11 Followers
63 Following
BlushingBooks

Blushing Books

We are, in fact, the oldest web-based romance and romance erotica publisher. We have been in business since 1991, and sold erotica through mail-order from '91 through '98, at which point we moved to web-based publishing via a membership site model. We opened our first e-book store in 2001. We currently represent around 350 professional romance authors who have met the RWA minimum guidelines.

The latest in the Red Petticoat Series by Livia Grant is here!

Dear Readers:
 
I can't believe my release day is finally here! When I was invited to write a story for the Red Petticoat Saloon series, I was honored and thrilled.  I jumped at the chance to work with so many of my favorite authors on this fun project.  That was last December.
 
Only as I sat down to finally get started writing Charlie and Emelie's story, did it really hit me that I had signed up to write not only an historical romance, but a western to boot; two new sub-genres I've never written in before.  I started out a bit nervous, but I ended up having a blast writing this story.  It helped that the authors before me created a rich, full of life world in Culpepper Cove with characters we have come to love.  It also helped having written two stories for the Corbin's Bend series, I have comfortable writing in an on-going series like the Red Petticoat Saloon.
 
I want to thank the authors who wrote before me as everyone was able to include cameo appearances of my hero, piano player extraordinaire, Charlie Walker. The first idea for my story came as I contemplated how hard it would be for a man working in the Red Petticoat to fall in love with a gem and then have to watch his woman taking customers upstairs night after night. Charlie deals with it about as well as you'd expect.
 
So I hope you enjoy this next installment of the Red Petticoat Saloon.  It can be read as a stand-alone, but I hope you go back and give the entire series a read as each book is awesome and unique.
 
Cheers and happy reading,
 
Livia
________________________________________________________
Melting Silver by Livia Grant
 
 
Emelie Svennson's dream is to sing on stage. When a musical troupe passes through her home in Wisconsin, she believes her dream will be fulfilled when the leader invites her to be the star of his show. By the time she realizes that he is nothing more than an abusive bully and her dream is now her nightmare, she finds herself stranded in San Francisco with no money and on the run from the law.  As she tries to make her way home to her family, she stops in Culpepper Cove and is drawn to the amazing melodies coming from the Red Petticoat Saloon.  The handsome piano player is almost as remarkable as his music. 

Charlie Walker adores all of the gems he works with, but from the minute he meets Emelie, he knows there is something special about her. As much as he wants her to stay in Culpepper Cove, the thought of her putting on red petticoats and entertaining men upstairs as Silver cuts him to the core. 

As their pasts clash, Charlie will have to work hard to convince his new gem that he will not only love and honor her, but that he won't hesitate to drag her across his knee for a bare-bottomed spanking that promises to warm more than just her backside.  Can he convince the woman with the voice of an angel that dreams can come true?
 
About The Red Petticoat series:
 
The Red Petticoat Saloon series is a collection of books written by #1 and USA Today bestselling authors. Each book tells the unique story of a different woman, 'a gem', who comes to the saloon to find a safe haven and discovers they become part of a family. Recurring characters appear in each book to allow readers a continuity as they learn about the women who have learned to bend but have not broken under the harshness that life has to offer. It is a series where strong, loving men find not only entertainment at the saloon but the special women who reside under its roof.
 
Now available at:
 
 
 

 
 
(coming soon)


 


 
 
 ________________________________________________________
 
Previous books in the Red Petticoat Series...

  
   
     
     
 ________________________________________________________
 
Source: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KXTHZFU/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=romantspanki-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01KXTHZFU&linkId=d11ccae85dbf2f6e0b9a96ef07518cf3

★★ Cowboy Discipline★★ #BoxSet A Western Anthology

 

Five full-length novels by USA Today Best-Selling Authors, Vanessa Vale, Maren Smith, Lee Savino, Renee Rose, Patty Devlin

 

Go west where the men are sexy, dominant and very capable of setting fire in the hearts and seats of their women.

 

 

#Kindle https://goo.gl/vAxjdb

#iBooks https://goo.gl/ne1UDe

#Nook http://goo.gl/ze5des

#Kobo https://goo.gl/pzVdI9

#BlushingBooks http://goo.gl/0EOW1n

#AllRomance https://goo.gl/RC4Fwn

 

The Lawman by Vanessa Vale

 


Ellen Oldsmere, becomes a mail order bride for a complete stranger in the Montana Territory, fleeing Minneapolis. Her new husband is all that she'd imagined: handsome, virile and sexually skilled. But he's also the town sheriff and would surely arrest her if he found out her secret.

 

Ryder Graves is determined to find a bride of his choosing, wanting more than what is available in town. When Eleanor arrives, she meets all of his expectations, but not all she seems. Will he still want her when he learns the truth, or will his passion for the law make her face the consequences of her actions?

The Outlaw’s Bride by Renee Rose


A spitfire rancher. The dominant outlaw who takes her in hand.

 


Stranded in the west, Mabelle's been managing her dead sister's ranch alone for three months. The last thing she needs is the Curly James Gang pushing her around. She fights back, and finds herself over an outlaw's knee.

 

She wants to hate the good-looking outlaw, but he seems to have her best interest at heart and even risks his life to protect her from the rest of the gang. Still, a quick-to-spank outlaw with a bounty on his head isn't the sort of man for her. Or is he?

Rocky Mountain Rose by Lee Savino


A cowboy with a broken heart. A dancing girl who’s sworn off men. Love blooms in the hardest hearts in the Wild West.

 

Feisty and independent, Rose is a dancing girl in the Wild West. When an evil brothel owner lays claim to her, it’s up to Lyle Wilder to rescue the jaded redhead. Lyle vows to protect Rose, even if he has to drag her kicking and screaming to safety. His firm discipline keeps his wild rose from danger, but can he convince her to let love grow?

Life After Rachel by Maren Smith


There weren't many folks who'd equate an Indian war party to a miracle, but Reverend John White did. He believed in miracles; it went with the job. But this particular miracle...well, it was a doozy and her name was Ane, the only surviving member of a doomed westward-bound wagon train.

 

In the span of a single day, the young Norwegian woman had lost her entire family, her husband, even her infant daughter. Having been in America for less than a month, she couldn’t even speak her rescuers’ language, but the Lord worked in mysterious ways and necessity had a way of making itself clear no matter what the obstacles.

So off Ane went, to a hardscrabble farm a few miles out of Redemption to care for the baby who needed her to survive and for the heart-broken man who, fight it though he tried, needed her even more.

Mail Order Switch by Patty Devlin


Liz will do anything to get away from her evil guardian, and she was prepared to disguise herself as a boy and look for work as a ranch hand. When Caroline, a stranger on the train next to her, sees through her "boy" disguise, and begs her to take her place as a mail-order bride, Liz doesn't hesitate long before saying yes. It's got to be easier than working on a ranch, and as a married woman with a new name, she'll be out of her guardian's clutches forever.

Wade Malone has been looking forward to his new bride for months, but when "Caroline" finally arrives, things don't exactly add up. For one, "Caroline" was supposed to be twenty-five years old; the woman who came off the train doesn't look a day above sixteen. He has a strong aversion to liars, particularly in a wife. But he's also a man who keeps his promises and whoever the woman is at his side, he's made a commitment.

Source: http://goo.gl/vAxjdb

Dark Pines Manor by Sandy Grafton

Dark Pines Manor by Sandy Grafton

 
Dark Pines Manor isn't for everyone.

Patrice finds herself there as a result of her new husband's treachery - they didn't even have a wedding night together before he dumped her out of the carriage at the door to the establishment.

Eve is sent there by her father, who is at his wits' end due to her misbehavior and her constant testing of the limits of propriety.

Neither woman has any idea exactly where she has ended up, or what might be in store for her at the Manor - although Eve, subjected to callous and crude treatment at the hands of the couple who've been hired to collect her, already has an inkling that whatever awaits her upon her arrival will not be good.

She is right.

What Patrice and Eve both soon discover is that Dark Pines Manor is a place where women are expected to serve their Masters in all things, no matter what the command.

Both young women, who have been raised to be demure and chaste as Victorian society dictates, are horrified to discover that their bodies are no longer their own. Where punishments are severe, and the Masters are fine upstanding citizens, the cream of British society, men with power, wealth and position.

Like Lord Derek Muir who, once he has acquired Patrice, is determined to strip away her inhibitions and make her his own personal plaything, no matter what it takes.

Or Marcus, Earl of Donnington, who wastes no time in showing Eve all the different facets of his desires - to her shock, humiliation and, ultimately, complete arousal.

Will the young women learn to find pleasure in submission or will they fight it every step of the way?

Publisher's Note: This book is not a typical romance. It is a dark erotic tale. If explicit sexual scenes, which include humiliation, severe spanking and discipline offend you, please do not purchase Dark Pines Manor.

 
Now available at:
 
 
(available soon)

___________________________________________________________

 

#1 Mystery - Leather and Grace by Maggie Ryan

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR Maggie Ryan takes a #1 in mysteries with her latest title, Leather and Grace.

 

Congrats, Maggie!

 

 

Leather and Grace by Maggie Ryan

Murder… Despair… Hope.

leather &GraceQuentin Doucet loves three things with a passion: working with leather, vintage motorcycles, and women who have chosen a life of submission. His life was perfect until the day Beth disappeared off the face of the earth. Unable to stay in the vibrant city of New Orleans, where the memories are just too painful and his sense of guilt is just too great, he walks away when darkness threatens to consume him. It is only his sense of duty that has him returning when his best friend and business partner Brody is laid up with a broken leg. Despite Quentin's insistence that he isn't going to stay once Brody is back on his feet, fate has other plans. The night he steps into an art gallery, he feels as if his eyes are opening for the first time in two years. The paintings on the walls stir his soul almost as much as the artist herself.

The moment Grace meets Quentin at her exhibition and looks into his eyes, she feels an irresistible urge to press her lips against the pulsing vein in his neck. When he later steps into the room as the leader of her first class in submission, she knows she wants to be his. He is an enigma that she longs to solve, but she's well aware that until he is free of the pain of his past, he will never be ready to step into the future.

With the help of a detective who refuses to allow a killer to go free, Quentin and Brody attempt to unravel a twisting labyrinth of clues to bring closure to a case long relegated to the cold files. The swamps of Louisiana hide the sins of many, but when Grace disappears, Quentin knows he won't survive if she's not found alive. Will his instincts allow him to find the woman he's come to love in time, or will he lose another to the marsh's embrace? Are the fates that cruel, or will God's grace give him another chance?

Find out in Leather and Grace, a tale of BDSM, murder, suspense, love, hope, lust and exploration, from the pen of USA Today bestselling author Maggie Ryan.

Buy it Now!

Read it for FREE

 

Screenshot 2016-08-22 10.25.56Screenshot 2016-08-22 10.26.08Screenshot 2016-08-23 12.31.04

Source: http://amzn.to/2bKhT13

The Colonel's Bride by Vanessa Brooks

The Colonel's Bride by Vanessa Brooks

 
At nineteen, Claudia Weston feels she has been left on the shelf. Her father's untimely death has plunged her into mourning just as she should have been making her debut. While watching her friends step out into society, find their beaus and begin to make plans for their nuptials, Claudia has a more intriguing quest in mind. Determined to find out about the more carnal side of life, she embarks on a campaign to discover as much as she can before she is married.

Taunted by another young woman for not yet having a beau, Claudia flippantly states that she is secretly betrothed. Having this imaginary fiancé serving his country far away allows her the freedom to enter rather explicit entries into her journal to satisfy her disbelieving friends. Imagine her shock when this fabricated fiancé materializes in the flesh. Claudia finds herself trapped by her own foolishness into a marriage with a handsome military gentleman, Colonel Guy French. Though she barely knows him, neither can deny the overwhelming physical attraction they experience.

She soon discovers that he has very particular ideas on how his new bride should behave. Watching Imogene and her friends within the 'Spanked Wives Society' receive husbandly discipline, Claudia has other plans. Considering herself a modern woman, she elicits a rash promise from her colonel to refrain from spanking her once they are wed. The old adage: be careful what you wish for, comes strongly into play as Claudia soon finds herself regretting her hasty decision. As events beyond her control pull them apart, can she alter her husband's military methods of punishing her that leave her feeling abandoned and alone?

Will the colonel be able to set aside his beliefs in order to prove to his naughty bride that she means far more to him than any of his recruits? Though Claudia wishes him to change his mind and use a discipline that she now wholeheartedly desires, one which ordains him to take her across his sturdy thigh and soundly spank her mischievous bottom, will they be given another chance, or will it be far too late?

Join familiar faces as we once again journey into the English past with another of Vanessa Brooks' naughty but light-hearted and romantic Georgian adventures.

 
Now available at:
 
 

___________________________________________________________

 

Coming Soon: Melting Silver by Livia Grant #CoverReveal

Melting Silver_promo 7Melting Silver – The Red Petticoat Saloon by Livia Grant

Coming 8/23

Melting Silver 200x300Emelie Svennson’s dream is to sing on stage. When a musical troupe passes through her home in Wisconsin, she believes her dream will be fulfilled when the leader invites her to be the star of his show. By the time she realizes that he is nothing more than an abusive bully and her dream is now her nightmare, she finds herself stranded in San Francisco with no money and on the run from the law.  As she tries to make her way home to her family, she stops in Culpepper Cove and is drawn to the amazing melodies coming from the Red Petticoat Saloon.  The handsome piano player is almost as remarkable as his music. 

Charlie Walker adores all of the gems he works with, but from the minute he meets Emelie, he knows there is something special about her. As much as he wants her to stay in Culpepper Cove, the thought of her putting on red petticoats and entertaining men upstairs as Silver cuts him to the core. 

As their pasts clash, Charlie will have to work hard to convince his new gem that he will not only love and honor her, but that he won’t hesitate to drag her across his knee for a bare-bottomed spanking that promises to warm more than just her backside.  Can he convince the woman with the voice of an angel that dreams can come true?

 

***** FREE EXCERPT *****

Emelie's observations were cut short by Albert stepping in front of her holding a new dress—if you could call it that. It was more like a corset with a tad bit of material at the bottom, which might barely cover her bottom.

"Stand up and get to work. You need to put your dress on for the show."
"Where's the dress?" Emelie inquired with trepidation.
"Are you blind? Here take it." He thrust the scratchy red and black fabric into her arms as

he yanked her to her feet.
She was trembling. He had made her wear low-cut gowns before. Even gowns showing

her ankles to her shame. But only the back-up dancers of the troupe had ever been asked to wear clothing like this on stage. Being on display with them was humiliation enough. There was no way she would dress this part.

"Where is the rest of the outfit?"

"I'm sick of your virginal routine, Emelie. We are not putting on a play for your daddy's church congregation. Your job is to entertain the hard-working men of San Francisco, most of them miners are here to stock up before returning to the solitude of their mines for weeks or months. They want to be entertained. They want to see skin. They want release. It's your job."

"No, Albert. My job is to sing," she argued.

"Watch your tone, little girl. Your job is to entertain. Period. I've given you more than enough chances to sing, but you insist on only singing puritan tunes reminding patrons of their mother instead of the hot-blooded women they came expecting. I warned you to start singing the songs I requested."

"Those songs are scandalous—like this outfit. I won't do it."

Anger rolled off the man in front of her until the newcomer slid next to him, slipping her arm through his and facing off with Emelie with an odd smile on her face. The harlot's eyes raked up and down, taking in the thin, petite body in front of her.

"Look at her, Albert. She's completely wrong for my show. She's skin and bones and clearly frigid."

It didn't happen often, but Emelie watched as Albert looked uncomfortable. He rarely took the time to listen to anyone else, let alone a woman. "I agree. That's why we're going to fatten her up and I'll begin a more personal training program with her. I'll whip her into shape— eventually."

Emelie's ass throbbed—evidence his whipping had already started. "No. She simply won't do."

Who was this woman who dared stand up to the bully she hated? More importantly, why was she here acting like she owned the place?

"Angel, you can't do a show alone. You need backup singers and dancers," Albert countered.

The forgotten other women in the room spoke up. "And you will have them: me and Martha, Sally and Esther."

Emelie's mind raced at the use of the word Angel. It took a few minutes to put it together. When she'd read the playbill, she'd assumed he'd given her a new stage name as he'd promised he would. Never for one minute had she considered that Angel Dixon was someone else.

The new woman was Angel.

The Hills of Home by April Hill - New this weekend & on sale!

 
On sale this weekend only!
 
The Hills of Home by April Hill
 
Elyn and Griff Harper are married and blissfully happy, aside from the occasional spanking Griff still finds necessary to keep his new bride out of trouble. 

When a cult arrives in the valley led by a fanatic self-styled "Prophet," real trouble begins. 

While they strive to stop the cult from polluting the ranch's creek, Elyn becomes unexpectedly pregnant, a joyous occasion threatened when the new baby is kidnapped, turning the happy couple's life into a living nightmare.
 
On sale for $2.99 this weekend only (regular price will be $4.99 on Monday, August 22nd).  Will be available on other sites (Blushing Books, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, & ARE) on Monday at the full price.  
 
On sale (this weekend only) at:
 





Book one in the series is also on sale!
___________________________________________________________

 

New & on sale this weekend only!

Leather And Grace promo 2
 
Dear Readers,
Thank you so much for your continued support and encouragement. It is you who gave me the courage to attempt writing my first, darker suspense book. I'm pleased and excited to bring you my latest book,Leather and Grace.
 
 
Leather and Grace by Maggie Ryan

 
 

A native of New Orleans, Quentin Doucet loves three things with a passion: working with leather to create items that bring both pain and pleasure when shared with a willing partner; riding his vintage Indian motorcycle, and women who find their joy in the act of submission. The Big Easy seemed the perfect city in which to build a club offering a safe place to indulge in more than collecting Madri Gras beads, listening to jazz, eating Cajun food and cooling the spice by downing hurricanes served in tall glasses.

Quentin and his partner Brody renovate a home near the French Quarter. From the moment they opened the doors, Plaisir, is an instant success. The owners are very careful about vetting not only their employees but their clients. The waiting list for membership is long and life is good-until the day Beth disappears. Unable to deal with the guilt of not keeping her safe, Quentin disappears into the swamps, pushing away the very people who want to help him through his grief until circumstances force him to return to New Orleans. Realizing there is no way to go forward until he revisits the past, Quentin is determined to bring the person who took Beth from the world to justice.

Grace Hensley feels an instant attraction to Quentin the moment she meets him. A gifted artist, her paintings depict intense emotions: hope, love, joy. Her soul aches to remove the pain, despair and anger within the depths of his steel grey eyes. His touch has her pulse racing and she knows that his painting would be one of passion. Before she can even think of putting brush to canvas, he blatantly states he isn't interested in a relationship unless she wants just a quickie.

 So what happens when she looks up on the first night of her class at the most popular club in town to discover her instructor is none other than the man who made her heart pound and her panties dampen the moment he stepped into the gallery? She refuses to be dissuaded from her need to solve the enigma that is Master Doucet. What happens when Quentin's determination to remain aloof erodes a bit more every moment he spends with Grace? Watching her joy in her journey of submission has the ice melting around his soul. But is he really being given another chance or is fate just waiting to destroy him-again? What happens when history repeats itself and Grace disappears right from under his eyes?

I hope you take the journey to New Orleans with me. The swamps hide a multitude of sins but will they also offer salvation? I look forward to hearing from you and hearing what you think.  It is on sale for the weekend and is available on KU on Amazon.
 
Happy Reading,
 
Maggie Ryan
 
 
Note from Blushing Books:  On sale for $2.99 this weekend only (regular price will be $4.99 onMonday, August 22nd).  Because this book is an Amazon KU selection, it will ONLY be available on Amazon (& FREE if you have an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription!)
 
Now available at:
___________________________________________________________

Five HOT Westerns for One LOW Price!

 
Five full-length novels by USA Today Best-Selling Authors 
Go west where the men are sexy, dominant and very capable of setting fire in the hearts and seats of their women.
The Lawman by Vanessa Vale 
Ellen Oldsmere, becomes a mail order bride for a complete stranger in the Montana Territory, fleeing Minneapolis. Her new husband is all that she'd imagined: handsome, virile and sexually skilled. But he's also the town sheriff and would surely arrest her if he found out her secret.
 
Ryder Graves is determined to find a bride of his choosing, wanting more than what is available in town. When Eleanor arrives, she meets all of his expectations, but not all she seems. Will he still want her when he learns the truth, or will his passion for the law make her face the consequences of her actions?
 
The Outlaw's Bride by Renee Rose 
A spitfire rancher. The dominant outlaw who takes her in hand.
Stranded in the west, Mabelle's been managing her dead sister's ranch alone for three months. The last thing she needs is the Curly James Gang pushing her around. She fights back, and finds herself over an outlaw's knee.
She wants to hate the good-looking outlaw, but he seems to have her best interest at heart and even risks his life to protect her from the rest of the gang. Still, a quick-to-spank outlaw with a bounty on his head isn't the sort of man for her. Or is he?
Rocky Mountain Rose by Lee Savino 
A cowboy with a broken heart. A dancing girl who's sworn off men. Love blooms in the hardest hearts in the Wild West.
Feisty and independent, Rose is a dancing girl in the Wild West. When an evil brothel owner lays claim to her, it's up to Lyle Wilder to rescue the jaded redhead. Lyle vows to protect Rose, even if he has to drag her kicking and screaming to safety. His firm discipline keeps his wild rose from danger, but can he convince her to let love grow?
Life After Rachel by Maren Smith 
There weren't many folks who'd equate an Indian war party to a miracle, but Reverend John White did. He believed in miracles; it went with the job. But this particular miracle...well, it was a doozy and her name was Ane, the only surviving member of a doomed westward-bound wagon train.
In the span of a single day, the young Norwegian woman had lost her entire family, her husband, even her infant daughter. Having been in America for less than a month, she couldn't even speak her rescuers' language, but the Lord worked in mysterious ways and necessity had a way of making itself clear no matter what the obstacles.
So off Ane went, to a hardscrabble farm a few miles out of Redemption to care for the baby who needed her to survive and for the heart-broken man who, fight it though he tried, needed her even more.
Mail Order Switch by Patty Devlin 
Liz will do anything to get away from her evil guardian, and she was prepared to disguise herself as a boy and look for work as a ranch hand. When Caroline, a stranger on the train next to her, sees through her "boy" disguise, and begs her to take her place as a mail-order bride, Liz doesn't hesitate long before saying yes. It's got to be easier than working on a ranch, and as a married woman with a new name, she'll be out of her guardian's clutches forever.
Wade Malone has been looking forward to his new bride for months, but when "Caroline" finally arrives, things don't exactly add up. For one, "Caroline" was supposed to be twenty-five years old; the woman who came off the train doesn't look a day above sixteen. He has a strong aversion to liars, particularly in a wife. But he's also a man who keeps his promises and whoever the woman is at his side, he's made a commitment.
 
Now available at:
 
 

___________________________________________________________

Cowboy Discipline: A Western Anthology #FREE CHAPTERS

 

 
Cowboy Discipline: A Western Anthology
 

 

Cowboy Discipline: A Western Anthology

By: Maren Smith | Other books by Maren Smith
      Renee Rose | Other books by Renee Rose
      Patty Devlin | Other books by Patty Devlin
      Vanessa Vale | Other books by Vanessa Vale
      Lee Savino | O ther books by Lee Savino
Published By: Blushing Books
ISBN # 9781682597446

 

Word Count: 187000
Heat Index     

Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Epub, Mobipocket (.mobi)

add to cart

Read More

 

About the book

Five full-length novels by USA Today Best-Selling Authors

Go west where the men are sexy, dominant and very capable of setting fire in the hearts and seats of their women.

The Lawman by Vanessa Vale
Ellen Oldsmere, becomes a mail order bride for a complete stranger in the Montana Territory, fleeing Minneapolis. Her new husband is all that she'd imagined: handsome, virile and sexually skilled. But he's also the town sheriff and would surely arrest her if he found out her secret.

Ryder Graves is determined to find a bride of his choosing, wanting more than what is available in town. When Eleanor arrives, she meets all of his expectations, but not all she seems. Will he still want her when he learns the truth, or will his passion for the law make her face the consequences of her actions?

The Outlaw’s Bride by Renee Rose

A spitfire rancher. The dominant outlaw who takes her in hand.
Stranded in the west, Mabelle's been managing her dead sister's ranch alone for three months. The last thing she needs is the Curly James Gang pushing her around. She fights back, and finds herself over an outlaw's knee.

She wants to hate the good-looking outlaw, but he seems to have her best interest at heart and even risks his life to protect her from the rest of the gang. Still, a quick-to-spank outlaw with a bounty on his head isn't the sort of man for her. Or is he?

Rocky Mountain Rose by Lee Savino

A cowboy with a broken heart. A dancing girl who’s sworn off men. Love blooms in the hardest hearts in the Wild West.

Feisty and independent, Rose is a dancing girl in the Wild West. When an evil brothel owner lays claim to her, it’s up to Lyle Wilder to rescue the jaded redhead. Lyle vows to protect Rose, even if he has to drag her kicking and screaming to safety. His firm discipline keeps his wild rose from danger, but can he convince her to let love grow?

Life After Rachel by Maren Smith

There weren't many folks who'd equate an Indian war party to a miracle, but Reverend John White did. He believed in miracles; it went with the job. But this particular miracle...well, it was a doozy and her name was Ane, the only surviving member of a doomed westward-bound wagon train.

In the span of a single day, the young Norwegian woman had lost her entire family, her husband, even her infant daughter. Having been in America for less than a month, she couldn’t even speak her rescuers’ language, but the Lord worked in mysterious ways and necessity had a way of making itself clear no matter what the obstacles.

So off Ane went, to a hardscrabble farm a few miles out of Redemption to care for the baby who needed her to survive and for the heart-broken man who, fight it though he tried, needed her even more.

Mail Order Switch by Patty Devlin

Liz will do anything to get away from her evil guardian, and she was prepared to disguise herself as a boy and look for work as a ranch hand. When Caroline, a stranger on the train next to her, sees through her "boy" disguise, and begs her to take her place as a mail-order bride, Liz doesn't hesitate long before saying yes. It's got to be easier than working on a ranch, and as a married woman with a new name, she'll be out of her guardian's clutches forever.

Wade Malone has been looking forward to his new bride for months, but when "Caroline" finally arrives, things don't exactly add up. For one, "Caroline" was supposed to be twenty-five years old; the woman who came off the train doesn't look a day above sixteen. He has a strong aversion to liars, particularly in a wife. But he's also a man who keeps his promises and whoever the woman is at his side, he's made a commitment.

 

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-Discipline-Anthology-Patty-Devlin-ebook/dp/B01KL6KB9M/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1471533034&sr=1-2&keywords=cowboy+discipline

 

An excerpt from the book

CHAPTER ONE FROM MAIL ORDER SWITCH
By Patty Devlin

“Your hair is coming down.”

Liz dipped her head low against the seat in front of her and tried to stuff the long golden strand of hair back up under the ragged cowboy hat. She briefly glanced at the dark-haired woman next to her and hoped no one else had noticed the slip. She looked back out the window at the sun-scorched prairie grass rushing by the train. How in the world was she going to pull this off?

“There is no way you are going to fool anyone dressed like that,” the lady’s soft voice answered her thoughts.

“What?” Liz snapped as she turned to her seatmate again, silently taking in the troubled brown eyes and the worry lines above her thin brows. The lady wasn’t harsh, but she looked worried—worried about Liz? No, it couldn’t be that.

“I don’t know why you are dressed like a man, but there is no way you are going to pass it off. Even if your long silky hair didn’t keep falling down your angel face, those pink, heart-shaped lips and sooty lashes will give you away. Not to mention those curves. Those britches aren’t hiding anything.”

Liz dropped her face in her hands willing herself not to cry. The old hat that was too big anyway tipped forward letting the rebellious strand of hair fall loose at the back of her head once more. What was she going to do? She had nowhere to go. When this train got to Denver, she had to get off. That was all the money she’d had for a ticket. She had hoped as a man she would be able to get a job on a ranch. Granted she didn’t have experience, but she could learn couldn’t she?

“You want to talk about it?” The woman’s voice was kind.

Liz turned back to her, weighing the question. Liz had been sitting next to the woman for two days, ever since Liz had boarded the train in Chicago. The woman had been by the window then, but had let Liz sit there the next day.

“It’s just not safe to travel alone…” Liz just wouldn’t tell her the whole truth. She couldn’t tell anyone that she might have killed a man, even if it was self-defense.

“I’m Caroline.” The lady held out her hand and smiled, but the smile seemed forced.

“Elizab-” Oh no! She shouldn’t have used her real name. What if there were people already looking for her?

“It’s okay, honest. Whatever you are running from— I’m not going to tell anyone. You look like you need a friend and I could surely use one right now.” Her hand came to rest on Liz’s arm and her large brown eyes softened. She was maybe in her mid-twenties, if Liz had to guess, not too much older than she was.

“Thank you.” She brought her hand up to rub the aching pressure from her forehead. “I had to get away. The day I turned eighteen my uncle, my guardian, tried to force himself on me.”

“Oh no, that is dreadful. Where are you going to go? I mean what will you do?”

“I don’t know… I thought I could get work on a ranch—if I could act like a man. My uncle wa- is my only family. My parents passed away nigh on a year ago.”

“I’m sorry, but I think even if you cut your hair you still wouldn’t pass, even for a boy. You’re just too pretty.”

“Shh…”

“I’m sorry.” Caroline bit her lower lip and tried again. “Have you ever thought about being a mail-order-bride?”

“What? What is that?”

“Exactly what it sounds like.” She reached into her valise and pulled out a newspaper. “Here, read the one I’ve circled.”



Widower- looking for a woman to care for two small children.

Must know how to cook and clean. Marriage in name only. Apply in writing.



The ad was listed under a column for mail-order-brides, and there were probably ten more ads. She could do that! Well, maybe not that one; she didn’t know how to cook, or clean, or even care for children.

“That is what I’m doing. I’m on my way to Colfax to meet my man.” The dark-haired woman pursed her lips and the previous look of discomfort returned to present itself in the lines above her brow and the rigid way she held her shoulders.

“You must be so nervous! How do you know he isn’t a monster? Or very old and ugly?” Liz shuddered again reminded of the many times her father’s brother had let his hands wander. Uncle Rupert’s advances had become more and more disgusting as the time had gone on, the dirty rotten lecher.

“Well, you can’t be sure, but we have written letters to one another. I keep telling myself that is enough. But…”

“But- what?”

“But, I don’t want to do this now.” Caroline bit through her lower lip. It was no wonder; she had been worrying it with her teeth for quite a while. Liz watched as a spot of blood appeared, just before her tongue darted out to clear it away and then she sucked it in under her top lip.

“Well, what can you do then?”

“I have to go—he paid for my ticket. I can’t let him down.” She sat back with a heavy sigh.

“I wish I could help you.”

“It will be all right. I hope so, anyway.” Caroline put the newspaper back inside her bag and pulled out a couple envelopes.

As she started to read one of the letters Liz turned to watch the scenery glide by her window again. Was it too late? Could she possibly find one of those mail-order things? Maybe at her next stop she could find a newspaper. She only had a day and her train ride would run out. She would be in Denver. What was the next stop?

“Do you want to read his letters?” Caroline’s voice broke through her thoughts.

“Are you sure?” Liz sat back and took the letter held out to her when Caroline nodded.

Dear Caroline,

Thank you for your response. It gives me peace that you are also a widow, and your age is good too. Since my wife, Hannah, died only three months ago, you will understand my feelings in wanting this to remain a marriage in name only.

I have two children, Molly is four and Jonah is eight months. I need someone who can care for them and take up the role of a wife around the ranch. If it were not for my children I would not find this necessary. I hope you understand my position.

I am a hard-working man and very busy most of the time. I am honest and fair; my hands like to work for me. I think that most folks would give me a good reference. I don’t think I am hard to look at, although I’m hesitant to boast and say I’m a good-looking fellow. I am thirty-five years old. I know some people fear the unknown in this type of situation, however, since this is not going to be a love match, it should hardly matter.

If you can tell me about yourself, that would be helpful. Is there anything important that I should know before you arrive? Do you like children?

Thank you again for your willingness to give of yourself.

Wade Malone



“Well, he sounds like a nice enough man,” Liz said and looked to Caroline, trying to reassure her.

“Yes, but I’m not sure I’m ready for this. I mean I loved my Jacob… It will be hard to be married to another. I should be comforted by the fact Wade says it will be in name only, but somewhere deep inside I want to have a husband who loves me, again.” Her warm brown eyes were swimming in a pool of tears she brushed away just before they spilled over. “I was drawn to the children, because Jake and I, we never… had our own.”

“Well, you can focus on them then.” Liz smiled softly, trying to cheer her new friend. “They will love you immediately.”

“I don’t think I can do it. I don’t know how I even got myself on this train. I never do anything spontaneous. I just want to go home. I should have listened to my mother.”

“Maybe I can go with you and help!” Liz gave Caroline an exaggerated wink and laughed. Even if delivered in jest she felt lighter than she had in a long time.

“Maybe you could go for me.”

“Oh sure.” Liz chuckled to herself as she watched a river come into view and ramble on alongside the train.

“No, really! You could pretend to be me and marry Wade. It would fix both of our problems.” Caroline’s voice rose in pitch. “He would never know the difference. I didn’t send a likeness. All he knows is my age and well, hmmm…” Caroline reached for Liz’s hat as the younger woman turned back toward her.

“No—” Liz swatted at Caroline’s hands. “—and quiet down! Everyone on the train is going to hear you. You told him you have dark brown hair and brown eyes and you are what mid-twenties? I’d never pass.”

“You have brown eyes, too! And I’m twenty-four, you can pass for that.” She was chewing on her poor lower lip again.

“No, I can’t pass for twenty-four. I barely look my own eighteen.”

“But you thought you could pass for a man?”

“That was different. I don’t have brown hair either.” Liz crossed her arms and sat back with a sigh. She sure wished that she could switch places with Caroline, but she knew it was impossible.

“Men think everyone’s hair is brown, trust me. I was married before. Elizabeth, please! You are like an answer to my prayers. I can’t go through with this, and you need a place to go. Just think about it.”

Liz didn’t respond, couldn’t respond. She needed to think— she had to think of a way to let this truly deranged woman down gently.

She couldn’t possibly pull off such an act. She was too young, she didn’t look the same, she wasn’t a widow, and she couldn’t cook or clean. The poor man needed a wife who would be able to help him. Not her, she couldn’t help with anything—and she was a murd—

An announcement interrupted her thoughts. “Next stop, Hastings. We will be stopped for an hour. If you leave the train station please return to the train promptly as the train will not wait for you. I repeat: next stop Hastings.”

Liz peered out the window, looking for some sign of the city mentioned. She saw rolling hills with tall brown grasses and towering pines, rocky hills and ledges, but no town in sight.

“I am not going on.” Caroline’s voice cut through her thoughts. “I’m buying a ticket and going home.”

Liz turned around fast to meet her new friend’s eyes. “Are you sure you want to do that? Maybe you should give yourself some more time.”

“No, I shouldn’t have come. I’ve wasted so much time.” Caroline looked weary; her shoulders had lost their stiff height. She’d stopped biting her lip. She even looked at peace with her decision.

They had just met but Liz was going to miss her. She had somehow felt safer having the woman next to her for the past two days, and now she felt as though they were friends. If only she could talk Caroline into going to the rancher and just taking her along. Maybe she could pretend to be her sister… they could come up with a tale that she had to bring her at the last minute.

“I will leave my ticket and letters with you in case you change your mind and want to go on to marry Wade.”

“No, Caroline. Won’t you change your mind? If you want to go, I’ll go with you.”

“No, I’m going home, but I will give you a dress and all the correspondence. You can marry Wade and tell him the truth later. It’s perfect. You need a place to go.”

“We have arrived at Hastings,” the conductor shouted. “If this is your destination please pick up your luggage. If you are travelling farther please return to the train on time. Again this is Hastings; our next stop is Fort Morgan, Colorado, in four hours and Denver in the morning.”

“Please, don’t leave yet.”

“Come with me. We’ll talk and you can change into one of my dresses.” Caroline reached for Liz’s hand, she grabbed her valise, and with a sway of her skirts between the seats, she dragged Liz toward the door.

It was a very different Caroline who boarded the train headed to Colfax, forty-five minutes later. Liz was as nervous as a lady of the night in a church, when the conductor passed by her seat before the train started moving again. She didn’t know why she was so jumpy, but she worried that everyone who looked at her would know she was trying to be somebody she wasn’t. She hadn’t been that anxious dressed as a man.

She laid her head against the glass. The grass was thinner here, and it seemed to slowly disappear as the train barreled on. The hills were getting steeper, and the ledges rockier. Was it a sign of the troubles that lay ahead for her?

Colfax was almost two more whole days on the train farther than Denver. At least Caroline had meals paid for in the dining car. Liz had been munching on apples and stale bread. In Chicago, she put the things she wanted from shops on her families’ accounts, so she had little need for coin. And she’d not had time or opportunity to get more money before she’d run. She’d been too afraid. So after buying her ticket and some food, she had very little left of the bit she’d taken from Rupert’s study. She saved the rest for when she arrived in Denver.

Now, if she could work this out, at least she wouldn’t have to worry about food, or where she would go. She reached in her bag to read the other two letters from Wade. She should try to figure out as much as she could about the man she was signing her life over to.

Dear Caroline,

I appreciate your openness about your husband; again that makes you the perfect candidate in my eyes. We have a lot in common, it seems. I hope that you won’t miss your mother too much; we don’t have many women folk nearby, nor many other neighbors for that matter. Town is half-a-day’s ride from our ranch. It is a rather lonely existence. I hope that you will be fine with that.

I am not worried about you knowing how to care for the children; to be honest, little Molly can almost take care of herself and the baby. I know that is not right, what I mean is she is a smart little girl and thinks she is Jonah’s mother. She will help you figure everything out. I know that they need a mama and I will be thankful to have this business settled.

Is there anything else you think you need to know about me? If not, then I will send money for your train fare after I hear from you again.

Thank you,

Wade Malone

Well, it was good that he didn’t have neighbors because then it would be harder for anyone to track her down if they came looking. And it was a positive note that it didn’t require much skill to care for the children. Now, if only she could figure out how to overcome the rest of the shortcomings.

Liz folded the letter neatly, slid it back inside the envelope, and got the last one out. She didn’t start reading it right away; this time she took a minute to think about him. His handwriting was neat, his spellings accurate. Although he couldn’t be accused of being unnecessarily wordy, he had written three letters to Caroline to help make this mail-order marriage successful. And although he made it sound more like a business proposition, he must have been very much in love with his first wife. That had to say something about the man. And he was willing to remarry simply for his children to have a mama. He had to be a good man. She should feel better about the situation, but it made her feel worse for trying to dupe him. She sighed as she focused on the smudged print in the last letter. Unfortunately, it was hardly informative.



Dear Caroline,

Here is the money for your ticket. Please wire me when you leave, so that I can plan to be there for you when you arrive. As I said before, the ranch is a half-day's ride from town. Have a safe trip. We anxiously await your arrival.

Wade



Liz put the letters away with a quiet resolve; she could do this. It was easier to pretend to be Caroline the widow than to be a man, right? She would just have to let this poor fellow down by telling him at some point, probably pretty soon, after her arrival that she was very proficient at burning water. Or that she had made her mother cry most every day that she had spent in the kitchen with her and Mrs. Humphrey as they tried to teach Liz the art of cooking.

Liz understood much of what it took to run a large household, from managing the housekeeping staff to menu and party planning. She could sew and embroider; her needlework was most impressive. And music — she could entertain their party guests delightfully with her gift of singing and the pianoforte. But actually cooking—she’d failed miserably, to the point where she’d been banned from the kitchen. And now, in the few words he chose to include in the advertisement, those are what he included as most important. How was she to let him down? Sooner rather than later, just get it out of the way… And if she was already married to him what could he possibly do to her?

She resolved to be the world’s best Mama, and maybe she could find some other ways to make up for her shortcomings. She could learn to cook or clean, if she could find someone to teach her, and she wasn’t afraid of hard work.

But, it was all too soon that the conductor was calling out the stop for Colfax. Hadn’t he just called out the stop for Denver, the one she was supposed to get off at? Oh, why had she let Caroline talk her into this? She peered out the train window looking for Wade. She didn’t know what he looked like but she should be able to tell if there was a single man standing by the station with an “I’m waiting for my new wife” look on his face.

“Last call for Colfax. We’re not staying in the station. If you are getting off in Colfax you must exit. Mam, aren’t you getting off here?” The tall man in a dark blue uniform came over to her.

“Oh, yes, I do apologize. All this time and I must have dozed off.” Liz reached for the satchel Caroline had given her and slowly squeezed through the aisle to the door. As she stepped down to the boarding dock, she didn’t look around. She assumed Wade would find her, and she couldn’t have handled making eye contact just then anyway. She had to get herself together.

Liz made her way to the bench in front of the station and sat down to wait. Her hair was a mess, strands blowing free in the breeze. Caroline had helped her plait it in Hastings when she changed into one of her dresses, but some of it had come loose.

“Excuse me, Caroline? Caroline Lowe?”

Elizabeth looked up to meet the confused blue-eyed gaze of a dark-haired cowboy. “Um.” She cleared her throat. “Yes. Mr. Malone? I’m sorry, I must look a wretch.”

“No, it’s just—I pictured you different. I… uh looked for your trunk, but I couldn’t find it.”

“I lost it on the stage coach during the first stretch, well not me, the stage hands did, they’re supposed to send it on… if they find it” Amazing how lying just came natural to her.

“Oh, well I thought you might want to freshen up and have some lunch before we go to the preacher. Then we will start for the ranch. It’s a long ride.”

“I have another dress in my bag, thankfully.”

“Well then, we will be on our way.” He took her arm and led her down the wooden sidewalk.

Liz was afraid he would feel her heart banging against her chest. She could feel it in her ears and in her neck.

“You look fourteen, not twenty-four.” He glanced sideways at her as he walked beside her.

“I hear that all the time. I knew I should have sent a likeness.” She tried to laugh but it sounded fake even to her own ears, which were beginning to feel decidedly warm. At least he could have said she looked eighteen. “Well you said you weren’t much to look at!” she blurted and then heat crept up her cheeks as she realized what she had just implied.

That was just what he didn’t want, some simpering female falling in love with him. She could not think of him like that just because he was so well put together. Perhaps she should tell him the truth about her cooking and such sooner. It would be easier not to like him when he was mad at her.

“Is that what I said?” He let go of her arm to open the door of the Pioneer Hotel and took his hat off. She ignored the question and stepped inside.

“Well, hello. Miss Caroline, I presume?” A short and round elderly gentleman with ruddy cheeks stood at the desk and beckoned her to come forward. “I have a room ready for you to freshen yourself.”

“This is Mr. Mendenhall, Caroline.” Wade took her arm again and led her up the staircase behind the stocky gentleman.

“I’m sure you are fatigued and will need more than this after your trip. But Wade says you will be leaving right after the ceremony. In a town the size of Colfax, this is exciting. I mean, it’s the first time anything like this has ever happened in Colfax. Well, here you are anyway, fresh water in the pitcher and linens, too, and if you need anything else just ring the bell and I will send a maid right up.”

Mr. Mendenhall backed away with a nod and left Wade at her door. “How long do you think you’ll need? Will a half hour be long enough?” He was still holding his hat in his left hand, his right hand reached up to push his sandy shoulder-length hair back out of his face.

There was never going to be enough time. How was she supposed to go down there with him, stand before a preacher somewhere and lie? Would she have to put her hand on a Bible? Would God strike her dead?

“Do you need to lie down for an hour or something? If you need to we can push it. I know it has been a long trip. I just hate being away from the ranch any longer than necessary.”

And then he was nice to her, too. How could she lie to this man? "No, I –uh, I will be fine; I slept on the train. Just give me that half hour.” She backed into the room and closed the door. She needed to hurry and marry the man before she blew it and he found out the truth. Then it would be too late.

Liz was grateful that Caroline had given her some clothing, but she hadn’t been able to provide her a corset or shoes. The boots she had on under her dress were the cowboy boots she had worn with her man clothes. Thankfully they didn’t show under the skirt of her dress. Caroline was also a little bit bigger than Liz so her dress fit just a tad loose and long. When she pulled the mauve dress from her bag, however, she decided not to change after all. The dress was just too wrinkled from being rolled up and stuffed in the satchel.

So, after she washed her face and hands and said a quick prayer, she headed downstairs to find Wade. The sooner they got this over with, the sooner she could relax. She couldn’t focus on the lunch placed before her in the hotel dining room, nor the conversation Wade was trying to make. It seemed she barely remembered how she came to be in the little church building with the preacher only a few minutes later.

“Oh,” Liz gasped and tried to cover the paper when Wade looked over at her. “I- uh- just started to sign my maiden name.” She giggled nervously. She had begun to write Elizabeth instead Caroline and didn’t know what to do.

“That is what you are supposed to do,” the preacher supplied.

“Oh, good.” She hesitated for a moment and then finished. Maybe he wouldn’t look at it. He had already signed his name. “You may kiss your bride, Wade.” The preacher winked at him.

Liz stopped breathing. Would he do it? She looked at Wade as he dipped close and his lips came down to press against hers in a brief nothingness peck.

He reached for the paper. “Let’s go.”

“Wait, I still have to sign it.” The preacher chuckled.

Liz was going to die on the spot. She was never going to make it through this day. Would he notice it? She should never have come here.

“Just a minute, this is a mistake—Oh no… What is today’s date? I put the wrong date. You are going to have to initial this change, Wade, because today is the nineteenth of June, not the eighteenth… Yes eighteen-ninety-six. Can you believe it? I never thought I would live to see the turn of the century. Seventy-six years old.” The wiry old man shook his head. “Oh yes, I still have to sign that. Is there a problem, Wade?”





EXCERPT FROM THE OUTLAW’S BRIDE
By Renee Rose



“It’s all right, Rose. It’s me, Lyle Wilder.”

Lyle? Why?

She must have spoken out loud, because her words were muffled against his hand.

“I’m going to let you go now,” Lyle said. “Don’t scream.” His hand lifted, and Rose scrambled backwards, fumbling for her gun. She’d managed to hang onto her gun in the commotion, and now she brought the Derringer up, pointing it at the man in shaking hands. In the darkness, she sensed, rather than saw his hands go into the air.

“You gonna shoot me, Rose?” Breathing hard, she registered the amusement in his voice. He always was a smug bastard.

Catching her breath, she rallied. “Where am I?” A pause, and then a match struck. Light outlined the perfect contours of Lyle’s face as her sister’s husband regarded her soberly. “In a hotel. This is my room.” Keeping her aim fixed on him, Rose darted a glance around the room, a shabby replica of any other boarding house’s room like the ones she and Mary lived in.

Hands still in the air, Lyle slowly moved to a side table and lit the lamp. Rose backed into a corner, wondering if she dare kill the man her deceased sister had loved. Lyle watched her, a slight smile on his face. “You want to lower your gun?”

“No,” she said.

“Come on, Rose. This is how you repay the man who saved your life?”

“No. This is how I repay the man who destroyed it.” One second she was staring him down, then he moved, and the gun was aiming at nothing. Rose pulled the trigger, hearing the hammer click uselessly before Lyle’s long arms wrapped around her and locked her arms against his chest. She looked up into cold blue eyes.

“That’s a single shot Derringer, Rose. And you already shot a man tonight. You think I wouldn’t notice?” He was tall enough that she had to tilt her head back to look up at him—a rare thing since she was taller than most men.

Her lip curled. “I could only hope.”

“Careful,” he growled. “You are very, very close to making me lose my temper. You don’t want me to do that.” Her heart pounded, and she was breathing hard, her chest rising and falling, brushing his. She stared up into his sculpted features, taking in the lush lips and proud forehead, the dark hair brushing his collar. Pressed against him, she couldn’t help but notice the strength in his chest and arms, and the long, dark lashes around his brilliant eyes. It should be illegal for a man to be so beautiful. His scent, masculine and clean, rolled over her, and suddenly her limbs were weak, and her thoughts screamed, “Danger!” During the pause, his expression went from angry to curious. His blue gaze flickered down her face, and his lips parted. She couldn’t help it; inches from his mouth her tongue came out and slowly licked her own lips.

“Rose.” His face softened, and she remembered herself. She shoved at him, going nowhere but at least putting in an effort to fight.

“Get your hands off me.” She slapped his away.

“What the hell?” He released her, and she took a step backwards then immediately went on the offensive.

“What do you think you’re doing?” she snapped, hands on hips. With her height and fiery hair, she knew her angry pose would strike fear into most men’s hearts. Lyle wasn’t most men.

“Saving your life,” he said, glaring down at her with the same force.

“I didn’t need saving,” she snapped. “I’m fine.”

“Far from it, Rose.” Lyle’s blue eyes flashed. “You waltz into Doyle’s town after all these years then throw yourself into a brawl. You could’ve been killed.”

“I can take care of myself, Lyle Wilder.” She tossed her head, sending red hair flying around her shoulders. “I’ve been doing it for years.”

“Really. Dancing on tables for a living in front of a room full of drunken men.” He folded his arms over his chest. “Quite a show you’ve got, Rosie May.”

“Shut your mouth,” she spat.

His eyes flashed at her. “You better start showing some respect, young lady, or I have half a mind to teach it to you.”

“No one asked you.” She started towards the door. “Take me back.”

“Not so fast.” Lyle pulled her towards him. She fought, but he was stronger and soon had her seated on the chaise, his hands on her shoulders. “Rose, stop. There are men out there looking for you. One of them is Otis Boone—fastest shot in this town, maybe the whole Territory.”

“Get off!” She fought, her fingers turning into claws headed for his face. He weaved out of the way, then caught her wrists and used them to pull her body over his lap.

“Stop! Help!” she shrieked.

“Shut it, Rose.”

“Go to hell!”

“If you won’t shut up, I’ll make you,” he growled. She started to scream, and he stuffed his handkerchief into her mouth. Writhing on his lap, Rose kicked her legs then felt his hand come down hard over her skirts. “Stop fighting, Rose. I am trying to help you.”

She shouted through the gag, and he smacked her bottom again and again. Even through her dress and petticoat, she could feel the blows warming her bottom. It didn’t quite hurt, but it was a warning, and she took it as such, going still and letting the fight drain out of her. She’d save her fury for when she wasn’t pinned over her enemy’s lap.

“Now,” Lyle said and pulled her to stand between his legs. “Can you keep a civil tongue in your head?” Breathing hard through her nose, she nodded. Still gripping her wrists, he pulled out the handkerchief then used it to wipe her mouth. The kindness in his touch gave her pause. His hands slid down her arms.

“You’re bleeding,” he muttered. She felt panic, and her fingers tore at her dress to see the rust colored marks on her white dress. Lyle’s hands were at her buttons, undoing them with expert fingers.

“Arms up, Rose,” he ordered, and when she didn’t obey, he forced them up, pulling her dress over her head. She stood in her petticoats and corset, too stunned by this turn of events to curse him.

Lyle loomed over her, and her arms automatically came up to cross over her chest, hiding her body from him. Something about being alone and unclothed with a man tore through her defenses, and shock started to take over, numbing her. Her body was her weapon, and it frightened her to have the power stripped from it so easily.



EXCERPT FROM ROCKY MOUNTAIN ROSE BY LEE SAVINO
The saloon was packed wall to wall with unwashed bodies. At the long bar, men hooted and hollered after the serving women, offering little more than a pinch on the behind as a tip. Men crowded around the faro tables in the back, betting hard earned dollars to the slick-looking shyster behind the table.

Rose stood in the shadows on the top of the stairs, her hands on her hips, surveying the crowd. Rowdy though they were, she felt energy rush through her, as it did every night she danced as Rosie May, the belle of mining towns. When she arrived yesterday, men were waiting on the edge of town to catch sight of the crimson-haired beauty. Grizzled grey hairs and boys young as twelve, and every age in between, had all left their homes and come West to make their fortune, but after a few months in a mine, they’d give all their gold and silver for a glimpse of a lady. Tonight, she’d give them a glimpse, and more.

“Ready?” Her young escort, Sam, stood close by in his own black suit, complete with red cummerbund and high top hat. A boy of only sixteen, Rose took him under her wing when they left the traveling show together to form their own act. He now played the part of musician and master of ceremonies, and once his height came on and voice deepened, he would be a useful partner and bodyguard. For now, Rose had her trusty Nell, the pearl handled Derringer she hid in her sash. Looking over the boisterous crowd, Rose stroked her silken garments and felt the gun, its hard form comforting under her fingers.

Sam was already making his way downstairs to start the show. Once he sat himself at the piano, he glanced back, and Rose nodded to him, then backed into darkness to wait for her introduction.

His fingers flew over the honky-tonk keys in a stunning glissando.

“She’s here, boys! The belle of the West herself. The lovely Rosie May will dance tonight, the latest dance from Paris!”

A ripple went through the crowd; a few heads turned to look up at the top of the stairs where a woman’s gloved hand shook a black lace fan.

“There she is. I seen her!” someone cried, and the bar broke out in lewd comments as Rose let her leg slink out from behind the wall.

Whoops and hollers greeted the long, stocking-clad leg, then cries of disappointment when she slid it away. Then laughs and whistles rose as she turned and stuck her bustle out beyond the wall and shook it vigorously.

“Give her a cheer boys, don’t let her be shy!” Sam shouted, and someone took up the chant, “Rosie, Rosie.”

A fan, a hand, a slender arm encased in a black glove, then Rosie herself strode from her hiding place into full view on the landing. The men cheered.

“Hello, boys.” Rose put her hands on the railing, showing off her hourglass figure in the frothy white dress she wore. “Would you like to see me dance?”

A roar of approval, and she put a finger to her mouth, pretending to think. “I don’t know. I may need a drink first.”

A crush at the bar as men waved bills at the barkeep. Rose smiled down at them.

“Of course,” she called. “I may have it in me to give you a taste of what you’ll get tonight.” Hiking up her skirts and petticoat, she slid her leg through the railing, showing one black stocking, then the other, as men whistled and cheered.

Right below the landing, one of the men stood on the bar to hand up a glass of amber fluid. Rose smiled and blew a kiss at her benefactor, then held the glass high.

“A toast—to the one who will never leave you, or let you down. Who waits for your lips and always warms you at night. To whiskey!” She downed the shot, then rode the wave of laughter down the stairs, sliding down the banister and jumping onto a table set up for her next to the bar. A few men held up their hands to help steady her.

“Thank you, boys.” She smiled. Drawing off her gloves, she threw them into the crowd then called to Sam for music. She kicked her legs up to the lively tune, showing off black stockings and a hint of creamy thigh. As the men grew wilder, she leaned back to the stair railing and held on, teasing the crowd with flips of her skirt and shakes of her bustle.

A few more drinks and they might riot, but for now she had them eating out of her hand. Rose dipped and turned, a false smile plastered to her face, every once in awhile shaking out her long red hair for the room to admire. She was queen of the room, and all the men were her fawning subjects.

Then, in a fated moment, her gaze hit the corner and time stood still.

A man sat in the back, near the faro tables but ignoring them completely. His blue eyes pierced her, his gaze so intense she felt he could see everything about her—every curve, every breath, every pore. He had hair and brows dark as the devil’s, but the face of an angel, perfect and breathtaking.

She knew him.

A shock went through her, powerful as lightning. Her legs weakened, and she stumbled, nearly losing her balance.

A few of the men pressed against the bar put up their hands to help her.

“Rose, are you well?”

“Sorry, boys.” She shook it off. “Another whiskey!” she cried as she stole a glass from a man at the bar, upending it into her mouth. The shocked customer stood staring while his friends pounded him on the back.

Rose winked at him and then motioned to Sam. “Music, Maestro.”

The piano started again, and she launched into a bawdy tune, one she’d sung many times. The miners all knew it too, and she let their voices carry hers while her thoughts scrambled behind her pasted smile.

So her dead sister’s husband was watching. It’d been five years, but she remembered him. Of course, she’d never forget the man she hated above any other.

As the night wore on, she kept dancing, tossing back whiskeys as if they were water, and avoiding the gaze of the man in the corner as her mind raced. What did he want with her? Last he’d seen of her, she was a skinny child, too thin and ugly to catch a man’s eye. Unlike her sister Mary.

He stole Mary from her and left Rose at the mercy of evil men. She blamed Doyle, her sister’s boss, and her own father. But she blamed Lyle Wilder most of all: first for stealing her sister, and second for Mary’s death.

She strutted and sang and held on to the banister of the stairs to keep the rowdy men from pulling her off.

Damn the man. Why did he come to haunt her? She was a tall, bold woman of eighteen. Full grown and able to take care of herself.

With that thought, she whirled to start a new dance and saw a man in the center of the room punch another full in the face. It would’ve been a quick fight, if the falling man’s partner hadn’t jumped to his feet, pointing his pistol at the attacker. A shot rang out, but it went wide as the attacking man rushed the shooter and dealt a glancing blow to the pistol arm. A jarring noise came from the piano, but Rose kept her eyes on the gun as it dropped between the two men and became the center of a scuffle. A shout, and Rose’s head snapped around, looking for Sam.

Her friend slumped over the piano, and for a moment, Rose didn’t understand. Then someone screamed, a horrible sound.

Rose was halfway across the room, pushing to Sam’s side, before she realized she was the one shrieking. The boy’s white shirt bore a spreading stain, the same color as his cummerbund. Spit bubbled in the side of his mouth, and he convulsed once but the light was already fading from his eyes.

With a cry, Rose whirled and threw herself in the fray. Fumbling in her skirts, she brought out her tiny pistol just in time to reach the epicenter of the fight and face the shooter. With both hands on the gun, she fired, even as strong arms grabbed her around her waist.

The shooter fell, surprise on his face. Rose crowed in triumph, then all the air went from her lungs as someone hauled her over their shoulder.

The room spun wildly, and Rose’s world filled with angry faces. Clawing at her attacker’s back, she tried to break free, but a hand clapped on her bottom, hard enough to give her pause.

Then the two of them were outside in an alleyway, the door to the saloon swinging shut and cutting them off from all light and sound.

She started to scream, but the man stooped and bounced her higher onto his shoulder.

“Quiet, Rose,” he ordered, clamping a steely arm around her legs to hold her. Even carrying her full weight, the man broke into a jog down the long alley, the movement jarring her midriff so she had to fight to get air into her lungs.

A shout behind them, and Rose peered through her hair to see the door to the saloon burst open, letting light and the roar of their pursuers out into the night. Her captor veered around a corner, heading down another dark alleyway. By the time she caught her breath, Rose’s kidnapper was climbing the back stairs to another building, then darting down a hall, opening a door, and carrying her inside.

In the inky darkness, the man set Rose down. The moon in the window gave the only light, and Rose could make out the tall, powerful form of her kidnapper, but nothing of his face.

Again, she drew in breath to scream, and a hand clamped over her mouth.

“It’s all right, Rose. It’s me, Lyle Wilder.”

Lyle? Why?

She must have spoken out loud, because her words were muffled against his hand.

“I’m going to let you go now,” Lyle said. “Don’t scream.”

His hand lifted, and Rose scrambled backwards, fumbling for her gun. She’d managed to hang onto her Nelly in the commotion, and now she brought the Derringer up, pointing it at the man in shaking hands.

In the darkness, she sensed, rather than saw his hands go into the air.

“You gonna shoot me, Rose?”

Breathing hard, she registered the amusement in his voice. He always was a smug bastard.

Catching her breath, she rallied. “Where am I?”

A pause, and then a match struck. Light outlined the perfect contours of Lyle’s face as her sister’s husband regarded her soberly.

“In a hotel. This is my room.”

Keeping her aim fixed on him, Rose darted a glance around the room, a shabby replica of any other boarding house’s room like the ones she and Mary lived in.

Hands still in the air, Lyle slowly moved to a side table and lit the lamp. Rose backed into a corner, wondering if she dare kill the man her deceased sister had loved.

Lyle watched her, a slight smile on his face. “You want to lower your gun?”

“No,” she said.

“Come on, Rose. This is how you repay the man who saved your life?”

“No. This is how I repay the man who destroyed it.”

One second she was staring him down, then he moved, and the gun was aiming at nothing. Rose pulled the trigger, hearing the hammer click uselessly before Lyle’s long arms wrapped around her and locked her arms against his chest.

She looked up into cold blue eyes.

“That’s a single shot Derringer, Rose. And you already shot a man tonight. You think I wouldn’t notice?” He was tall enough that she had to tilt her head back to look up at him—a rare thing since she was taller than most men.

Her lip curled. “I could only hope.”

“Careful,” he growled. “You are very, very close to making me lose my temper. You don’t want me to do that.”

Her heart pounded, and she was breathing hard, her chest rising and falling, brushing his. She stared up into his sculpted features, taking in the lush lips and proud forehead, the dark hair brushing his collar. Pressed against him, she couldn’t help but notice the strength in his chest and arms, and the long, dark lashes around his brilliant eyes. It should be illegal for a man to be so beautiful.

His scent, masculine and clean, rolled over her, and suddenly her limbs were weak, and her thoughts screamed, “Danger!”

During the pause, his expression went from angry to curious. His blue gaze flickered down her face, and his lips parted. She couldn’t help it, inches from his mouth, her tongue came out and slowly licked her own lips.

“Rose.” His face softened, and she remembered herself. She shoved at him, going nowhere but at least putting in an effort to fight.

“Get your hands off me.” She slapped his away.

“What the hell?” He released her, and she took a step backwards then immediately went on the offensive.

“What do you think you’re doing?” she snapped, hands on hips. With her height and fiery hair, she knew her angry pose would strike fear into most men’s hearts.

Lyle wasn’t most men. “Saving your life,” he said, glaring down at her with the same force.

“I didn’t need saving,” she snapped. “I’m fine.”

“Far from it, Rose.” Lyle’s blue eyes flashed. “You waltz into Doyle’s town after all these years then throw yourself into a brawl. You could’ve been killed.”

“I can take care of myself, Lyle Wilder.” She tossed her head, sending red hair flying around her shoulders. “I’ve been doing it for years.”

“Really. Dancing on tables for a living in front of a room full of drunken men.” He folded his arms over his chest. “Quite a show you’ve got, Rosie May.”

“Shut your mouth,” she spat.

His eyes flashed at her. “You better start showing some respect, young lady, or I have half a mind to teach it to you.”

“No one asked you.” She started towards the door. “Take me back.”

“Not so fast.” Lyle pulled her towards him. She fought, but he was stronger and soon had her seated on the chaise, his hands on her shoulders. “Rose, stop. There are men out there looking for you. One of them is Otis Boone—fastest shot in this town, maybe the whole Territory.”

“Get off!” She fought, her fingers turning into claws headed for his face. He weaved out of the way, then caught her wrists and used them to pull her body over his lap.

“Stop! Help!” she shrieked.

“Shut it, Rose.”

“Go to hell!”

“If you won’t shut up, I’ll make you,” he growled. She started to scream, and he stuffed his handkerchief into her mouth. Writhing on his lap, Rose kicked her legs then felt his hand come down hard over her skirts.

“Stop fighting, Rose. I am trying to help you.”

She shouted through the gag, and he smacked her bottom again and again. Even through her dress and petticoat, she could feel the blows warming her bottom. It didn’t quite hurt, but it was a warning, and she took it as such, going still and letting the fight drain out of her. She’d save her fury for when she wasn’t pinned over her enemy’s lap.

“Now,” Lyle said and pulled her to stand between his legs. “Can you keep a civil tongue in your head?”

Breathing hard through her nose, she nodded. Still gripping her wrists, he pulled out the handkerchief then used it to wipe her mouth. The kindness in his touch gave her pause.

His hands slid down her arms. “You’re bleeding,” he muttered.

She felt panic, and her fingers tore at her dress to see the rust colored marks on her white dress. Lyle’s hands were at her buttons, undoing them with expert fingers.

“Arms up, Rose,” he ordered, and when she didn’t obey, he forced them up, pulling her dress over her head.

She stood in her petticoats and corset, too stunned by this turn of events to curse him.

Lyle loomed over her, and her arms automatically came up to cross over her chest, hiding her body from him. Something about being alone and unclothed with a man tore through her defenses, and shock started to take over, numbing her. Her body was her weapon, and it frightened her to have the power stripped from it so easily.

“Let me see, Rose.” Lyle tugged at her, and when she shook her head, tightening her arms further, he sat on the chaise so his head was lower than hers.

“Please, darlin’. I just want to see if you’re hurt.”

His soft words hit her like a blow, but she couldn’t fight anymore. She let him peel away her arms, her breath catching at his gentle hands. His fingers roved over her, checking her clothes, but they were unsullied.

“You’re all right, darlin’. Wasn’t your blood.”

Her body turned to stone. “Sam,” she whispered.

One look at her stricken expression, and Lyle leaned forward. “He’s gone, Rose. I’m sorry.”





EXCERPT FROM LIFE AFTER RACHEL BY MAREN SMITH


PROLOGUE



“Don’t you leave me, Rachel! Rach! Honey, don’t you dare leave me!” A big man, Daniel knelt in the middle of their bed, his beautiful wife of three years held tightly in his arms as he begged. He begged her, he begged God. Neither seemed to be listening.

“I can’t lose you,” he sobbed, his massive shoulders shaking. “Please, baby, breathe. Come on, breathe!”

He rocked her, his chin wobbling and big tears rolling unabashedly down his unshaven face. And Rachel did, in fact, breathe. Her whole body convulsed with the effort it took to suck that ragged gasp into her failing lungs. Her face was ashen, her eyes fixed and glazing as she stared unseeing up at the ceiling, those beautiful sky-blue orbs growing more unfocussed with every shaky gasp. Even the long blonde wisps of her hair looked limp and dull as straw dangling over his arm.

For the millionth time, Daniel reached for the bowl of cool water propped against his hip, nearly lost in the tussle of bedclothes surrounding them. He squeezed awkwardly to wring the excess drops from the cloth, getting more on his pants and the surrounding mattress than back in the bowl before tenderly bathing the cold, clammy sweat from her face. It was the only comfort he could give her, and Rachel, his sweet Rachel, was already beyond the mortal ability to feel it.

Across the room, lying in a makeshift bed fashioned from their lowermost bureau drawer, the baby that had left her like this was wailing for a nourishment his mother was beyond the ability to provide. Daniel refused to spare his son so much as a glance, not when, in his arms, Rachel began to spasm.

“No,” he wept. “No, no, no!”

He pulled her fiercely close, willing with all his useless strength for the convulsions to stop. But when they did, the raggedness of her breathing changed as well. No longer fast and hard, each gasp came with longer and longer pauses in between. Her whole body worked to draw in the next breath. His own chest ached with the effort, but there was nothing he could do. Rachel wound down in his arms like an old waistcoat watch.

“Please, baby,” he moaned, and shuddered along with her. “Please, don’t go.”

Finally, she stopped. With her head pressed to his heart, she grew limp and still, and very, very quiet.

Some pains stabbed too deeply for tears to express. In that instant, as the softest sigh fled from her lips, the deep well of Daniel’s tears grew abruptly dry. Everything inside of him that had up until that moment been alive—it all went still as well. Pulling his dead wife close, Daniel stroked her hair and silently died alongside her.

For three years, she had been the center of his life. Now, he knew, he’d never live again.



CHAPTER ONE



After battling childbed fever for eleven days, Rachel Abigail Bower gave up the fight. At seven o’clock that cool fall morning, she was lovingly bathed and dressed in her Sunday best by three of her closest friends. A few hours later, as the whole of Redemption arrived to pay their final respects, the twenty-four-year-old mother of one left her home for the last time. The loss of her was more than Daniel could bear.

Standing at the head of her grave, the blond mountain of a farmer stood in the shade of the old oak tree, dressed in the same dark suit he’d worn for his wedding, and watched without expression as the sum and total of his world was carried from the tiny farm house he had built just for her. Unable to afford even the plainest coffin, her fellow townsmen carried her across the yard, wrapped in a sheet on a plain board stretcher. Elizabeth White, the Reverend’s wife, sang Amazing Grace in her sweet soprano voice. Wrapped in a blanket in Daniel’s arms, his newborn son cried all the way through it.

To be honest, the baby hadn’t stopped crying in days. Sometimes it seemed he hadn’t stopped since the moment of his birth. Daniel, on the other hand, couldn’t make himself shed so much as one tear. Inside, all he felt was… nothing.

A soft breeze rustled through the leaves of the sheltering oak, tugging at Daniel’s short hair and making his gray eyes sting. Look away, he told himself, swallowing hard as the pallbearers neared the hole he and Reverend White had dug. She didn’t look right swaddled that way. This didn’t feel real, to take someone who had been so beautiful and vibrant and alive, put her into the ground and cover her in dirt and leaves. How could he just stand here and let such a thing happen? Yet he couldn’t force his gaze away. From the moment they lay the stretcher on the ground, he watched, unblinking and impassive, feeling as if his insides were being ripped out through his too-tight chest, while Rachel was gently lowered into her grave.

Reverend John White opened his bible and began to speak, but every word that came out of his mouth sounded foreign. Incomprehensible. Distant even, as if the man of God were speaking to him from a hilltop far away.

Everyone but Daniel managed through the hymn as Davis and Charles, twin brothers who owned the Mercantile and Grocery respectively, took up their shovels and filled in the grave. The first scoop of dirt hit Rachel’s chest, the second her head; Daniel couldn’t breathe. It was all he could do not to grab their shovels and chase the brothers away. Or jump down into that grave after her, rip the dirt and sheet away, and just look at her one more time. Just once more.

Inside he was screaming; on the outside, Daniel couldn’t make himself move so much as a finger-twitch. As still and stiff as the old oak behind him, he waited until the eulogy ended. Knowing Reverend White as he did, it must have been a nice one, though Daniel couldn’t for the life of him recall a single word.

Closing his bible, Reverend White laid a hand on Daniel’s shoulder. “Rachel is with God now, son. Her earthly toils are over; she’ll never suffer or feel another moment’s pain. There’s comfort to be found in that.”

Daniel stared at the Reverend’s moving mouth, but the words would not make sense. Something was expected of him now, he could feel it. Swallowing hard all over again, he made himself say, “Thank you for coming.”

Elizabeth touched his arm. Young and pretty, she could have been Rachel’s sister. Daniel had always thought so. “Daniel, I just want you to know... ”

He turned woodenly to face her, too, and watched until her mouth stopped moving. “Thank you for coming,” he said again. He raised his head, in some distant part of himself aware of the ocean of mourners staring silently back at him, gathered as they were around the freshly turned earth that covering his wife. “Thank you all for coming.”

Nobody said a word when Daniel excused himself. With his baby wailing nonstop in his arms, he walked back to the house, climbed the three wooden steps and, without a backwards look, closed the door between himself and the forty-some towns’ folk that called Redemption ‘home’.

“That poor man,” Elizabeth said, when the mayor’s matronly wife came to stand at her elbow.

“That poor baby,” Sara Evans replied. “How in the world will he ever take care of this farm and raise up a little one, too?”

“You don’t know?” Becky Simmons asked as she joined them.

Sara blinked, first at Becky and then at Elizabeth. “Know what?”

“The baby can’t take cow’s milk. We’ve been tryin’ all week. Only makes him sicker, poor thing.”

When Sara gasped, Elizabeth nodded in grim agreement. “Weak and frail as he is now, it’s only a matter of days before we’ll be right back here, putting him in the ground next to his dear mama.”

“How can you say that so matter-of-fact?” Sara told them, appalled. “We have to do something!”

“What would you suggest?” Elizabeth countered. “No one in town is nursing or even pregnant.”

Becky’s mouth tightened wryly. “That old nanny goat of the Thompsons’ got ‘et by Sacs last fall. There ain’t another in probably forty miles.”

“Martin could send someone to Clovervale. They could wire my niece in Montgomery. She's still nursing her youngest…”

“Even if Martin could sneak past those damn Sacs, she'd never get here in time.” Shaking her head, Elizabeth said again, “Poor Daniel. He and Rachel had so looked forward to starting their family and now, in a day or maybe two, he’ll have lost them both.”

All three women turned to stare at the house, listening in quiet sympathy as the reedy-thin wails of the baby filtered through the fluttering lace of the kitchen curtains.

Reverend White came up behind them. He, too, fixed sympathetic eyes on the house before laying a hand on his wife’s shoulder. “Come along, Liz. It’s time to be heading home.”

While the women climbed into the backs of the assorted wagons that had brought everyone to the Bower farm, Reverend White turned again to the grave. Charles was just tamping the grave marker into the soft earth, a simple plank of wood that was carved with Rachel’s name. “Lord have mercy on this house,” he murmured under his breath. “That poor boy can’t bear much more.”

“Amen,” Elizabeth added. Her husband wrapped his arm across her shoulders as tears rose to dampen her lashes; Rachel had been her best friend.

“Come along,” he said, squeezing her in a sidelong hug that shared grief more than it gave comfort as they left together for home.



* * * * *



Daniel stood in the doorway between the bedroom and the rest of his small, two-room house, hardly able to breathe. Apart from the fussing of the hungry baby, his house was so quiet. So empty. So full of Rachel in every corner that he looked that he could all but see her. Physically see her, as if any minute now she would come breezing out of the backroom in her favorite blue gingham dress, that smile brightening her face as she slipped past him on her way to cook breakfast. The smell of death still lingered, but so did the honey-sweet scent of her perfume. She was in the yellow curtains she’d sewn and hung in both kitchen windows. She was in the neat stack of tin dishes that always lined the high shelf above the hearth, when they weren’t being set upon the table. She was in every stitch of the crocheted doily that was wrapped around the bible she read from each night, and in the cup of dry, brittle flowers sitting on the table. Twelve days old now, she’d picked them the morning she’d gone into labor. Was this to be his life now? A misery of solitude so haunted by her that he couldn’t think, move or function?

Walking into the only bedroom, he stared at the bed, reliving every night of passion and each breathy sigh that she had so lovingly fed to him, one soft kiss at a time. Against his will, his gaze was drawn to that old and elegant, Edwardian bureau she had insisted he pack safely into the back of the covered wagon that had brought them all the way out here from New York. Rachel had loved that dresser. It had been her grandmother’s and ever since he had known her, Rachel had weekly dusted and polished the aged mahogany with near religious dedication.

Right now, the bottommost drawer was doubling as a cradle for their son. In the last few months, Daniel had done his best to scrape together wood and time enough to carve a proper cradle, but with Rachel now gone and knowing his son was within days of following her, he saw no point in finishing.

Oh, but the bed… It had taken him three months to carve out the elaborate frame and almost two years of begging and bartering among the neighbors to fluff out the ten-inch-thick feather mattress. He had finished it three years ago, barely in time for his and Rachel’s wedding night. That, without a doubt, had been the best night of his life.

Daniel closed his eyes, breathing deeply, smelling Rachel with every inward draw. Their first night together, she had come to him dressed in a plain white nightgown and smelling faintly of soap. She had been trembling. So had he for that matter. It had been a night of firsts for them both.

And now…

He opened his eyes on a reality more painful than any physical hurt he had ever suffered in his life. Nothing compared to this. Not the time he’d been run over by a wagon, kicked by a mule or even the night he’d been near beaten to death by cattle raiders. Without hesitation, at this moment Daniel would eagerly undergo all three torments again if only it had to power to bring Rachel back to him.

Lying ignored in the bottom dresser drawer, swaddled in blankets, with his tiny fists flailing angrily, the newborn howled, but there was nothing Daniel could do for him. He knew his son’s tiny belly was empty and aching. It was only a matter of days now; he may as well start digging another grave.

Turning, Daniel walked out of the house. The last of the funeral guests had vanished down the long and winding dirt tracks that led through his fields of wheat, barley and corn, all the way back to Redemption. He was alone now, something he’d best grow accustomed to.

Closing the door so he wouldn’t have to hear his baby’s plaintive cries, he started walking down the steps and across the yard. His feet took him straight to Rachel’s grave. For the first time, he read the words carved into the simple wooden marker:



Rachel Abigail Bower

Beloved Mother and Wife

b. Mar. 4, 1835

d. Sept. 22, 1859



His knees buckled, dropping him beside the dirt mound. He struggled to hang onto that swell of nothingness growing inside him, but all the emotions that had so cruelly abandoned him that morning were now flooding back. An unstoppable tide, it crashed down over him again and again, a reality too unbearable to be absorbed. Against his will and with no one around to witness it, a crack of weakness fragmented through the emotional havoc. Tears filled his storm gray eyes, but he covered them with his hand, pressing in hard to keep them from escaping.

“I miss you already,” he whispered, brokenly.
 
https://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-Discipline-Anthology-Patty-Devlin-ebook/dp/B01KL6KB9M/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1471533034&sr=1-2&keywords=cowboy+discipline

Her Country Master by Anya Summers

Her Country Master by Anya Summers

 
Elise Beauregard is a wedding dress designer on the verge of a total career meltdown, thanks to a particularly vicious former client. Her best friend Kara encourages her to explore the BDSM lifestyle at the Dungeon Fantasy Club in Manhattan. She's definitely intrigued by what she sees, but unsure how to begin.
When she is hired to design the gown for the club owner's fiancée, Elise is elated. This could be the opportunity she's been waiting for. If she gets this dress right, her career might just be saved after all.
Tyler Jenson is a billionaire rancher and Dom. His ranch on the Kansas - Colorado border is one of the first in the state to adopt clean, sustainable energy technology. His other passion is the D/s lifestyle. He is a hedonist, and he craves a woman's submission in order to feel complete. When he receives a wedding invitation from his best friend Declan, he's only too delighted to accept.
After a scorching night with Elise, Tyler recognizes she might just be the girl for him. He can only hope she feels the same way. But Elise has other things on her mind. Not only is she trying to design the most important wedding gown of her career, she also harbors a dark and painful secret that prevents her from getting close to any man.
 
Now available at:
 
 

___________________________________________________________

Ranch Life is Great by Misty Malone

Ranch Life is Great by Misty Malone

 
Elsie Wintock was engaged to a wonderful guy. Cowboy Cade Collins was everything she thought she wanted: big, strong, handsome, and unbelievably patient. Unfortunately, he was also over-protective. Then tragedy strikes, leaving her the sole heir of her family's mercantile.
Cade needs to protect her, and he can do that best by bringing her to his ranch, so they move their wedding day up. Feisty, independent Elsie has never been on a ranch before. She doesn't know how dangerous it could be and often ignores Cade's warning. Much to her chagrin, she finds herself over her strong cowboy's lap, while he explains yet again why what she's been doing is dangerous and will not be tolerated. The one thing she and Cade have in their favor is their love.
Will she be able to accept his way of loving and protecting her? Can they find a middle ground so their marriage can thrive? Who killed her parents - and why?
 
Now available at:
 
 

 
___________________________________________________________
 
 
 
     
 
 

 

Tabitha Black Snags a Well-Deserved #1 in BDSM, #1 Erotica, & #1 Urban

.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•★★ Chart Toppping #1★★
Restraint by Tabitha Black

Love. Lust. Limits.

Sir Simeon Harvey has realized his lifelong ambition: to build a BDSM resort on a private island off the Australian coast.

At last Nox Oasis, with its grand apartments, exclusive membership, and very own kinky theme park, is opening its doors to guests for the first time.

George and Faye have been especially invited by Sir Simeon himself to celebrate the official opening. Having lost the spark in their marriage, they hope to rediscover their one time passion. What they don't expect is for Simeon to make them an offer they can't refuse.

Hazel Jenkins can't believe her luck when she lands the plum job as head receptionist for the Oasis. While she has no experience in the BDSM realm herself, she's fascinated by the whole idea.

Her initiation into Sir Simeon's world is as shocking as it is arousing, and when she meets his godson, Dain Wilcott, the handsome American Dom, she knows just whom she wants to explore her kinky side with.

The question is, does he feel the same way about her?

Buy it right now!

Read it for free with Kindle Unlimited

Journey to Perfection by Adrienne Fox

 

Engaged to the respectable and wealthy lawyer, Hugh de Granger, Sophia Madison thinks she has it all. Spoiled, greedy and bad mannered, Sophia is in for a shock when Hugh is finally pushed to his limit and delivers Sophia an ultimatum - she must agree to a Taken in Hand relationship, or they cannot marry.

As Sophia and Hugh embark on a journey that will make or break their relationship, Sophia is determined to keep the man she loves, and begins to learn what it truly means to love and obey. 

However, it's not only Sophia who has eyes for Hugh, and when it becomes clear that there is another woman who has Hugh in her sights, Sophia knows that she must take action. 

Will she manage to keep the man she loves? Can she submit to the lifestyle he craves and needs? It's Sophia's time to find out.
 
Now available at:
 
 






(available soon)
___________________________________________________________

 

Trickery by Constance Masters

 

Morgan King is a twenty-three-year-old virgin who has never had a proper boyfriend. The fussy young woman longs to meet a man who will be everything like the heroes in the spanking romance novels she loves to read. When such a man comes along, Morgan is sure that he must be too good to be true. Although they've had a great online relationship for months, she balks at actually meeting him. 

Jackson Brooks is a twenty-nine-year-old middle school teacher who works at his family's summer camp. When he gets to know Morgan on the Internet, he is sure she's the girl for him. They are both ready to settle down, and he doesn't understand why she is so hesitant to meet him in person. When he discovers that she has sent him a fake photo, he is not happy. He can't deal with it right away, however, because summer camp is about to begin, and this year, he's the director. He decides to give Morgan some space while he does what he has to. 

Morgan is devastated when she realizes she has probably blown things with Jackson. She is desperate, and hatches a plan to get to know him secretly. She books herself into Sunnyvale Summer Camp under the name of Alyssa King, using her sister's birth certificate. Instead of assuring herself that nothing could possibly go wrong, she should have been asking herself what would happen when Jackson discovered her deceit. Will he be so angry that he sends her away, or will he choose another method of showing his displeasure - demonstrating that insects aren't the only things at camp that sting? 
 
Now available at:
 
 





 
___________________________________________________________

An Overdue Understanding by Amity Maree

 
An Overdue Understanding by Amity Maree

 
She's an investigative reporter. He's a CIA Chief of Staff. Their wants and needs clash like oil and water.
Shea is very good at her job. The trouble is that it often puts her in danger, which is why her husband left her. She would never listen to reason when he tried to protect her, so now she's on her own. Her current story involves a crooked contractor, a dishonest building inspector and a serious elevator accident with casualties. They will stop at nothing to keep her from uncovering evidence of their crimes.
Blaze never stopped loving his stubborn little wife, although living with her had nearly driven him crazy with constant worry. The problem was, he still worried about her, but never knew where she was, whom she was with, or when she should be back home safe again. He just can't stop worrying about her!
If they have any chance of getting back together, though, there are going to have to be some major changes in the rules, and he knows just how to enforce them - with a trip over his knee for a firm, old-fashioned spanking.
 
Now available at:
 
 

(available soon)
___________________________________________________________