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Friday, April 25, 2014

New Release Thursday: The Gunfighter's Girl by Cheryl Pierson

Prairie Rose Publications is proud to announce the release of The Gunfighter's Girl by Cheryl Pierson.
This is a Western Romance short from the award winning author of Gabriel's Law and Sweet Danger. Formerly titled Scarlet Ribbons, this is one of Cheryl Pierson's favorite Holiday stories. ~ 
Men avoid meeting the eyes of Miguel Rivera, El Diablo, (The Devil) for fear of his gun. Upon returning to a town where he once knew a brief happiness, Miguel makes a foolish holiday purchase; two scarlet ribbons which he hides away. 
When Catalina, his former lover, allows him to take a room at her boarding house, Miguel discovers a secret. Realizing he needs the scarlet ribbons after all, he is stunned to find them missing. Will a meeting with a mysterious priest, an unusual child, and the miracle of the Scarlet Ribbons set Miguel on a new path?

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    He didn't know why he bought them. The man they called El Diablo was not given to any kind of sentimentality. A devil had no soul, no heart.
    But, by his small purchase, Miguel thought, he had shown himself, and the world, that was not entirely true.
    When the street vendor had made eye contact, Miguel knew something odd was about to transpire. Most men glanced away quickly if they chanced to meet his eyes, afraid of what he might do—or what they might see. Many men had seen their deaths reflected in the dark blackness; too many, he thought with disgust.
    But the street vendor—he'd looked at Miguel and had not turned away. He had actually smiled and given a friendly nod. Miguel had been drawn to the vendor, not understanding why. Obviously, the merchant had not known who he was; a hired gunman wanted on both sides of the border; a killer. The vendor had given Miguel an even wider smile as he neared, holding up a handful of trinkets that glittered in the warmth of the sun for a moment like diamonds.
    As Miguel came closer, they lost their sparkle, and the vendor laid them back on the rough wooden display table. Miguel's hand hovered near the butt of his low-slung pistol for a moment as he gave a quick look around the market square of the small village.
    "Hola, Senor," the vendor greeted him. "Como estas?"
    "Bien," Miguel responded automatically, hearing the coolness in his tone. No need for that, he thought.      
    The man was genuinely friendly. And as Miguel returned his gaze to the vendor, he saw a flicker of recognition in the heavy-set man's eyes. But there was no censure or fear. Unusual. How long had it been since he'd looked into another man's face and not seen one emotion or the other? Or both?
    "Christmas is tomorrow. A special gift for your lady, perhaps?"
Miguel's lips lifted in sardonic amusement. Christmas. He had not had a lady for a very long time. "You know who I am?"
    "Oh, yes." The merchant nodded. "Who doesn't?"
    "Then…you must know that El Diablo doesn't celebrate Christmas, old man." His tone was sharp and he turned away. "And I have no 'lady.' Keep your trinkets." He started back down the street toward the decrepit hotel.
    "As you wish."
    The response was so smugly complacent, Miguel couldn't help turning back to the vendor. The man smiled and nodded at him, as if he'd just wished him a pleasant good afternoon. A hot wind kicked up the dust in the street, and as the vendor squinted into the whirlwind, Miguel felt a niggling of recognition in the back of his mind.
    "You were born here, weren't you, Miguel?" The old man went on without waiting for an answer.     "Your mother was a friend of my youngest daughter. They always had their heads together, plotting and planning—as young girls do." He smiled in remembrance. "I was…surprised when Elena married—your father."
    The censure had come at last, Miguel thought. He wanted to laugh. This man cared nothing for the fact that he was a hired killer; only disapproving of the choice his mother had made—to marry an American. 
    "It broke your grandfather's heart."
    Miguel gave a short, mirthless chuckle. "I guess so. He disinherited her. I never met him." The admission sent an unexpected shot of disappointment through him. It was something he'd lived with since birth. Why should it begin to hurt now?
    The vendor shrugged, looking down as he carefully rearranged his wares. "Things change."
    "People don't."
    The merchant's head came up swiftly, his eyes hardening. "You've much to learn, Miguel Rivera. Or is it Michael Rivers on both sides of the border now?" He nodded at Miguel's surprise. "You use a name that's not yours. As I say, you have much to learn, if you can find the soul you lost so long ago."
    Miguel shook his head, amusement at the man's words warring with the disbelief at his audacity. He better leave now, he decided, and put an end to this strange conversation. "I've taken enough of your time. If you'll excuse me—"
    "How about these?" The vendor held up two beautiful red ribbons that gleamed in the sunlight.
    For some reason, he felt compelled to taunt the merchant. "Those will be perfect for my horse's tail."
    The round-faced vendor laughed companionably, as if nothing were amiss. "I'm sure you'll find a better use than that for them. They are lovely, aren't they, these scarlet ribbons?"
    Miguel put a finger out to touch the satiny smoothness. "Lovely" wasn't adequate to describe them. They were woven of the finest silk, a deep, rich crimson that bespoke a high quality dye. Ribbons he had absolutely no use for.
    "How much?" he heard himself asking. 
    "Twenty pesos." The vendor raised a gnarled finger. "Not one peso less. These are of the very best quality."
    "No doubt," Miguel muttered caustically. "They're worth the cost, but they are useless to me."
    "Trying to haggle, eh?"
    "No, I just—"
    The vendor shook his finger, his bronze brow wrinkling like old leather. "I won't bargain."
    "I'm not asking you to. I don't have any need for—"
    "Fine then. Be gone." He turned back to his display, dismissing Miguel.
    Good manners would dictate a purchase, Miguel knew. He'd taken up much of the man's time. "Here." Sighing, he reached into his pocket and drew out the pesos, counting them into the merchant's hand. The vendor rolled up the ribbons, wrapped them in brown paper, and tied them with a flourish. 
    "You won't be sorry," the old man said, handing the package to Miguel.
    I already am.

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  1. I absolutely loved this story. It's one of my favorites. I think the change in titles was a good idea. The Gunfighter's Girl is so very interesting and romantic. The new cover really is gorgeous...another Livia triumph! All the best to you, Cheryl.

    1. Thanks, Sarah! I love the cover, too. You remember, it's actually a Christmas story, but good for any time of the year. It's one of my favorites, too. I love the paranormal element in it. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Delish excerpt, Cheryl! Wishing you much success with your latest...and well, everything. xo

    1. Thanks, Tanya! I appreciate you, dear friend!

  3. Looks really interesting, a story I would enjoy reading.. Thanks for the info on the publisher site.

    1. You're welcome, Robyn! Thanks for your very kind words. So glad you stopped by today and joined us. Please visit often. We've always got something going on!

  4. Cheryl,

    I've always liked stories with the "paranormal light" element and have even written a couple. I think it's a combination of believing in the 'unusual' that we can't explain away logically in our ordinary day-to-day lives, and that I've had my own encounters with the paranormal. Hard-core paranormal scares the daylights out of me, so I stay away from reading those kind of stories. ;-)

    1. Kaye, I do a lot of paranormal--just good vs. evil type things--I don't write werewolves and vampires and stuff like that, and I don't get into the religious aspects of it all. Like you, I've had my encounters with paranormal things, and I would not ever dabble in anything and don't even like to read about it. Hard-core paranormal scares me to death, too. I used to love Stephen King when I was younger, but have found his later stories tooooooo disturbing! But my stories have "just a touch"--a few little twisty things. This story was based on the old folk song, "Scarlet Ribbons" about a man who hears his daughter asking for scarlet ribbons in her prayer. Everything is shut down, and there's no place to get her scarlet ribbons, but in the morning when he goes in to check on her just before dawn, there are the scarlet ribbons on her bed. I get chills when I hear Harry Belafonte sing that.

  5. I love Christmas stories. And I'm with you Kaye I love stories with a bit of the paranormal in them. But they have to be friendly ghosts.

    1. Barb, I can read Christmas stories any time of the year. LOL I love them, too. I'm re-releasing several of my Christmas novellas here in the next couple of months. I'm so glad to get them back out!

  6. This has always been one of my favorites among your stories, Okie. The characters charge right off the pages. Gabe is a hottie with a heart, Catalina is tough but feminine, and the little girl is just precious. This one is a heart-wrencher.

    Love the new cover, too! :-)

    1. I love that cover, too, Kathleen! Livia did it again! I love the rich red--speaks of Christmas, but could be any time of the year, really--just hotness all over the place. LOL I'm so glad you enjoyed that story so much. It's one I really did love to write!

  7. OOO! My heart is beating way to fast. It is a delightful read and now...I can visualize the folks even better...sigh. Doris

  8. Doris, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by today! You're always so supportive, and it's a delight to hear from you!



    Thank you Robyn for stopping by today and commenting. If you will contact me at with your e-mail information, I will be glad to see that you get your prize!


  10. Awesome excerpt,Cheryl No heart, no soul...yowzers. Can't wait to dig in. Congrats, my friend. xo

  11. My kind of hero, Okie -- the soulless, heartless kind! It's just so much fun redeeming those guys, isn't it?

    This is among my favorites of your stories. Everything you write is heartfelt and absorbing, but this one is exceptional.

    Loved your story in the new Christmas anthology, too! I'm looking forward to the release of WILD TEXAS CHRISTMAS in about a week. :-)