Friday, August 31, 2012


Jacquie Rogers, one of my favorite western authors, tagged me with this Next Big Thing post. I can't refuse to post request from a nice person like Jacquie. Besides, what a great opportunity to tell you about my soon-to-be published next book, which I hope will be a big thing. Here ate the ten questions and my answers.

1. What is the working title of you book?

The title is HIGH STAKES BRIDE and it's the second of the Men of Stone Mountain trilogy. In fact, the book is finished and I am waiting for changes suggested by my readers and critique partners. My husband already has the cover prepared. The title of the third book is BLUEBONNET BRIDE and I've started writing on it while I wait for suggestions on HIGH STAKES BRIDE.

Tentative Cover

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

When Hero and I toured a historic ranch in a neighboring county, I fell in love with the locale. I could see it becoming the setting for a series of books. The first, BRAZOS BRIDE, has already been published in print and e-book. For HIGH STAKES BRIDE, I saw this movie in my head (occupational hazard) of a woman running from her step-brothers and another man. I saw her clearly as having long blonde hair and desperate to escape. I worked with it and came up with an outline. The story includes a little boy, Seth, who is named after a boy in our church who is now a teen. Seth is handsome and nice now, but he was such a cute kid and said funny things that embarrassed his mom but endeared him to others. In the story, Seth has a dog, a mutt, who is his best friend. Every boy should have a dog, right?

3. What genre does your book fall under?

HIGH STAKES BRIDE is a western historical romance. You have noticed, I'm sure, that all of my books except for the novella LONG WAY HOME are set in Texas. Can't help it. I love writing about my home state. I also write contemporary romance and mysteries, but they're all set in Texas. I still have to do research, though.

4. What actor would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Mary Alice Price, on the run
This is really hard for me because these people live in my head and are not like any living people. If I had to choose, I guess maybe Reese Witherspoon for Alice Price and Hugh Jackman for Zach Stone. They wouldn't be exactly right though, even though both of them are great actors. And I guess the kid Ron Howard as he was on "Mayberry" would be great.

Seth at his 7th birthday party

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Alice Price needs a place to hide from her step-brothers while she recovers from pneumonia and Zach Taylor needs a mail-order bride.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I will self-publish this as I have others. HIGH STAKES BRIDE will be available in print and e-book. I love self-publishing. I enjoy choosing my own cover material, the speed with which I can publish, and the larger royalties. It's a win/win for authors.

Harry, Seth's loyal dog

7. How long did it take you to write this book?

About four months. I write long hours, though, and usually about 70 or more hours a week unless life interferes. I'm lucky enough to have good critique partners who offer wonderful constructive suggestions.

8. What other books would you compare it to in your genre?

My spring book BRAZOS BRIDE, GALLAGHER'S PRIDE by MK McClintock, ANGEL IN THE MAIL by Callie Hutton, and many others. .Many of my friends are western romance writers. We each write in a different style, but with the same love for the West.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I pretty much answered this in question 2 when I mentioned the historical tour of a ranch. I have set several novels in Central Texas ranch country, and this is the first western historical series I've set in North Central Texas. The Brazos River runs nearby, and is a lovely river and the longest river in Texas.

Zachariah Greenberry Stone

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

I hope all of my books do that. The Men of Stone Mountain trilogy features the three Stone brothers, Micah, Zach, and Joel. In addition, each book deals with a type of natural poison. Those of us who watch TV are used to the ME recognizing poison in an autopsy. In the 1900's, poison was more difficult to detect. Not all was deadly, but it could be. Anyone who's studied natural herbs knows that too much of a good thing--or the right thing given to the wrong person--can be fatal.

Now I have to tag five friends to post on September 11th
Tammie Clarke Gibbs
Mary Alice Adair
MK McClintock
Beth Trissel
Carra Copelin

The rules are to answer the 10 questions about your current work in progress. Tag five other people and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Please help me welcome Paisley Kirkpatrick to the blog today. Paisley and I have been online friends for years and I’ve seen samples of her terrific writing. She is a member of the team blogs Sweethearts of the West and Slip Into Something Victorian, to both of which I belong. My great news to share is that Paisley recently signed a five-book contract with Desert Breeze Publishing and her first book, NIGHT ANGEL, has just been released. Woo Hoo! Let’s hear a round of applause for Paisley!

Paisley Kirkpatrick, Author

Caroline:  I know a good bit about you, but I’d like to know more, and I’m sure readers are eager to “meet” you. Where did you grow up? Give us details, please.

Paisley: I had a great childhood growing up in Santa Rosa, California, which is located about an hour's drive north of San Francisco. My brother is three years younger than me. We had an easy childhood, enjoying rides to Bodega Bay almost every Sunday to play on the beach. I joined Camp Fire Girls early and stayed involved into high school. My hubby and I celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary in December. We've had two daughters, but no grandchildren. Life is easy and laid back for us living in the Sierra Mountains not far from Lake Tahoe.

Caroline: Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Paisley: Historicals have always been my favorite genre. I love to travel and visit the places I've read about. It's fun to learn how life existed in the olden days and try to picture how the people in that time period actually lived and survived the adversities.  Kathleen Woodiwiss actually got me to reading. I fell in love with the characters in her book Shanna and from there read every one of her books I could get my hands on. Julie Garwood and Jude Deveraux were the next two authors who intrigued me. Their stories not only had the history, but humor as well. The combination of the two drew me into wanting to try to write a story of my own.

Caroline: Julie Garwood is one of my favorites, too. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?

Paisley: I love to sew. I've been making quilts for ten years now. It's a time to get away from my stories and give my muse a chance to rebuild itself. I've made and given away 37 quilts in memory of our older daughter. Most of the quilts are for babies, made from brightly colored and printed flannel. They are a joy to make and even more fun to see the babies who've received them grow up and still love snuggling in them. I also learned how to put photos on fabric and now make a lot of quilts with family photos, book covers and favorite celebrities on them. This has also led me to making tote bags and pillow cases with a photo or two on them as well.

Caroline: I’ve been thinking of doing a book cover on a tote bag. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life? (I know she does and it’s a favorite of mine, too.)

Paisley: ”When at first you do succeed, try to hide the astonishment."  I love this quote and used it for many years on my signature line. However, when I did get my first offer of publication, I didn't hide my astonishment, I sat in shock saying ”WOW” for the longest time. My reaction is not anything like I expected it would be.

Caroline: Those of us who’ve seen your writing are only surprised it took so long for a contract offer. How long have you been writing?

Paisley: I practiced writing for 22 years before I was offered a contract. It happened on Christmas Eve and was even more than I expected. My editor asked for all five of my books in the Paradise Pines Series.

Caroline: All your friends are so happy for you. I love when good things happen to good people. Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

Paisley: I have a main computer on the top floor of our house, but it is usually very cold or very hot up on the third floor because we don't have a heater or air conditioning. We live in the mountains and survive with a pellet stove on the second floor and a wood stove on the bottom floor. Once I got a laptop, my writing time became so much easier. Hubby made a table for me so I can sit on the sofa and pull the computer up to a comfortable writing position. I am trying to learn to write in a quiet house, but prefer white noise in the background. I worked in a busy office with a dot matrix printer next to me and grew accustomed to having a lot of commotion and noise around me.

Caroline: I either write with quiet or classical music. Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Paisley: I have no idea where my plots come from. I am a definite panzer. My muse is very active until I take my characters in the wrong direction or miss an important point. They stop talking and, trust me there is nothing more frustrating than a silent muse. I do have a trick, though. I listen to the music from Phantom of the Opera and it starts them chattering non-stop. Not sure if they are tired of my favorite music and movie or if they like it as much as I do, but it works.

Caroline: Quite a trick. Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Paisley: Yes, I have used family members as inspiration for my characters and do have a favorite hero prototype. In fact, the heroine in my first story is based on my great grandmother. She has ended up being my favorite of all my heroines. A lot of my heroes are Scottish and bear a strong resemblance to my favorite actor, Gerard Butler. I can't find a better hero type than Gerry.

Caroline: Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?

Paisley: I don't set goals. I just write. Usually I spend 8 to 10 hours a day writing because I love doing it. I am either typing or sewing and, when I can, reading.

Caroline: I used to sew, now I just write and read and do family history. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Paisley: I recently had a reviewer tell me all the parts of my story she loved. What amazed me was the points she brought up - they happened to be all the points I had hoped a reader would find and like. I write from my heart and I hope a reader can find the same enjoyment with my characters as I do.

Caroline: Not counting making the NYTimes list, what long-term plans do you have for your career?

Paisley: I have a contract for five stories. I hope to add more stories to my Paradise Pines Series. Since we live where the 1849 Gold Rush happened, it is easy to find interesting stories. I love the genre. They don't exaggerate when they call that time period the Wild West.

Caroline: Those who’ve read your articles on Sweethearts of the West know that’s true and that you do a lot of research for authenticity. Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

Paisley: I am finishing up the final touches on MARRIAGE BARGAIN, which is a romance on a wagon train. My great, great grandfather kept a journal traveling west in 1849 and I researched a lot of this story from his writings. This second in the series will be released in March, 2013.

Caroline: What a treasure to have his journal, although I believe you said it’s now in a museum. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Paisley: My advice to an unpublished author is never give up. It took me 22 years of learning the craft and persistence in trying to write the best story I knew how. It is definitely worth the effort when your dream comes true.

Caroline: Good advice, and don’t let anyone steal your dreams. What’s a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you.

Paisley: For fifteen years I ran a fan club for country singing artist Kevin Sharp. We spent five summers running his booth at Fan Fair in Nashville and one year I got to stand on the stage of the Grand Old Opry while he sang three songs. It was an experience I will always treasure.

Caroline: That’s a fun fact all right. Something about you that would surprise or shock readers.

Paisley: I had a difficult time with this one so asked my husband. He said people who know me now would be surprised to learn I used to be very quiet. I could be in a room for hours and nobody would know I was there.

Caroline: Sounds like my youngest daughter when she was younger. I know this is a five-book series. Is it a family saga?

Paisley: My book is part of the Paradise Pines Series - sort of a family saga. The first three stories are about the Benjamin sisters who end up living in Paradise Pines. The second two stories bring in the five MacGregor brothers who become active members in the community.

Caroline: I love the fonts on the cover. Can you give readers a blurb about NIGHT ANGEL?

Paisley: Here’s a blurb:
Sassy Amalie Renard, a poker-playing saloon singer, shakes up Paradise Pines, a former gold-rush mountain community by turning the saloon’s bar into her stage. Her amazing voice stirs the passions of the hotel owner, a man who anonymously travels tunnels at night providing help to the downtrodden as the mysterious Night Angel. Declan Grainger agrees to subsidize the building of a music hall to fulfill Amalie's dream, but a bounty for her arrest could spoil his plans. Distrust and jealousy stir flames of malice and revenge threatening to destroy their town. Drawing from past experiences, Declan and Amalie turn to each other to find a way to save the community.

Caroline: How about an excerpt of NIGHT ANGEL?

Paisley: Here you are:
Different colored bottles of whiskey and beer reflected in the mirrors along the wall behind the long wooden bar. Perfect. That's where she'd start her evening.
She slipped off her cape and handed it to Declan. His appreciative gasp brought a smile to her lips. Having men ogle her appearance was hardly new. She'd learned early to use her looks to her advantage. The way Declan's eyes heated with appreciation when he cast a glance at the deep cut of her décolletage reminded her how good it felt to be a woman.
"Now you'll see who I really am."
Declan grabbed her arm. "Don't let them forget you're a lady, Amalie."
She cast him a wicked smile. "The name's Lily Fox. Believe me, honey, Lily's no lady."
She approached a couple of gamblers and leaned over slightly to give them full effect of her daring dress. "Would you mind helping me, gents? I have need of your table for a moment."
The men jumped to their feet in unison, their cards forgotten. Amalie took the nearest man's outstretched palm, stepped onto a chair, over their cards and up onto the long wooden plank bar.
"Good evening, boys." She strutted along the length of wood, avoiding whiskey glasses and kicking away eager hands.
The saloon girl stopped caterwauling. The room went still. She had everyone's attention, just the way Lily liked it.
"Get down, young woman. This ain't no place for you to prance about," the barkeep snarled in outrage.
Ignoring the scowling face with the handlebar mustache, she kicked up her heels. Adding a dance step, she pranced back and forth the length of the makeshift stage. Lily reveled in the whistles and disregarded the uncouth remarks. She was in her element. "My name is Lily Fox and I'm here to entertain you tonight."
With the flick of her hand, she caught the attention of the stunned piano player. "Play something quick and lively, will you, honey?" She glanced around the room of excited faces and turned on her brightest smile.

Caroline: Where can readers find your book?

Paisley: Here are the buy links for NIGHT ANGEL:

Barnes and Noble


Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?

Paisley: Website:
Sweethearts of the West
Scandalous Victorians
Voices from the Heart

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 27, 2012


By sheryl Browne
Safkhit Publishing
Print and E-download

Donna O’Connor is a single parent who works at a care center for children with learning disabilities. In addition, she has a seventeen-year-old son Matthew, whose pet is Findan, a rabbit. Donna has a three-legged dog, a labrador-mastiff mix, named Sadie. She is busy trying to make ends meet because her ex, Jeremy, is less than helpful, including not spending time with their son. There’s always an excuse, but Jeremy finds time for his girlfriend, Leticia, whom Donna has dubbed Twiglet.

After parking illegally, Donna meets PC Mark Evans, just the Adonis she’s been hoping for. He’s divorced, but has an autistic son, Karl. Well, you can see where this is going, right? Donna can’t help wishing she were ready to get involved with a man.

 Mark is smitten with Donna, so much so that instead of ticketing her for illegal parking, he invites her for coffee. He’d like to invite her for more, but Donna wants to take it slow. And Mark is afraid to admit up front that he has an autistic son.

This book touches on a problem dear to my heart, the autistic child. Ms Browne had done an excellent job of presenting the handicapped child and with the use of assistance dogs. The romance appeals to all romance lovers, and the message is not apparent, but a subplot of the story. Ms Browne’s writing style is delightful and I recommend this fun book to anyone who loves a good romance novel.

Author Sheryl Browne

This book was furnished to me for my honest opinion.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Please welcome an author new to me, Kimberly Lewis, whose book I’m eager to read. In November of 2011, author Kimberly Lewis stepped into the writing world with her first original western contemporary romance novel, WHEN THE HEART FALLS.Today, however, she's talking about her new release, ZANE: THE McKADES OF TEXAS. Here's an interview with Kimberly.

Author Kimberly Lewis

Caroline: Please tell our readers something about yourself.

Kimberly: Well, I grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in the country. We had a farm with horses, cows, pigs, chickens and, at one time, goats. And of course we had dogs and cats as well. I have a younger brother, but I have many cousins who are all around my age and lived right next door—so growing up it was like I had at least ten other brothers and sisters ☺ As far as being a jock or a bookworm...I’d say I was probably a little of both. I loved to read but I really also enjoyed getting outside and playing sports. When I got older, reading won. I am married to the most wonderful man who is caring and very supportive. We have a two year old son and are expecting a daughter the end of this year ☺ And I can’t forget our other daughter...our nine year old Doberman Pinscher.

Caroline: It’s true that our pets are members of our family. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Kimberly: My absolute favorite genre to read is romance—western romance to be specific. I just love cowboys and how they are tough enough to handle a wild horse or bull but become a complete softy around the woman they love. Some of my favorite western romance authors are Joanne Kennedy and Carolyn Brown. I love the worlds and characters they create.    I also enjoy reading other genres as well. JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series is one of my all time favorites.

Caroline: I am also an eclectic reader, but western romance is always a favorite. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

Kimberly: Gosh, I don’t really get much time to relax these days but when I do get around to having some “me time” I enjoy curling up on the sofa and watching a really good movie or diving in to a good book and getting lost in the story. Besides being a couch-potato and bookworm, I also enjoy horseback riding, baking and crafting.

Caroline: Sounds like you’re busy. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Kimberly: “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. ”
―  Ralph Waldo Emerson
Caroline: I should post that above my computer! How long have you been writing?

Kimberly: I've been writing ever since I was little, but I never started writing seriously until a few years ago.

Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
Kimberly: Well, right now my designated writing spot is my dining room table so I guess I’m most comfortable there ☺ One of these days I’d love to have my own office, but that’s going to be quite a ways down the road. I have to have silence in order to write. Some background noise is okay, but I can’t be bothered when I’m trying to write. I get distracted easily. ☺I’m more comfortable writing on a desk top—probably just because I like the raised keys on the keyboard—but I mainly write on my laptop.

Caroline: I do so much better on a desk top,  and save the laptop for when I’m ill or for travel. Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Kimberly: Both, but I’m probably more of a panzer. I get an idea and just roll with it. After I start writing, I start thinking about where I want the story to go so I’ll come up with an outline of sorts. Do I always stick to that? Heck no. I’ll get writing and come up to a scene I have in my outline and completely scratch it because I’ve come up with something that sounds way better all of a sudden. Of course, that little change of manuscript could mean I have to change the rest of the outline as well, but that’s okay. I just save those ideas for other stories where they might work better.

Caroline: That sounds as if you’re a plotzer. Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Kimberly: Persons, no. Events, yes. I’ll take events from my real life events, or stories my family has shared and occasionally throw them in my novels. In this particular book, there is a scene at the very end where Zane’s younger brother, Luke, plays a prank on him and Andi. That was an actual prank that my parents’ played on my aunt and uncle.

Caroline: Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?

Kimberly: I do not set goals for myself, but when I do sit down and start writing I find it hard to stop. Normally I’ll write a chapter or two and then call it quits for the day. I used to have time to write every single day, but that has slowed down a lot now that my son is two and is all over the place. ☺ Now I mainly stay up late on the weekends to write.

Caroline: I like to write late at night, but that’s hard with small children. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Kimberly: I just hope that my readers enjoy my novels and want to read more. ☺ I think that’s all any author could ask for.

Caroline: True. What long-term plans do you have for your career?

Kimberly: Well, I’d love to be able to make writing my full time career (aside from being a mother and wife). It’s my dream to be able to wake up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee and head off to my office for a full day of nothing but writing.

Caroline: Oh, I hope you can be a full-time writer soon. Except for being a wife and mom, it’s the best job in the world. Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

Kimberly: Right now I’m working on the second novel for my “McKades of Texas” series. This story revolves around Zane’s sister, Norah. I’d love to be able to tell you a little bit about it, but I’m still working out all the details—I’m a panzer, remember? LOL.

Caroline: What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Kimberly: I always feel like I should have some sort of deep and meaningful answer for this question, but I don’t. I would advise aspiring authors to just go for it. If you have an untold story in your head write it down, have a very close friend or family member read it and give you their opinion (make sure it’s someone who’s going to be honest with you and not sugar coat things). If it’s good, keep writing. If it’s not so good, tweak it and make it better. And just remember that ALOT of famous authors received multiple turn-downs on their manuscripts before someone realized just how good they were. So don’t ever let a denial get you down.

Caroline: You are so right. Once when I was bummed out, my youngest daughter made a list of famous authors who’d had multiple rejections. What is a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you?

Kimberly: I can draw. For the longest time I wanted to be an illustrator for children’s books and then it switched to graphic arts. Something clicked when I was visiting art schools my senior year of high school and I realized that I didn’t want to be an artist anymore. I still draw, mostly on my computer, but now I only do it for fun.

Caroline: Wish I could draw, especially on the computer. What is something about you that would surprise or shock readers?

Kimberly: I really don’t have an exciting or shocking answer for this question, lol. I guess a couple of things would be that I have never been off of the east coast of the United States and that I never flew in a plane until my husband and I went on our honeymoon.

Caroline: Your book is the first of a series? How many books do you plan in The McKades?

ZANE: THE McKADES OF TEXAS is a series. I have three books planned and they each revolve around the McKade siblings: Zane, Luke and Norah.

Caroline: Can you tell us something interesting you learned while researching for The McKades series?

Kimberly: I think the only amount of research I did was to make sure the town I created for the McKades to live in did not exist:) I know a lot of authors write about actual towns but I feel that no matter how much research I do that I would never do that town justice. So I make up the places I write about (although I do use some actual cities and towns, but only mention them and not go into detail about them). I find it fun getting to create a place from scratch.

Caroline: I do the same thing. Creating the town give an author so much more freedom. Please give us a blurb about KANE:

Kimberly: Here’s a blurb:
Kellan Anderson is in hillbilly hell – or at least that’s what it feels like. After enduring endless accounts of abuse from her now ex-boyfriend, Kellan makes a run for her life and finds herself in cowboy country. Leaving her fancy clothes and expensive lifestyle behind her, she trades in her high heels for cowboy boots and changes her name to Andi Ford. With her painful past threatening to catch up with her, hiding out in this small town seems easy enough – until one blonde hair, blue eyed cowboy steps in the picture.

Zane McKade has sworn off women, determining that they are all liars and cheats – including the new waitress at the local bar. After a rather unpleasant first encounter with the beautiful brunette, Zane’s radar is set to high as he believes this woman is not who she claims to be. When his intimidation methods fail to break through Andi’s barrier he decides to turn on the charm to get her to tell the truth. But Zane’s plan begins to backfire as the more time he spends charming Andi, the more he finds himself breaking his own rules and falling for her.

Caroline: Gorgeous cover. How about an excerpt?

Kimberly: Here’s an excerpt:
Kellan saw the man coming her way and a nervous feeling began to grow in the pit of her stomach. She hadn’t noticed it when he rode up, but he was incredibly good looking. The man had to be a least six two, with long muscular legs leading up to narrow hips that angled into a  very  masculine upper body. He looked like an athlete. He looked…solid. And although his pale blue shirt was soaked with sweat, it somehow added to his overall appeal. He stopped at her table and glared at her. Only then did she realize that this man was not coming over for friendly chit-chat and her mood shifted.
“Is that your red sports car out there?” Zane asked, tilting his head and jerking his thumb towards the parking lot.
“Yes,” Kellan told him.  What’s it to you?  She stared up at him, waiting for him to continue. But when he just stared back, his deep blue eyes shooting daggers at her, she decided enough was enough. “Is there something I can help you with?”
Zane’s jaw flexed. “You could have four miles ago.”
“What?” She was utterly confused as to what mileage had to do with his apparent anger towards her.
“I don’t look familiar to you?” He stared at her, his eyebrows coming together in frustration.
She looked the man over from head to toe. “No, I’m sorry you don’t.”
Zane let out an exasperated sigh. “How about now?” He raised his arms above his head and waved them just like he had done when he was trying to flag her down.
He looked completely ridiculous and she fought back the urge to laugh at him. But the more she looked at him she realized that he did look strangely familiar. Oh my… He was the man on the side of the road next to the pickup truck just outside of town.
“Oh,” Kellan said. “Yes, I do remember you now. I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you with your shirt on.” She loaded her voice with sarcasm and crossed her arms over her chest. If he was going to have an attitude with her, then she was going to give it right back.
Zane’s eyes narrowed. “Well, would you care to explain why you just blew past me like that?”
Kellan laughed, quietly as to not draw attention. “Why did I blow past you? Hmm, let me think. Um, maybe it has to do with the fact that you were partially naked and in the middle of nowhere.”
Well damn. He hadn’t thought about that. He’d been all riled up thinking that some  guy  just ignored him. Now, thinking about it from her perspective, he could see why she didn’t pull over to help him. As it was though, his built up anger from everything that had transpired today got the best of him and he continued with his rant.
“I was  not  half naked,” he said, his voice low as he briefly glanced around the room to see if anyone could hear them speaking.
“Look,  cowboy.” She said the word as though it were an insult and not an affirmation of what he obviously was. “I’m sorry you’re having a bad day, but don’t come over here and take it out on me. I had a good reason for not stopping earlier and I’m not going to apologize for looking after my own safety. You could’ve been a murderer for all I knew.”
Zane knew that he should just man up and walk away, but he just couldn’t do that now after her snarky “cowboy” remark. Why’d she have to go and say it like that anyway?
“Look,  princess,” he said with the same tone she had used. “This ain’t Hollywood. Take your sunglasses off. You’re inside and you look like a damn fool.”
Kellan’s jaw fell in disbelief.
Zane smiled, feeling triumphant that he got in the last word. He turned and started to walk away from her.
“Screw you,  cowboy!” she yelled after him, saying the word exactly as she had before. “And that horse you rode in on.”
And—Whoops!—now everyone in the diner had turned to look at them.
Zane turned around to face her with amusement on his face. “Very original,  princess.”

Caroline: Where can readers find your books?

Kimberly: In Kindle and Print at:



Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?

Kimberly: Try these links:
Twitter: @klewisnovels

Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

Kimbely: I just want my readers to know that I appreciate them very much! Without them this whole writing career of mine would be non-existent.

Caroline: Well said. Thanks for stopping by to visit with us today, Kimberly. Best wishes for success in your career so you can quit the day job. ☺

Readers, here is the complete list of stops on Kimberly Lewis's blog tour;

Aug 22 - Black Lion Tour Blog/introduction
Aug 23 - Cait Lavender, Cowgirl Writer/review
Aug 24 - Caroline Clemmons Blog/interview
Aug 26 - A Novel Idea/live interview (airs 1:00 PM MST)
Aug 28 - Coffee Addicted Writer/guest post
Aug 30 - Books, Books, the Magical Fruit/guest post
Sept 7 - MK McClintock Blog/review and spotlight
Sept 10 - Nothing Better than a Book/review
Sept 11 - The Book Nook/review
Sept 13 - Reviews by Molly/review
Sept 14 - Black Lion Tour Blog/wrap-up

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Author Devon Matthews

Please help me welcome fellow author Devon Matthews to the blog. Devon and I met through Jacquie Rogers and her Western site on Facebook and are both members of the Cowboy Kisses blog.

Caroline: Tell our readers where you grew up and all the private, personal details we long to know.

Devon: I was born and lived the first few years of my life right here in Southeastern Kentucky. When I was in 4th grade, we moved to Ohio and that’s where I lived until I married and moved out into the big, wide world. I’m the eldest of five children. I’ve always been considered a bookworm and enjoyed my alone time with my book friends and my imagination. To this day, my siblings think I’m the odd duck in the bunch. After living all over the country, I’m back in Kentucky. I’m very happily married to my personal hero. We have a grown daughter and son, who still live at home with us.

Caroline: Aren’t we lucky to be married to our Heroes? Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Devon: Need you ask, Caroline? LOL! Actually, I started out being a very eclectic reader. I read everything I could get my hands on. Then, in the ‘70’s, I went into a western phase and read every book at my local library written by Zane Grey and Louis Lamour. It wasn’t until the mid ‘80’s that I happened across my first romance and, guess what, it was a western historical. I was hooked! Up to that point, I had played around with writing. It was only when I started reading western historicals that I knew exactly what I wanted to write. Two of my very favorite historical romance authors are Maggie Osborne and LaVyrle Spencer. Sad days when they retired.

Caroline: Oh, I agree. Maggie Osborne’s THE PROMISE OF JENNY JONES is one of my all-time favorites. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?

Devon: My favorite way to relax is to just do nothing. Sit on the back porch with hubby and Molly, our dog, and watch the birds, rabbits and squirrels, and talk. We have a gorgous view of open fields with cattle, and there are nothing but hills in the distance. It’s very relaxing. I also paint, crochet, and quilt. I love quilting. Love the feel of the fabric beneath my hands. It makes me feel connected to the past when I used to sit by the fireplace during the winter and watch my grandmother, mom, and aunt quilt around an enormous frame that was suspended from the ceiling.

Caroline: We had a dog named Molly, a sweet golden lab who lived to be at least sixteen. And Hero and I love watching the birds and small small creatures come to our birdseed feeders. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Devon: My favorite quote, or at least the one I live by, would have to be the one from a Bob Dylan song, “I live in hope.” Go figure.

Caroline: Good quote, and probably something we each do. How long have you been writing?

Devon: I started writing when I learned cursive during second grade. At first, I wrote little poems. Eventually, they grew to be epics. Then I started writing stories that never ended, they just kept going. When I think about that now, it’s no wonder my first completed romance manuscript ended up being 170,000 words. That first romance was nearly 15 years ago. Eventually, that whopper of a manuscript got culled down to 92,000 words and became my first published book.

Caroline: Wow, that was a whopper of a book. Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

Devon: Several years ago, hubby turned our dining room into my private writing room. I spend a lot of time in here. It’s my sanctuary, my cave. In here, I’m surrounded by books and other favorite things. I have old bridles and western art hanging on the walls. I have a brass spittoon that actually came from the old western era and a statue of John Wayne that I talked the salespeople at the Houston Trunk Factory in Houston into selling, even though he was only for display with their luggage. He’s been standing guard over my writing for the past 27 years. I write on my PC because the large screen gives me more of the big picture. I do have a laptop, but because the keys are so close together, when my fingers get to flying, I end up with gibberish. I prefer total quiet when I write. Any noise, a tv in another room, people talking, or even music pulls me out of my imaginary world.

Carolien: Devon, I feel the same way about my PC and laptop. And I have my daughter’s former bedroom for my pink cave. Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Devon: A little of both. I started out being a total pantser. My published book, ANGEL IN THE RAIN, started from a single recurring image I had of a woman standing in the desert with long blond hair blowing in the wind. Then, a mysterious stranger on a dark horse would ride up and literally sweep her off her feet and onto the horse with him. I ran with that image and built around it until I had the entire story. It worked out but, these days, I leave nothing to chance. When I conceive a story, I know the beginning, middle, and especially the ending. The rest, the in-between parts, I leave fairly loose. I don’t like planning everything down to a gnat’s patoot because I like to leave the door open for those nice surprises that often pop up during the writing process.

Caroline: That makes you a plotzer. ☺ Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Devon: No, so far I’ve never used a real person or historical event as a main focus in my writing. I even invent fictional towns for my main settings and set them down in terrain I’m familiar with. That way, I can give my imagination free rein.

Caroline: Right, and that’s why I have trouble when asked who I’d cast as my hero and heroine. They are unique and in my head and don’t compare to living people. Do you set daily writing goals? Do you get a chance to write every day?

Devon: I’m a daily word count junkie. I keep charts to track my daily count. I’m a bean counter by nature, so it’s a comfort thing to watch the numbers grow on paper. I wish I wrote every day. It’s seems a contradiction to the word count junkie thing, but I’ve always been a binge writer. I’ll write like someone possessed for days on end, until I exhaust myself, then I’ll go as long as weeks sometimes without writing a word. My newest goal is to break that habit and write a manageable number of words *every* day

Caroline:  Daily writing is a good habit, but life does interfere, doesn’t it? What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Devon: Enjoyment. Plain and simple. My goal is to provide entertainment and to leave my readers with a good, warm feeling when they’ve read the final page.

Caroline: Me, too. What long-term plans do you have for your career?

Devon: Very honestly, the only plan I have right now is to finish the next book. And then the next one and the next. If I can do that, then we’ll see how it goes. I would love to have a career at writing. I would love to someday be named as someone’s favorite author. That’s as close to long-term as I can get right now. ☺

Caroline. Those are good goals. Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

Devon: Currently, I’m up to my eyeballs in a western historical romance titled “My Wild Texas Rose.” Here’s what I plan for the back cover copy:

Rose Barrett left her home five years ago, taking with her a secret that tore her family apart. Now, she’s back to confront her brother, whose disastrous debts have endangered their survival. Faced with losing her home forever, she turns to the one man who can help her save it—handsome, headstrong Trey Delaney, her father’s former right hand man.

Trey has no choice but to play along with Rose’s plans or he’ll lose his own birthright. With their adjoining ranches legally tied, if her place goes, his goes with it. Together, they must defy her brother, and defeat an unseen enemy bent on destroying them.

With the passing days, what begins as an arrangement of necessity ignites an affair that heats up the Texas cattle country. In Trey, Rose has at last found a man deserving of her love and trust. Can she heal from her past and give him her heart, or will desire turn to dust when the final secret she harbors is revealed?

Caroline: Rats, wish I’d thought of that title. ☺ What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Devon: I wish I had something new and revolutionary to say. But the best advice has been given a jillion times over and it’s just this--  Keep at it. Set manageable goals. Never give up. Believe in yourself. And write, just write.

Caroline: Maybe it’s not revolutionary, but it’s great advice. Is your book a series? If so, how long? Family saga, other?

Devon: “Angel in the Rain” is a full-lengh standalone and so is the one I’m currently working on. But I do have a series in the works that I hope to get to after this one is finished. I already have the first two books in the series partially written.

Caroline: Tell us something you learned researching your book that surprised/interested you.

Devon: The most interesting thing that happened while researching ANGEL IN THE RAIN, which takes place on both sides of the border, was taking a trip out to Sierra Blanca in extreme West Texas to scout out the location. I could write an entire book about the experiences we had there. It was quite the trip.

Caroline: Sounds interesting and maybe you will elaborate on a later blog visit. In the meantime, how about a blurb of ANGEL IN THE RAIN?

Devon: Here’s the blurb:
After two years of finishing school, Angel Clayton is determined to redeem herself and become a lady like the mother she never knew. But her wild Texas legacy returns to haunt her when she finds herself the unwilling pawn in a battle of wills between her father’s enemy and a sexy pistolero whose reputation makes hers look positively angelic.
Rane Mantorres is a gunfighter with a big reputation and an even bigger score to settle. When he learns his enemy plans to kidnap a wealthy rancher’s daughter, he foils the plot and kidnaps her himself. Now he must dare far more than he bargained as he’s caught between his thirst for justice and a burning desire for his spirited hostage. Will he risk all—his revenge, even his life—for one night of unforgettable passion with an angel in the rain...

Great cover, right?

Caroline: Quite a set up. How about an excerpt?

Devon: Here’s the opening scene—

West Texas – Spring, 1880

The moment she stepped from the stagecoach, cold chills skittered over Evangeline’s skin. She saw nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing that should have made her uneasy in the least. So, why did she feel as though someone had just stepped on her grave?

The Agave Flats relay station looked much the same as a dozen others she’d seen since leaving the train three days ago—a crude blend of rough-hewn wood and adobe, flanked by knotty-poled corrals, standing in the middle of an empty landscape.

“Thirty minutes, ma’am, if you want to stretch your legs,” the stage driver called.

She forced an answering smile. If she “stretched her legs” much more, she wouldn’t be able to fit them inside the coach. With each interminable stop, she found it harder to tamp down a growing feeling of unease. She needed to be home.

A station attendant led away the horses, amid a swirl of dust. Evangeline looked down and slapped at the grit clinging to her fine, fawn wool traveling suit. Aunt Nelda would have a conniption if she could see her standing there without gloves or even a parasol to protect her ladylike pallor from the harsh southwestern sun. She heaved a breath and turned her back to the warm, grit-laden wind.

That’s when she saw him.

Nerve endings jolted when she spotted the dark figure nearly blending into the shadows of the relay station. The man stood with a shoulder braced against the outside wall, his thumbs hooked on the edge of a low-slung cartridge belt. One booted ankle anchored over the other. His relaxed pose stretched dark trousers taut over a long, muscled thigh. The black hat riding low on his forehead hid all but his chin and sardonically quirked mouth. His very posture exuded arrogance and something more. Something so darkly compelling it bordered sinister.

She knew he was staring at her. Right through her, in fact. Though the hat brim concealed his eyes, his gaze raked her with the impact of a physical touch.

Being stared at by men was nothing new to Evangeline Clayton. A woman traveling alone was a magnet for every rouĂ© along the pike, and she’d received her share of suggestive winks and leers during the train ride west.

Somehow, this man’s veiled inspection affected her more, probed deeper, as if he knew her very thoughts. She sensed a coiled energy behind his indifference, like a cat poised to pounce. And she had an eerie feeling that she was his prey.

“Miss Clayton?”

The driver’s voice tugged at her. With reluctance, she turned her back on the enigmatic stranger.

“Just wanted to tell you, there’s coffee inside, if you want to step in out of the wind while we change the horses.”
“Thank you, Mr. Stewart. I just might do that.”

Evangeline watched the driver walk away and worried the inside of her bottom lip between her teeth. Tiny tingles continued to chase up and down her back.

Abruptly, the sensation vanished. She turned, knowing she would find the man in the shadows gone.

Caroline: Ooooh, intriguing scene. I love the phrase "His gaze raked her with the power of a physical touch." Wonderful visual and sensual writing. Tell us where we can find your books.

Devon:  ANGEL IN THE RAIN is available at:

 Amazon –

Barnes & Noble --


And how can curious readers learn more about you?

Devon: From these links:
Web site

Personal blog

Cowboy Kisses group blog 


Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

Devon: Just that I appreciate you all. The notes I’ve gotten and the interaction with some of my readers have made this journey one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Caroline!

Thank you, Devon, for sharing with us today. Your novel is at the top of my TBR on my Kindle.

Readers, please return Friday for an interview with Kimberly Lewis.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 20, 2012


Before we get into my review of Sara Fasolino's great wine books, let me announce the winner of Linda Weaver Clarke's book from the weekend. WooHoo! Linda graciously changed one book to THREE books. The winners are Amarissa, Tima, and Beemama. Ladies, Linda will be in contact with you soon to arrange delivery of your copy of DESERT INTRIGUE. Happy Reading and thanks to Linda! But the surprises aren't over. Nope, read the post below for another surprise, one for EACH reader.

Now here's today's treat, Sara Fasolino and her wine series:

Sara J. Fasolino, Wine Expert

Sara J. Fasolino, CS, CSW, AM has written a series of booklets on buying, serving, and enjoying numerous types of wines. Today I’m reviewing her booklet titled CABERNET SAUVIGNON FOR BEGINNERS: A GUIDE TO BUYING AND ENJOYING WINE. Ms Fasolino’s publisher, 101 Publishing, has a FREE wine e-book for you at Check the type wine about which you wish to learn more, and you’ll be awarded a copy of that booklet. Yes, each person who goes to that Facebook site and fills out his or her choice, name, and email will receive a free copy. Great, right? I'd like to read each book, but I chose Reisling.

Years ago, Cabernet Sauvignon was the first wine I ever tasted. Hero and I sampled it and both enjoyed it. We knew nothing about choosing, however. We could have used Ms Fasolino's books back then. Wait, we still can. ☺ Although Cabernet Sauvignon is not my favorite (Reisling is), I enjoyed this book’s explanation and will implement her suggestions the next time I buy wine. Yes, the suggestions apply to wine in general as well as specifically Cabernet Sauvignon. Clearly, most of the book deals with that specialty, though.

The term “Sauvignon” derives from the French word Sauvage, meaning “wild.” For centuries, the Cabernet Sauvignon grape was thought to be of ancient Roman origins because historians believed it had been referenced by Pliny the Elder. Others believed that it was of Spanish origin, and for a short time, the Cabernet Sauvignon grape was mistakenly referred to as Bidure or Petite Vidure."

Thanks to DNA testing at the University of California, Davis, we now know that Cabernet Sauvignon is a chance crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. This discovery puts its true origins in the Bordeaux region of France.”

DNA testing for grapes, how great is that? Ms Fasolino also says that the cabernet sauvignon grape is vigorous with a thick skin and hearty rootstock found around the world. Each region, depending on climate and individual winemaker, creates a distinctive flavor. She is not a wine snob, and doesn’t denigrate wines from various regions other than France. In fact, Ms Fasolino gives many tips for buying and serving wine, such as:

“First, look at the label to see whether the wine is Old World or New World. Old World wines come from anywhere in Europe, but most often from France or Italy. If the wine is from one of these regions, it is likely to be labeled by the region as opposed to saying “Cabernet Sauvignon” on the label. In that case, there is a good chance that the wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and other grapes that are indigenous to the region.

Ms Fasolino guides the beginner through choosing a wine, cost, region, serving suggestions, serving glass, and cost.

Whether you enjoy a daily glass or two of wine with dinner or if you only serve wine on special occasions, Ms Fasolino’s books will help you make the right choice.

On Wednesday, my friend Devon Matthews will be here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 17, 2012


Please welcome author Linda Weaver Clarke to the blog today, sharing her inspiration for her latest novel DESERT INTRIGUE. Good news for readers, Linda is giving away an ebook download to one lucky person who leaves a comment today. The only thing better than a book is a FREE book! Please leave your email address if you want to be included in the drawing for her book.Linda likes some of the same archeology, myths, and history that my Hero and I enjoy, so I'm eager to share her post with you.

The Mystery Behind Superstition Mountain is Inspiration for New Mystery/Adventure Novel, DESERT INTRIGUE

This story takes place in Mesa, Arizona. I was intrigued by the stories of Superstition Mountain, Weaver’s Needle, the sacred gold, the great Thunder God, the Lost Dutchman Mine and the Dutchman himself. I wondered why no one ever found the goldmine after all these years. Does it still exist and does the great Thunder God protect it? Haha. I learned that the stories surrounding Superstition Mountain were actually true, taken from Arizona history, including the mysterious and unexplained deaths of the men who searched for the gold.

With a blend of mystery, adventure, humor, and sweet romance, I created a story based upon the adventures of a married couple and their three daughters in DESERT INTRIGUE. Ruth Hill, My Devotional Thoughts, wrote: “This book can be read safely by anyone, and the romance scenes are absolutely delectable! The mystery in the book is probably the best I have seen from Linda Weaver Clarke. She gave subtle details, but even I did not have it all figured out by the end.”

I loved her review. When Julia’s brother announces that his dude ranch is haunted, she believes that someone is trying to sabotage his place and force him to sell. The mysterious happenings have to do with Superstition Mountain, the lost Dutchman’s goldmine, and the great Thunder God. Is it possible that the legend of the Thunder God is actually true? After a terrible thunderstorm, everyone begins to wonder. John and Julia quickly head to Mesa, Arizona and discover a few mysterious events. Will they find out who is behind these disasters before Uncle Kelly’s dude ranch is ruined?

Steve Miller, Best Selling Author, called it “a Satisfying, Intriguing Story!” He wrote: “It was difficult to put this one down. I cared about the characters, I cared about their ranch, and I was brainstorming right along with this delightful family, figuring out how to either remove the curse or solve the mystery that threatened to destroy their way of life. But as with life as I’ve experienced it, it’s never just saving the ranch. There are children flirting with romance, relational complexities, and a wedding in the works that just won’t seem to come together. The writing is clear and lively. The touches of humor and inclusion of regional history tie it all together to make a satisfying story all the more fascinating. Highly recommended!”

Even though this is the fourth book in this mystery series, each book has its own plot and can be read alone. Susan Ortlieb, a reviewer for Suko’s Notebook, has read every book in this series. She wrote, “Desert Intrigue is an entertaining and joyful book, my favorite in this mystery series by Linda Weaver Clarke, which I think would make an excellent TV mini series.  I love the sparks of romance in this adventure--they spice things up and add much interest to the story.  The book has a handful of surprises that I did not anticipate, and the mystery fuels much of the action.” For more information, visit

Book Trailer:

About the Author
Linda Weaver Clarke travels throughout the United States, teaching a “Family Legacy Workshop,” encouraging others to write their family history and autobiography. Clarke is the author of the historical romance series, “A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho,” and a mystery series, “The Adventures of John and Julia Evans,” which includes ANASAZI INTRIGUE, MAYAN INTRIGUE, MONTEZUMA INTRIGUE, and DESERT INTRIGUE.

Thanks to Linda for visiting today, and thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


One of my favorite of my books is a time travel featuring a clairvoyant heroine from 1845 who jumps off an Irish cliff to escape an angry mob...and lands in 2010 Texas in Possum Kingdom Lake. Because she lands at the formations known locally as Hell's Gate, at first she thinks she's in Purgatory.

I love this area of Texas. It's mountains are hills compared to Colorado, the climate is hot as you-know-where in summer, and summer is about 9 months of the year. Right now, the area has a terrible range fire. At the time I'm writing this, no homes have burned. It must be frightening to those who live there to be in such danger! Last summer's fires near the same area destroyed numerous homes and cost the lives of many animals.

From the time whites entered this region in the mid 1800's. this has been the home of large ranches along the Brazos River. In the mid 1900's, the Brazos River was dammed to form Possum Kingdom Lake, Lake Granbury, and Lake Whitney. The lakes are wonderful, but they are there at a cost to those who love the river.

The Brazos River 

But that's not the point of this essay. The rights to the aforementioned book, OUT OF THE BLUE, have now reverted to me and I have republished them in print and ebook for your reading pleasure. At least, I hope reading this book will be a pleasure. It is my husband's favorite of my boosk, with THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE running a close second. Need I tell you my husband loves anything to do with Ireland or the Irish?

Here's the new cover, courtesy of my husband and iStock. My husband took the photo of the Hell's Gate cliffs and transposed the model over the photo.

I hope you agree he did a nice job. I'm very pleased with the way the cover turned out. A photo of the hero is on the back with the blurb:

Detective Brendan Hunter, the hero

The hero shown above is a clever, cynical man who doesn't believe in clairvoyant visions or time travel He thinks Deirdre is somehow involved with the men who killed his partner and injured Brendan so badly that he's still on medical leave.

Blossom Hunter and Dave Roan

Blossom Hunter is a hippie throwback who owns a health food store. She has become involved with a neighbor, Dr. Dave Roan. In spite of being a man of science, Dave is more open-minded than Brendan. Blossom is a lovely, generous woman who helps those less fortunate. The problem is that--although her son is a police detective--Blossom is not that concerned with following those tiresome parts of the laws.

Here's a blurb:

Deirdre Dougherty never cursed at anyone, much less put a curse on the potato crop of her remote Irish village. She’d rather take her chances with the Atlantic lapping at the bottom of the cliff than the mob intent on burning her as they have her cottage. Deirdre leaps . . . and plops down over 160 years later in a Texas lake. She doesn’t understand how she’s ended up with the man from her recent visions or why he has the same name as the saint to whom she prayed. She’s in danger of falling for the handsome policeman who rescued her, in spite of the fact that he thinks she’s lying to him. How can she convince him her story is true when she’s finding it difficult to believe the tale herself?

Police Detective Brendan Hunter wants answers. Who shot him and killed his partner? Why? And why does Deirdre know details of the event? Her story has to be a colossal fabrication or else she’s a beautiful psycho. Either way, he wants her gone before he becomes even more fascinated with her. But he can’t let her out of his sight until she confesses to how she learned details no one but he and his late partner knew.

And here's an excerpt from when two of the villain's henchmen try to kidnap Deirdre:

Blossom gave Deirdre the mail. “Do you mind, dear? I hate going out in this sticky heat. It frizzes my perm, but it seems to have no effect on your gorgeous, thick hair.”
“I’ll post these and be back in a minute to straighten the front display of that new organic salsa from Austin.” Deirdre carried the letters outside and dropped them into the box on the corner across the parking lot. She turned to start back.
A huge black car apparently had been parked at the back of the lot by the Dumpster and pulled alongside her. She saw the dented fender before the door opened. Then she realized the two scary guys from the bar were inside, partially obscured from view by the tinted windows. The blond stepped out and reached for her.
She understood his intent so she screamed for help and ran away from him. People came to the store window.
Polly rushed to the door. “Blossom’s calling the police. Hold on, Deirdre, we’re coming.”
But no one rushed to her aid. What could a few ladies do against these two frightening men? She’d have to save herself, so she screamed again.
The blond caught up with her and grabbed her arm. “No use screaming, lady. You’re coming with us.” He dragged her toward the car.
She kicked him and screamed again, clawing at him with her free hand. She drew blood along his arm and scratched his face.
He jerked her and grabbed both her hands. “You’re gonna be sorry you made me mad. I have lots of ways to get even.” He told her what he planned as he yanked her toward the car’s back seat.
Strong as an ox, the man held her in an iron grasp so her feet barely touched the ground. He heaved her toward the open door. Suspended above the ground, she braced a foot against the car’s body. With her other, she kicked him between the legs, just as Ma had taught her.
He turned red and released her as he doubled over and dropped to his knees. Without him supporting her, she hit the pavement hard. Her back took the force of her fall and the air whooshed from her. She couldn’t stand but she rolled away.
The driver pointed a gun at her. “Get in or you die right here, right now.”
What had Brendan said about this situation when they watched television? Never get in the car with anyone. But how could she resist without him shooting her? She recalled the blonde’s threats. If she had to die, she’d rather it be here quickly than at the hands of these two later. She made the sign of the cross and prepared herself for death.
A horn honked and tires squealed. Brendan yelled. “Deirdre, I’m coming.”
Blossom and Polly hurried toward her, each carrying a broom and wielding it as if they intended to beat on the blond man. Several associates came with them and lobbed jars of something at the car. In the heat, the jars exploded like small bombs. After one loud crack, red oozed along the spider-webbed glass windshield.
“What the hell?” The scary man in black turned back toward the steering wheel. “Damn it, Rod, with or without her, get the hell in here.”
She struggled to her knees then stood, backing away.
Apparently unable to straighten, the guy she’d kicked hoisted himself back into the car. He yelled, “I’ll get you for this, bitch. When I do, you’re gonna beg me to kill you before I’m through.”
The black car took off with a squeal from smoking tires, dripping red salsa and leaving glass shards in its wake. The driver had his head stuck halfway out the side window, his front windshield obviously too damaged and dirty for the wipers to clear. Aromas from the salsa’s spicy contents filled the air—cilantro, tomatoes, chili peppers. Deirdre fell in love with those scents.
Then Brendan was there, lifting her and carrying her to his car. He cradled her in his lap with the door open.
Salsa from
Stock Exchange
Blossom followed them and stood beside the car. “I called the police. We couldn’t think of any weapons but brooms and one-pound jars of salsa. Pretty feeble.”
Polly hovered behind Blossom. The other associates had gone back to their duties. A dozen customers and people from nearby stores stood near the building in the shade of the overhang, talking to one another or staring.
“You were brave and clever,” Deirdre assured Blossom and Polly then looked up at Brendan. “But they’d have been unable to stop the men if you hadn’t come.”
He smiled. “It looks like you had them on the run, Mom. Salsa was a clever touch. Didn’t help the parking lot, though.”
Polly said, “Oh, those horrid men, at least they’re gone. We’ll use the brooms to get rid of the glass and hope for rain. Otherwise, maybe we can talk the fire department into hooking up a hose and spraying the lot for us.”
Deirdre nestled her head near Brendan’s ear. “The scary guy with the black hair had a gun. A broom and jars of tomato salsa are not much against a bullet. He could have killed everyone.”
She shivered, recalling her fear and her decision. “He pointed it at me and told me to get in or he’d shoot me. But I remembered what you said.”
“Don’t get in the car with a kidnapper. Thank God you didn’t, honey. I don’t have my gun with me and all I could do is chase them and phone for backup.” He closed his eyes and held her tight. “Damn, they got a good look at both of us at the bar, but I never thought they’d come after you. And another thing’s for sure, that’s the SUV that ran me off the road.”
She held onto him, grateful for his strength. “That’s what I saw first when they stopped, the cracked fender with scrapes of paint on it the same blue color as your old car. If Michelle was correct, they killed Frank.”
Polly came back out and handed them a piece of paper. “Here’s the license number of that SUV. One of our associates wrote it down while Blossom and I grabbed brooms and the other associates loaded up on jars.”
“You all did some quick thinking.” He took the paper.
Sirens blared and a police car pulled up short of the broken glass. An officer got out. “Hunter, you snatching women now? What’s going on? Heard there was a kidnapping in progress.”
“There was.” He slid Deirdre from his lap, but kept her hand in his. “Two men in a black SUV tried to abduct Miss Dougherty at gunpoint.”
Deirdre noticed he copied the license number into his own notebook before he handed it to the officer. “One of the clerks got the license.” He told them what kind of SUV and the approximate year. “Could we go inside where it’s air-conditioned to continue this?”
Half an hour later, the officers left.
Brendan still held Deirdre’s hand. “Mom, I’m taking Deirdre home. She’s been through enough for the day.”
Blossom nodded. “Yes, this was terrible, but I think I’ll stay here. Both Chrissy and Rosa are off today, and we’ll be understaffed if I leave too. Oh, won’t they be sorry they missed this excitement?”
“Are you sure you want to stay? They can get along without you for an afternoon.”
“I think I’ll worry less if I’m busy here.” Blossom, normally cheerful, looked near tears. “So many horrid things keep happening. When will it end?”
“Soon, Mom. It’ll all be settled soon.” He hugged his mother then tugged Deirdre toward the door. “Come on, honey, let’s go home.”
With as much enthusiasm as she could muster, she turned and waved. “Everyone, thank you for your help.”
They left to calls of “Goodbye” and “Take Care.” Deirdre hated to abandon Blossom, but she’d be useless at work. Her legs wobbled and she couldn’t stop shaking. Hitting the pavement had created aches across her shoulders and hips. Her stomach still fluttered but at least her heartbeat had returned to normal.
Broken glass had been cleaned away, but she and Brendan had to weave around chunky blobs and streaks of tomato salsa.
She surveyed the damage. “They must have thrown fifteen or twenty jars. Too bad. That’s wonderful salsa made from organic tomatoes and herbs. It’s very expensive.”
“Not compared to your welfare. I’ll make sure Mom gives all her employees a bonus for helping you. ”
“You’re a generous man.” Deirdre forced a smile for him but they were well on their way before she spoke again, “It’s a lovely car.”
He glanced at her and raised his eyebrows. “It’s silver.”
She nodded, pleased he’d remembered her choice. “So I see.” Then the aftermath of terror hit her anew and she reached for his hand. “Brendan, I was so very frightened. Those men said they’d come back for me. Th-They plan to do terrible things to me. They will too, I know they will.”

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