BLOG—EVERY GIRL’S DREAM from A WESTERN SAGA

Do you believe in love at first sight?  Can it happen?  More importantly, can it last over the long haul of the ups and downs of a relationship?

Throw in a few obstacles from the very first meeting of the hero/heroine, and the relationship becomes even more intriguing.

In my novella, EVERY GIRL’S DREAM, the opening story from A WESTERN SAGA (Victory Tales Press), that’s just what happens.

Sheena McTavish, a young Irish girl, has been raped by the son of her father’s employer. Now, with a baby on the way, Sheena is given an unthinkable choice:  give her baby to the father’s wealthy family to raise, or travel to New Mexico Territory by stagecoach to live with her aunt and uncle until her child is born.  At that point, she will have to place it in a nearby orphanage.

Desperate to buy some time and protect her baby from its father, she chooses to travel west.  Alone and afraid, she starts on the journey that will change her life forever.  Before Sheena’s stage leaves, she meets handsome Army scout Callen Chandler.  The attraction is there, even under difficult conditions.

As the story progresses, Sheena must learn to trust again, and Cal begins to realize he doesn’t have to live the solitary existence he’s endured up to now.  Being half Comanche has left him with no place in either world—white or Indian.  When Sheena comes along, everything changes…for both of them.

 I WILL BE GIVING AWAY PDF COPIES OF A WESTERN SAGA TO TWO LUCKY COMMENTERS TODAY!  BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT!

There are three other wonderful stories in this anthology besides EVERY GIRL’S DREAM.   They are ALONG CAME WILL by my good friend CELIA YEARY, STORM RIDERS by my pal KAREN M. NUTT, and SAFE HANDS by my long time friend CINDY CARRIER.  These are all wonderful stories, packed with plenty of emotion and lots of action.  To see all of the other wonderful anthologies available from VICTORY TALES PRESS, click here:

http://victorytalespress.yolasite.com/online-store.php

At Amazon/Kindle: 
http://www.amazon.com/Western-Saga-Anthology-Sensual-ebook/dp/B0051BIBWC/

Also, check out their exciting imprint of all WESTERN books and short stories at WESTERN TRAIL BLAZERS:

http://westerntrailblazer.yolasite.com/online-store.php

I’ll leave you with an excerpt of EVERY GIRL’S DREAM

Cal is a half-breed U.S. Army scout, who has just rescued Sheena, the heroine, from a Kiowa attack on the stagecoach she was in. They had met briefly the morning before, and as luck would have it, Cal comes upon the stage after the Kiowas have attacked and are getting ready to ride away with Sheena. He tells them he and Sheena are married and the Kiowas reluctantly let him take Sheena, but then…

Cal felt…something.  His back tingled as he waited for the stinging burn of a shale arrowhead.  He risked a glance backward, and saw the Kiowa leader’s stare heavy upon him.

“Sheena, hold on tight.”

“The baby—”

“I know, sweetheart.  We won’t ride hard any longer’n we have to.   Lowell’s Ridge is  only about four miles away.” A very long four miles.

She nodded in understanding.  “I’m sorry, Callen.”

“No call for that.”

“You came for me.”

He smiled at that.  There was a small amount of disbelief in her tone, overshadowed by a huge amount of wonder.  Who wouldn’t come for her?

“You could be killed because of me,” she said softly, as if she had only just realized it.  She laid her hand over his, and in that moment, he wondered if dying for her would be worth the twenty-seven years he’d lived so far.

His heart jumped at her touch, then steadied.  But as he risked another glance back, he saw exactly what he’d feared.  Two of the braves were mounting up, and they weren’t riding the opposite way.  “That still might happen,” he murmured.

He leaned forward, trying to protect Sheena with his body as he slapped the reins against the horse’s side, urging him into a lope, then a full-out run.

The Kiowas were close behind them.  There must have been dissension among them. The leader had seemed content to let him take Sheena and ride away.  One of the others must have disagreed with that decision.

Cal reached to pull his revolver from his holster.

They were strangely quiet, he thought. 

The first bullet cracked from behind them, and Cal reflexively bent lower.  The bullet whined past his ear like an angry bee.

Sheena gasped.  He fired off a shot and got lucky.  One of the warriors screamed in agony and fell from his saddle.  But the other rode low, hanging onto the side of his mount. And he kept right on coming.

The next bullet sang over Cal’s head.  He concentrated on eating up the miles to Lowell’s Ridge.  Riding double was slowing them down considerably.  Sheena’s body was tense beneath the shelter of his own.  Fragile, but strong.  Delicate, but determined.  His hand splayed over her stomach, holding her close, cradling her from the jarring of their wild ride.

A whoop from behind them accompanied the crack of a rifle, and this time, the Kiowa warrior’s bullet found its mark.  A bolt of fire seared through Cal’s right shoulder, and for a minute, the pain was so strong he almost sawed back on the reins. But at his harsh curse, Sheena glanced up at him, her hand instantly clamping tightly over his. The reins were still wrapped in his fingers, but Sheena kept her hand on his, reminding him to let the horse have his head and continue their flight for freedom.

“Hang on, Cal!”

The pain was so breathtaking he could do nothing but nod his understanding.

“Dammit!” she cursed.  That almost made him smile, but the agony in his shoulder surged up and stole his breath again as the horse’s hooves pounded the ground below.

The road was not much more than a trail, and where it narrowed, branches reached out to scrape and snarl in hair and clothing, scratching their faces as they blindly rode toward safety.

As they broke through the brambles and low limbs into the clearing on the other side of the wooded section of road, Cal glimpsed the steeple of the church, then in a moment, the rooftops of houses.

He glanced behind him to see the Kiowa had stopped.  He was taking careful, deadly aim with the Winchester he held. “Christ,” Cal muttered.  “Keep down, Sheena.”

 

 

 

JASON’S ANGEL–A HISTORICAL COLLECTION

Hi everyone!  I just wanted to share with you all what a great month May has been for me! I have had two short stories released this month with Victory Tales Press.  Today I wanted to tell you about the one that appears in A HISTORICAL COLLECTION, an anthology that I’m in along with Karen Michelle Nutt (The Devil’s Wolf), Kate Kindle (A Tale From the Red Chest), and Miriam Newman (Deirdre). These stories all take place in different historical settings and time periods. My story, Jason’s Angel, is set in the final days of the War Between the States. 

Writing Jason’s Angel wasn’t easy.  My conundrum was the fact that for me, the Civil War was such a tragic time in our history that I wasn’t sure if I could see that my characters reached their “Happily Ever After” ending that I wanted them to have.  The only way I could see to do that in this case was to make Sabrina Patrick’s compassion so great that she saw beyond all boundaries of gray or blue, and didn’t think of the hero, Jason McCain, as the enemy, but first as a wounded man who needed her help.  

 Since Jason and another fellow Union soldier had been captured and are being held in the hospital where Sabrina volunteers, she knows that they will both die of their wounds if she doesn’t do something more than let nature run its course in those deplorable conditions. There is nothing she can do but bring them home, away from the inhumane treatment they are receiving from their guard and even from some of the hospital staff.  No one is more surprised than her Aunt Emmaline, who is none to happy with Sabrina’s decision. 

The only thing that could make matters worse is to find out that not only is Jason wearing Yankee Blue, he’s a southern boy, born and bred in Georgia—only a few miles from where Sabrina’s home is situated. What could make him fight for the Union? As Sabrina finds out more about Jason’s devastating past, she begins to understand. Because he is half Cherokee, his family has been shunned, and unimaginable tragedy has followed.  Can his restless soul find peace in Sabrina’s sweet love for him? 

I will leave you with a blurb and excerpt from JASON’S ANGEL. To order A HISTORICAL COLLECTION, go to the Victory Tales Press store here:

http://victorytalespress.yolasite.com/online-store.php

 or to my Amazon author page here:

    http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002JV8GUE 

 If you would like to read about the other exciting stories in this anthology, or any of the other anthologies that Victory Tales Press offers, here’s the link

http://victorytalespress.yolasite.com/online-store.php

 I WILL BE GIVING AWAY PDF COPIES OF A HISTORICAL COLLECTION TO TWO COMMENTERS TODAY! Please leave a comment when you stop by to read the blog along with your e-mail address and you will be automatically entered for the drawing.

Jason ‘s Angel by Cheryl Pierson

Two wounded Union soldiers will die without proper treatment. Sabrina Patrick realizes they won’t get it at the Confederate army hospital where she helps nurse wounded men. She does the unthinkable and takes them to her home.

Jason McCain’s pain is eased by the feel of clean sheets, a soft bed, and a touch that surely must belong to an angel. But what reason could an angel have for bringing him and his brother here?

 FROM JASON’S ANGEL: 

Sabrina nodded. “Is there something else, Aunt Emma?”  

“You’ve been acting mighty peculiar, Sabrina.  Did something happen between you and Jason?”  The kindness and assurance of understanding, no matter what, in her aunt’s tone undid what little resolve Sabrina had left.  She had been on pins and needles since Jason had kissed her.  And she’d thought of nothing else.  But she’d been careful to avoid being in a similar position again since that day, and when she’d brought up his meals there had been only polite conversation between them.   

 Once, she’d thought she’d caught a glint of a deviling reminder in his eyes, but he’d looked past her after a moment and she couldn’t be sure. She couldn’t even tell Desi.  Desi would have gotten the greatest bit of fun from that knowledge—and she was unpredictable. 

For all Sabrina knew, had she confided in Desi, her younger sister might have decided to take matters into her own hands and tell Jason that Sabrina liked it. Which she had.  Or that Sabrina wished with all her heart he would kiss her again.  Which she did. She might even tell him of that indescribable rush of wind and heat and wonder that moved over her entire body when their lips had met—a feeling that she was still trying to figure out how to put into words herself.   

But Desiree would certainly have no trouble telling Jason what Sabrina had felt like—she was never at a loss for words.  And that’s why Sabrina could never tell her—not until she grew up a little.  

 How wonderful it would be to unburden herself to Aunt Emmaline. And how utterly shameful.  

“He…he kissed me,” she blurted. The familiar heat burned her cheeks.  

But Aunt Emmaline only smiled, and Sabrina watched her face transform into a reminder of the beauty she must have been as a young woman. 

“Is…that all?”  

Sabrina took a deep breath.  This was harder than she had imagined it might be.  “No.  I—Aunt Emma, I kissed him back.” 

Aunt Emma didn’t answer for a moment.  Finally, she took Sabrina’s hand in hers until Sabrina met her eyes.  “Sabrina, when I was young—younger than you, though not quite as featherheaded as Desi—there was a young man in my life.  He kissed me one time—and I kissed him back.  I’ve often wished through the years, that I’d allowed myself a second kiss.  Things…might have worked out very differently if I had.” 

“Aunt Emma—are you saying—”  

The older woman squeezed Sabrina’s hand gently.  “I’m saying follow your heart.  He’s a lonely soul, your Jason.  He’s searching for a place in the world.  And this world is changing, dear.  He may never find it without your help.  I’ve often wondered why you brought home two Yankees.  I’ve done a little digging of my own, as well.  These boys are Georgia born and bred.  Mrs. Davenport knows of their family, the McCains from over near Allen’s Ridge.”  

Sabrina was quiet, wondering how much of the family history her aunt had uncovered. 

“I…learned quite a bit, Sabrina,” she said gently.  

 Apparently, though, she wasn’t going to share any details. 

 “Mrs. Davenport is a fount of information.  Those men have been through hell, and not just the last years while the war has been raging.” 

Sabrina nodded, her throat tight. What must Jason believe, after what he had told her?  That she was keeping her distance because he’d opened his heart to her?  Or, because he was, as he said, “a half breed”?  

She had to go to him.       

 

TRAVELING IN OUR WRITING–HOW IMPORTANT IS IT?

 Writing a short story or a novel is a “journey” from beginning to end in many ways.  

Hopefully, our main characters will learn something about themselves and grow emotionally and in their personal values of not only each other, but the world around them.  They must become more aware of their place in the world as individuals to be able to give of themselves to another person, the hero to the heroine, and visa versa, or the story stagnates. 

The main conflict of the story brings this about in a myriad of ways, through smaller, more personal conflicts and through the main thrust of the “big picture” dilemma.  I always like to think of Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell as a prime example of this, because the States’ War was the catalyst for everything that followed, but it also remained the backdrop throughout the book.  This generated all of the personal losses and gains that Scarlett and Rhett made individually, so if the War hadn’t been the backdrop, the main original conflict, their personal stories would have taken very different routes and their love story quite possibly would have never happened. 

No matter what kind of story we are trying to weave, we have to have movement throughout—not just of the characters’ growth, but of the setting and circumstances that surround them. Sometimes, that “ain’t” easy! 

Have you ever thought about how important it is to have travel in your writing?  No, it doesn’t have to be lengthy travel, although that’s a great possibility, too.  Even a short trip allows things to happen physically to the characters, as well as providing some avenue for emotional growth and development among them. 

One of my favorite examples of the importance of travel is the short story by Ernest Haycox, “Stage to Lordsburg.”  You might know it better as the John Ford movie adaptation, “Stagecoach,” starring a very handsome young newbie…John Wayne.  A varied group of people are traveling on a stagecoach that is attacked by Indians, including John Wayne, (a seriously good-looking young outlaw by the name of Johnny Ringo) who is being transported to prison.  The dire circumstances these passengers find themselves in make a huge difference in the way they treat each other—including their hesitant acceptance of a fallen woman and the outlaw.  

If the characters of the story are going somewhere, things are bound to happen—even if they’re just going to the store, as in the short story “The Mist,” by Stephen King.  Briefly, a man goes to the grocery store and is trapped inside with many other people by a malevolent fog that surrounds the store and tries to come inside.  Eventually, he makes the decision to leave rather than wait for it to get inside and kill them all.  He thinks he can make it to the pickup just outside in the parking lot.  A woman that he really doesn’t know says she will go with him.  By making this conscious decision, not only are they leaving behind their own families (he has a wife and son) that they know they’ll never see again, but if they make it to the vehicle and survive, they will be starting a new chapter of their lives together.  It’s a great concept in my opinion—virtual strangers, being forced to make this kind of life-or-death decision in the blink of an eye, leaving everything they know behind, when all they had wanted to do was pick up a few groceries. 

In all of my stories, there is some kind of travel involved.  In Fire Eyes, although Jessica doesn’t travel during the story, she has had to travel to get to the original setting where it all takes place.  And Kaed is brought to her, then travels away from her when he is well enough.  Will he come back?  That’s a huge conflict for them.  He might be killed, where he’s going, but it’s his duty.  He can’t turn away from that.  After what has happened to him in his past, he has a lot of mixed feelings about settling down and trying again with a family, and with love. 

In a long ago English class, one of my professors once stated, “There are only two things that happen in a story, basically.  1.  A stranger comes to town.  Or,  2. A character leaves town.”  Pretty simplistic, and I think what she was trying to tell us was that travel is a great way to get the conflict and plot of a story moving in the right direction.  I always think of “Shane” when I think of  “a stranger coming to town” because that is just such a super example of how the entire story is resolved by a conflicted character, that no one ever really gets to know.  Yet, although he may have a checkered past, he steps in and makes things right for the Staretts, and the rest of the community.

 In my upcoming novel, Time Plains Drifter, a totally different kind of travel is involved—time travel.  The hero, Rafe,  is thrown forward sixteen years from the date he died (yes, he’s a very reluctant angel) and the heroine, Jenni,  is flung backward one hundred fifteen years by a comet that has rearranged the bands of time on earth.  They come together in 1895 in the middle of Indian Territory.  But the time travel is just a means to bring them together for the real conflict, and that’s the case with most of stories.  Whether as readers or writers, we don’t want to look at the scenery/history for the most part; we want to see the conflict, and the travel is just a way to get that to happen.

For all the writers out there, how do you use travel in your writing?  And for the readers, what kinds of travel passages bore you, or make the story come alive? 

Here’s a short excerpt from Time Plains Drifter, which will be re-released at the beginning of June.  Rafe and Jenni have just met, and there’s a definite attraction!  Hope you enjoy!

FROM TIME PLAINS DRIFTER

For the first time, Rafe began to wonder what—and who—she might have left back there in her own time.  Two thousand-ten.  A mother and father?  What about siblings?  Was she as close to someone as he and Cris had been?  Was she…married?  Did she leave children of her own?

She was a school teacher, and he took comfort in that thought.  In his own time, school teachers were usually women who were not yet married.

Suddenly, the question burned in his mind.  Was she married?  Did she have someone waiting for her?  Hell, what difference does it make?  He sighed.  You’re dead, Rafe. Remember?  Dead.  All a mistake.  Beck’s sure sorry, but—

If he was dead, why did his leg ache?  He felt the pinch of the cramped nerve endings in his left calf just as he had always suffered from when he held this position too long.  Was it real?  Or did he just anticipate that pain, where it had always been when he was alive?  He hadn’t imagined the instant response of his body earlier, holding Jenni Dalton in his arms.  That had been real enough.

He stood up slowly with a grimace, and his fingers went to the small of his back automatically for an instant before he bent to massage his leg, then walk a few steps to ease the strain of the muscles.  The twinges faded, but Rafe knew he hadn’t imagined either of them.

If I’m dead, how can I hurt?  Was this part of what Beck had tried to explain to him earlier, about giving in to the “human” side of himself?  Those “bodily urges?”  Beck had seemed horrified that Rafe even entertained the thought of wanting to live again—in a normal, human state.

But he did, God help him.  He did.  And five minutes with Miss Jenni Dalton was all it had taken to reaffirm that conviction to the fullest measure.

There was something about her; something strong, yet, so vulnerable.  Her eyes captivated him, her lips seductively beckoned to be kissed—but what if she knew she was kissing a ghost?  A dead man?

His glance strayed to Jenni once more as she stood up, and he controlled the urge to go after young Kody Everett and choke the life from his body for his deceit.

Jenni came toward Rafe stiffly, her back held ramrod straight.  Without conscious thought, he opened his arms to her, and she kept right on walking, into his embrace, until he closed the gates of safety across her back and held her to him, protected inside his fortress.

She didn’t cry, and Rafe knew it was because she was too exhausted. They stood that way for a long moment, breathing the night air.  He wanted to give her what she needed—shelter, safety, and…togetherness.  She wasn’t alone any more, and he wanted her to know it.

He felt her take a shuddering breath of bone-deep weariness.  Who was waiting for her in her own time, to comfort her like this when she returned?

“Jen?”

“Hmm?”  Her voice was a contented purr.

He smiled. “Where you come from, are you, uh—married, or—”

“Huh-uh.  No husband.  No kids.  Nobody at all.”

“No—betrothed?”  He searched for a word they might still use a hundred and ten years from now, and by the way she smiled against his shirt, he knew he had sounded old-fashioned to her.  “Okay, what’s your word for it?”

“Boyfriend.  Fiance.  Lover—”

Lover!”

She drew back at his indignation, looking him in the face.  “It’s—It’s just a word,” she stammered.  “It really doesn’t mean—”

“Don’t say that one,” Rafe growled.  He shook his head to clear it. “What I mean is—you wouldn’t want to say that around anyone.  They’d take you for a—loose woman.”

She looked up earnestly into his smoldering gaze, liquefying his bones with her piercing green eyes, her lips full and sensual, the tangle of copper hair blowing in the breeze. “Would you think I was ‘loose’ if I asked you to—to just lie down beside me?  It’s not that I’m afraid,” she hastened to add. “I just feel—kind of shaken up.”

PLOTTING WITH WOUNDED HEROES

My heroes are all wounded.  Not just emotionally, but physically, as well.  Being a hero in a Cheryl Pierson story is like being an expendable member of the landing party on Star Trek.  If you had on a red shirt when you beamed down to the planet’s surface, you could pretty well figure you weren’t going to be returning to the Enterprise in one piece, or alive.

In my debut TWRP historical western release, Fire Eyes, U.S. Marshal Kaed Turner is tortured and shot at the hands of the villain, Andrew Fallon, and his gang of cutthroats.  A band of Choctaw Indians deposit Kaed on Jessica Monroe’s doorstep with instructions to take care of him.  “Do not allow him to die,” the chief tells her.

Can she save him? Or will he meet the same fate that befell her husband, Billy?  Although Kaed’s injuries are severe, he recovers under a combination of Jessica’s expert care and his own resolve and inner strength.

The injuries he sustained give him the time he needs to get to know Jessica quickly.  Their relationship becomes more intimate in a shorter time span due to the circumstances.  Under normal conditions of courtship, the level their relationship skyrockets to in just a few days would take weeks, or months.

Wounding the hero is a way to also show the evil deeds of the villain.  We can develop a kinship with the hero as he faces what seem to be insurmountable odds against the villain.  How will he overcome those odds?  Even if he weren’t injured, it would be hard enough—but now, we feel each setback more keenly than ever.  He’s vulnerable in a way he has no control over.  How will he deal with it, in the face of this imminent danger?

Enter the heroine.  She’ll do what she can to help, but will it be enough to make a difference?  This is her chance to show what she’s made of, and further the relationship between them.  (If he dies, of course, that can’t happen.)

From this point on, as the hero begins to recover, he also regains his confidence as well as his strength.

It’s almost like “The Six Million Dollar Man”: We can build him stronger…faster…better…

 

He will recover, but now he has something to lose—the newfound love between him and the heroine.  Now, he’s deadlier than ever, and it’s all about protecting the woman he loves.

Or, his injuries may give him a view of life that he hadn’t hoped for before.  Maybe the heroine’s care and the ensuing love between them make the hero realize qualities in himself he hadn’t known were there. 

In my holiday short story, A Night For Miracles, wounded gunman Nick Dalton arrives on widow Angela Bentley’s doorstep in a snowstorm.  Angela is tempted at first to turn him away, until she realizes he’s traveling with three half-frozen youngsters, and he’s bleeding.

As she settles the children into the warmth of her home and begins to treat Nick’s injury, she realizes it’s Christmas Eve—“A Night For Miracles,” Nick says wryly.  “I’m ready for mine.”

In this excerpt, the undercurrents between them are strong, but Nick realizes Angela’s fears.  She’s almost as afraid of taking in a gunman with a reputation as she is of being alone again.

FROM “A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES”

Angela placed the whiskey-damp cloth against the jagged wound. The man flinched, but held himself hard against the pain. Finally, he opened his eyes. She looked into his sun-bronzed face, his deep blue gaze burning with a startling, compelling intensity as he watched her. He moistened his lips, reminding Angela that she should give him a drink. She laid the cloth in a bowl and turned to pour the water into the cup she’d brought.

He spoke first. “What…what’s your name?” His voice was raspy with pain, but held an underlying tone of gentleness. As if he were apologizing for putting her to this trouble, she thought. The sound of it comforted her. She didn’t know why, and she didn’t want to think about it. He’d be leaving soon.

“Angela.” She lifted his head and gently pressed the metal cup to his lips. “Angela Bentley.”

He took two deep swallows of the water. “Angel,” he said, as she drew the cup away and set it on the nightstand. “It fits.”

She looked down, unsure of the compliment and suddenly nervous. She walked to the low oak chest to retrieve the bandaging and dishpan. “And you are…”

“Nick Dalton, ma’am.” His eyes slid shut as she whirled to face him. A cynical smile touched his lips. “I see…you’ve heard of me.”

A killer. A gunfighter. A ruthless mercenary. What was he doing with these children? She’d heard of him, all right, bits and pieces, whispers at the back fence. Gossip, mainly. And the stories consisted of such variation there was no telling what was true and what wasn’t.

She’d heard. She just hadn’t expected him to be so handsome. Hadn’t expected to see kindness in his eyes. Hadn’t expected to have him show up on her doorstep carrying a piece of lead in him, and with three children in tow. She forced herself to respond through stiff lips. “Heard of you? Who hasn’t?”

He met her challenging stare. “I mean you no harm.”

She remained silent, and he closed his eyes once more. His hands rested on the edge of the sheet, and Angela noticed the traces of blood on his left thumb and index finger. He’d tried to stem the blood flow from his right side as he rode. “I’m only human, it seems, after all,” he muttered huskily. “Not a legend tonight. Just a man.”

He was too badly injured to be a threat, and somehow, looking into his face, she found herself trusting him despite his fearsome reputation. She kept her expression blank and approached the bed with the dishpan and the bandaging tucked beneath her arm. She fought off the wave of compassion that threatened to engulf her. It was too dangerous. When she spoke, her tone was curt. “A soldier of fortune, from what I hear.”

He gave a faint smile. “Things aren’t always what they seem, Miss Bentley.”

To order A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES, FIRE EYES, or SWEET DANGER go here:

 

http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=534

THE ROMANCE OF A ROOM ADDITION

What is the most romantic room in a home?  In our romance stories, it’s quite often the bedroom where the romance actually physically happens.  Other rooms in our characters’ homes are romantic and meaningful to the hero and heroine for various reasons as well.

 The room I think of as most romantic is one that doesn’t exist yet:  the room addition.

 How can adding on a room be romantic?  Okay, first of all, let’s remember this IS make- believe! In real life, home construction or remodeling projects will cause the topic of divorce to be introduced into the loving couple’s conversation at some point.  Over and over.

 Two short rollers and a can of paint in a bathroom can break a marriage faster than an overdrawn bank account.  But come with me to the world of fiction—historical fiction—where women are heroines and men are heroes…and the announcement of “needing another room” is a joyous occasion, and not just another “honey-do.”

 The addition of a room most generally heralds the impending arrival of a baby, or the growth of the young family in some way.  Because cabins were so small and were generally put up as quickly as possible to provide a more permanent shelter for a family, improvements often had to wait until time, weather, or supplies permitted.

 In our historical romances, our heroes are always eager to do whatever is necessary to provide the best possible quarters for their families.  You’ll never hear them say, “I’ll do it when the playoffs are over.”

 All joking aside, I believe we find the room addition romantic for several reasons, the most obvious one being that our heroine is pregnant and there needs to be a room for the little one the couple has created.  Most women can relate to that maternal instinct of preparing a safe, warm place for their baby to sleep.

 The second reason a room addition is romantic, is that the hero is actually building something with his skill, knowledge and love to provide for his growing family.  It’s his answer to the heroine’s maternal need.  Generally, the delivery of the news that a baby is on the way and discussion of the room addition is a shock to the hero, but not an unwelcome one.  It transitions him from “husband” to “family man” and gives him the opportunity to “show his stuff.”  He proves himself by his reaction to the news.  The action he takes toward following through with the reality of building on shows the heroine (and the reader) that he is our “dream man.”

 The family unit, complete, is probably the most romantic reason of all.  The room addition shows the reader that the heroine and hero have matured, grown in their love for one another and are able to look toward the future as a family unit now.  In the child to come, they will see themselves and one another, and will risk everything for the safety, comfort and protection of that child.

 And it all starts with…the addition of the extra bedroom for the new life they’ve created.

 In the following excerpt from FIRE EYES, Jessica gives Kaed the news that they’re going to be needing a nursery.  This is an especially poignant moment because of Kaed’s past, and what it means to him personally.  He’s being given a second chance—one he wasn’t sure he wanted, but now is desperate to hold onto.

FROM FIRE EYES:

  “Looks like we gave up our bed.” Kaed’s gaze rested on Frank and the two girls. Nineteen. God, he looked so young, like a boy, as he slept, all the lines of worry around his eyes erased. Nineteen. I remember nineteen. Just didn’t understand until now how young it really is.

“Twice now.” Jessica’s voice called him from his thoughts. She grinned and nodded toward where Tom lay talking to Harv. “Maybe by this time tomorrow morning we’ll get lucky,” she whispered, reaching up to kiss his cheek.

“Neither one of us is going to ‘get lucky,’ in any respect, until everyone’s gone,” he grumbled softly, letting go a frustrated sigh. “One thing’s for sure. When everything settles down around here, I’m gonna add on a bedroom. With a door that shuts.”

Jessica was quiet for a moment, then very softly she said, “Better make that two.”

“Two bedrooms?”

“Uh-huh. Ours, and a nursery.”

Kaed nodded. “For Lexi.”

“And the new baby.”

His gaze arrowed to hers.

Our baby, Kaed.”

The blood rushed through his ears, pounding at his temples. Nothing existed but the woman standing in his strong embrace, her love washing over him in warm waves as her eyes sparkled into his.

“Jessi.” The words he’d spoken to her the day he left came back to haunt him. I just hope that maybe we got lucky. Maybe it didn’t take.

But it had. And damn if he didn’t feel like the luckiest man alive. A baby. He read the unasked question in her expression, and he bent to kiss her. To reassure her. To let her know a family was what he needed and wanted. He felt her relax beneath his hands.

“I told you I was working my way through it, Jess,” he whispered against her cheek. “I’ll be a good father.”

Tears rose in her eyes. She nodded, her hair soft against his stubbled beard. “You’ll be the best.”

“Better than I was before, that’s for sure.” The words slipped out before he could stop them. He took a deep, jagged breath as Jessica finally dared to meet his eyes. He looked away, his gaze wandering about the small cabin, finally returning to lock with Jessica’s.

“I can appreciate what I’ve got this time, Jessi. I took it for granted the first time, and I lost it. I won’t let that happen again.”

Jessica shook her head. “Promise—” she began, but he tilted her face up, putting his lips to hers once more in a gentle, reassuring kiss.

“I’ll never let you go, Jessi. And I’ll never hurt you. I want what we talked about, the family, the farm, maybe a ranch.” He stopped and moistened his lips that had suddenly gone dry. “But most of all, I want you.” He glanced across the room at Tom, who gave him a fleeting grin. After a moment, he returned his gaze to the fathomless pools of Jessica’s eyes. “None of it means anything without the woman I love, Jessica. You. Yes, I promise, sweetheart. I promise everything.”

Travis leaned against the kitchen doorjamb, fresh coffee in hand. “Guess we’d better start beating the bushes for a preacher-man, boys. Get it done up legal and right for Miss Jessi while Kaed’s in this mood. I never seen him like this. Never heard him talk so serious.” He took a drink of his coffee, his green eyes mischievous above the rim of his cup. “I do believe he means it, Miss Jessi.”

I hope you enjoyed this post and excerpt.  Do you have any experience with a “romantic” room in your house?  I’d love to hear about it! 

 These gorgeous covers are from my novel, FIRE EYES, available at:

http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=534&zenid=bbb2b42b9ad603f1802c0800fac01b38

and a new Valentine anthology from VICTORY TALES PRESS called A VALENTINE COLLECTION, available here.

http://victorytalespress.yolasite.com/online-store.php

  My story, “A HEART FOR A HEART”, is a contemporary about a single young woman who is a tutor.  When one of her young Indian students, Cory Tiger, loses his parents in a tragic automobile accident, she steps in to be his foster mother. But the night before he is to become her ward, his uncle, Sam, returns from his military service in Iraq to claim him.  Here’s the blurb:

 A Heart for a Heart by Cheryl Pierson – Kiera takes Cory into her home, but when his uncle returns from military duty he wants to take over. Can  they work this out for?