Category: Cowgirls

Lucille Mulhall, Oklahoma Cowgirl & Wolf Roper

P&P Vickie McDonough 3 smallHello, Vickie McDonough here.  Before I get to the actual post, I just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know I’ll be giving  away a print copy of Gabriel’s Atonement to one of the visitors who leaves a comment on this post.  Now, let’s talk about Lucille.

You’ve heard of Annie Oakley, but have you ever heard of Lucille Mulhall, who at one time was just as famous?

The first rodeo in Oklahoma Territory was held in the mid-1880s, and ironically, Lucille Mulhall L.Mulhall 04was born on her family’s ranch near what would soon be Guthrie, Oklahoma on October 21, 1885. It is said that she could ride before she could walk. The cowboys who rode the plains of the Indian Territories tutored her in the art of lassoing. Her skill at riding, roping, and training horses was evident, and at a young age, she started competing in roping contests.

When Lucille was just ten years old, the mayor of Guthrie invited her to ply her skills and entertain at a cowboy gathering and contest. At age thirteen, she had her first major debut at the St. Louis Fair in 1897, and in a few years, she was performing on the vaudeville stage, entertaining crowds of up to 5,000.

Zach Mulhall, Lucille’s father, organized the Mulhall’s Congress of Rough Riders and Ropers. Lucille was the star of the show, where she met and became friends with Will Rogers and also Teddy Roosevelt, who was then a candidate for the vice-presidency.

L.Mulhall 03Zach was a proud father and one of Lucille’s greatest fans. He claimed that when his daughter was thirteen, he told her she could keep as many of his steers as she could rope in one day. “Lucille,” he bragged, “didn’t quit until she’d lassoed more than 300 cattle!”

In 1900, when her father was roping in El Paso, he bet local cowboys that his daughter could out rope them—and she did. Zach won over $10,000, but Lucille faced a horrible ordeal. The cowboys didn’t believe she was a girl and attacked her, tearing at her clothing to prove she was not a woman. Her brother Charley rescued her just in time.

Later in 1900, Lucille performed at a Cowboy Tournament at a Rough Riders reunion. Teddy Roosevelt was again amazed at her skill. He joined the family for supper, where the topic of conversation centered on the wolves plaguing the area. Lucille offered to get one for Teddy. He agreed, but only if Lucille would rope one. Undaunted by the challenge, she spent the next ten days tracking a wolf pack. One morning, she caught up with themL.Mulhall 01, and as she rode toward them, the pack scattered—all except for a steer-sized wolf she called “loafer”, which ran straight toward her. She roped him, but he gnawed through the rope. She tossed another rope on loafer and tied him to a tree, then cut his throat. She took the wolf to a taxidermist and had it stuffed, then she sent it to Teddy Roosevelt. As a thank you, the Mulhalls and the 101 Wild West Show performed at the McKinley-Roosevelt inaugural parade.

Lucille and her wolf kill made the news across the country, and she was dubbed the Cowpuncher Queen of Oklahoma Territory. Newspaper reported that Lucille was the greatest attraction at the Rough Riders reunion. An article in the Wichita Daily Eagle described her as a little girl who “weighs only ninety pounds can break a bronco, lasso and brand a steer, and shoot a coyote at 500 yards. She can also play Chopin, quote Browning, construe “Virgil” and make mayonnaise dressing.”

L.Mulhall 021901, Lucille roped five horses simultaneously at a horse show in Iowa. Later, she roped eight at once. The next year, she won a “thousand dollar day championship medal” at the Texas State Fair and Champion Steer Cattlemen’s Convention in Fort Worth. In 1903, Lucille was dubbed “the only lady roper in the world” and won $10,000 when she set a new world record for steer roping.

Lucille married and had a son, but because she left home and returned to performing, her husband, Martin Van Bergen, raised the boy. Van Bergen later divorced Lucille after deciding she would never settle down to domestic life as most women. A second marriage also failed.

Some sources say that Lucille made millions of dollars by performing in silent movies. At one time, she was the most famous horse woman in the world, but she ended up where she began, back on her family’s ranch. She died tragically in a car crash on December 22, 1940.

Lucille performed before European royalty, U.S. presidents, and won the respect of cowboys worldwide for her skill. She became the only female rodeo producer of her time with her show Lucille Mulhall’s Roundup and is well known for opening up the world of rodeo for women. Lucille’s popularity was due to her skill, the result of perfect timing with her rope, unusual balance on her horse, and her diminutive size and ladylike demeanor. Most important, she was authentic, coming from a genuine ranch background. She was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1975 and National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 1977.

So, tell me. Have you heard of Lucille Mulhall before?

Credits:

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In 2008, I started writing a book called Gabriel’s Atonement, which has stayed on my heart ever since. It was one-third finished when I had to set it aside because I got a contract for another book. I was thrilled, when after several rejections, Gabriel’s Atonement was finally picked up by Barbour Publishing. The book released on January 1, and I’m thrilled to tell you that Gabriel’s Atonement, book 1 in the Land Rush Dreams series received 4 ½ stars from Romantic Times magazine.

Popular historical author Laurie Kingery writes: “This is possibly the best western I’ve read all year. (2014)”

Gabriel's_AtonementWhat it’s about:

Gambler Gabe Coulter is content with his comfortable life—but when a man with a gun confronts him in a dark alley, everything changes. Guilt riddles him for killing Tom Talbot, even though it was self-defense. The dying man said the money he lost to Gabe was meant for his wife and son. The only way Gabe knows to rid himself of the guilt over killing Talbot is to return the money he won to the man’s wife.

Lara Talbot doesn’t believe Tom had money. She sees Gabe as a charming con artist like her irresponsible husband and wants nothing to do with him. She struggles to feed her family, keep her rebellious sister in line, and care for her young son and sick grandpa. The land rush in the Oklahoma Territory seems the only way for them to get a home, so Lara rides, but her dreams don’t turn out as planned. Could God have a bigger dream for her than she could imagine?
(Click on cover to purchase book)

To learn more about Vickie and her books, visit her website here.

Updated: January 3, 2015 — 4:55 pm

America’s First Female Superstar by Vickie McDonough

Vickie McDonough 3 smallPhoebe Ann Moses–do you recognize the name? Some sources site her last name as Mosley. Phoebe was born in August 16th, 1860, in Ohio. She grew up in a poor family, and after her father died, she was sent to Darke County Infirmary, where she was educated and taught to sew. At age ten, she was sent to work for a family who treated her cruelly. She called them “the wolves” and soon ran away and returned to her family. She helped support them by hunting game and selling it to a local shopkeeper. Her shooting skill grew quickly, and she was soon able to pay off her family’s mortgage.Annie Oakley

Have you figured out who she is yet?

Miss Annie Oakley, the most skilled female shooter of the 19th century.

In 1875, when Annie was just 15, she stunned Frank Butler, an expert shootist and vaudeville performer, when she beat him in a Thanksgiving competition. Frank fell in love almost at first sight, and the next year, he and Annie married. A few years later, when Frank’s partner took ill, Annie replaced him, amazing audiences with her shooting skills. At that time, she adopted the stage name of Annie Oakley. They joined a vaudeville show, and Annie began making her own costumes–ones more modest than the risqué outfits the other females wore.

 IAnnie Oakley 2n 1884, Anne met Sitting Bull, the Sioux Indian chief. He was so impressed with her abilities that he dubbed her “Little Sure Shot.” In 1885, Annie joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show and performed in the show for the next seventeen years. Annie dazzled audiences by shooting the flame off candles and corks out of bottles. She even shot off the end of a cigarette that her husband held in his teeth. Talk about trusting your wife! Annie could shoot distant targets while looking into a mirror, hit the edge of a playing card at 30 paces, and shoot holes in cards thrown into the air before they hit the ground.

Annie Oakley 3Annie toured Europe for three years and even met Queen Victoria. In 1901, Annie was injured in a railroad accident and partially paralyzed for a time, but she recovered and went on the star in a melodrama called The Western Girl. After she and Frank retired, Annie did exhibition work to raise money for orphan charities and the Red Cross. Annie died on November 3, 1926, and just eighteen days later, Frank joined her. Annie’s life was commemorated by the Irving Berlin musical, Annie Get Your Gun. She will always be known as America’s first woman superstar.

Vickie will be giving away 2 print copies of Call of the Prairie today.  Join in on the fun and post a comment!!

 

 Whisper cover 4Call Of The Prairie cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Vickie
Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead, she married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams in her fictional stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen and others living in the West during the 1800s. Vickie is the award-winning author of 29 published books and novellas. Her books include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, and End of the Trail, which was the OWFI 2013 Best Fiction Novel winner. Whispers on the Prairie, which released last July, was chosen by Romantic Times as one of their Recommended Inspirational Books for July.

Vickie is a wife of thirty-eight years, mother of four grown sons, one daughter-in-law, and grandma to a feisty seven-year-old girl. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website and sign-up for her newsletter: www.vickiemcdonough.com

About Call of the Prairie – 
Sophie Davenport fears life is passing her by. Her strict, overprotective parents have kept her close to home because of the severe asthma attacks she sometimes endures. She longs to live a normal life and hopes to marry, but that dream seems impossible. When her aunt has a tragic accident and requests someone come to Kansas to help her, no one is available except Sophie. Her father, tied up with business, reluctantly agrees to let her go. Sophie is ecstatic and sees this trip as her one chance to prove to her parents and herself that she’s capable of living on her own. But things in the small town of Windmill are not as her aunt portrayed. And her aunt’s handsome neighbor, guardian of two of the children her aunt cares for after school, obviously doubts her abilities. Will the Kansas dust, the drama, and difficulties prove too much for Sophie? Or will she lose her heart to her neighbor and succumb to the call of the prairie?

 

 

 

Updated: January 27, 2014 — 1:46 pm

READY, AIM, SHOOT THE COVER !

The Cowboy Contract 3One of the very nice things about being traditionally published with a publishing house is that there’s an  art department that deals with making marketable covers.  They take care of assigning models to represent your story on the cover of your book.  The author does have to fill out an Art Fact Sheet to describe the hero and heroine’s physical traits.  At the same time, the author also describes the theme of the story, any major turning points and locations of particular interest that would enhance the cover.   For me, the majority of the time, they’ve gotten it right.  Not that I’m always thrilled with my covers or titles, but for the most part I am. 

The one negative about being traditionally published is that the author has no control over the final artistic vision of the cover.  So when I received the rights back to a story I’d written, I decided to self-publish it.  I am still in the process of doing just that.  You may have heard me speaking about this book in the past. It’s been months – the major drawback?

We can’t find the right cover art.   Yes, there are pre-made covers available at several online sites and many images to go through, but believe it or not, there aren’t a slew to choose from bearing good-looking western/country/cowboys or scenes.  The Cowboy Contract

Well as luck would have it, my son-in-law is a photographer and he suggested that we do our own cover shoot.  He’s a talented guy and I only had to think about it for a few seconds before agreeing it was a great idea.  But that still left us with who to use for our hero and heroine.   

That’s where my daughter Nikki came in. She’s auburn-haired and petite just like my heroine. And their age range is the same.  Her dear friend, and Zac’s brother-from-another-mother, ( the best man at their wedding and Godfather to their little girl), Tony was willing to help out.  As you can see in the pictures, Tony is tall, dark and handsome- the perfect hero. 

We chose Paramount Ranch for the setting. If you’re not familiar with the area, it’s where the series, Medicine Woman was originally filmed and the historical town is still set up, complete with livery stable, sheriff’s office, wagons, train depot and gorgeous landscapes of the Santa Monica Mountains.   On a side note, we took a field trip there with my nephew’s class years ago and saw them shoot one of the episodes. Jane Seymour made a special point to come out to speak to the children and she was lovely to them.   So, the area had always stuck out in my mind.   

We had a few poses in mind and I learned a lot about placement and lighting.  Believe it or not, near dusk is the best time to shoot.  Bright sunshine and the shadows are gone. We only had an hour of good lighting that day, but I am happy with the results. 

The Cowboy Contract 1So not only was I the babysitter of the cutest new little cowgirl in town, but I was helping with direction. I never thought I’d hear myself tell my daughter, get closer, hold him around the waist and look passionately into his eyes, to a man other than her hubby.   Many shoots were tossed out because everyone was laughing too hard. If nothing else, we had a great time!

 

Now, I need your help in deciding which picture best depicts the story and reflects the title. Keep in mind, this isn’t the finished product, there may be more graphics on the cover, but I’m asking what scene works the best.  I’ve captioned them by number.  I’ll pick three random winners  for a prize of one of my available backlist books.  I appreciate your input on this!!

Here’s a brief synopsis of THE COWBOY CONTRACT:

Trey Walker was cursed when it came to women, so he never expected to invite veterinarian, Maddie Brooks to live under his roof at 2 Hope Ranch. But the petite, wholesome redhead needed a place to stay and practice medicine after a fire in Hope Wells nearly cost her everything she owned.  And Trey needed her expertise.  The bargain they struck seemed to be made in heaven.  If only the Walker Curse wouldn’t rear its ugly head.

Maddie Brooks knew the temporary arrangement she made with Trey was strictly business.  For over a year she’d tried to get the handsome rancher to notice her, but the man simply wasn’t interested.  Now, she’d be living at his ranch and using his barn to treat animals.  She owed him her livelihood, but oh, how she wished for something more.   Would Trey give her reason to hope?

NIK and Tony

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Nik and Tony 2

TWO

THREE

 

 

Nik and Tony 4

FOUR

Nik and Tony 5

FIVE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updated: August 8, 2013 — 10:50 pm

A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS by Charlene Sands

 

They say if you want something done, ask a busy person!

Raising my hand here!!   I’m ultra busy.  It seems to be the way of the world, so no complaints here.  There’s nothing I would trade in my life right now.  I’m blessed with a good family, nice home and recently two lovely granddaughters were added to the mix.  Little Everley is 16 months old and baby Kyra is 8 months old.  I watch them 2 to 3 days a week and it’s truly the highlight of my week.  The other hours are spent writing and I usually have 2 to 3 projects going at once. 

Right now, I’m working on a Harlequin Desire continuity called TEXAS RENEGADE RETURNS.  This story anchors the 9 book series and is a unique challenge for me to tie up loose ends of all 9 books and tell my hero’s story to a satisfying and hopefully compelling conclusion. 

It’s my next project that is baffling me. And I will admit to being frustrated with decisions that I don’t usually make on my own.

 I will be self-publishing a story that was one of my earlier works, called Like Lightning.   Luckily for me, my daughter is an editor and she’ll be my grammar guru.  One problem solved.

 The cover art will be pretty…not a clench scene or a sexy cowboy, but a cropped shot of a bride in a flowing lacy wedding gown, wearing cowgirl boots nestled next to a groom in cowboy boots.   We may not even see their faces. That’s to be determined by the cover artist.  Second problem solved.  

The original title (I never cared for…the cover and title an experiment for the line) really had nothing to do with storyline and now desperately needs a makeover. We’ve narrowed it down to a few titles and I’d love the wonderful bloggers at Petticoats and Pistols to give me your pick!  Will you help me solve Problem Three?  

Here’s is the story in a nutshell:

When a fire destroyed everything Maddie Brooks owned, rancher Trey Walker offered the pretty veterinarian a deal, he’d give her a place to stay and a barn to treat her animals if she’d help out at 2 Hope Ranch.  Maddie was sweet and sexy, and had “keeper” written all over her. But Trey didn’t dare act on the sizzling attraction between them—because of the Walker Curse.

Trey came from a long line of men who broke women’s hearts. And he was determined not to break hers, too. But with Maddie sleeping next door, she was impossible to ignore. He wanted to hold her, feel her body against his. He knew Maddie was the last woman on earth he should fall for. 

Which title do you find most appealing?  Which title would make you wonder about the story?  Which title would compel you to open the book and read the first few pages?

Rancher to Her Rescue

The Cowboy Contract

Contract with a Cowboy

Making Maddie Mine

Two Hope Cowboy

Cowboy Be Mine

 

I’ll be drawing a random winner today to win a book from my available backlist!! It’s the winner’s choice.  I hope to hear from all of you! And thanks for your help!!

 

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Smooth-Talking the Hometown Girl my Digital Only book is 99 cents all during the month of March! 

 Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online retailers

Updated: March 5, 2013 — 8:04 pm

Two-Gun Nan Aspinwall

Nan Aspinwall, born in Nebraska in 1880, was skilled at trick roping, sharp shooting, archery, stunt riding, bronc riding, and steer riding. She also portrayed an Oriental dancer called Princess Omene.

She was eventually the highest paid star in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Pawnee Bill’s Far East troupe. None of these things are what she became really famous for. Two-Gun Nan’s true claim to fame came in 1910-11 when, on a bet from Buffalo Bill, she rode from San Francisco to New York on horseback. At the age of 31, she covered 4496 miles in 180 days in the saddle, alone. The 180 days includes a week spent in the hospital when she and her horse ‘fell off a mountain.’

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I have no idea exactly what that means and I couldn’t find details but she and her horse were in good shape when they finished their historical coast to coast ride. Like a true showman, she didn’t end her ride quietly. When Nan arrived in New York she rode into a 12 -story building, on into the freight elevator and rode it to the top floor.

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Two-Gun Nan became an instant legend. At a time when the frontier to the west had closed, and barbed wire cut across every stretch of once open country along the entire continent, this cowgirl single-handedly found a way to rekindle the American fascination of saddling up, heading to the horizon, and banging around the vast expanse of a country that spread from one sea to another. Perhaps more importantly, she proved this dream and this country were open to women as well as men.

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The ride became part of the greater Western mythology almost instantly, where it remained solidly for half a century. In 1938, almost three decades after the ride, Nan’s journey was included on the Mutual Broadcasting System’s national radio broadcasts of Famous First Facts. The media legend of the ride again was recounted on the radio in 1942 on a broadcast of Death Valley Days. About 1960 “Death Valley Days” did a television show about her cross-country ride, for which she was a technical advisor. In 1958, Nan’s adventure made the jump to black-and-white television when it appeared in an episode of the Judge Roy Bean television show.

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Born Nan Jeanne Aspinwall, she added the last name Gable when she married her first husband, Frank Gable, around 1900. These two traveled and performed together, and after 1913 even ran their own touring wild west vaudeville production, Gable’s Novelty Show.

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Frank died around 1929, and Nan dropped from view not long after that. Nan remarried at some point in the 1930s to a man whose last name was Lambell.

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With the new name of Nan Jeanne Aspinwall Gable Lambell, the adventurous cowgirl spent the last 34 years of her life living in anonymity and solitude by choice. She died on October 24, 1964 at age 84 in San Bernardino, CA.

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Her death certificate listed her as a life-long housewife.

Mary Connealy

Updated: July 21, 2010 — 12:21 pm

Montana Rose Giveaway

Leave a comment today ABOUT COWGIRLS to get your name in the drawing for a signed copy of my just released romantic comedy with cowboys, MONTANA ROSE.
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Montana Rose finds Cassie Griffin facing her husband’s death and living alone with her unborn child in Montana Territory. She finds herself fair game for every ill-bred, foul-mouthed suitor in town. That is, until Red Dawson steps in to make an offer.
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I moved from Texas to the Rocky Mountains for this series—a big jump. New plants, new weather, new challenges. For a while, I had this book set near Fort Laramie in Wyoming, but the research proved too confusing. I found that Fort Laramie (the fort, not the town) was moved twice and neither location was near the town that bears its name. This conflicting information was daunting to the point that I just moved myself completely out of the state and picked a fictional town.
I kept the romantic comedy with cowboys, though.
Two things about writing comedy:
1) I can’t stop myself. I just always go for the sassy answer. The woman is always mouthing off, and the man is always saying exactly the wrong thing. Humor is my default writing style.
2) Humor is really hard work. General humor that runs through the book doesn’t just come off my fingertips. I’ll write in my sass, but on the second pass, I’ll punch it up and then there’s a third pass and a fourth. I do lots of tweaking to get the pace right. There’s a rhythm to comedy that I find really complex. To keep the story moving can be really hard, especially if I have a scene that’s really wacky with lots of characters and lots of dialogue.
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Sometimes when I know what I want from a scene, I almost shy away from humor because I know how much work it’s going to be to get it just right. Then, I build up my courage and just write it. The first draft is never good enough—not even close. I have to write it badly, then fix it.
The scene in Montana Rose when Cassie lets Red’s chickens go, nearly burns down the barn and almost gets killed by a furious mama pig—I rewrote that ten or fifteen times trying to get it to flow just exactly how I wanted it. I needed to portray Red’s controlled anger and terror for the safety of his wife, himself, his animals and his ranch. I also wanted to portray Cassie’s abject regret for all the trouble she’s caused and her fear of how her husband will react. So I had to get all that emotion right, along with the action of all Cassie was messing up.
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And though the scene is riddled with angst, anger, terror, regret, and fear, in the middle of all that, I want comedy. I love scenes like that but I dread them too, because I want so badly to get it right.
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Despite very serious underlying issues, my first hope is always that the reader will have fun. That’s always my goal, to write a book that entertains and draws readers in and makes them glad they picked up one of my books.
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A brief look at Book #2 in this series is The Husband Tree, coming in January.
Belle Tanner buries her third worthless husband and makes a vow over his shallow grave. She’s learned her lesson. No more men.
Silas Harden just lost his second ranch because of a woman. The first deserted him when times got tough. Now he’s had to quit the whole state of New Mexico to avoid a trumped-up shotgun wedding and the noose of matrimony. He’s learned his lesson. No more women.
Belle needs hired hands to move a cattle herd late in the season and there’s no one around but seemingly aimless Silas. She hires him reluctantly.Silas signed on, glad for the work, though worried about a woman doing such a thing as hiring drovers, only to find out he’s the lone man going with five woman, including a baby still in diapers. After the cattle drive is over, he might as well shoot himself to speed up the process of being embarrassed to death.
A fast approaching winter.
The toughest lady rancher you’ve ever seen.
A cynical cowboy who has to convince five women he’s right for their ma. . .and then convince himself.
And one thousand head of the crankiest cattle who have ever been punched across the backbone of the Rockies.
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And Book #3 in the Montana Marriage Series is Wildflower Bride, coming in May 2010.
This heroine, Abby, has never met a man she didn’t pull a knife on.
This cover is not finalized so I’m showing it to you but there may be some changes. It’ll be close to this, though.
Leave a comment about cowgirls, what’s your favorite kind.
Cassie is sweet and vulnerable. Belle is just plain tough. Abby is mean, of course to cover all her hurts.
We talk about cowboys here a LOT so lets talk cowgirls. Leave a comment telling me who your favorite cowgirl in books, TV, movies, whatever. And I’ll toss your name in the Stetson to claim a signed copy of Montana Rose.
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Before the next books in the series I’ve got a Christmas romance coming, Cowboy Christmas.     

Click on a cover to buy on Amazon