Monday, March 01, 2021
Friday, February 26, 2021
By Caroline Clemmons
I love reading and writing mail-order bride books. Why so many mail-order brides? Here’s an example: In my husband’s family, one spinster lived with her sister and brother-in-law and functioned as little more than a servant in their home. There’s a similar story in my father’s family. This situation was not uncommon in the nineteenth century. Yet, most women wanted their own home and children even if they didn’t love their husband.
According to estimates I’ve read, over 750,000 died in the Civil War. There weren’t enough single men left to supply grooms for marriageable women in the East. Many single men went West to seek land and start a new life but there weren’t enough single women in the West. The solution? Mail-order matches. They were the EHarmony and Match.com of the 1800s. Some ended well and some didn’t. For my romance books, though, they all end happily!
My Loving A Rancher Series of mail-order bride books were formerly part of Debra Holland’s Montana Sky Series of Kindle World. When Amazon closed the KindleWorlds, I didn’t want to leave that world. Debra graciously reverted the rights to me. So, locales are now Cottonwood Springs and Randall Crossing, both still in Montana. My characters remain the same but the names of Debra’s characters have been changed. The books are available in e-book and print (not so gentle hint!). Each is also be available in Kindle Unlimited. Each of the books is sweet, clean, and family oriented.
The first of this series is AMANDA’S RANCHER, http://a.co/jddh1g7. Please pardon the lack of modesty but this is one of my favorite of the books I’ve written in the past few years. This was an Amazon experiment and is slightly longer than the usual Kindle World book. It involves stolen identity, mystery, murder, adventure, and romance.
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, virtuous, 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 Amanda's place as Preston Kincaid's mail-order-bride. As Mara (now calling herself Amanda) 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?
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 another man.
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 me, too?”
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 devotion.
If you haven’t read this book, I hope you’ll give AMANDA'S RANCHER a read.
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
TAMING WILD HORSES
Book 2 of Wild Horse Ranch Series
Date Published: January 29th, 2021
He’s ready to be a better man…
Chase Collins started the summer a brooding, broken man. He was content keeping to Wild Horse Ranch, where he could tend to horses and stew in peace. When Samara Grant reentered his life, she changed everything, and now he wants to prove to her—and himself—he can be the good guy he always hoped to be. What he doesn’t know is that it’s darkest before the dawn…
She’s done running from the past…
Only a summer in Lutton, Texas. That’s what Samara Grant told herself when she arrived. Now months into living in the small town, she’s carved out a life for herself managing her grandma’s B&B, riding horses and falling in love for the first real time in her life. After so many years spent running, she wants happiness, but unfortunately her tragic past is back to haunt her…
He’s not letting things go that easily…
Reed Ward is supposed to be the guy who has it all. He comes from the most prestigious family in Lutton. He’s handsome. He’s charming. He always gets the girl—so why is it that he’s on the sidelines watching his life go up in smoke? His family’s torn apart, his ranch is no longer his, and the woman that’s supposed to be his wants his best friend. One things for sure: he’s not going down without a fight…
ExcerptIf possible, she looked even more beautiful than the last time he’d seen her, which was only a week ago. She entered the Horseshoe alongside Lea Wilkes, strolling back into his life like she’d never left it. Her curly black hair was free, grazing the tops of her bare shoulders—shoulders he’d kissed intimately many times, among other places. She’d worn one of those spaghetti-strap dresses he liked, the breezy fabric doing little to hide the curves he remembered so well. It was a tangerine-orange color that looked amazing against her dark brown skin.
About the Author
Mila Nicks is on a mission to pen heartfelt and entertaining love stories featuring women of color.
When she isn’t writing diverse love stories, you can find her globetrotting, sampling new cuisines, and spending quality time with her spunky pet Chihuahua, Zayden.
For more on Mila, including news on upcoming releases and story freebies, check out her website and subscribe to her newsletter: https://www.milanickswrites.com/
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Monday, February 22, 2021
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mark Reutlinger will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via R afflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Sometimes even the most carefully conceived burglary can take an unexpected turn. Florence Palmer has her eye on concert violinist Aaron Levy's priceless violin. Unfortunately, she finds it's already been stolen. Her surprise doubles when the virtuoso she'd planned to burgle offers to hire her to help him steal it back. But they're not the only ones looking for the missing violin. When Flo inadvertently becomes the prime suspect in a case of murder, she and Aaron need to clear her name. Will they find the real killer and get the violin back to its rightful owner without anyone else, especially themselves, being killed?
Read an Excerpt
Passing the front desk on my way to the elevator, I wanted to avoid eye contact with any of the clerks on duty. But, like Lot’s wife, I couldn’t resist just a peek. Unfortunately, one of the check-in clerks, an older woman with gray hair pulled back into a tight bun, happened to be looking in my direction and our eyes met.
The woman immediately called to me, “Miss, would you please step over here?”
I returned a mimed “Who, me?” gesture. The bun lady nodded in the affirmative.
Damn, that’s all I need, I berated myself. I just had to look, didn’t I? But I knew I now had no choice but to comply. I walked over slowly as I tried frantically to think of answers, having no idea what the questions might be. Would I be asked who I was and what I was doing here? If so, would my answers be credible? When I reached the desk I tried to act nonchalant.
The bun lady said, “Just a moment, please,” and reached under the desk.
Totally irrationally it flashed through my mind that the woman was going to pull out a pistol and place me under arrest. Good thing I’d just peed, or I’d probably have done it now. It’s amazing what tricks a guilty conscience can play on you. What she actually pulled out, however, was a stack of letters. She handed them to me and, motioning toward a mail box mounted on the far wall, said, “Would you be a dear and drop these in the box over there?”
I accepted the letters and the assignment with relief. “Certainly, ma’am. No problem.”
I marched directly over to the mail box and deposited the letters. I then continued on my way to the service elevator, this time resisting any urge to look anywhere but straight ahead.
About the Author:
Mark and his wife Analee live in University Place, Washington, where in addition to reading and writing he plays clarinet with the Tacoma Concert Band and enjoys tennis, biking, exotic cars, model railroading, and various arts and crafts. He has no idea where he finds the time for it all.
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/murder-with-strings-attached-mark-reutlinger/1138134761
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Friday, February 19, 2021
By Lyn Horner
Don't miss the giveaway at the end of the post!
INSPIRATION and RESEARCH
I was inspired to write MY VOYAGER by a writing class project and my desire to set a romance in Galveston at the height of the island’s glory, before the devastating hurricane of 1900. I thought what fun I’d have pairing a proper Victorian woman with a bedraggled man who falls out of thin air dressed like a pirate. Including a precocious child would make it even more fun.
While researching the 1890s era, I grew fascinated by the historic Tremont House, a grand hotel now in its third incarnation. In its heyday, the second hotel of that name hosted presidents and celebrities. It’s the main setting for MY VOYAGER and inspired me to turn this into a series of Old West hotel romances titled Legendary Rendezvous. I’m working on book two, which features the Menger Hotel in San Antonio, said to be the most haunted hotel in Texas.
Galveston, Texas; February 1895
Julia Reynolds stepped out of the Tremont House’s steam-powered elevator, clutching her six-year-old daughter Olivia’s small hand and her own fragile composure. Heels clicking on the hotel lobby’s marble floor, she pasted a smile on her face and tried not to think about the letter she’d received a short while ago.
“Mama, you’re hurting my hand,” Livvy complained.
“Oh, I’m sorry, sweetie.” Julia immediately loosened her grip. “I didn’t mean to squeeze so tight. Is this better?”
“Uh-huh. Can we go to the ice cream parlor after the doctor? Please.”
“Yes, if you’re a good girl for Doctor Harmon.”
“I’ll try, but I hate when he puts that stick in my mouth. It almost makes me throw up.”
“I know, honey, but he needs to hold your tongue down so he can look at your throat. Remember how sore it was the last time we saw him? We want him to make sure it’s all better now.”
“But it doesn’t hurt anymore. He doesn’t have to –” Livvy shrieked just as a thud and a cry of pain sounded nearby, off to their right. “Mama, that man fell out of the air!”
Julia pivoted and gasped at the sight of a man lying curled on the marble floor several feet away. He wore strange clothes and his face was hidden by long, tangled black hair. And he was sopping wet.
“Stop pointing at him, Livvy. That’s not nice,” she said absently. After a pause she asked, “Mister, are you hurt? Do you need help?”
Through a pain-filled haze, Raphael realized the female voice was speaking to him. Groaning, he struggled to sit up, holding his sagging left arm against his chest. He raked hair from his eyes and lifted his aching head. Brilliant light stung his eyes, making him blink fast as he struggled to see. When he was able to focus on the strange woman and girl staring at him, he returned their stares, struck by the woman’s odd attire.
She wore a narrow, bell-shaped gray skirt and short black velvet coat belted in at her slender waist and flaring over her nicely rounded hips. The coat sleeves were hugely puffed from shoulder to elbow and tight from elbow to wrist. A high-necked white bodice showed at her throat. These garments were nothing like the women’s gowns he was familiar with.
She was quite lovely, he also noticed, with upswept blonde hair and a tiny hat perched above her heart-shaped face and wide blue eyes.
Then his gaze swung to the little girl. Dressed in a sky-blue coat over a frilly frock, white stockings and shiny black shoes, she was blonde like the woman – her mother, Raphael assumed. She was also very pretty like her madre, with long, bouncing curls, pink cheeks, and a rosebud mouth, open in an “O” of astonishment.
She made him think of his own small daughter, lost to him along with her mother, his dear Louisa, murdered by MacKenzie and his bloodthirsty pirates. His throat tightened at the memory.
“Do you need help?” the woman repeated. When he didn’t answer, because he did not trust himself to speak, she crossed her arms beneath high breasts and frowned impatiently. “Do you not understand English, sir?”
“I speak your language,” Raphael said, voice raspy from emotion and sea water. In truth, he found her accent as odd as her appearance. It sounded nothing like the English he had learned as a child while living in his mother’s homeland. “I do not need your assistance,” he added, levering himself onto his knees and pushing to his feet. He swayed but managed to remain upright, again cradling his arm.
She eyed him critically. “Then I suggest you go to your room, or wherever you came from and change into dry – less bizarre garb. Come along, Livvy, let’s go or we will be late for our appointment.”
While Raphael glanced down at his wet shirt and breeches, the child – Livvy – resisted her mother’s effort to draw her away. “But how did he do that, Mama?”
“Do what?” the woman asked, forcefully dragging her inquisitive offspring away from Raphael.
“How did he fall out of the air?”
“Don’t talk nonsense. The man tripped over his own feet and landed hard, that’s all. Alcohol does that to a person.”
She believed him drunk, Raphael realized, offended. He wanted to storm after her and deny her false assumption, but his head and shoulder throbbed unmercifully, and he was still somewhat unstable on his feet. He watched her and the child walk toward a set of heavy doors that evidently led outside. Only then did he pay attention to his surroundings.
The large space was brightly lighted by peculiar devices hanging on the walls and from the ceiling. They held no candles that he could see. Turning in a slow circle, he gaped at the opulent room. Obviously the antechamber of a prestigious residence, it was lavishly appointed with marble, dark polished wood and potted palms. A sweeping staircase climbed to a curved balcony that must lead to inner rooms.
He also noticed several people standing around, staring at him. A middle-aged couple eyed him in disapproval and crossed the room to a tall mahogany desk. Behind it stood a soberly clad man, el portero – the concierge – Raphael deduced.
Like Livvy’s mother, everyone Raphael saw wore outlandish attire, increasing his suspicion that he had landed in some strange, unknown land. Dios! He could not believe the whirlwind had carried him aloft and set him down in one piece, much less in such a place. How could this be?
“It is so because the Madonna wishes it this way, you dolt,” he muttered. She had sent him here, causing him to “fall out of the air” as young Livvy said. Thinking of her, he heard her high-pitched voice and wheeled toward the outer doors, growing dizzy with the sudden movement. He stumbled, nearly falling, and gasped as fresh pain shot down his arm. Clasping it to his body, he managed to regain his balance.
“See, Mama? He hurt his arm. We have to help him,” Livvy declared, tugging her mother’s skirt, attempting to lead her toward Raphael.
Lips set in a thin line, the woman walked back to him. “Sir, my daughter is correct, you are clearly injured. I will call for a doctor. Meanwhile, you need to get out of those wet clothes and lie down. Are you staying here at the hotel?”
Raphael opened his mouth to say no but realized she would insist on knowing where he was staying. Before he could concoct a reply, el portero marched up. “I am so sorry if this man has offended you, Mrs. Reynolds.”
The scowling fellow looked Raphael up and down. “Mister, I don’t know what happened to you, but you cannot stand here dripping in the lobby. Are you a guest of the Tremont House?”
In a quandary, Raphael stammered the only thing that came to mind. “I-I do not know. That is, I do not remember.”
“You don’t remember!” Mrs. Reynolds exclaimed. “I suppose you don’t remember how you got here or why you’re all wet either, hmm?”
“I am sorry, I do not.”
“I know how you got here,” Livvy blurted. “You fell out of the air.”
“Livvy, stop saying that,” her mother reprimanded. To him she said in a caustic tone, “Are you asking me, I mean us – she gestured at the hotel man – to believe you have amnesia?”
He frowned. “I do not know this word. What does it mean?”
“It means to lose your memory.”
“Ah, I see. Perhaps I do suffer from this amnesia.”
She studied him closely, one hand on her hip, the other wrapped around Livvy’s small hand. “Did you hit your head when you fell?”
Raphael knew it was possible to lose one’s memory after a blow to the head, and so did she, it appeared. He touched a tender spot on the back of his head. “I must have. It aches,” he said, wincing involuntarily. His fingers came away coated with blood.
She sighed. “Well, I supposed Doctor Harmon can determine if you are being truthful. For now, let’s get you a room.”
“Wait a moment. He can’t stay here looking like that,” el portero protested, shaking his hand at Raphael. “Our guests would be scandalized.”
“Of course, Mister Bagly, exactly why you must see him to a room right now and find some decent clothes for him to wear. While you do so, I shall call Doctor Harmon and ask him to come and tend the man’s injuries.”
“B-but, Mrs. Reynolds, I really cannot –”
“Need I remind you who my father is, sir?” the lovely Mrs. Reynolds asked with an imperious lift of her chin.
Bagly’s narrow jaw tightened. His thin brown mustache twitched. “No, Madam, I know who he is.” He stiffly bowed his head to her. “I will show the gentleman to a room immediately.”
“Excellent.” Raphael’s benefactress smiled and turned to him. “Bagly will take care of you, Mister . . .” She laughed. “Goodness, I don’t even know your name.”
“Uh, I don’t –”
She waved him to silence. “I know, I know, you don’t remember it, correct?” She cocked a slim dark blonde eyebrow.
He shook his pounding head and stared uncomfortably at the floor. He had trapped himself in a lie, a position he might live to regret.
Lyn Horner resides in Fort Worth, Texas – “Where the West Begins” – with her husband and a pair of very spoiled cats. Trained in the visual arts, Lyn worked as a fashion illustrator and art instructor before she took up writing. She loves crafting passionate love stories, both historical and contemporary. Lyn also enjoys reading, gardening, genealogy, visiting with family and friends, and cuddling her furry, four-legged children.
The author’s Texas Devlins series blends authentic Old West settings, steamy romance and a glimmer of the supernatural. This series has earned multiple awards and nominations, including Crowned Heart reviews and a Rone Award nomination from InD’Tale Magazine.
Lyn’s paranormal-romantic suspense series, Romancing the Guardians, combines her trademark flashes of psychic phenomena with Irish folklore, chilling apocalyptic prophesies and captivating, far-flung settings. Along the way, readers are treated to thunderous action, terrifying suspense and sizzling romance.
Lyn Horner is giving away an e-book of HER VOYAGER to one person who leaves a comment on this post.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Monday, February 15, 2021
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Bobbi Smith will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Taken captive in a Comanche raid, terrified Marissa Williams awaits her fate alone in a tipi. Wind Ryder enters his tipi to find the chief’s gift of the blond beauty. Once a captive himself, Wind Ryder understands her fear. How can he protect his terrified prisoner from the other men in the village who see her as nothing more than an object for their pleasure?
As the villagers gathered to watch Wind Ryder break the wild stallion, Marissa knew this was her only chance to escape. It would be dangerous, but she had to try. She moved to the back of the crowd without drawing attention to herself. Her heart beat wildly as she imagined herself free from the Comanche at last.
Wind Ryder smiled confidently. He reached down and patted the proud horse’s lathered neck as cheers arose from those watching. Dismounting, he handed the reins to another warrior and went to speak with his father and Black Eagle. He looked around as they spoke and realized Shining Spirit was gone. Knowing how badly she wanted to escape, he went to look for her without a word to the other men.
Marissa tried not to get too excited as she stayed along the bank of the stream where the foliage was the heaviest. The terrain grew rockier, and she was glad. It made her trail harder to follow. She rushed on, thinking only of being reunited with her family.
And then the fierce warrior Bear Claw appeared before her. She tried to get away, but he grabbed her and brutally threw her to the ground.
“My father should never have given you to Wind Ryder,” he snarled, groping her.
Marissa fought as violently as she could to escape. This was her greatest terror. Thoughts of Wind Ryder came to her. Her warrior hadn’t abused her. She desperately searched the ground beside her and grabbed a rock, swinging it at him. Her blow caught him alongside his head and he viciously hit her.
“You will pay for that!”
Wind Ryder found her tracks near the stream and realized there was another set of tracks covering hers—tracks that belonged to a man. The realization that he was worried about her startled him. Just the thought that someone might harm her infuriated him. A vision of his golden captive played in his mind.
The sound of a distant cry came to him and he charged forward. The scene he came upon put him in a mindless rage. Wind Ryder threw himself at Bear Claw and knocked him away from Shining Spirit.
“She is mine! You do not take what is mine!”
Since then, Bobbi has written over 40 books and 6 novellas. To date, there are more than five million copies of her novels in print. She has been awarded the prestigious Romantic Times Storyteller Award and two Career Achievement Awards. Her books have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List, the USA Today Best Seller List and the Wal-Mart Best Seller List.
The rights to Ms. Smith’s books have been sold to China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Russia and Sweden. Bobbi has also written two faith-based contemporary novels – Haven and Miracles – using the pseudonym Julie Marshall.
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Lone-Warrior-Bobbi-Smith/dp/1477835091