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A great cast in a wild place…what could go wrong?

PLEASE WELCOME LYNDI’S ADVENTUROUS FRIEND ARLENE CULINER!!!!!

Thanks, Lyndi! I love writing about people who are different. Some are forced to adapt to new circumstances in order to survive, others are originals, folks who have never really fit into mainstream society. But no one is humdrum, and all have dreams.

So what do an embittered mail-order bride, an adventurer, a brothel madam, a silver baron/artist, a war refugee, a pacifist, a playboy veterinarian, and a woman who protects spiders all have in common? They get another chance to find love. And what better setting for romance than a semi-ghost town in Nevada?

A Room in Blake’s Folly begins in 1889 with the romance between Sookie Lacey, former prostitute now saloon dance girl, and Westley Cranston, adventurer. But love rarely follows a straight path. Times change, life goes on, new relationships form. By 2022, Blake’s Folly, once notorious for its saloons, brothels, speakeasies, and divorce ranches, has become a semi-ghost town of abandoned shacks and weedy dirt roads. But the old stories are still very present, and they have the power to influence the 53 remaining inhabitants.

A Room in Blake’s Folly

If only the walls could speak…

In one hundred and fifty years, Blake’s Folly, a silver boomtown notorious for its brothels, scarlet ladies, silver barons, speakeasies, and divorce ranches, has become a semi-ghost town. Although the old Mizpah Saloon is still in business, its upper floor is sheathed in dust. But in a room at a long corridor’s end, an adventurer, a beautiful dance girl, and a rejected wife were once caught in a love triangle, and their secret has touched three generations.

Bio

Writer, storyteller, photographer, and social critical artist, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest and, much to local dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes. She particularly enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with strange characters.

Excerpt

            “You a widow?”

            “No.” She could hear the tightness in her voice and feel the tension in her shoulders.

            His eyes glinted. “A runaway wife.”

            “Not that either.” Did she have to say more? She didn’t. But since people were bound to be asking that same question over and over, she might as well get used to it, even though the answer was only partially true. Even though it could never express what her life had been like up until now. “I left of my own accord, but with my husband’s full agreement. He’ll be looking into getting a divorce.”

            “And your children?”

            Ah, there it was. The big question, the one thing everyone would be curious about. “No children. I’ve never had any.”

            He said nothing. Had he heard the note of anger in her voice? She’d done her best to sound neutral, but neutrality wasn’t an easy note to hit. How vividly she remembered the first time she’d caught sight of her future husband, Sam Graham, waiting with a little knot of men by a shanty train station in the middle of nowhere. He and the others had been eager to grab a sight of their brides-to-be, women lured west by the promise of marriage, land, and a home. How had the other women fared? Had they been as discouraged as she at the sight of the vast lonely wasteland, the emptiness, the bleached-out colors, and the coarse men who would be their lifetime partners? Men honed by the elements, a hard life. And rough alcohol.

            Westley Cranston stood, walked in her direction—no, walk wasn’t the word she could use. He sauntered, a slow, elegant saunter. A man sure of himself, of his power to seduce. Yes, that was why she’d felt so wary yesterday. He stopped when he was standing beside her. Smiled. No, there was nothing seductive in his smile. She’d been wrong. What had she been imagining? That she was still the young attractive woman she’d been years ago? What a fool she was.

            He touched the top of the piano with a gesture that was almost a caress. “Don’t worry. You’ll do well. The boys you’ll be playing with are good musicians, nice guys, too. They play at all the dances in town, and they’ll teach you the sort of pieces folks out here are used to hearing.”

            “Thank you.”

            His eyebrows rose. “For what?”

            “For being so kind.”

            “Kind?” He guffawed. “It’s not kindness. I’m fighting for survival. High time we got a good piano player in this place. Bob, before he let that stray bullet hit him, knew how to slap at the keys, all right, but he didn’t know the first thing about keeping time. I’ll bet pretty well all the customers were happy to see him taken out of the running.” Grinning, he moved away in that casual easy way of his, headed toward the front door. Then stopped, looked back, his eyes twinkling. “But they couldn’t do that, not legally, anyway. One of the rules here in town forbids shooting pistols in a barroom.”

            She grinned back at him. “Sounds like a pretty good rule to me. And what are the other rules, if you don’t mind me asking. If there are any others, that is…”

            “Sure there are. Need plenty of rules in boomtowns, especially after payday. The other ones are, you can’t insult a woman, you can’t ride a pony or horse on the wooden sidewalks, and you can’t ride them inside this establishment or any other business in town.” He was chuckling again when he turned the lock, stepped out into the street, and disappeared.

            Hattie remained seated at the piano. Her anguish had totally vanished. Amazing, how he had put her at ease. He hadn’t judged her, hadn’t looked at her with disgust when she’d told him some of her story, hadn’t condemned her for feeling unsure about her piano playing. She wondered why she’d felt so mistrustful. He had behaved like a perfect gentleman—and a friend.

            Then another thought struck her. What had he been doing here in the Mizpah so early in the morning? Had he slept here? Obviously he had. Hadn’t he just let himself out? And that meant he had probably spent the night with one of the ladies upstairs. That he was a client.

            Disappointment washed over her. She couldn’t condemn him—men had needs, desires. Why was she so saddened by the thought?

Review of A Room in Blake’s Folly

Rich detail and scintillating dialogue transport the reader through the decades between 1889 and 2022 of this surprising saga. With flowing descriptive phrases (“… the walls had a yellowish hue that only time could bring,”) Culiner effectively intertwines the characters and descendants of Blake’s Folly. And although overhunting and pollution mean environmental change, the charm of this old world community remains intact. Cheers for this book!

Lisa McCombs for Readers’ Favorite

Purchase Links

https://books2read.com/BlakesFollyRomance

Trailer

Author Website: http://www.j-arleneculiner.com

Blog: http://j-arleneculiner.over-blog.com

Storytelling Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/j-arlene-culiner

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/j-arlene-culiner

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JArleneCuliner/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jarlene.culiner/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7158064.J_Arlene_Culiner

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jarleneculiner Amazon Author Page : https://www.amazon.com/author/jarleneculiner-quirky-romances

Finding just what you need in unexpected places: Amber Cross

PLEASE WELCOME LYNDI’S ADVENTUROUS FRIEND AMBER CROSS!!

Nothing is as magical or transformative as love, especially when you’re not looking for it! 

Like Roger and Lisa, I wasn’t expecting this romance. Roger was a minor character in Precedent for Passion-Glen’s older brother who ran the family’s dairy farm, and Lisa was a minor character in Tender Possession-the human resources director at the hospital where Emmeline worked. Then something happened while I was writing Open Door to Love. When Jonnie moved to Somerset, it was only natural that one of the first people she met was Lisa, who fills in for the town clerk when she needs a Saturday off. Lisa is friendly, and quirky, so the two of them hit it off and soon become best friends. Yet as I wrote that book, their friendship became more and more important and Lisa’s character took on greater depth until she was practically screaming, “Write my story!” So I did.

The next hurdle was, who is good enough for her? 

Lisa is a happy, generous person who pretty much lights up the world around her. Yet she is physically limited due to spina bifida and almost forty years old, so she has resigned herself to being single.

She needed someone to appreciate her zest for life, someone who would look at her and see a woman, not a pair of crutches or a wheelchair.

Roger is a widower with two grown sons who enjoys sitting down at the end of the day with a good book and a glass of red wine. He enjoys weekly card parties and hockey games, and he isn’t looking for anything more.

Yes!

Sometimes when you’re not looking, you find exactly what you need.

Here’s an excerpt from their first meeting:

Roger Plankey was man enough to admit he looked over his shoulder before ducking inside the Somerset town offices on Saturday morning. He wasn’t normally paranoid but after three weeks of being pursued by a reality show contestant bent on claiming him for herself, he wasn’t taking any chances.

“If you’re running from the law, you’ve come to the wrong place.”

Turning, he saw a woman leaning out of the town clerk’s service window, pointing to the police department across the hall. She wore a black felt witch’s hat and orange pumpkins dangled from her ears, as brilliant as the smile on her face.

Well, well, well.

“It’s not the cops I need,” he admitted, approaching the window and thrusting his hand out in greeting. “I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure. Roger Plankey.”

“Lisa Kirkpatrick.” 

Her skin was soft against his work-roughened palm, her beautifully manicured nails a sharp contrast to his blunt-tipped square fingers. Halloween decorations sparkled on the black painted ovals, but nothing shone from her left ring finger. He checked. 

“Are you new here, Lisa?”

“I’m the deputy clerk. I work when Maisie needs a day off.”

“Ahh, that would explain why we haven’t met before.” Reluctantly taking his hand back, he retrieved paperwork from the inside pocket of his canvas barn jacket. “I’ve got a bunch of vehicles to register.” He passed the documents through the window, letting his gaze wander over her pretty face while she scanned them. Brown hair curled against the brim of her witch’s hat and caressed the nape of her neck. Thick eyelashes feathered high apple cheeks and when they lifted, her hazel eyes reminded him of spring rain on the meadow.

When the reality show contestant finds him and he avoids her interest by saying he has a date with Lisa, she is surprised but plays along. Not for a minute does she expect him to be serious. But Roger appreciates a woman with character, and he’s intrigued by more than just a pretty face. 

Ardell whistled. “Close call.”

“You’re telling me.” He shuddered dramatically and she laughed. “I think you were trying to ask me something before we got interrupted?”

“Oh, yeah.” A phone rang inside the selectmen’s office and she started down the hall to answer it, saying over her shoulder, “Card party starts tonight. You in?”

“Well, that depends on my date. Whadya say, Lisa?”

“You don’t have to pretend now.” She slid a pen and forms from the printer across the shelf for him to sign. “I’m pretty sure she left the parking lot.”

“Who’s pretending?” After adding his John Hancock in all the right places, he pulled his wallet from his back pocket and extracted a number of bills to cover the cost. “I’m asking you out on a date. Dinner and some kitty whist. Can I pick you up at six o’clock?”

She didn’t answer him. Instead, she handed over his change and renewal paperwork before pushing away from the ledge on her side of the window. Holding her hands out at her sides as if she was a game show hostess displaying a prize. Only she was showing him the wheelchair she sat in, hidden from his view until now. He could tell this wasn’t the first time she introduced herself this way, and he wondered just how many douchebags had turned her down because of it.

He wasn’t a douchebag and she wasn’t getting out of a date that easily. “Don’t think I’m taking my invitation back just because you’re a little heavier to pick up than the average gal.”

 These two are a fun couple. Their challenges are very real, their interactions honest, their love exceptional. I hope you’ll join them on their journey and read A Full-Bodied Love.

STORY: Lisa Kirkpatrick is stubborn, but she’s not stupid. If this guy needs a date to evade an unwanted admirer, who is she to object? It’s not as if handsome men are lining up to ask her out. Sure, they know there’s a woman in the wheelchair, but it would never occur to them that there’s a WOMAN in the wheelchair. He notices. This solid, fun, straight-shooting guy ticks off every box on her ideal man list. But why do they call him Slick?

Roger Plankey thought his life was full until he walked into the town clerk’s office and laid eyes on the woman behind the counter. A spunky, independent woman with a dash of humor and just enough sass to keep him on his toes. She fills that unknown void in his life like she was made for him. But is there such a thing as too perfect?

Author Bio:

Amber Cross was raised on a family farm in New England, one of a dozen siblings, each one inspiring her writing in some way. She still lives in that same small town with her husband and the youngest of their five children. She loves spending time in the woods, in the water, and watching people because every one of them has a unique and fascinating story to tell.

Social Media/Links:

Facebook Page:https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmberCross

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/author_amber_cross/

Website: https://www.amber-cross.com

Buy Links: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Full-Bodied-Love-Kingdom-Book-ebook/dp/B09SVLTXDY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=W9XA3A5Q7WYW&keywords=A+Full-Bodied+Love&qid=1645331165&s=digital-text&sprefix=a+full-bodied+love%2Cdigital-text%2C88&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-full-bodied-love-amber-cross/1141022858

Where do story ideas come from?

To answer this question, please welcome Lyndi’s Adventurous Friend Terry Segan!!

Terry: That’s the most common question I’m asked when I tell people about my books. My favorite thing to do (besides writing, of course) is travel. It can be a day trip, a weekend away or longer, but I love to explore new places as well as re-visit old ones.

Much of my stories are inspired by locations I’ve visited, though I can’t always tell you where my characters come from. Some scurry out of the dark corners of my mind. Others present themselves in the form of people I know or strangers who have inspired me to adopt their quirks.

Where does the adventure part come in? The travel itself! Many of the trips I go on involve riding backseat on my husband’s motorcycle. While he navigates twisty roads, highways, and traffic, my mind is busy spinning up chapters or working out scenes for my current project. We can ride for hours without saying a word to each other. Our rides have taken us through the deserts of Nevada, along the beaches of the California coast, and through the forests and shorelines of the Pacific Northwest.

My current book, Precious Treasure, releasing March 9, takes place on Long Island, where I grew up. The towns are fictitious, but the landscape is spot on with real places I knew as a child or discovered as an adult. In other projects, I’ve incorporated experiences from trips with friends. No matter where I travel or whom I’m with, there is always a wealth of settings and characters that get melded into my next book.

Where to next?

Blurb:

Janie Holcomb prays for closure once the courts declare her missing husband dead. Instead, she’s sent spiraling down a dangerous path.

When her lawyer delivers a package held in trust, she finds a cryptic warning along with a Civil War journal promising buried treasure. While seeking a connection between her spouse and the decades-old diary, Janie attracts the spirit of a Confederate soldier pleading for help.

Enlisting her brother’s assistance to chase down clues, they discover that not everyone they know should be trusted. Janie overlooks potential threats when the promise of new love stirs her emotions. Will her digging uncover the answers she craves or doom her to a similar fate?

Sneak Peek from Precious Treasure:

Janie dragged herself out of bed and into the bathroom. Turning on the tap to fill the sink, she bent over and splashed cold water on her face. The refreshing drops rolled down her forehead, cheeks and chin, pulling her out of her funk. Sightless, Janie reached for the hand towel hanging nearby and dried her face as she stood upright. Opening her eyes, she leaned in to examine the damage of the late night on her complexion. Her reflection looked back, as well as that of a young man standing behind her. Janie’s heart leapt to her throat as she whipped around and found no one there. Looking back in the mirror, she saw only herself.

This is too much, she thought. First nightmares and now hallucinations. Janie shook her head. With the assault of information thrown at her in the last twenty-four hours, her imagination cartwheeled out of control.

Knowing the visions were a result of the wine, newspaper articles and journal, didn’t calm the raised hackles on the back of her neck. The foreboding in Brian’s letter snaked its way up her spine threatening to encircle her throat and squeeze tight. His writing had a tone of uncertainty and fear—uncharacteristic of the man she had married.

Author:  Terry Segan

Precious Treasure:  A paranormal mystery with a touch of romance

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Bio:

Terry Segan resides in Nevada. The beach is her happy place, but any opportunity to travel soothes her gypsy soul. The stories conjured by her imagination while riding backseat on her husband’s motorcycle can be found throughout the pages of her paranormal mysteries.

Bread for a Viking table

Release date: June 30, 2021

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Genre: Historical Scottish Viking Paranormal Romance

Please welcome Lyndi’s Adventurous Friend Mary Morgan!

Hello Lyndi! I’m delighted to be on your blog today. Thank you for allowing me to share a wee bit about my new release, RORIK, The Wolves of Clan Sutherland, Book 2…

Bread for a Viking Table

I’m a research geek when it comes to writing my stories. I get giddy when I have to look up anything—from historical herbs, landscapes, naming a character, and food. During my research into Viking foods, I found out what they used as a leavening agent in their breads. I have shared my love of cookbooks with my readers, but I also have another valuable reference source for medieval recipes and techniques. YouTube videos!

Do you ever wonder how a medieval person made cheese? Or what about breads? How did one heal a broken leg? What about medieval weaponry (Sorry, I have a fascination with swords)? There are tons of books and internet sites, but a YouTube video is often times the best for me. I’m able to visualize the process, instead of merely reading about the history of a particular item.

It was customary for the Vikings to eat two meals per day—one in the morning and one in the evening. They ate with their fingers from flat wooden trenchers, or used wooden bowls for porridge, soups, and stews. The Vikings also used antlers and bones that were fashioned into spoons and forks.

A bit of trivia about the antlers they used: Since they didn’t have baking soda, baking powder, or yeast, they did have another leavening agent—reindeer antler salt. The oil is distilled from the antlers and from there salt was created.

This dense bread is an easy version of Viking bread. It’s delicious warm from the oven with butter and/or honey spread thickly over a slice. Or rip off a portion—Viking style.

Skål (Cheers)

Viking Bread

Ingredients

3 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 cups water

3/4 cup rolled oats

3 tablespoons rolled oats (to sprinkle on top)

Honey and butter

Instructions

Whisk all dry ingredients together and then add the water.

Stir everything with a wooden spoon until it comes partially together.

Knead the dough with damp hands.

Form the dough into a round disk (approximately 8 inches across). Place bread on baking stone or a greased baking sheet.


Lightly brush the top with water and sprinkle the reserved oats on the top. Put into a cold oven.

Turn on oven to 375 degrees and bake for 1 hour.

Cool slightly and then spread with butter and/or honey.

Book Trailer for RORIK: https://youtu.be/8SeTVgZP358

Blurb:

The Dark Seducer is known throughout Scotland as a man who charms many women into his bed. Pleasure is his motto as he obtains information for his king. Yet Rorik MacNeil harbors one secret buried beneath his heart of steel. An unfulfilled conquest plagues both man and his inner wolf, and Rorik would rather suffer death’s sharp blade than confront his greatest fear.

As the Seer for the Orkneyjar Isles, Ragna Maddadsson confronts an unknown destiny when she travels across the North Sea to Scotland. In her quest to deliver a message from a powerful vision, she fears the warrior will not listen. If Rorik ignores her warning, Ragna must find a way to forestall his impending death. If unsuccessful, she risks having her heart cleaved in two. 

To unravel their true fates, Rorik and Ragna must trust in the power of the wolf.

  

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B093Y2FG9K/

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Rorik-Wolves-Clan-Sutherland-Book-ebook/dp/B093Y2FG9K/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rorik-Wolves-Clan-Sutherland-Book-ebook/dp/B093Y2FG9K/

Amazon: AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Rorik-Wolves-Clan-Sutherland-Book-ebook/dp/B093Y2FG9K/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rorik-mary-morgan/1139405450

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/rorik/id1566954806

Excerpt:

“Have you been eating the fresh berries in the meadow, Ragna?” asked the male voice behind her. The man rolled her name off his tongue, sending shivers down her back. She knew him well, often staring at him while she traveled into the nearby village of Kirkjuvágr.

Doing her best to compose herself, she wiped the palms of her hands down the front of her gown and turned around. “I have yet to find any. Why do you ask?”

Rorik stepped forth from the shadow of a tree. His smile came slowly as he approached her.

She tried to control the fierce beating of her heart as the man loomed over her with a dark and hungry gaze.

“Your lips are as red as the berries that grow in abundance in the meadow,” he stated softly.

“’Tis only an apple I have been eating.” Unable to move away, Ragna studied the man’s features—from his deep green eyes to the dimple hidden within the dark facial hair covering his chin. To suppress the urge of twining her fingers into his long ebony hair, she dug her fingers into her gown. She thought the warrior had to be chiseled from the Gods.

Rorik lifted his hand and gently pressed his thumb against her bottom lip. “Beauty.”

An ache grew within Ragna. His nearness made her weak and without breath. When his hand slipped around her waist, she collapsed into his embrace, placing her palms against his broad chest. “What are you doing?”

“I want to taste your lips, Ragna. I have thought of nothing else these long summer days.”

She tried to breathe, finding it difficult within his strong embrace. “Why me?” she blurted out on a gasp.

He lowered his head near her ear. “Why not you?”

About the Author:

Award-winning Celtic paranormal and fantasy romance author, Mary Morgan resides in Northern California with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.

 
Mary’s passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. It wasn’t until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling by writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.

If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books.

Connect with Mary at these places:

Website/Blog:  https://www.marymorganauthor.com/

Amazon Author:  http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Morgan/e/B00KPE3NWI/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaryMorganAuthor/

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/m_morganauthor

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8271002.Mary_Morgan

Pinterest:  www.pinterest.com/marymorgan50/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marymorgan2/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mary-morgan

Audible: https://www.audible.com/author/Mary-Morgan/B00KPE3NWI

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-morgan-2634a77a/

Can a Texas Ranger on the hunt win the reluctant veterinarian’s heart?

Please welcome Lyndi’s adventurous friend, Susan Payne!

BLURB: Texas Ranger Tanner thought he was on a fool’s mission when the medical examiner he had been sent for turned out to be a female veterinarian. Dr. Henrietta Manville was more than a pretty face and she was all business when it came to being called in by the Rangers to preform medical investigations on questionable deaths. A string of similar so-called suicides among prostitutes had officials seeking more answers. Tanner found there were more surprises in-store for him as he escorted the doctor from one morgue to another following a mysterious killer.

Henrietta felt she had her life all planned out when a handsome Ranger rode into her hometown seeking a medical examiner. It didn’t alter her promise to remain clear of living humans, but she needed to remind herself almost daily of her mission. No involvement. No attachments. No emotions that would break her heart again.

EXCERPT: Tanner touched his glass to Henry’s in a salute and to fend off the man on her other side who finally had built up enough lust to speak with her even though Tanner was in possession. Tanner pulled her out onto the dance floor when the piano began “The Yellow Rose of Texas”.

Again, all eyes seemed to be on Henry, but Tanner had his arm around her, and if he kept moving, he could keep her out of anyone else’s. She may be bait, but she wasn’t supposed to be eaten alive in the process.

He thought, for sure, she would be the same woman who accompanied him all along the trail, but to find this elegant, beautiful woman in his arms was causing him all sorts of physical problems. She was the same yet more. More womanly and more attractive to him. He fought the urge to take her out the swing doors and disappear with her until he could satisfy his other needs she brought to the surface.

He knew he would have to give her up eventually especially since Agape was already here just as they had hoped. He needed to put Henry in the rotter’s reach and then watch like a hawk for any sign he was going to harm her.

Swinging Henry in his arms was rewarding, but he knew their time together was limited. In more ways than one. Soon the Rangers would have their man and Henry would be sent home, miles from him, and if he knew his commanding officer, miles from Tanner’s next assignment.

Henry felt as if she was in heaven. She was a princess and Tanner was her Prince Charming, being held in his arms and danced around the mostly empty dance floor. The faces blurred, but most of the other people were having a good time. She could still hear talking and laughing and the lively piano which was played with gusto if not finesse.

Tanner leaned down and whispered in her ear, “The reverend’s here, in that corner, clean shaven, wearing all black except his shirt, but without the cleric’s collar. He’s been watching you, so I think we have our man. Just have to get him to do something to incriminate himself.”

Then Henry laughed and slapped him lightly on the shoulder as if he had said something naughty to her and that she had enjoyed it. Tanner seemed amazed at her ability to act.

Credit: Deposit photos

The music turned into a love song as Mel, wearing an evening gown that could have been seen at the opera in New York, sang. Most everyone’s attention was drawn to the piano and the large woman there. Tanner and Henry were under the stairs near the storeroom door when they stopped, and both took a moment to rest.

Henry peered up and met Tanner’s gaze and all sound disappeared, no more singing or laughter or piano notes. The brightly lit room faded and there was only the two of them as they were drawn to one another by some unseen force, like a magnet until his lips covered hers and Henry had her first grown-up kiss.

It only lasted a moment, but when Tanner pulled back and stood straighter the light and noise and piano all returned in an unwanted roar, as if they were dropped into some kind of hole with all these other people.

Henry knew Tanner felt the same way. She was sure of it as she touched her lips in awe.

“Don’t worry, Henry, your make-up is still perfect. I’m sorry. I should have waited to do that,” he apologized.

Staring shyly into his shirt, she said, “I really should make myself more available to the reverend. Lure him into trying something.”

Tanner’s hand tightened a little on her elbow, but then he agreed. “You’re right. I admit I can’t completely monopolize you or this whole night will be for naught. I’ll stay close. Just play with that chain around your neck if you need me and I’ll be at your side before you know.”

Making his way to the bar, Tanner watched covertly as she made her way to the table the preacher occupied.

BIO: A voracious reader her whole life, author Susan Payne loves the written word.  When reading wasn’t enough, she decided to allow her mind to take flight and write all the many stories that kept intruding in her life.  She blended her love of history and her love of words to create over eighty stories.  All historical and centering on couples finding love and a happy ever after together.

Nature Inspires Gayle Irwin’s Writing

Welcome Lyndi’s Adventurous Friend Gayle Irwin!

I live in central Wyoming, between Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming/southwestern Montana. Since childhood, national parks and outdoor spaces have played a large role in my life and in my writing. From camping and hiking to nature photography and cross-country skiing, outdoor adventures delight my soul.

I enjoy traveling. Most times those journeys take me to various public lands. A recent trip to Custer State Park in South Dakota (near Mount Rushmore) brought donkeys to my car door, captured baby bison frolicking in greening meadows, and the song of western meadowlarks trilling from fence posts.

I’m blessed to have two nearby outdoor spaces that sparks my creativity. One is a ranch located 75 miles from my home; the property is owned by friends. About three times a year I travel and stay there for an extended period of time. The sage and grass-covered hills, rolling Powder River, and distant Bighorn Mountains provide solace and inspiration. Livestock and wildlife encounters bring smiles, especially in spring when lambs and white-tailed deer fawns appear in pastures. Sandhill cranes often dance and forage in viewing distance, and songbirds chorus the welcomed, warming weather. Crimson sunrises greet me, and golden sunsets beckon sleep. The quiet relaxes me, and my friends’ generosity brings me joy. The modular guesthouse at which I stay possesses large windows from which one gazes upon the nearby fields and woods. I’ve composed many articles, short stories, and book chapters at this scenic and tranquil place.

The other special space where creativity comes alive is found at our remote, mountain cabin. My husband and I own six acres of forest land just a 20-minute drive from our house. Upon the acreage sits a 540 square foot cabin – we bought a tiny house before tiny houses became popular! At 8,000 feet in elevation, the land is difficult to get to during winter, but from May to October, we spend weekends and weeknights at the property. We use solar panels for electricity and bask in the solitude interrupted only by hooting owls, zipping hummingbirds, and the call of foxes and coyotes. My husband constructed a wooden half-acre enclosure for our dogs to roam. He also built a free-standing deck on which to dine, to read, or to write, all of which happen often. Our acreage brings us great peace, and, for me, much creativity.

I weave nature into many of my books, including two children’s books I’ve composed: A Town Dog Named Mary Visits a Ranch and Cody’s Cabin: Life in a Pine Forest. When I began writing sweet, contemporary, second-chance romance, I wanted to place the stories in areas I know and enjoy, primarily the Yellowstone National Park region. The first book, Rescue Road is set in southwestern Montana; the area near Cody, Wyoming (on the eastern edge of Yellowstone) is the setting for the second book, Finding Love at Compassion Ranch; and my upcoming Christmas novella, titled In the Shadow of Mount Moran, takes place outside of Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyoming. Readers are given a taste of what this unique area known as Yellowstone Country is like through the descriptions, dialogue, and drama in the stories. My primary characters relish the outdoors – just as my husband and I do.

Finding Love at Compassion Ranch released approximately one year ago. The story’s animal sanctuary, Compassion Ranch, is based on a real Wyoming animal sanctuary called Kindness Ranch. This property, located in the eastern part of the state, rescues animals used in research, including dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, sheep, and other creatures, providing them solace and security, loyalty and love. Many of the animals go on to be adopted into loving homes while some reside on the large property for the rest of their lives. The work is unique, and sadly, still necessary due to the various industries that still use animals for research projects. People can visit the ranch, stay on the property, volunteer with the animals, and adopt a furry companion. I dedicated Finding Love at Compassion Ranch to the staff and volunteers of Kindness Ranch. Rescue work is not easy, and I admire what the workers do and the mission of the organization. I have visited twice, and I look forward to going again one day, for truly it is an inspiration!

What is your special place for inspiration?

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Author Bio:

Gayle M. Irwin is an award-winning author and freelance writer, being recognized by Wyoming Writers, Inc., and the Wyoming Press Association for several of her works. She is a contributor to seven Chicken Soup for the Soul books and the author of many inspirational pet books and stories for children and adults. Her sweet, contemporary romance series, Pet Rescue Romance, consists of Rhiann’s Rescue, Rescue Road, My Montana Love, and Finding Love at Compassion Ranch. Gayle volunteers for various dog rescue and humane society organizations and donates a percentage of all book sales to such groups. Learn more about her and her writing and follow her bi-monthly blog on her website: https://gaylemirwinauthor.com/.

Follow Gayle on Social:

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/GayleMIrwin

Pinterest (under Waggin’ Tales): www.pinterest.com/gaylemirwin

Twitter: wyoauthor1

Author Website: https://gaylemirwinauthor.com/

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/gayleirwin

Finding Love at Compassion Ranch Book Blurb:

A ranch like no other …

Erin Christiansen is still adjusting to life as a widow. She seeks additional healing by volunteering at Compassion Ranch, a sanctuary for former research animals. Upon arrival at the majestic and unique northwestern Wyoming ranch, she meets Mike, a man she knew in high school, whose compassion for animals and people might be the balm Erin needs.

Retired veterinarian Mike Jacobs is no stranger to loss. Five years after the accidental death of his wife, he now serves as ranch manager of Compassion Ranch. He not only fixes fence and provides tours, but he applies his veterinary skills and his heart for animals to his work. Upon recognizing Erin from high school, he can barely believe his first love will spend a few weeks at the sanctuary.

Can Erin and Mike span the years since they have seen each other or do they, like many of the rescued animals, have wounds that run too deep to trust and love again?

Finding Love at Compassion Ranch Excerpt:

A fire crackled amid the ring of rocks Mike had gathered. As Erin sat next to him, gazing upon the meadow, warmth enveloped her. The horses stood nearby, munching on grass. Shadow lay to her right. The blaze took the chill from the late summer evening, but Mike’s presence, with his arm draped across her shoulder, also warmed her physically and emotionally. The meal and wine filled her stomach as well as her heart and mind. Erin realized she hadn’t felt this relaxed and comfortable in more than a year, since Daniel’s diagnosis. Now, here she was, in a beautiful part of the world amid an animal rescue sanctuary, doing positive work and experiencing the love of a kind, caring man.

            Mike’s whisper close to her ear disrupted her thoughts.

            “See that?”

            She looked at him and then in the direction on which he focused his eyes. A herd of ten elk, cows and calves, captured her attention. Her eyes widened as she inhaled deeply.

            “Oh, wow!” she whispered.

            Shadow responded either to their voices or to the smell of the animals, for she suddenly sat up.

            “Easy, girl,” Mike said in a low, but firm tone. “Stay.”

Erin captured the dog’s leash, affixed to her red collar, in her hand.

“Thanks,” Mike acknowledged, still speaking in a soft voice. “We’re seeing females with their young. The males will start coming out, and they will be bugling soon.”

            “What does that mean?” Erin asked in a quiet voice.

            “Usually in early September the bulls, male elk, come into what’s known as the rut – the mating season. They make this incredible noise, called a bugle, that announces to other bulls it’s time to fight for females. It’s an amazing sound and an incredible experience to witness.”

            “I’d love to see that sometime.”

            Mike’s gaze turned to her. “Whenever you want to come back in September, I’ll bring you back up here, and we’ll do just that.”

            She smiled and snuggled into his shoulder. After a quick pat to Shadow’s head, Erin returned her gaze to the majestic wild creatures. A contented, soft sigh escaped, and she felt Mike’s embrace tighten around her.

Book Buy Links:

Amazon – Kindle:https://amzn.to/2AM7sLk

Amazon – Print:https://bit.ly/2XhZbq3_CompassionRanchPrint

Barnes & Noble – Nook:https://bit.ly/3gPw3zs

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3cjFofs_Kobo

Books2Read: https://books2read.com/u/4j2RNZ

The Turkish Affair: realistic adventure, love and danger from J. Arlene Culiner

WELCOME to Lyndi’s Adventurous Friend J. Arlene Culiner!!!

Romantic Suspense: don’t those two words conjure up stalkers, serial killers, car chases, shoot-outs, terrorists, a gun-packing heroine, and an impossibly handsome hero? Yes… usually. However, I prefer realistic romances. Frankly, whenever I’ve found myself in yet another dangerous situation (I seem to have a talent for doing that) I know no sexy hot secret agent will come to rescue me. No way. It’s always up to me to wriggle my way back to safety.

In my romantic suspense, The Turkish Affair, the setting is Karakuyu, an archaeological site in Eastern Turkey. My heroine, Anne Pierson, is a former American journalist who, after an affair with the wrong man, lost her Washington job and her reputation. For the last ten years, she’s been living in backwoods Turkey, working as a translator. She’s not interested in personal relationships because love is always painful. My hero, archaeologist Renaud Townsend, is passionate about his work, and about ancient history. He’s also determined to keep his independence: don’t all love stories become humdrum one day?

But even if Anne and Renaud deny the attraction they have for one another, circumstances throw them together: the setting is an isolated one with a difficult climate; important artifacts have been disappearing; the site director has vanished; and, there is a murder. To make things worse, the police are corrupt, and the political situation is unstable.

When most people visit Turkey, they do so as tourists. They go to beaches, markets, and clubs, eat in “international” restaurants, and visit a few historic sites. Most information they glean comes from guidebooks or tour officials, and they rarely discover what life is like for the local inhabitants.

Like my heroine Anne, I also worked as a translator and guide in Turkey. The community I lived in was repressive, the police were corrupt and dangerous, there was political unrest, and there was artifact theft. Of course, I had to write about all of this in The Turkish Affair. I also wanted to add other true stories: like my heroine Anne, I was once rescued from a dangerous situation by a rebellious young woman named Leyla; I also accompanied archaeologists when they were summoned by the police to identify stolen coins; and I met violent police officers exactly like Bulduk.

 And one day, while passing through an archaeological site, I caught sight of an elegant man heading toward a jumble of smashed pillars. Caught in a blaze of sunlight, his golden hair gleamed like a halo. Who was he? The inspiration for my hero, Renaud Townsend.

Love and Danger at the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu

Priceless artifacts are disappearing from the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu in Turkey, and the site director has vanished. Called in to solve the mystery, archaeologist Renaud Townsend is hindered by both his inability to speak the language and the knowledge that the local police are corrupt. His attraction to translator Anne Pierson is immediate, although he is troubled by her refusal to talk about the past and her fear of public scandal. But when murder enters the picture, both Anne and Renaud realize that the risk of falling in love is not the only danger.

Teaser: http://j-arleneculiner.com/page-2-book4-turkish4-video.html

Excerpt

She was free to wonder about him again, just the way she’d been doing since first meeting him. Wondering what sort of person he was, about the places he’d been to, the life he’d lived. Was he married? Was he attached to a university? She warned herself not to delve too deeply because she couldn’t give out truthful information in return. Still, she wanted to know.

“I’ve an idea,” he said, breaking into her thoughts. “The heat’s gone. We can actually walk around without being cooked alive. How about giving me a guided tour of this town?”

“A tour of Gülkale?”

“Why not?”

She could think of a million reasons why not. Instinctively, she knew if she were alone with him, out there in the dusky evening, the situation would become more intimate, more personal. And intimacy could lead anywhere. She raised her eyebrows in mock surprise. “It’s not a very interesting place. What’s wrong with just sitting here?”

Renaud’s eyes darted toward the counter where Necmettin was standing, observing them. “To be honest, I can’t say I’m feeling comfortable. That man has been watching me since I arrived. I feel like a fat coypu sharing space with a drooling piranha.”

Anne had to laugh. He was right, of course. Here, gossip spread more quickly than melted butter on a hotplate, and since Gülkale was, at best, slow-moving, eventless, people were constantly snuffling after the next tidbit. Still, she hesitated, tempted to take him up on his offer, knowing that something as innocuous as a walk was chancy. His voice was too caressing. The heat of his body, his male scent, and something else—something indefinable—was drawing her to him. No temptations. She hadn’t run this far just to get entangled with yet another fatal Romeo.

Author Bio

Writer, photographer, social critical artist, musician, and occasional actress, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe alone on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave-dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest and, much to local dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes. She particularly enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with strange characters.

Links

Author Website http://www.j-arleneculiner.com

Blog: http://j-arleneculiner.over-blog.com

Storytelling Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/j-arlene-culiner

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1728686415/

Other purchase sites: https://www.thewildrosepress.com/authors/j-arlene-culiner

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JArleneCuliner/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jarlene.culiner/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7158064.J_Arlene_Culiner

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jarleneculiner/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jarleneculiner/

A Halloween like no other?

Please welcome writer Alice Renaud!

I’ve always loved Halloween. In the UK a lot of people don’t, they see it as a brash American import. But the festival of All Hallows’ Eve actually originated in Britain and Ireland, and it’s closely associated with the Celtic folklore I grew up with and from which I draw inspiration for my stories. So on every 31 October I hang up pumpkin lanterns in my front garden and stock up on sweets for trick o’treaters.

But this year? The coronavirus pandemic has put the kibosh on many fun things here. No more parties, no mixing in groups of more than 6, no theatres, no singing in church… There won’t be any trick o’treaters this year, or Halloween parties, or people dressed up as ghouls riding the trains. It would be tempting to just… give up. Treat it like any other night. Hunker down on the sofa in pyjamas and watch TV…

But something tells me that, on the contrary, now is precisely the time to celebrate Halloween. The festival has always been about laughing at the dark… making fun of what scares us… defying the onset of the long, cold winter nights. We need All Hallows’s Eve more than ever. So on 31 October I will put pumpkin lanterns outside. I will buy sweets, even if no one knocks on the door. I may meet up with friends for a Zoom Halloween party. I will find a good horror film to watch. What is your favorite? Mine remains the Exorcist, after all these years, but the recent series of Dracula on the BBC was also brilliant. And what better time to read some great paranormal stories? The third and final book of my supernatural romance series Sea of Love, Mermaids Marry in Green, comes out on 1 November and is the perfect Halloween treat. Read an exclusive excerpt below. You will love the feisty shifter mermaid and her hot warlock, as they seek to capture a water monster in London!

Blurb for Mermaids Marry in Green

Caltha Dooran is the toughest, fiercest shape-shifting mermaid in the western seas. She has three Clans to rule, and no time for romance. But when a warlock, Jonty, turns up and asks her to come with him to London to capture a water monster, she can’t say no. In London, away from her duties, her attraction for Jonty grows… and they soon fall under each other’s spell. But will his past and her responsibilities pull them apart, or can they find the only true magic, the one that binds two souls together?

Buy Links

https://books2read.com/u/3LglAN

Excerpt

A pile of twigs shuddered and slid to the side. Two yellow eyes peered at her out of the tangle of wood and litter. Excitement exploded in Caltha’s chest, rocking her whole body. She’d found him! But she strove to keep her voice low and soft.

“Afanc?”

A reptilian head that looked like a crocodile’s, but smaller, pushed through a plastic bag. The mouth opened, revealing a row of sharp teeth. “Morwenna?” the creature hissed, in Caltha’s language.

She tried to repress the trembling in her body and appear calm so the creature wouldn’t take fright. “Yes, I am a mermaid.” She lifted her webbed hands to show him. The afanc extended a furry paw, tipped with powerful claws. Caltha brushed the damp fur with her fingers. “I’m Caltha.”

The afanc let out a sigh. “Morwenna Caltha,” he said. He stared at her with shining eyes full of hope. “I am lost. Can you help?”

Caltha’s mind went blank with surprise. She’d expected a powerful water monster with awesome magical powers, not this vulnerable animal pleading for assistance.

The afanc stretched his neck towards her. “Please?”

Compassion engulfed Caltha. “Of course I’ll help you.”

The question was how. She’d been so focused on locating him, she hadn’t really given any thought as to what she would do when she found him. She studied his reptilian head and large, furry body. No way would he go unnoticed in a city full of humans. And dangerous warlocks were on his trail. Her mind worked overtime, searching for solutions. Would he follow her willingly, or would she have to trap him? He seemed friendly now, but he might panic if she tried to lead him away from his familiar surroundings. And how could she keep him hidden?

Bio

Alice lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she’s a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape shifting mermen, water monsters and time-travelling witches. Her first book, “A Merman’s Choice,” was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in a fantasy romance trilogy inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second book, “Music for a Merman,” is out now and the third, “Mermaids Marry in Green,” will be released on 1 November. Alice has also written two short stories for BVS anthologies, “The Sweetest Magic of All,” in “Mystic Desire,” out now, and “The Holiday Mermaid” in “Desire Me Again,” out in October. Alice loves reading and writing stories, and sharing them with anyone who’s interested!

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AliceRenaudAuthorRomance/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alicerauthor

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alice-renaud-author-4219b6166/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alicerenaudauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18670218.Alice_Renaud

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/alice-renaud

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Alice-Renaud/e/B07L52P17B

Writing doesn’t always come naturally–but hard work brings the real payoff

Welcome to Lyndi’s Adventurous Friend McKenna Dean!

Several years ago, I was warming up my horse for a dressage clinic when one of the women in the class asked, “Does he always just go on the bit like that?” Her tone was clearly one of admiring envy.

I had to laugh. ‘Going on the bit’ requires the horse to round his back and be compliant to the rider’s hands, the impulsion of movement coming from the hind end. It is a measure of the communication between horse and rider, and in certain disciplines, it is highly prized. It is impossible to do if the horse has his head flung up high and his back hollowed out.

I’d bought my horse as a young gelding from a slaughterhouse, at the going rate of eighty-nine cents a pound. Most likely he was an accident—a cross between a high-stepping Saddlebred and a “daisy-cutter” Appaloosa. One breed was designed to move with his head up in the air and back so curved riding feels like you’re sitting in a rocking chair. The other was meant to be a flashy-looking cow pony whose economical movement meant you could work the livestock all day. The combination resulted in the world’s ugliest three-year-old. Picture a horse with a cinder block head on a swan neck and a scruffy little bottlebrush tail. Saddlebreds are the fashion models of the competition world, and the nicest thing anyone could say about my horse is that he had “kind eyes.” He was the last horse anyone would expect to become a dressage champion, and when I first began appearing at the local shows, people shook their heads and wondered what I was doing there. Over a period of nearly a decade (and many hours of diligent training), we went from being the horse and rider that made people snicker to the team that came home with the ribbons.

The woman at the riding clinic was stunned when I told her of my horse’s background and how much work it had taken to make coming on the bit look natural for him. In the world of competitive riding, most people buy the right horse for the job. The right horse, the right saddle, the right boots, the best equipment money can buy; these can make a huge difference in where you place in the ribbons. It doesn’t eliminate the need for disciplined training, but your starting point on the podium is higher simply by virtue of having an athletic horse and a saddle that prevents you from making a wrong move. It’s possible for sheer hard work and determination overcome genetics and natural ability, however. I competed with my meat-market nag because he was the only horse I had, and the hours I put in riding him were a labor of love. Winning ribbons wasn’t the goal. The horse shows just gave me a structure for the time we spent together.

So I have to laugh when people ask me if I’ve always been a writer, in that same sort of wondering, envious tone. As though having a natural gift for something is more valuable than working your butt off to achieve the same results. The truth is, I wrote passionately as a child, only to give it up entirely as a teenager because I didn’t think I was good enough to be a ‘real’ writer. I thought it was time to put away childish dreams and get on with the business of making a career for myself. I wasn’t a natural.

It wasn’t until I discovered online fanfiction archives as an adult that I rediscovered my love for writing. My creative self, having been ruthlessly starved and repressed for several decades, woke with a vengeance. I read everything I could lay my hands on regarding my favorite show, and then tentatively, I began writing my own stories. Not because I thought I was any good. Not because I ever thought I’d be any good. Because I loved the characters so much I wanted to spend more time with them. Because I felt compelled to tell stories about them and share them with like-minded souls. Over a three year period of time, I wrote over a million words of fanfic. The enthusiastic support of friends gave me the courage to try my hand at original fiction, and eventually go on to submit my stories for publication. Making the transition to original fiction was tougher than I’d imagined, but in the end it was no different from moving up a level in dressage: everything that was once seemed effortless becomes hard work as you increase the challenge and have to master a whole new set of skills.

Being a natural is over-rated. It tends to teach poor work habits because everything is easy for you at first, and then when it gets harder, as it always does, you get discouraged and frustrated because you’ve never learned how to put in the hours to reach a specific goal. If you want to get better at anything, you have to put your hours in: under saddle, swimming laps, on the dance floor, at the keyboard. You ‘train’ when you don’t feel like it, when it’s raining, when you’ve had a bad day. That’s what it’s like to be a writer, too.

One of my favorite quotes is from Calvin Coolidge:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

They are words to live by—but especially if you’re a writer. You don’t wait until the muse strikes you. You don’t let reviews sink your confidence. You don’t compare yourself to others. You write, pure and simple. Every day, without fail. You hone your skills by practicing. Your creativity is a muscle you exercise. The more you write, the stronger you get. The better your sentences become. Sure, you can sigh and wish you had more talent, but in the end, it is the person who puts the words to paper who is the winner. It is the person who persists who achieves their dream. That person can be you.

Redclaw Origins: The year is 1955. Rebel without a Cause and The Seven Year Itch are playing in the movie theaters. The Chevy Bel Air is the most popular car in America. Gas is 25 cents a gallon and you can get a hotel room for $4 bucks. This flirty, fun series takes us back to the beginning and shows us how Redclaw Security got started.

If you like Gini Koch’s “Kitty” Katt alien series, you’ll love Redclaw Origins! It’s Bringing up Baby meets WH-13! It’s the X-Files meets Leave it to Beaver!

Bishop Takes Knight is a Top Pick at The Romance Reviews and a Crowned Heart of Excellence recipient at InD’Tale Magazine and has been nominated for a RONE Award! Bishop Takes Knight was voted Best Paranormal/SFF Romance in the 2020 New England Reader’s Choice Awards, Best Light Paranormal Romance in the 2020 PRISM awards, and is a Finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards!

They’re back and the fun–and trouble–is just beginning! Join Bishop and Knight as they must pose as a married couple to root out the strange disturbances occurring in an upscale suburban neighborhood! 

Bishop’s Gambit (Redclaw Origins Book 2)

Newly-minted secret agent Rhett Bishop would rather face down a horde of angry wolf shifters or her father’s former mob contacts than accept her current assignment: pose undercover as a suburban housewife, complete with a husband, slippers, and pipe.

But after the debacle of her previous mission, Rhett has a lot to prove.

To redeem herself in the eyes of Redclaw Security, and to carry out her mission without distractions, she must table her budding relationship with Peter Knight while the two of them uncover the secrets of Forest Grove.

Armed with her trusty ray gun, her unique little dog, and Knight’s brains, Rhett is confident she can handle whatever the suburbs can throw at her.

Until they lob a curveball.

Available from Amazon and these other retailers.

EXCERPT:

A yellow taxi pulled over to the side of the road. I’d just given my hotel address to the driver through his open window when I heard the sound of running footsteps behind me. My James Cagney follower pounded the concrete in a dead run toward me. Without waiting for the driver to let me in, I dove into the back seat and slammed the car door shut.

“Drive. Now!”

The cab driver let out an oath and gunned the engine, cutting the wheel hard and pulling into traffic as my pursuer wrenched open the rear door. The stranger’s mouth fell open in surprise as I pointed the ray gun at him, but then his expression hardened. Either he didn’t believe the gun was real or he didn’t believe I’d shoot. With a snarl, he reached for my hand as he ran alongside the cab.

A serious mistake on his part. I don’t bluff.

The ray gun let loose a concentrated beam of energy, not enough to kill, but certainly enough to injure. With a yelp, the stranger fell back clutching his hand. The car peeled away from the curb, and I leaned out to grab the door handle and pull the door shut before it banged into a newspaper stand on the corner. Breathless with the near miss, I settled my hat back on my head and replaced the gun in my clutch.

The driver met my eyes in the rearview mirror. “You okay back there? What was that about, lady?”

I looked thoughtfully back at the man on the street whipping off his hat and throwing it to the sidewalk in frustration.

“I wish I knew.”

***********************************************************************

McKenna Dean Bio and Social Media Links:

McKenna Dean has been an actress, a vet tech, a singer, a teacher, a biologist, and a dog trainer. She’s worked in a genetics lab, at the stockyard, behind the scenes as a props manager, and at a pizza parlor slinging dough. Finally she realized all these jobs were just a preparation for what she really wanted to be: a writer.

She lives on a small farm in North Carolina with her family, as well as the assorted dogs, cats, and various livestock.

She likes putting her characters in hot water to see how strong they are. Like tea bags, only sexier.

Links:

Newsletter: https://motivated-teacher-3619.ck.page/8ce3b5d956

Website: http://mckennadeanromance.com/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B075CRHQ7B/

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/McKenna-Dean-Author-262328784224302/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/McKennaDeanFic

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mckennadeanromance/?hl=en

Tumblr: https://mckennadeanromance.tumblr.com/

Email: mckennadeanromance@gmail.com

Would You Have Dared This Adventure?

A terrible result of the Civil War was that fighting took the lives of so many young men. Numbers given are that between 620,000 and 750,000 men died in the Civil War, by far the greatest toll of any war in American history. When most of the surviving single men moved west, this left no one for Eastern women to marry. If a woman wanted a husband and children, what was she to do? If a man wanted a wife and family, what was he to do?black-woman-and-child-png-8

This is why there are so many mail-order bride and proxy bride romances. Although mail-order and proxy brides existed before and after this era, they flourished in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

Here is where your challenge comes in: If you were single during this time, what would you have done?

In my ancestry and that of my husband, several women became little more than a live-in, unpaid maid. Would you have wanted to spend the rest of your life as “Aunt” whoever to someone else’s family? Or, would you have dared become a mail-order bride?

In the west the ratio was sometimes 1 woman (who might be married) to 14 men and more men to women near mines. If you wanted a wife and children, what would you do? Would you send for a bride sight-unseen?

Chris Enss’ book Hearts West discusses actual mail-order brides. Some are happy stories, some are frightening. Each is interesting.

Matrimonial agencies supposedly verified the character and intentions of the man and woman before the marriage was arranged. Also available were newspaper-like periodicals filled with ads placed by men who wanted a wife (no verification). If you’ve read some of these, you know they varied from so egotistical they’re comical to so brief no information is supplied.

Imagine yourself a woman traveling by train or—more likely—by stagecoach to meet a prospective groom. You could be single or widowed. More than likely you’d be nearly destitute. If the man you’re going to meet doesn’t suit, you have no funds to repay him for your travel fare and return home. Perhaps you have no home to which you can return. What if he’s a drunk or beats women or is a crook?

Imagine being a single man who longs for a wife and family and sends for a bride. What if she’s a shrew or slovenly and can’t cook or keep house? What if she’s a con artist who plans to remain only long enough to gain access to your savings?

Would you have dared enter a mail-order marriage?

 

Widows Brides and Secret Babies VictoriaAbout The Book

She has to protect her baby . . .

He is desperate for help . . .

Trouble preys on their livelihood . . .

Widow Victoria Bailey is desperate to prevent her in-laws from gaining custody of her eighteen-month-old daughter. If becoming a mail-order bride is her only option, she’ll take the risk. At least on a Texas ranch she’ll have quiet and peace. She doesn’t have time to let the groom know she’s bringing her daughter. Surely no man can object to one perfect little girl.

Widower Greg Hardy is desperate to get help with his home and his children. He needs to be pursuing whoever is rustling his cattle. A mail-order bride seems to be exactly what he needs but should he keep his children a secret? To insure he doesn’t scare off a prospective wife, he omits the fact that he has five children aged from eight months to twelve years old.

Their marriage starts with misunderstanding. They decide to work together to fight against a common foe. Will the fight take a toll on their fragile happiness?

Enjoy An Excerpt

Her head pounded as if a blacksmith hammered his anvil inside. She couldn’t continue in this state of fear. Instead, she had to do something without delay.

“Tell me the matchmaker’s address. I’m too desperate to turn down any chance to leave Atlanta with Regina safely in my care.”

“Fortunately, she lives only about a mile from us.” Diana rose and went to her writing desk. She opened a drawer and took out a sheet of paper.

Referring to a letter she’d removed from an envelope, Diana wrote on the paper then handed it to her. “Here’s the address. You won’t have any trouble finding her house.”

Victoria studied the writing. “I think I know where this is and I’ll go there now. There’s no time to waste. I expect my in-laws back to steal Regina no later than noon tomorrow.”

Diana hugged her briefly. “Godspeed, my friend. If you do leave, promise you’ll let me know your new address.”

“I will because I am leaving for somewhere, Diana. Thank you for your friendship.”

The soft breeze failed to soothe Victoria. She recognized the part of town in which the matchmaker lived. The homes were nicer than hers—though she thought of the house as hers, her in-laws actually owned her home. She found the correct house and was surprised a matchmaker lived there.

The red brick home was built in the Federal style with white columns in front. A small brass plate was attached to the fence pillar. The first line said Mercedes McCormick and the second line read Matches Made In Heaven.

That described what she needed. Her first marriage wasn’t made in heaven but perhaps the next one would be better. She pushed the perambulator up the walk and maneuvered it up the steps to the porch.

“Regina, here we go. I hope we’re not sorry.” She rang the bell.

About The Author

Through a crazy twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To compensate for this illogical error, she writes about handsome cowboys, feisty ranch women, and scheming villains in a tiny office her family calls her pink cave. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd on their two rescued indoor cats and dog as well as providing nourishment outdoors for other critters.

The books she creates in her pink cave have made her a bestselling author and won awards. She writes sweet to sensual romances about the West, both historical and contemporary as well as time travel and mystery. Her series include the Kincaids, McClintocks, Stone Mountain Texas, Bride Brigade, Texas Time Travel, Texas Caprock Tales, Pearson Grove, and Loving A Rancher as well as numerous single titles and contributions to multi-author sets. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, reading her friends’ books, lunching with friends, browsing antique malls, checking Facebook, and taking the occasional nap. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Join her and other readers at Caroline’s Cuties, a Facebook readers group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/277082053015947/ for special excerpts, exchanging ideas, contests, giveaways, recipes, and talking to like-minded people about books and other fun things.

Click on her Amazon Author Page for a complete list of her books and follow her there.

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To stay up-to-date with her releases and contests, subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter here and receive a FREE novella of HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, a humorous historical wedding disaster that ends happily—but you knew it would, didn’t you?

 

Title: MAIL-ORDER VICTORIA, Widows, Brides and Secret Babies book 7

Author: Caroline Clemmons

Genre: Historical western romance

Heat level: PG

Amazon Universal link: https://mybook.to/Victoria

Amazon US link: https://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Widows-Brides-Secret-Babies-ebook/dp/B086DFCDRB

Available in e-book, print, and enrolled in KU

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