Wednesday, June 28, 2017


My newest book is set partially in Virginia and partially in Wyoming shortly after Wyoming became a state. The fun part for me was being able to go to Franklin, Virginia, and study the old map while imagining what it was like in those days. I also looked at the houses and how far the walk would be to different places.

And a few times I worried that one of Franklin's finest would come up with his lights flashing and want to know what I was doing. There are times I don't want to explain that I'm an author. But sitting on the top of that hill, looking at the little town, knowing my heroine would be doing it, or looking at the river and the little park, was something I don't ordinarily get to do while writing a story. It was wonderful! Franklin remains a quaint town and the old railroad station has been well preserved over the years. Today it's a quiet place where everyone knows one another. But in 1890 it was a bustling little place.

Let me whisk you away to a time long ago when Duncan Lorde asked his father to find him a wife.



Zadie Larkford, recently graduated from an Eastern women's college, lives a quiet life in her hometown of Franklin, Virginia. Content to spend her days painting by the river and watching her friends marry, she is shocked to learn that her father has promised her hand in marriage to a complete stranger. Ultimately unable to disobey, she leaves her childhood home to travel – unaccompanied – to Creed's Crossing, Wyoming to meet her betrothed.

Raised in a seafaring community in North Carolina, Duncan Lorde made the decision to leave his father's prosperous fishing venture to make a life for himself in the west. Determined to succeed in the treacherous and unpredictable pursuit of cattle ranching, he has land, a small cabin, and a herd. All he needs now is a wife–a good woman who will cook, clean, and provide him with strong sons to help on the ranch. When Zadie arrives in Creed's Crossing, the young daughter of his father's old friend is far more independent and strong-willed than he expected.

The young would-be-couple has barely begun to forge a bond when the forces of man and nature collide, impeding Duncan and Zadie as they struggle to fulfill... A Rancher's Request


Zadie’s dad had relieved her of the household chores, but Zadie found herself doing things to help Abilene. By midday, it was too hot to work, and Zadie often spent her afternoons on the side porch. If there was going to be a breeze, even a hot one, the side porch always caught it. Her mother and Abilene often joined her as she painted.
Abilene would sit in such a way that she could keep one foot on a treadle that worked an overhead fan. Zadie wasn’t certain what Abilene was crocheting with such tiny cotton thread, but whatever it was, it was growing daily. Zadie’s mom often read. And Zadie worked on several paintings. The egret picture was almost done, as was the still life of the peonies that were in her mother’s favorite vase. And she had completed several watercolors of the flowers that bloomed throughout Franklin and the various fruits as they came into season. She figured she could decorate the bedrooms and her dining room with the cheerful watercolors.
A knock on the front door sent Abilene scurrying to answer it. The heat of summer had kept her father home in the afternoons, unless he absolutely had to see a patient. But it wasn’t unusual for one to come to him.
A few minutes later, Zadie could hear her father and another man laughing. The sound of her father’s laughter rolled over her, bringing flashes of pleasant childhood memories. “I have a feeling that whoever came is a friend and not a patient.”
“I believe you are right,” Zadie’s mom answered. “I haven’t heard him laugh like that in years.”
“I’ve worried about Poppa. I’ve never seen the heat get to him as it has this summer.”
“He’s fine. We’re getting older, and he’s no longer that invincible young man I married.” Her knitting needles clicked nonstop as she spoke. “He’s always believed in being careful, and he washes his hands and everything around him all the time. I think he’s been extra careful as he’s aged.”
“Oh, you and Poppa are not old. Did you not say that Abilene raised Poppa? She must be twice as old and look at her energy.”
“Hardly twice as old. She was in her early teens when your father was born and she refused to leave when the war ended. And yes, she’s spry for her age. I know she’s enjoyed teaching you this summer and having your help.”
“You should have had me learn sooner.”
“But you would have complained bitterly if we had--”
“Zadie, come here,” her father called. “I want you to meet someone.”
She glanced at her mother as a feeling of horror raced through her. Quickly she wiped her hands on her paint cloth and attempted to untie her paint frock that covered her old faded green and white day dress as she made her way to her father’s office.
She had managed to undo the top portion of the frock so that it folded over the skirted portion and at least hid some of the paint splatters. “Yes, Poppa.”
Come in, my darling daughter, and meet your future father-in-law. This is Reginald Lorde. Reginald, my daughter, Zadie.”
Her vocabulary escaped, along with every sensibility. By sheer rote, she managed to offer the man her hand.
“I’m pleased to meet you, Zadie. I certainly would never have recognized you from your picture.” Reginald Lorde was a fine-looking man for his age and impeccably dressed. His skin was weathered, his eyes were hazel, and his hair was an ash blond with slight curl.
“M-m-my picture?”
“Zadie, please sit,” her father ordered, as he pointed to a chair situated near his desk.
She sat and waited, certain that she knew what was coming. The tingle up her spine ended with a series of stabs someplace behind her eyes and a fog threatened to whisk her away.
“Why did you send this to Duncan?”
She gazed at the drawing she had made of the chinless, big-eared woman. Bucked-toothed and extremely snubbed nosed, with beady eyes, the image appeared to be of a woman who was older than dirt. Then she shifted her gaze to her father before settling on Mr. Reginald Lorde. She couldn’t hold back the giggles that bubbled from her. “It was a joke.”
Mr. Lorde stood, came to her, and took her hand. “Miss Larkford, my son knew your drawing was a joke, but he was very concerned about your willingness to marry him. He doesn’t want you forced into a marriage where you will be unhappy.”

is available on Amazon as an ebook or you can read it for free in Kindle Unlimited. 
It will soon be available in paperback and in large print.

E. Ayers, Author

E. Ayers is a true believer in love at first sight because it happened to her. She thinks everyone should find that special someone. When it happens, it's magical. Writing about that love is what she enjoys doing and when she's not spending time with her two dogs and waiting for his royal highness (the cat), she's busy writing. The official matchmaker for all the characters who wander through her brain, she likes finding just the right ones to create a story.

Find her website

Twitter @ayersbooks


Caroline Clemmons said...

Elizabeth, thank you so much for sharing A RANCHER'S REQUEST with readers today. I pre-ordered my copy and am eager to read it. The cover is gorgeous. Love the sky with sunlight. Could have been painted by your heroine, couldn't it? Best wishes for continued success.

E.Ayers said...

Maybe! Zadie is a talented artist. :-)
Thanks, Caroline. I'm excited to be visiting all your readers.