The more research I do, the more I am filled with admiration for early settlers who packed up and left everything familiar in hopes of a better life. Especially the women. I like to think many of them had more freedom in their new homes—at least I write uplifting stories that express that sentiment. My heroines are independent and forward-thinking, focused on making a better life not only for themselves but for others. Historian Elizabeth Jameson noted western women “understood that they performed valuable work for their families and their communities”.
Several of my heroines became business owners and community activists, responsible for the building of churches, school, libraries and hospitals. I even have a heroine who is a physician. All these women were focused on improved quality of life for men, men, and children. Their contributions, large or small, helped settle all areas of the American West.
Romanticized as my view may be, I see the settling of the West as a time of possibilities like never before. Women in the West gained political power ahead of their sisters in the East, and by and large put that power to good use. Women in the West also paid less heed to boundaries than their sisters in the East. I have one rebellious heroine who eschewed fashion dictates and designed her own version of breeches which were better for her work than a skirt.
There were definitely more men than women in the West, hence this photo. If you were a lady looking to get married, which one of these gents would spark your interest? Comment below and one lucky winner will receive a copy of my recent release, Chelsea’s Choice, where my heroine has no idea what she is getting into when she follows a much-admired older cousin to Arizona.
Chelsea means well, but is basically clueless. Totally belittled by her patriarchal family back home, all she knows is she wants to do something meaningful and help others. Things in her new home get off to a rocky start when she bumbles into the life of a reclusive man who simply wants to be left alone. The more she tries to help, the more of a mess she makes in poor, reclusive Reece’s life.
Here’s a teaser from Chelsea’s choice, copyright 2022 Kathleen Lawless
Reece’s house must be set far back from the road, because the driveway went on forever until finally she rounded a curve where the narrow drive opened up to a long, narrow strip of land, home to a small cottage and several outbuildings. On the cabin’s opposite side stood a large hothouse, the roof crisscrossed with an interesting pattern of ridges. A stone’s throw from the first hothouse, she saw the skeletal outline of what looked like a second structure.
She was so busy taking it in, the peaceful scene backdropped by a blue sky stretching as far as the eye could see before it dipped out of sight, that she didn’t see the large, furry animal running frantically toward her until almost too late. As she swerved to miss it, her feet flew off the pedals and she lost control of her bicycle. It careened wildly toward the hothouse, the mangy mutt nipping at the vehicle’s back tire and growling.
Oh no! As she neared the structure, the ground started to slope and she picked up speed at an alarming rate, the pedals spinning far too fast for her to get her feet back into position.
Straight ahead loomed the hothouse and she started to close her eyes, anticipating she and the bicycle would crash right through the glass structure. Suddenly a man stepped directly into her path, grabbed hold of the handlebars and brought the bicycle to an abrupt stop that sent her tumbling from the seat to land at his feet.
Reece Rawlings glared at her from an intimidating height. She hadn’t realized the other day quite how large he was. Large enough to dwarf most men. Without a word he patted his leg and the dog ran to his side, sat at Reece’s feet and eyed Chelsea with curiosity.
“You’re dangerous,” Reece said finally before he turned and started to walk away, the dog following.
“It was all your dog’s fault,” Chelsea said, stung, as she picked up the discarded bicycle, relieved it was none the worse for the encounter, and rushed to catch up to him. “He came out of nowhere with no warning bark or anything.”
“He can’t bark.”
“What’s with a dog that can’t bark?”
Reece turned then, and eyed her. “What’s with all the questions?”
Available here on Kindle or in KU https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09Q9BG2FV?tag=pettpist-20
You can check out the entire Reclusive Man Series Here https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09K7FP3SJ?tag=pettpist-20
USA Today Bestselling Author Kathleen Lawless blames a misspent youth watching Rawhide, Maverick and Bonanza for her fascination with cowboys, which doesn’t stop her from creating a wide variety of interests and occupations for her many alpha male heroes.
With nearly 50 published novels to her credit, she enjoys pushing the boundaries of traditional romance into historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense and women’s fiction.
She makes her home in the Pacific Northwest and loves to hear from her readers. http://www.kathleenlawless.com
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