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
Monday, April 25, 2016
WILL INDEPENDENT SPIRITS YIELD?
Will independent spirits yield to hearts bound by love?
Although widow Beth Dodd has agreed to wed Val
Caldwell, she puts their marriage off until the end of the year. She still
desires to have a place of her own that she and her little sister can fall back
on should something go wrong in the future. Widowed in California, she has an
estate coming to her that is worth far less than her portion from the Ohio farm
that her pa sold to her late husband for the express purpose of providing Beth
with a husband and a secure place to spend her life and raise a family. That
was before her late husband sold out and left her behind so he could return to
the mines in the eastern Sierra-Nevada Mountains. Now, she is in the eastern
Sierras, but it is land, not gold and silver, she seeks.
Beth Dodd has made a promise to help “Lulu”, a
young prostitute at the Blue Feather, keep her baby if she decides to leave the
whorehouse and become a respectable woman. But Beth hadn’t counted on the
obstacles she and the new mother will face from society in the mining town of
Lundy. From the obstinate landlady, Mrs. Ford, to her intractable German boss,
Gus Herschel, Beth must fight for the woman she’s promised to help. But Beth
Dodd never gives in, and she keeps her word with a stubbornness that Lundy folks
are not accustomed to seeing from a woman.
a decision to make. Will she give up her baby in order to resume working as a
prostitute at the Blue Feather brothel? Or, will she take Beth up on her offer
to keep her baby, leave prostitution behind, and work as a cook? And, will the
stubborn German cook, Gus Herschel, who owns the chop shop at the back of the
Arcade Saloon where Beth works, give in to Beth’s badgering and promises?
Knowing Louisa’s past, will he allow Louisa to bring her baby there and work as
a cook in spite of the Arcade Saloon’s strictly-enforced policy of “no upstairs
Gus' kitchen would include these
Once Lulu, now known as the more respectable
Louisa Parmley, starts working for Gus in his kitchen, she proves that Beth was
right to take a chance on her. She has every intention of making a good life
for her new daughter. But can she also hope to find happiness with Gus? And
will Gus be able to accept her and baby Sophie Ann as his? Love was never in
the cards for Gus, but Louisa dreams of happiness with the stoic man, and Beth
is determined to bring them together through HER INDEPENDENT SPIRIT.
INDEPENDENT SPIRIT Excerpt:
pulled her two week-old daughter away from her breast and straightened her
nightgown. her eyes never strayed from the face of the little cherub in her
arms until she gently placed the baby on her shoulder to pat her back. Yet,
instead of the joy that should have filled her heart as she gazed at the
child’s sweet face framed by a fine down of golden brown hair, all she felt was
a sense of loss.
losing everyone important to her, she was threatened once again with the loss
of the most important person in her life, her baby, Sophie Ann.
she gazed down at the child now sleeping peacefully in her arms, her mouth
occasionally moving in sucking motions as if she continued to nurse, Lulu
realized she needed to decide what to do about Sophie Ann. Did the baby’s
future belong with her? Or, was it best for her daughter if she heeded Miss
Flora’s directive to find a home for the baby so she could resume working by
the end of the month?
spite of the money she would earn, Lulu cringed at the thought of once again
subjecting herself to being pawed by men—and more.
had offered to let Albert drive her into Bridgeport during the next week so she
could leave the baby on the doorstep of one of the local churches. Flora
insisted that someone would find the baby, fall in love with her, and the child
would be well taken care of as she grew in her adopted family.
Lulu worried, what if no one came for a long time and Sophie Ann grew hungry?
What if a pack of feral dogs roaming the streets in search of food found her
first? What if she was not found right away and had to spend the night outside
and the temperature dropped and she became seriously ill?
clutched her baby to her chest with enough force that Sophie Ann squeaked out a
protest in her sleep. In response, Lulu loosened her grip, but would not let
the child out of her arms. No, never. She could not turn her out and let her
take her chances. That is what had happened to her, but at least she had been
almost fifteen, not a helpless babe slightly over two weeks old.
body involuntary jerked in response to the loud rap on her bedroom door. After
checking to be sure the front of her nightgown was securely buttoned, Lulu
pulled the edge of her wrapper over the side of her chest that was not covered
by her sleeping daughter. Prostitute or not, she maintained her modesty when
she was not working.
was morning, almost time for the girls to wake and stumble down to eat
breakfast. Surely it wasn’t an old customer trying to get in to see her.
Albert, Miss Lulu.”
the muscle Miss Flora hired to enforce order in the brothel entered the room
holding what appeared to be a small folded bundle of flannel. “Miss Lulu, this
is for your baby.”
would bring the baby a gift? Not that many people know me let alone know I have
Lulu reached for one edge of the fabric and shook it free of its folds. One
side was solid white flannel. The other side had a checkerboard patchwork
design of striped blue blocks and red flannel blocks alternating with white
flannel blocks. It was a quilt with a thin fabric center instead of heavier
cotton filling. It was not the most artfully designed quilt Lulu had ever seen,
but the corners of the squares matched up and the stitches that held all the
layers together were neat and even.
was the midwife. She said no matter what, baby Sophie Ann needs a blanket.”
midwife! She brought the baby a blanket?”
recalled the woman, Jim Dodd’s widow, not much older than she was, who had come
to help with the birth of Sophie Ann. That day she had offered to help Lulu get
work as a cook so she could keep Sophie Ann but only if Lulu gave up being a
prostitute and be the one to walk away from the Blue Feather. Had she said that
just to be nice, or had she meant what she said?
“Oh, Albert! Where is she? I need to talk to
author is a member of Women Writing the West, American Night Writers
Association, and Modesto Writers Meet Up. She currently lives with her husband
in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” She enjoys any kind of history
including family history. When she is not piecing together novel plots, she
pieces together quilt blocks.
visit and follow the Zina Abbott’s Amazon Author Page by clicking HERE.