Join romance readers around the country for some of the best games and prizes available from romance authors during the month of March. Each day in the month a different author will offer prizes such as ebooks and more. All you have to do is play the games to win!
Mark your calendar for March the 17th. Up for grabs on my page will be the first book in The Loflin Legacy, Comanche Haven. Enter for your chance to be a winner. Here’s the link.
Morgan Latimar seeks a nanny for his children. Being a Creole and a shifter makes the search hazardous for him as well as his family. The woman who accepts the position can never know his secret. Yet, despite his Wolfen wisdom, Morgan falls for the passionate, Laura Sinclair.
Laura Sinclair answers the post from the mysterious man from Louisiana. Soon she’s thrown into the world of Voodoo magic deep in the heart of Creole New Orleans in 1872. How can she perform the job she was hired to do when she’s falling in love with the handsome Morgan Latimar? Will he want her once he knows her secrets? Where can she turn for help?
It’s been five years since I began writing. Sometimes, I wonder what I’d have done if I hadn’t found writing as an outlet for my thoughts, concerns, ideas, creative energy.
Lately, I enjoy writing in a historical setting with paranormal elements such as wolves and werewolves. The mysticism allows my mind wander and ask ‘why not?’
There are times I sit and simply read through the story in my head. Getting to know the characters and their personalities, quirks and talents always prove to be a challenge I love tackling.
What would you say, if I told you, the next book will include the 3rd great granddaughter of Laura Sinclair as well as an ancient sorcerer’s nephew? ‘Magic Man’ is the latest work in progress based on the adventures of the sexy seer, Aubry Slone, and devilishly delicious, Logan Latimar, 3rd great grandnephew of Morgan. Can he shift? We’ll see. So many ways the story could unfold when you write by the seat of your pants, a.k.a. – a ‘pantster.’
In case you are interested, I have ‘Desire’s Embrace’, ‘Comanche Haven’ and ‘Casey’s Gunslinger’ on sale at Smashwords.com and AllRomanceEbooks.com at least until the end of November. Just my small way of saying thanks for all your support. Here’s an excerpt from ‘Desire’s Embrace.’
Morgan could still feel her touch. The burn ran along his skin in a most enticing way. He straightened his back, giving the steam buggy a good surge forward. Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel. Mind on Miss Sinclair. Damn it! Who was he kidding? The woman had somehow gotten past his guard. A quick glance in her direction and he had to grin. The whole episode in his room earlier was totally inappropriate. Every ounce of blood in his body had surged right to his groin with the feel of her hand on his neck. Who knew a fool thing like a collar could be useful in sexual arousal. Irritation rippled along his backbone. Again, he reminded himself he did not need the added weight of yet another problem. An affair with Miss Sinclair would be a problem. Truth!
Morgan lost the rest of her sentence as her scent came to him like a siren calling his name. Stepping toward her, he grappled with the beast for control. The creature within him growled. Morgan pulled her close, crushing her against his chest. Laura’s eyes grew wide. The kiss stole her breath as he molded his mouth over hers. Rough and callous, he forced her lips open. His tongue tangled with hers. She tasted as sweet as honey.
Laura shoved. A faint whimper escaped. Struggling, she managed to reach up, raking her nails across his neck in one violent sweep. The attack was like cold water sluicing over him. Howling in pain, he fell back. She stood, feet planted. Fury etched her face.
“How dare you?” Her words were breathless yet deadly calm. “How dare you, sir.” Her chest rose and fell with the effort.
Wiping the blood from his skin, Morgan stared as if for the first time. A silence fell between them. Morgan wheeled away. The silence continued. He glanced out the library window. Needing a bit of time to harness the beast, he supposed. Finally, composed once more he turned back. “Forgive me. I…I shouldn’t have done that.” The jut to her jaw said she doubted his sincerity. Why had he allowed the beast such leniency? When she was near, Morgan couldn’t control his urges. The beast reigned superior it seemed. Rather than endure her stare of contempt any longer, Morgan sidestepped her and reached for the cigar box. “I will not discuss my daughter with you unless the subject involves her lessons. Is that clear?”
Striking the match, he lit the cigar. His hands shook. Inhaling Morgan waited until the trembling subsided before facing her again. “In the future, Miss Sinclair, you’d be advised to stay out of things that aren’t any of your concern. Is that clear?” He peered at her over his smoke.
Laura nodded. “Will that be all, sir?” Glacial in tone, her words rang in his ears.
Rigid and regal, she turned on a dime. The cool click of the door’s latch echoed in the room as she disappeared into the hall.
Silently, he watched her go. Her lovely backside swayed in cadence with the pounding of his heart. “Damn it all to hell!” Dumping the cigar into the coffee cup atop the desk, he leaned in on the walnut wood. With his eyes closed, Morgan surmised he had a problem. The beast raged within. Morgan slammed his fists on the desk. How would he manage to share an entire evening with her? His ill-conceived idea would surely kill him. Raking a hand through his hair, Morgan sought the whiskey bottle he kept beneath the interior wall of his desk. He needed a drink. Throwing the first one back, he pondered the dregs in his glass. Perhaps David was right. Miss Sinclair’s presence wasn’t helping his situation. However, Sara was blooming into a bright and talented child with Miss Sinclair’s help. Despite her burgeoning transformation, Laura was good for the girl.
“Do not grieve over that which is past. The day dawns new with every sunrise – a gift for our pleasure.”
Jacquie Latimar – Desire’s Embrace
Morgan Latimar, a decorated Civil War veteran, and shifter seeks a nanny for his children. The woman who accepts the position can never know his secret. Yet, despite his Wolfen wisdom, Morgan craves the passionate, Laura Sinclair.
Laura Sinclair answers the post from the mysterious Louisiana widower. Soon she’s thrown into the world of Voodoo deep in the heart of Creole New Orleans, circa 1872. How can she perform her duties when she’s falling in love with the handsome Morgan Latimar. What secrets will she reveal and who will she believe?
“Gotta love a cowboy,” right? I wonder sometimes what you envision when the word cowboy is mentioned. Everyone’s ideas are different. Mine is of a rough, tough, no excuses kind of guy with a no-nonsense attitude about life. If you’ve ever tried to get close to somebody like this, you know how “hard” it can be. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Anyway, I want to share an excerpt from my novel, Comanche Haven. Given twelve years apart, Seth Loflin has a difficult time deciding how Celia, the woman from his past “fits” into his well-ordered life. You decide if he’ll succeed or not. Have a scintillating Sunday and enjoy a little cowboy heat.
Oh, by the way. Check out the interview I did with Celia back in the day. Click on the book cover below to be transported. Cheers!
Seth sank into the steaming tub of water the housekeeper had prepared for him, almost immediately, after reaching his room. Steam rose in a cloud around him. He leaned back and closed his eyes. The numbing power of the hot water was doing a fine job on the aches and pains in his body. What the water couldn’t fix, the whiskey in his hand could, so he closed his eyes and tried to forget the trouble brewing around him.
Dark hair and cool green eyes appeared in his mind’s eye. Ty and he had traveled hard to make it back by sunset. He hadn’t wanted to leave Celia alone any longer than was absolutely necessary. Jake’s report on her activities had him wishing he’d sent the foreman to Tyler in his stead.
While the bath and whiskey did their job, Seth had time to consider what Jake had told him. Celia had slipped out and gone to meet Red Bear. It didn’t set well. But the fact she’d gone alone and told no one was more disturbing. Right now, he was in no mood for deceit under his own roof.
The knock at the door startled him. Seth sloshed water as he sat upright in the tub. “Who is it?”
“It’s me, Celia… ma…may I come in?”
“Wait a minute,” he snapped, more harshly than he had intended. It took a moment of stretching at the low-slung table just out of arms reach, but Seth managed to retrieve and strategically place a towel over the tub for her sensibilities. “Come on in. It’s open.”
“I didn’t get a chance to speak to you when you arrived,” Celia said as she slipped into the room. Her polite but prim demeanor faltered when she spotted him in the hip bath. “Oh! Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were bathing. I’ll come back later.”
She wheeled and her hand was already on the doorknob when Seth called out to her, “No, wait. It’s okay. I’m covered.” His wry smile topped off the smoothing of the cloth over the big brass tub.
Slowly, Celia turned.
He had to chuckle to himself. It was admirable she didn’t turn scarlet or wave away the vapors or some such nonsense at the sight of a half-naked man. He reminded himself of others who would do just that when presented with a bit of male anatomy. Satisfaction surfaced. Probably seen all there was to see in the surgery theater, Seth mused. With a waving of his wrist, he motioned her in as his smile became wicked. “Come on in and keep me company. I might even get you to scrub my back later.” He took a deep swallow of the whiskey before setting his glass on the stand beside the tub. The dark liquor burned all the way down and still didn’t numb the feeling of need growing in him. He watched her out of eyes gone to slits. For the life of him, he couldn’t seem to curb the irritated bend to his mood.
Cutter got up from his post near the hammered brass tub and wagging his tail, before sashaying over to greet Celia as she neared the bed.
Traitor, Seth mused as the dog thumped his tail with affection for the room’s newest member.
Lighting on the bench at the foot of his bed like a butterfly, Celia relaxed fractionally and let out an exaggerated breath when she noticed the hint of mischief in his expression. “I never know how to take you.” Trying to get her bearings back, she reached out and rubbed the cow dog behind the ears. “I wanted to ask if you’d heard anything about the… the… about my father’s murder while you were in town?” She finished in a rush. “You went to the sheriff, right?”
Nodding, Seth cupped water in both of his big hands and splashed it into his face. He was in no hurry to respond as he wiped the back of his hand across his face and then shook his head like a dog sending droplets of water in all directions. “I went to alert Sheriff Cole and Major Chance at the Fort like I said I would.” Seth reached for the bar of soap and began to scrub. “We checked the tracks leading away from Lone Eagle’s campsite. They headed north into Oklahoma territory. We lost them not too far from the boundary to the reservation.” He shook his head. The ponies still carried Army issue shoes. The riders are either U.S. Army or somebody with balls of steel. They left a lot of signs and discriminating evidence. I’m thinking they did it on purpose. Whoever is responsible wants it to look like the army did it.”
His gaze met and held hers for a minute. “I spoke to Jake earlier.” He waited a beat. “How did you like your ride?” Watching her closely, Seth waited.
Celia looked away, “Fine.” She worked her hands in her lap. The knuckles she gripped turned white under the pressure. “Your place is so big. I still have trouble with how vast it is.”
Seth watched as Celia placed her hand on her stomach and rubbed.
“We spent most of the day seeing a great deal of your place. It’s beautiful,” Celia concluded quickly.
Too quickly, Seth thought, Nerves – not a good sign.
“Jake said we’d only skimmed the surface. He mentioned how far away the outlying line shacks sat. He reminded me the Shooter Creek remained the northern boundary of your spread. He said you own everything almost to the Oklahoma territory.”
Seth watched her and only nodded. His expression remained benign.
Celia responded with her hands moving to grip the bench on either side of her. “Do you need help with your back?” She rose.
The question came unexpectedly. To his surprise, Celia got up and walked toward the tub. Leaning over the squat table to retrieve the soap, she began to lather his back.
What was she up to? Seth stalled in the water. His next thought had nothing to do with the cooling temperature of the water. He realized the true reason he’d been driven to get back to the ranch so quickly, which had nothing to do with her safety and everything to do with her.
The stroke of her fingers along his back had him tensing and sent blood rushing to his shaft. Seth closed his eyes and willed himself to focus on something else. His back muscles twitched as her hands glided up and down in a slow, rhythmic dance along his backbone.
“Seth, I wanted you to know how much I appreciate all you’ve done for me.” Her voice sounded like distant music. “I don’t think I would have made it without you.”
Trying valiantly to regain his composure, Seth sat in the water in silence for a time. Her words sounded sincere. Then as if driven, he slowly leaned back in the tub. He had to admit, if she was toying with him, she was damn good at deception. “No need to thank me, Celia. You’ll always be able to count on me.” Seth took mental stock one more time and assured himself he was in control. But the need churning inside him had other ideas. One look into those emerald green orbs and his heart gave a little lurch. His mind simply stopped working.
Celia’s fingers continued to glide over his soap-slicked skin. With each stroke, her fingertips were sending molten heat straight to his loins.
They reminded him of satin. He wanted more.
Before he realized what he was doing, he reached out and clasped the nape of her neck. Feeling her start to pull back, Seth whispered, “Relax girl, I won’t hurt you.” With his eyes on her lips, Seth hesitated briefly, searching for something – anything, which would let him know how she would react. Then he reached up and took her mouth with his. The hunger breaking free had nothing to do with sensibilities. This time he coaxed her mouth to open and let him taste the sweetness of her tongue. Seth’s pulse hummed as her lips gave warm and tender under his. She opened for him like a flower and Seth tasted the warmth of her lips, which were pliant against his. He groaned softly. She tasted like honey and the line of her throat like cream heated by the sun. He thoroughly explored the inside of her mouth and then the slender neckline she offered when her head lolled to the side on her own gentle moan. Slowly he discovered every slick, wet curve of her mouth. His teeth grazed her lips and tasted the salt of hunger in her response. Did she want him as much as he wanted her right now?
Celia exhaled and her eyelids fluttered shut.
The hunger growing inside him knew only one end. Long agile fingers sank deep into the silken strains of her hair as he levered himself up the side of the tub angling for a better hold on her warm skin. Cupping her head in his big hand, he kissed her again. This time it was with the fever of need. A need he’d, long ago, locked away. It surged up from the cold depths of his own desire and rocked Seth with its intensity. Taking her mouth in an attack meant to capture and possess, Seth realized too late he was losing the battle with reason, but he’d lost the will to care. She tasted so good. Her head fell to the side on another soft sigh of pleasure. Seth found himself trailing long wet, ardent kisses down her neck. The soft dip of her collarbone was a perfect place for him to linger. He could feel the blood pulsing there, just under her skin. Her smell, the smell of roses was all around him. Another soft moan escaped. So full of life, a life he’d thought he’d never hold in his arms again. The warning bells were going off in his head by then. His blood was roaring in his ears. He was in too deep to heed any of it. He felt like a drowning man with no desire for rescue.
It took a moment for it to register. She was saying something and the air around him was cooling as she drew back.
“Seth…” Her voice was a fragile murmur as she pushed gently at his chest. “I think I better go and let you get out.” Celia shifted and disengaging his hands. She slowly rose from the edge of the tub.
His eyes were on hers, those deep green orbs, pulsing with a thinly veiled need. He could see it lying there in their depths, a molten-hot, burning fire. Then, as quickly as it had come, it was gone – snuffed out like a candle flame. Logic reined once more.
“You better get out before you turn into a prune,” she said primly. The words, spoken so plainly, sounded strange coming from the swollen mouth Seth saw was bruised red with passion. Her lip quivered before she bit down on it.
He noted a small mark along her neck where, he surmised, he’d used his teeth. Some base demon urged him to pull her back and take what was so close. He simply stared. Unable to say anything, Seth watched her cross her arms over her breasts in a protective gesture. There was no question in his mind she’d been affected by the kiss. She ran her tongue over her lips again and looked away. Seth watched her as she brushed deliberately at the front of her day dress before she spoke again.
Long, sooty lashes rose and Celia looked once more into his face. “I better go,” she whispered. Quietly heading for the door, she quickened her pace when, she heard him sloshing water as he rose.
The title had me hooked and I enjoyed talking with the author so much I invited her to be on my blog. Here’s our conversation about Freckled Venom Copperhead with the lovely and talented, Juliette Douglas.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I’m not sure, all I know is that I kept waking up with these goofy westerns percolating around in my head. I guess I was going through a mid-life crisis or God was trying to tell me something. I just know as I would scrub boats I would write dialog and scenes in my head. I didn’t even own a computer or have internet when I began writing six years ago. Wow! Things have come a long way since then.
How did you come up with the title?
A very dear friend has a cousin who is a retired publisher. Not only did he love the rough, raw version I presented, he offered two titles, to replace the one I had. I chose Freckled Venom.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That when life dumps a wagon load of lemons on you and you don’t have ‛nuff sugar to make lemonade, Just keep plugging along, you will survive.
What are your current projects?
Finishing the third book in the Freckled Venom series: Freckled Venom Skeletons to be out in 2014.
Perfume, Powder & Lead
The tale of three floozies who leave the red-light district, heading for the goldfields and stumble upon four dead Nuns and decide to change their habits…so to speak and begin robbing banks masquerading as Holy Sisters.
Bed of Conspiracy: Fiction based upon fact, The Knights of the Golden Circle and Jesse James, President Grant.
And whatever else pops into my little pea-picking brain.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Excerpt from Freckled Venom Copperhead
Soft light began to fill the barn while he looked around, noting the three horses watching him with mild interest, There were three doors in the stable, the one behind him, and on the opposite wall, a single sliding door with another smaller one next to that. Turning slowly, he took a good look at the Dillard boys. The three boys looked to be in their late teens to middle twenties, maybe a little older. Lanky to husky builds. Rawley had seen nasty looking hombres before, but these boys looked like sod busters, not killers. Tilting his head, he spoke to Lacy, asking, “You sure these are the Dillard brothers?”
Lacy nodded, pointing to the first one they’d brought in the barn, “That’s Aubrey, the youngest. That one is the middle brother. Name’s Keller. The dead one is the oldest, Ed.”
“Where they from? They look like sod buster.”
“They are, were, from Missouri. They’ve killed in every territory, well, almost every territory west of the Mississippi. Like I said, ‛Satan’s own spawn’,” Lacy finished, pressing her lips together.
Hearing a groan, they both turned toward the sound. Aubrey was beginning to awaken, after being smashed in the head by Lacy.
Anger began a slow burn deep inside of Lacy. She walked over to the boy and stared at the two-legged monster. This one had the scratches on his face from the Clancy woman. That made Lacy’s temper rise to a slow boil.
Aubrey looked up to see the purtiest l’il gal he’d seen in a while, flaming hair and big brown eyes you could melt into. He could feel himself rising.
Lacy’s anger continued to grow as did the bulge in his pants. She knew exactly what he was thinking.
That flaming temper overrode whatever sense Lacy had. Straddling the boy, she whipped out her knife. Bending over, she stuck it against the boy’s throbbing neck. His eyes quickly went from lust to fear.
Lacy whispered with deadly calm, “How ‛bout I do you like you did your last victim?” She asked, sliding the knife lightly drawing blood.
The boy blanched with fear. “Or better yet…” she began, brandishing the knife at the fly on his britches. She used it to pop off the buttons. She watched as the boy pressed himself against the post. “How ‛bout I just slice off your…,” her hand laid the edge of the blade across his bulge, then lightly sawed the blade back and forth, its edge beginning to cut through the material.
The bulge suddenly wilted. He looked at the knife, then, back up at her. The boy’s eyes wide with fear, he mumbled something against the bandana, shaking his head vigorously. Lacy’s eyes dripped venom as she added, “So you can’t play no more.”
She whisked the knife away only to continue her threatening attack on his torso. “How “bout…” as she sliced the buttons off his shirt and slit his underwear, exposing his gut. “How ‛bout…” she began as she slowly and lightly, sliced his skin upward. “I gut you like a hog at killing time, but I’ll leave you alive. Take your innards out.” Dark eyes never left the boy’s face. Lacy waved at the barn rafters. “Throw them up over those beams there, so you can watch your guts swinging from the rafters. Like sausages hanging from the beams of a smokehouse. How ‛bout that?” Lacy finished quietly.
Shocked at what he’d been witnessing, Rawley couldn’t move. His boots rooted to the dirt floor like a big oak. He’d never seen a female act like that before. Regaining focus, his ground eating stride placed him at Lacy’s side in seconds. He grabbed her wrist, swinging her around as he wrenched the knife out of her hand, scrutinizing the girl’s eyes. Lacy had traveled to somewhere deep within her soul. Moments later, her eyes came back into focus, fixing a deadly stare on him.
“That’s enough, Sunshine! I’m the law here. From now on you’ll do as I say!”
Freckled cheeks scorched with anger, she blasted the lawman, “I ought to whittle your ears off for that! Sides, you ain’t the only law around,” she told him through clinched teeth. Pushing around, him she moved toward the two boys, angrily tearing the guns out of their holsters. She shoved the pistols into his belly when she walked past him. Rawley caught them, barely. His eyes followed Lacy as she struggled to slide open the barn door. He didn’t even bother to help, she’d pissed him off. The door continued protesting as the rusty wheels screeched from lack of use along its track. At last it slid open. She disappeared into the darkness.
Excerpt 2 from Freckled Venom Copperhead
Rawley’s eyes turned the color of a polished barrel,blue steel. He continued striding towardthe barn.He did not like what he saw, but kept his mouth shut as he loaded up Ed. Walking over to Aubrey, his hand grabbed a handful of hair, pulling up the boy’s head. Rawley looked into a purple and black swollen face, He was in no condition to walk. The boy needed to ride.
Lacy turned in her saddle to address the lawman, “Mount up. We got a good three days’ ride.”
Rawley advanced toward the girl, his anger flaring from beneath black lashes. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Aubrey can’t walk! He’s too badly hurt! Thanks to you! He needs to ride!”
Lacy leaned down toward the marshal, her eyes narrowing into slits, color brightening freckled cheeks in anger. “You listen to me good, Lovett. I’m not all brawn and muscle like you, so…” taking a finger and tapping her head, “I have to use my l’il pea-picking brain. Making my prisoners walk fifteen to twenty miles a day leaves them too tuckered out to argue with me at night, allowing me a little sleep. Keeping the food and water away, makes ‛em real tame. Now, mount up!”
“Is it? I call it self preservation. No one gets killed. No one gets hurt and we all arrive alive! Mount up!”
“You can’t keep taking your anger and your hatred out on the fugitives you catch, just because you don’t have the guts to confront your grandfather for what he did to you!” His eyes already frosty with anger, turned to diamond chips. “How many times do you have to kill your grandfather, before you give it up?”
Lacy recoiled as if she had been slapped.
“You have all the warmth and welcome of smallpox when it comes riding into town! You know that? He snapped. “I don’t know where you were in line when they passed out hearts. But, you sure as hell didn’t receive one!”
He saw Lacy drop her hooded look back into place, hiding her emotions, again.
Rawley spun angrily, walking back to Aubrey. Cutting enough rope to tie the boy in the saddle, he helped him up, eased him over to the horse, supporting him as he mounted. “I’ll get you to a doctor, soon as I can, son,” Rawley stated, finishing the knots.
Hearing the metallic click of a hammer being pulled back, Rawley stiffened, continuing to face the boy as he waited.
“The boy walks.”
“No. He rides,” he said. His already deep voice dropped lower. “Go ahead. Shoot me in the back. You do, I’ll see you hang,” Rawley threatened.
It seemed like ages before the marshal heard the hammer ease down with a soft click, a gun whispering back into its holster, leather creaking as horses moved off. Turning his head, his eyes followed the girl as she moved out. Keller, his hands tied by a rope half-hitched to Lacy’s saddle horn, struggled to remain on his feet as he was pulled along.
Rawley slowly expelled the breath he had been holding, “Damn kid. I’ve had enough,” he muttered. Whipping out his knife, he ran over to Keller, cleaning slicing the rope with a down turn of his wrist. The boy fell with the sudden slack.
Feeling the taunt rope go slack, Lacy spun around in the saddle, “Lovett! You bastard!” She yelled. Whirling Fancy around, she aimed the big grey on a collision course with the marshal. At the last second, Fancy swerved, throwing Lacy out of the saddle. She landed on top of Rawley, knocking both into the snow. Keller saw his chance. Scrambling up, he ran toward the nearest horse, his teeth chewing on the rope tying his hands. At last the knots loosened enough to where he could slide out his hands. Grabbing the reins, he mounted the big grey. Kicking heels into her ribs, he rode past the two still thrashing about in the snow.
“You damn little…she-devil!” Rawley grunted, taking another blow to his ribs.
Lacy scrambled out of his grasp. Standing, she locked both hands together, straightened her arms and swung, like an ax aiming at a large tree. The movement caught Rawley across his back, surprising, him and driving him to his knees. “That did it,” he mumbled, rising again.
Lacy had whirled, watching Keller ride off on her horse. Taking a few running steps, she suddenly landed face first in the snow. Rawley quickly grabbed both ankles lifting them up so the little hellion didn’t have any leverage. Lacy twisted. Turning and flopping like a hundred and fifteen pound catfish. “Lovett! I’ll kill you for this! I swear…I’ll kill you!” She yelled.
Rawley dragged her, sliding on her belly, pulling snow with her, like a plow, over to where Keller had dropped the rope. Bending down, he picked it up. Kneeling, he not so gently put a knee in her back. “Oww! You bastard! That hurt!” He trussed up her ankles, bending legs at the knees.
Lacy kept twisting, squirming, her body digging a hole in the snow, as she struggled to break the grip he had on her. Holding her kicking legs down with one hand, Rawley’s other hand, at last caught an irate arm, pulling that behind her, adding that to the ankles. Catching the other wrist, he added that to the three making a foursome. Breathing hard, he stood and surveyed his handiwork. Lacy twisted her neck. Seeing nothing, but snow covered boots and pants, she rolled on her side. She gave him the dirtiest look she could muster, “Lovett, you’re an ass! You let Keller get away!” She declared hotly.
The marshal heaved in more air for his starved lungs. Damn kid is quick. It had taken everything he had to subdue her. Fingers brushing his hair out of his eyes, he said, “Maybe that cold snow will cool down your temper some, Sunshine.”
Turning, he walked over to his hat. Picking it up, he brushed the snow off before resettling it back on his head. He threw one more look at the trussed up girl, then mounted. Two fingers brushed the brim of his hat as he nodded toward the girl, riding past her, heading off down the hill after Keller.
“Lovett?” Lacy yelled. “Where do you think you’re going? You can’t leave me like this! Lovett? Lovett…,” she yelled, dragging his name out to four or five syllables instead of the two. His name echoed against the granite backdrop of the mountains.
Who designed the covers?
We wanted striking, different covers to draw the readers eye right away. Cover photography is licensed from JC Leacock Photography out of Crested Butte, Co. His work is stunning. Bearhead Publishing LLC designed all the graphics and fonts found on the cover and inside under each chapter.
Who is your publisher and what are a few things you like about their business platform?
Bearhead Publishing LLC out of Brandenburg, Kentucky, a small press publishing company that is family owned. I liked the fact that they want their authors to retain their own unique writing voice. They offer all the same things a big company offers, but on a more personalized level. We have become good friends.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you have as much fun reading these western adventure/romance tales as I did writing them. Enjoy the ride!
I’m Juliette Douglas, new western author. I live in Kentucky where in real life I wash boats for a living. Yes, you read that right. I’m just a crusty, rusty old fart of a boat washer who has stories percolating around in my head as I scrub boats.
I live on an old farm with a passel of kids…uh…critters. Why do I write western action stories with a little romance thrown in…Go figure! I like to say it is a God thing. I have already published two western novels in 2013. Freckled Venom Copperhead and Freckled Venom Copperhead Strikes. Both receiving the 5-star rating from Readers’ Favorite. I am working on the third sequel in the Freckled Venom series, now. Titled: Freckled Venom – Skeletons making its debut summer 2014.
Take time to visit http://www.facebook.com/author.juliette.douglas for updates and events. I love to hear from fans of my books. Email me or friend me on facebook. Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Freckled-Venom-Copperhead-Juliette-Douglas-ebook/dp/B00IEUXBV8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398947507&sr=1-1&keywords=freckled+venom
Genre: Western adventure/romance Publisher: Bearhead Publishing LLC
I sat down with the lovely and talented author, Terri Hubbard Carle and asked a few questions about her latest release – Storm Warnings, which is on sale now through Sunday at Amazon. Here’s what she had to say…
What inspired you to write your first book?- I enjoyed writing in high-school. My English teacher encouraged me to continue writing , she felt I had a gift for story telling in a unique way in my writing.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?–Always hold on to faith, when faith is all you have, stand!
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?—Catherine Wolffe she is awesome!!!!
What book are you reading now?–Catherine Wolffe’s Casey’s Gunslinger- If you have not read it, you really should, it is awesome! (Not just saying that because she is interviewing me either )
What are your current projects?–I just finished writing a horror short-story believe or not, about Hell. It will soon be published more info to come I am working on a novel hopefully a little more on the lighter funnier side with a little sexy and sweet side. The name is still not definite. I have been known to change my mind on so we will see.
Who designed the covers?- Dawn Sullivan with the input of Author Nicole Garcia. They actually have a joint venture creating book covers and swag for Authors and they do an awesome job!
Help me welcome Alethea Williams, author of Walls for the Wind. She’ll share several excerpts from her work in this stop along her blog tour. Welcome, Alethea!
Title: Walls for the Wind
Author: Alethea Williams
Genre: Western historical
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Date of publication: April 2014
Can an angel survive Hell on Wheels? When Kit Calhoun leaves New York City with a train car full of foundlings from the Immigrant Children’s Home, she has no clue she might end up as adoptive mother to four of them in rip-roaring Cheyenne, Wyoming. Kit has spent her life in the Children’s Home and now she rides the Orphan Trains, distributing homeless children to the young nation’s farmers as fast as the rails are laid.
The first time handsome Patrick Kelley spies Kit in Julesburg, Colorado Territory, he wants her. But circumstances, and a spectral-looking demented gambler as well as Kit’s certainty no one in his right mind would want her cobbled-together family, conspire to keep them apart. As Patrick and Kit and her brood ride Hell on Wheels into their destiny, they’re all forced to leave behind everything they knew and forge new lives in the raw American West.
Cheyenne, Dakota Territory, January 1868
Panic bloomed, threatening to choke Kit as she gasped for breath. Where could she be, the small girl brought all the way out to the wilds of Wyoming from New York City? So certain she could make the best decisions for the little golden-haired girl, Kit had gone against her own upbringing as well as the stern advice of those older and wiser in order to make this journey west. Now here was her little family plunked down in the raw boomtown of Cheyenne, and she had lost not only her own direction but also the child entrusted to her care.
Where could Hannah be? Where?
The streets slimy with melting snow and horse manure, Kit struggled to keep her footing as she ran frantically up one and down another, screaming Hannah’s name. Unable to think where to look next, at last she stood helplessly wringing her hands. Tears made slow, cold tracks down her face.
A door opened behind her, and a voice full of concern said, “Kit. As luck would have it, I was just coming to look for you.”
And wouldn’t you know it? The voice of the very man who seemed to turn up at every instance of her bad luck. Indeed, he might be the root cause of her ill luck ever since she left New York City. And to think he had once promised to be her salvation, did Patrick Kelley of the dancing Irish green eyes.
But what were his true intentions as he took hold of her arm? To save her? Or to be her final ruination, as she suspected?
“Let me go.” She tried to wrench her arm away. “Hannah is missing. She’s lost. I must find her!”
“Ah, leannán, don’t take on so,” he said in a soft, cajoling voice. “Hannah is safe and sound. I have her.”
Kit’s bones suddenly felt soft, as if they had turned to mush, and her knees started to sag. Ah, God, and wasn’t her luck running true? Patrick Kelley, the very man! Of all the places in Cheyenne that Hannah might take refuge, of course it would turn out to be with saloon-keeper, and the means of the erosion of many a young woman’s morals, Patrick Kelley.
“Come inside, please, Kit,” he insisted, tugging her arm. Her feet were frozen inside boots soaked with street muck. She felt herself weakening toward him, the warmth and light of him, and of the place behind him, beckoning seductively to her.
She had come so far, all the while thinking she knew what she was doing. Most of a year had passed since setting out. She had followed a path on a journey of more than two thousand miles, a path of righteousness that she thought would answer all eventualities.
And then her path, and the paths of the children, crossed Patrick Kelley’s.
Now once more she must break down and choose between her lofty principles and a future tied to Patrick Kelley. And she found, to her utter consternation as she stared into eyes the color of shamrocks, she…still…couldn’t… decide.
“Frau Goff, you must listen,” she said softly. “Your son was arrested by the constable. Helmut will not be coming home. Reverend Howe is trying to convince the magistrate to release the boy into our custody, rather than have him spend ten days in the public Juvenile Asylum under the influence of the older, hardened hooligans incarcerated there. It was Helmut, Frau Goff, who told us where to find you.”
At the news, the woman’s hand flew to her mouth. Her eyes distant now even though they never left Kit’s face, she moaned, rocking the little girl back and forth. “Ah, Gott in heaven, what shall we do now?” she pleaded under her breath.
“You need to go to the hospital, Frau Goff,” Kit urged, even though she knew the charity wards were full to bursting with sick and dying immigrants. Reverend Howe, however, was prepared to use all his considerable influence to convince the Baldwin sisters to take just these three more into their already overburdened care.
“I cannot go to hospital.” The woman covered her mouth, throat rasping as she coughed up more blood. Twin spots of fever-induced color suffused her sallow cheeks. “Then Hannah would have no one.”
The woman’s hands lovingly kneaded the little girl. Kit waited, fingertips resting on the woman’s arm. Puffs of vapor escaped the child’s rosebud mouth, freezing as her warm breath hit the cold air. Hannah’s eyelids drooped as she lay quietly now in her mother’s arms, and she blinked sleepily.
“It makes no difference if I agree, yah? All you have to do is wait. When I die,” the sick woman said in a dull rasp, “my children will truly be left all alone.”
Kit swallowed the reply that wanted to spill from her lips, words of false hope and promise that the woman would recover. Perhaps, with time, good food, rest and a change of climate, there might have been a chance. But as it was, destitute and starving and already ravaged by her illness, there was in truth little the medical profession could do for Helga Goff.
“Will you sign?” Kit asked in German, fingers tightening on the woman’s skeletal arm. Educated at the asylum in languages, as well as painting and piano, at least some of her training stood her in good stead this day. “Will you give us the opportunity to shepherd your children toward a better life?”
The widow Goff studied Kit with burning eyes. “You will keep Helmut and Hannah together?” she pleaded, also in her native tongue. “Brother and sister always. You will not separate them? Make your solemn pledge to me now, before Almighty God.”
“I assure you the asylum will educate them and find them a home.”
“No! To you! To you alone will I give up my children. Promise me they will be together. Always.” Her voice fading, the woman’s last word ended on a sigh. Her small strength in defense of her children spent, her head drooped toward her chest.
Kit craned her neck, looking frantically over her shoulder to Reverend Howe for guidance. He held out his hands, palms up. “You have chosen to do this work, Katherine.”
Finding no help from the bear of a man in the massive greatcoat, Kit turned her gaze back toward the woman and child. Looking down on the little girl’s soft, golden curls, she said, “Very well, Frau Goff. I promise you that Helmut and Hannah will remain together.”
The sick woman raised her head. For an instant she searched Kit’s face. Then apparently reading truth there, she reached unsteadily for the pen that Reverend Howe had already dipped in ink. Her lips moved as she struggled to read aloud in English:
This document certifies that I am the mother and sole legal guardian of Helmut Goff, age eight, and Hannah Goff, age two. I hereby willingly agree for the Immigrant Children’s Asylum to provide them a home until they are of age. I further promise never to interfere in any arrangements made on their behalf.
Once more she raised fever-bright eyes to Kit’s, as if seeking a way out of signing away her children. But both of them knew it was too late. There was no rescue in this world for Frau Helga Goff. Shoulders rounded in defeat, she lowered her eyes to the release form and signed in a spidery European hand.
Toward Hell on Wheels, somewhere near Brule, Nebraska, early spring 1867
The sun rose, bringing another day to the vast Western plains. The gambler stood fingering his new silk vest in the faint warmth of the rising sun. Ever since he was a small boy, he’d received much of his sensory information through touch. The feel of the new vest’s cool smoothness pleased him. It soothed for a time the constant jittery feeling that dwelled in his head somewhere behind his eyeballs. His new prize was fine. Very fine. It was even more pleasing to him that he’d wiped out everyone at the card table down to their undergarments in such a short time. He was good at what he did, the cards. It was the only thing he’d ever been good at. He had the touch.
Sometimes, not often, his thoughts drifted back in time. He wouldn’t have made any kind of farmer, that was for sure. His real father had been a farmer back in Iowa. A good one, too, come from a long line of farmers and knew what he was doing. And still it hadn’t made any difference in the end. He’d still lost it all. Lost it, ironically, on a bad turn of the cards while he was deep in his cups. Old Dad had a problem with the drink: couldn’t stop once he started. So he’d squandered it all: the land, the equipment, the livestock. The gambler remembered the bleak, hopeless look on his mother’s face as the last steer was led away, her life and her children’s, everything they knew and depended on, brought to abrupt ruin.
And yet his father hadn’t been a bad man. Not in the way some of the men his mother brought home later, after her husband deserted them, had been bad. Bad for young boys, at least, who hadn’t the strength to fight them off in the dark of night after the woman had stopped her drunken shrieking and moaning, and collapsed in a sodden heap. For one who absorbed fully, seeming with his whole body, the feather lightest of touches, those long-ago hours of endured pain at the hands of men his mother insisted he call father had been horrifying and excruciating.
He was relieved to finally be on the move again. He’d spent the winter in St. Louis after the railroad company shut down operations for the winter at North Platte. The Nebraska town newly sprouted from the prairie grasses possessed an ice house, a wash house, a blacksmith shop, stock pens and a slaughterhouse. All the comforts a town built to service the Union Pacific could need. What North Platte didn’t have was liquor. North Platte was a dry town, the single dry town with a temperance house in existence out on the plains.
Since the gambler’s business depended on the rotgut whiskey that greased the wheels of his commerce, he had quickly decided to head for Denver and then parts southward and eastward for the cold months, instead of staying in North Platte. He’d followed the Missouri from Omaha to Kansas City, where he fortuitously met up with his brother, whom he hadn’t seen in a while. They’d made their way thence to St. Louis, almost scouring clean the purses of that town’s overwintering trappers and emigrants before spring found the two making their way back upriver to open their mobile tent-based business, following the railroad. He got itchy to get on the road again as soon as the weather gave hints of warming. And St. Louis hadn’t been sorry to see them go either, the Brothers Grim, as some witty French tavern keeper had dubbed them.
The gambler felt her before he heard her, some overdeveloped sense warning him of her presence in the door flap of the small tent behind him even before he smelled the pungent perfume that failed to completely cover the musk of the night’s copulation emanating from her.
“What are you staring at?” she asked.
He turned unfeeling eyes on her, watched her shiver slightly when he did although she tried hard always not to show fear of him. They were business partners, of a sort. Had once been more, although any bud of sentiment had always been tended on her part and not his. He was numb toward women. Toward almost all people, if the truth were known. He just had very little capacity for emotion; it had been beaten out of him in darkness until only black emptiness was left.
Wordlessly she handed him some gold pieces, his cut of her business dealings for the night. He liked the feel of those, too, their round contours lying cool in his palm. She knew that, and let the coins fall one at a time from her hand to his, teasingly, as if she might dare think to withhold one or two. She started to smile, lips curving a little.
He slapped her suddenly. Hard.
She licked blood from the corner of her mouth, head tilted and eyeing him with only the mildest of reproaches. After all this time, she knew better than to say anything out loud.
“I’m not in the mood for your games,” he said. She was commonly called Maud the Bawd, but any humor in the rhyme had long since worn off for both of them and he never used it, seldom called her anything.
“Go away,” he added so quietly she almost couldn’t make out the words.
But she obeyed, instantly, with a swish of long skirts whose hem was caked stiff with mud and other unmentionable grime. The gambler continued to stand alone with his thoughts, watching the sun rise and trying to tamp down the jitteriness that had resumed with the whore’s interruption. Tonight had been just a little diversion in a temporary tent on the side of the road that continued to build westward, toward the next Hell on Wheels. Soon they would be able to set up like royalty and begin their work of stripping the railroad workers’ pockets all over again. He looked forward to erecting the Big Tent, with its mirrors and paintings of reclining naked women that drew the gawking yokels night after night like gnats to sweat. The whore was already recruiting new doves from Chicago for her flesh business. Soon they’d both get back to what they knew best: making money.
Slowly he secreted away his cut of her earnings in the pocket of his shiny new vest. No one else approached him, and in truth few who knew him dared. Only the faintest trace of woman’s scent indicated anyone else had stood near him.
Western history has been the great interest of my adult life. I’ve lived in Wyoming, Colorado, and Oregon. Although an amateur historian, I am happiest researching different times and places in the historical West. And while staying true to history, I try not to let the facts overwhelm my stories. Story always comes first in my novels, and plot arises from the relationships between my characters. I’m always open to reader response to my writing.