western romance

Twice a Texas Bride – Book Release and GIVEAWAY!

sceneryWhat price would you pay for love? Would you risk everything?

IT’S FINALLY HERE! Twice a Texas Bride is officially out.

Book two of the Bachelors of Battle Creek series features middle brother Rand Sinclair. I knew he had a powerful story to tell when I introduced him in Texas Mail Order Bride, but I didn’t know how fiercely he’d fight for the woman he loves. Or what he was willing to risk.

ONE CHANCE. ONE LOVE.

ONE OUTLAW WHO’S COMING FOR THEM.

Former saloon owner, Rand Sinclair, finally has his dream—land and a ranch. He knows two certainties—he’ll never fall in love again. Never Marry. Everyone in his life always walks out on him—from his parents to every woman he took a chance with and opened his heart to. No more pain and crushing disappointment. He’s closed his heart.

Twice a Texas BrideIn the dead of winter, he discovers a woman and six-year-old boy hiding in one of his outbuildings. They’re half-frozen and starving. He takes them into his home, feeds them and gets them warm. One look at Callie Quinn tells Rand she’s running from something or someone. He can’t send her back out in the cold. So he offers her a job cooking for him and the future ranch hands he intends to hire.

In the days and weeks that follow, he learns a killer outlaw is after her and the boy. Rand assures Callie that whoever wants to harm her will have to go through him—and that will be a mighty tough job.

While Rand fights his attraction for her and knows that he’s losing, the outlaw Nate Fleming finds them and demands the boy, saying he’ll let Callie live if they’ll hand him over. Rand pushes all his chips to the center of the table.

He risks everything…his name…his heart… his life for the woman who’s awakened a fierce hunger for love.

Locked in a desperate battle to rid themselves of the outlaw’s special brand of terror, he reaches deep inside for every weapon in his arsenal.

One of them will die. Who will it be?

I hope you’ll take this thrilling journey with me in this story of learning to trust again, of taking one more chance, of defeating the odds.

What would you do, or have done, for love? What would you risk? Would you wager everything you have?

To celebrate the release, I’m giving away five copies (your choice of print or ebook) of TWICE A TEXAS BRIDE!

Visit me at: www.LindaBroday.com (sign up for my newsletter)
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/linda.broday1
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/lindabrodayauthor
On Twitter: http://twitter.com/lbroday

Linda Hubalek Introduces Brides With Grit

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Linda_HubalekHello from the Kansas prairie! I’m honored to be a guest blogger on Petticoats and Pistols today, because this site features a group of authors I’ve admired for a long time.

 

Today I’m blogging about my new historical romance series, Brides with Grit. Set in the Ellsworth, Kansas area during 1873, the town’s top cattle drive year, these sweet western romances combine sweet clean love stories with cowtown history.

 

I also live close, so it was handy for me to explore the area, and envision the vast herds of cattle that dotted the hills almost a century and a half ago.
Ellsworth-1873One can find a vast amount of information on the internet about the cattle drives which went through Kansas in the 1870’s. Here’s some interesting tidbits, written by F. B Streeter in 1935, for an article in the Kansas Historical Quarterly.
As a means of advertising the new trail and the shipping points on the line, the Kansas Pacific issued a pamphlet and map entitled, Guide Map of the Great Texas Cattle Trail from Red River Crossing to the Old Reliable Kansas Pacific Railway. The writer has located only two editions of this pamphlet: one issued in 1872, the other in 1875. To quote from the 1875 edition:


Drovers are recommended to make Ellis, Russell, Wilson’s, Ellsworth and Brookville the principal points for their cattle for the following reasons: Freedom from petty annoyances of settlers, arising from the cattle trespassing upon cultivated fields, because there is wider range, an abundance of grass and water, increased shipping facilities and extensive yard accommodations. Large and commodious hotels may be found in all these places, and at Ellsworth, especially, the old “Drovers’ cottage,” so popular with the trade for years, will be found renovated and enlarged.

Drovers Cottage-1872

 

Ellsworth became the principal shipping point for Texas cattle on the Kansas Pacific Railroad in 1872. The first three droves of longhorns that season arrived in Ellsworth early in June. These droves numbered 1,000 head each. Two weeks later a total of twenty-eight herds, numbering from 1,000 to 6,000 head each, had arrived and many more were on the way. The fresh arrivals contained a total of 58,850 head of longhorns. These, together with over 40,000 head which had wintered in the county, made a total of more than 100,000 head of Texas cattle in Ellsworth county. 


That season 40,161 head were transported from Ellsworth, or one fourth of the total number marketed over the Kansas Pacific…Besides those shipped by rail from Ellsworth, about 50,000 head were driven to California and the territories from that place. In the months of June and July more than 100,000 head of beef and stock cattle changed hands at Ellsworth. Drovers found buyers on their arrival, enabling them to close out at a good price and return to their homes.

 

The prices paid for cattle that season were as follows: $19 to $22 for beeves; $15 to $18 for three-year-olds; $9 to $10 for two-year olds; $12 for cows; and $6 for yearlings.
My first thought on reading this? Wow! That’s a lot of cattle to surround the little town.
My second? Dust, manure and flies…and a good setting for a western romance…
cattle drive

The first three books in the eight book series are available now on Amazon, and more titles will be released during the year. Here’s the titles and taglines for the first five books.

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Rania Ropes a Rancher – Book 1

She can ride, rope, handle livestock and children—and he wants her as his ranch wife. But will danger rip them apart, or rope them together?

Millie Marries a Marshal – Book 2

This mail-order bride arrives to find out her groom has died! So, she moves into the town marshal’s house—and into his heart.

Hilda Hogties a Horseman – Book 3

She bought his homestead out from under him with her horse race winnings…and now he wants it back.

Cora Captures a Cowboy – Book 4

She has just days to convince the cowboy into marrying her, or its back to Boston as another man’s bride.”

Sarah Snares a Soldier – Book 5

She leaves her groom at the altar, because there’s a soldier who has snared her heart. But can she catch him as he marches away?

* * *

Sound interesting? I’ve had fun writing these stories, so I hope you’ll enjoy reading them too—without having to worry about the dust, manure and flies…
What’s your first thought when you hear the words “cattle drive?”

Please leave a comment for a chance to win one of two Kindle copies of Rania Ropes a Rancher.
Many thanks from the Kansas prairie…
where I’m writing love stories for you to enjoy

Linda Hubalek

Website | Amazon Author Page | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

 

Linda_HubalekLinda K. Hubalek lives in Kansas and writes endearing historical fiction and romance stories about the strong pioneer women who homesteaded on the Kansas prairie during the 1800’s.

Jodi Thomas: ONE TRUE HEART


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As I began work on ONE TRUE HEART, I knew my hero would be a very intelligent man living in a little cabin in TwistedOne True Heart2
Creek, a lake community near Harmony in the map in my head.  Wouldn’t it be interesting if this man had a nutty sister who believed she could see the future?  You know the type:  Sweet, but not in the mainstream of anything.  We’ve all got one in our family.  I looked around and didn’t see one in my family so I must be it.

Running through the stories of Harmony I’ve always had a bookstore on the main street.  One night, while I was writing, I noticed a sign in the corner between two over-crowded shelves that advertised palm readings the only night the bookstore was open.  As the stories went along the sign would change.  Once it read:  Fortunes, two hands for the price of
one.

Sooo, in the corners of my mind I knew that one day I’d have to put a fortune teller in Harmony.  Two years ago I was in a fortune teller dolldelightful little second hand store in Denison.  I noticed a beautiful hand-made doll, a fortune teller complete with cards in her hand and dice in her box tied to her waist.  The doll traveled all over Texas with me while I was signing and finally made it home to my desk.

I had so much fun researching gypsy fortune tellers and learned much about the fascinating British Romani people. I especially enjoyed reading about the different types of gypsy wagons. My favorite is the Vardo horse-drawn gypsy wagon and you can view a beautiful one at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LPnAYm9d4g.

While my hero, Drew, is trying to live his normal life, maybe even get a date with a fascinating woman who has returned to Harmony to recover, his little sister is making his life impossible.  You see, she was reading a man’s fortune when the sheriff arrested him for killing his wife.  She’s the only one who believes Johnny Wheeler is innocent, because she didn’t see murder in his past.  Kare defends Johnny and drives him insane while she drags her quiet, reluctant brother into a mystery that might get them all killed.

You’ll have to read to find out…unless you are a fortune teller, of course.

Even after over 40 books, I often feel like I step into a story as if it’s already a place in my mind.  I meet theJodi office 2 people just like my readers do and some nights I stay up writing late because I want to know what is going to happen. I don’t know if I’d believe a fortune teller, but I do believe in the magic of creativity.

I do hope you will enjoy ONE TRUE HEART, so be sure to pre-order your copy at my website at www.jodithomas.com.

You can also pre-order here at Amazon.

I would love to give away an autographed copy of ONE TRUE HEART to one lucky reader. I look forward to chatting with you.

Happy reading!

Jodi Thomas

www.jodithomas.com

www.facebook.com/JodiThomasAuthor

www.twitter.com/jodithomas

Introduction and a Giveaway!

Thank you for the wonderful welcome to Petticoats and Pistols ~Wildflower Junction! It is a thrill to be here among such gifted story-tellers. I look forward to getting to know all the fillies better and talking about books, stories, and the wild and crazy West.

I thought for9780373298150 this first post, I’d give readers here a small insight into my life. Don’t worry– I’ll keep it whip-stitch short and lollipop sweet.

I live in the Midwest with my husband. My three sons have grown and are off on their own, but thankfully come home often. I do need those great bear hugs! Not a one is a real cowboy…however my youngest seems to have the cowboy spirit of independence, ingenuity, and love of adventure in the wild.

My stories are often set in southern California where I grew up. I was surprised to see my first story – The Angel and the Outlaw – published as a western because it actually takes place at the lighthouse on the peninsula in San Diego harbor. It is set in the 1870s and has a western “feel” with Spanish flavor. I drew inspiration from that lighthouse and the whaling station at its base. Of course…it did have an outlaw and guns…    My next two books take place in Texas, the result of a family trip to the Alamo. I had goosebumps walking through there and discovering the history.  My latest book is The Gunslinger and the Heiress which again is set in early San Diego.

In January I left my day job so that I could write more. I have so many storiesHotel Del Old Soft inside that are wrestling to get out. It’s a fun, exciting new page in my life and I’m so excited that Petticoats and Pistols will be part of it. Besides writing, I hope to get back to some of the things I haven’t had time for–things like quilting, gardening, traveling, and always–my FAMILY.

I’d love to have you introduce yourself and tell me where you hang your hat (I know there are some here from Australia!) and what you like to see here at Wildflower Junction. I will send a copy of The Gunslinger and the Heiress to one lucky commenter. (Name will be pulled from my Stetson.)

Cheers!

Kathryn

 

Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

Linda BrodayWoo-Hoo! I’m excited to show the cover of my May release, Twice a Texas Bride. I love this cover and the expression on the couple’s faces. So much love in the way he’s touching her and she’s leaning into him. I cried when I first saw it.

For those who don’t know, this is the second book in my Bachelors of Battle Creek series.

The Story Continues……..

Middle brother, Rand Sinclair has washed his hands of any hope of love. Everyone always leaves, always betrays. His heart can’t take anymore pain. He’s come to know two certainties…He’ll never fall in love again. Never marry.

The former saloon owner has sold the Lily of the West and bought a ranch. Rand finally has the land he’s dreamed of owning and that’s enough.

But when he discovers a woman and little boy hiding out in one of his outbuildings in the bitter cold, he can’t turn his back. He offers them safe haven and the warmth of his fire- nothing more than anyone else would do.

Callie Quinn is on the run from a killer outlaw who has vowed to see her dead and take the boy. She’ll die before she turns the six-year-old over to the man who’ll destroy him. Fulfilling a deathbed promise consumes her.

Twice a Texas BrideSlowly, Rand uncovers her secrets and realizes the only way to keep her safe is to push all his chips to the center of the table. He risks everything…his name…and his heart…for the woman who’s awakened a fierce hunger for love.

Locked in a desperate battle to rid themselves of the outlaw’s special brand of terror, Rand reaches deep inside for every weapon in his arsenal.

Whoever wants to harm her will have to go through him.

And he’ll go through hell for her.

This is a story of learning to trust again and finding a way to heal past hurts and deception and looking to the future.

When the three brothers–Cooper,Rand and Brett–stand as one as they have throughout their lives, no one can defeat them. Only now, the stakes are higher with the lives of two children and a motherless babe hanging in the balance.

Will Rand and Callie survive long enough to claim a future?

The release date for TWICE A TEXAS BRIDE is May 5. It’s available for preorder now. Click HERE to order from Amazon or HERE to get it from B&N.

Do you find stories with children in them much deeper or would you prefer it only to contain adults? For myself, I think a child/children adds so much more emotion and depth. All three of my Bachelor of Battle Creek series contain children.

I’m giving away a copy of the first book, Texas Mail Order Bride, to one person who comments.

Life in Turn-of-the-Century Texas by Celia Yeary

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Thanks to Petticoats and Pistols for hosting me today on their very popular blog. I appreciate this opportunity to visit. Please leave a comment and I will reply to each and every one.

I want to tell you about  newest book Wish for the Moon. It’s a story about sixteen-year-old Annie McGinnis who lives with her family on a self-sustaining Texas farm in 1901. She has two older brothers.

They live in a North Texas farming community, the kind in which almost everything the family needs is provided by their own hands. However, once a month, they dress up and ride in the horse-drawn wagon into town to sell eggs, buy a few supplies, and treat themselves to pie and coffee in the cafe.

I wrote this story with my grandparents’ farm and home in mind. I was born ‘down the roaCelia1d’ from their farm, and even though my birth was in 1940, they still lived much as our ancestors had.

Taking creative license, I placed Annie and her family in my grandparent’s home.

The old farmhouse was constructed of weather-beaten boards that had grayed with age. They used kerosene lanterns, a pot-bellied stove in the front room for warmth, a wood-burning cook stove in the kitchen, and a smokehouse for curing meat. Water came from a well  just outside the screened-in porch. Lowering a tin tube into the well, one pulled a trigger and the tube filled with water. When it was brought to the surface, someone “released the trigger” and the water filled a bucket. They used an outhouse which sat back from the house.

 

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~~*~~

 

 

 

Blurb:

At the dawn of the Twentieth Century, sixteen-year-old Annie McGinnis wishes for a chance to see more of the world, since all she’s ever known is the family farm in North Texas. A mysterious visitor arrives who will change not only her life, but her family’s as well. To save Max Landry from a bogus charge, she follows him and the Texas Rangers back to the coal-mining town one county over where a murder occurred. The short journey sets Annie on a path of discovery—new horizons, an inner strength, and quite possibly…love.

~~*~~
Excerpt One: celia3

With one thumb, Max pushed back his worn felt hat so the men could see his face. He stood casually with his hands in his back pockets and one bony hip cocked. He waited until the group washed at the well. No one had looked his way.

One of the sons lowered the tin tube down by the rope and pulled the trigger, filling it with well water. When he brought up the tube, he emptied it into a galvanized bucket on the ground.

The older man talked as he took a rag from his pocket, dipped it into the water, and washed his face, hands, and neck.

“If we hurry, we might finish up tonight. Sure hope so. I’m afraid we’re gonna have some rain tomorrow or the next day.”

The girl pulled a rag from her pocket. “Kyle, move over, dang it. You’re hogging the bucket.”

“Ahhh, what a sissy.” He laughed as she pushed at him, not budging him an inch, but he moved over for her. “There you go, baby girl. Have at it.”

“Stop calling me that,” she muttered, and went about the business of washing up just as the men did. Being a girl, though, she took a little extra care, he noticed, making sure she hadn’t missed a spot of dirt somewhere on her face or neck.

~~*~~

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Excerpt Two:

“Hi, y’all,” she said in a sweet sounding voice, sort of like water gurgling and sliding over smooth rocks, that swooshing, humming sound a person never gets tired of. “What are you doing here? I’ve never seen you around here before. Are you from over to Granbury? Or maybe Mineral Wells or Dublin?”

“Uh-uh. I’m from nowhere,” he said without grinning or anything. “I’m just a wanderer.”

“Why?”

“Why? Because I don’t have a real home, that’s why,” he answered. He never took his eyes off her big, pretty, blue ones, a little turned down at the corners, and framed all around with dark brown lashes.

“Everybody has a home, don’t you know that? Except maybe those hoboes that stay over yonder under the railroad trestle. Are you from over there?”

“Nope.” He shook his head and chuckled a little at her persistence and curiosity. “Aren’t you afraid of me?”

“Why should I be?” she asked with a mock frown. “Are you a crook who robbed a bank, or a bootlegger who runs whiskey, or maybe you’re just a no-account bum.”

Now her face split into the widest grin that made his cold empty heart jump to life. More than anything right now, he wanted her to keep smiling at him.

~~*~~

Free Copy: I will Gift an eBook copy from Amazon of Wish for the Moon to one visitor who leaves a comment.

Link to Amazon

Celia Yeary-Romance…and a little bit ‘o Texas

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/celiayeary

 My Website

My Blog

Sweethearts of the West-Blog

My Facebook Page

CeliaYeary@yahoo.com

 

Sources:

Wikimedia for photos

Wikipedia

On-line Handbook of Texas

LIFE Series

Excerpt of Love on the Mend

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Chocolate Ice CreamLast week, I took my kids to the local ice cream parlor since we had a BOGO coupon that was about to expire. (Can’t let free ice cream go unclaimed.) I decided not to get my own, but just to snitch bites from everyone else’s. Mama tax. LOL. Anyway, my middle child loves eating with the little sample spoons, so he always asks for a free sample before he decides on a flavor. This time they happened to have a new chocolate flavor that was extra rich. Chocolate Truffle. He wasn’t sure if he would like it better than the flavor he usually got, so he tried a taste. It was scrumptious! He immediately decided to get that flavor, and I must admit that my spoon wandered over to his dish more frequently than the others. It was fabulous!

I thought I’d offer you the same courtesy – a free sample to help you decide whether or not you will like my latest novella, Love on the Mend.

In this scene, Dr. Jacob Sadler (on his way back to hometown he ran away from 17 years before) stumbles across a young woman who is trying to rescue a boy who has fallen through the rotted floorboards of an abandoned church. When Jacob offers to help, Mollie insists that he man the rope and pull her up after she drops down into the cellar in order to get to the boy below. However, Jacob takes one look at the boy’s leg and knows that lifting and jostling the lad would be the worst thing for him. So he ignores Mollie’s demand to lower the rope and takes measures into his own hands.

Now only $1.99 for Kindle. Click on cover to purchase at Amazon.

Now only $1.99 for Kindle. Click on cover to purchase at Amazon.

From Love on the Mend:

“Boneheaded stranger,” Mollie grumbled under her breath when the man’s face finally disappeared from above her.

Not that I’m complaining, she mentally amended. I appreciate that you sent help, Lord. Truly. It just would have been nice if the fella weren’t so all-fired sure he knew best. Adam ain’t got the time to waste.

Mollie sighed and turned her attention back to her charge. Poor kid. He was only ten, too young to know the risks of playing in an old building. She was nearly twice that age. Full grown. Responsible. So why hadn’t she made the church off limits during their game of hide and seek? She’d known the place was run down. Should have guessed it’d been dangerous, too. But she hadn’t. All he’d done was drop down from the rafters after she’d discovered his hiding place. The floor had completely given way. She could still hear the crack of the wood ringing in her ears . . . and the crack of Adam’s leg before his scream drowned out all other sound.

She’d nearly panicked before she found that length of rope in the storage closet. She’d tied all her hopes on that rope and now that stubborn, know-it-all man wouldn’t even toss the end down.

“I’m going to get you out of here, Adam.” She smoothed the hair off his forehead, alarmed by how clammy his skin had become. “You’ll be all right. I promise.”

Please let him be all right.

Adam moaned, but made no effort to speak. Was he losing consciousness? Mollie’s heart thumped against her ribs. He had to be all right. He and Uncle Curtis were the closest thing she had to family. She’d never forgive herself if—

Bang!

Mollie jumped. What on earth? Had that been a gunshot? She swiveled to look behind her.

Something crashed. Then a shaft of light penetrated the darkness and illuminated the outline of a man climbing down the cellar stairs.

Her jaw slackened. The boneheaded fella had actually done it. He must’ve shot the lock clean off the chain.

He marched straight up to her and dropped a coil beside her hip. “Here’s your rope.” It hit the dirt with a thud. She expected a smirk or a gleam of gloating in his eyes, but he didn’t even look at her. His attention zeroed in on Adam instead. “I’ll need wood for a splint. All this is rotted,” he said, scowling at the debris scattered around them. “See what loose boards you can pilfer from upstairs. No nails.”

Well, of course, no nails. She wasn’t an idiot. Mollie pushed to her feet, a scowl scrunching her forehead. Just because he succeeded in breaking down the cellar door didn’t mean he could come in and start taking over. Adam was her responsibility, and she wasn’t about to let some stranger mess with his leg. She’d seen what could happen when a bone wasn’t properly set. On the streets in Galveston where she’d grown up, many of the beggars had been crippled by similar injuries that had healed poorly. She wouldn’t risk the same thing happening to Adam.

Fisting her fingers in her skirt, she planted herself in front of the stranger. “We should wait for the doctor to tend his leg.”

The man glared at her. “Lady, I am the doctor.” He raised his hand and jiggled a black bag. A doctor’s bag.

Criminy! The Lord had not only sent her a man who could help get them out of the cellar, but he’d sent her a doctor. An honest-to-goodness doctor. One who wasn’t ancient like Dr. Bradshaw but young and strong and . . . downright handsome. She glanced away before he caught her staring. Really, a man’s eyes should not be that blue. Especially not when his hair was so dark. And here she’d been complaining.

“Hurry and fetch those boards,” he repeated as he hunkered down next to Adam, her looks obviously not distracting him in the slightest. “I’ll need your help setting the leg after I examine him.”

At least he didn’t expect her to stand around and wring her hands. That would save her from having to disabuse him of the notion later. After giving a quick nod to let him know she’d heard, Mollie turned and jogged toward the exit.

  • So what about you? Are you a try-it-before-you-buy-it type of person?
  • Ever discovered a new ice cream flavor or favorite treat after trying a free sample?

Love is in the Air

HeartsValentine’s Day is just a few short days away, and if your schedule is anything like mine, there is little time for reading, which is a shame because my heart longs for a sweet, romantic read to enjoy during this holiday of love.

Well, I have the solution. Novellas! Short, easy reads that can be finished in a couple hours yet still pack a romantic punch.

Only $2.51 for Kindle. Click on cover to purchase at Amazon.

Only $2.51 for Kindle. Click on cover to purchase at Amazon.

Now, as it happens, I’ve just released a new novella myself. Love on the Mend is the story of a young doctor, weary from the horrors he experienced in the Civil War, who finally returns to the home he ran away from 17 years earlier, eager to lay his past to rest and finally find peace. Only his past is still alive and kicking. And so is the feisty nurse who crawls under his skin and makes him feel more alive than he has in years.

This is a tie-in to my last full-length release, Full Steam Ahead. Jacob Sadler is the runaway boy Darius and Nicole take under their wing. However, the story can be read as a stand alone as well.

But there are more great stories out there that will make wonderfully romantic Valentine’s reads. Here are some of my favorites:

Jodi Thomas, one of my favorite western romance authors of all time, has two Valentine’s novellas now available as e-singles. (They were previously published in anthologies along with fabulous fellow fillies – Linda Broday and Phyliss Miranda.)

Click to order

Click to order

Heart on His Sleeve

Headstrong Amanda Hamilton has gotten used to being the least popular girl in town, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t a little hurt when her paper heart is the last one picked—and a gunslinger winds up as her Valentine.  But after one unexpected kiss, she starts to rethink her dedication to spinsterhood…

In a Heartbeat

An army fort is no place for a Valentine’s Day dance—or so thinks stubborn Colt Barnett. Until a lovely woman turns his head.

 

Click to order


Kaki Warner, another fabulous western author, has a novella that I fell in love with a couple years ago. It’s more of a Christmas setting than Valentines, but the story has more to do with a violent winter snowstorm that causes a little girl to go missing than it does with Christmas. Loner Daniel Hobart goes after the lost girl and falls in love with her mother along the way. Snow still falls in February, right? This story is a good  read any time of year, and will warm your heart enough to bring in spring.

  •  So what are you doing this Valentine’s Day? Any romantic plans?
  • Do you enjoy novellas or do they seem too short for you?
  • What Valentine’s reads would you recommend?

Click to order


Oh, and as a special bonus, one of my older titles (full-length, not novella) happens to be on sale today only for $0.99! Head in the Clouds is my Texas fairy tale with a Jane Eyre twist.

When a recovering romantic goes to work for a handsome ranch owner, her heart’s not the only thing in danger.

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you enjoy an overflowing bouquet of romantic stories this week.

Nuns on the Frontier

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An early re-enactment of the 1869 journey from Galveston to San Antonio undertaken by three Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. The journey resulted in the formation of what is today the largest congregation of women religious in Texas.

When the sun rose on Sept. 9, 1900, the island city of Galveston, Texas, lay in ruins. What would come to be called The Great Storm, a hurricane of massive proportions, had roared ashore from the Gulf of Mexico overnight, sweeping “the Wall Street of the Southwest” from the face of the Earth.

Over the following weeks, rescuers pulled more than 6,000 bodies from the rubble, piled the remains on the beach, and burned them to prevent an outbreak of disease. Among the departed, discovered amid the wreckage of St. Mary’s Orphan Asylum, were the bodies of ninety children ages 2 to 13 and all ten Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. In a valiant, yet ultimately futile, attempt to save the children from floodwaters that rose to twenty feet above sea level, each sister bound six to eight orphans to her waist with a length of clothesline. The lines tangled in debris as the water destroyed the only home some of the children had ever known.

Sister Vincent Cottier and two of her young charges at the orphanage in Galveston. All three perished during The Great Storm of 1900.

Sister Vincent Cottier and two of her young charges at the orphanage in Galveston. All three perished during The Great Storm of 1900.

All that survived of the orphanage were the three oldest boys and an old French seafaring hymn, “Queen of the Waves.” To this day, every Sept. 8 the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word worldwide sing the hymn in honor of the sisters and orphans who died in what remains the deadliest natural disaster ever to strike U.S. soil.

Established in Galveston in 1866 by three Catholic sisters from France, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word is a congregation of women religious. Not technically nuns because they take perpetual simple vows instead of perpetual solemn vows and work among secular society instead of living in seclusion behind cloistered walls, they nevertheless wear habits and bear the title Sister. Today the original congregation is based in Houston, but back then Galveston seemed an ideal spot for the women to build a convent, an orphanage, and a hospital. On January 7, 1867, they opened Nazareth Academy in Victoria, Texas. In 1883, the federal Bureau of Education praised the academy as one of six Texas schools providing “superior instruction of women.” By 1869, the sisters had founded a second congregation in San Antonio. From there, they expanded to other cities in Texas, including Amarillo, and even farther west, all the way to California. In 2014, the sisters operated missions in Ireland, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Kenya in addition to the United States. They continue to operate Nazareth Academy, but as a coeducational school serving children in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

Two postulants from the Congregation of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, ca. 1890.

Two postulants from the Congregation of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, ca. 1890.

Armed with faith instead of guns, the sisters did their part to civilize Texas’s notoriously wild frontier. They did not do so without significant hardship. Catholics often were not well-tolerated in 19th Century America, although in Galveston the sisters were admired and even loved for their industry and benevolence. That benevolence led to the deaths of two of the original three Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, who perished during Galveston’s yellow fever epidemic of 1867.

As a Galvestonian, the history of the island city and its diverse people fascinates me. I continue to hope for inspiration that will grow into a story set here, where the past overflows with tales of adventure dating back well before the pirate Jean Lafitte built the fortified mansion Maison Rouge on Galveston in 1815. In the meantime, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word provided the inspiration for the heroine in a quick read, The Second-Best Ranger in Texas, which is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and .

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A washed-up Texas Ranger. A failed nun with a violent past. A love that will redeem them both.

Thanks so much for stopping by. As a token of my appreciation, I’ll give a copy of The Second-Best Ranger in Texas, in the winner’s choice of e-fomats, to one of today’s commenters.

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