Tag Archive | eBooks

Excerpt Wednesday – Trail of Hope

Oh boy! It’s the last excerpt Wednesday before the release of Trail of Hope on Monday! Here’s a particularly juicy snippet for you….

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He folded the shirt and laid it aside and settled back into the bedroll, arranging the blanket over them, then pulled her back into his arms. Now when she reached around to spread her hand across his back, as he resumed doing with hers, her whole bare arm was in contact with the skin of his torso. The shivering feeling grew stronger.

“I like this,” he was frank with her.

“It’s nice,” she agreed, unsure how else to explain it.

He shifted again to hold her closer, his arm inching her chemise further up, her chest and stomach pressing against his, only one layer of fabric between them and none at all in some spots. “Would you mind if I kissed you?”

Again Callie’s eyebrows flew up. Other than a few pecks on the cheek, he hadn’t kissed her since their wedding. “Do you want to?”

“Of course I want to,” he chuckled.

He wanted to kiss her. Even though she wasn’t Shannon.

“All right then.” She spoke quickly to push Shannon out from between the two of them.

He leaned towards her, found her mouth in the dark. His lips were warm and very slightly textured from the sun and the wind. His breath was humid on her skin. It was a lovely kiss all things considered.

Then he kissed her for real, a deep, serious kiss. She sucked in a breath as his mouth opened over hers, heat and pressure. She didn’t realize until she felt the tip of his tongue against her own that she’d opened her mouth as well. It was an entirely new feeling, this soft tasting. Somehow it was more than just two mouths meeting. It affected her more deeply than that.

He stopped kissing her long enough to ask, “Is that all right?”

She teetered just on the other side of overwhelmed and took a few seconds before answering. “It’s quite nice.”

“It is, isn’t it?” Again, she could hear the smile in his voice.

He kissed her again. With her one arm still around him, she could feel the muscles in his shoulders relax. His free hand rubbed her back, climbing up towards her shoulder and pulling her chemise with it. If she hadn’t been so focused on the way his mouth and tongue tasted, she might have been concerned that her breast was inches away from being exposed, that the hair on his chest was tickling her stomach. But she was far too absorbed in the discovery of how much she liked kissing, how much she liked kissing John.

And YES! You can pre-order Trail of Hope on Amazon, iBooks, and Smashwords.
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Excerpt Wednesday – A First Look at Trail of Hope

It’s Wednesday! And, of course, you know what that means. It’s time for an excerpt. So here it is, the exclusive first peek at Book Two in the Hot on the Trail series, Trail of Hope:

He stood by the edge of a small stream on the other side of the wagon train, watching his oxen drink. He may have been dressed in mourning, but his clothes were clean and well-made. His glasses reflected the sunlight and his expression was sad and distant, as though he was a thousand miles away. But he looked up when Callie drew near.

“Mr. Rye?” Her voice cracked.

“Yes, Miss Lewis?” he replied.

Two days. Her brother had died only two days ago, and here she was, making the biggest decision of her life.

“Would you be willing to marry me?” The words felt as though they came from someone else.

He took in a breath. The weary look in his eyes told her he’d seen the question coming, had been thinking about his answer already.

“I’m willing,” he told her in a soft, hesitant voice, mouth drawn up in a small line, “but I don’t know if I’ll be a good husband.”

Callie shook her head. “I don’t need you to be a ‘good husband,’ whatever that’s supposed to mean. I just want a peaceful life. If you can put a roof over my head and food on my plate and give me something to keep me busy in my days, that’s all I need.”

He considered her words for a moment. There was something reassuring in the way his brow knit in thought before he spoke. “Miss Lewis.” He paused and shifted his weight. “I suppose I should call you Callie.”

A thrill of hope combined with relief flooded through her. He was going to say yes. She wouldn’t have to go on alone.

“If you’d like,” she replied. “Although my given name is Callysta.”

His brow inched up. “Callysta. That’s a lovely name. Unusual.” He took a breath. “Callysta, are you certain this is what you want?”

A wry grin pulled at the corner of Callie’s mouth. “None of this is what I want,” she said rubbing her forehead. “But asking for your help is a decision I can live with.”

A splash of color touched his face and he lowered his eyes, looking almost guilty. It was the most curious look she had ever seen on anyone’s face, and for some reason it prompted a swirl of butterflies in her stomach. There was something more to John Rye, something he hadn’t mentioned and only barely hinted at in their one conversation. She caught herself wanting to know what that was, wanting to untangle the mystery of the unassuming, grief-stricken man in front of her. He was special, but she didn’t know how.

He cleared his throat and lifted his eyes to meet hers once more, studying her carefully. His large eyes were rimmed dark with grief, but also with intelligence and something latent, like a fire that had been all but put out. Callie could have sworn there were embers still burning in him.

At last, he let out a sigh and nodded. “All right. If you’re certain, I will marry you.”

Intrigued? You’re in luck! Trail of Hope is now available for pre-order on Amazon, iBooks, and Smashwords! It’s coming November 24th wherever books are sold.

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Like what you’ve read? I love the fact that you read it! I’ve got more for you too. Sign up for my quarterly newsletter to receive special content, sneak-peeks, and treats that only subscribers are privy to. And thank you!

Trail of Kisses – Release Day!

Woo hoo! It’s release day! It’s finally here! Trail of Kisses is now officially on sale wherever eBooks are sold (okay, well, almost)

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Here are the links:

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TrailofKissesAmazon
iBooks: http://smarturl.it/TrailofKissesiBooks
Smashwords:http://smarturl.it/TrailofKissesSW
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/trail-of-kisses-3
Barnes & Noble: (coming)

And to whet your appetite, here’s a chunk to get you started…

Chapter One

Independence, Missouri – 1863

The first glimpse Lynne Tremaine had of the mass of wagons that would take her west was enough to sink her heart. As far as she could see, big, bulky “prairie schooners” with covered beds, driven by teams of dull-eyed oxen cluttered the starting-off point at the end of town. The oxen lowed, anxious to get moving. Hawkers shouted about their wares in a last-minute attempt to sell supplies to plainly dressed pioneers. Wagons creaked as they inched toward the line their trail boss was trying to make to impose order. Horses clopped and children shrieked as they vented their excitement. The smell of animals and dirt was everywhere. It was almost more than Lynne could bear.

“Please, Papa.” She clutched her father’s arm as he escorted her through the chaos. A pair of children being chased by a dog cut in front of them. “Please don’t make me go. I want to stay with you, my papa.”

Judge Thomas Tremaine, tall, distinguished, and out of place in the bustle of pioneers, patted his daughter’s hand, eyes sad and shoulders stooped. “Now, Lynne, we’ve discussed this. It’s safer for you to accept your Uncle George and Aunt Marion’s invitation to move to Denver City.”

“We did not discuss this and it isn’t safer,” Lynne argued. She was too old to pout, but her heart broke at the thought of leaving her family, her home. “We don’t know who any of these people are. How is it safer to send me off to the middle of nowhere with a mob of strangers?”

Judge Tremaine stopped and turned to her, leaning closer. “My dear heart, threats have been made against us, against you, of a serious nature. The Briscoe Boys are not some mischievous ruffians out to pull pranks. They are a vicious, organized gang. They’ve killed men, they’ve burned farms, they’ve….” He shook his head, as if the rest was too horrible to speak aloud. “Sentencing two of them to death this winter was just and right,” he went on, “but if I had known they would see justice as a call to threaten my family, to threaten you? Well, I would have still passed the sentence, but I would have made sure you were protected from threats before the verdict instead of after. Violet and Marie write that they’re settling quite nicely in Lexington with your Aunt Philomena. It’s time you sought your own safety as well.”

“And leave you alone?” Lynne protested.

“I would rather be alone for a time than continue to see you lock yourself in the house, only going out under guard, like a prisoner. If accusers become prisoners in their own homes for fear of reprisal from gangs, then nothing I do as a judge means anything.”

“I can take care of myself, Papa,” Lynne argued. “I always could. When we moved to St. Louis, when Mama died, when the war broke out. I’ve always been able to take care of myself, and I could take care of you too.”

Her father smiled, pride beaming from him. “Yes, I don’t doubt it. My brave girl.”

Lynne’s heart swelled, in spite of the fact that he was still calling her a girl when she was twenty-two. She loved him so.

“The Briscoe Boys won’t come anywhere near me, you’ll see,” she said.

Her father sighed and took her arm, starting forward through the rows of wagons once more. “If only it were that easy. When explicit threats are made to slit the throats of all my children, I can’t pretend the threat means nothing. George and Marion have established themselves well in Denver City. They own a mining company and have done quite well for themselves. You’ll be happy there.”

They dodged around a group of running, laughing children and past a wagon full of rough, wiry men, who watched them with curiosity.

“How can you say that, Papa? I’ll be hundreds of miles away from you, from Robert and Graham, from Violet and Marie,” Lynne said.

“Robert and Graham are off fighting for the Union,” her father said and shook his head. “Violet and Marie are happy where they are. They are prolific writers, and with the speed of the mail these days, it should only take a few weeks for you to get their letters.”

“We would all be better off together, as a family,” Lynne insisted. “If I have to go, then we should all go as one.”

“If only we could,” her father said. “Now, here we are.”

They stopped in front of a wagon that looked like every other wagon in the sea of eager pioneers spreading out around them. It was long and sturdy, with large, metal-rimmed wheels and a thick canvas cover over tall loops. Through the opening in the back, Lynne could see the trunks she’d been forced to pack in the last week. All of her clothes that could fit were folded into a large black trunk, while anything else she had wanted to take, from books to linens to sewing supplies, were crammed into a wooden hope chest. The wagon was stuffed with other boxes as well, crates and barrels of supplies for the journey and a few boxes that her father was sending to Uncle George. The sight of it all made Lynne’s shoulders sag in defeat.

“Do I have to go as part of a wagon train, Papa?” She tried one last defense. “Why not send me to Denver City on a stagecoach? It’s much faster.”

Her father smiled. “My dearest, if you think a wagon train is cramped and uncomfortable, then you wouldn’t want anything to do with a stagecoach.”

Lynne crossed her arms and turned her sad frown from him to the back of her wagon, reluctant to admit that he was right.

“Besides,” he went on, “I’ve heard far too many tales of stagecoaches being robbed by highwaymen or attacked by Indians since the war started. Too many of the soldiers that used to man way stations along the trail have been called back East to join the war. There is safety in numbers, and so you will go to your uncle and aunt this way.”

“But, Papa—”

“No, my dearest, no more arguments. It has been decided.”

Lynne let out a breath, dropping her arms to ball her fists at her sides. She was not used to losing arguments, particularly when the stakes were so high.

“Now, let me introduce you to the men who will be watching out for you on the journey,” her father said.

Lynne’s brow flew up at the unexpected comment. “Men? Watching out for me?”

“Yes.”

Her father led her to the front of the wagon. A boy who couldn’t have been older than fifteen sat on the wagon’s seat, whip already in hand. He had dirty brown hair and the barest hint of scruff on his chin and upper lip. He took one look at Lynne and fumbled to stand in the wagon, scraping his shin on the buckboard. A broad grin spread from ear to ear across his blushing face. He had freckles peppering his cheeks under the scruffy growth.

“This is Benjamin,” her father explained. “He’ll be your driver. He came highly recommended by the man who sold the wagon to me.”

“How do you do, Benjamin?” Lynne held up a hand to him with a polite smile.

Benjamin blushed brighter and took her hand, pumping it up and down. “Right well, ma’am.”

Lynne was charmed in spite of herself. She just hoped the boy knew which end of the oxen should point forward.

“And this is Cade Lawson,” her father went on. “Your uncle hired him to be your escort.”

“My escort?”

Lynne turned to see another man striding toward her, leading two horses. One was her own mount, Clover. Cade Lawson was a sight to behold. Tall, with broad shoulders and a narrow waist, he walked as if he owned the wagon train. Sunlight caught golden highlights in his hair and teased tiny lines around his blue eyes. He smiled with a confidence that bordered on arrogance. It was the kind of smile that could send a girl’s heart fluttering. It was also the kind of smile that screamed trouble. Lynne felt her cheeks warm in spite of the wariness that too-charming smile brought her.

“Mr. Lawson, I’d like to introduce you to my daughter, Miss Lynne Tremaine.” Her father took a half step back to present her with a proud smile.

“Miss Tremaine.” Cade nodded, eyes flashing. He didn’t extend his hand to her. It was as rude of him as it was challenging.

“Mr. Lawson,” she replied, accepting the challenge. She folded her hands demurely in front of her. If he wasn’t going to be a gentleman, then she wasn’t going to go out of her way to teach him manners. She turned to her father. “What do you mean, Uncle George has hired him to be my escort?”

“I mean just that,” her father replied. “Mr. Lawson has been charged with accompanying you on your journey and seeing you safely to Denver City.”

Lynne took another look at Mr. Lawson. He was solid and strong, like trouble in reasonably well-kept clothes. He’d been sent to mind her, like a nanny minds a child. It didn’t matter how tempting he was, Lynne bristled.

“Thank you, Mr. Lawson,” she said, tilting her head up, “but I won’t be needing an escort to Denver City. I am brave enough to make the journey on my own.”

Mr. Lawson lost his smile. “Excuse me?”

“Now Lynne.” Her father hooked his thumbs into his vest pockets. “This matter isn’t up for discussion. It is far too dangerous for a woman to travel in a wagon train alone. Far too dangerous and far too scandalous.”

“Is it any less scandalous for me to be traveling in the company of a man I don’t know?” she asked. “There’s the scandal, if you ask me.”

Her father frowned. “I have informed the trail boss, Mr. Evans, of the purpose of Mr. Lawson’s presence. He has assured me that he will make certain no untoward rumors are circulated amongst your fellow travelers.”

“Has he?”

“Yes, my dear. So long as you behave yourself.”

Lynne crossed her arms, glancing from her father to Mr. Lawson. She was outnumbered. She was being trundled off to relatives like a helpless child, and how it stung. All she could do was swallow her sadness and harden her heart enough to bear it. “I see.”

“I’m glad you do,” her father replied.

He was teasing. She wasn’t in the mood to be teased. What had started out as a bad idea on her father’s part was already on the verge of becoming a catastrophe, as far as she was concerned.

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A Pioneer Hearts Exclusive!

It’s Friday, and usually I post something about writing on Fridays, but today I’m super privileged to be a part of this absolutely wonderful group of writers who are bringing you a deal and a steal!

I’m so happy to announce the first ever Pioneer Hearts 99c Western Romance Event!

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This sale includes dozens of books for your Kindle, and a selection for your Nook or iBooks libraries, as well. And you know what else is fun? You can win some pretty snazzy prizes! Yes, that’s right, PRIZES!

Take this opportunity to discover your new favorite author….

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Want to win one of two $10 Amazon gift cards? Share our sale and follow our authors! You could also win signed books, a beautiful turquoise pendant necklace (voted a favorite by the Pioneer Hearts Readers Group!), and more! See Rafflecopter here and win!

See Nook links here

See iBooks links here

Trail of Kisses – Cover Reveal!

It’s here! At last, the day is here when I can reveal the cover for the first book in my new Hot on the Trail series, Trail of Kisses!

And without further ado…

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Someone is trying to kill Lynne Tremaine. After her father sentences two members of The Briscoe Boys gang to death, Judge Tremaine feels he has no choice but to send Lynne to Denver City along the Oregon Trail to live with her Uncle George…against her will. For Lynne, the only thing worse than being sent away to the wild west is making the journey with the handsome, arrogant, wicked man her uncle has hired to escort her. Especially when the anger she feels toward him begins to turn to something hotter.

Cade Lawson is determined to prove himself to his employer, George Tremaine, after letting him down months earlier. But what he thought would be his second chance may, in fact, be a harsh punishment for his past mistakes. Lynne is headstrong, fiery, and determined to show him she is fearless. She is also beautiful and tempting, and when Cade sees just how afraid she really is underneath her brave act, he may be in danger of losing his heart to her forever. When her would-be killer attacks, it’s all he can do to keep Lynne safe.

He swore to protect her, but who will protect him from her?

But wait, there’s more! You can currently pre-order Trail of Kisses on Amazon and iBooks for the low indtoructory price of $0.99! But that price is for a limited time only. It’ll go up to the regular price of $3.99 once we hit release day, October 27th.

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Like what you’ve read? I love the fact that you read it! I’ve got more for you too. Sign up for my quarterly newsletter to receive special content, sneak-peeks, and treats that only subscribers are privy to. And thank you!