Published by Parchment & Plume LLC on October 18th 2016
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Eight bestselling authors. Eight sizzling tales from the Old West to set your heart ablaze...
In Whispered Love,bestselling author Kathleen Ball takes you to the wild Pacific Northwest, a land bristling with handsome, well-muscled lumberjacks. Foreman Samuel Pearse has only one rule; no women allowed. Until he finds one asleep in his bathtub—Pat Clarke, the company cook. With her secret revealed and her virtue at stake, Pat turns to the only man who can help her…the one man who can set fire to her heart.
In Kate’s Outlaw, award-winning author E.E. Burke spins a suspenseful yarn about a half-breed desperado who abducts--and then rescues--a rich railroad heiress. On the run from danger, with enemies on both sides, Jake and Kate seek solace in each other’s arms, igniting a love as powerful as it is forbidden.
The Officer and the Bostoner, from USA Today bestselling author Rose Gordon, follows the adventures of a well-to-do lady traveling cross-country to meet her intended. Instead, she finds herself stranded at a military fort and forced into an unwanted marriage. Can a hot-blooded officer spark love in his wife’s cold heart?
Fools Rush from USA Today bestselling author Ciara Knight. A young woman, desperate for independence from all men, embarks on a crazy cross-country wagon train adventure disguised as a man. Instead of finding her independence, a bounty hunter captures her under the guise of horse thieving, a crime punishable by hanging. Will a man she’s lied to for months save her, or will he surrender her to a monster with a badge?
Ridin’ For A Fall by Kirsten Lynn immerses you in a fiery tale of forever love. When circumstances force best friends and Wild West Show performers, Lena Boden and Kyle Allaway to marry and return to Wyoming, they must stand together against internal doubts and external forces seeking their destruction—or risk a fall that will knock them out of the saddle for good.
In A Warrior’s Heart, best-selling author, Amanda McIntyre brings to life the passionate story of a bold Cherokee warrior and the brave white woman he rescues from certain death. Thrown together by circumstances not of their own making, they overcome betrayal and tragedy to find a love strong enough to bring nations together.
The Rancher, by bestselling author Hildie McQueen, transports readers to 1870s Montana Territory and into a sensual encounter between an injured rancher and a woman running for her life. Sometimes love enters at the worst moment.
In The Drifter,bestselling author Elizabeth Rose takes readers on an epic journey across the plains, as drifter Chase Masters shows up wounded at Nessa Pemberton's stagecoach relay station mistaken as the bandit who killed her husband. Can a single mother learn to love again and put her trust in a man who is nothing but a drifter?
We are very excited to bring you a four day event featuring stories from eight wonderful authors.
Kathleen Ball, EE Burke, Rose Gordon, Ciara Knight, Kirsten Lynn, Amanda McIntyre, Hildie McQueen & Elizabeth Rose
Each day we will highlight two of the stories.
Join us today as we visit with Rose Gordon and Ciara Knight
…The shopkeeper shrugged and, much to the dismay of Allison’s lurching stomach, put the jar of peppermint back onto the shelf along the back wall by his window. “Say, isn’t that the stage ya said ya rode in on?”
Allison craned her neck to see out his window just in time to glimpse the coach she’d come in on rolling down the road.
Terror shot through her, and pushing aside the queasiness that was threatening to overtake her and reduce her to nothing more than a boneless heap, Allison ran out of the back of the store, along the row of rooms, past the jail where the shirtless, leering man was licking his lips and making kissing noises at her, past a man on a horse, and in the direction of her coach. “Wait! Wait!” she yelled as loudly as she could.
A cloud of dust filled the air in front of her, but she didn’t stop her pursuit.
Lungs burning and eyes stinging from the dust, she ran after the stage. “Stop!”
But the stage kept rolling down the dirt road, heedless of her commands. The only sign that someone had even heard her cries for help was the sight of a hand—likely Mary’s—as it reached out the window and waved to her.
Desperate and tired, but not going to give up without a fight, Allison bent down and grabbed a stone from the middle of the dirt road and hurled it at the stage. She missed. She scooped up another and continued her run after the coach, waiting for just the right moment to throw it.
Energy waning, Allison threw the rock.
Breathing heavily, Allison stared with wide eyes as the rock flew through the air. With every second that passed, the rock got farther from Allison and closer to the stagecoach. And then… And then… Then, it hit…the ground.
Allison sank to the dusty, rocky ground, defeated. Tears she’d somehow managed to suppress until now filled her eyes as silent sobs wracked her body.
“Don’t be so glum. That was an excellent throw,” a stranger drawled from the direction of the commissary. “Keep practicing and I’m sure you’ll be good enough to join the first official rounders team when we start one here at Fort Gibson. We’ll be able to beat the boys at Fort Supply in short order with you on the team.”
His casual tone and glib remarks were enough to spark her anger. Taking to her feet and steeling herself to look every bit the Boston lady her mother had raised her to be, Allison inclined her chin and said, “You may find this laughable, but I do not.”
His easy grin didn’t fade a bit. “I’m sure that if you were me, you’d find it quite humorous, indeed.”
She pursed her lips at the way he mimicked her accent and speech. She shook her head. He was a southerner, likely one who could not be confused for a gentleman. To him, she was nothing but someone to make sport of. Not that she cared overmuch. He could have his fun at her expense now. That was fine. She’d be gone from this abominable little town soon enough. She just needed to get her fare from the shopkeep and book a seat on the next stage.
“I’m not the most educated man in town, but I don’t think you’re going to catch them by walking in the wrong direction,” the insufferable man said, falling into stride beside her.
It was moments like this Allison wished she had her parasol. This infuriating man might benefit from a tap on the head.
“Sir,” she called to the shopkeeper as she stepped inside his little shop.
The swindler closed his cigar box and looked at her companion. “Mornin’, Wes.”
The handsome, brown-haired, blue-eyed man next to her tipped his wide-brimmed hat and the swindler bit the end off his cigar, then spit the tip on the floor with a disgusting pffft. Then, without a single word, he wet his lips and brought his cigar to his mouth.
“Sir, I demand you book my passage on the next stage,” Allison said, as the older man struck a match and lit his cigar.
A puff of smoke filled the air in front of her. “And just how do you expect me to do that?”
Allison closed her eyes and took a deep breath, the words of her mother repeating in her head: Don’t get angry in the presence of a gentleman; it’s not proper. If he or anyone else provokes you, smile and rephrase your request. Remember to keep your voice quiet, calm and even. And if that doesn’t work, use big words to trick him into doing what you want him to do, she would always silently add to herself, recalling how her Aunt Thelma had manipulated Uncle Liam.
“Sir, please retrieve your stagecoach log book and pen my name, Allison Pierson, on the register for the next departing stage; thank you.”
The old man pursed his lips together, held up one finger, then bent down to reach for something under the counter. Straightening, he dropped a large, chapped leather book onto the counter, causing a small cloud of dust to fill the air in front of her.
The store owner then flipped the book open and licked his fingers. Using his damp thumb and forefinger, the man casually flipped through the pages, humming as he went. About halfway through the book, he stopped and retrieved the broken quill lying in the middle of his counter. Licking the end of his quill first, for whatever reason, he then began scratching out what appeared to be the sloppiest version of her name she’d ever seen.
“Very good,” she said, beaming. “And just when can I expect the stage to be here?”
He shrugged. “I don’t rightly know, but when it arrives, you’ll be the first one on it.”
Ciara Knight–Fool’s Rush
“Listen. I’m sorry. You obviously had a rough time growing up, and I don’t blame you for feeling the way you do about drinking.” Thomas rubbed the back of his neck. “I know you probably don’t believe me, but I never really drank before. I never wanted to be the man that beat my sister.”
Bethany rolled her eyes at his words.
“Trust me. I’m a man who likes to be in control at all times. It was just that— ”
“There is always an excuse,” she said under her breath.
“I know. That girl, though … she did something to me. Have you ever not wanted to think about someone but that same person haunts your dreams?” Thomas blew out a long breath. “Of course not.”
“Yes.” The man sitting by her side tied her stomach in knots and she wanted to hate him more than anything, but the way he gingerly tended her wounds stirred an ache for him to touch her more. She didn’t want him, she didn’t want any man controlling her. “I know you believe that woman are dumb for sticking around when their husbands beat them. You think your sister had a choice to leave, but you’re wrong. Men do things to control their wives.”
Thomas retrieved the reins and wrapped them around the brake. “Perhaps. I can’t do anything about that, though. Neither can you. All we can do is be better men.” He pinched the bridge of his nose. “You know the girl … Bethany, right?”
She couldn’t deny it now. Not after being accused of stealing and saying Bethany gave the stuff to her. How did things get so confusing? “Yes.”
“Do you know if she’s married?” His voice trailed off, as did his gaze.
He sat up straight, a smile crossing his lips that screamed danger. “She’s not?”
A lifetime was revealed in that smile—a lifetime of serving and being abused by a man who would tire of her and turn to the bottle. He’d already shown the bottle was his friend.
“I … I don’t know.” Tell him she’s married. Tell him he can never have her. The words wouldn’t flow.
He beat his palm against his head. “Stupid. This is stupid, Thomas.”
“Do you always talk to yourself?”
“Too often lately.” Thomas sat back and moved his hat over his eyes and crossed his arms. “If you don’t know, then I’m going to find out.”
“Why? We’ve got a good thing going. What if she’s married to a man like Sarah’s husband? A drunk who beats her all the time. You going to get involved in that?” Bethany needed to stop him from searching for her. Especially if it meant examining her closer. Since they’d left he’d barely looked at her, and when he did he commented on her strange ways. No. This couldn’t happen.
He stiffened and sat up, dropping his hat at his feet. “I don’t know what I’d do.”
“I know what you’d do. You’d give her hope then turn the other way because you don’t want to get involved, leaving her to face a worse beating than before you stepped into her life. Let it be.” Bethany grabbed the reins, ignoring the sting in her hands, and slapped the rear of the closest horse, brooking no more conversation. Not when her heart quickened and her thoughts betrayed her. Not when two little words that would end her life rolled to the tip of her tongue. I’m Bethany.