Here's my post and giveaway:
|My mom, Lena Mae |
Phifer Johnson - can
your tell her eyes twinkle?
SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME is a western romance set in 1885, and includes suspense. Available from The Wild Rose Press and other online stores, it's in e-download only. The setting is the fictional town of Winton Crossing in Central Texas near Medina and Bandera.
After fleeing an abusive husband six years ago, Beth Jeffers wants nothing more than to protect her son Davey and to help her mother operate a boarding house. The women in her family have had no luck with men, and she has no intention of letting any man influence her son. Not even Matt Petrov, no matter how much her lonely heart urges otherwise.
Federal Marshall Matt Petrov, also known as Lone Wolf Peters, fell in love with Beth the first time he saw her. Then she was another man’s wife, so he kept his longing a secret but he’s saved his love for her these six horrific years. Now, the lovely widow and he have crossed paths again. This time, he intends to risk all for a chance at happiness. First he must rescue his distant kinsman from an assassin’s clutches. Will Matt succeed before his kin is killed? And will his secrets shatter the love he and Beth share?
The man who ran Oslo’s Livery Stable narrowed his eyes and looked Matt Petrov up and down. He jabbed a thumb to point across the road. “That there’s the place.”
Riding in from Austin, Matt had entered the small town of Winton Crossing from the east, but it hadn’t taken long to reach this end and the last businesses on the dusty main street. He looked across the road at the large two-story building that appeared to hover on a hill overlooking the Medina River.
The stableman spat a stream of tobacco juice. “Miz Phifer and her daughter are mighty particular about who they rents rooms to.”
Matt knew he looked trail-dirty, but time counted and he’d ridden hard. He flipped the man the coins to pay for his horse’s care. “Thanks.”
Carrying his rifle and saddlebags, Matt strode quickly toward the house. From this angle, it resembled a giant two-story box with smaller one-story boxes at each end. Late morning sun highlighted the building’s peeling paint. In the shade of the long front porch, a child played with a yellow cat.
On Matt’s ride by he’d missed a small sign hung near the door, Phifer’s Boarding House. He opened the squeaking gate and the boy looked up. The kid appeared to be about five and seeing him tore at old scabs in Matt’s heart.
Cuddling the cat, the lad hopped up. “The boarders what are here are all taking a nap. You gonna rent a room?”
“Maybe.” Matt paused on his way to the door. “You live here?”
“My grandma owns this place. Mama and I live here and help out. This here’s Tiger and my name’s Davey.” The boy stroked the purring animal’s head then looked toward the house and lowered his voice. “You better be careful, mister. Mama and Grandma been spring cleaning and they told me to stay right here out of the way until they said different.”
Matt suppressed his smile. “That so? Thanks for the warning, Davey.”
He opened the screen door and stepped inside. The small foyer led to a large parlor. A counter at the far end blocked off another doorway. The furniture appeared well worn but every wood surface gleamed, which accounted for the smell of beeswax. Vases of freshly cut flowers brightened the room’s drab colors and contributed their own aromas of roses and honeysuckle.
Grunts and groans came from the room behind the counter. Matt set his gear on the floor and leaned against the barrier to peer into the next area, which looked to be an office. Two women wrestled with a small floor safe. The safe appeared to be winning.
He leaned over the counter. “Need some help?”
Both women jumped, but only one turned around.
The frazzled older woman, the one Matt figured owned the place, appeared to be in her fifties. Silver threaded through the brown hair piled on her head. She was dressed in gray with a long white apron smudged with dust. Her brown eyes twinkled when she smiled at him.
“Would you? The men who delivered this thing set it in the wrong place. We decided to move it where it belongs. Land sakes, for all our struggles we’ve not made much progress.” Five feet of scratch marks on the floor showed the trail of their limited success.
He stepped around the counter into the small office. “Where you want it?”
She pointed at a place against the far wall. “There, if you can move the thing.”
The tall younger woman kept her head lowered and all he saw was her shapely backside while she tugged at the corner of her navy skirt caught under one leg of the safe.
“Let me.” He tilted the safe to free the fabric, then pushed the unwieldy block of metal into place.
“Oh, finally.” She shook out her skirt and bent to brush at the stain marring the hem. “Thank you—“ When she straightened and looked up at him, she fell silent and paled as if she’d seen a ghost.
Hell, he figured she had. A phantom from her past.
Here's a 5 star review for SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME from Vicky at Sizzling Hot Reviews:
Sometimes, the past can haunt us too much! "Just get over it" is easy to say, but much harder to do. Both Beth and Matt have real issues to overcome in Save Your Heart for Me. They both are special people and are worth the necessary effort to deal with any problems each has so they can be together.
Six years ago Beth Jeffers fled her abusive husband. Now, she wants nothing more than to protect her son Davey and help her mother operate a boarding house. The women in her family have no luck with men, and she has no intention of letting any man mar her son's life. Not even Matt Petrov, no matter how much her heart urges otherwise.
Federal Marshall Matt Petrov fell in love with Beth the first time he saw her. She was another man's wife, so he kept his longing to himself. But when he and the lovely widow cross paths again, he intends to seize his chance at happiness.
Beth made one very big mistake years ago. She fell for the charms of a man and married too quickly only to learn the hard way everything was lies. Turned out Lionel Jeffers had married her for her 'nest egg' thinking she had more money. The abuse, both physical and mental, started even before he gambled away what little money she had. When she ended up pregnant a few months later, he sent her away, not wanting a 'brat' around. She is still ashamed over this while being glad her son has never been exposed to the abuse. She helps her mother run the local boarding house and raises her son much as she was raised: an absentee father with the town gossiping about the mother and never knowing if the drunken father is going to show up. So she holds herself to the highest standards, giving the busybodies nothing to talk about (not that that stops them).
Matt Petrov is haunted by his own past. At one time, he had a small ranch but married a (semi) rich girl more suited to city life. His wife never adjusted to ranch life and when she got pregnant wanted to return to town. He didn't see the need and she, and the baby, died when the baby came early. He has never forgiven himself. This is why he was a gambler and drunk when he knew Beth and her husband six years ago. (Later) Beth's husband framed Matt for his own counterfeiting and the judge happened to be Matt's dead wife's father. Still blaming Matt for her death, this judge accepted any evidence to send Matt to prison, but let him use a different name to spare everyone's families. Between how poor a husband he was and that he has been in prison, he doesn't feel like he deserves to be around decent people. He helps, does good in general, as a Federal Marshall, but doesn't stay in one place long.
That is why Matt is in Winton Crossing. His friend, Ivan, has sent for him after being shot while trying to claim the land/ranch the king of his country (Bayergrovenia) gave him. But Matt was also sent undercover in his Marshall capacity it see what is going on at this ranch that has so many solider-like men at it. When Matt arrives in town, Ivan is missing. And Beth, the woman he still pines for but feels he can't have, is running the boardinghouse where his friend has been staying.
Matt figures that the people at the ranch have Ivan. But he will have to find a way to save him before they kill him. And fight his attraction to Beth. When the boardinghouse is broken into, Matt moves into Ivan's old room to keep an eye on things and make sure everyone is safe. But this puts Beth and Matt too close together...
Will Matt be able to save Ivan? Will Beth be able to get over her issues with her drunken father and abusive husband to see how great Matt is? Will Matt be able to forgive himself his past to offer Beth a future?
Save Your Heart for Me is unexpectedly good. The abusive husband has left a strong impression, yet we don't have to deal with ugly flashbacks. Matt has always longed for Beth, yet doesn't feel good enough for her. It is nice to have the guy be the one with angst for a change, and you can really feel it here. He is not 100% blameless; after all he did drown his guilt in drink for a few years. That he ended up framed for a crime and in prison is a hard way to learn any lesson. And there is no doubt he has become a hero. Beth has had it hard. Given the facts above, she sounds bitter, but really she is more scared than anything. Scared for her son, scared that her husband will come back, and worried about the future. She is not afraid of hard work and doesn't blame her mother for her childhood issues (gossip or her father). And she is doing an amazing job with her son on her own. The surprising thing is that these two are not bitter after everything that has happened to them. In fact they still have a sweetness to them, not obvious but it still comes across. And together, they just make me want to go 'ahhh' and smile.
Save Your Heart for Me is a good western historical (not really cowboys this time). The 'adventure' aspect is light (so it doesn't take away from the character story) but still very entertaining. Caroline Clemmons has written rich characters with issues we can relate to even today. With a full cast of supporting characters adding detail and humor, I was pulled in and didn't want to put Save Your Heart for Me down until finished.
I'm giving away a copy of this book today to one person who comments. I'll give away a different book tomorrow and Sunday, so please return and comment on those days. In the meantime, buy SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME from:
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With only four of us, I guess this is a mini-hop, but all the easier for readers. Please return here tomorrow for another book giveaway.
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