A rough outlaw town…A man seeking redemption…A hunted woman with no place to turn except agree to be outlaw Clay Colby’s wife.
This is the scenario in The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride. In case you haven’t heard, this new series is a bleed over from my Men of Legend and Clay Colby (whom you met in The Heart of a Texas Cowboy) is tired of running. He’s determined to make a stand on the last bit of mostly unsettled Texas land in the panhandle. He yearns to settle down with a wife and have a family. To be normal. So he starts building a town on the site of an old hideout called Devil’s Crossing. While he builds, he writes to Tally Shannon and Luke Legend carries the letters back and forth. She and a group of women are hiding out in a canyon, hunted in order to be returned to the Creedmore Asylum for the Insane.
Tally and these women first made an appearance at the end of Men of Legend Book 1 – To Love a Texas Ranger when outlaw Luke Legend began providing food, clothing, and medicine.
But Tally has grown weary of living in the shadows and wants more for herself and her band of fugitives. For once she wants to know what it’s like to have someone care for her—to have strong arms around her, to be safe, protected. Although afraid to trust, she agrees to marry Clay.
“What drew Clay most was the defiance on her face, and the determined glint in her eyes. Hard eyes, that had seen too much pain. Tally wouldn’t back down easily—from anything. The Colt strapped around her waist bore witness to that.”
I’ve often thought about the line drawn between outlaws and lawmen on the American Frontier and find that at times it became so blurred it was almost invisible. A man could be a sheriff or U.S. Marshal one day and a fugitive outlaw the next, depending on the circumstances. Or vice versa.
Millions upon millions of acres of raw land comprised the American Frontier, stretching from the Missouri River all the way to the Pacific Ocean. There were no laws, no courts, and little or no government. The few lawmen that existed had to cover huge areas and there was no way they could.
Often, the only law was what a man found for himself. The gun determined the outcome.
To get an idea of what I’m talking about, consider this: A man is minding his own business and taking care of his family when someone rides up and shoots his wife and children. He catches the murderer and kills him. That makes him an outlaw and he’d be on the run.
Then maybe one of the railroad or cattle towns needed to curb their lawlessness so they would hire the outlaw and pin a badge on his chest. There are plenty of examples in history.
Many such men straddled the fence, being whatever anyone wanted. Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Virgil Earp, Bat Masterson, and Pat Garrett to name a few. You might say they were the good “bad” guys.
That’s what Clay and his friends are. Sure, they’ve killed but they only see it as administering justice. They were the law where there was none and now they’re ready to give up their role.
But will others let them?
If you’ve read the book, tell me your favorite part or favorite character. Or talk about outlaws. What is your view? Were they good? Or bad?
Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for one of three copies of the book. Or if you already have it, to win a $10 Amazon gift card.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a visual person. I need to see it to retain it. I see better than I hear. When I see a list, I get tasks done. And organizing with colored notecards or Post-Its?
Be still my heart.
Just the way my brain works.
So it’s no wonder that I need images when I write. The words form much easier, flow much faster. And like any visual writer who is neck-deep in a manuscript and needing some help, I head straight for my friend, Pinterest.
Writing my contemporary western, A COWBOY AND A PROMISE, by Tule Publishing, was no different. If you’ve had a chance to read the book, you might enjoy seeing some of the images that inspired me.
When I saw this image for Beau Paxton, my hero, I thought “This is IT!” Beau to a T. Love, love.
While writing A COWBOY AND A PROMISE, my husband and I were totally binge-watching the thriller series, Homeland, and I was completely captivated by the lead character, played by Claire Danes. Hence, Ava Howell was born.
When Ava first arrives to the Blackstone Ranch and enters the little cabin where she’ll be staying while working, one of the first things she sees is a bouquet of Indian blanket that Beau’s mother thoughtfully picked for her in welcome. The wildflower is common in the Texas Hill Country. Beautiful, aren’t they?
This is a diagram of a Shotgun House, which I mention in the renovation of the Paxton family’s ghost town resort on the Blackstone Ranch. They say that a shotgun blast from the front door will go straight through the house and out the back door. I guess it’s true, eh?
Beau buys Ava her first cowboy hat, something she resists, but this is the one she picked out. On clearance, of course!
Another gift from Beau that Ava absolutely loves. Can you blame her?
Something really scary happens to Beau on the ranch, and that’s all I’ll say! But this hole was my inspiration!
And now I’m going to stop! I can’t give everything away, can I?
But you can see how much I depend on Pinterest. I took a Pinterest class recently, and my teacher said Pinterest is another Google. She’s right. It truly is!
Did you know Petticoats & Pistols has its own Pinterest account? Our sister filly, Julie Benson, keeps it up and running for us, and it’s hugely popular with almost 64,000 views per month! Come follow us and check out our boards. https://www.pinterest.com/thefillies/
How about you? Do you use the site to find recipes? Get help with ideas on re-decorating? Find gifts? Learn how to plant a garden? The list is endless, and I’d love to hear if you enjoy it as much as I do!
A dear friend, Jennifer Jacobson sent me a link to an article on a wonderful artist, Felice House. It’s her amazing work you see in this post. Her paintings and Evan Porter’s write up got me thinking more than usual about heroes and heroines.
We all love a strong, confident hero. The phrase alpha male comes to mind. When I started writing, I attended countless workshops on how to create a strong hero. But writing this, I paused and thought for a moment. How many workshops had I taken on how to create a self-assured, strong heroine? I’ve attended a few, though not nearly as many as ones on heroes. That thought led me to realize whether I’m reading a book or writing one, for me, the stronger the hero’s personality, the stronger the heroine must be. She can’t be a wimpy Missy Miss who crumbles under a strong wind or the hero’s stinging retort.
I want a heroine who doesn’t need a man in her life because she’s fine just the way she is, thank you very much. But should she find one, she believes he’s lucky to have her in his life. She has skills she’s proud of and helps the hero as much, often more, than he helps her. She’s not sitting back moping about the obstacles fate has thrown in her path. No, sir. Instead, she tugs on her big girl panties and develops a strategy to overcome her problems. And if the hero is one of those obstacles? He’d better watch out.
Felice House’s painting reminded me of that type of heroine. When House moved from Massachusetts to Texas, like many of us, she fell in love with “western” culture: the clothes, cowboy boots, music, the whole thing. However, when she watched classic western movies starring actors such as John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and James Dean, she found women’s portrayal as helpless damsels in distress disturbing. House described the situation as “the empowered and the powerless.” Already familiar with creating work that fought stereotypical women’s images, House set out to re-envision these cowboy heroes with women.
As you can see from House’s paintings, she and her models succeeded in portraying woman every bit as formidable, compelling and fierce as the original actors. To add emphasis, House made the paintings 1.25 times larger than life to ensure these western women towered over people. These paintings portray images of strong, capable women who can handle anything life sends their way.
House’s paintings have inspired a 2019 goal for me—create heroines half as awe-inspiring, assertive, and frankly, badass as the women in Felice House’s paintings. If I can do that, I’ll be more than happy.
Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment about what you think makes a compelling heroine to be entered to win a copy of To Catch A Texas Cowboy. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.
To read Evan Porter’s article click here. All images of Felice House’s work are used with permission. To view more of her paintings click here.
We’ve all heard the saying, “All good things must come to an end.” While I don’t necessarily believe that’s always true, it’s doubly true today. This is my last post as a regular blogger at Petticoats & Pistols. It’s been great hanging out with these wonderful, talented ladies and getting to know a lot of the enthusiastic readers. It’s been fun talking about our shared love of western stories.
This month also marks the release of my final book in my Blue Falls, Texas, series for Harlequin. Since the Western Romance (formerly American Romance) line folded last summer, this one book has been awaiting its day on shelves. Harlequin is releasing Texas Cowboy, Be Mine under their Home on the Ranch program, and I must say it’s a very pretty cover.
Here’s a bit more about the story, which concludes the five stories about the adopted Hartley siblings:
Single mother Angel Hartley has her priorities straight—building her career as a photographer and making sure her young daughter, Julia, will never suffer the pain of being abandoned, a pain Angel herself knows too well. Dating can wait, even though she suddenly can’t stop thinking about Hunter Millbrook, who happens to be the handsomest rancher in Blue Falls, Texas.
Hunter also has a full plate. How can he juggle a relationship with running his family’s ranch and looking after his mother as her memory slips away? He’s just too busy for love…no matter how long he’s had a crush on Angel. But as Hunter begins to suspect, hearts don’t wait for the perfect moment!
What’s not in that blurb is the fact that Angel is Native American, but since she doesn’t know who her birth parents are part of her story is her search for her heritage. I think that’s a basic human instinct, the need to know our origins.
Since this is my last blog, I also would like to mention that the third book in my Once Upon a Western series for Tule Publishing is coming out next month. This is Wes McQueen’s story, the third of the three McQueen brothers, and like the two stories before it it’s loosely inspired by a classic fairy tale–this time Beauty and the Beast with a twist.
Wes McQueen has always been a casual dater, not in any hurry to settle down with one woman. But that begins to change when he meets his new neighbor, Claire Moon. But all Claire wants is to be left alone to make and sell her jewelry, to live away from the eyes of others following a fire that left her scarred. But her resolve to live a solitary existence is shaken every time Wes looks at her and doesn’t seem to even see her scars.
To go out with a bang, I’ll give away three signed copies of Texas Cowboy, Be Mine today. In the story, Angel Hartley undertakes the big task of trying to find her birth parents and her heritage. To be eligible to win, just tell me something big you plan to undertake this year. Me? Because I’ve recently developed a love for Korean dramas and pop music, I’m going to try to start learning Korean. It’s evidently one of the hardest languages for native English speakers to learn, so it’s going to be a challenge.
Finally, thanks for all the support since I’ve been P&P blogger. Hope to see you all out on the range (in person, on social media, etc.). Here’s to a happy, healthy, productive and fun 2019!
You may think this an odd title for a post (Linda has finally lost it) but you’ll soon see how it fits. In exactly two weeks from today THE OUTLAW’S MAIL ORDER BRIDE will launch. This starts a new four-book series called Outlaw Mail Order Brides and I’m so excited about this project.
This series is a bleed-over from Men of Legend. Luke Legend and his wife Josie have started a private bride service for men and women living in the shadows. Clay Colby and Tally Shannon are characters that first appeared in Men of Legend. Clay was a trail boss for Houston in The Heart of a Texas Cowboy and Tally first appeared at the end of To Love a Texas Ranger and played a bigger part in To Marry a Texas Outlaw.
Tally and a group of women had escaped the Creedmore Lunatic Asylum and were hiding out in Deliverance Canyon. Readers wrote me, wanting their story so they’re getting it.
After two years living in fear of discovery, Tally decides it’s time for change. With Luke and Josie hand-carrying letters back and forth, Tally agrees to marry Clay. Only a wanted man will know how to protect her. Finally, she’ll be able to lift the burden from her shoulders and let someone care for her.
And Clay does from the start. She’s the wife he’s longed for and the little blind girl she brings with her becomes his daughter.
But I want to talk about the horrors of early mental institutions. Number one is that they had zero oversight. People who ran them could do whatever they wanted with these people. Nor did they require any proof of insanity. Often families wanted to get rid of certain ones and these institutions provided a way. Give them some money and they’d relieve you of your problem. In some cases it became big business.
That’s what Tally’s stepmother did. She wanted to wrench the family estate from Tally and have it all so she incapacitated her, drove her to the asylum and handed her over along with a bag of money along with instructions to make Tally’s life a living hell.
Here are some actual reasons on one mental institution’s books for taking a person:
Imaginary Female Trouble
Seduction and Disappointment
Fever and Jealousy
Novel Reading (WHAT!!)
These are just ridiculous and there are lots more I didn’t list. Anything could be an excuse up until 1955 when some oversight finally came along. That it took so long is crazy!
Since we all read romance, we could’ve been institutionalized back then if our family didn’t want us!!
So, are you off your rocker or missing some marbles? Maybe you’re an overzealous cook or like to sit around daydreaming. You could be certifiable. What reason could your family have given? Have fun with this. I’m giving away THREE copies of THE OUTLAW’S MAIL ORDER BRIDE!! Plus, each will also get one of my calendars.
I’m also announcing a SALE! All of my Texas Heroes is marked down. If you haven’t read them and want to, now is the time to get them cheap. Or maybe you’re only missing one from the set. Now’s your chance.
Just released and on shelves nationwide right now…
I’m hoping this story touches hearts and souls across the U.S. of A. and not for the obvious, that it’s a biracial romance although I’m thrilled to be able to use this kind of reality in my stories….
It will touch hearts and souls because the characters win you from the get-go.
All Jace Middleton wanted was to be able to make a solid living in his hometown of Shepherd’s Crossing, the town his ancestors helped settle after some very long cattle drives out of Texas…
But the town has fallen on hard times, there’s no work for a talented contractor/carpenter/cowboy like Jace and even though he likes working on his friend’s ranch, that’s not his dream. His dream is to build and run his own spread but that option has withered away the past few years. So now– it’s time to go.
Until a grumpy, crotchety, eccentric old white woman shows up, claiming she’s his grandmother. Of course she’s bonkers.
But when she produces his birth certificate–his REAL one–he realizes that he’s spent 30 years living a lie. And toss in two baby nieces with blond hair and blue eyes, abandoned by their mother, a half-sister he never knew he had and Jace’s life hasn’t just taken a hit. It’s done a full 180. And when his eccentric and wealthy grandmother asks him to renovate her falling down ranch house, Jace realizes he can stay if he takes the job but at what cost to his self-respect? The thought that well-kept secrets secured a phony life for him rankles…
And when his biological grandmother wants Melonie Fitzgerald, one of the new co-owners of Pine Ridge Ranch, to design the home makeover, Jace almost wishes he’d been nice to her when she treated him like pond scum a few days before.
He’s roped tighter than a calf in a rodeo, and just as angry, but as old truths make their way to the surface, and Jace sees the innocence of two little lives, he begins to realize that maybe– just maybe– there’s a reason for all of this. And when he realizes that he’s falling for Melonie, and that she’s a ridiculously talented designer, he starts to see new possibilities….
But Melonie has a healthy fear of horses and no great love of ranching and her dream of having a Fixer-Upper type cable show means she won’t be staying in their sleepy little town any longer than she absolutely has to and Jace had his heart broken in a public display a few years back… he’s got no interest in running that route again.
But it’s no accident that Jace and Melonie have been thrown together, and when God sets a plan in motion, eventually the people get a clue, right?
I had so much fun writing this story. A few tears, lots of smiles, and as a mom and grandma, I know lots of families where children aren’t necessarily being raised by moms and dads… and to take this very real situation and weave it into the threads of a romance gave me the depth of realism that I wanted.
In proper cowboy fashion– when the chips are down– Jace comes to his senses but only after he realizes that Melonie Fitzgerald isn’t the retiring Southern Belle he thought she was, but a hard-working, talented woman that isn’t afraid to stand her ground with tough old women, teething babies or stubborn cowboys. Exactly the kind of woman he needs.
I’ve got a copy of this wonderful book to give away today, and yes, I hope the winner loves it! So tell me…
Do you know families that have had to shift custody of little ones around for whatever reason?
And how hard would it be to step into the role of parent when you least expect it?
Give me a shout below and wishing you all the happiest of New Year’s blessings!
We’re very happy to have bestselling romance author Amanda McIntyre visiting today. No one lives and breathes cowboys more than Amanda and her books are always at the top of readers’ lists. Please make her welcome and leave a comment to win a copy of Worth the Wait and The Cowboy’s Christmas.
One of my favorite book series growing up (heck, even now!) is the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Later, of course, I would become infatuated by the television show based on the books. For reasons I can’t explain, I find myself drawn to the struggles, the pioneer spirit, and the determination to carve out a life in a world ravaged by blizzards, windstorms, wild critters, and more. Nature could be brutal. Life was hard. Yet traditions in families were strong, humble though they might be.
At Christmas, I think how even the simplest of gifts were given or received with such profound and sincere gratitude. Granted, there was no Macy’s, no Amazon, or UPS back then. No long lines. No exchanges. No gift cards. Gives one pause, I think. And while I admire the stout-hearted women, men and children of days gone by, I wonder if I could survive in the same vein. (Though writing and publishing a book equates in some ways, I won’t lie!)
My upbringing in a small rural Midwestern town probably has much to do with my love for Wilder’s books, and perhaps the inspiration for a short story I would later write about a lonely, old cowboy, out on Christmas Eve on a cattle drive. “A Cowboy’s Christmas,” would later make an appearance as a beloved holiday story read by Jed Kinnison, the cattlemen patriarch of the Kinnison clan and the three young teens Jed raised alone and who would later take over his ranch in End of the Line, Montana.
End of the Line, Montana (fictitious name, best of my knowledge) has roots in history as well. Back in the early 1800’s, it was part of the gold rush and one of the many mining towns that popped up along with the westward expansion. It followed on the heels of places like Deadwood, Leadville, and Reno to name a few. Interestingly, I was fortunate to be involved in a multi-author “mail-order brides” project that introduces mountain man, Christian Ezekiel Kinnsion to the little town of Noelle, Colorado. An ex Union Army man, he follows his brother west to Noelle in search of finding their claim of gold. Christian and his wife, Genevieve, will eventually travel north and be one of the founding families of End of the Line, Montana.
Family, tradition, honor, perseverance, integrity are all components I weave throughout my three related series; The Kinnison Legacy, the Last Hope Ranch, and End of the Line.
In my current release, Worth the Wait, a woman and her two boys discover the kindness of the ranch and the people in town to help her realize the worth of opening your heart to second chances.
When Hank, an old friend rescues Julie from an abusive marriage, he becomes a knight in shining armor to her and her boys. After a year of starting life over at the Last Hope ranch, Hank is ready to set the date. Julie likes the way things are. Can love overcome the pain of the past and prove that it’s all been…worth the wait? I hope you’ll visit End of the Line soon and meet the folks at the Last Hope Ranch!
About Amanda:Published internationally in print, eBook, and Audio, bestselling author Amanda McIntyre finds inspiration from the American Heartland that she calls home. Best known for her Kinnison Legacy cowboys and Last Hope Ranch series, her passion is writing emotional, character-driven contemporary western and historical romance. Amanda truly believes that no matter what, love will always find a way.
What holiday traditions do you have for you or your family? * Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.
Giveaway: An eBook or Print copy of WORTH THE WAIT with a bonus of *The Cowboys Christmas standalone print copy to have or keep as a treasured holiday story. (Print copies US only) *My own private copy of The Cowboy’s Christmas.
I know it’s only November first, but I am in that Christmas spirit because that’s kind of how publishing rolls, my friends and as the publishers roll… Well, so do the authors! And this author has some fun stuff to celebrate this fall…
First, my just released (non-cowboy!) book “At Home in Wishing Bridge“, the second book of my “Wishing Bridge” series, has been on the Amazon bestseller list for weeks and spent a lot of time at #1 so there is a reason to celebrate right there… and readers are loving it. And that makes authors the happiest of all.
And Love Inspired has re-issued this beautiful story from my “Kirkwood Lake” series. “The Lawman’s Holiday Wish is a story of old wrongs, quick judgments and slow healing… but when God gives us a whole new beginning… a beginning with three precocious five-year-olds… well, that’s the kind of Christmas dream we all love to see! Love Inspired doubled the fun by pairing me with Gail Martin and her book “The Christmas Kite”. You can find this on AMAZON, and in Walmart now!
But being a Western blog, let’s see if I can pull something out of my Christmas Stetson!
First, we’ve got an amazingly fun duo with my good Western buddy Linda Goodnight. I was blessed to be part of a novella duo with her… Western-and-cowboy-themed…. and so I was able to add a “Shepherd’s Crossing” novella to my series set in Western Idaho. The “Shepherd’s Crossing” series brings three Southern beauties… real Steel Magnolias… to a sheep ranch left to them by a benevolent uncle. And there just may be some rugged cowboys who know a good thing when they see it and have the brains enough to keep these girls well above the Mason-Dixon line… despite the cold and wind and snow. Shepherd’s Crossing… where love conquers all. Eventually. 🙂
This beautiful story pairs a single mother with a cowboy who’s spent a bunch of years alone… but Christmas isn’t just a season of miracles. It’s a season of family… friends… and second chances. And Ty Carrington gets his second chance in “Falling for the Christmas Cowboy” my half “A Cowboy Christmas”! And today I’ve got two copies of “A Cowboy Christmas” to send out this week (it’s catch up week on the farm now that pumpkin season is over!)… so you can win it before you can buy it! This book hits stores in two weeks… and on sale for Kindle December 1st!!! PREORDER HERE! (I can’t make it much plainer than that, can I, darlings???)
On sale nationwide in two weeks!
And then, for the historical lovers among us (of which I am one!) here is my historical novella Christmas collection “Christmas on the Frontier”.
This three-novella book takes you back to a simpler time… but faith, hope and love still ruled the day as we built this great nation.
Three great pioneer Christmas stories bring us back to a simpler time… maybe a holier time… a time before Christmas became synonymous with commercialism. A time when a baby in the manger was enough to make us bow our heads… take a knee… pray as one. A time to be grateful for the little things. A time when little was taken for granted because our very hold on life and liberty was tenuous back then and no one had the luxury to be jaded.
“Her Christmas Cowboy”, “A Town Called Christmas” and “His Beloved Bride” make up a wonderful collection from my heart… to yours.
I’m also giving away two Kindle copies of “Christmas on the Frontier” today…. to start your November off right.
Leave a comment about holidays below… what you love? What you don’t love! What makes you laugh or cry? Are you a Hallmark binge watcher? Or a binge reader? Are you Pinterest crazy? Or do you wing it with cookies from Wegmans or Harris Teeter and a Stouffer’s lasagna in the oven?
Because there’s value and joy in both ways!
Four winners today to kick off our Christmas season, then rejoin me in a month when we celebrate Christmas novellas here with the fillies… and I’ll be giving away copies again. Keepin’ it simple. Keepin’ it real. Keepin’ it prayerful in times of trouble…
“For unto you is born this day a Savior which is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign unto you. You will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Luke 2, 11-12
Oh, those shepherds! Those angels!
Can you even imagine what that must have been like?
And today I get to kick of this holy and happy season with you! Bring on the eggnog, my friends! And the cookies. (Who doesn’t love cookies?) And let us rejoice together!
For some reason, I’ve always loved stories in which a hero or heroine helps the other one heal — either physically or mentally. I think it’s because there is a vulnerability, a tenderness when one person takes the time to help another heal, even though it might not be a quick or easy process. A lot of emotion and eventually love can be born out of those moments. I don’t know how many westerns I’ve read where the heroine has to help the loner/farmhand/gunslinger/you name it heal from some illness or wound. They’re alone in a cabin, quite possibly during a blizzard, and the forced intimacy of the space just lights a fire — whether a slow burn or a raging inferno — under their attraction.
So it was to this story trope that I gravitated for my new release, A Cowboy’s Kiss. There’s no trapped in a snowy cabin story thread, but my hero is a doctor in addition to having a ranching/cowboy background. Here’s the blurb:
When librarian Anna Kenner wakes up in the hospital, she’s stunned to learn that she’s been in a coma for a week, and her life has been turned upside down. Anna has always been quiet and self-reliant, but now she must ask for help. To make matters worse, the man she’s coming to rely on is a casual friend from high school, whom she always wished could be more. As Roman helps her recover, Anna wonders if this time she will be braver and have a different outcome—Roman in her arms.
Dr. Roman McQueen leads a busy life between his work at the hospital and his time spent at his family’s Montana ranch. And yet, he finds himself sitting night after night at Anna’s bedside reading her a mystery and hoping that somehow she knows that, even though she has no family, she is not alone. When Anna wakes and begins the long process of recovery, Roman finds himself by her side. He tells himself he’s being a friend even as he tries not to notice how her kindness, quiet wit and subtle beauty make him dream that someday they can have more.
Because this is the second in my Once Upon a Western series, it also has that tie to a classic fairy tale — this time Sleeping Beauty. Anna and Roman’s story falls more onto the slow burn end of the spectrum, first because, well, she’s in a coma. But even when she wakes up and even though she isn’t officially his patient, he has to be careful not to give the impression of any impropriety between a doctor and a hospital patient. But they do know each other, so at first their friendship builds even though each is attracted to the other. There are also things in her past that make her hesitant to act on her attraction to Roman, even after she’s back home. Still, no matter how much she might fight it, the pull between them is just too strong. They are just too right for each other. I’m smiling now just thinking about how I gradually brought these two together.
To find out more about this series or for buy links, check out my website.
Now I’d like to hear from you — do you like the healer story trope in romance? What are some of your favorite stories that have used this?