Tag: #OakGroveSeries

WEDDING AT ROCKING S RANCH and a GIVEAWAY

Wedding at Rocking S Ranch Book Birthday

I am happy to announce a new release in the Oak Grove Series!

To celebrate, I am having a giveaway (see guidelines on this page) and will chose a name among those who comment.

 

Here’s the back cover blurb ~

Can a Widow in the Wild West …find wedded bliss again?

When Cassandra Stewart fulfills her husband’s dying wish by visiting the ranch he loved, she plans to sell it. But then she meets his best friend. As aloof, ruggedly handsome Wolf shows Cassandra the value of life in the prairies, tenderness begins to grow from their shared pain into something more… Maybe theres a future for her at the Rocking S Ranch after all…

The hero in this story captured my heart. I have a soft spot for the competent, yet brooding type and Wolf is all that. What characteristics say “hero” to you?

I also wanted to share a short book trailer…

And an excerpt from Chapter One ~

Alexandria, Virginia ~ 1879

 

Cassandra Stewart slipped her had through the crook in her father’s arm and leaned on him for support as she descended the grand staircase of her parent’s estate. At the bottom of the stairs, her mother stood beside their housemaid. “I don’t like this, Cassandra. Not one bit. Are you sure that you want to do this today?”

“No. I’m not sure, but I’ve put it off for far too long. It’s been ten months since Douglas has been gone.”

“You are still weak. Just the work of dressing has taxed your strength.”

She smoothed the wide silk belt at her waist. It matched the dress she had donned. How she hated the color black. “The attorney said it was necessary as soon as I was feeling well enough. Today is a good day. I feel stronger. Besides, Mr. Edelman went out of his way to travel all the way from the city to take care of things. It is time.”

Father patted her forearm—his way of showing support, both physically and emotionally. He was ready for, as he stated, “the entire disaster of her marriage” to be over and done with. He wanted his little girl back and for life to return to the way it once had been before she ever met Douglas Stewart Jr. Father simply wanted to protect her—his only child—and this was his way to do it. He had no idea that she could never go back to life as it once was. Not after all that had transpired. Douglas had changed everything in her life. So had the loss of their baby.

The house echoed with the whispers of her two great-aunts. While she’d been confined to her bed, they’d discussed her in the hallway just beyond her bedroom door. A wayward woman—tainted—they’d called her, speculating whether the death of her husband was a punishment from above because she’d blatantly gone against her parents’ wishes and the mores of decent society to marry so quickly. Most couples were engaged a year before the wedding ceremony.

Cassandra consoled herself with the knowledge that their own marriages had been long and lonely, as their husbands both sought to escape their daily harping and criticism. Her own marriage, although only a few short months, had been a wonder, and she would be forever grateful to have had that time with Douglas. Yet her great-aunts’ harsh judgment stung her conscience. She had never been good enough to suit them. A disappointment—that’s what she was.

As she walked slowly down the hallway, a chill coursed through her. She pulled her tatted shawl tighter around her shoulders with her free hand. Despite the heavy heat of the midsummer afternoon, she was still cold. The meeting shouldn’t take long. All she had to do was sign the official papers, and her late husband’s land would then be ready to sell. She might have sold it long before this, releasing the burden of a property she’d never seen, if not for Mr. Edelman’s insistence that he make sure that no will existed.

And then there had been her daughter. Cassandra had held out hope that the property would be a legacy to pass on, but her daughter had come early—much too early. Her chest tightened at the memory. She didn’t want to dwell on it yet couldn’t help herself. Hope had become despair. And a mad fury had overtaken her. Douglas had been reckless to participate in that boat race. He’d thought himself invincible in all things. The very quality that had drawn her to him had also been the death of him.

Well, today would be one more snip in the rope that tethered him to her. A rope that she both loved and hated at the same time. Her heart had ached for so very long—nearly a year now. Her hopes and dreams had all been dashed the moment the boat he’d crewed with his friends had collided with another.

As she entered the library, Mr. Edelman turned from the floor-to-ceiling window that overlooked the lawn and the Potomac River. He was a short, round man, with light gray hair and eyes to match. “Good afternoon, Mrs. Stewart.”

At the sound of her married name, her father’s grip tightened on her hand. After all this time, it still bothered him.

“Thank you, Father.” She released his arm and sat down in the chair he held out for her on one side of the massive oak table.

“Mr. Edelman. Thank you for making the journey today. Please take a seat.”

Her mother and father took seats on each side of her at the long table as if to bolster her for what might be coming.

“Indeed, it is no imposition. It is always a treat to get away from the city for a short break in routine, especially in the oppressive heat of summer.” He cleared his throat and took a seat across from her. “I prepared the paperwork several months ago and simply set it aside, awaiting this moment when you would be ready. All that is needed is your signature in several places.”

He set his leather satchel on the table and withdrew a stack of papers. “Most of your late husband’s finances are tied up in the property. Since he left no will, as his wife, you inherit everything. Once the ranch sells, you should have enough money to choose where you want to live and live there quite comfortably.”

Mother gave her a quick side hug. “You will stay here. As you have since the…incident.”

It wasn’t an incident…it was a marriage. But the courtship and wedding had happened so fast, and then the marriage had been over just as fast. No one’s fault, the captain had written in his report of the boating accident. If not for the months of morning sickness that followed and the lingering ache in her belly, Cassandra might have wondered if the marriage had happened at all.

Mr. Edelman placed the first paper in front of her along with a pen.

Something he’d said gave her pause. “You must be exaggerating the extent of his holdings. Douglas said it was a very small farm. He only had a few cows. Certainly not sufficient enough to keep me for more than a year.”

She picked both papers up and started to read. Halfway down the page she realized she hadn’t understood anything and started over. The inked letters swam before her, the words meaningless.

Mother leaned toward her. “I’m sure Mr. Edelman has everything in order, dear. He’s very reputable, and your father has already looked over everything.”

Cassandra stared at the line where she was to put her signature. It was all so very final—putting her mark there. She should simply sign it and let it go. There was already a potential buyer in Denver waiting for word from her. But all that she could think of was the last time she’d seen Douglas. He’d been in so much pain toward the end, but he’d asked her to do one last thing for him.

Mother leaned toward her. “Sign the paper, dear. Mr. Edelman is waiting.”

Cassandra looked up and caught the worried glance her mother sent her father. Another chill slithered through her. Why did she feel so torn about this? Had she procrastinated, not because of her health, but because of the promise she had made to Doug? Was that the real reason she had put off this moment?

“Before I sign this, I have one question.”

“Yes?” Mr. Edelman said.

“Will I be able to stay on the property after these papers are signed?”

He looked momentarily surprised. “Well…no. Any further contact with the property would be handled by Mayor Melbourne in Oak Grove. He is the attorney there. He has agreed to handle the sale upon receipt of these papers. There would be no need for you to travel there yourself.”

“But…what if I choose to?”

Father shook his head. “We’ve been through all this. You are not strong enough to go.”

“But I will be. Not tomorrow, or even next week. But someday.”

Mr. Edelman leaned back in his chair and laced his fingers together over his girth. “I didn’t realize that you had reservations about selling your land. Perhaps you should explain.”

Your land. How could it be hers if she’d never seen it? Never walked upon it? “You see…after his accident and just before he…he passed, my husband asked me to go to the farm. He wanted me to live there—to stay for an entire month. I’m sure he hoped I would come to love it and stay, but of course, that is not possible. I would not want to be there without him.”

“Your parents didn’t mention any of this when they retained my services.”

Of course, they hadn’t. Discussing it in front of Mr. Edelman was their ploy to make sure she felt even more pressure to bend to their wishes.

“It would be sensible if the property were nearby, but to travel all the way to Kansas…” her father interjected.

“Yes, yes,” Mr. Edelman said. “Highly irregular for a young woman of means. Not a good idea to travel on your own. There are ruffians and scallywags out West.”

Cassandra nearly smiled at the exact same words her parents had used when trying to stop her from marrying Douglas. Surely the great Wild West held all sorts of people, not just the social miscreants mentioned time and again by her family and close friends.

“Douglas spoke of the place only a few times,” she said. “He looked forward to showing it to me, but then the boating accident happened.”

“It really is for the best, Cassie,” Mother said. “You belong here. Not halfway across the country stuck on a cow farm with a bunch of rough men.”

Her mother’s words left little uncertainty as to her true feelings. Cassandra glanced up at Mr. Edelman. No doubt he’d heard of her situation, bantered up and down the seaboard by gossipy society matrons. Mother’s inference did not help the slightly tarnished, although completely undeserved, reputation that she’d acquired by marrying Douglas so rapidly.

She suddenly realized that her fingers were clenched around the pen and her teeth were clamped together. Even her chest was tight. She had loved Douglas honorably. It wasn’t fair for others to judge her otherwise.

With that thought, something in the cold ashes of her core sparked. A wisp of the determination she’d once possessed began to glow inside her. Douglas’s memory didn’t deserve to be brushed aside and forgotten as if he’d never existed, as if he were an “unfortunate incident.” Their marriage had happened no matter how hard Mother and Father tried to sweep it under the rug…and push her to forget it.

She was angry that he’d left her alone and reeling from the consequences of his careless behavior, but she still loved him. Their short marriage had been wonderful. Maybe she should do as he asked. A promise, after all, was still a promise, even after death.

She set the pen down, her movement slow and deliberate. “I want to see the grave and make sure that my husband’s interment—” how she hated that word “—was handled appropriately. I believe I will make the journey after all.”

The silence that followed her announcement reverberated like the last gong of a bell.

“Well then,” Mr. Edelman said after a moment, glancing from her to her parents. He gathered the papers together in front of him. “If you are sure that is what you want, I’ll get these in the post to the attorney in Oak Grove. They’ll be waiting there for your signature after you have fulfilled your promise to your late husband.”

“Why can’t I carry them with me?”

He looked unsure. “It’s irregular.”

“It seems sensible to me. They are, after all, my papers.”

“Very well. When you arrive in town, simply leave them with Josiah Melbourne.” He started to close his satchel when he stopped. “Oh, yes. Here’s one more item.” He withdrew a small box and handed it to her.

The crude wooden box was the size of a small rectangle jewelry case and without any decoration. She turned it over. Her husband’s initials—DLS—were burned into the bottom. “Where did this come from?”

“Mayor Melbourne said it was found among your late husband’s papers.”

She frowned. “Why am I only seeing it now?”

“We thought it an oddity,” Mother said quickly. “It’s just an ugly box. Nothing of consequence.”

“But it was important enough to Douglas that he kept it with his legal papers.” Cassandra smoothed her fingertips over the letters. The box was an amateur attempt at woodworking. Was it Douglas’s first attempt? She knew so little of that part of his life. Now, she guessed it made scant difference.

“I took the liberty of opening it, thinking it might hold something of import regarding your late husband’s estate,” the attorney said, indicating she should go ahead and open the box. “As you will see that was not the case.”

She opened the lid.

A folded piece of paper lay on top of a few small assorted items—a lock of auburn hair tied with a bow, a bullet and a leather thong with a small turquoise stone. On the very bottom was a feather. Mementos, she supposed. She wished Doug were here to explain their meaning.

She opened the paper and found a note in her husband’s script, written with a steady, strong hand.

Wáse’ekhaar’a—
You will know what to do.
Wira’a

“This isn’t for me,” she murmured, confused. They certainly were strange names.

“We could put it in the post,” Mother suggested. “There is no reason for you to hand-carry it all the way to Kansas. You belong here.”

Cassandra closed her eyes. “Mother. Please. I will simply take it with me. Someone there will surely know what it is all about.” She turned to the attorney. “I’m sorry to have brought you all this way only to stop short at the last moment.”

“Quite all right.” He leaned toward her, his gray eyes kind. “Your mother and father do have your best interests at heart. You are obviously still recovering from your illness, and it is an arduous journey to travel so far.” He stuffed the papers and the box carefully back in the satchel. “If you change your mind and end up staying here, then send me word and we will talk again.”

“Thank you, Mr. Edelman.”

He stood, as did her parents. At the library door, he stopped. “Please consider, Mrs. Stewart. A promise made to a man on his deathbed isn’t legally binding. God would not hold you accountable for trying to ease the last few hours of your husband’s life. Good day.” He turned and headed down the hall, followed by her mother and father.

They would, as a matter of course, hold a whispered conversation out of her hearing, trying desperately to figure out a way to keep her here. Whatever plan they hatched would come to naught. She was getting stronger. She had to do what she thought was best.

“God might not hold me accountable,” she whispered into the empty room. “But I do.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Wedding at Rocking S Ranch © by Harlequin Books & Kathryn Albright
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you want to be included in the drawing for the giveaway!

 

To purchase your own copy:

HARLEQUIN:  http://bit.ly/2LtXoap

AMAZON:  http://a.co/2IhOtfv

OF BROKEN BONES & BONESETTERS

Welcome to Wildflower Junction and another year of chatting about wonderful books and the Wild West. Looks like we have a great line-up of guest authors coming our way on Fridays this year!

To start the year off right, I am offering a give-away at the bottom of this post, so keep reading!

I am currently writing the OAK GROVE SERIES which is shared with Lauri Robinson. It started last May 2017 with MAIL-ORDER BRIDES OF OAK GROVE. A complete listing of all the books in the series can be found at http://kathrynalbright.com/about-the-books/oak-grove-series/

My newest book in the series, THE PRAIRIE DOCTOR’S BRIDE has just been released. (YAY!) Since the hero is a doctor, I had to portray him doing doctorly things. In books or movies about the Old West, someone with a broken leg or arm will often have their injury splinted with sticks for immobilization. Usually this is “out in the bush,” and although Doctor Nelson Graham could certainly do this method I wanted him showing off his education a bit. Doc Graham was not a lay doctor or a bone-setter (a barber or in a pinch the local blacksmith.) He attended a prestigious school in Boston, and then had several years of experience, employed by the Kansas-Pacific Railroad Company to attend the men building the railroad. He had his own home-office in Oak Grove, Kansas. So, I had to find about a little more about the history and care for fractures.

Hippocrates

HIPPOCRATES

The earliest known care for a broken bone (after resetting) dates back to the early Egyptians of the 5th Dynasty (2400 B.C.) Hippocrates, a physician of the 4th century BC, wrote about immobilizing the bone to let it heal and also having the injured person do specific exercises to prevent atrophy of the muscles. His writings spoke of using cloth soaked in resin and wax. A little later on, starch was added to assist with quicker hardening. Throughout the next 1500 years, different solutions and pastes were used, such as egg whites, clay, and gum mixtures. If a person had a broken bone, they did a LOT of laying around.

Plaster of Paris had been used as a building material for centuries, but in the early 19th century, it became widely used for immobilizing broken bones. The injured limb would be reset and placed inside a wooden box and then the plaster poured over it, encasing the leg or arm in a rigid sleeve. This was heavy and made it impossible for the injured person to move.

Then in the 1830s, Louis Seutin, a doctor in the Belgian army, used strips of linen and carton (or pasteboard) splints that were wet and molded to the limb. The limb was then wrapped in bandages and coated with a starch solution and allowed to dry.

GAUZE COATED WITH PLASTER OF PARIS

Building on Seutin’s work, Antonious Mathijsen, a medical doctor in the Dutch army, found that strips of coarse cotton cloth into which dry plaster of Paris had been rubbed, could be applied and then moistened with a sponge or brush. The cast would harden as it was rubbed and would dry in minutes. Another version of this would be to very carefully dip the dressing or cloth into a bucket of water, so as not to dislodge the plaster of Paris already rubbed into the cloth, and then apply it to the limb. This lighter-weight, smaller cast made it possible for a person to move about while a bone healed.

WALKING CAST

Mathijsent wrote about his method and it was published in 1852 in a medical magazine, Repertorium. This became the standard for setting broken bones until 1950 with only a few minor changes—ie: the use of shellac to make the cast water-resistant. And alterations such as this picture–with a stub to enable walking and yet keeping the cast dry and clean.

So – knowing this – I could finally write the scene where Doc Graham took care of Wally Brown’s arm and actually used a plaster of Paris cast! Since I was a nurse in my past life and the history of medicine has always fascinated me, I had to be careful not to “talk technical” as I wrote the medical passages but to remember to use regular words. Instead of “new, granulation tissue” I described the skin as reddened, a bit puffy, and without any sign of purulence.

If you are interested in finding out more, here are a few links to check out:

http://hankeringforhistory.com/history-of-the-cast/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5420179
http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/setting-a-broken-bone-19th-century-medical-treatment-was-not-for-sissies

* * * * * * * *

Now for the Giveaway!

How about telling me what book you are reading this first month of the year!
Those who comment will have their names put into my Stetson for a drawing for my new release!

* * * * * * * *

THE PRAIRIE DOCTOR’S BRIDE

Nelson Graham has had every advantage in life.
Is it possible for this Boston-trained doctor and a woman who “lives off the land”
to find any common ground?

  • * * * * * * * * 

“This book was a pure delight.” San Francisco Review of Books

 

For more information on this book and others, please visit and follow ~

WEBSITE  |  FACEBOOK  |  |  BOOKBUB

 

Petticoats & Pistols © 2015