Romance, adventure, chivalrous cowboys with chiseled chests and jawlines, and gorgeous horses, placed against the landscape of the open sky and mountainous backdrops of the nineteenth century west—these are some of the things that draw us in to the world of western historical romance.
While we have come far from having to wait ten days to receive any communication from the opposite end of the country (and only that fast because of the efforts of the riders of the Pony Express), and we no longer have to trudge through five feet of snow in the middle of the night in winter to locate the facilities, we do have our own set of challenges. In fact, some of the advances that were designed to make our lives easier often complicate our lives instead. We have all sorts of gadgets that help us organize and manage our time, yet we fill the saved minutes or even hours with additional projects, jobs, hobbies, or other tasks. So, how do we find balance?
I wish the answer to that question was simple. However, it varies for every person because our personalities, our priorities and abilities are all different. My Redbourne series surrounds the lives of eight siblings—seven brothers and a sister—with unique strengths, flaws, and personalities. In each of their stories there are obstacles to surmount, lessons to learn, and potential to discover. Some of the biggest challenges or difficulties hit them because their lives have been thrown off balance by one event or another. Here are just three of the many things I believe we can learn from them:
Find a quiet place to think, ponder, or meditate. In The Bounty Hunter, my most recent release, Rafe, the hero, loves to sit on a bench just outside of the house and gaze out into the countryside in the quiet of the evening or early morning. This is when he can think, free of distraction. We don’t all own a plot of property that extends as far as the eye can see, but we can imagine those places and take the time to calm our minds from the chaos that is often in our lives.
Be active. Life in the west was not sedentary. They did not have dishwashers or laundry machines to help with their chores, cars to get them to the next town, or the ability to shop from the comfort of their own homes. They used elbow grease to get things done. They walked, rode horses, or drove wagon teams to get where they needed to go. And, they had to get out of the house and travel to make all purchases. The act of doing something is invigorating to the soul and releases endorphins, which make us happy. They may not have known about the benefits of being active back then, but the heroes in my books certainly have earned their hardened physiques.
Cultivate family relationships/Spend quality time with family. With all of the modern technology at our fingertips, it is easy to text instead of talk, to fill our calendars with outside activities, to squeeze more time into our work days, and to spend countless hours watching television or gaming at the computer. I believe that we cannot comprehend true happiness without positive, healthy relationships. I think much of the strength inside each of these Redbourne characters stems from the bond they developed as a family as they worked together, played together and stood by each other without question.
I am thrilled to share the first two books in The Redbourne Series with the readers at Petticoats & Pistols. These books have been so much fun to work on as I have gotten to know each member of the Redbourne family, their friends, their enemies, and their love interests. My novels are written on the sensual side of PG—without the graphic love scenes. It is my hope that every time you open one of my stories you will find yourself transported to a different place and time, and when you are done, you will walk away inspired, uplifted, and ready for the next adventure.
Please enjoy this excerpt from The Bounty Hunter: Redbourne Series #2, Rafe’s Story
“Tayla,” Rafe knocked softly on her bedroom door. It was getting late and he didn’t want to disturb any of the other inn patrons. He realized, with some irritation, that she had no idea that she was Tayla.
“Locket,” he tried again, “will you please answer the door?”Hawthorne or not, his mama would have tanned his hide had she ever heard him talk to a woman the way he had spoken to Tayla all day.
The lock on the bedroom turned and she opened the door just enough that he could see one eye peering at him. She slammed it shut.
“Go away. I have no desire to talk to the likes of you.”
“Locket, please. I have to talk to you. It’s about your father.”
The door swung open wide.
Rafe stood in the doorway of her room, frozen. The neckline of Tayla’s nightshift plunged low and hugged her breasts. Her locket dangled between them. She held a brush in one hand and her hair fell in loose tendrils around her face and down her shoulders. He opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out.
She pulled her robe more closely around her. “What do you know about my father?” Tayla crossed her arms, hiding his distraction from view.
Rafe needed something to wet his dry throat.
“He’s alive,” Rafe croaked.
“I don’t understand. Do you know me? My family?”
“Your name is Tayla Hawthorne. The rest we’ll talk about later.”
“I don’t want to wait until later. If you can’t provide me with answers then this conversation is over.” She started to close the door again.
Rafe’s patience was growing thin. He put his boot between the door and the frame.
“You’re not safe here. If they find you, they’ll take you again and I can’t let that happen.”
“Who will find me? And why do you care? You hate me.”
Rafe felt a twinge of guilt twist in his gut. “I don’t hate you.” He took a deep breath. “There is no excuse for my behavior today. I-I’m sorry,” he choked out.
“All the same, I’m staying here with Maggie and Jacob. And Pete.”
The muscles in Rafe’s jaw flexed involuntarily. Pete. She wanted Pete. He was tempted to just walk away and never see her again. He motioned to leave.
Tayla uncrossed her arms and nearly flew out after him. When her fingers touched the skin of his forearm, he froze. She pulled her hand back as if she’d been bitten.
She narrowed her eyes at him. “What about my father? How do I know you’re not dangerous?”
“Oh, honey, I’m dangerous all right…”
I am giving away an e-copy of The Rancher, an autographed paperback of The Bounty Hunter, and an “I Ride With the Redbournes” t-shirt to three separate commenters. Share with us why you love western historical heroes.