried my face and blew my nose. I was just about to say something when EJ continued.
“I took Harold’s death hard, he was my everything. I didn’t handle it well at all, I kind of checked out for a while. About a year after Harold’s death, I began having this vivid dream with Harold and me. It was the same dream every night. Then one night the dream changed. Harold said something in the dream that he never had before. I didn’t think much about it at first and then I found that the things he was saying to me in the dream, were real.”
My eyes bulged almost out of my head when she said this, and she smiled, knowingly at me.
“It took me some time, but I eventually pieced together what he was telling me, and I ended up finding Pookie. He was abused, emaciated, and in terrible shape, but I found him just where my Harold told me to look in my dreams. That was 15 years ago.” EJ looked over at me and smiled, then she patted my hand and said, “You can take a breath now dear.”
I didn’t realize I was holding it as I let out my breath loudly and took several more to steady myself. This was unbelievable, EJ had just given voice to what I have been thinking for several days, I thought I was just going mad!
Taking another breath, I said, “That is a lot to take in. I have to say I have been having a similar experience, but I thought I was going crazy.”
EJ started laughing and said, “Dear, do you think I thought I had all my cookies in the jar after all that happened to me? It took me a long time to let my mind accept what was happening.”
“Is that it, is that all that happened? You found Pookie?” I asked after taking a few moments to process.
“I figure that each of us that have been given this gift are given the responsibility that goes along with it. It was not only for my benefit that this happened. Over the years Pookie and I have helped rescue over 100 animals that were lost or being abused. And over those same years I have asked myself all the time why this ability, this gift? All I can think of is that Harold and I shared a love and passion for animals. I think maybe when someone is taken suddenly, the way Harold and your Kevin were, their love, or at least some of it, stays here with us. Maybe that is how this connection or bond is formed.
“Harold came to me in my dreams until I found Pookie and then believe it or not, Pookie was the one that helped me find the others. I think Harold might be speaking to me through Pookie. If you pay close enough attention, they are speaking to you in their own way. I stopped asking questions a long time ago and just started paying attention and trusting my instincts...and Pookie’s.” She smiled.
Charly Stevens has come to accept that it is time to move forward with her
life, so she and Lola are plowing straight ahead… into even more
mystery and intrigue. With the help of her faithful friends Hadley
and EJ, the team takes on a case to find a missing dog and they
inadvertently cross paths with Charly’s new love interest, Riley
Jordan. Riley and his partner, Tank, are investigating a string of
break ins in the surrounding area and find clues that link back to
the murder of Riley’s father, when Riley was young. Working
together to help solve the case is exhilarating for the new couple,
but it also places both of them in harms way. Come along on this next
adventure in the Charly Stevens series: Acceptance.
Two Sharpe Publishing was created as a company to publish some books that
my daughter and I wrote together. This was not something Amanda
nor I had ever even dreamed of, but then life has a way of sending
you down the path that it wants… regardless of where you were
planning on going.
On September 16, 2015, Amanda’s husband Kevin was on his way home from
work late one night and was waiting for traffic to clear in the left
turn lane about a mile from their home. A drunk driver coming
from behind Kevin, at what was estimated 75 mph in a 45 mph zone,
veered out of the travel lanes and struck Kevin in the rear of his
Dodge Neon with a full-size SUV. Kevin was killed instantly in
Several months after Kevin’s death, Amanda wrote an autobiography of her
life with Kevin called STOLEN and she asked me if I would help edit the book. Once we put the finishing touches on STOLEN, we decided we would cowrite a fictional series called The Charly Stevens series.
People deal with the loss of a loved one in many different ways. After
starting the Charly Stevens Series, we came up with another fictional
series called Road Rage The Blog. It is a real time blog written by
Simon, a man who has a great deal of rage, especially when he gets in a car.
Once we had an idea for the above projects, we needed a Social Engineer to
handle publishing, website development, cover art, and social media
for our company. We were lucky enough to convince Kris Spoon to
join our team. Kris has a wide range of experience in the world
of publishing and social media and has used those unique skills to
create a platform for not only the works we have created to date, but
for those to come. We hope in the future to be able to help
other authors bring their works to life through our company.
Thank you for reading about Two Sharpe Publishing!
Don't miss the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post!
Date Published: May 31, 2018
It begins with a disappearance… In the waning days of World War II, the Obake Neko is the last surviving Sen-Toku—a huge secret aircraft-carrier submarine created by the Imperial Japanese Navy. As the war comes to an end, the Obake Neko sets sail back to Japan with a cargo of unimaginable value. In the chaos of Japanese surrender, the clandestine vessel and its crew vanish in the seas of the South Pacific.
Fifty-five years after the war’s end, former U.S. Navy pilot, Bud Brennan breaks into Pearl Harbor’s submarine museum in Hawaii. Bud’s son, Mike, is still raw from the death of his wife and grappling with a new career but still jumps in to help his dad. But when Bud’s antics garner the attention of the Navy’s JAG, Mike realizes his father may possess knowledge about the near-mythical Obake Neko and its fabled cargo—knowledge that is also of great value to the Japanese Yakuza. Now, Mike must scramble to learn the whole truth of his father’s decades-old connection with the legendary Japanese submarine and fight to defend his father from relentless military authorities and deadly Yakuza operatives. Even decades later, the Obake Neko and its legendary cargo are still worth killing over.
Can Mike discover the truth and protect his dad before deadly assailants succeed in silencing Bud forever?
OBAKE NEKO Ecerpt:
August 27, 1945
A steady, gentle breeze nudged Lieutenant Bud Brennan’s life raft over the calm South Pacific Ocean. He dipped his left hand into the water and swished it around, then pulled it out. The water and air were in perfect harmony—only a few degrees difference between the two. He looked up at the faint horizon. A half-moon hung low in the night sky, making the sea sparkle and shimmer.
Bud leaned back and relaxed as the light wind pushed him and the three others inside their four-man life raft. It was so quiet. Bud drifted off to sleep before a loud ‘CLANG’ startled him. The harsh metal-on-metal noise brought him to full alert and yanked him into the real world.
Four days before, on a flight from New Guinea to Guam, ferrying a B-24 Liberator with a last-minute skeleton crew, Bud and three airmen had experienced engine trouble. Halfway to Guam, the bomber lost the outside starboard engine and, within minutes, the inside engine on the same wing sounded rough and ready to fail. The plane had shaken like a wet dog out of a bath, and thick, dark-brown oil sprayed on the front windshield from a busted outside lubricant line. Bud had struggled to prevent the heavy bomber from corkscrewing. There was no way he could have held the plane aloft. Suddenly, flames had engulfed the failing inside engine.
He’d swiveled to the tail and yelled at the crew to jump; they were already prepared for the worst. After everyone had bailed, he’d opened the bomb bay doors, cut off the fuel to all engines, leveled off, and tried to glide. He’d gingerly let go of the yoke and raced along the plane’s narrow walkway to the bomb bay doors and dived into the open hatch. He barely cleared the bomber as it nosed over and exploded in a giant fireball.
Bud’s parachute opened with no trouble, but he had lost a lot of altitude trying to keep the huge plane flying. A full moon showed him he floated low, but not too low for a safe ditching. The ocean’s condition concerned him, but as he strained his eyesight, he glimpsed calm seas. After plunging into the ocean, he released his chute. His Mae West life preserver was intact and took only seconds to inflate. Bud was relieved to find one of the crew had grabbed an A-3 life raft as they’d bailed out, and within half an hour, everyone was on board. Unfortunately, the radioman’s parachute had malfunctioned, and he had hit the water hard. He became hysterical as the night wore on and slipped in and out of consciousness.
For four days they drifted at sea without spotting a plane or a ship that might offer salvation. By the second day, Bud had major concerns about his crew members. They had used up the eight eleven-ounce cans of water and the few food bars they had. With the war over, things had become slack, and no one had checked the emergency supplies before they took off. They were lucky to have a raft.
Two hours before dawn on the fifth day, Bud studied his sleeping crew with his flashlight and worried about how much longer they could last. On average, they were only four years younger than he was, but none had any combat experience. Nothing to harden them to the reality of war. He’d been through a similar ordeal, ditching two years ago after his Hellcat fighter ran out of fuel ten miles from his base aircraft carrier. Bud had spent three days floating alone before being rescued by a US destroyer.
“Look, guys, we’ve got to keep our spirits up. That’s half the battle. If we can hang in there, something will turn up.” Bud turned to his copilot and pointed at him. “Jimmy, let’s start with you. What are you looking to do when we get out of this mess?”
“I just want to survive, that’s all.” Jimmy coughed. “Leave me alone, okay?”
Bud took a deep breath; he wasn’t giving up so easily. For him, to make it through all he’d endured during the past four years of war and then fail so close to getting home was not acceptable. He knew what he wanted and would not let it slip away. He must survive, must.
“Okay, I’ll go first.” Bud thumped his chest once. “Once I’m stateside, I’m heading home and marrying a girl that’s waited for me for four long years.” He smiled at the picture in his head of a quiet beauty with thick auburn hair.
“Then I’m going to use my GI Bill and earn an electrical engineering degree at a good school. With my diploma, I’ll get a job at the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company and eventually buy a house and enjoy life.”
His family roots were stuck in the coal mines, and he would do anything not to follow that path. He’d taken advantage of any opportunities offered as he grew up poor in rural Pennsylvania. In early 1941, after the Civil Air Patrol office at the small airport near his house had announced free flying lessons for five qualified students, he’d slept out in front of their office the night before the registration day to make sure he was first in line.
“What, not planning on any kids?” Jimmy asked.
“Well, yeah, I guess so, but they’re not my priority.” Bud shrugged his shoulders. “If the wife insists, I’ll go along.”
Jimmy coughed again. “Christ, with that attitude I’d hate to be your kid.”
Bud blinked and stared at him. He really hadn’t thought about children.
“Oh yeah, also, I’m going to get back to Hawaii one day. I only spent two months there for training, but I’m crazy about that place and the people, and I’m sick of the cold, snow, and month after month of gray overcast winter skies in Pennsylvania.”
Bud had used his free time during training to enjoy the beaches in rural Oahu, not on Waikiki Beach. He’d met and made friends with families living near the shore. They’d treated him like a long-lost relative, feeding him and providing a tent for him to sleep on the sand at night.
“I’m going there to live, not just to visit. Even if it’s in retirement. I really love that place, and the people.” He nodded his head several times. “Yeah, I’ll get back, someday.”
No one said anything; no one cared about anything except survival. They all drifted in and out of sleep.
Near daybreak, everyone except Bud still slept. The sun would rise in less than an hour. He brushed back his curly, jet-black hair and gazed up at the half-moon floating overhead. There were calm winds, but the wave action had picked up, and the sea was slushy.
Now, to figure out if that damn clang was just part of a dream, he thought.
From his seated position, arms spread out wide over the raft’s edge, he twisted around. Halfway through his turn, he knelt in the raft and gasped as he faced a monstrous object sitting low in the water about a hundred feet away. A ship, dead in the water; its black, bulky shape smelling of dirty oil. All at once, diesel engines rumbled from deep inside the sinister-looking vessel. A moment later a crane slowly rose like a ghost over a graveyard, midway between the bow end and the boat’s middle.
Although his pilot training included friendly and enemy ship profile classes, this boat fit none of the classifications he recalled.
Friend or enemy? The war had ended twelve days before, and the Japanese had officially surrendered, but maybe not every vessel had received the news, and a few may have decided not to yield without a fight. Bud had heard horror stories of atrocities inflicted on captured Allied sailors. He glanced behind him for a second and checked the inside of the raft. The three crew members were out, lying lifeless in the bottom and oblivious to the enormous ship nearby.
As he inspected the vessel, silhouettes of men scurried about the boat. They appeared to be scrambling to prepare for some event. What he assumed was a submarine’s conning tower sat in the middle of the boat. But if it was a sub, it stretched nearly two times longer than any he’d ever seen. Oddly, there was a massive tube structure connected to the sail, and that made no sense. The centered tube stretched one-quarter the length of the sub, about a hundred feet, and appeared around ten feet in diameter.
Bud observed several crew members open a huge, cone-shaped hatch on the bow end of the tube and shove out a box that looked like an oversized coffin. The crane swung over and picked it up, carried it to the sub’s edge, and dumped it into the ocean. They repeated this maneuver ten times. As the crane cast off the tenth box, it struck the boat’s hull at the water line. Someone yelled in Japanese. The timbre of the voice startled Bud. A sound of authority, but more, a gravel texture—an unnatural roughness. He quickly snapped out of his fixation on the voice. This was not a friendly ship.
After a few minutes, the giant circular door slowly closed over the tube, the crane folded into the deck, and the diesel engines became silent. Within seconds, everyone but two or three men on the conning tower disappeared. Lights flashed on and off, briefly saturating the side of the sail in an intense white light. The gravel voice hurled curses into the night. Before the lights blinked out, Bud spotted a caricature painted on the conning tower’s side. An image of a startled black cat in profile, fur and tail straight up, back arched high, framed in white, looking sideways. Its white, menacing eyes burrowing right into him.
“No, no, no!” the radioman screamed and thrashed in the bottom of the raft. Bud jerked back and fell on him, smothering his mouth with both hands. The other two crew members woke and stared at him but didn’t sit up. Bud crouched and swiveled around to face the sub, eyes wide open, and peeked over the raft’s edge. High on the sail’s tower someone shouted, and a searchlight switched on. The bright penetrating light swept the ocean, zigzagging back and forth the length of the boat, extending its piercing reach with each swing. Bud’s eyes fixed on the beam as it drew closer and closer. Its intense ray blinded him for a second and moved on. Abruptly it returned and locked on him, flooding their raft with its powerful, harsh glare.
About the Author
David Gillespie moved to Hawaii as a teenager, where he attended public schools and graduated with a BBA and MBA from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Gillespie has had a varied career in Hawaii’s business community. As a consultant with a University of Hawaii program, he traveled to many Pacific Island nations. His experiences in these exotic locales, along with his keen interest and research about the Sen-Toku Japanese submarines, inform and enhance his writing.
Gillespie is retired and has taken up home improvement projects, earned a private pilot license, and works on writing historical adventure novels. He continues to enjoy life in Hawaii, his home, with his family and a tuxedo cat named Tick Tock.
Don't miss the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post!
Date Published: July 25, 2018
When the Duke of Murnane accepts an unofficial fact finding mission to Canton on behalf of the queen in 1838 he expects work to heal him. He certainly doesn’t expect to confront his wreck of a marriage in such an exotic locale, or to find the love of his life. Zambak Hayden follows her brother to China to escape pressure to make a suitable marriage. When she finds the brother drawn into the world of greed, smuggling, opium, and corruption she resolves to both sort out the truth and to protect her brother from becoming prey to all of it—if only she could stop yearning for the one man she can’t have. Can love survive when troubles and war explode around them?
THE UNEXPECTED WIFE Excerpt:
At the mention of Jarratt her stomach clenched, and a vile taste crept into her mouth. “What else,” she rasped.
Charles looked down. His sigh sounded deep and weary. “Elliot fears the Chinese response will eventually ensnare an English user or dealer. If they arrest someone or threaten violence he may be forced to act.”
If Thorn is as closely allied to the opium dens as Jarratt implied—and out of his senses from the narcotic—he could be… cow turds!
“Charles, I have to get to my brother. I can’t leave him in Jarratt’s circle.”
The duke’s eyes held hers until she felt him boring into her soul. He put out a comforting hand, and she gripped it to steady herself. “How exactly do you propose to do that, Zambak?” he asked.
“Jarratt said to come back. I’ll go tomorrow. He implied Thorn might be well, might be willing to come with me.”
“We’ll go tomorrow,” he corrected.
She stiffened in outrage for a moment before Jarratt’s face leered at her in memory, and she sagged toward Charles. When he cupped her cheek with one hand and searched her face, she thought for an insane moment he meant to kiss her. Absurd. Charles is a married man, and we’re friends. Only friends.
“We’ll go together, Zambak. We will get Thorn help together.”
Together. Relief flooded her. She had thought that accepting help made her weak, but the tenderness in the duke’s eyes gave her strength.
Lin spoke again. “Does this English duke know barbarians are forbidden inside the city walls?” He glared at Charles while his minion translated.
Charles breathed in. “I have been informed of that belatedly. I apologize that my curiosity and desire to learn about your ways drove me to break the rules. I understand that the commissioner, a man of great learning, often wishes to gather information about our ways as well.” He looked directly at Lin, whose eyes glittered, though whether with amusement or anger, Charles could not say.
“The commissioner asks if there are no books in your country.”
Charles smiled at that. “My private library has ten thousand volumes. What few I have about China were written by Englishmen. How accurate can they possibly be?”
The translator earnestly murmured in the great man’s ear. Amused this time, no question.
Alone as the shadows of his room turned to full dark, cold truths haunted her. The reports she’d gathered for her father had to be weighed against her childish and impulsive behavior. She had worried her parents, she had complicated the Elliots’ lives and career, and her actions did little to change her brother, still bent on self-destruction. Worst of all, she feared she led Charles to take risks he shouldn’t have.
One other thing took shape and came into focus so sharply she couldn’t turn away. She loved Charles Wheatly, heart and soul. A desperate laugh—half sob, half hysteria—escaped her at the thought. She finally fulfilled her mother’s fondest wish and found a man she could respect and love—one that offered little hope of a respectable future. She had no idea what to do with the thought. As it turned out she had little time to consider it.
“Who is here?” Charles demanded. He stood outlined in the light from oil lamps in the corridor behind him. Caught between love and fury over the fear he caused, she flung herself from the chair.
“Thank God!” She didn’t know whether she would hug him or slap him until she threw herself into his arms and was being kissed senseless.
Mildred Dennison didn’t back away. “Be that as it may, Lady Zambak, she seemed quite distressed that you of all people had gone off with her husband under questionable circumstances. We heard you actually dressed as a man.”
“And came back dressed as a Chinese,” Eunice squeaked, darting glances at her fellows and wringing her hands.
“No wife would put up with that,” Mrs. Dennison spat. “No matter what did—or did not—go on while you were gone. You must see that.”
“I see a great deal, Mrs. Dennison, and you are much mistaken in your views of the Duke of Murnane. He continues to be a man of honor.” Damn him anyway. I have all the disgrace and none of the pleasure. She stared the woman down, generations of ducal breeding lending her a finely honed ability to rout any encroaching mushroom who dared attack.
In the silence that followed, Zambak rose before they could regroup for another attack, like a pack of jealous terriers eager to enforce the will of the pack on a superior animal.
About the Author
Award-winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things: traveler, librarian, poet, raiser of children, bird watcher, Internet and Web services manager, conference speaker, indexer, tech writer, genealogist—even a nun. She reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.
The author has a Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post!
Date Published: September 2017
Vi Masters wonders…can you come home again? More, she wonders why anyone would want to. She fled upright, backwater Freedom, Iowa at seventeen and hoped never to return. But this time, she can’t stand up against the pleas of the aunt who raised her. It’s one weekend. How bad can three days be?
Three measly days in a wonderful eighteen-year marriage – that’s what Vi’s stepmother hopes. But what if Ben discovers what Tammy knew about why his daughter ran away – something he seems determined to finally find out? She can’t be sure Ben would forgive her, and that’s got Tammy scared to her bones.
One day in and Vi has to face how Aunt Sadie is failing, Caregiving will surely wreak havoc on Vi’s hard-won career, but how can she not? At least she might be able to turn the party Sadie’s planned into a night even Alzheimer’s won’t let Sadie forget.
But that’s before Vi finds out Nate Barlow has moved back to town. Now after all she’s already survived, Vi must dig deep for courage. Nate will never be able to accept Vi’s past. Will he? Who knew hope would be so scary?
COME BACK Excerpt:
Chapter 13 Vi
Hair by Lindy, where Sadie’s gone since time began, is just a few blocks from the Pinewood. Across Grove, up Maple, past the Elementary School and Library, right on Main. Funny how I still knew the route. Maybe our feet hold memories our brains don’t have room to keep.
My feet were on their own as I left the Pinewood. My head was too full. Seeing all those folks from my girlhood felt like a bushel of Nerf balls hurled at me. Soft greetings and wishes shouldn’t hurt. But so many bombarding me at once? I felt a little bruised.
Add a few sharp and pointy missiles mixed in with the Nerfs, and I hurt plenty. Connie aimed her arrow straight at my center. Direct hit.
She thought I had it coming. And maybe I did. Poor Nate.
But what he might face was the last thing on my mind when I left. Away – that was the only thing. Away. Away from that house, away from Freedom, away from what happened. And then I didn’t think again – couldn’t – till Opal took me in. One foot in front of the other was all I could do.
Even now I couldn’t think, or it all came back – the horror and pain. Can’t let it in.Not if I want to survive. For too long, I asked if survival was what I wanted. Alive didn’t look so good back then. And thinking? Way too risky.
But now, I couldn’t escape the thinking – and what came with it. Blinding. Sharp. Full-strength pain. Waves on waves of it. My feet carried me onto the school playground. I sank onto a swing and gave in to sobs. I hadn’t cried so hard since I was seventeen. Why should it hurt so much now? Why?
But I knew why. It wasn’t the horror of that last night that slapped at me. I’d dealt with that – more or less. But the sweetness before the horror? There was a missile aimed sure and true.
Nate. Oh God. Nate.
What a shock to see him! Why did Sadie never say he moved back home? Oh God. Nate.
What a shock to feel that same warm gladness roll through me just to see his face. Until the ice of Connie’s anger – and Nate’s apparent indifference – launched grenades.
I rocked on the swing and gasped great gulps of air. Can’t breathe. Forgot how. I wasn’t quick to catch on again.
Get hold of yourself Vi! Think! No! Hurts to think! Can’t think about all I missed – all that was stolen – with Nate!
There it was. My feet braced and my body bent over double. Nate was the black hole I never let myself think about all these years.
About the Author
Sally Crosiar lives in the Finger Lakes of New York State where she reads incessantly, enjoys time in and on the water, savors dark chocolate with red wine at every opportunity, and teaches about health and play for Empire State College.
She is the author of Find the Love of Your Life, based on her own true story, My Uncle Dave, a children’s book with an adult message, and co-author with Dr. Sidney B. Simon of Love Builders: Tools to Build Every Relationship. Come Back is her debut novel.
Don't miss the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post!
The Songs of You and Me by Mylissa Demeyere
Jane Hartford fell head over heels for Jackson at the tender age of fifteen. She spent most of high school pining for him, until she realized he wasn’t going to see her as anything more than his baby sister’s best friend. Now she finds herself single with a daughter, a broken heart, and songs that remind her of a long lost love.
Jackson Wright is a man living with regret. His biggest one, never acting on his feelings for Jane. When he returns to Bellebrook, the town they grew up in, he literally runs into her and his world gets tossed upside down and sideways.
This time, Jackson isn’t willing to give up. With a meddling sister eager to push both of them together, he believes things might actually work out. That is, if they can overcome the heavy baggage they both carry. Follow Jackson and Jane as they revisit their past, figuring out what went wrong so long ago.
Will they learn they have the power to make things right in the present?
A tender debut novel that will leave you remembering the sweet angst of first love. The Songs of You and Me is a charmer. - Taylor Dean, author of I’m With You and Chasing Fireflies.
In this romantic debut about first love, second chances, Ms. DeMeyere weaves the past and present together in a way that brings the characters' hearts to life as they heal from tragedies and struggle to move on in life. Sweet and heartwarming. – Charissa Stastny, author of Between Hope and the Highway and the Rules out Romances Series.
A fun and enticing love story that combines the bitter with the sweet and keeps you laughing amidst the tears. You won't want to miss this touching story that explores true love in all its depth and beauty. – Aubrey, Amazon Reviewer
The Songs of You and Me pulled me in from page one. The characters came to life and I felt as if I was part of their story. I stayed up night after night fascinated with their personal and individual challenges. Their obstacles were relatable and tugged at my heart. I couldn’t wait to finish and yet I didn’t want it to end. As I read the last page, I was ecstatic to see what would come next from Mylissa Demeyere. – Jamie, Amazon Reviewer
The whole idea for this book started out as a scene after listening to a song. Then I would listen to that song over and over and see more of the pieces fall into place.
Soon, I had an entire playlist, with scenes mapped out, and a whole story ready to write. This book tells the story of Jane and Jackson, the songs of them.
Included in the book is a unique playlist. Here is the list, but in the back of the book, I give you a full breakdown of how I saw each scene and how I felt that song was best fitted for the chapter. Enjoy!
Prologue: Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton
C1: Lay Me Down – Sam Smith
C2 : It’s a Beautiful Day – U2
C3: Hello – Martin Solveig
C4: Hanging by a Moment – Lifehouse
C5: This Girl – Kungs
C6: Disappointment – The Cranberries
C7: Everybody Hurts – R.E.M
C8: My Father’s Eyes – Eric Clapton
C9: It’s Time – Imagine Dragons
C10: Could this be love? – The Wanted
C11: Hold Back the River – James Bay
C12: September Song – J.B. Cooper
C13: Count on Me – Bruno Mars
C14: The Other – Stripped / Lauv
C15: Breathing – Oscar and the Wolf
C16: Love Love – Amy MacDonald
C17: Push the Button – Sugababes
C18: Animal – Neon Trees
C19: Perfect – Ed Sheeren
C20: Someday – Sugar Ray
C21: What Lovers Do (feat. SZA) – Maroon 5, SZA
C22: Gotta Get Thru This – Daniel Bedingfield
C23: It’s Gotta Be You – Isaiah
C24: Welcome to New York – Taylor Swift
C25: Best Day of My Life – American Authors
C26: Over My Head – The Fray
C27: Water under the Bridge – Adele
C28: The Middle – Jimmy Eat World
C29: Silence – Marshmellow ft Khalid
C30: Demons – Imagine Dragons
C31: Walking The Wire – Imagine Dragons
C32: Home – Dotan
C33: No Sound But The Wind – Editors
C34: WhoKnew – Pink
C35: Stargazing – Kygo
C36: Love – Jana Kramer
C37: Quicksand – Tom Chaplin
Epilogue: False Alarm – Matoma , Becky Hill
Author Mylissa Demeyere
Mylissa Demeyere was born in Belgium, and resides in the beautiful city of Ghent. She lives in a somewhat organized home with her four beautiful children and the love of her life. If she isn’t working, she’s writing, running, reading, or enjoying time with her kids, who are growing up way too fast.
THE SONGS OF YOU AND ME is her debut novel, with a sequel already in the works.
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
Now that the rights have reverted to me for the books published as part of Debra Holland's Montana Sky Series for Kindle World, I will be releasing one of them books every two weeks through October. The locale remains Montana, but the names of the towns have changed to Cottonwood Springs and Randall's Crossing. My characters remain the same, but those of Debra's have been changed as they belong to her. AMANDA'S RANCHER is book one in the Loving A Rancher Series of sweet romances.
In the event you missed AMANDA'S RANCHER before, let me tell you that it is my favorite of the books I've written in the last couple of years. AMANDA'S RANCHER includes danger, adventure, murder, secret identity, mystery, and romance. Here's the blurb:
One desperate young woman.
A chance meeting.
A life-changing outcome.
Growing up in a brothel, Mara
O'Sullivan battled public disdain and contempt, but always remained
kind-hearted and gracious. After testifying against vicious bank
robbers, her life is threatened and Mara must find sanctuary far from
everything she knows.
One train ride changes her life as
she fatefully meets a half-sister and a niece she never knew existed. But
when circumstances end her sister's life, Mara makes a promise that she'll
raise her niece as her own and take her sister's place
as Preston Kincaid's mail-order-bride. As Mara and Preston
grow closer, their marriage no longer seems like a ruse, but a
relationship of love, passion, and desire.
Mara's past comes back to haunt her
and she finds herself in danger—will her new husband forgive Mara's deceit
and protect her as his own?
Excerpt fromAMANDA'S RANCHER:
They reached the church and
Preston jumped down from the wagon and came around to help her alight. With a
smile, he lifted Iris high over his head before he set her on the ground. Her
giggle brought tears to Amanda’s eyes.
That was the first time she’d ever
heard her daughter make the girlish sound. Iris had smiled, spoken, but never
laughed until she met Preston Kincaid. For that alone, Amanda would be the best
wife she knew how to be.
Inside the church, Mrs. Moore
handed Amanda a bouquet of daisies secured with a white ribbon. The interior
was plain with wooden benches and an altar raised one step above the rest of
the floor. Although there were several windows, none had stained-glass as did
the churches she’d seen in Georgia.
The minister was waiting at the
front of the church and wore a black frock coat and matching string tie. His
brown hair and beard were thickly streaked with gray. He stood at a simple
lectern with what looked like a Bible in one hand while he conversed with
Amanda was surprised only one
other person besides Reverend and Mrs. Norton were in the sanctuary. She’d
supposed Preston had many friends in the area and thought at least his ranch
hands would attend. The second man turned and proved to be an older version of
her groom who came forward to greet her.
Preston cupped her elbow. “Amanda
and Iris, this is my father. Most folks call him Tom, but I call him Papa.”
Amanda smiled at the handsome man
who must be around fifty. He was tall, but maybe an inch shorter than his son.
Silver sprinkled the same dark hair. “May I call you Papa, too?”
He beamed his pleasure and his
blue eyes crinkled at the corners. “I’d be honored. And in the absence of your
father, may I walk you down the aisle?”
“Would you? I’d be ever so
grateful.” She laid her hand on his arm. Nerves had set in and she needed his
support or her knees might give way.
Preston said, “Iris, why don’t
you stand with me while my papa walks Mama to meet us?”
Iris shook her head. “Mommy, not
my old mama?”
Preston frowned. “Old mama?”
Panic sent bile into her throat
that threatened to choke her. Don’t throw up on your wedding dress. “Perhaps
you remember my mother recently died.”
Sympathy shone from his blue
eyes. “Of course.” He took Iris’ hand in his and strode to the front.
Mrs. Moore began playing the
piano. She nodded toward Amanda. Papa Kincaid gently led her up the aisle.
Walking toward her husband,
Amanda was conscious of Preston’s stare, as if he could see into her mind and
knew her for an impostor. Although he held Iris’ hand, the intensity of his
blue gaze unnerved her. She wondered if he was disappointed or if he were as
numb as she.
Thankful for the presence of her
future father-in-law beside her, she tightened her hold on Mr. Kincaid’s arm.
In response, he patted her hand
her where it laid on his sleeve. Without looking at her, he whispered. “Steady
as you go. We’re almost there.”
Iris gave a tiny wave and Amanda
couldn’t resist smiling at the child. The little girl truly was a blessing.
Focusing on Iris gave Amanda a target she could face.
When they reached the front, Mrs.
Moore ceased playing. Preston took the bouquet from Amanda’s hands. “Iris,
would you hold this for Mommy so she and I can be married?”
Iris looked at him adoringly and
reached to receive the flowers. Reverend Moore opened his Bible and began the
ceremony. Preston took Amanda’s hands in his. She was conscious of his
calluses, but also of the size and strength of his palms dwarfing hers.
When the minister indicated,
Preston slipped a ring onto her finger. This
new one belongs to me, even if my groom doesn’t know my true name.
After the ceremony, Preston
brushed his lips gently against hers.
Iris clapped a hand across her
mouth in surprise then said, “Mommy? That man kissed you.”
Preston knelt eye-to-eye with
her. “I’m your new Daddy, remember? Mommy and I were just married and now I can
kiss her whenever she says it’s okay. Do you think you can call me Daddy?”
Iris nodded. “Are you gonna kiss
He smiled broadly. “I certainly
am.” He leaned forward and gave her a loud smack on the cheek.
The child giggled. Twice in one
day this kind man had made Iris happy. Amanda owed Preston all her wifely