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Thursday, September 27, 2018

New Release — The Tempestuous Debutante (Cotillion Ball Saga Book 4) by Becky Lower

Jasmine Fitzpatrick is determined to outshine the other debutantes this season at the Cotillion Ball—but how can she attract a husband without a new wardrobe? Her father has decreed she will be relegated to the gowns from her season the previous year—cut short by a broken ankle. Even before the glittering society season begins, impetuous Jasmine sets her sights on a man she’s never met—simply because he has an English title. Never mind he’s nearly twice her age—Alistair Wickersham, the Viscount of Pemberley, would certainly never let her be seen wearing last year’s gowns!

Jasmine and her mother, Charlotte, hatch a scheme to get the viscount to take note of Jasmine, but there are more than a few obstacles to overcome—the main one being a wealthy young widow who has already captured Alistair’s attention.

Parr O’Shaughnessy, the viscount’s handsome business partner, loses his heart the very moment he meets vivacious, spirited Jasmine. But she makes it clear to him she’s after a titled marriage—to the viscount. Parr knows he somehow must steer clear of Jasmine—or his love for her could topple his loyalty to the viscount, ruining their friendship and business dynasty.

When tragedy looms, will Jasmine see where her heart really lies? Winning Jasmine’s love could mean losing everything else Parr holds dear, but how can he live without THE TEMPESTUOUS DEBUTANTE?

EXCERPT


     Her mother reached over and patted Jasmine’s hand. “We may both have had the same topic on our minds, but we are definitely not thinking along the same lines. To begin with, you don’t need a debutante gown, since you were introduced to society last year.”

     Her uneasy stomach turned over. “But…but…No!” She leapt to her feet and began to pace the room “I was a debutante for all of fifteen minutes last season, before I fell and broke my ankle. I demand to start over. There are other nineteen-year-olds who are among those to be introduced this year.”
     Jasmine sensed moisture beginning to form at the back of her eyes. Two fat tears slid down her smooth cheeks. 
     Her mother was oblivious to her tears, though. “You know I’m sorry that your season came to such an abrupt end last April, but the rules of the debutante ball are rules, and must be followed to the letter. Annie Schemerhorn thought of everything when she introduced the ball to New York society a few years ago. You made your debut last year, so now, you will be a returning debutante. I’m sorry, but that’s the way it must be.”
     Jasmine’s tears fell in earnest now as she wrung her hands. “But you know ‘returning’ debutantes are those who are too plain to have captured a husband during their season. I cannot be one of those ‘poor unfortunates.’”

      

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Bad Girls, Bad Girls, Part 3, the Bassett Sisters of Brown's Park

Ann Bassett
"Throwing caution to the winds, I pushed cattle off the range. I had to work alone. My neighbors did not support me in this, my challenge to Haley, and defiance of law and order. No other stockmen were responsible for what I did. I turned the heat against myself by an open declaration of war."--Ann Bassett on going to war with Two-Bar Ranch owner, Ora Haley, in revenge for the murder of her fiance, Matt Rash.

"Let's just say some men are harder to get rid of than others." --Josie Bassett on the suspected death by poisoning of her fifth and last husband.

"Why hasn't a mini-series been made about these people yet?"--Me

In the second part of this series on the wild women, we saw how a certain place in combination with an event could take things in unexpected directions. The devastating winter of 1887 changed cattle ranching forever, putting a lot of cowboys out of work. Some of those cowboys ended up mixing with outlaws in Knickerbocker, Texas, spawning a new generation of outlaws. In case you missed the post about Laura Bullion here it is again: https://prairierosepublications.blogspot.com/2018/08/bad-girls-bad-girls-part-ii-laura.html


Likewise, in the story of the Bassett sisters, place and event combine to create a page in outlaw history. The place: Brown's Park. The event: conflict between the large, wealthy ranchers and the homesteaders.
Brown's Park, or Brown's Hole as it originally was called, is an isolated mountain valley spanning Utah and Colorado. Difficult to penetrate by the law the area remained one of last pockets of lawlessness at the end of the 19th century.


The Bassett Ranch (Photo Credit State of Utah Historical Society)
It was here that Herb Bassett, his wife Elizabeth, and their two children Samuel and Josie while on their way from their home in Arkansas to a new life in California, decided to settle rather than continue west. Their daughter Ann was the first white person born in the valley. The baby was put in the care of an Indian tribe when Elizabeth couldn't breastfeed her. Ann liked to claim she was part Indian.
And, wild she was. When I first thought about doing this series on the women of the Wild Bunch, I saved the Bassett girls for last, because I wondered how wild two women who went to boarding schools out east could be? As it turns out on a scale of tame to wild, the Bassetts were near-feral. Their father sent them to boarding school in an attempt to control them. In school Ann seemed to have spent more time in prohibition than not.
Both sisters preferred the cowboy life and returned to the family ranch. At this time cattle rustling between neighboring ranches was the norm. Herb had health problems and preferred to spend time in his library or playing piano, and he also acted as post master for the area. His wife, Elizabeth, stepped up to run the day to day activities of the ranch.
The southern belle who rode sidesaddle was one tough customer. She had to be to protect their home. She was someone who not only knew where the bodies were buried, she likely had a hand in placing them there (...That time three Texans disappeared and the ranch acquired three new shotguns...). These were violent times, which she met by forming the Bassett Gang with her ranch hands Matt Rash, Isom Dart, and Jim McKnight.

Isom Dart, close friend and supporter of the Bassett Family
Elizabeth was a feminist and raised her daughters without the usual restrictions of gender. The girls were a match for any man in roping, shooting, and riding. When Elizabeth died suddenly in her thirties, her offspring well-able to take over the reins, which included cattle rustling.
The larger ranchers set out to eliminate the troublesome smaller holdings. They enlisted the notorious Tom Horn to act for them. When I saw he was involved, I worried about everyone in the valley (Horn was later hung for the cold-blooded murder of a 14 year old boy. Bragging about it was what got him arrested). Horn moved around under an fake name, pinning notes to the cabins of the small sheep and cattle farmers, and invited them to leave--or else.
Here is where the outlaws come into the picture. Besides having a natural hideout in the wild valley, the small ranchers welcomed the gangs and the protection as well as the money they spent on horses and provisions. In addition, the ranchers saw the outlaws plaguing the railroad and banks as kindred spirits as they themselves were David to the Goliath of the wealthy ranchers. Rumor had it that the Bassett family was left alone due to Kid Curry threatening anyone who went after them.
The valley was so popular with gangs that the Bassett Ranch was often the final destination of letters left along the secret postal system dotting the outlaw trail. Messages would be left in designated spots like hollow tree stumps so passing outlaws could pick up the "mail" and deliver it to Brown's Park where everyone was likely to end up.
The family's ranch was a favorite spot to cool their heels. Butch Cassidy was said to enjoy Herb's library and the musical nights. It didn't hurt that the Bassetts had two beautiful daughters.
With all the handsome cowboys and outlaws passing through, Ann and Josie enjoyed an active love life. They had romantic relationship with several of the Wild Bunch outlaws. Their relationships were so complex I made a chart for you, which is easier than trying to go into details:


Love Connections among the Wild Bunch. (dotted line denotes a possible)
Both girls were romantically involved with Butch Cassidy, though not at the same time. Ann began an on again, off again affair with Cassidy that spanned seven years, beginning when she was 15. She was one of only five women allowed into Robber' Roost where she stayed with Cassidy for a few months along with Elzy Lay and his girlfriend.
But, the sisters didn't limit their attentions to the Wild Bunch. Ann became engaged to Matt Rash, who was the nephew of Davy Crockett. Sadly, before they could marry Tom Horn shot Rash in the back while he was eating his lunch in his cabin where he was found dead. Not long after Isom Dart was shot and killed from a distance when he stepped out of his cabin.

Matt Rash
After the murders, Ann focused her energy on revenge. She spent the following years stealing Two-Bar cattle, running them off cliffs or drowning them when she couldn't, and sabotaging the other ranch's water supply. She was so successful she earned the nickname Queen Ann. She bought her own cabin and became one of the frontier's first female ranch owners.
She was so determined to bring down the Two-Bar that she went so far as to steal away the foreman of the rival ranch, by marrying him to help him run her own ranch. Hyrum "Hi" Bernard was twenty years her senior. The marriage lasted six years and did little to deter Haley.
After her divorce, Ann continued to run her ranch be herself. When a stock detective found butchered cattle belonging to the Two-Bar, Ann was arrested for rustling. The opera house was used to hold her trial to accommodate the crowd. One witness was killed and another disappeared, and Ann was acquitted to the delight of the residents who hated Haley. Ann was paraded through town in triumph.
As for the suggestion that Ann Bassett and Etta Place were the same woman, after reading about Ann, I'd say she was far too busy at Brown's Park to run off to South America. Part One, in case you missed it: https://prairierosepublications.blogspot.com/2018/07/bad-girls-bad-girls-whatcha-gonna-do.html
Meanwhile back at the ranch, Josie found herself pregnant by six foot tall, Scotsman Jim McKnight (It's a wonder this didn't happen more often) and they married. She had two sons by him before running him off with a frying pan (or shotgun, in some versions) when she couldn't tolerate his drinking.
They say Josie, who stayed on her father's ranch, was the more domestic of the two sisters. Maybe. She sure liked getting married. She had five husbands, divorcing four and surviving one.
Ann remarried in 1928 to cattleman Frank Willis. They moved to Utah where they went on to live a happy life. He doted on her and after she died of a heart attack at age 77 in 1956, unable to part with her, he carried around her ashes in his car until his death 1963. She wanted her ashes spread in Brown's Park and finally got her wish upon his death.
Ann Bassett Willis in later life
When Josie's last husband died and traces of strychnine poison were found in his drinking cup, she was arrested for his murder. Josie was acquitted and swore off men. Donning bib overalls, she lived alone without electricity in a cabin that her son helped her build. She enjoyed hunting and fishing and living off the land like a homesteader with a herd of cattle penned in a nearby box canyon.

Cabin of Josie Bassett
Continuing alone, she remained a presence in Brown's Park into the next decades. During the Great Depression she helped out less fortunate neighbors. During Prohibition she made bootleg whiskey. She was arrested in 1936 for cattle rustling, but played her I'm-just-a grandma card and was acquitted. In 1963 she fell and broke her hip which led to her death at 90 years old.

Josie Bassett McKnight Ranney Williams Wells Morris
One more thing: Josie said Butch Cassidy visited her in Brown's Park decades after his supposed death in Bolivia. She said they stayed up all night reminiscing.*
There is a lot more to say about these fascinating women and Brown's Park, and I hope I whetted your appetite to read more about them. I couldn't fit all the stories into one blog post.
So, what do you think? Mini series? Who would you like to see playing all of these characters?

*Josie wasn't the only one who claimed to have seen Butch long after his supposed death in Bolivia. Several of his former girlfriends and acquaintances made the same claim. His own sister, Lulu Parker Betenson, said he visited his family and told her he'd just come from visiting Sundance and Etta in New Mexico (I threw that in for you romantics out there). Lulu claimed he died much later under an assumed name, and both his grave and the name he was buried under are Parker family secrets as they don't want him disturbed.
Ann Bassett also claimed to have paid a visit to Butch's grave in Utah decades after the Bolivian incident.
It is interesting to note that Alan Pinkerton of the famed detective agency who'd been hot on Butch and Sundance's trail didn't believe Butch died in Bolivia and didn't close the case until 1920. No evidence has ever been found that Butch and Sundance were killed in that shootout. If such a shootout even occurred. The story of their death was told by a friend of Cassidy's who owed him a favor.

Thank you for reading along with me on my series featuring these fascinating women: Etta Place, Laura Bullion, and the Bassett sisters whose tales are all so different from one another. For a bonus I'm throwing in photos shot from the interior of Butch and Sundance's Hole-in-the-Wall cabin. Yes! I stood inside their cabin!!! The cabin, along with other historic buildings from the old west, now stands in Old Trail Town, Cody, WY. I will sneak in my own vacation pics whenever I get a chance.















Sunday, September 23, 2018

Book review: A Flare of the Heart by Jacquie Rogers

28007849


Blurb:

Celia Valentine Yancey has no illusions she’ll ever enjoy wedded bliss, so chooses marriage over spinsterhood even if she has to marry a man her father picked. On the way to meet her groom, she endures armed robbery, a stagecoach wreck, a dozen hungry baby pigs—and an incorrigible farmer. Ross Flaherty retired from bounty hunting to become a farmer but now Celia has brought his worst fear to his door—in more ways than one. A ferocious wolf-dog and a dozen piglets are no match for this determined lady. Which is more dangerous—the Sully Gang or Miss Celia Yancey?

My Review:

Looking for some giggles and sweet story to enjoy? Then grab up Celia and Ross's story and get ready to fall in love!

These two meet under some rather adventurous circumstances and giggles abound while sparks fly and hearts awaken. I adored Ross and how he was still all bad-boy tough guy and with how he treated Celia. Celia proved that she was the perfect match for him, being both strong, but yet soft for him.

This is an adorable little story to spend a couple hours with -- just wish it was longer! (haha! isn't that the truth more often than not!)

Purchase Link:


Thursday, September 20, 2018

AUTUMN'S ON THE WAY! BY CHERYL PIERSON


When I was growing up, I remember looking forward to the first day of school each year. “Back then” we didn’t start back to school in the fall until after Labor Day. In Oklahoma, it was still hot as blue blazes in September, but at least, the evenings and nights were cooling off. I dreaded seeing summer end, but by September, I was feeling the pull to go back to school, see my friends—and I’d never admit it—start learning again!

Jane Carroll, my best friend, and I playing in the sandbox. I was 8 and Jane was 9.

By the time October rolled around, things had definitely become more “fall-like” and the sun had taken on the “autumn slant” as the days grew shorter, as well. My mom used to take note of the seasonal changes very keenly, and I remember her saying, “Well, fall is here.” There was no need to explain—it was in the coolness of the air, the more orange tint of the sun, the shorter days.

Of course, to a child, “fall” meant that Halloween was coming! Back in those days, it was still safe to go door-to-door with friends, all of us together in the crisp night air, a giggling mass of energy all dressed in our finery (most of us with homemade costumes, not store-bought) and those little plastic pumpkins with the handles to carry our “loot” home in. “TRICK OR TREAT!” we’d call out at each door, and our neighbors would always pretend they thought they were giving candy to princesses and pirates, superheroes and witches.

November brought Thanksgiving—a time when we’d usually go to my grandparents’ houses. I was the “lucky” one of all my cousins (and I had 40+ cousins!) because in the small town of Calera, Oklahoma, I had my dad’s parents who lived at one end of town, and my mom’s parents who lived at the other end. Cousins, aunts, and uncles from both sides also lived there, so many of my cousins from both sides of the family went to school with each other and knew one another as friends and fellow sports teammates. Those were simpler times—we could walk all over town without fear of any foul play, and I had grandparents at each end of town, so no matter which cousins I was with, we had somewhere to walk to.


The town of Calera, Oklahoma, year unknown. It was a water stop for trains and was called Cale Switch or Cale Station, but when the railroad wanted to rename it Sterrett, the people insisted on a compromise–and Calera was born. This is the main street of the town–much more lively than it was when we kids were walking it back in the mid-late 60’s and early 70’s.


The big treat was stopping in at the one and only “grocery store”—more like an Old West mercantile store—that was about at the halfway mark through town. It had a glass case with bologna and ham inside and a big slicer that the store owner, Petey, would use to cut your lunchmeat. Then, he’d wrap it in freezer paper and tie it up with twine. Petey’s store also had one of those big chest-type coolers with a sliding top, filled with ice and bottled pop. That was back when a bottle of pop was ten cents or so—and a candy bar could be had for a few pennies more.

There’s nothing like family and Thanksgiving dinner all together to bring “Autumn Fever” to the highest level. Doesn’t Thanksgiving just speak to us of autumn? By that time of the year, even in Oklahoma, the leaves have turned some beautiful rich colors of gold, red, orange, and brown and drifted from the trees. The winds have become colder and more cutting (and that’s saying something here in Oklahoma!) and of course there’s that “fall smell” in the air. And probably that’s one of the things I love most about autumn—the smell. There is nothing like the feeling of being tucked up inside four strong walls with food to eat, a fire going in the fireplace, and a good book to read. And did I mention a dog’s head on my lap? But celebrating fall took on a whole new meaning when we moved to West Virginia. I had never seen colors on the trees like what we saw there--such a wonderful display of nature--and it happens every year!


Rick Burgess is an excellent professional photographer who is a good friend–he specializes in pictures of the natural beauty of “Wild, Wonderful West Virginia” and this is one that was taken at Plum Orchard Lake in the fall. Isn’t it gorgeous? See the link below if you would like to see more of Rick’s wonderful art!


I know a lot of people will think this is strange, but I’ve never been a coffee or hot tea drinker. Yet, in the fall, I DO want something warm to drink—and this is it. This drink is very easy to make and keep on hand—and I haven’t tried making it with any artificial sweetener yet, but this year I’m going to do just that instead of using sugar and see how it turns out. This “friendship tea” is also good to make and give as a gift in a pretty container (that’s how I got it in the very beginning, and I have been so glad someone did that for me so many years ago!)


FRIENDSHIP TEA
This wonderful drink is ready in 5 minutes, and makes 4 cups of the instant mix.

Ingredients:
1 -1 1⁄2cup sugar (or less, to taste)
2 cups instant Tang orange drink
1⁄2cup sweetened iced tea mix powder
1(1/4 ounce) envelope unsweetened lemonade mix
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄2teaspoon ground cloves (or you can also put in whole cloves if you like)

Directions:
Combine all ingredients well and store in an airtight container.
To use, fill a mug with boiling water and stir in 2-3 teaspoons of mix, to taste.
If all you can find is presweetened lemonade, then use the amount of dry mix needed for a 2 -quart pitcher according to the package instructions and leave out the sugar.

This recipe has been around for many years, but this iteration of it came from GENIUS KITCHEN and is close to the one I’ve had in my recipe box for all this time.

I have to admit, by Christmas I’m certainly missing fall, and “Autumn Fever” takes on a new meaning—I want it BACK! As sad as I was to see summer end, that’s how I feel when the winter ice and snow comes—I’m immediately nostalgic for fall!
What do you do in the autumn months? Are you glad to see them come and herald summer’s end? I do read a lot, as I’m sure many of us do here at P&P. Please share any good books you’ve read so we can all build our reading list!


Right now, I'm reading one of Sabrina Jeffries's regency stories--BEWARE A SCOT'S REVENGE--all her stories are sooo darn good you can't go wrong. Next on my list is a wonderful "re-read"-- NOBODY'S DARLING by Teresa Medeiros. Here's the blurb--I know it's wonderful because I read it a good while back but want to enjoy it again!

He always gets his lady…
Billy Darling doesn’t enjoy being a wanted man until the day a duke’s prim and proper granddaughter comes marching into the Tumbleweed Saloon and points her derringer at his heart. Lucky for him, she's a mighty poor shot.

She always gets her man…
Instead of killing him, Esmerelda Fine hires him to find her runaway brother. Billy knows he should turn down her offer. He should resist her charms. But he doesn't. Because there comes a time in every man's life when he's got nothing left to lose...but his heart.


I’d love to hear your childhood memories of fall--and I do hope you’ll try this wonderful “friendship tea” recipe when those autumn winds begin to blow—it’s a sure cure for AUTUMN FEVER!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Yuma Territorial Prison: Madora Ingalls-Prison Warden Wife & Reformer


The Yuma Territorial Prison in Arizona was often described as either a “hell hole” or a “country club.” Many of the changes that led to this prison becoming more tolerable to prisoners is due to the effort of the wife of Prison Superintendent Frank Ingalls, Madora Spauling Ingalls.


Yuma Territorial Prison was considered a hell hole by prisoners due to:

  • "Insufferable heat (Yuma has two seasons: mildly warm and hotter than uno-where)
  • Surrounded by rivers, quick sand and desert in all directions
  • An inhuman "Snake Den" (dark cell) and Ball and Chain as standard punishment
  • Tuberculosis was the #1 Killer
  • "Impossible to endure, more impossible to escape."
River and desert outside Yuma Territorial Prison

However, after efforts to improve the prison, many by the above-mentioned couple, many non-inmate residents of Yuma resented the convicts enjoying amenities they didn’t have:

  • Electricity
  • Forced Ventilation
  • Sanitation, including two bathtubs and three showers
  • A library with 2,000 books, the most in the Territory at the time
  • Enlightened, progressive administration
  • Prison Band


 Considered one of the two best superintendents in the prison’s history, Frank Salter (F. S.) Ingalls was initially a surveyor by trade. He served as prison superintendent from June 1883-July 1886 and October 1889-September 1891.

The Yuma Prison Library was created in 1883 during the administration of superintendent F.S. Ingalls, who also opened blacksmith, carpentry, cobbler, and tailor shops to teach inmates job skills. It was under his administration that an electric dynamo was installed at the prison, one of the first generators in the West.. Electricity replaced coal oil and candles for lighting.

The following is from the Superintendent's Report, November 1, 1883. 

          “I recommend that the Legislature make a fair appropriation for a Prison Library, also to provide for a Mechanics Library of several volumes, for the special use of convict mechanics and those learning trades.

          “Every visitor to this institution pays $0.25 for the privilege of inspecting the prison. This money is set aside, and will be used towards assisting in establishing a Prison Library. The amount so far realized from this source is $78.25.” 

The prison library was the brainchild of his wife, Madora Ingalls who was concerned about the education of prisoners. She helped raise funds to buy the library’s furniture and 2,000 books.

Madora Ingalls display at Yuma Territorial Prison Museum

Some consider it the first library in the Arizona Territory. As the prison superintendent’s wife, she also helped raised money for a prison band, nursed some of the sickest prisoners, and decorated cells, the dining room and hospital with flowers annually on "Floral Mission Day." She sometimes brought prisoners food from her own kitchen, wrote letters for those who were illiterate, and worked for prison reform to help the inmates increase their chances of leaving prison to return to a better and more meaningful life.

There is a story about her that some consider true but, others claim is legend. It is said to have taken place at a time in 1891 when Madora was not at the prison. There were no reports in the Yuma and other newspapers of the time. The first known documentation of the story occurred in 1962. It might be the stuff of fiction, but it does make for a good story.

Supposedly, there was a prison escape attempt in the prison yard in July where a crew of inmates worked under the direction of two guards. (There were many prison escapes over the history of the prison, with a total of 26 inmates leaving and not being found and returned.) One guard was stabbed with a steel spike, his gun seized and the other guard in the yard shot. As the prisoners realized what was happening, they joined in the riot to break out.

Now armed with the rifles and pistols of both guards, the prisoners stormed the gates to break free. Realizing an uprising was in progress, the guard in the tower fired on the prisoners. One of the prisoners shot and killed the tower guard. As the steam whistle blew signaling the escape attempt, other guards worked to reach the top of the tower and the Lowell Battery Gun, which was similar to the Gatlin Gun, but they were held back by inmate fire.
 
Gatlin Gun on display at Yuma Territorial Prison Musuem
Supposedly, no one knows how it happened, but Madora Ingalls, who came with her husband to the prison while in her late twenties and the mother of three children, climbed into the guard tower. She fired the Lowell, spraying the ground in front of the prison yard gates, keeping prisoners pinned inside until the remaining prison guards were able to organize and quell the riot.

Whether or not the last story is true, Madora Ingalls left a mark felt by the inmates of the Yuma Territorial Prison. She stands as one of the leaders in early prison reform in the United States.

Frank Ingalls died in Yuma, Arizona on January 19, 1927 at the age of 76. Madora Ingalls died on November 30, 1938 at the age of 83. They are both buried in the Yuma Pioneer Cemetery.


Across the Colorado River and north on the eastern side of California readers will find the Mono Basin, home to the setting for my Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series. Book 4 in the series, Haunted by Love, takes place mostly in Bridgeport, the county seat, and includes my fictionalized tale that might explain the “Lady in White,” a ghost who has been reported sighted several times since the late 1870’s in Room 16 of the Leavitt House, now the Bridgeport Inn. Please CLICK HERE to read the book description and find the purchase link for Haunted by Love.


Sources:
Trafzer, Cliff and Steve George, Prison Centennial 1876-1976 – A Pictorial History of The Arizona Territorial Prison at Yuma; Rio Colorado Press: 1980.
Find-a-Grave for Madora Spaulding  Ingalls and Frank Salter Ingalls

Thursday, September 13, 2018

New Release -- Banking on Temperance (Cotillion Ball Saga Book 3) by Becky Lower

When beautiful Temperance Jones and her mother enter Basil Fitzpatrick’s St. Louis bank, the handsome ladies’ man believes he’ll only be conducting a monetary transaction for the down-on-their-luck Jones family.  But Fate intervenes, and that first meeting becomes so much more to both Temperance and Basil.
 Dying of consumption, Preacher Jones extracts a promise from his daughter Temperance that she will do whatever it takes to get the rest of the large family to Oregon. With the threat of civil war looming, he wants to see his sons safely away from conflict.
With Basil’s help, the Jones family begins to put down roots, and the faraway dream of traveling on to Oregon loses its luster for everyone but Temperance.  She knows she must go on, no matter what—if not for her promise to her father, then to protect her own heart from Basil—for she has loved him since the moment they met.
Is Basil ready for a permanent commitment? To love Temperance would mean taking on the burden of providing for her mother and siblings, as well—a tall order for a man who, up to now, has only looked out for himself. Drawn to the tiny spitfire like a magnet, Basil must decide if he’ll let Temperance travel the Oregon Trail with another man, or will he gladly spend the rest of his life BANKING ON TEMPERANCE?

EXCERPT

     “I may have a solution, at least temporarily.” He placed a hand on her shoulder. “My brother-in-law, Joseph, has an old soddy house on his family’s property and he’s willing to let you use it at no cost. It’s very crude and small, and needs some repair, but it will at least provide some shelter for your husband. Would you care to see it?”
     Martha’s eyes filled with tears. “It would be a god-send, however crude. Of course, I want to see it.”
     “All right, then. After the bank closes today, I’ll take you there. Joseph’s family has a horse farm and it so happens several of his stock are in the livery right now. We can borrow one of them and ride out together. There’s no sense in moving the wagon until you make certain you can live there.”
     Basil and Martha strode back to the wagon where the children were standing. Martha stood in front of them as she addressed Basil. “Blessings upon you, sir. Our family is sure fortunate we met you the minute we pulled into town. I’ll see you this afternoon.”
     “For the sake of propriety, it may be best if Temperance joins us, too. I’ll bring an extra horse.”
     The stricken look on Temperance’s face brought a grin to Basil’s. This was going to be fun.
     

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Gunfighter's Woman by Kaye Spencer – September #blogabookscene #westernromance #PrairieRosePubs @PrairieRosePubs

Blog-a-Book-Scene is a monthly themed blogging endeavor from a group of authors who love to share excerpts from their stories. Find us on Twitter with the hashtag #blogabookscene and #PrairieRosePubs.

September's theme is Critters and Creatures. The storyline for The Gunfighter's Woman, my paranormal-lite western romance novel, was influenced by the old cowboy song Ghostriders in the Sky. In this excerpt, you'll meet the ghost herd coming after Matt and Brenna. The setting is Trinchera, Colorado (east of Trinidad) in the summer of 1890.


Excerpt

Lightning slashed the sky with an explosion of thunder that shook air and Earth and deafened ears. The man came off the ground in a lunge, feet planted wide, and his attention fixed on the black billowing cloudbank rolling along McBride Mesa to the west. Mesmerized, Brenna stared at the clouds as they transformed into a mighty herd of cattle stampeding along the mesa’s rim. As she watched, the herd curved east, dipping low along the ancient stone wall and then soaring into the sky. The herd doubled-back with the sinuous motion of a Chinese dragon in an undulating journey from ground to towering clouds and back down again.

On the second pass, the cloud-herd swung south and swooped down from Trinchera Pass, passing overhead on a blast of scorching wind. Brenna flinched and ducked as the lead steers overtook them. Samson snorted, bolted, but she held fast to his reins. Eyes blazing with the fires of Hell, the herd pounded the air with steely hooves on peal after peal of thunder as it swung out north across the prairie to come charging low over Pine Canyon on the east.

Then, the clouds split open into a sandy ravine that cut a wide, ragged path to a range in the heavens. Brenna felt their breath in a whoosh of hot wind and saw their black horns glistening and brands flaming with each lightning blaze as the ghost herd plowed up that draw.

No! Not going. They’re not taking me!”

“What is that?”

The man snaked an arm around Brenna’s waist and tossed her to the saddle then swung up behind her. “Hang on!” Clamping one arm around her middle, he grabbed the saddle horn with his other hand, and slapped spurs to Samson.

The horse reared, leaped, and came down at a dead run, ears flattened against his head, and his neck stretched out. A mournful, skin-prickling cry cut through the air. Hot wind whipped their clothes; lightning-scorched air left an acrid Sulphur stench in its wake. Brenna twisted to look behind. The sight coming at them was terrifying and fascinating. Hurdling from the midst of the churning maelstrom of boiling black clouds came spectral cowboys riding hard and fast after the phantom herd on hollow-eyed, fire-snorting skeleton horses pawing the air as they roared toward them. A low keening wail rose on the wind.

Matthewwwww Matthewwwww Caddockkkkkkk 

The man warned, “Close your eyes! Don’t look!”

But Brenna couldn’t look away from the spectral cowboys charging over them, their gaunt eyes staring from fire-flaming faces as they swung around and away in their relentless pursuit of the ghost herd. Rain burst from the clouds; hail peppered down. A blast of frigid wind hit them broadside, bringing the eerie sound of a shrill whinny as the man’s horse bounded up and out of the creek. The man grabbed a tighter hold around her, and she held onto the saddle pommel with both hands to keep her seat.

The man let Samson have his head, and they raced across the prairie and through the open gates of the ranch compound at full tilt...




The Gunfighter's Woman
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Until next time,

Kaye Spencer

Writing through history one romance upon a time