Marrying Mattie just came out at The Wild Rose Press, the second book in “The Paradise Brides” series, so I thought I’d babble a bit about it/her today. And anybody wanting to babble back in the comment section today gets in the Stetson for a signed copy! (It’s also available on Kindle. Yay. My kindle is my new favorite thing.)
Here’s how the story came about, which means I gotta go back to the first book for a little bit. In Marrying Minda, Minda Becker, who raised her three little sisters by herself, finally marries off the last of them and realizes it’s time for her. Signing on as a wealthy farmer’s mail order bride sounds like just the thing…so she ventures to Nebraska only to marry the wrong guy. Oh, Brixton Haynes is a hottie all right. But the cowboy isn’t a homebody and misses his life on the Goodnight Loving. He just wants to get back to Texas. Of course he starting to Fall In Love With Minda, but until he Knows For Sure, she gets wooed by the town schoolmaster who is eager to give her a nice life and help her raise the “stepkids” left behind by the original bridegroom. After all, Caldwell Hackett has taught a couple of them.
So….as soon as my editor contracted this book, she wanted me to write a short 2,500 word Christmas story to kind of introduce myself. So I did…reckoning the poor schoolmaster needed a love story all his own. His Christmas Angel, which came in at 2,499 words , was released six months before Marrying Minda, so I decided to give readers a quick tale about Minda’s sister Mattie falling for the hapless schoolmaster Caldwell Hackett. (It’s a free download and will take about four minutes to read. C’mon!)
Since y’all know by the 2,499th word they’ll get together, I had to find a Good Reason to keep them apart—while not separating them—when I decided that Mattie and Call deserved their own novel. Therefore, Mattie’s nasty ex-husband shows up at the wedding in Marrying Mattie to halt the vows, smash the cake, throw a hymnal through a church window. break hearts and cause just a glut of problems..
To top it off, Call –who has given up the classroom to doctor sick horses around Paradise—has to face a strange epidemic striking the horses in Paradise, even his own beautiful medicine hat mustang, Lakota. Poor guy ‘s got so much on his plate.
Speaking of guy, I modeled him after Guy Pearce who wore wire-rim glasses in a movie I can’t remember the name of. So imagine Call looking something like this with a Stetson and hair a bit longer and lighter. (I reckoned a schoolmaster needed spectacles. Doesn’t mean he couldn’t still be sexy, which if you’re looking at Guy, you get it.)
Since Mattie’s ex, Woodrow casts doubts on the legitimacy of their divorce back in Pennsylvania, she’s advised to act like a married woman until things get sorted out…meaning her “private time” with Call is somewhat limited. Fortunately, they take shelter in an abandoned soddy during an impending tornado and take full advantage of getting stranded. I couldn’t’ resist the tornado scene after my Nebraska friend Nancy told me about seeing clouds that look like boobs. They are indeed called mammatus clouds and here are some pictures. So imagine them when you read the excerpt.
Just past a stand of ash trees, a brown little mound rested against a knoll, and she reckoned it was the old soddy, built rather in the dug-out style she’d learned about. Around the old place, the trees writhed in the wind, sending their shadows scurrying around the remnants of the disused farmyard.
The workhorse ran like the devil was after him. Up above, before her eyes, in the snap of a finger, the sky turned a savage brown, hung with hundreds of white clouds in the shape—she gulped embarrassed—of women’s breasts.
Hastily, Call parked the wagon near the trees and helped her down. “Go on.”
“Go where?” she asked, panic on fire in her chest.
“The house. If we’re lucky, there’s a root cellar.” Quickly he unhitched the horse and ground-tethered him against the bluff.
Around them, in the space of a single heartbeat, the air turned still as death, quiet as the grave, and too hard to breathe into her lungs. The bosom of clouds began to undulate in and out as if unseen fingers caressed them.
Call ran around the ragged old structure, and Churnhead neighed.
“No cellar. Get inside. The southwest corner.”
“What about the horse?”
Call shoved her inside a rickety door attached with old shoe leather. “Here.” He dragged her to a corner, and then met her eyes. “He’ll be fine. We’ll be fine. The funnel may not drop.”
“Funnel? You saw a funnel cloud?”
Call said nothing, but he didn’t need to. He had. She knew it.
“Oh Lord have mercy. Call!” She thrust herself into his arms. The funnel might not drop. But it just well might. And they could be killed. Their lives could be over before they truly had begun. What shelter did a tiny pile of sod bricks give them?
Also, the little hook for this one is, well, Mattie has been married before but Call is a virgin. Of course y’all know she eases his nerves in just the right way.
Please sign the guestbook at my website as well for a chance to win a signed copy. www.tanyahanson.com
Hope you like your day in Paradise. Oh, I named Mattie after my son Matt and grandbaby Carter.
(P.S. Click on any cover to obtain…thanks.)