It’s been a long time coming, but Wyoming Lawman, the second book in “The Women of Swan’s Nest” series, will be released on Tuesday, October 12th. Some of you will remember Pearl Oliver from The Maverick Preacher. She gave birth to a son out of wedlock and had plans to move to Cheyenne. This is her story and it’s got vigilantes, a little girl who needs a mother, and a deputy sheriff with a secret.
To celebrate the coming release, let’s do a drawing. And to make the drawing more fun, let’s each include our home state or country. That’s optional, but I thought it would be cool is see how far P&P reaches. Three copies are up for grabs, so here we go . . .
Matrimony? Never again for deputy sheriff Matt Wiley. The only good thing from his first marriage is his daughter. His little girl might want a mother, but Matt knows that no woman should have to deal with his guilty secret, or his anger at God. He’ll do his duty, serve the town of Cheyenne and keep his distance.
Yet when courageous single mother Pearl Oliver comes to town, watching from the sidelines isn’t an option—especially when Pearl lands herself in danger. His heart, Pearl’s life and the safety of their town are all at risk. Only the love and faith he thought he’d left behind can help him win his way to happily ever after.
Here’s an excerpt from the middle of Chapter One. It’s the moment Matt and Pearl meet.
“Get back!” Pearl shouted at the mob.
The crowd parted but not because of her. Every head had turned to a man shouting orders as he shoved men out of his way. As he shouldered past the cowboy who’d whistled, Pearl saw a broad-brimmed hat pulled low to hide his eyes, a clean-shaven jaw and a badge on a leather vest. She judged him to be six feet tall, lanky in build but muscular enough to command respect. He also had a pistol on his hip, a sure sign of authority. The city of Cheyenne, fighting both outlaws and vigilantes, had enacted a law prohibiting men from wearing guns inside the city limits. Foolishly Pearl had taken it as a sign of civility. Now she knew otherwise.
When the deputy reached the street, his eyes went straight to Pearl. They flared with recognition and she thought of Sarah calling her mama. Just as quickly, his gaze narrowed to a scowl and she knew this man and his wife had parted with ugly words. Loathing snarled in his pale irises, but Pearl didn’t take his knee-jerk reaction personally. She had them all the time . . . to crowds and stuffy rooms, black carriages and the smell of a certain male cologne.
The deputy’s gaze slid to Sarah and he strode forward. When he reached the child’s side, he dropped to one knee, muddying his trousers as he touched the back of her head. “Sarah, honey,” he said with a hush. “Look at me, darlin’”
Pearl heard Texas in his voice . . . and love.
The child peeked from the folds of her skirt. “I’m sorry, Daddy. I was bad.”
“Are you hurt?”
She shook her head, but her father wasn’t convinced. He ran his hand down the child’s back, looked at her muddy knees and inspected her elbows. Apart from the scare, Sarah and her doll were both fine. Pearl watched as he blew out a breath, then wiped the girl’s tears with his thumb. When Sarah turned to him, he cupped her chin. “You shouldn’t have left the store.”
He’d put iron in his voice, but Pearl knew bravado when she heard it. He’d been scared to death.
Sarah hid her face in Pearl’s skirt. “I know, Daddy. But I saw a puppy.”
The man frowned. “Sarah–”
“Then I saw her.” She raised her chin and stared at Pearl.
Instinctively Pearl cupped the back of Sarah’s head. She’d been close to grown when her own mother died, but she missed her every day, even more since Toby’s birth. If she’d caught a glimpse of Virginia Oliver in a crowd, she’d have acted just like Sarah.
The deputy pushed to his full height, giving her a closer look at his clean-shaven jaw. Most men in Cheyenne wore facial hair, but the deputy didn’t even sport a moustache. He had a straight nose, brown hair streaked with the sun and the greenest eyes she’d ever seen. If her life had been simpler, she’d have smiled at him, even flirted a bit. Instead she pulled her lips into an icy line. Until she secured the job at Miss Marlowe’s School, she didn’t want to speak with anyone.
He took off his hat, a sign of respect that made her belly quake because she longed to feel worthy of it. The intensity in his eyes had the same effect but for different reasons. He frightened her.
“I can’t thank you enough, Miss.” His drawl rolled like a river, slow and unstoppable. “I was in the store. I had an eye on her, and then . . .” He sealed his lips. “The next thing I knew, someone said a child was down in the street.”
Pearl knew how he felt. Toby had suffered a bout of croup and she’d been worried to death. Her heart swelled with compassion, but she blocked it. “As you can see, your daughter’s fine. If you’ll excuse me–”
“But I owe you.”
“No, you don’t.” She tried to step back, but Sarah tightened her grip.
The man skimmed her dress the way he’d inspected his daughter for injuries. “Your dress is ruined. I’ll buy you a new one.”
“No!” She could only imagine what kind of talk that would cause.
Instead of backing off, the lawman thrust out his hand. “Forgive my lack of manners. I’m Matt Wiley, Deputy Sheriff.”
If she accepted the handshake, she’d have to give her name. She’d be trapped in a conversation she couldn’t have until she spoke with Carrie and the school board. The less she said to this man, the safer she’d be. She indicated her muddy glove. “I don’t want to dirty your hand. I have to go now.” Before he could argue, she pivoted and headed for the hotel.
The cry came from Sarah. Every instinct told Pearl to hug the child goodbye, but she couldn’t risk a conversation with the girl’s father. Walking faster, she skirted a puddle and stepped on to the boardwalk. Thinking of Toby, her father and the new life she wanted for them all, she hurried to the hotel.
Hope you all enjoy the book! Be sure to leave a comment with your name and home state or country. Winners will be announced later tonight.