Excerpt & A Giveaway!

AutumnCooler weather, changing leaves, hot chocolate…welcome Autumn!

I grew up in southern California right along the coast where the weather varied minimally from a calm 72 degrees. I think that is why I appreciate having the four seasons in my life now that I live in the Midwest. As a child, my family would take day-trips to the back country of San Diego to hike and picnic among the falling leaves and snow. It was always fun.

My Christmas story, Dance With A Cowboy in the Wild West Christmas Anthology takes place there in the fictional town of Clear Springs in the Cuyamaca mountains. This story won the 2015 Holt Medallion Award of Merit. (And if I do say so myself–has a very sigh-worthy hero!) At the end of the excerpt you’ll find how to enter the giveaway!

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Excerpt ~ Dance With A Cowboy

Garrett held the door open and followed her out into the late afternoon light that filtered through the pines. They stood for a moment, staring at each other. He was taller than she remembered…taller than Josh. And where Josh’s nose had tilted up in a friendly fashion, Garrett’s was straight as a knife’s blade. He didn’t say a word, just turned and started down the boardwalk.

She supposed walking—and talking—would be easier than standing still and looking at each other in an awkward attempt at normality. Although her legs ached from standing all day, she fell into step. They headed away from the mill. The sound of the saw’s constant whirring lessened even as the buzz of nervous energy inside her began to build. Their footsteps grew louder on the boards, emphasizing their lack of conversation.

At the corner he stopped.

“We could sit.” He tilted his chin toward the bench in front of the hotel.

“I’d like that.” Stilted. Proper.

They crossed the street and he waited while she settled herself. He didn’t sit, but leaned against the post that supported the small overhang to the hotel’s front entrance. To anyone passing by it looked like a casual meeting, but the sharpness of his gaze belied that. She drew in a deep breath, filling her lungs with the scent of the crisp mountain air. “I’ve missed the smell of the pines. Dance With a CowboyIt’s different on the coast. Salt in the air. Brine.”

He raised his chin slightly in acknowledgement. Small lines fanned out at the corners of his eyes, yet she doubted with Garrett that the lines were from laughing.

“So you’re back.”

She nodded, pasted on a bright smile.


“With my daughter.”

“Josh’s daughter,” he murmured. The lines deepened between his dark brows. “You named her Lily?”

“After my grandmother.” He should know this, she’d sent a note after the birth. “She is five now.”

“Why did you come back?”

It was more a challenge than a question. She’d been asked the same thing half a dozen times since her return, but now the answer sounded too simple, even to her own ears. “I wanted Lily to grow up here.”

He seemed to turn her words over in his mind.

She stiffened her spine. She wasn’t about to blurt out all that had really gone on—the snide comments questioning Lily’s parentage. The suggestive glances and remarks from men who thought she was lonely. Her parents’ constant disappointment in her, in Lily.

“The memories are still here,” he said.

Meaning Josh. Those memories. She relaxed slightly. “I have good memories from growing up here—the schoolhouse, swimming in the lake. It’s a good place to raise a child.”

Again, he seemed to consider her answer, looking past the surface of her words. He’d always done that, even when they’d been younger. Her gaze drifted to his lips, remembering her very first kiss and how sweet and gentle it had been. So different from his brother. She frowned, upset at the comparison. She’d come here to move on with her life, not to dwell in the past.

She stood, gathered her shawl closer around her and moved to the edge of the porch. “I’d better go. Sue is in a tizzy getting ready for the season.”

He straightened and moved away from the post. “I’ll walk you back.”

Always the gentleman. He hadn’t changed in that regard.

“It’s not necessary. I’ll see myself back to the bakery.” She started down the steps to the street.

“When can I see Lily?”

She stopped. She’d been expecting the request, but she wasn’t ready to share her daughter. “Another time.”

“I don’t get into town very often. I can wait until you’re done working.”

“No!” It came out fast—unthinkingly—without tact.

His eyes narrowed. “Do you want to explain why not?”

“I need to prepare her first.”

“Prepare her! What the heck for?”

She raised her chin. “Other than my great-aunt Molly, Lily has no idea she has relatives here.” Before he could say another word, she turned and hurried away.

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Wild West Christmas ~ Dance with a Cowboy by Kathryn Albright

Since the heroine (her name is Kathleen) has just moved back to town and has found work in the bakery I thought I’d ask the question…

What is your favorite Autumn dish or dessert?

Comment for a chance to win a free copy of Wild West Christmas today!

Please refer here for all contest rules.

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51 thoughts on “Excerpt & A Giveaway!”

  1. This is a hard one – since I enjoy my desserts. I have a recipe for pumpkin cookies frosted with cream cheese that I really like.
    Your book sounds wonderful. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

    • Hi Janine,
      I love pecan pie too. I tried making it once and it never set up–was gooey and soft–so I haven’tried again, but I always ask for it at restaurants when I go out to eat.

  2. My favorite autumn meal is chicken pot pie followed by Macintosh, hot apple pie. I make extra crust to eat as a side(plain) and with cinnamon & sugar on it with the pie.

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting Laurie G. My grandson’s favorite meal is homemade chicken pot pie! I have a quick Bisquick recipe I make. I probably should go the extra steps and try to make it “properly” with a pie shell sometime.

  3. that was a nice,,enjoyed reading that ,,my favorite is sweet potato pie,,we only get it at Thanksgiving,,and its a great treat

    • Hi Vickie,
      So good to have you stop in to Wildflower Junction! Sweet Potato pie–yummy. Isn’t it great to have the comfort of traditional foods at certain times of the year? A treat to look forward to and savor. Certain foods always bring warm, fuzzy memories with them.

  4. Kathryn, I’m with you on fall. I just love it–the cooler temperatures, the colored leaves and a time to hunker down for the winter. Fall is slower and reminds me of fallow ground resting. Long walks, crisp air, pumpkins. Temperatures have been in the 30s for two mornings in a row here. Wonderful!

    I love your excerpt! You’re right about the sigh-worthy hero. Yes, yes! And huge congrats on the story winning the HOLT!! That’s a great accomplishment. I don’t know how I missed this book but I’ll sure remedy that right away.

    • Oh Linda–how good to have you stop by! Dance With A Cowboy won the Award of Merit–which is a finalist to the Medallion. Being among such fine company was a thrill. It also was the first shorter-sized book (a novella) that I’ve written and I found I really like that length for a story. Garrett is the “strong silent type” of hero — the kind that carries secrets. I fell in love with him as I wrote him.

  5. I love everything about fall! My favorite dessert is warm apple crisp. Of course it needs to go with hot apple cider. Yum!!

    • Hi Susan P! I do make apple crisp and love it! My recipe is a bit too sweet for me, so I always have it with a dash of milk over top to cut the sweetness. I think I’m the only one who does that at my house LOL.

  6. Hello! My favorite autumn recipe is actually one of my husband’s. It’s evolved over the years, and we make it in a huge stockpot every October and call it Fall Stew. It’s made with pumpkin, brussels sprouts, hot italian sausage, pearl onions, tons of herbs, butternut squash, and it simmers forever and tastes like autumn in a bowl. Congrats on the Christmas book – Can’t wait to read it!

    • HI Colleen! Pumpkin pie is a big hit at my house too. I’m sorry to say that I can’t make it as well as the local bakery, so I often buy it rather than actually make it. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Pumpkin pie with whipped cream. I think because it’s not really available much year round so it’s something to look forward to. I also love making all the stews and soups when the weather gets colder.

    • Hi Catslady — I am a soup and stew type gal too. As a matter of fact, I just made (for the very first time ever) French Onion Soup ala Julia Childs. It turned out pretty good, although bland. (I didn’t add the alcohol) so I will have to try it again and tweak it.

      A favorite of my family is what we call Hunter’s stew. It usually is made with venison, but as I have no hunters among my men, I use Kielbasa. Sauerkraut too. It has a real kick!

  8. I have so many Autumn desserts I enjoy so it’s hard to pick just one. Or maybe it’s all desserts I like whether they are Autumn or not. If I had to pick just one Autumn dessert to enjoy I’d go with pumpkin pie piled high with whipped cream. Yiur book has such a pretty cover and sounds great. I’d be delighted to read it !

    • Hi Deanne,
      I really like my book cover too. I’ve been very fortunate with Harlequin and the covers that their art department comes up with. Thanks for stopping by Wildflower Junction again! So good to hear from you.

  9. Anything pumpkin really! I know I can eat it all year long but I just don’t think about it! I love pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cake…..all of it! I also love anything apple! YUMMY!!!!

    • Hi Alisa! So glad you stopped by the Junction. A neighbor of mine has an apple tree that has really tart apples–perfect for pies. I love to make homemade apple sauce too (with lots of cinnamon) from tart apples.

  10. Enjoyed the excerpt. Thank you.

    My favorite autumn dessert is Mince Meat pie and Pumpkin pie. When my 87 year old mom used to bake, she would always have a Mince Meat pie every Thanksgiving. She added Pippin Apples (tart) to the pie and everyone was amazed at the taste. Oh such memories.

    I would love to be in your giveaway.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    • Thanks for commenting Cindy! Mince Meat pie was something my grandmother made every Thanksgiving too. I tried it once as a child and didn’t care for it. I should probably try it again. Lots of things I didn’t like as a child, I really like now… (avocados?)

  11. You name it. Beef stew,, chicken pot pie, homemade pea soup, hot apple pie (homemade), baked apples etc.I just can’t narrow it all down. I like my cooking best!

  12. My favorite autumn desert is a pumpkin spice cookie my Grandma used to make. It’s scent filled the house. While she passed on the recipe, I think she took her secret to the hereafter with her as I can never make them the same. Oh, they’re good, but without my Grandma’s Love they’re just not the same.

  13. Karen Kay – Thanks, for the chance to win a copy of your book. I really enjoy reading all your books about Native Americans. The homesteaders should have treated them better & let them keep some of their land.

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