Casey’s Gunslinger Excerpt to Enjoy in Home for the Holidays Hop hosted by The Romance Troupe

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Home for the holidays is a special time when we all like to gather and share family love and fun.  One of the most requested recipes I get each year is for my dressing.  Here’s the recipe for dressing at our house.  

Cornbread Dressing

1 loaf toasted cornbread                                                                    salt and pepper to taste

6 cups finely chopped celery                                                           10 cups hot stock (chicken or turkey)

6 cups finely chopped onion                                                             enough hot water to make heavy mixture

6 raw eggs, well beaten

12 slices toast, crumbled

1 tsp. sage

Bake the cornbread until brown.  Stir all of the ingredients together with the cornbread.  Pour into a baking pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for approximately one hour and a half, or until brown.  You can check this like a cake.  This recipe is based on Justin Wilson’s #2 Cookbook:  Cookin’ Cajun.  Here’s the Amazon link:  http://tinyurl.com/lxajfpa

Now for something to read while the dressing cooks. 

I’m working on the second book in The Loflin Legacy Series.  Casey’s Gunslinger is the story of a young woman who discovers her father abandoned her as a baby.  She grew up in the same town as her father, but without the family security he gave his two sons.  She returns vowing to have her revenge.  What she doesn’t plan on is falling in love with the most handsome lawyer she’s ever met.

Charles Harrison’s past is one he wishes he could forget.  He’s a lawyer with a reputation for helping the underdog.  When Casey waltzes into his life, all the bad things he’s tried to hide come back to haunt him.  How will he manage to win the girl and bury the past once and for all?

Here’s an excerpt from the upcoming Casey’s Gunslinger

Charles Harrison enjoyed a good cigar more than anything, well, almost anything.  He’d have to say a pretty woman was the best thing a man could enjoy.  Watching a lovely lady walk away was a favorite pastime.  The way her hips swayed causing her skirt to swing side to side in a lazy, come here cowboy, kind of way.  Yes, a pretty woman was special.  Most of them he knew in Tyler and most knew him quite intimately.  Though the memories were fond, they left his mind completely as the delicate young thing in a blue traveling suit stepped off the noon stage.

Charles’ heart stopped.  Well, it stopped for a second at any rate.  Her blond hair showed white in the sunlight.  Her trim figure was petite.  Yes, a delicate little lady to be sure.  At the moment, she wasn’t a happy little lady, though.  No, the baggage handler for the noon stage out of Shreveport had dropped her bags in the dirt without a care for their condition.  The disgust at the insult showed ripe in her cornflower blue eyes.  Charles smiled over his cigar.  Things were about to get interesting.  She sashayed up the steps of the Wells Fargo office with a purpose.  Any fool could see that.  Rapping smartly on the ticket window, she turned slightly and pointed to her bags lying in the dust of the street before glaring at the man atop the stage and proclaiming him the villain with another jab of her finger.

Charles lowered his chair to four legs on the plank walk in front of the mercantile.  Standing, he took a moment to stretch out the kinks.  He’d had a busy morning and relished in the opportunity to enjoy his one vice, a nice imported cigar all the way from Havana.  Expecting his latest client to get off the stage, he was slightly irritated when he didn’t.  That was until she arrived.

Watching the scene transpiring across the street, Charles agreed with the idea he was lucky to be present.  No one, he was acquainted with, could hold a candle to the fine boned, yet curvy blonde with the rosebud mouth, tiny waist and breasts that could fill a man’s hands nicely.  Oh, yes.  Things were looking up.  He smoothed the front of his brocade vest and straightened his coat.  The coal black hair with a sprinkle of gray, which had only recently been trimmed, brushed the edge of his collar.  Stepping off the board sidewalk, Charles squinted right, then left, an old habit.  One he wouldn’t lose anytime soon.  With a hand on the revolver strapped to his left leg, he walked out into the street.

Her voice rang with irritation and accusation.  Continuing to point at the Wells Fargo employee, she did her best to get the ticket clerk to understand, she’d been rudely treated and demanded an apology.  Her chin jutted.  Her hand riding along her hip for emphasis, she cast quite a sight standing there in the noonday heat.

Reminding himself, he needed to breathe, Charles stepped up to introduce himself.  “Pardon me, miss.”  A tip of his dark Stetson which rode low over his forehead and a neat, gentleman’s bow and Charles looked up to be assailed by the most angelic face he’d ever seen.  Normally, he’d share his name and title with the potential conquest.  However, he couldn’t get the words out.  His throat had gone bone dry and he feared he might choke on his tongue.

The young woman acknowledged his presence with only the slightest flicker of her eyes.  Then stepping backward, she lost the support of the platform and began clutching at thin air.  A panicked whimper of alarm and those lovely eyes grew wide.

Reacting on instinct, Charles shot out a hand, grabbing her arm before hauling her in and up against his solid body.

Their eyes met.  Their blue had shifted to stormy clouds of confusion and fear.  A minute passed before she released the breath she’d been holding and shoved at his chest.

“Easy, sweet thing.  I got you.”  He’d found his tongue, all right.  He wasn’t sure about the hoarseness in his reply.  It took Charles another minute to understand, she’d been able to regain her footing and wanted him to let go.

“Do you mind, sir?”  Cool and crisp, the words coming from her lips sounded like music to his ears.  Never had a songbird sounded so sweet.

“My apologies, ma’am.  Are you unharmed?”  He wondered at his stupidity.  Unharmed?  The only one not harmed was she.  He’d been dealt a mortal blow.  A heat radiated up from his toes all the way to the point on his chest where her breasts had slammed against him a few minutes ago.  His gut clinched at the look in her eyes.  That crystal clear glint told him he wasn’t high on her list of respectable persons at the moment.

“I’d appreciate you unhanding me, sir.”

He still held her wrist.  Christ, she’d most likely have a bruise.  “Forgive me.  I startled you.  It wasn’t my intention.  I hope you’re all right?  My name is…”

“I’m fine.” she snapped.  Sidestepping him, the young woman tried again to gather herself and headed for the ticket window once more.

Dazed and confused.  Charles seldom experienced the particular reaction to anything or anyone.  This was the exception.  He’d try again.  Surely, he could make amends for such a social blunder.  Perhaps a meal at the hotel would smooth her ruffled feathers.

Turning, she came face to face with his wide shoulders.  “Pardon me, sir.  I must retrieve my bags.”

Charles touched the brim of his hat with his first two fingers.  A gesture of gentlemanly politeness in this part of the world.  “Let me help you with those.”  Wheeling, he managed the steps with a masculine fluidity.  “I’d like to make up my breach in manners with the offer of a small repast at the local diner.”  He glanced in the direction of the Hotel Tyler, the only hotel in Tyler and one of only two eateries in town.

“I…”  Irritation and then confusion swept across her face before she composed herself once more.  “I don’t eat with strangers.”  She shifted to gaze at the sidewalk and the pedestrians strolling up and down the boards.

“My name is Charles Harrison.  I’m an attorney here in town.”  He had trouble with something as simple as an introduction, why did he think he’d carry on a conversation with her.

“Attorney?”  She tilted her pretty head to the side.  “Are you honest?”

The question, filled with pure innocence could have come right up out of thin air instead of her pink lips.  “I try to be.”  The answer wasn’t a lie, he told his conscious.  Arguably stretching the truth wasn’t a lie was it?  “Why, are you in need of legal assistance?”

Her lush bottom lip protruded for an instant before she clamped her lips between her teeth.  With a good shake of those lovely blonde curls, she sidestepped this time to avoid his close proximity.  “No, I just wondered, is all.”  She fanned the air with a tiny-gloved hand.  Peering up at the sun beaming down on the hard backed Texas dirt, she wrinkled her nose.

He’d died and gone to heaven.  Never before in his thirty-five years had he witnessed a more perfect combination of innocence and sexuality in a woman.  Where in God’s great kingdom had this woman come from?  The temperature must be rising.  It was hot as hell standing there in front of the Wells Fargo office.  “Here, let me get you out of this sun.  You’ll melt.”  Extending a hand, he moved closer and laid his other hand in the small of her back.  The contact vibrated along his arm and struck him in the chest with a force equal to any blow by a man’s fist.  Such a tiny thing at barely five foot, he mused.  He was a good foot and a half taller than she was.  “I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name, miss…”  Hoping she’d fill in the blank, he walked beside her carrying her carpetbags and wondering why he was sweating.  The color of her skin wouldn’t stand much of the sun.  He hoped he got the chance to take her riding one evening soon when the burning rays wouldn’t be a problem.  Mentally shaking himself, Charles wondered where that had come from.

“Miss, I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name.”  Repeating his inquiry, Charles waited.

“Uh, I’m Cassandra St. Clair.”  Her eyes darted nervously right and left.

“Cassandra St. Clair,” each word garnered the same weight on his tongue.  “Your first time to visit Tyler?”  He opened the door to the Hotel Tyler, allowing Cassandra to go first.  The lobby of the hotel was cool, the coolest place he’d been all day.

“No.”

“Well, you’ve probably eaten here before.  You may have had Jessie’s famous pecan pie.  I hope you like pie.”  Trying for a companionable smile, Charles escorted her toward the red ropes at the entrance to the small restaurant located in the rear of the hotel lobby.

A small booth along the back wall was perfect place to ease into a conversation with an attractive young lady.  Charles commended himself for having a talent when it came to the fairer sex.  He’d just never seen the fairest until now.  “I don’t mean to be nosey, but are you passing through or staying?”

“I plan on staying.”  With eyes downcast, she toyed with her silverware.  The napkin in her lap needed an adjustment as well.

Her jawline held a stubborn line he’d love to trace.  Her eyes shined with expression although she said nothing.  When her cheeks flushed with his question, he felt his toes curl in his boots.  This female ignited a fire he didn’t want to extinguish.  “Do you have a place to stay, relatives or friends?”

“I…”  A slow release of breath followed her broken reply.  “No, I don’t have a family or friends.  Is the hotel a safe place for a woman?”

Charles eased back in his chair.  She’d struck a chord.  He could definitely relate to being alone, no father, no mother, and no family.  Thankfully, he’d had friends, good friends he could count on.  Everyone needed someone they could count ‘on.  “Let me say this.  I have an opening for a secretary in my office.  There’s a small cottage out back that I rent.  It’s vacant.  You’d be welcome to stay there if you like.”

Her lovely jaw tightened.  She scooted to the edge of the seat and slid her reticule over her arm.  “I don’t need your charity, Mr. Harrison.  I can take care of myself.”

“Wait a minute.”  He didn’t understand why he wanted her to say yes, just that if she didn’t he’d have to kidnap her.  “It’s not charity if I’m offering you a job.”  He’d moved to the edge of his side as well.  Don’t you plan on working?”  Aggravated he sounded like a parent, he tried again.  “I mean, you’ll need to support yourself.  A secretary’s a respectable position.”

She stalled out within two steps and turned slowly, as if she were mulling the offer over in her head.  “What does it pay?”

With a smile, he rose, giving her an easy tug back to the table.  “Well, let’s see. The last secretary said I was too stingy with her rate.  How does a dollar a day sound?”

Those hypnotic blue eyes widened to pools of lapis blue.  “A dollar a day?  You must be doing quite well.  Are you the only attorney in town?”

He tried.  Still, he couldn’t stop the laugh that broke the silence.  “I am.  Do you suppose that has anything to do with my success?”  Grinning despite himself, he motioned for the waiter to order.

***

Well, what do you think?  I’m quite interested in knowing your opinion.  Please leave a comment below.  I plan a large release party early next year and would love to add your names into the drawing for several free ebook copies as well as a signed paperback of Casey’s Gunslinger.  In the meantime, the first book in the series is Comanche Haven.  You can start reading book one immediately with this link: http://tinyurl.com/mtsnlky

Now in paperback at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006I69S7G
Now in paperback at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006I69S7G

Thanks for dropping by and best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!

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40 thoughts on “Casey’s Gunslinger Excerpt to Enjoy in Home for the Holidays Hop hosted by The Romance Troupe

Add yours

    1. Lol Sometimes I fry up some pan sausage and crumble in the mix before baking. Gives it a little zing. Thank you, Mary. That means so much. Steady as she goes on this one – it parallels Comanche Haven in some scenes with the pov from either Casey or Charles. Gets kinda tricky.

    1. I’m sure he’ll enjoy. Add your favorite poultry seasonings and bake at 350 just like a cake. If it comes out too dry, just add broth and turn down the temp to 250. Bake a bit more and it should be a moist side dish for your turkey.

  1. I have always made cornbread stuffing. It has a better texture to it. It is one of the foodstuffs that if not made correctly, is hard to eat. It should be flavorful with a hint of sage, not dry and with a good texture. I do not like it if it is gummy.

  2. I have never made cornbread stuffing my comes from the box (LOL). I read your excerpt and I love historical romances ! Going to add this to my tbr list! Thanks and have a happy thanksgiving.

  3. I have to make our family cornbread dressing at least twice during the holidays. Sometimes I add boiled squash to it and make it with Mexican Cornbread. I like to mix it up so that we don’t get tired of it.

    koonie2888 at yahoo dot com

  4. That’s one of my favorite things to eat but I usually use make it from a box. I’ve never tried to make it homemade but I will give it a go one day, atleast once.
    Thank you for the recipe and the excerpt. I also want to say thank you for your contribution to this giveaway.
    Angela
    angie1977t@gmail.com

  5. Great sounding recipe. Love the excerpt! Thanks for sharing them. Thanks for sharing the hop and your giveaway. Wishing you a wonderful and magical holiday season. evamillien at gmail dot com

  6. Thanks for the recipe and the excerpt! I’ve never tried dressing with cornbread (sourdough is my go to), but it sounds really good. Might have to try something different this year!

    dancingcelt at gmail dot com

  7. Hi! Love the excerpt! Cant wait to get my hands on the first! My recipe book is bursting and my tbr pile is reading to “book” me. Haha! Interesting recipe. Thanks for sharing the recipe and for the awesome giveaway!! Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving!
    shadowluvs2read(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. Thank you for the recipe, i use dried bread in my stuff, but yours sounds I need to try cornbread. Thanks for the free download, hop and giveaway. Hope you have a wonderful holiday season. koala571 (at) msn (dot) com

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