Heart on the Line – Excerpt & Giveaway

It’s release week! WooHoo!

Heart on the Line is finally available for purchase. The third story in the Ladies of Harper’s Station features our shy yet she-carried-a-derringer-in-her-handbag heroine Grace Mallory who has been using Harper’s Station as a refuge to hide from the man who killed her father.

Now when it came time to find the perfect hero for Grace, inspiration came from a source close to home.

The romance genre in general is dominated by alpha-male heroes. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good alpha, but this time around, I wanted to switch things up a bit and remind readers that sweet, caring guys can be swoon-worthy too. Maybe it ties in to the fact that my own hero in real life is a glasses-wearing, bike-riding, computer nerd. His passionate love for me and our family, his devotion to God, his kind demeanor, and his dry sense of humor make him my ideal man. So when I started crafting Amos Bledsoe, Grace’s “online” suitor (on the telegraph line), I followed the same pattern. As a telegraph operator, Amos is a 19th century technology nerd. He prefers bicycles to horses. He wears spectacles. He’s smart, kind, funny, and sacrifices himself for those he loves without regret. A true hero in every sense of the word.

Here’s a excerpt that shows them courting over the wire before they ever meet in person:

It was him. Mr. A. She’d recognize his quick touch at the key anywhere. So crisp and precise. A metronome couldn’t create spaces any more rhythmic. She’d long admired his deft hand at the key. Setting her tea on the table, Grace slid into her office chair, a giddy tickle in her stomach despite her best efforts to maintain a sense of detachment.

Yes, Station Dn. I’m here.

Excellent! I worried I had waited too long to call. Dinner at my sister’s took longer than expected.

I hope you didn’t rush away on my account, Grace tapped.

I was eager to escape. Believe me.

What dastardly plague did they set upon you? Grace grinned to herself as she tapped out the words. Mr. A always seemed to have a humorous story to tell about his family, his life so wonderfully normal that whenever she listened to him, she managed to forget all about danger and unseen foes. For a few blessed minutes, she was simply a girl talking to a young man, no worries in sight.

I dare not tell you, for fear of spreading the contagion. It seems to strike the women around me with alarming regularity.

Intrigued, Grace leaned forward. Surely the distance between us will serve as adequate protection.

My mother and sister have both been afflicted for some time, I’m sorry to say, but tonight their symptoms worsened.

That sounds dire, indeed. Did you call a physician?

No point. There is only one cure to their ailment. And apparently I am the one who must distribute the healing dose.

Then you should do so at once, Grace replied, grinning as she reached for her tea. Mr. A never failed to entertain.

I would, of course, he said, but I find the key ingredient in the required elixir to be frustratingly elusive.

Can you not simply visit a druggist?

I’m afraid not. You see, the item I must find in order to cure this plague of interference is . . . a wife.

The tea Grace had just sipped spewed from her mouth to splatter over the table in front of her. Coughs spasmed in her throat.

A wife?

A strange fluttery sensation danced through her belly. So, he wasn’t married. Why did that particular piece of knowledge please her so well? Her hand trembled as she reached for the key. She had to make some kind of response to that. But what exactly should she say?

I’m sure they only have your best interests at heart.

They do. But a twenty-eight year-old man doesn’t really want his personal life dictated by his female relations.

Twenty-eight. A man in his prime. A man who was suddenly sharing more personal details with her than he ever had before.

Grace dabbed at the spilled tea with a handkerchief fetched from her skirt pocket, her mind spinning. Was he fishing for details in return? She wanted to reciprocate. It was what a friend would do. Yet she couldn’t afford to say too much.

I can’t claim as many years of experience dealing with meddling relations as you can, but a couple friends of mine have recently decided that marriage is not without its advantages. Thankfully, they have as yet avoided seeing me as a matchmaking prospect.

Grace yanked her hand from the telegraph key and made a fist, her heart pumping in a wild rhythm. Details cloaked in vagueness. Would he understand what she’d just revealed? The wire remained silent for an eternally long moment.

Count your blessings, he finally sent, his usually metronome-like precision stuttering slightly. Perhaps we could meet sometime to commiserate. I wouldβ€”

Clear the line, a brash staccato tapping interrupted. I need to break in. This is an emergency.

Grace nearly jumped from her chair at the pounding intrusion. It exploded across the wire like cannon fire in a still forest.

Proceed, came the answer from Mr. A. Immediate. Meticulous. All hint of personal vulnerability gone.

Grace replied in kind, though she feared her touch on the key had yet to reassert its professional tone.

Hs. Dv station has a message to relay. Are you on the wire?

A message from the Denver station? Grace shivered even as she lurched forward to answer. Yes. This is Hs station. G on the wire. Go ahead.

Message relayed from R as follows: He knows where you are. Coming for you. Sorry.

Everything in Grace stilled. Numbness spread from her mind to her limbs and finally to her heart. Her day of reckoning had arrived. Chaucer Haversham had found her.

  • What characteristics does your ideal man embody?








Leave a comment for a chance to win an autographed copy of Heart on the Line along with a set of these fabulous, handmade, heart-shaped, crocheted dishcloths/trivets. Multipurpose, washable, colorful, and a wonderful romantic reminder to follow your heart.

I’ll draw two winners from those who leave comments.

US addresses only are eligible for the prize.

Website | + posts

For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She is an avid cross-stitcher, and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at: www.karenwitemeyer.com.

119 thoughts on “Heart on the Line – Excerpt & Giveaway”

  1. My ideal man is hardworking, trustworthy, compassionate, athletic, nature loving and passionate.

    My S-I-L sounds a lot like your husband. He is an engineer who loves his family and is active in his church. He is generous with his time and money.

  2. Karen- Good Wednesday morning. My ideal man must be kind, considerate, hard working, and a family loving man. He should be confident in who he is and above all else, he must have God in his life.
    You have a blessed day.

  3. I love this excerpt!
    My ideal man must have a sense of humor. Thankfully, my husband still has his sense of humor…most of the time. Long-term illness is taking its toll. But I’m glad we have things that we can still laugh about.

  4. Gosh, I agree with all the above comments on the ideal man. I wonder what a man’s idea is of an ideal woman? Makes one wonder, I think.

  5. Huge congrats, Karen! You always come up with the most unusual plots. I’m happy, happy that I got an autographed copy of this when you were here. But, I’m sorry to say that with travel I haven’t read it yet. I have it next to my chair and will most definitely dive in. I just love that cover as well. And that man! Oh my goodness! He’s very sexy. I think it’s the glasses and that rebellious lock of hair. Such a handsome guy.

    Wishing you tons of success and much happiness!

  6. I’m so intrigued!!!! I love your stories, I’m actually re reading one of your books right now. A Taylor Made Bride. I love it!

    I think my love for a hero has to make you feel safe. He has to display some kind of masculinity with humor. And of course love for God. I’m always thrilled to read your books!

    Thank you for entering me in the contest. But I’m not going to lie when I say it is one of my bucket lists to have an autograph book by you! Serious lol πŸ˜‰ now I sound like a nerd lol. Thanks for the chance!

  7. My ideal man would first of all be a Godly man. He would be kind, gentle, decisive, generous, hard working yet able to relax and enjoy life. Can’t wait to read the book.

  8. My ideal man, would be someone like my daddy. He was a kind considerate, hard working man. If he couldn’t say something nice about someone, he kept his mouth closed. He was a Jack of all trades. He loved God with his whole heart. Then came his family, then everyone else.
    I liked what I read, and liked how you switched it up some for your book. Would love to read.

  9. He has and uses his wit and intelligence, he is willing to plan WITH me – not for me, he supports me in my goals, and he makes me laugh.

  10. What is important is a man with compassion, a hard worker who can handle life with all its difficulties and is trustworthy.

  11. I love this!! I am married to a glasses wearing, bike loving, computer nerd also! I must have this book, now. LOL. I’m off to put it on my list! Loved the excerpt!

  12. Hello! Things I love about my hubby, even before we got married, are that he is not afraid to tell me truth and set me straight from time to time, how he is generally always upbeat, and how I am his favorite person to be with! ?

  13. I miss the love of my life, he went to be with the Lord 15 years ago. We had 48 years together. He was my other half, we completed each other. He wasn’t a big strong cowboy, just an everyday hard working, compassionate man.

  14. My ideal man would be strong, kind, sweet, romantic, smart, loving, respectful, and good looking πŸ˜‰ It’d also be nice if he at least liked John Wayne movies and loved to read πŸ˜‰

  15. My ideal man is trustworthy, compassionate, tender, and funny. Being romantic and open to trying new adventures is a big plus too! ?

  16. A good man should be like my Daddy,
    and there isn’t enough room here to
    describe that! Lol

  17. I can’t wait to read more about Grace. My ideal man I luckily married. He is kind, fun, hard working, loyal, honest and loves our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ

  18. I would love him to be kind,loyal,truthful,patient,a good sense of humor and who loves and serves the Lord.

  19. My ideal man (who is thankfully my husband) makes me laugh, holds me when I’m falling apart, and is ever so patient with me. He is a hard worker, though often overlooked, and He holds no grudges. He keeps the peace and truly is a friend to everyone. He’s absolutely amazing.

  20. Hi Karen!! Feels like I’m “stalking” you since this is the third blog I’ve commented on featuring you & your book…lol!! I have to say, once again, I absolutely love your humor & wit in your novels. And don’t forget the friendly banter between the hero and heroine πŸ™‚ It makes them fun!

    My ideal hero is just as you said. A caring heart, sacrificial love, will do anything for anybody, loves without condition, a Godly example of Christ and good spiritual leader of our family, and you got to have a great sense of humor! Describes my husband to a tee. I think you and I are very blessed to have our true life heroes as husbands. God knew what He was doing when He brought us together πŸ™‚

    I really would love to win a copy of this book, thank you for the chance. There needs to be more unconventional heroes in books! Not always those muscular, perfect physique men who catch the eye, but leave the heart wanting. There’s so much more to a person!

  21. My ideal man is one who is my best friend, my husband of 40+ years. He is not perfect, but neither am I. We enjoy doing things together. We have learned the art of compromise and we support each other.

  22. This looks like a great book and it would be great to have someone who puts it all on the line for you.

  23. He has to be adventurous and willing to take chances. And he has to have a sense of humor.

  24. My ideal man is a man who loves me, for me, cares about others and it’s a bonus if we share similar view points. Which happens to be my husband of 12 Β½ years. My first and only love. We’ve been together since we were 16 and long distance..he in UK me here in US.

  25. I believe the ideal man is hardworking, God-fearing, compassionate, and with a good sense of humor. A love of country music doesn’t hurt either. πŸ˜‰

  26. Thanks for the give-away!! I love your books – you are an amazing story-teller!! God has blessed us readers through you, so keep up the wonderful work!!

  27. I love, love, love this switch with the male lead! As soon as I saw his picture, not the cover (although that is beautiful!) I thought, “Oh! I need to read this!” My ideal man is more of the manly-manly man type, yet still sensitive at times, loyal and hardworking. Thanks for the chance!

  28. I love the cover of your new book and can’t wait to read it. My ideal man puts God first in his life and treasures his family. He gives a smile freely and is honest and respects others.

  29. My ideal man – honest, humble, and kind. Handy with home/car projects. Cares for me and our family and works hard to take care of us. – I just described my hubby! I knew from the beginning he was a keeper. πŸ™‚

  30. That is an excellent excerpt of the book, Karen!!! Can’t wait to read it. No need to enter me since I have a copy – just wanted to say congratulations!!!!

  31. Ahhhh this sounds soooo good! Can’t wait to read it. Btw, my middle name is Grace. πŸ™‚

  32. Kind, good sense of humor, honest, honorable, and most importantly loves and follows God and His Word.

  33. Tall, dark and handsome! πŸ™‚ Okay, really, he must be kind and trustworthy, love kids, love God and be willing to put up with me.

  34. Kind, compassionate, hard working, honest, a love for
    God first and then his family.
    Sounds like a really good book! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

  35. I am not sure that I know what the ideal man would be like… but as long as he loved God will all his heart, and was doing his best to follow God’s ways, that would be ideal… And everything else should fall into place.
    I am so excited about your new release. And would love to win a copy!
    Thank you for sharing.
    amylsmith AT bledsoe DOT net

  36. Unfortunately, I think the “bad boy” is more exciting to the young and that it takes age to appreciate the beta hero – a good reason to wait and not marry too young! Great excerpt.

  37. My ideal man must have a good sense of humor, trust worthy, and a great smile.

    I love your books and I cant wait to read the next one.

  38. It seems to be a lot easier to find an ideal man in a book than in real life. I did not do well in my choice. Ultimately, following Christ is most important.

  39. Karen this story is great. I cant wait to read it in full. I think of all your hero’s my favorite is Travis Archer.. he’s just human enough to be real.

  40. This will be another book that I can’t put down!
    When we were growing up, my sister and I would sometimes talk about what we’d want in a man when we married. Our most certain qualification was that he had to have working hands. No soft hands. We both got that qualification met. πŸ™‚

  41. My ideal man is my husband so those are the characteristics I gravitate toward – Love of God, compassion, loyalty, quiet strength, gentlemanly… Wow, the list is so long! πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the excerpt. This book sounds so intriguing.

  42. I need to catch up with this series. HEART ON THE LINE is going to be a good addition to my library. Enjoyed the excerpt. My hero and husband is a Beta hero and I wouldn’t have him any other way. He is honest, a good friend, not a nerd but good an excellent woodworker and builder, he is a great father and grandfather, has a great sense of humor (he has to, he has managed to survive marriage to me for 45 years), and very importantly, our dogs love him.

  43. My husband is my hero and my ideal man. No, he isn’t perfect, but he loves me with all of his heart, takes good care of me, is loyal and true to me, and truly cherishes our marriage. My word, what more could I ask for? I adore him.

  44. My husband is my hero and my ideal man. No, he isn’t perfect, but he loves me with all of his heart, takes good care of me, is loyal and true to me, and truly cherishes our marriage. My word, what more could I ask for? I adore him. He also makes life so much fun!

  45. AuntSue My Dad is my ideal man. Even now at 86 and with dementia, he wants Mom to go first through the door, always wants to make sure she is seated first, and that she is happy, never worried or sad. He has loved her for 69 years. His father died when he was six. Dad worked at a copper mine to put himself through high school and college, built our home by mixing the cement, doing the wiring and plumbing, and roof beams and framing, using only hand tools. He taught 6th grade, became a school principal, and then in the district office. He taught us all to be honest and self-reliant. He took us to church every Sunday, even on vacation, and lead us in prayer every night and before every meal. Dad was a man always ready to help a neighbor, grow tomatoes to share with all the widows and teach me to play chop sticks on the piano and sew a seam on the sewing machine. He made us pancakes and tuna sandwiches most Saturdays and took us on camping vacations every summer. His savings have helped all 5 of his children and his many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

  46. Thank you for this post and giveaway Karen! Love the idea for this novel and this new hero! My ideal man would be loving,kind, have faith in God,and a twinkle in the eye sense of humor. In short the best traits of my dad,he was one of a kind.

  47. My ideal man is one who loves the Lord, values family, has a great sense of humor, is hardworking, trustworthy/loyal, loves children and dogs, and one who balances my introverted self-so should have more of an extroverted personality!

  48. This excerpt was fabulous, Karen!

    I’ve been thinking along these lines this week as our church congregation is writing tributes to our fathers to be read on Father’s Day. My dad is quiet, but I’ve never doubted his love for me. My husband is very different, very outgoing, but his love is obvious as well. My son (who also reads your books) is more nerdy than athletic and has a gentle, loving spirit. All have wonderful characteristics, yet all are different. I’m glad you are featuring a different type of hero in Amos in this book. I’m looking forward to reading his and Grace’s story!

    • That is so true, Cindy. So many different traits and personalities can make up a godly man. It’s the heart within the packaging that matters most. πŸ™‚
      (And I love that your son reads my books. How cool!)

  49. My husband! Godly, nurturing, encouraging and loving. He makes me feel like I’m cherished ?

  50. My husband! Godly, nurturing, encouraging and loving. He makes me feel like I’m cherished ?

  51. My husband is the best ,being a Vietnam Vet there was a lot of struggles at first but he has has worked hard and supported our 3 kids and home with all we needed .I am proud to said that we just had our 44 annervisary.. He supports me with all my wild crafting notions So thankful for a great husband…..Love my man.

  52. My ideal man is kind, loyal, hard-working, loving, loves the Lord, and has a great sense of humor.

    I’m looking forward to reading your book. It sounds fantastic.

  53. My ideal man would be someone who is loyal. Patient, kind, and who is hilarious. I need someone with passion and a compassionate personality. Someone strong and knows what he wants out of life.

  54. Amos sounds just like my hubby, glasses and all, quiet, shy, tall, slender, and a Christian….Soft spoken and all…..and love him with all my heart! Can’t wait to start reading “Heart on the Line”…Loved “No Other Will Do”.

  55. My ideal man would be a Christian ,be compassionate , trustworthy, loyal, and a diligent provider. I think I’ve found him (LOL) and we’ve been married 48 years at the end of the month!

  56. My ideal man would be godly, kind, trustworthy, and smart. If he’s good-looking, that’s gravy!!!

  57. Can’t wait to read. My man is strong, the hardest working man I know. He can fix anything and loves me like I’m the greatest thing that’s ever happened to him. He’s a man of God, and a wonderful father to our three children.
    Just recently I was telling my daughter-in-law I wouldn’t categorize him as a romantic. But I started paying more attention to things he did and he proved me wrong. For ex. I was talking to him on the phone and told him I had to go to the grocery store… it was pouring down raining where he was and knew it would be bad when I arrived, so he met me at the store (To carry the groceries to the car, so I wouldn’t have to do it alone.)
    I’d prefer that any day over a dozen roses.:)

    • What an awesome fella you have, Cindy. Great example of romance under the radar. It’s the everyday things that show love more than the occasional grand gesture.

  58. Incredible cover and I crochet too. Love the hearts! So delicate and wonderful. Congrats on the new book!

    • Thanks, Diane. The crocheted hearts were actually made by a reader who asked if she could make me some for a giveaway. What a sweetheart! I couldn’t crochet to save my life. I cross-stitch, but can’t manage the crochet needles.

  59. Someone who is intelligent but humble about it. Strong and a sense of humor. πŸ™‚
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  60. My hubby is my ideal man. He has integrity, very intelligent, good looking, compassionate and loves unconditionally.

  61. My ideal man is kind, has integrity, protects the weak, loves God, intelligent, appreciates humor and is funny, eccentric and true to himself. Oh, and he thinks I’m amazing and beautiful even though I’m not ?

  62. Hmm, an ideal man to me is one who uses his words to praise God and encourage those around him, who is thoughtful and kind, stands up for what is right with humility and compassion, works and plays for and with his family…

  63. My ideal man and I will celebrate our 13th anniversary Father’s Day, which is perfect, since he is such an amazing father to our kids! He’s kind, selfless, considerate, loyal, and dedicated! I couldn’t ask for more.

  64. Something my mom told me when I was growing up: Marry a man who loves and respects his mother and sisters–for if he treats them right, he’ll treat you right. That’s my ideal man–and why I’ve been married for 32 years. He’s truly the best.

  65. Hi Karen, this sounds like such a fun story! I’m glad you’re writing about a unique hero! My ideal man has confidence, a great sense of humor, loves the Lord, is hard working, a good listener, is kind and caring!

  66. My husband is a Godly man, who puts me second in his life, caring for me as no other person on this earth ever has. He is also very logical & very verbal about things not being logical–which is probably one of the few bumps we have. He is a very good man. One I’d take riding in on a white stead any day.

  67. My favorite kind of guy is honorable. He does his best at work but also takes time off for family. He isn’t the outgoing life of the party, but friendly in a quieter way. He enjoys trying different things and will do them in a good spirit if his companions want to do it, even if he doesn’t like it. (And his companions do likewise.) Above all, you can tell he loves you because of how he treats you. And, he really cares for his children.

  68. I love an intelligent fellow with a great sense of humor! What drew me to my husband was his passion for scripture and concern for people. His sense of humor added to the attractiveness.

  69. Hard to summarize: one who loves the Lord and his family and who has intelligence, common sense and a sense of humor…like my husband.
    Look forward to reading this book, especially if it was a winning prize!

  70. This sounds like a great book. Not every woman is looking for the big burly hero type. A quiet, steady presence is preferred by many ladies. Can’t wait to read this!

  71. I think the ideal man is someone that you admire. As a Christian, I would look for someone who love the Lord with all he is and also loves his neighbor as himself. A man that can show love to his family as well as people he has no earthly reason to be kind to or care about (like the elderly, women he’s not attracted to, non-related children, etc.) is a man worthy of admiration. Aside from that, he must be faithful to his vows and commitments and have self control when it comes to temptations. And hopefully, there would be a chemistry between us that would set off fireworks at close range. πŸ™‚

  72. Kind,humble,honest,compassionate, honorable,loves God,versatile,intelligent,courageous,takes time to listen…I don’t know that I’ve ever sat down and written out a list,but I’ve started thinking about it in recent days, especially as I have someone special in my life. It took both of us by surprise. He was the first person I met when I arrived on campus at my new college last year. I shocked both of us and randomly started talking to him at our school picnic. He reminded me of my closest brother so much that I was comfortable enough to open up(we’re both introverts). I didn’t talk to him again until the end of the semester and that time he started things. We’ve been friends ever since and became campus “official” in May (things really changed in February though, actually). He’s everything that I listed. I wasn’t even looking for someone, and he had been hurt too much before that he was just done. But,God had something special in store. School’s out for the summer and my boyfriend is working a lot. We don’t get to talk much, but we’ve been learning a lot and becoming…stronger. He was curious about what I like to read,so I’ve been loaning him my books. It’s fun having someone to share them with who enjoys them just as much. I love it that your hero is a nerd. It’s quite refreshing,actually. So is my boyfriend and he’s so sweet. I am looking forward to reading Heart on the Line. It sounds lovely. My bf will be intrigued by this one. Thank you for sharing with us!

    • What a lovely story, Julianna. God was definitely at work. My husband and I started out as friends first, too, and I think it gave our relationship a great foundation. We just enjoyed being with each other. Still do. πŸ™‚

  73. My ideal guy is godly, intelligent, kind, generous, likes nerdy-type girls, and is outdoorsy but not a sports fanatic!

    This books sound great, Karen. I can’t wait to read it!

  74. My ideal man puts Christ before all. He is not only honest and caring but also committed to loving and leading others. He would also hopefully love adventures and be just as goofy as I am.

  75. Heart o the Line sounds very interesting. I love historical fiction. Who crocheted the hearts shown?

  76. My ideal man would be a Godly, christian most of all. After that an honest, hard working, caring person. I can hardly wait to read this book to find out the rest of the story. I loved the excerpt! Thanks for the giveaway.

  77. I love my husband, so some of his characteristics are: hardworking, honest, great with our children, compassionate, Christian, and funny.

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