Do you believe in love at first sight?  Can it happen?  More importantly, can it last over the long haul of the ups and downs of a relationship?

Throw in a few obstacles from the very first meeting of the hero/heroine, and the relationship becomes even more intriguing.

In my novella, EVERY GIRL’S DREAM, the opening story from A WESTERN SAGA (Victory Tales Press), that’s just what happens.

Sheena McTavish, a young Irish girl, has been raped by the son of her father’s employer. Now, with a baby on the way, Sheena is given an unthinkable choice:  give her baby to the father’s wealthy family to raise, or travel to New Mexico Territory by stagecoach to live with her aunt and uncle until her child is born.  At that point, she will have to place it in a nearby orphanage.

Desperate to buy some time and protect her baby from its father, she chooses to travel west.  Alone and afraid, she starts on the journey that will change her life forever.  Before Sheena’s stage leaves, she meets handsome Army scout Callen Chandler.  The attraction is there, even under difficult conditions.

As the story progresses, Sheena must learn to trust again, and Cal begins to realize he doesn’t have to live the solitary existence he’s endured up to now.  Being half Comanche has left him with no place in either world—white or Indian.  When Sheena comes along, everything changes…for both of them.


There are three other wonderful stories in this anthology besides EVERY GIRL’S DREAM.   They are ALONG CAME WILL by my good friend CELIA YEARY, STORM RIDERS by my pal KAREN M. NUTT, and SAFE HANDS by my long time friend CINDY CARRIER.  These are all wonderful stories, packed with plenty of emotion and lots of action.  To see all of the other wonderful anthologies available from VICTORY TALES PRESS, click here:

At Amazon/Kindle:

Also, check out their exciting imprint of all WESTERN books and short stories at WESTERN TRAIL BLAZERS:

I’ll leave you with an excerpt of EVERY GIRL’S DREAM

Cal is a half-breed U.S. Army scout, who has just rescued Sheena, the heroine, from a Kiowa attack on the stagecoach she was in. They had met briefly the morning before, and as luck would have it, Cal comes upon the stage after the Kiowas have attacked and are getting ready to ride away with Sheena. He tells them he and Sheena are married and the Kiowas reluctantly let him take Sheena, but then…

Cal felt…something.  His back tingled as he waited for the stinging burn of a shale arrowhead.  He risked a glance backward, and saw the Kiowa leader’s stare heavy upon him.

“Sheena, hold on tight.”

“The baby—”

“I know, sweetheart.  We won’t ride hard any longer’n we have to.   Lowell’s Ridge is  only about four miles away.” A very long four miles.

She nodded in understanding.  “I’m sorry, Callen.”

“No call for that.”

“You came for me.”

He smiled at that.  There was a small amount of disbelief in her tone, overshadowed by a huge amount of wonder.  Who wouldn’t come for her?

“You could be killed because of me,” she said softly, as if she had only just realized it.  She laid her hand over his, and in that moment, he wondered if dying for her would be worth the twenty-seven years he’d lived so far.

His heart jumped at her touch, then steadied.  But as he risked another glance back, he saw exactly what he’d feared.  Two of the braves were mounting up, and they weren’t riding the opposite way.  “That still might happen,” he murmured.

He leaned forward, trying to protect Sheena with his body as he slapped the reins against the horse’s side, urging him into a lope, then a full-out run.

The Kiowas were close behind them.  There must have been dissension among them. The leader had seemed content to let him take Sheena and ride away.  One of the others must have disagreed with that decision.

Cal reached to pull his revolver from his holster.

They were strangely quiet, he thought. 

The first bullet cracked from behind them, and Cal reflexively bent lower.  The bullet whined past his ear like an angry bee.

Sheena gasped.  He fired off a shot and got lucky.  One of the warriors screamed in agony and fell from his saddle.  But the other rode low, hanging onto the side of his mount. And he kept right on coming.

The next bullet sang over Cal’s head.  He concentrated on eating up the miles to Lowell’s Ridge.  Riding double was slowing them down considerably.  Sheena’s body was tense beneath the shelter of his own.  Fragile, but strong.  Delicate, but determined.  His hand splayed over her stomach, holding her close, cradling her from the jarring of their wild ride.

A whoop from behind them accompanied the crack of a rifle, and this time, the Kiowa warrior’s bullet found its mark.  A bolt of fire seared through Cal’s right shoulder, and for a minute, the pain was so strong he almost sawed back on the reins. But at his harsh curse, Sheena glanced up at him, her hand instantly clamping tightly over his. The reins were still wrapped in his fingers, but Sheena kept her hand on his, reminding him to let the horse have his head and continue their flight for freedom.

“Hang on, Cal!”

The pain was so breathtaking he could do nothing but nod his understanding.

“Dammit!” she cursed.  That almost made him smile, but the agony in his shoulder surged up and stole his breath again as the horse’s hooves pounded the ground below.

The road was not much more than a trail, and where it narrowed, branches reached out to scrape and snarl in hair and clothing, scratching their faces as they blindly rode toward safety.

As they broke through the brambles and low limbs into the clearing on the other side of the wooded section of road, Cal glimpsed the steeple of the church, then in a moment, the rooftops of houses.

He glanced behind him to see the Kiowa had stopped.  He was taking careful, deadly aim with the Winchester he held. “Christ,” Cal muttered.  “Keep down, Sheena.”




Website | + posts

A native Oklahoman, I've been influenced by the west all my life. I love to write short stories and novels in the historical western and western romance genres, as well as contemporary romantic suspense! Check my Amazon author page to see my work:
I live in Oklahoma City with my husband of 40 years. I love to hear from readers and other authors--you can contact me here:
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  1. Good morning, Oklahoma! And hello, Petticoats and Pistols–thank you, Cheryl, for showing off our anthology, A Western Saga.
    Your heroine and hero are traveling west to New Mexico Territory, one of the wildest, most lawless places in the west. On Sweethearts of the West today, my post is about Wild, Western Old Las Vegas–the other one, the one in NM. So, we’re sort of working in tandem today! Great!
    I loved your story about Sheena, and of course read it in one sitting.
    For one thing, these stories are very good…and they allow me to complete one in a short while. I’m really loving these anthologies.
    This one is wonderful, and I do hope others will try it.
    I’ll be sure to return tomorrow and find out who won the free copies.
    Good job, Cheryl, and thank for doing this–Celia

  2. Hey Celia!
    So good to see you here at Petticoats and Pistols today! I have to tell you, I loved writing Every Girl’s Dream. I could only imagine how Sheena must have felt (OF COURSE, I IMAGINED IT!), to be in such a horrible fix and then be shoved aside by such uncaring parents. To find Cal in her life was too good to be true, so at first, she couldn’t allow herself to even believe it was happening to her. And for Cal? The loner? Sheena is really a dream he never thought he would have. Caught between two worlds, finding any kind of conventional happiness and settling down with a wife and family was something he felt was not in the cards for him. I am so glad you enjoyed the story. I have enjoyed every story in this anthology. Loved ALONG CAME WILL. Your characters are just wonderful. Thanks for taking the time to come by today, Celia!

  3. The cynical me says I don’t believe in love at first sight but the romantic me wants to believe. Lovely blog, Cheryl. I have the Western Saga Anothology and, as soon as I come up for air from my WIP, I’m gonna be digging deep into it.

  4. Hi Cheryl!

    A Western Saga looks like another terrific anthology. And I’m hooked on Sheena and Cal’s story from the excerpt.

    I finished A Historical Collection over Memorial Weekend and LOVED Jason’s Angel. Really a wonderful love story, Cheryl.


  5. Of course I believe in love at first sight! Sheesh, the first time I laid eyes on my ever-lovin’ I told my uncle, “I’m going to marry that guy someday.” I was 14. And I did marry him, three years later! And as some of you might know, we have been married for-ev-er!

    Callen sounds like he could slip his boots beneath my bed anytime, though. LOL You are making life soooo difficult, Cheryl. This looks like yet another “must read.” Best of luck to you and the others with this anthology.

  6. Hi Loraine!

    Yep, definitely sparks, for sure. LOL Maybe sometimes a little flame and sometimes a huge old bonfire. LOL I’m so glad you came by today–I know you are really busy and I appreciate you taking time to come over and comment. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt!

  7. Hi Sarah,
    Yes, I’m with you–that old cynical “me” shows up sometimes too. But I think that’s the great thing about writing and reading romance–we can put RL behind us, as well as our own cynicism, and suspend that disbelief for a while as we let ourselves go into a different world. I am truly a romantic at heart, and I want to belief in love at first sight. Thanks for coming by–I know you are really busy with Banjo’s story. Congratulations on your FOUR STAR REVIEW for HARMONICA JOE’S RELUCTANT BRIDE. That was a wonderful read. I love time travel westerns, and I can’t wait for the one that follows about Banjo, the secondary character in HJRB.
    Hugs, Sarah!

  8. Hi Kirsten,

    Thank you so much for your kind words about JASON’S ANGEL. I’m so glad to know you enjoyed A HISTORICAL ANTHOLOGY so much. Karen M. Nutt has a story in that one and in A WESTERN SAGA as well. You know, I’m finding that the only bad thing about short stories is … they are SHORT. LOL I loved writing about Jason and Sabrina so much, and I also loved Sheena and Cal’s story. I’m wishing I had made both of them novel-length now. I keep thinking of all the twisting paths that could have happened. SIGH. LOL

    Thanks so much for your comments and support. I appreciate you!

  9. Hi Goldie,

    Thanks so much. I truly do enjoy these anthologies because it gives us all a chance to have a “sampling” of so many different writers. These themes give some kind of cohesion to the book while allowing individuality in a writer’s work.

  10. Cheryl… this one is a great story.. I especially like that she is a young Irish girl…hence my heritage…I love the title of your story and the other stories are just wonderful too….
    As always I wish you good luck with this book…
    Best regards

  11. Joyce, what a wonderful love story! I believe in love at first sight too. More of a “connection” that we can’t explain than anything else. I have to say, my husband and I didn’t like each other when we first met. We were in an accounting class together. He was a newly divorced, just-mustered-out sailor and I was just out of high school. He thought I was “fake” (because of my Oklahoma accent–he was from WV) and I thought he was rude. LOL Boy it’s funny how things work out. We ended up going to a dirt track stock car race, and he broke up a fight between two drunk and rowdy fans. Then he came back and sat down beside me, put his arm around me and asked, “Are you okay?” LOL THAT was when I knew I was going to marry him–on our first date.

    As for Cal, yep, he could put his boots under my bed at any time, too. He’s my kind of guy.

    Joyce, I want to congratulate you too, on your FOUR STAR REVIEW for PROMISE THE MOON. That looks like a wonderful read, too, and is on my TBR list as well. So I guess we are just going to make life hard for each other for awhile. LOL


  12. Hi Kathleen,

    My mom’s side had a lot of Irish blood, and the temperament to match! I really enjoyed writing this story, EVERY GIRL’S DREAM. I think Cal WOULD be every girl’s dream! LOL Thanks so much for coming by and commenting, Kathleen–you are always so supportive. I appreciate you!

  13. I loved the excerpt. A Western Saga looks like terrific anthology. I believe in love at first sight. I think it can last to. Like any relationship there will be some ups and downs but the couple in the relationship can’t just give up they have to work trough their problems.

  14. Hi Mary J,

    In these hectic times, reading a story in one sitting gives me a feeling of accomplishment, or something, I don’t know. LOL But I like being able to do it. I’m putting your name in the hat! I’ll pick a couple of winners later on this evening, so be sure to check back.


  15. Hi Vicki,
    Bless you for taking time to comment–I know you are really busy with wedding prep right now! Thanks so much for your kinds words!

  16. Hi Denise,
    Thanks so much. I really enjoyed writing this one. We were given a “base” story to work from with characters and my Sheena is a descendant of theirs.

  17. Hi Jacquie!
    Good to see you here at P&P! Thanks so much for your very kind praise. I think these stories are all so different in their own right, but the western theme holds together. I enjoyed them all. Cindy is a relative newcomer but I enjoy her style very much. And of course, Celia and Karen and I have a few of these short stories under our belts, but we enjoy writing them so much. So glad you enjoyed the anthology.

  18. Becky, thank you so much! So glad you enjoyed the excerpt. Yes, I agree, all couples are going to have their ups and downs, but sometimes there is a kind of instant pull toward someone and you just “know”, don’t you? Thanks so much for commenting.

  19. Congrats, Cheryl and Celia, too. I love the excerpt and will soon load up my Kindle. I totally believe in love at first sight. And if you work hard enough at anthing, you can make it work. oxoxox

  20. Thanks for sharing with us… great excerpt! I believe in love at first sight… has not happened to me but I believe!
    greenshamrock AT cox DOT net

  21. Cheryl, congrats on the anthology release! It looks wonderful. And that excerpt…..Wow! Really draws you in. I wish you lots and lots of success, Filly Sister.

  22. Hey, there, Cheryl! I am here! Any excerpt by you always makes me want to read the whole thing. And thanks to Rebecca for allowing me to join such wonderful company! Congrats on all your stories – you have worked so hard for every success. And thanks for taking my hand and helping me step off into the world of fic. “Safe Hands” isn’t any hot romance like yours, but it was my way of allowing me to gush over a hot and handsome young man – a girl can dream at any age, right?? And love comes in all sizes, shapes and ages.

  23. hi Tanya!!!

    I believe that, too! When I think of all the marriages that have been arranged, and WEREN’T “love at first sight”–that’s proof enough that work will enable success, isn’t it? LOL I hope you enjoy the anthology. I don’t know how you have time to read with all the contracts you’re working on! Thanks for your very kind words, my filly sis!

  24. Hi Colleen,
    I’m glad you enjoyed the excerpt. You know, I don’t believe that Cal and Sheena actually realized that they were going to be in love. LOL It was gradual to them, sort of, but the reader can see that they are going to be entangled from the very start. LOL

  25. Hi Cheryl! Everyone!

    Cheryl thanks so much for letting come by and share, too.

    I’m at the day job, but thought I’d pop in and share a blurb for my story, Storm Riders!

    Storm Riders (steam punk/western/time travel) “Storm Riders is a tale of how the wild west would look if the future came for a visit.”

    Three destinies, three paths for each decision a person makes, but if one of the roads becomes tangled, a Storm Rider must step in and repair the rift before the dimensions collide.

    Samantha Skelley and Denny Randeli are sent to 1879 Bodie, California, one of the wildest towns of the west. It should have been an easy snatch and rescue, but Ace McTavish is determined to put himself in harms way. Samantha and Denny are forced to help him with his plans before they take the next storm ride home.

    Samantha and Ace’s attraction for each other sparks into forbidden territory, both knowing their relationship can never be. However, fate may surprise the star-crossed lovers and rewrite the passage of time.

  26. Linda,
    THANK YOU! That means so much to me. I felt so sorry for both of these characters and the loneliness in their lives, I just HAD to give them a very HEA. LOL Thanks so much for your kind praise –I appreciate you.

  27. CINDY!!! So so glad to see you made it today! I’m so happy that we are “anthology mates”–Rebecca is great to work with, and these anthologies are just wonderful to be a part of. I have loved your story SAFE HANDS since the moment I read it…long ago. LOL You know what I love about that story? I can picture myself as Elisabeth, older, alone, at the mercy of the world in dangerous times as she was, and certainly not able to trust…and then having a young handsome cowboy show up on her property…I’m sure she had no choice but to try to have some faith again and help Lane. I know I would… You have such a wonderful style and that story has stuck with me since the day I first read it. It’s a glorious story and just so memorable and touching. I didn’t do anything but browbeat you into taking a chance, but sometimes that’s the hardest thing to do, right? We have all been there!

  28. KAREN!
    So glad you are here. I have to tell you, I absolutely LOVED this story, STORM RIDERS. You really had a great premise for it, and Ace and Samantha are just something else. So glad we are “anthology mates” and I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this story of yours.

  29. Cheryl,
    Thanks for the excerpt. Sounds good. The West was a place of danger, but also a place for a new start for so many. You were a bit more likely to be judged on your character and abilities than who or what your family connections were. Of course there were exceptions, being indian or part indian, chinese, or mexican was hard to overcome, no matter your abilities and personality. The smart people saw past that. When your life is on the line, surface differences are no longer important. Sheena and Cal sound like a couple I will enjoy getting to know. Every girl’s dream is to find a man of honor who will care for her, let her care for him, be his helpmate, and return her love. Makes for a great title and story line.

    Best of luck with the release of this anthology. They are my favorites. A good way to sample authors I am not familiar with.
    Have a great week.

  30. Hi Patricia,

    You are so right. I think that’s why I love the west so much, and feel so privileged that I was born and raised in this part of the country. My family has Indian blood on both sides, my mom’s and my dad’s. Here in Oklahoma, that was HUGE “back in the day”–such a stigma! So, of course, Cal would feel that and although he’s part white, he doesn’t fit into either world, until Sheena comes along. Sheena knows what it’s like to be ostracized and what prejudice feels like, being Irish. She understands, but she can also be free to love and to disregard the fact that he is part Indian. Yes, I totally agree–every girl DOES dream of a man of honor who cares for her and will be the one to return his love. That title just came to me, much easier than some do. LOL I love anthologies, too. They are just so much fun. Thanks so much for coming by and commenting. Your comments are always so thought provoking.

  31. As a fellow historical western author (though I am still in the pre-published stage) I want to offer my congratulations and best wishes for your story.

    As a hopeless romantic I do believe in love at first sight 🙂

    Take care! Colleen 🙂

  32. Great excerpt, Cheryl. I want to read this entire story and the others as well. I congratulate all four authors and Rebecca for putting this book together. I predict it will be a huge success. Linda

  33. Hi Cheryl,
    This sounds like a great book and I can’t wait to read it! I am always on the lookout for a good western romance and I enjoy anthologies. Love the excerpt, but darn, you left me hanging!!!

  34. hi Colleen M,
    Thank you so much! I am so excited about this anthology. There’s nothing like being among a group of authors that are writing the western-y stuff we all love. LOL Yes, I am like you, Colleen–I definitely believe in love at first sight! I’m glad to hear from another western writer. Got any idea about when your book might be published?

  35. Hi Linda!
    Thanks so much for coming by and commenting. I have to say, Rebecca is a MARVEL. I don’t know how she does everything she does as WELL as she does. I am so very thankful to be a part of Victory Tales Press AND Western Trail Blazer, where my novel TIME PLAINS DRIFTER will be released as soon as I can get the edits done on it. LOL And I am thrilled to have the “anthology mates” I have in this book. They are all master story tellers.

  36. Hi Sharon!
    LOL You crack me up! Yep, I HAD to leave you hangin’, girl! But I’ve been reading everywhere about how the shorter excerpts are better, because they keep interest high, so I guess that just proves the point, doesn’t it? I’m like you, always on the lookout for the next good western read. LOVE WESTERN ROMANCE SOOOOOOO MUCH!!! And anthologies are really fun to read and to write for. I truly have enjoyed writing these short stories.

  37. Hi Cheryl,
    Oh girl you know how I love your heroes…just the right mix of daring and heart stopping reckless. Callen shows all the signs of being that memorable. I also like the exotic mix of ethnic backgrounds that make up your leading men. Of course your excerpt left me hanging by my finger nails…Mary

  38. I love reading Anthologies and this one sounds great. Would love to read it. Thanks for sharing!

    ghurt110 AT bellsouth DOT net

  39. I was scouting out blogs devoted to westerns and was directed your way by Paty Jager.

    I enjoyed reading the excerpt. When I come up for air from promoting my own book, Under A Texas Star, I hope to read more. Meanwhile I feel like a girl at a big buffet, sampling the tasty treats.


  40. Hi Mary!
    THANK YOU!!! I’m so glad you made it over here today! That is very sweet of you to say about my heroes. I have always enjoyed writing most of my heroes as half Native American or Hispanic. To me, that gives them even more reason to be the loners they are. Of course, I had to leave you hanging, Mary! LOL Thanks so much for coming over and commenting!

  41. Hi Quilt Lady!

    So glad to see you here. Thanks so much for the kind words. I am very proud of this anthology–it was a lot of fun to create and I couldn’t ask for better co-authors.


  42. Hi Alison,
    So glad you found us and I hope you will come back often. You’re right about the buffet! LOL I’m still catching up on reading all the archived posts and the wonderful books by all the talented authors here at P&P. Good luck on the success of UNDER A TEXAS STAR!

  43. Thanks so much, Cheryl. I’m glad to be part of this wonderful anthology, too.

    Cheryl, I’ve always been a fan of your wonderful tales-short stories and long! I’d want you at my campfire anytime to spin your tales.

    Celia, I enjoyed your sweet romance. Though I wanted to bop a certain someone to make a move before it was too late. lol

    I’m reading Cindy’s tale now. I already love the characters! From page one I was drawn in. I started your story late last night, planning on only reading one chapter and I ended up reading three. I only put it down because I had to be up at 5am and it was already after 12. lol

    Again, thanks Cheryl for letting us pop in for a how do ya do! 🙂

  44. OKAY, Ladies, here’s what I decided to do today. We had so much participation (YEEHAW!!!!) I decided that I couldn’t just draw TWO NAMES. So I drew FOUR NAMES instead! And here are the winners of the pdf copies of A WESTERN SAGA:

    CONGRATULATIONS! I hope you enjoy!

  45. Karen,

    Thanks so much for taking part today! I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I appreciate you, Cindy and Celia so very much as friends and fellow writers, and I am very excited about this anthology of ours. Thanks so much for the high praise. I appreciate that so much. I am just thrilled that you, Celia and Cindy could all make it over here to P&P today and say howdy.

  46. What an exciting excerpt! I already care about Cal and Sheena and want to know what’ll happen…and how they’ll get their happily ever after 🙂 I don’t remember the last time I read an anthology, and this one sounds excellent! Would love to win a copy.


  47. Kathryn,

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! I picked the winners before your post, BUT don’t despair! I wlll be at Sweethearts of the West on the 28th giving away 2 copies! Thanks so much for coming by and commenting about Cal and Sheena–they are some of my favorite characters because of the hardships they both have faced. Oh, also, Rebecca Vickery will be here on the 23rd of July and she will be giving away some prizes then, too. Thanks again, Kathryn.

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