Excerpt, Giveaways, Guest Blog

Guest Post from Deborah Camp featuring Solitary Horseman w/a rafflecopter giveaway!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00009]

 

Solitary Horseman

by Deborah Camp

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

GENRE:  Historical Romance (Western)

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

BLURB:

 

The Civil War is over, but the battles continue.
Callum Latimer returned from the war to a life he didn’t want and with inner battle scars he can’t heal.
Banner Payne clutched desperately to the remaining shreds of the life she’d known, but she is losing her grip.
Brought together by bad luck and cruel twists of fate, Callum and Banner forge a partnership they hope will keep them afloat even as neighboring Texas ranchers go under and their land is snapped up by opportunists.
Fate smiles on them and Callum and Banner find the missing pieces of themselves in each other.
Healing begins as their hearts are awakened. Now they must remain strong in their determination to forge a more peaceful existence and not be poisoned by the bitterness of a country still divided.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

Excerpt Three:

 

They finished eating, sopping up the last of the gravy with biscuits and popping the final bite of bacon or sausage into their mouths. All except for Callum, who seemed to have lost his appetite. He pushed aside his plate, nodding when Banner reached to take it away.

 

In the kitchen, she began preparing to wash the dishes, as she went over and over the unsettling conversation. So, the vigilante groups were stirring up more trouble along with memories that some people were trying hard to bury. She’d noticed that Hollis seemed to be worse lately. Sullen. Anger simmering just below the surface. Stalking off to be alone with his thoughts. Snapping at her when she questioned him about his moods.

 

Her brother was a sensitive soul and when there was unrest around him, he felt it, through and through. Living with him when he was jittery was like handling a porcupine. There was no way to touch it without getting pricked.

 

Someone cleared his throat right behind her and Banner spun around with a gasp, her wet hands flying up and slinging drops of water across Callum’s faded red shirt.

 

“Didn’t mean to startle you.”

 

“I . . . got your shirt wet.”

 

He shrugged. Banner hoped to see a softening in his eyes and she was disappointed.

 

“I’ll be back tonight, but it will be late. You go on home at the usual time.”

 

“I was mighty proud of you just now.”

 

He raised his brows and shook his head, clearly puzzled.

 

“What you said about the war and how nobody wins a fight.”

 

He held his hat in one hand and rubbed his chin with the other. “I don’t think I said that exactly. Fights are won, but sometimes the cost isn’t worth it.” He took a step back from her, running his hand down the front of his shirt and Banner watched the journey.

 

She so loved his hands. Long fingers, wide palm. She knew the tenderness of his touch and how they could trail fire along her skin. “I’ve missed you.”

 

He stared at her a few moments and something vulnerable shimmered in his eyes before he abruptly turned and walked away from her. “I need to get.”

 

“Callum!” She grabbed the back of his shirt. “Wait.” When he didn’t face her, she stepped around him. “Is something wrong? I feel like we’re on a seesaw here. Up and down. Up and down.”

 

Walking his fingers around the brim of his hat, he avoided her probing gaze. “I guess that sums it up. I’ve had a lot of time to think lately and maybe you’re right. We need to keep our heads clear and . . . well, a woman like you and a man like me . . .” He shrugged.

 

What in tarnation did that mean? Was this about her being a lowly Payne? Feeling as if he’d ripped opened an old wound, she glared at him, but he wasn’t looking at her. Finally, he glanced up and his eyes widened fractionally.

 

“Go on then.” Banner snatched his hat out of his hands and whacked him with it. “Get. I don’t have time anymore for this silly game.” His look of surprise angered her even more and she crushed his hat against his chest, making him grab it. She caught sight of Shane standing in the dining room, not hiding his curiosity at the scene unfolding. “Shane needs to talk to you. I’m finished with you.” Whirling around, she stomped through the kitchen and out the back door where the air was bitterly cold, matching the season in her heart. She would not cry! She wouldn’t! Should have known that he’d finally realize that he was too good and proper to be sporting with that Payne gal. He’d been raised to see her as filth and he couldn’t shake it.

 

Striding purposefully across the frozen ground, she made a beeline for the hen house. It would be warmer in there. Mary had already collected the eggs, but there were probably a few more that she could—.

 

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the scrawled lettering across a big white banner that had been nailed to the side of the barn and her shoes slipped in the snow. She almost fell, but regained her balance in the nick of time. Staring at the ugly message, she was aware of pounding footfalls behind her.

 

“Damn it all, Banner! Just hold up. I didn’t mean to—.” Callum’s grouchy apology stopped at the same time he did. “What the hell?”

 

JOIN OR DIE

 

A Confederate flag was nailed below the fluttering white sheet that bore the menacing order. When had this been done? Banner wondered, her mind spinning back to when she’d been out earlier. She would have noticed it then. And the men had ridden up for breakfast! They would have seen it. Someone – no, more than one person – had done this while they’d all been inside. The audacity!

 

“Sons-of-bitches.”

 

Banner looked at Callum, sharing his disgust but not the wrath stamped on his chiseled features. She touched his hand. “Callum . . .” she whispered, trying to calm him.

 

He backed away, having none of it. “No. Don’t. Not now, Banner.” Then he spun about and marched toward the house again, yelling to Shane. “Take that bullshit down off the barn and burn it. The flag, too! Do it now.”

 

“Yes, sir,” Shane said, already trotting toward the barn.

 

Banner stood rooted to the spot as Callum swung up into Butter’s saddle and rode away, the horse’s hooves muffled by the snow. Cold air wrapped around her and she shivered, her teeth rattling.

 

Looking toward the house again, she saw Seth Latimer standing on the front porch, his squinty eyes fixed on the barn. He shook his head slowly, then turned and made his way back into the house.

 

Banner went inside, too, but she stood at the kitchen window and watched as Shane jerked down the big sheet and Confederate flag. He bundled them up and set them on fire, standing near them until they were nothing but ashes scattered by winter’s breath.

 

Gone. But the malevolence had left its stain like the black hole in the snow.

 

guestpost

5 Things Every Western Romance Needs

By Deborah Camp, author of Solitary Horseman

I’m not an expert on this subject, but I do know a thing or two about writing western romances, so here are my top five things they need to be successful.

  1. An Honorable Man. The hero can be rough and tumble, devilish, roguish, naughty, and have many other tempting traits, but one thing he must always be is honorable. Even if he’s a gunslinger, a gambler, or a man who imbibes a bit too often for a lady’s taste, he must have a code of honor that he won’t break. He might do some questionable things, but he won’t do something that he knows in his heart and soul is wrong.
  2. A Kind-hearted Woman. The heroine can be feisty, saucy, smart-mouthed, shy, timid, and even a tart, but she has to have a soft heart. She might come off about as tender as a porcupine, but we must discover early on that she has a soft center. When it comes right down to it, she’ll take the side of every underdog, feed any stray that wanders into the yard, and defend any youngster who needs her.
  3. A Sticky Situation. Every novel needs a conflict. While it’s best to have a conflict in which the hero and heroine have no choice but to stick it out and find a solution to the problem together, it doesn’t always have to be life or death. The situation might be more light-hearted, but it still has to be sticky enough to bind the hero and heroine together even though there are times when they want or need to be apart from one another.
  4. A Dastardly Person. Villains can be male or female, but there needs to be someone in the novel for the reader to fear and/or hate. I think the best “baddies” are those who we can understand. We can see their point of view, even though we don’t agree with it. Just having someone be hateful and mean isn’t good enough. We need to know why they are the way they are and why they like being that way. The bad people need to have motive beyond being mean or selfish.
  5. Animals. You can’t have a western without animals! Horses, dogs, cats, cows, pigs, chickens, buffalo, wolves, and on and on. Animals add authenticity, comic relief, and entertainment/education to a story. It’s particularly wonderful when one or two of the animals almost become secondary characters. Just don’t get in the animal’s point of view. (The hound jumped up, happy to see that his master had made it back from the hunt.), That’s just silly.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_SolitaryHorseman

 

Author of more than 45 novels, Deborah lives in Oklahoma. She has been a full-time writer since she graduated from the University of Tulsa. She worked for a few years as a reporter for newspapers before becoming a freelance writer. Deborah’s first novel was published in the late 1970s and her books have been published by Jove, New American Library, Harlequin, Silhouette, and Avon. She has been inducted into the Oklahoma Authors Hall of Fame and she is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of the Author’s Guild.

 

Lover of the west and the people who tried to tame it, Deborah likes to write about strong, independent women and the men who are their equals. She grew up on a diet of TV westerns which have served her well. Since she appreciates men with devilish twinkles in their eyes, she likes to mix laughter in with the love scenes in her books. Also widely published in non-fiction, she writes and edits for a magazine focused on small businesses. Deborah taught fiction writing for more than 10 years at a community college. She is currently working on her next historical romance set in the wild, wonderful west.

 

Her books have been re-issued on Amazon for Kindle Direct and have attracted tens of thousands of new fans. For a list of them, visit her website.

 

Blog– http://deborahcampwritersdesk.blogspot.com/

Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/officialdeborahcamp

Pinterest — http://www.pinterest.com/debbycamp44/

Twitter — https://twitter.com/AuthorDebCamp

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Solitary-Horseman-Deborah-Camp-ebook/dp/B01HFCC2UQ

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

 

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

FS_TourBanner_SolitaryHorseman
 

 

 

 

Excerpt, Giveaways, Reviews

Review of The Wrong Brother’s Bride by Allison Merritt w/Rafflecopter giveaway!

wbbreviewtour

A haunted past, a marriage of convenience…a love for a lifetime?

After a tragic accident leaves Loyal Redfearn alone and pregnant, she writes to her deceased fiancee’s ne’er-do-well brother, August O’Dell. Her hope is he’ll save her beloved home. What she doesn’t expect from him is a proposal so soon on the heels of his brother’s death. Although they grew up together, she’s never thought of August as the man she would marry, even as a means to save face with her family and friends.

Although returning to the township where August spent his troubled youth means facing the past, he sees an opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of the woman he’s loved since boyhood. They agree the marriage is in name-only, but August works to earn Loyal’s trust and waits for the day she’ll see his hard work as proof that she didn’t marry the wrong brother after all.

When evidence from a crime committed years ago points to August as the culprit, he and Loyal must face the reality that their newly forged family may be torn apart.

add-to-goodreads-button31

 

Excerpt

Loyal didn’t look away from the filly. “What did he say when you told him you love me?”

She’d heard. For a moment, he couldn’t breathe. Her voice was calm, expression unreadable. “There aren’t many people who don’t know. I guess you were the only one.”

“I asked what he said.” Her hand trembled faintly when she lifted it away from the foal’s coat. Brown eyes took him in. “Tell me.”

There was no way to know if she loved him in return, or if she was appalled by his admission. “He told me about why he married your mother. How you brought them together.”

“I knew it wasn’t a love match.” She turned from the foal to Molly and scratched between the mare’s ears. “So many marriages aren’t. When did you know, August?”

Eighteen years ago, he’d dared her to hang upside down by her knees from an apple tree branch. She’d wrinkled her nose, hiked her skirt up and climbed the tree quicker than a cat. Sitting on the branch, she’d tipped backward, letting her hands dangle and long red braids stretch toward the ground. Her refusal to be afraid had impressed him. That day, he’d realized if he ever decided to get married, he wanted Loyal. But Jeremiah had already claimed her.

He couldn’t tell her about that memory, so he lied. “I think it was the night we delivered the foal. You were brave even though Molly was in danger and either of us could’ve been hurt. When I took your hand, it became clear. I love you.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” she whispered.

August leaned against the corral rail. The filly stretched her neck, sniffing his elbow. He put his hand out, scratching her soft muzzle. Telling Loyal his feelings was harder than coming home had been. “Because I’d never ask you to stop loving Jeremiah for me.”

She faced him, her eyes wide and red-rimmed. “Oh, August. I’ll always love him. Nothing can change it. He gave me this gift.” She caressed her stomach. “He gave me a home. He brought us together.”

An ache that went deeper than the bruises on his back rocked him. He’d made a fool of himself, telling her father the truth while she was nearby. How had he thought he could compete for a woman’s love with the man she had on a pedestal?

He watched the horses, unable to look her in the eye. “It doesn’t mean anything is different. I’ll sleep in the barn until your father decides he can’t tolerate us anymore.”

“Why would you?” She touched his arm. “You’re my husband.”

“Not the one you wanted.” No stranger to rejection, he shouldn’t feel disappointed by her love for Jeremiah. He suddenly needed some space, some quiet time alone to think about what he’d said.

bookreview

I needed this book.  Lately I’ve been in a slump when it comes to western historicals and Ms. Merritt delivered just what I needed.  A sweet, compelling and second chance romance that is not to be missed.

What do you do when you have loved someone from afar since you were a child but the lady chooses your brother?  You fight and move away to prove yourself.  That’s exactly what August did with Loyal.  He walked away from her but came back once he heard of his brother’s death.  This could have been a paint by numbers marriage of convenience but Ms. Merritt wrote it with depth and intrigue.

Why did the township hate the O’Dell’s so much?  Why was Jeremiah the golden boy and August the rebel?  It was interesting how the twist in the end proved that neither brother was has the township viewed them.  Even Loyal was surprised by the revelation at the end.  Another thing was Loyal’s father.  He was a piece of work but written perfectly for the time period.  I loved watching him finally warm up to August and then dealing with his own marriage and why he wanted Loyal to marry someone else.

The tornado scenes were awesome.  I live in Tornado Alley so I felt the wind, the glass breaking and the clean up afterwards.  Not sure that I would want to be in a hole though.  🙂  August and Loyal had issues that they both had to overcome.  Poignant at times and sweet, too.  Their romance wasn’t rushed and the pacing of the book was great, too.

I highly recommend picking up The Wrong Brother’s Bride.  Ms. Merritt wrote a beautiful second chance/marriage of convenience story that will have you flipping the pages to find the HEA.

4.5harlies

recommend-harlies- new

Purchase

wbb

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | ARe | GOOGLE BOOKS

Author Bio

A love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she’s not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.

Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that’s gathering dust after it was determined that she’s better at writing fluff than hard news.

Social links

Blog: http://havenovelwilledit.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorallisonmerritt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/allison_merritt

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+AllisonMerritt

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/allisonmwrites/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/allisonmwrites

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

bpbuttonfortours

Decadent, Excerpt, Guest Blog, Reviews

Review & Guest Post featuring Shiloh Saddler’s The Virgin Madam (Girls and Guns)

the virgin madam

 

Girls and Guns

The Virgin Madam

by Shiloh Saddler

Blurb.

 

After a vicious outlaw murders her father, Laura Rutherford sees no future beyond running the family brothel and kowtowing to the local gang. Not even marriage offers escape. No man can compete with the beautiful women who dance the can-can for her each night…at least not until a gentle stranger sweeps in and opens her eyes to desires too long denied.

 

Joe Bascum stumbles into Bitterroot Flats looking for a place to hide from a gunman out for blood. When the innocent Madame from the local brothel offers a bed and bath, Joe accepts hoping to show the buttoned-up beauty just how right forbidden desire can feel.

 

When danger escalates, can Laura help Joe defeat the famous Fletcher gang, or is she destined to live a lonely life as the virgin madam?

 

 

 

 

The Virgin Madam

Girls and Guns

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance eBooks | Decadent

 

Enjoy the following excerpt for THE VIRGIN MADAM:

 

Time for the can-can show. My heart palpitated in anticipation. Shamelessly I watched the four women file on stage in their long matching red skirts and black stockings. A red feather in their hair.

Mr. Woodson finished the intro music. I gave him a small smile and nod before returning my attention to the women. I let out a quiet sigh. They were all beauties. When I was younger I cried myself to sleep wishing I had their figure; now full grown, I had given up on that dream. I wasn’t tall and leggy like Lulu. I wasn’t as curvy as Rose. I didn’t have Amanda’s fiery red hair or Delilah’s flawless complexion. I was just average.

The black silk chokers around their necks helped draw attention to their faces and lower to their breasts. The ladies grabbed their skirts and walked to the edge of the stage, swishing their skirts suggestively and showing off their white bloomers. Many men let out cheers or said lewd comments. Ash rushed in and grabbed a seat. He leaned back in his chair put two fingers to his lips and let out a shrill whistle. Like me, he caught as many performances as he could. The bastard had become a regular fixture in Bitterroot Flats, easily partaking in the entitlements. Including murder. He must have had a past with Fletcher. Done jobs together, maybe even served time together.

I had to put up with him. But I didn’t have to pretend to like him. I seared his back with a fiery stare, hoping he could feel my anger.

I wish I never had to see Ash again. I wish I had the power to ban him from the Honey Ranch. The power to keep him from Amanda would be some satisfaction, but the Fletcher Gang owned the town. Ash could do whatever he damn pleased and I was powerless to stop him.

Ash wasn’t going to spoil the show for me. I focused on the women, their every seductive move. The dancers turned around in place before prancing around the stage in a small circle, flashing the gentlemen big smiles. Their faces, heavily painted with rouge and lip paint, glowed under the stage’s lighting. A thrill zipped through me when they formed a line again and started their high kicks. Some of the men clapped, keeping time with the music. Others tapped their empty beer glasses on the tables. The rowdy atmosphere didn’t bother me anymore. The scent of beer and whiskey wafted through the air, mixing with the smell of sweat, horses, and the honeysuckle perfume the ladies wore. I easily tuned out the men, my attention narrowing to the women working the stage as if their lives depended on it. How they managed to dance so well in those high-heeled black boots I’d never know. They helped show off their legs, though. And I could drool over all those legs. Heat and desire burning in my belly, I hoped no one could read my dirty thoughts.

guestpost

 

Painted Ladies of the West

Many people do not realize there were two kinds of “bad girls” in the Old West. There were saloon and dance hall women who danced with men and offered music and conversation while they drank, but did not engage in prostitution. In the shabbiest saloons – the brothels – the women also took customers up to their rooms.

Before writing The Virgin Madam I did a lot of research into both types of painted ladies. The saloon and dance hall women were considered respectable company by the men who enjoyed their company and were treated like ladies. These ladies looked down upon the working women and would not want to be in the company of a prostitute. So even among painted ladies there was a social order.

The Puritan women in the East considered both types of women as “fallen” not differentiating between the two. To them a painted lady was a lady of sin. Girls did not work in saloons in the East. Of course, women were plentiful in the East. The desire for female company in the West made being a saloon girl a profitable job. Many widows and farm girls were lured to the West and entered this profession looking for easy work and high wages.

The Virgin Madam is set in 1879 a time of cattle drives and rowdy cowboys. Bitterroot Flats, California has its fair share of rowdy cowboys. The desert town, run by the Fletcher Gang, was far respectable town. The Gang was very happy when Laura’s Papa moved to their town and set up a brothel. It is every man’s dream, right? The Honey Ranch took in plenty of business and Laura grew up cooking for the girls, doing the laundry, and sweeping the floors.

After her papa is murdered Laura inherits his brothel. While technically the madam she is a businesswoman not a painted lady. She keeps the Honey Ranch going in order to survive; dreaming of the day she can get out of the terrible town. In the meantime, she takes in the one pleasure of her job—fantasying about the beauties who danced for her. Is she going to live the rest of her life alone as the virgin madam, or will she find another woman who shares her forbidden desires?

Cancan-Dancers

 

bookreview

When I read the blurb for this book, I figured that it would be a sweet little sexy number about a woman finding love and maybe a little sex mixed in.  I got that and more from Ms. Saddler.  The blurb is a bit misleading but understand that once you start reading you can’t put the book down.

I was intrigued about Laura from the get go.  She’s stronger than she thinks but she was sheltered by her dad in some respects.  She is also going through a period of realizing her sexual urges and wondering if they are wrong.  Being surrounded by beautiful women and not so nice men will do that to a girl.  If I had one thing to say about Laura, I didn’t like the insta love thing she had for Joe.  But I understand the “why” she said it in the first place.

Joe was such an awesome character.  Not caring what other people said and getting vengeance for the wrong that happened to Laura is all that matter.  I wish I could say more about Joe but you just have to read the book and find out for yourself.  🙂  The introduction of the Marshall was a great touch and put Joe’s whole character into perspective for me as a reader.  Loved him and they way he treated Joe.  Great job.

If you looking for a sweet and historically accurate portrayal of the old west, pick this book up.  It doesn’t disappoint in the least.

recommend-harlies- new

4harlies

 

About the Author:

Shiloh Saddler likes to do research for her steamy romances first hand. She has invented a time machine and travels back to the 19th century on a regular basis. There are experimental settings on her time machine which could propel her into the future and even other worlds. She believes love and a good book makes anything possible.

 

 

Contact Details:

 

Website: http://shilohsaddler.blogspot.com/

Email:  ShilohSaddler@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shiloh.saddler?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShilohSaddler