Cheryl7126I’ve got a new release that hit the shelves last week just before Valentine’s Day! Hidden Trails is my latest western historical novella. This was a fun little novella to work on because it was something I hadn’t dealt with before. Though I write a lot of stories with heroes who are of mixed heritage–half white/half Indian, or half white/half Hispanic, I’ve never written a story with a heroine quite like Valentine Reneau.

Valentine’s mother was a slave, a beautiful octoroon, whose cruel master sold her off in a fit of drunken pique–luckily for her! She is able to marry and make a new life for herself, but there is always the uneasy fear that her former owner might find her–even though the Civil War has ended, and she is free. When Valentine is old enough to understand, her stepfather explains it to her, and so begins her burden of constantly looking over her shoulder, as well.

Now that Valentine’s on her own, she has to protect herself. The old fear is there, and it’s very real. But Valentine isn’t alone any longer.

Levi Connor rides into her life with a bullet in his leg, half dead from cold, hunger and blood loss. Once Valentine saves him, will he ride on, or will he stay and help her face her nightmare-turned-reality–the man she must acknowledge as her father?

Valentine intrigues me because I don’t know where she came from in my imagination. I “met” her walking along the road in the blizzard, carrying a wounded collie pup. I just knew she was the one for Levi. Have you ever read a story with an unlikely love match that stuck in your mind? I always am curious about what makes one person fall madly in love with another–especially when the odds are stacked against them.

There’s lots of excitement and action—and a Valentine’s Day hope for new love in this novella! Leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of HIDDEN TRAILS today!

PRPHidden Trails WebBLURB:

Levi Connor has never run from anything in his life, and he doesn’t intend to start now. After killing the two bandits who’d followed him into Indian Territory, he finds himself wounded and riding through a blinding February snowstorm. With no purpose ahead of him and no past to guide him, he discovers a reason to exist—the beautiful mixed-blood girl who takes him in and heals him. Valentine Reneau lives in fear that her father will find her someday in the heart of Indian Territory and force her to return to Mississippi to take her mother’s place—in every way. She knows her time has run out when a stranger shows up on her land with two hired guns—and the devil in his plans. With some unlikely help, Valentine must try to escape the slave’s fate that her mother left behind so many years before. Will Levi kill for a woman he barely knows? The chips are down, the guns blaze, and everything finally comes clear along these HIDDEN TRAILS…but who’ll be left alive?


She pulled the covers away so she could see his leg. Without saying anything more, she took the lantern from the nightstand and turned up the wick, holding it close to the wound.

“I better get to this,” she said under her breath. Then, she glanced up to meet his gaze. “How long have you been carrying this bullet? And what are you running from?”

Levi grimaced as she turned her attention back to the wound and prodded at it.

“Three days. And I ain’t runnin’, ma’am. A Connor don’t run.”

“And you are a Connor, I take it?”

“Levi Connor. Didn’t get a chance to introduce myself earlier,” he muttered, letting go a sharp breath as she laid a warm, wet cloth over the wound.

“Need to get it cleaned up,” she said. “I don’t want to hurt you, but it can’t be helped. Taking out a bullet is always painful, but when it’s been in there for three days—”

“I know.” He waved a hand dismissively. “I’m just obliged to you—and I’ll make it up to you—for bein’ such a bother.”

She shook her head. “No bother. Truly. My father was a doctor, so I do know a little about what I’m doing.”

Levi breathed a slow sigh of relief. This wasn’t his first bullet hole. But thank God, he’d ended up here, with a beautiful young woman who seemed capable of treating him. There had been times before when he would have prayed to be in this circumstance, rather than some of the ones he’d found himself in.

Gentle hands ministered to him, but he suddenly remembered the very delicate location of the bullet hole and tried to re-cover himself.

“Mr. Connor, I’ve seen everything you have—and many others just like it,” Valentine said matter-of-factly. “I can’t very well remove a bullet from a wound I can’t see.” She snatched the covers from his hand and threw them back to his side. “You’re making it harder for me to be able to do what I need to.”

“In a week or two, I’d pay money for you to flip those covers away like that,” Levi answered.

She bent a long, hard look on him. “I’m not for sale, Mr. Connor. Not at any price. You want to keep riding?”

Levi shook his head. “Forget I said that, Valentine. Just the pain and the…damn humiliation talkin’. I didn’t mean it.”

A slow smile quirked her lips. “I can’t imagine you ever being embarrassed.”

“Believe it or not, I was raised a gentleman, ma’am.”

“I believe it, Mr. Connor. I do believe it.” Her voice was soft and sincere, and full of loss for things Levi didn’t understand.

But just then, she pulled the wound open and probed for the bullet, and the pain stripped everything else away from him. There was nothing in Levi’s consciousness but Valentine and her tweezers, delving into the bloody hole in his leg. He swallowed back the cry that threatened to bring the roof down, forcing it away.

If you just can’t wait to see if you won, here’s the Amazon buy link:


Thanks for stopping by today! Be sure to leave your contact info in your comment in case you win!

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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: http://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson
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: fabkat_edit@yahoo.com
Follow me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cheryl.pierson.92


  1. Oh my Cheryl. I would love to read this book. I love westerns and this one sounds intriging. I have read many books about slaves and was always good, tho I always felt sorry for how they were treated like animals. Please put my name in. And, then it would be so good for it to be pulled out. 🙂
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

    • Maxie, my heart just ached for Valentine’s mother and what she went through before she found her happiness, and that’s what makes us so fearful that this awful man WILL track Valentine down and try to kidnap her. But I promise, Levi WILL save the day! LOL

      I’ve got you in the drawing!

      Thanks for stopping by today!

    • Faith, it seems like so many of our characters truly AREN’T good matches in the beginning, but they discover that love wins the day after all, right?

      When my husband and I first met, I thought he was so rude. And he thought I was “fakey” because of my accent. We were in a college class in West Virginia, where he was from, and I was from Oklahoma. Well, naturally, I still said “y’all” and sounded very “southern” compared to them. A mutual friend in the class told him I was from Oklahoma, and he later told me he felt like a jerk. LOL

      Here we are, still together after 38 years.

      Thanks for coming by today, Faith!

    • Thanks, Alisa! You are always so supportive, and believe me, I appreciate that TONS! Thanks for stopping by, and I will put your name in the big ol’ Stetson!


    • You’re welcome, Deanna. I would rather read a good western than anything else. And there are soooo many good ones out there!

    • Hi Sharon,

      Yes, they’re my favorite, too. The first one I ever read that got me so hooked on them was Rosemary Rogers’s SWEET SAVAGE LOVE. I thought there had never been a better book written! I still love that book, even though “the rules” of writing have changed. It’s a page-turner, still. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Me, too, Colleen. It can’t be too easy, and it’s a challenge making the obstacles they face very real and seemingly insurmountable at times.

      Thanks for coming by!

  2. how interesting,,sounds really good,,they didnt think my husband and I would make it either,,we were both middle aged and met on line and lived 1200 miles apart,we long distance dated for 2 yrs,,before we married almost 12 yrs ago,,cant imagine life without him,,he is still wonderful

    • Congratulations, Vickie! I think my parents were worried sick about my husband and me–he’s 6 1/2 years older, and had been married and divorced, with 2 small kids at the time we met and married. Of course, both of them thought he would eventually go back to his first wife, or leave me, too, etc. They imagined all sorts of things that “might” happen. But we were totally in love, and here we are, 38 years later, still together. I loved hearing about your “success” story of overcoming the odds and making a good life with your hubby!


  3. I’ve read your books, Cheryl. But this one looks different and definitely has my attention. You have a gift! Never stop writing 🙂

    • Thanks, Cindy, that means so much to me. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed what I’ve written. I think you will like Hidden Trails, too.

  4. Cheryl! Looks like another great one. 🙂 I married a man I didn’t fit who was on a fully different path, but we learned to fit and are still on the path we created. Those make the best love stories, I think.

    • Loraine, I agree with you. My husband and I were not alike, but love overcame everything. We did play music together and that was a great bond for us, too.

  5. HIDDEN TRAILS sounds like an exciting story! I really enjoyed the excerpt and would love to read more about Valentine and Levi! Thank you for the giveaway, Cheryl.

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

  6. Congrats on your new release! It sounds like a fantastic read would be perfect for this snow day we are having. We are snowed in here today. We have been having people getting stuck in the ditch across the street all day. Not sure why people get out in this when its this bad.

    • Quilt Lady, I’m in Oklahoma City and we got sleet that just froze and made a solid sheet of ice. I would not BEGIN to go out on that! My kids are now old enough to have good sense, so I don’t think they would, either. It’s just not worth risking your life!

      Thanks so much for stopping by today! I appreciate it!

  7. Hard to imagine what it must have been like for those who were free but still in fear of that being taken away from them. Valentine was lucky that her mother got away and she was raised in relative safety.
    There is much to be said for the writer’s mind. An injured puppy and a blizzard combined to trigger a character and story. We as well as the puppy benefited from your trek out into the blizzard. I am glad you “met” Valentine and brought her story to life. Conner is an interesting character. What is the reason he has no past and no future when he finds himself wounded and near death when Valentine finds him? I look forward to reading HIDDEN TRAILS and finding out what their story is.

    • Patricia, I always enjoy your very thoughtful comments, my friend. I, too, wonder about my OWN mind at times. LOL Valentine was one of those characters that just appeared, and she was who she was, and I knew better than to try to impose anything I might want to change about her on her. LOL

      Levi Connor has had it rough, too. His parents were killed by Union raiders, and although he and his brother were just knocked out, their sister was raped and has not spoken since. He blames himself for not being able to do anything about any of it, even though he was a young teen at the time.

      SIGH. But true love heals the wounds we think might never heal…

      I’m so glad you stopped by and commented!


    • Hi Susan! Thanks for stopping by today, and for your very kind words. I really do love these characters, and their story!


  8. I just put all the names into my big ol’ hat and drew out a couple at the same time, so tonight I have two winners! And they are…

    Patricia B and Faith Blum

    Congratulations, ladies! I don’t think I have your e-mail addresses–if you will e-mail me at fabkat_edit@yahoo.com I will see that you get your prize!

    Thanks to everyone for stopping by today!

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