Monday, November 13, 2017

3 books by Autographed books by Anne Greene Ends November 20

Please Welcome Anne back to my blog. Anne is giving away 3 autographed books so be sure to read on down on how to enter. Don't forget to leave your email address and if you are a feedburner follower be sure to let me now for a second entry.  

 
EXCERPT – AVOIDING THE MISTLETOE

1865 – Lowell, Massachusetts

Olivia Rose Baker glanced up from the headlines in the Massachusetts Matrimonial Gazette. With an explosive smack, she slapped the newspaper on top of the breakfast table. “No! I refuse. I absolutely, unconditionally reject this lame-brained scheme!” She set her mouth in a hard line to keep her lips from trembling.

“You’ve been a widow for six months, dear sister, and take a look around you. The war wrecked our town. The men are dead, never to return. The economy is ruined. With the South destroyed they can’t send us any cotton for our textile mills. And without slaves, the South may never recover. Lowell is a ghost town of devastated women, alone with no men to provide for us or offer us protection. No men to give us children.” Darcy strode around the kitchen, her red hair flying, her green eyes ablaze. “No men to love.”

“Please don’t speak to me of love.” Olivia gazed down at the slice of bread and the cup of weak coffee that would have to satisfy her empty stomach throughout the long day until dinner tonight.

“Pshaw! So, Howard Baker didn’t have enough love in his heart to share with you. Not every man is so self-centered and abusive.” Darcy settled into a chair at the table, wet her fingertips, smooshed up the few remaining bread crumbs from her plate, and licked them into her mouth.

“Darcy Davenport, I never told you Howard mistreated me.” Olivia glared daggers at her sister, then nibbled her bread, her stomach rumbling.

“I saw the bruises you tried to hide. I’m no Simple Simon.” Darcy snatched the newspaper and shoved the sheets over. “This Asa Mercer already successfully shipped a boatload of women to Seattle, Washington Territory. He states the ladies all celebrated excellent marriages.” Darcy pointed to some lines of print. “The paper says right here that Mr. Mercer isn’t searching for just any women as mail-order brides. He’s seeking high-minded women who can exert an elevating influence in Seattle, where there are ten men for every woman. Mail-order brides, yes, but of a certain caliber.”

“A mail-order bride is a mail-order bride. You meet a man and if he looks at all decent—that is if he’s not too old, not too rotund, not too bald, and not too poor, then you decide to marry him.” Olivia shoved back her empty plate. “I will never rush into a marriage with a tall, good-looking, and supposedly prosperous male again.” She sipped her tepid coffee. If only she had a smidgen of cream or sugar. “A war bride is not dissimilar to a mail-order bride. Besides, look at me.” She gestured from her face to her toes. “No man wants to marry a widow without means.”

Darcy stamped her button-down shoed foot. “But I want to become one of Mr. Mercer’s mail-order brides. And I won’t move to Seattle without you!”

Olivia gazed past Darcy’s bouncy curls, out the window at the back yard draped in an overcast day that promised even more rain. The overgrown weeds and mud-coated garden with a few wilted stalks of corn poking through the unworked soil attested to the fact that no man had inhabited their salt box style home for over four years. The rumpled tool shed appeared to be held up by their weeping willow tree. If one leaned too hard on the other, both would fall. Their back porch had already collapsed.

“Mr. Mercer wants to populate Seattle with women who will bring culture, education and domesticity to that uncivilized city with thousands…of…single…men.” Darcy’s emerald eyes transformed from flashing to pleading. “Face facts, Olivia Rose, this might be our one chance to marry.”

“I repeat. I don’t want to wed. I didn’t find marriage at all agreeable. I am so happy Howard didn’t leave me with child when he marched away with Captain Joshua Chamberlain’s Union Regiment.” Olivia tried to keep the anger from her voice. No amount of prayer had erased her animosity toward her late husband.

“So, you prefer, at your young age, to remain a widow for the rest of your life? You don’t want children?” Darcy leaned across the table. Her warm fingers grasped Olivia’s wrist, her heart-shaped face intent. “Olivia Rose, I’m pouring my heart out here.”

Olivia sighed and pushed her chair back from the table. So very difficult to deny her younger sister. And until she married Howard, she’d badly wanted children too.

“You prefer to remain here, despite Lowell’s bleak prospects? You expect to remain here in our house that is falling down around our heads? A house we can’t even sell because no one has money enough to buy it, even if they wanted this old wreck.” Tears rose in Darcy’s minty-green eyes. “You choose to remain in Massachusetts even though you know I won’t ever find a husband here. You want me to remain a spinster my entire life!”

A black curtain strangled Olivia’s heart. She rose and wrapped her arms around her sister’s rigid shoulders. “Darling, you know I would do anything for you. Except I refuse to become a mail-order bride.”

Darcy gazed up, her pearl-fresh complexion wet with tears. “Mr. Mercer promised some of the women would garner positions as school teachers. I know you would like that.”

Olivia’s heartbeat quickened. Yes, she would enjoy a position as a teacher. She could influence, teach, and love children without needing to have any of her own. She would have a job, be self-sufficient, and not rely on any man. And Darcy would gain her chance at happiness.

She bowed her head. Truly Lowell offered nothing for either of them except hunger, need, and loneliness. “Are you certain Mr. Mercer advertised for teachers as well as mail-order brides?”

Darcy pointed to the last sentence in the newspaper clipping.

There are many teaching positions available for prospective brides.

A tad cryptic, but she couldn’t jeopardize Darcy’s future by refusing to accept this possibly only opportunity to leave her dying town. A vision of herself and Darcy popped up. Bent with age, hobbling around their tumbled-down home, hair white. Both of them as ramshackle as the house, with nothing to show for the lives they spent. Olivia’s heart bled.

She forced a smile. “Consider this my Christmas present to you, Darcy. We shall travel to Seattle, though we know nothing about the place. And you shall select a suitable husband, and I shall accept a teaching position. And may God bless us and keep us.”

“Oh, Olivia Rose, I knew you would agree to go! Thank you so much for the best Christmas present I’ve ever received!” Her sister’s eyes turned mossy green and sparkled. “I’ve already written Mr. Mercer.” Darcy pulled a rumpled envelope from her day dress pocket. “His reply arrived yesterday. He declared we must meet him in New York City on January 16th. Then we shall travel from there to Seattle aboard the S.S. Continental.” Darcy leaped from her chair and danced around the kitchen.

“January 16th! We’ve only a few days to get ready.”

“Mr. Mercer sent train tickets to New York. We leave January 7th.”

Olivia dropped her forehead into her hands. “How much do we owe for the train tickets and the ship passage?”

“Nothing. The men in Seattle coughed up three hundred dollars per man to transport us.”

“Oh.” Olivia rose from her chair and gazed around the kitchen that she’d known for the last twenty-five years. The coziest room in the home where she’d been born. Did she really want to leave? No. She’d buried Mother in the cemetery that abutted the church, and set up a monument over Daddy’s empty grave. He lay somewhere in a Union burial grave at a place called Gettysburg, killed in the same battle that freed her from Howard. No. She’d thought never to leave home again after she returned from the tiny rented room Howard had provided for her as his new wife. The only goods Howard bequeathed her were her new last name…and a head filled with bad memories. And the title widow.

Certainly, no man in Seattle desired to wed a widow, much less pay for one. The purchasers hoped to spend their money on young, beautiful girls…like Darcy.

Olivia closed her eyes. Bitter to leave her home and all she knew.

But sweet to think of a new beginning, a new life, a new adventure, and a new job. If that actually happened.

Yes, God’s peace spread in her heart. This might be the right decision—certainly for Darcy…and perhaps for herself as well. She straightened her shoulders. Under the circumstances this was the only decision available.

Olivia glanced at a beam of sunlight struggling through the gloomy clouds. She gathered up the long skirts of her day dress, motioned to her sister, and started toward the stairway. “Let’s pack.”

She’d leave the home place to fall into decay. But she and Darcy would grab this chance for a new life. And unlike Lot’s wife, she would not look back.

And she and Darcy would not make horrible choices like Lot’s daughters.

She would proudly wear her title widow.

Or was she hiding behind her widowhood, afraid to venture again into the distasteful realm of marriage?

No matter. She would be the schoolmarm. The beloved teacher. The nurturer. The protector.

What could go wrong?

Oh, so many things. 



What about you?
If you were a widow from an abusive marriage, would you be eager to marry again?

The historic Mercer Girls were all mail-order brides who settled in Seattle, Washington. Most ended with happy marriages. Have you ever heard of the Mercer Mail-order Brides?


Giveaway:
Anne is giving away an autographed copy of A Groom for Christmas, and an autographed copy of A
Texas Christmas, and an autographed copy of A Christmas Belle. Answer one of the questions above to be entered in the giveaway!




 















ABOUT ANNE GREENE
My home is in the quaint antiquing town of McKinney, Texas, just a few miles north of Dallas. My dear husband is a retired Colonel, Army Special Forces. My little brown and white Shih Tzu, Lily Valentine, shares my writing space, curled at my feet. I have four beautiful, talented children, and eight grandchildren who keep me running.

I’ve traveled in every location of each book I’ve written, and each book is a book of my heart. Besides my first love, writing, I enjoy travel, art, sports, reading, sailing, snorkeling, movies, and way too many other things to mention. Life is good. Jesus said, “I am come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.” Whether writing contemporary or historical, my books celebrate the abundant life Jesus gives.

I’ve written several other novellas. AVOIDING THE MISTLETOE, is included in the Mistletoe, Jingle Bells, and Second Chances Collection. My novella KEARA’S ESCAPE is included in the Orphan Train/Spinster Collection. DAREDEVILS is included in the North Carolina, 50 States Collection. SPUR OF THE MOMENT BRIDE is included in the Wyoming, 50 States Collection. A CHRISTMAS BELLE, is included in the Christmas Mail Order Angels anthology. THE MARRIAGE BROKER AND THE MORTICIAN is included in The California Gold Rush Romance Collection. My novellas, A FOOL FOR LOVE, A GROOM FOR CHRISTMAS, and A TEXAS CHRISTMAS MYSTERY are stand-alone novellas.

Moody Press published my first book, TRAIL OF TEARS. I love writing about alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to fall on their knees in prayer, and about gutsy heroines. My Women of Courage series spotlights heroic women of World War II. You might want to begin with the first book ANGEL WITH STEEL WINGS. Read my private investigating series, Handcuffed In Texas. The first book is RED IS FOR ROOKIE. Enjoy my award-winning Scottish historical romances, MASQUERADE MARRIAGE and MARRIAGE BY ARRANGEMENT. I hope my stories transport you to awesome new worlds and touch your heart to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Buy my books on http://www.Amazon.com. Anne Greene.

ANNE’S LINKS

https://www.amazon.com/Anne-Greene/e/B004ECUWMG/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_1

http://www.facebook.com/AnneWGreeneAuthor
http://www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com

Monday, November 6, 2017

The House next door by Susan Page Davis Ends November 13th

Please welcome Susan Page Davis to my blog this week! Susan is giving away a copy of The House Next Door so be sure to read on down to find out how to enter. 

How do I get ideas? They are all around me. Often they come from rabbit trails in research I’m doing for something else. For instance, I recently wrote a blog post for Heroes, Heroines and History about Dorothy Arnold, a young socialite who disappeared in New York City in 1910. (Link to blog: http://www.hhhistory.com/2017/10/wheres-dorothy.html) Dorothy’s case has never been solved, but during the lengthy investigation, several theories were put forth. Among them were these five: 
1. She had run away with a boyfriend. 
2. She had been kidnapped (and/or murdered) the same day she disappeared. 
3. She had deliberately vanished to escape her overbearing family and pursue a career. 
4. She had gone for an illicit abortion and died from complications. 
5. She had committed suicide in a secluded place. 

More than a hundred years later, no one knows what happened to Dorothy. Did she change her identity and live out her life under a different name? Could she have been injured and had amnesia? Was she sold into sexual slavery? Nobody knows. But any one of the above possibilities could provide a plot for a novel. Look around you. Read. Listen. Think. How could a story in today’s news have ended differently? What if someone you know had made a different choice at some point in his life? Do you have a story to tell? The House Next Door The charming stone house next door is for sale! How could there be a down side to that? As his wife Jennifer’s due date approaches, Captain Harvey Larson decides to invest in real estate, unaware of the terror this will cause his family. The neighboring house seems ideal for Jennifer’s brother Jeff and his wife. A hidden cupboard isn’t so bad—in fact, it’s almost fun to try to solve the little mystery inside it. But the unexpected bonus some workmen find is an entirely different matter. Will any of Harvey and Jennifer’s loved ones want to live next door after they learn what’s in the basement? At last Jennifer’s baby arrives, and Harvey takes a little time off as his squad keeps plugging away on the murder case. The men of the Priority Unit might be wasting their time, trying to prove one dead man killed another. Or is the murderer still alive and ready to strike again? 

GIVEAWAY!
Susan is giving away one copy of The House Next Door (or another of her books at the winner’s choice), either paperback or e-book. Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing, and don’t forget to leave your contact information.

Buy The House Next door:
https://www.amazon.com/House-Next-Door-Maine-Justice-ebook/dp/B074P3BBHJ/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1509673098&sr=8-5&keywords=tHE+hOUSE+NEXT+DOOR

About Susan: Susan Page Davis is a Maine native now living in western Kentucky with her husband of 41 years, Jim, who is a retired news editor. They have six children and ten grandchildren. Susan has published more than 70 novels, mostly in the Christian romance, historical romance, mystery and suspense genres. She’s a winner of the Carol Award, the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and the Will Rogers Medallion.

· Contact link information. 
· Find Susan at: 
·Website: www.susanpagedavis.com
· Twitter: @SusanPageDavis
·Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susanpagedavisauthor
· Sign up for Susan’s occasional newsletter at https://madmimi.com/signups/118177/join

Monday, October 30, 2017

3 books by Autographed books by Anne Greene Ends November 6th

Please Welcome Anne back to my blog. Anne is giving away 3 autographed books so be sure to read on down on how to enter. Don't forget to leave your email address and if you are a feedburner follower be sure to let me now for a second entry.  

A CHRISTMAS BELLE


CHAPTER ONE

October 1877, Wyoming

Was this really what it took to find a husband?

Amanda Geoffrey heaved a deep sigh and brushed dust from her traveling gown. She turned to one of the other mail-order brides jouncing on the buckwagon’s wooden seat beside her. “Yes, from my earliest memories people esteemed me as a mind-reader. I do possess a knack for reading people’s fleeting involuntary expressions.” She smiled. “People immediately erase those swift reactions hoping to mask their true thoughts.”

“Your ability sounds like a gift.” Though they’d been riding in the wagon almost eight hours, Henrietta’s eyes sparkled.

“When I concentrate, I can almost mind-read. But, after some awkward experiences, I’ve pretty much learned to keep the knowledge of my gift to myself. I’m trusting you not to tell a soul.”

“You can be certain I’ll keep your secret. I hope we can become friends. Please tell me more about your gift.” Henrietta arched her back and rubbed gloved hands just below where the buckboard’s backrest ended.

“Expressions truly are the window to the soul, and I knew how to peek into that window and discover whatever the owner wants to hide.”

“That is frightening, Amanda. Can you read my thoughts now?” Henrietta turned a pretty face toward her.

“Like me you’re tired, hungry, thirsty, and frightened at what we shall find at the end of our long journey. These are not the fleeting expressions I’m speaking of. What I do is hard to explain. I study the emotions people try to hide. The emotion appears for less than a second and then the expression is hidden.”

“I see.”

But Henrietta didn’t, of course. She, like most people, never glimpsed those swiftly hidden feelings. Amanda so wanted her new friend to understand. “When we reach Angel Vale I’ll concentrate as if my life depends on what I see in my groom-to-be’s face.” Amanda gripped the tapestry purse jiggling in her lap until her knuckles whitened. Because her future did depend on what she identified in his expression.

Henrietta nodded and then leaned against the hard wooden backboard and closed her eyes. “I’m so glad we’ll be friends.”

Amanda pulled in a deep breath. Her heart beat fast. If only she could relax. After upending her life, she faced a fork in the road. And she’d use her gift to discover the best path to her new life.

She straightened her shoulders, stiffened her back against the wagon’s wooden seat, and planted her pointy-toed boots on the floorboard. Her gift gave her an advantage, but she needed every ounce of help she could secure. She had this one chance. So much could sour with this bridal agreement. So much could go wrong.

A headache pounded behind her eyes.

She rubbed her neck, trying to relax her rigid muscles. The wagon’s hard ride scrambled her insides. She dug her hankie out of the large handbag on her lap and wiped dust from her face. “Such a long, dirty trip from Merville, Maine. I won’t miss that smelly fishing village.”

Without opening her eyes, Henrietta murmured, “Oh, I’m sure I will.”

Amanda’s pulse raced faster than the rugged western countryside moving beneath the long wagon. After the punishing eight-hour ride from the train station in Cheyenne, the other mail-order brides jammed in with her looked as fatigued as she felt. But exhaustion couldn’t dull her foreboding, which grew greater the closer they rode to Angel Vale.

She so dreaded meeting the cowboy. Neither Aunt Bessie Mae, when she lived in Atlanta, nor Uncle Stephan, when she lived in Merville, had wanted her. She had never been good enough for either of them. What if she wasn’t good enough for the cowboy either?



What about you?
In A Christmas Belle, Amanda has been jilted at the altar. Have you ever had your heart broken by a
man you loved?

If you lived in 1877, do you think you would prefer to marry a Southern gentleman or a Wyoming Sheriff?
 

Giveaway:
Anne is giving away an autographed copy of A Groom for Christmas, and an autographed copy of Daredevils, and an autographed copy of Lord Bentley Needs a Bride. Answer one of the questions above to be entered in the giveaway!







 


ABOUT ANNE GREENE:
My home is in the quaint antiquing town of McKinney, Texas, just a few miles north of Dallas. My dear husband is a retired Colonel, Army Special Forces. My little brown and white Shih Tzu, Lily Valentine, shares my writing space, curled at my feet. I have four beautiful, talented children, and eight grandchildren who keep me running.

I’ve traveled in every location of each book I’ve written, and each book is a book of my heart. Besides my first love, writing, I enjoy travel, art, sports, reading, sailing, snorkeling, movies, and way too many other things to mention. Life is good. Jesus said, “I am come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.” Whether writing contemporary or historical, my books celebrate the abundant life Jesus gives.

I’ve written several other novellas. AVOIDING THE MISTLETOE, is included in the Mistletoe, Jingle Bells, and Second Chances Collection. My novella KEARA’S ESCAPE is included in the Orphan Train/Spinster Collection. DAREDEVILS is included in the North Carolina, 50 States Collection. SPUR OF THE MOMENT BRIDE is included in the Wyoming, 50 States Collection. A CHRISTMAS BELLE, is included in the Christmas Mail Order Angels anthology. THE MARRIAGE BROKER AND THE MORTICIAN is included in The California Gold Rush Romance Collection. My novellas, A FOOL FOR LOVE, A GROOM FOR CHRISTMAS, and A TEXAS CHRISTMAS MYSTERY are stand-alone novellas.

Moody Press published my first book, TRAIL OF TEARS. I love writing about alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to fall on their knees in prayer, and about gutsy heroines. My Women of Courage series spotlights heroic women of World War II. You might want to begin with the first book ANGEL WITH STEEL WINGS. Read my private investigating series, Handcuffed In Texas. The first book is RED IS FOR ROOKIE. Enjoy my award-winning Scottish historical romances, MASQUERADE MARRIAGE and MARRIAGE BY ARRANGEMENT. I hope my stories transport you to awesome new worlds and touch your heart to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Buy my books on http://www.Amazon.com. Anne Greene.

ANNE’S LINKS
https://www.amazon.com/Anne-Greene/e/B004ECUWMG/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_1

http://www.facebook.com/AnneWGreeneAuthor

http://www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Captive Brides Collection with Love's Escape by Carrie Fancett Pagels ends October 30



Please welcome my good friend Carrie to the blog this week. Carrie is an awesome lady with a beautiful gift of telling stories that come from her beautiful spirit. Thank you for visiting with us this week Carrie!
 

When the Spirit Convicts Us

By Carrie Fancett Pagels

What do you do when the Holy Spirit convicts you to do something dangerous?

In “Love’s Escape” which is part of The Captive Brides Collection (Barbour, October, 2017), both Nathan Pleasant, the hero, and David Bryant, his best friend, a ship captain, are convicted to help two young women escape a Southern plantation. Their job is a little easier than most, because both women can “pass” for white being of only one-eighth African descent. But because they are being pursued, they face the danger of losing the women they’ve come to love as well as possible imprisonment. Both have already said goodbye to their families, will need to seek new jobs once they reach their destination, and are quickly exhausting their financial resources. Whew! That’s a lot!

I’ve always been intrigued by the people who would reach out and help others, risking their own lives and livelihoods. Those brave people often report that they were acting on their beliefs. Belief in God is one thing, but acting on the prompting of the Holy Spirit, in obedience to God, is key to taking those steps beyond the ordinary, beyond the human nature that constrains us, beyond all societal restraints and limits of intellect. And really, if we are honest with ourselves, when we’ve gotten a nudge from the Lord doesn’t it often seem “unnatural” and against what our fleshly inclination would be? But when we act in obedience to His prompts, He rewards that action.

Question: Has the Lord ever called you to do something outside your comfort zone that blessed you?

Giveaway: A copy of The Captive Brides Collection which includes my novella “Love’s Escape” an Underground Railroad story set in 1850.

When Letitia, the light-skinned house servant of the prominent Burwell family, learns that her father is the master of the plantation, and the one responsible for her mother’s death, she seeks any means of escape from her life of slavery. As she prepares meals and fetches tea for women who are her half-sisters by blood, Lettie becomes more determined that she’ll not live out her days in servitude.

Nathan Pleasant, the undertaker’s son, secretly transports slaves from Virginia and onto the Underground railroad via a network of funeral homes. He’s grown attached to the Burwell’s beautiful house servant, but sees that Lettie’s desperate attempts to leave slavery are making her vulnerable for exploitation – or worse. When he must choose between his livelihood or Lettie’s freedom, will his heart win out?

 
Bio – Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D.

Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of fifteen Christian historical romances, including ECPA bestsellers. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper,” in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.




Danny Gokey’s song “Rise” is Lettie’s theme song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJS42sKrM8c
One reason I picked this song is because Letitia begins her escape in a coffin and part of her spiritual journey is very much like this song. Danny always has a new song just for me!





Check at your local Christian bookstores, e.g., Lifeway, to see if they have copies, too!

Lettie’s cornbread recipe:
4 Cups white whole ground cornmeal
2 Cups coconut milk
½ cup oil or fat (bacon grease or butter makes it tasty!)
1 tsp. ground salt
2 Tablespoons baking powder
3-4 eggs depending on how cakelike you want your cornbread to be.

Stir all together. Get your oven right hot (Set oven to 425 degrees.) Grease a good sized pan. Cook 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown.  When everyone has cleaned that pan out if you have some crumblers then take the crumbs and mix them in as a substitute for bread crumbs. Enjoy!

Monday, October 16, 2017

3 books by Autographed books by Anne Greene ends October 23rd

Please Welcome Anne back to my blog. Anne is giving away 3 autographed books so be sure to read on down on how to enter. Don't forget to leave your email address and if you are a feedburner follower be sure to let me now for a second entry.

  EXCERPT – LORD BENTLEY NEEDS A BRIDE

1820 – June 30 – The London townhouse of the Marquess of Fremont



Giggles. Whispers. More giggles.

Lord Bradford Hamilton, soon to be Earl of Bentley, turned. Behind him, confound it, they were laughing at him.

Three of the most striking women he’d ever had the pleasure of viewing stood in their ball gowns murmuring to one another and giggling. At him.

Blast! He wouldn’t even be here had not Father insisted. He adjusted his crimson cravat. He could best any man present at fisticuffs, sword, and pistol, but women….

He yearned to be in love. Many of his acquaintances reported that each had each fallen in love with a woman at a glance, thought about her from afar, and once married, spent his life protecting her. Thus far, he had been denied that experience.

Yet, Father insisted he take a wife. This season. He must wed no later than September or October. If he failed, Father would pass the inheritance to James. And his younger brother by ten and one-half months did everything in his power to prevent him from marrying.

James was ambitious, and he desired the Townhouses, the estate, and the money. Bentley frowned. Not that he would mind sharing, but British law remained steadfast and unchangeable. To protect estates from being parceled out, when the owner died the eldest son inherited everything.

But Father could and would deed his land money to James if he so desired, leaving Bentley with nothing but the inherited title. From birth, the Law of Primogeniture had been a thorn in James’ side, rendering him jealous and prone to pranks that verged on hurtful. And left James cool in his brotherly relationship.

Bentley had tried all his twenty-three years to mend the lack of good will between them, but still his only sibling, or as Father called James—the spare—, remained distant. Except for his prankish schemes.

Bentley shifted his feet, too warm encased in his new tall riding boots which also served as formal dancing boots, as he stood next to the long, white-clothed refreshment table. He clasped his hands behind his back, hoping that posture made him look attractive to the ladies present. The pressure of securing a wife kept him awake most nights. Surely, he had bags beneath his eyes. More likely trunks.

He had glanced twice at one particular lady before he noticed the small square of black fabric she wore under her cap, the corner pointed down over her smooth, oval forehead. Father had forbidden him to take a wife who was a widow. Too much difficulty with the dowry and the acquisition of her lands. Far too many lords died in duels defending such lands from younger brothers of the widow.

He’d not been attracted to any of the eligible ladies at the balls and soirees he’d dutifully attended during the season. And the ton had paraded all their ladies-on-the market before his eyes. He’d entertained high hopes for this last and very late ball of the season. But so far, he’d definitely not met a lady who was to his taste. One not frightened off by the rumors James spread of his being a rogue of the worst sort.

Apparently the most beautiful lady heiresses with the most lavish fortunes steered clear of rogues. Plus, he’d decided he wouldn’t settle for a plain lady. And Father wouldn’t settle for a lady without an enormous fortune and title.

Really narrowed the field.

Bentley shrugged his shoulders inside his confining maroon velvet frock coat and sighed.

“So, Bentley, see any damsel to your liking?” Lord Sebastian Somerset, his closest friend, reached down and snagged a tart from the table.

“The ladies are laughing at me.”

“Yes, they want you to notice them. You are tonight’s most eligible bachelor. Fortunately for you I’m not in the running, or you wouldn’t stand a chance.” Sebastian winked a bright blue eye and tossed his thatch of blond hair. He thrust a proud thumb beneath the lapel of his brown velvet frockcoat.

Bentley blew out an exasperated breath. “No, you are free to choose any woman you want. You don’t have an aging father anxious to dandle a grandson on his knee.”

“Right, as second son I am only pressured to enter the military. Which I won’t.” Sebastian popped the sweet into his mouth, and didn’t look at all concerned about his future. He licked raspberry from his lips.

“If I were free I would not marry. Women are rather tedious, don’t you think?” Bentley raised an eyebrow.

Sebastian threw his head, that women no doubt thought quite handsome, back and laughed. “You only say that because you are afraid of the fairer sex.”

“I fear nothing.” Bentley growled. Except this crème de la crème of society, he’d seldom made time for. He pulled a snowy handkerchief from his lace cuff and wiped beads of sweat from on his brow.

“Then walk over there and select one of those lovely ladies as your bride.” A smirk lit Sebastian’s face. “I’d choose the one in the white dress. Lady Camilla Merriweather. But I know for a fact that she’s holding out for a marquess or an earl. Why else do you think she’s standing where you can’t escape seeing her?”

Bentley glanced at the ladies, one a blonde, one with a head full of red curls, and one a shimmering brunette, and then turned his back. His cheeks burned.

“Whom shall I introduce you to? Lady Camilla, Lady Nicola, or Lady Elizabeth?”

“My father would ask which is the richest heiress?”

“That would be the small, slender, blonde, Lady Elizabeth. And she is painfully shy.”

Bentley shook his head. “I fear marriage to that one would be a mere shadow. I think I might prefer a woman with more zest.”

“Lady Nicola has vibrancy, but I’m solicitous for you since she is most outspoken.”

Bentley nodded. “I think I might prefer a woman with a soft voice and a soft touch.”

“You’ve never kept company with a woman in all the time we’ve been friends. How would you know what you want?”

“Well, yes. That is a problem. I don’t know what I want. And if I show the slightest interest in a female, she thinks I’m proposing. The entire ton knows I must select a wife before winter.” He cupped his hand and smoothed his lush beard. “And what are Lady Camilla’s attributes?”

“She’s a lovely girl. But I fear she has no money. She is the daughter of a viscount, and hopes to marry wealth.”

“So not one of those lovely ladies can I approach as they do not meet my criteria.”

Sebastian slapped him on the back. “I’ve have a solution for you my friend.”

Bentley swept the ballroom with his eyes, turning his head to take in the whole candle-lit scene, polished wood floor, musicians in the corner, clumps of ladies eyeing him behind their fans, and other gentlemen moving among them as easily as if they’d been born to navigate that danger-filled terrain. He was sorely out of his element in this glittering splendor. “I need help. What do you say?”

“My Aunt Honore is a matchmaker. Through no fault of her own, she’s confined to spinsterhood. So, pairing up eligible bachelors with qualified ladies is how she makes her living. She will provide you with the best catch of the ton.”

“Not bloody likely! I won’t have someone else choose a bride for me.”

“No. No.” Sebastian shook his head. “You don’t understand. Aunt Honore will provide a list of appropriate ladies, along with their pedigrees, their likes, and their dislikes. She will show you a miniature likeness, and offer you a lock of their hair. You have only to meet them and make your choice. It’s quite simple really.” Sebastian grinned. “And each lady will parade a lovely set of her own teeth.”

“And what if the lady I chose decides she doesn’t care for me at all?”

“You really have been secreted at your country estate too long. There are other pastimes than training horses.” Sebastian made a wry face and shook his head. “Ladies really have no choice, or very little, about whom they marry. Their papas make the decision. First the prospective husband must be incredibly rich.” Sebastian held up his index finger. “You are.”

“Then the prospective husband must not be too old to provide an heir.” Sebastian held up another finger. “Obviously you are extremely virile and able to father a son.” Sebastian chuckled, “I think you can navigate that route, old boy.” Sebastian held up a third finger. “The prospective husband must follow the Rules of Love.” Sebastian frowned. “You do know the Rules of Love?”

“Never heard of such a bloody thing.”

“No fear. Aunt Honore will provide you with a handbook.”

“Why haven’t you told me all this before?”

“You were busy. I realize training all those Arabian horses takes time. When you weren’t expanding the lands and holdings of The Oaks, you spent your time in London at The Trophy Club, playing billiards or cards.” Sebastian’s eyes twinkled. “Or gaming or at the horse races. Hiding from the ladies I expect.”

“They do plague a fellow.” Be so much easier if women flirted with him as they did with Sebastian. But the mysterious and lovely gentler sex seldom wandered into his stables or onto the race track.

“So, you will give one of those plaguing women relief from her cares. You will ask her to be your wife, and she will be ever so happy to comply.”

“Dastardly!” The very thought of taking a wife in that manner made him quake in his boots.


How about you?
If you could stay a week in any time or place in history, where would you choose to go?

Do you believe in “The One and Only Man” or do you believe there are any number of men, one of which you could fall in love with as your soul mate?

Giveaway:
Anne is giving away an autographed copy of Avoiding The Mistletoe, and an autographed copy of Keara's Escape, and an autographed copy of A Groom for Christmas. Answer one of the questions above to be entered in the giveaway!


ABOUT ANNE GREENE:
My home is in the quaint antiquing town of McKinney, Texas, just a few miles north of Dallas. My dear husband is a retired Colonel, Army Special Forces. My little brown and white Shih Tzu, Lily Valentine, shares my writing space, curled at my feet. I have four beautiful, talented children, and eight grandchildren who keep me running.

I’ve traveled in every location of each book I’ve written, and each book is a book of my heart. Besides my first love, writing, I enjoy travel, art, sports, reading, sailing, snorkeling, movies, and way too many other things to mention. Life is good. Jesus said, “I am come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.” Whether writing contemporary or historical, my books celebrate the abundant life Jesus gives.

I’ve written several other novellas. AVOIDING THE MISTLETOE, is included in the Mistletoe, Jingle Bells, and Second Chances Collection. My novella KEARA’S ESCAPE is included in the Orphan Train/Spinster Collection. DAREDEVILS is included in the North Carolina, 50 States Collection. SPUR OF THE MOMENT BRIDE is included in the Wyoming, 50 States Collection. A CHRISTMAS BELLE, is included in the Christmas Mail Order Angels anthology. THE MARRIAGE BROKER AND THE MORTICIAN is included in The California Gold Rush Romance Collection. My novellas, A FOOL FOR LOVE, A GROOM FOR CHRISTMAS, and A TEXAS CHRISTMAS MYSTERY are stand-alone novellas.

Moody Press published my first book, TRAIL OF TEARS. I love writing about alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to fall on their knees in prayer, and about gutsy heroines. My Women of Courage series spotlights heroic women of World War II. You might want to begin with the first book ANGEL WITH STEEL WINGS. Read my private investigating series, Handcuffed In Texas. The first book is RED IS FOR ROOKIE. Enjoy my award-winning Scottish historical romances, MASQUERADE MARRIAGE and MARRIAGE BY ARRANGEMENT. I hope my stories transport you to awesome new worlds and touch your heart to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Buy my books on http://www.Amazon.com. Anne Greene.

ANNE’S LINKS

https://www.amazon.com/Anne-Greene/e/B004ECUWMG/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_1

http://www.facebook.com/AnneWGreeneAuthor

http://www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com

Monday, October 2, 2017

Secrets and Wishes by Kathleen Rouser ends October 9th


Please welcome Kathleen Rouser to my blog today. Kathleen is giving away a copy of her book Secrets and Wishes. Be sure to read on down to find out how to enter.
 
New Chapters in Life

When I decided that the older sister of the hero in Rumors and Promises needed her own story, I also decided to pull a secondary character from my novella, The Pocket Watch. The brother of the main character, Daniel, is Thomas Harper. Though he was only mentioned a couple of times I decided to move him, a widower from Detroit, to Stone Creek, Michigan with his four rambunctious children.  





Maggie, also widowed, is the heroine of Secrets and Wishes, my latest novel. Both Thomas and Maggie are going through times of transition in their lives. Maggie no longer keeps house for her brother, Ian, who is now married. She gains second place in a national baking contest and starts to think about a possible future as a businesswoman with her own bakery.

Thomas, still reeling from the death of his capable helpmeet, decides to move to a smaller country town and open a pharmacy there. Lost without Bess, he’s finding it harder to start over than he expected.


It occurred to me that I had written about people who were going through major transitions in their lives. Over the years as I had worked on this story, on and off, I realized I’d been transitioning too. No longer a homeschooling mom of three, on call 24/7, I found myself with an empty nest. My youngest left for the military at 18, I had another kid on the other side of the world, and one trying to figure out life in another city. Who was I in the midst of all that? I went back to school—twice. I worked in a contract job and later a temp job as a dental assistant, but never seemed to find the right fit. It seemed the Lord was calling me home and back to pursuing my writing more seriously. And that was kind of scary, though I love being home most of the time and creating new stories!

After going through a wilderness experience recently, and calling out to God, He has heard my cries and pointed me fully back to Himself, where I realize: Here is my home, first and foremost, I am a child of God. As it says in Colossians 3:3 of believers, “For you died, and your life is now hidden in Christ with God.” Our identity is truly in Jesus Christ who has given us new life in Him!

Maggie and Thomas are flawed individuals who also are looking for the answers to what the next chapter in their lives is supposed to look like. When trials and tragedy ensue, they’re eventually drawn closer to Christ and surprises in love. I also enjoyed writing about their fictional children: Abby, Josiah, Lyle, Zeke, the troublemaker, and Maggie’s son, Philip. I hope my readers will enjoy their antics as much as I enjoyed creating these characters and their situations.

Writing a novel can be as therapeutic as it is creative, so I find I’m learning about myself even as I get to know my characters. It’s my desire to encourage and entertain with each of my stories. With my historical romances, my wish is to minister to my readers as they escape to Stone Creek, that they will take a load off and have a cold glass of lemonade on Maggie’s front porch swing as they read Secrets and Wishes.

Questions:

1.What situation most recently made you think about the direction of your life?

2.What kind of character do you find most intriguing?

3.Which do you like better: simple romances or those with deeper plots? And why? 


GIVEAWAY: Secrets and Wishes 
Answer one of her questions above and leave your email address to enter. Don't forget to let me know if you are a feedburner follower for an extra entry. If you are not be sure to become one and let me know! Choice of paperback or Kindle in Continental US, Kindle Internationally.


More about Secrets and Wishes:

Stone Creek, Michigan
April, 1901

Maggie Galloway and Thomas Harper clash after their sons collide in a fistfight. Both widowed, they’re each doing their best as a parent to their children. Outgoing Maggie has dreams for a home of her own and a business to provide for her son as she searches for God’s path for her life as a widow. Reserved Thomas struggles to establish his new pharmacy and take care of his four rambunctious children, while wondering how a loving God could take his beloved wife.

When Thomas becomes deathly ill, Maggie is recruited to nurse him back to health. Taking the children in hand, as well, is more than she bargained for, but she is drawn to help the grieving family. Both nurse and patient find themselves drawn to each other but promptly deny their feelings.

A baking contest sponsored by the Silver Leaf Flour Company brings former beau, Giles Prescott, back into Maggie’s life. When Giles offers Maggie a position at their test kitchen in Chicago, he hints that, along with assuring her a good job, it will allow them to possibly rekindle their relationship.

But then a charlatan comes to town, and tragedy soon follows. Maggie and Thomas discover the miracle potions he hawks aren’t so harmless when an epidemic hits Stone Creek. Thomas and Maggie realize they must work together to save lives.

Maggie finds herself caught up in battles within and without—the battle to help the townsfolk in the midst of illness and chicanery, and the battle to know which man—Thomas or Giles—deserves to win her heart.

Buy Links and Social Media links:

Buy link for Rumors and Promises: https://www.amazon.com/Rumors-Promises-Kathleen-Rouser/dp/1941103669/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

For Secrets and Wishes: https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Wishes-Kathleen-Rouser/dp/194601625X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
 


ABOUT KATHLEEN: Kathleen Rouser is the award-winning author of Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan. She is a longtime member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Kathleen longs to create characters who resonate with readers and realize the need for a transforming Savior in their everyday lives. She lives in Michigan with her hero and husband, Jack, and the sassy tail-less cat who found a home in their empty nest. Connect with Kathleen on her website at kathleenrouser.com.

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Twitter handle: @KathleenRouser
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