BESTSELLING AND AWARD WINNING AUTHOR OF WESTERN ROMANCE!
Caroline Clemmons writes historical and contemporary genre fiction. Historical romances, contemporary romantic suspense, mysteries, and paranormals are among her current works. Learn more about her at https//www.carolineclemmons.com
Monday, September 30, 2013
A PREVIEW OF MY UPCOMING OCTOBER 30TH RELEASE
With the internet we can “visit” anywhere. No need for a
trip to the library with pads of paper, a handful of pens, and coins for the
copy machine. With my own research books plus the internet, I’m usually set. I
still love the library, but for pleasure reading. Writing is my business.
For my current work in progress, I have the hero and
heroine travel through Texas. I pulled out my map, Texas Almanac, and went to
the online Texas State Historical Association Handbook of Texas. Fortunately,
I’ve driven most of the places on my characters’ journey, but they’re on
I asked author Paty Jager, who has horses, how far my heroine
and hero could ride in a day. It depends on the terrain. Great, so I have to
determine the lay of the land as well as what towns were around in 1888. There
are a lot of hills on this journey to slow them down until they get to the
I love writing, and research gets me in the mood even more.
Making use of the interesting tidbits I’ve learned fulfills me. Hopefully, they
will seem organic and not as if I’m teaching a history lesson.
Federal Marshal Storm Kincaid
My hero is Storm Kincaid from my earlier Kincaid series,
THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE and THE MOST UNSUITABLE HUSBAND. He is a favorite
character for me and I want his book to be especially deserving of him. His
heroine is Renata “Rena” Haussmann Dmitriev, a German immigrant whose elderly husband-in-name-only
was killed by the men Storm is chasing.
In the hope of whetting your appetite for the October 30th
release of THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP, here is an excerpt of the opening
scene. The year is 1888 and the place is the Texas Hill Country west of Austin.
Rena Haussmann Dmitriev
Rena Dmitriev snapped
clusters of wild grapes from the vines in the ravine near her home. She popped
one of the plump fruit into her mouth. Tart and sweet combined, and worth
enduring the stifling August heat to harvest. She intended to gather enough
fruit to make jelly for the coming year.
Hooves thundered near
and caused her to pause and listen. Visitors? No one came to call on this
isolated place, and why the rush? She rose and grabbed her fruit pail and hurried
down the sandy gully toward her home.
A gunshot almost
paralyzed her with fear. Chickens squawked then more shots sounded. An
anguished moo from her milk cow stopped her. Her animals, who would shoot her
animals? She dropped her bucket and ran as fast as her heavy skirts allowed.
She halted and her
chest hitched. Her legs trembled and she needed to sit down. No, staying here offered no refuge.
Abram and she had
chosen Pfeiffersburg as their warning word. Before their families were killed
and he rescued her, they’d lived in separate sections of Pfeiffersburg in
Bavaria. If Abram shouted that alert, it meant trouble had arrived too serious
for her to help.
Quickly, she must hide.
And without making a sound. She crept to the ravine’s crevice her husband had artfully
concealed. Edging her way through the narrow tunnel, she reached the secret
place he had built. Abram had shaped a dead tree stump so it looked as if it
had been cut down from the middle of the plum thicket behind their home.
In reality, he’d
hollowed the dead wood and set it firmly with concealed holes that offered a
view of the house and yard. The stump stuck above the tunnel three feet, with a
small platform beneath the dirt floor where she could stand. At her right, a
small shelf held a few provisions.
From that ledge, she
grabbed the box containing a spare revolver. Her shaking fingers removed the
gun, but couldn’t use it. What she saw forced her to hold back a scream. Four
rough men battered her elderly husband. She held her breath until her chest
threatened to explode.
To remain quiet, she
gulped down breaths. Her entire body shook while her heartbeat raced. She
wanted to help Abram as he had helped her years ago, but knew her efforts would
be futile and only result in her death. Peering from each cleverly disguised
hole, she surveyed the yard.
Already the barn
burned. Slaughtered chickens lay strewn around the ground. Blood from the head
of her lovely milk cow stained the ground red. The stench of blood mingled with
smoke. Why? Why would these men kill a poor cow and chickens? And why torture a
helpless old man?
Rena forced herself to
study the villains and memorized each horrid man’s features. So confident were
they, they’d made no attempt to cover their faces. With another gasp, she
realized that meant they intended to leave no one who might identify them.
Poor Abram barely
lived, but still the men tortured him.
The largest man with
long black hair hit her husband. “Where’s your woman?”
Abram’s gasping words
were barely audible, “Pfeiffersburg! I told you, she vent to help her sister.”
A man with red hair
kicked Abram’s ribs. “Why do you keep yelling that word?”
He’d grown so weak, Abram’s
gasps barely reached her. “Ve are from Pfeiffersburg. I vish I vere dere now.”
The large man grabbed Abram
up by his shirt and shook him. “You tell me where she’s hiding or I’ll skin you
alive. Fresh laundry means she’s here somewhere. Tell me now, old man.”
Abram held fast to his
claim. “I vash clothes because she iss gone. A man alone must do the chores.”
“Then why are women’s
clothes hanging to dry? I think you’re lying old man.”
“Nein, I am alone. My
woman is gone.”
The man she believed to
be the leader peered around. “There’s a woman here or nearby. I want her.”
Another man limped from
the house. “Lookee here what I found.” He held up Abram’s chest holding their
savings and all that Abram salvaged from Bavaria. No, not her dowry! Abram
intended that for her fresh start when he died. Without it, who would marry
her? Without it, how would she live?
In the same man’s other
hand, he held jewelry. She recognized
the chain and her mother’s locket dangling from his hand—a hand with two
fingers missing. That locket and a few other pieces represented all she had
left of her mother.
Terror changed to
anger. What right had these men to steal and kill? She and Abram hurt no one,
minded their own business, and worked hard. Now these four evil men took
everything, including her husband’s life.
The three-fingered man yanked
a tablecloth from the clothes line and emptied the chest onto the square. He
knotted the corners together then wrapped the knotted section with a rope he
tied to his saddle.
Poor Abram had lasted
longer than she could have imagined for a man near eighty. Sobs shook her body
and she pressed a hand to her mouth to prevent an outcry. With a final shot, Abram’s suffering ended. She
thanked God her poor husband was free from those brutal men’s pain and torture.
The large man she
believed to be the leader scanned the area. Did he sense her presence? Would
her hiding place really fool him? He mounted his horse.
The four set her house
on fire, pulled the clothesline down, and rode away. Once again, she’d lost
everything. The quilt she’d pieced last winter. Curtains she’d sewn. Furniture
she’d polished only yesterday.
What should she do? She
had to bury her husband, but what if the men returned? Afraid to move, she
clasped the revolver and waited in case they came back to search for her.
She sent up prayers for
Abram’s soul and her own safety. Was it wrong to pray while she held a gun? She
lost track of time, weeping to herself in great, gulping sobs. Always she had
tried to please her elderly husband to repay him for rescuing her years ago. What
was to become of her now with no dowry and no one to help her?
The sound of a horse approaching
frightened her more than she thought possible. She shook uncontrollably. Had
the evil men returned?
A new man rode a huge blue roan and led a
second chestnut animal. He leaped from his mount with grace that still spoke of
masculinity. Tall and dressed in black, he wore one of the broad hats these
Texans favored. Handsome and not much older than her twenty-one years, he
appeared fit and strong.
The man wasted no time.
After a glance at Abram, the newcomer pulled his bandana over his lower face
and nose. The blaze consumed the barn in loud crashes. The cabin walls and roof
still stood, but greedy flames licked at the contents. Smoke billowed from the
She feared this man
might also be a thief, but he rushed into the house.
“Anyone here? Call out
so I can find you.”
A few seconds later, he
emerged coughing and gasping for air. He removed the handkerchief from his face
and neck and wiped away sweat and ash. With quick motions, he retrieved a sheet
from the ground and spread it near Abram’s body.
As if Abram weighed
nothing, the large man laid her husband on the linen. Using the care one saved
for a living infant, he tucked Abram into the sheet. Och, surely such a gentle,
considerate man could not be bad.
The stranger stood and
looked where she hid. “You can come out now.” He opened his jacket to display a
badge on his waistcoat. “I’m a Federal Marshall chasing the men who did this.
My name is Storm Kincaid.”