Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Several fellow authors have invited me to participate in a meme where we go to page 77 of our latest work, go to line 7, and then quote the next 7 lines. I couldn’t leave you hanging, so I am including a bit more than the requested 7 lines.

My latest release is BRAZOS BRIDE, a western historical romance/mystery set in 1870 Texas. The scene is when Hope Montoya (the heroine) learns that her only cousin, Eduardo Montoya, has been arrested. One of her Uncle Jorge’s vacqueros has ridden to ask for assistance. Micah Stone is the hero, involved in a paper marriage with Hope to protect her. Joel and Zach are Micah's brothers and Chip Wooster is the ranch foreman.

“What’s wrong?” Micah exchanged a wary look with Joel.

“Señor Eduardo, he has been arrested for murder. He no is guilty, of this I am sure.”

Joel held up his hand. “Wait, who’s Eduardo supposed to have murdered.”

Dread spread through Micah. He figured he already knew the answer to Joel’s question.

“A woman, she worked in the saloon. The Red Horse, but that no is where Señor Eduardo goes to drink and play cards.”

Wooster stepped forward. “Miss Hope will want to go see him. Shall I see the carriage is ready?”

“I’ll try to talk her out of it because she’s still so weak.” Micah turned back to the vaquero. “You’d better come up to the house and tell my wife everything you know.” He looked back. “Wooster, maybe you’d better come to the house with us.”

Hope was too restless to read, and semi-reclined on the chaise while Zach read from his usual chair. For an intelligent man, he certainly read slowly. He’d hardly covered a fourth of Verne’s book.

She jumped when the door opened and Micah, Joel, Chip Wooster, and one of Tio Jorge’s vaqueros hurried in. She rose to her feet. “Why is Rico here? What on earth has happened?”

Micah went to her and urged her back to the chaise. “Sit down and this man will tell us everything. But first, my brothers and I must confess a plot in which we’re involved.”

Hope gazed from one man to the next and registered a serious situation. Her entire body trembled. She feared she’d lose her breakfast. Thank heavens Micah had made her sit on the chaise. “H-have you caught the killer?”

The vaquero waved both hands. In one he held his large-brimmed sombrero and flapped Zach in the face with it. “No, no, Señora Hope.”

Joel’s deep voice filled the room. “Everyone sit down.” He gazed at the frenzied rider and held his hand palm out. “Please, wait until we ask for your story. Micah, your turn to explain to your wife.”

“Eduardo agreed to help us learn all we could about the land across the Brazos River, as well as some hardas...rough looking men who’ve been hanging around the Red Horse Saloon. He learned the land is now owned by Diego Gonzales.”

Hope knew her eyes widened and dread sent her stomach churning. “No, not Diego!” Dear heaven, she’d hoped Diego would never return.

“Yes. A woman named Daisy at the saloon agreed to help Eduardo learn which direction the three men rode when they left the saloon. He arranged to meet her today to find out, then come here to fill us in.”

“Ahora mi, por favor?” the vaquero asked.

Joel nodded. “You can tell your story now. Tell us everything you know.”

“This morning, it was very early. The sheriff, he come to the hacienda. He say Señor Eduardo, he killed this woman, the one called Daisy. They take him away in handcuffs. Señor Montoya, his papa, go with him. Señora tell me, ride here, she says. Ask for help with the sheriff.”

Hope asked, “Rico, has my uncle gone to town yet?”

The vaquero she’d called Rico, nodded. “Sí. He go with his son and the sheriff and men. This is bad situation, verdad?”

“True, Rico, very bad.” Hope looked at the others in the room. “Perhaps you do not especially like him, but Eduardo would not harm a woman. I must go to town and see if I can help him.”

“We aim to go right away, Hope.” Micah took her hand. “You’re wrong, Hope. We’re coming to like him now we know he’s not out to hurt you. And I know he’s like a brother, but you’re still very frail. Please, wait here and we will act for you.”

Hope sighed. She longed to lie back on the chaise and sleep, but Eduardo needed help. Even though her father had died, her name and wealth still carried weight.

“I must go, Micah. Surely you understand. If it were Joel or Zach, you would not stay here either.”

Her husband smiled at her. “We figured that’s what you’d say, but I thought it was worth a try.”

Wooster nodded. “I’ll get the buggy ready. You want me to come, too.”

Micah faced the foreman. “Please. People know you. If it were safe to go off and leave the place deserted, I’d also round up all the hands to go with us like an army and make a big show of support for Eduardo. We can’t do that, but having you along will help our cause.”

Hope asked, “Rico, where is my aunt?”

“She cry much, but she stay at the hacienda.”

Hope placed her hand on Rico’s arm. “Please, go into the kitchen and get something to eat and drink. Then ride home and tell my aunt we are going to help Eduardo.” She hoped she spoke the truth. “Gentlemen, this will require looking my most impressive. If you excuse me, I will change clothes and hurry back.” She pulled the bell pull to summon Maria as she left.

Maria met her in the hallway. “Is something wrong?”

“Very wrong. Eduardo has been arrested. I must dress carefully to look as imposing as possible. My husband, his brothers, and Mr. Wooster are waiting for me, so I must hurry.”

“Your navy suit?” Maria asked as they climbed the stairs.

“Yes, with all the matching accessories. You had better lay out my duster to protect the navy serge.”

“Aii. You will smother, Señora Hope. The sun, today it has much heat.”

“It cannot be helped but I will take my best parasol.” Hope slid out of the cheerful yellow dress dotted with white flowers. She’d always viewed the navy suit her mother had chosen as matronly and too old for her. Now, she needed the mood it provided to confront Eduardo’s accusers.

When Hope had dressed, Maria formed her hair into a sleek braid and coiled it at her neck. Hope chose the elaborate watch brooch she’d inherited from Mama. She inserted dangling pearl earrings and paused to check her reflection.

After Maria settled the hat on Hope’s head and adjusted the veil, Hope said, “There, that should do,” to herself more than to Maria.

“Ah, Señora, your mama would be so proud to see you today. Married to a handsome man and looking so much a wife and lady.”

Is that how I appear?

No time to wonder if it were true. She grabbed her gloves, purse, and parasol. She slid her hands into her gloves as she started down the stairs.

Micah and his brothers waited for her. She thought she’d hurried, but all three men had changed into suits. She almost stumbled on the stairs when she saw Micah appearing so handsome. Truthfully, all three did, but Micah most of all.

“Wooster’s joining us at the buggy.” Micah reached for her and assisted her down the last three steps.

She slid her hand onto his arm and they walked to the front courtyard where Wooster waited with the buggy and three saddled horses.

The buy link for BRAZOS BRIDE at Amazon Kindle is:


If my sweet father were still alive, April 18th would be his birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Daddy! I'm sure all days are happy there.

The winner of my free e-book from the Autism Awareness Giveaway Hop is Lauren M. You'll have my email today, Lauren to determine your book choice.

And thanks to each of you for stopping by!

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