I’ve very happy to be here on Petticoats & Pistols talking about my new release, Cobalt Skies, the second book in my post-Civil War series, A More Perfect Union.
This series began with the question of what happened to the Civil War soldiers, especially those who were devastatingly impacted by the war. The books are not sequential and can be read in any order. The heroes are ex-cavalrymen meeting heroines who have been changed by the war as well. All must find new paths for their lives, new careers, but also new hope for a future.
All three books deal with different aspects of the fallout from the war. In Emerald Fields, Russ is physically changed by the war. In Cobalt Skies, Hick is left emotionally damaged. In Silver Prairies, Ben is financially devasted. These types of traumatic changes make for some wonderful story conflict and drama. Of course, pairing each hero with a heroine he may or may not wish to be paired with just doubles the fun! Here’s a snippet from Cobalt Skies:
“I believe I am fit to ride this morning. I feel remarkably better than yesterday.”
Hick rose and grabbed another stick to feed the fire. “I’m not, ma’am. Another day will do me good.”
“It is imperative that I make it to St. Joseph. The wagon trains leave in the spring to make it through the mountains before the heavy snows.” There was a tinge of desperation in her voice. “Asel and I arrived too late last year. I can’t miss them again.”
“One more day won’t stop you from getting on a wagon train.” If a wagon master would sign her on, which he doubted, but it was no concern of his. “Me and Trooper are going to rest here one more day. What you and your mule do, that’s up to you.”
She shifted without rising, but he could almost feel her annoyance from across the open space between them. Funny how women could do that. Ma had always been able to—
“Then I suppose Peaches and I will stay one more day.” She rose and folded her blankets. “Do you have more bacon? I could cook that with biscuits.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Hick pulled the small slab of bacon from his saddlebag and handed it to her. “I’ll see to your mule.”
“Her name is Peaches.”
“So you said.” But he wasn’t going to call the animal by that fool name. What if someone heard him? Then he snorted to himself. Who’d hear out here? But Peaches? They’d been good on the pancakes, but it was no fitting name for a mule. A mule that took a snap at him as he untied her tether.
After breakfast, the bacon having been cooked to perfection instead of scorched and the biscuits as tender as any he’d ever bitten into, Hick shouldered his saddle.
“I’ll take Trooper out and see if I can’t hunt something up for supper.”
Mrs. Piper’s hands landed on her hips. That was never a good sign on any woman.
“If we are here to rest for another day”—she fairly glared at him—“why would you ride off to hunt?”
“Because, ma’am, you would do well with some broth to build your blood back up.” He turned his back on her and strode to Trooper. The old bay lifted his muzzle, spring grass dangling from his lips as if to say he hadn’t finished his breakfast yet. “Don’t you start.” Hick slung the blanket and saddle onto Trooper’s back, then reached under and drew up the girth. “Bad enough the lady is complaining about my actions.”
He mounted and rode away without looking back. Maybe he should have grabbed his saddlebag and bedroll and just kept going. He didn’t need anyone telling him what to do and when to do it.
He’d had his fill of that during the war.
Here’s a bit of fun-for-me trivia: the horse on the cover is my old horse, Trooper, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 25. I still miss that ol’ boy. He was my buddy.
I’d love to do a giveaway of Cobalt Skies to one person who answers this question on this blog:
Have you ever owned/ridden/known a favorite horse, and if so, what was its name?
In the contiguous 48 states, the winner has their choice of ebook or paperback. All others, ebook only (and as long as your country allows me to send an ebook).
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Pegg Thomas – Spinner of Yarns