Under his voice, Jackson said, “Best not to let them know who you are.
Follow my lead.”
Before Margaret could reply, the justice of the peace called to Jackson.
“Sir, a moment?”
Jackson stood and replied to the JP, “Of course. But as you can see, my wife
has sustained some injuries and I’d like to get her to the nearest inn where she
Margaret barely managed not to let her mouth drop open. Wife! Of course.
His gentle attentiveness had all been part of that ruse. He’d been playing a
role, like an actor. Her pleasure popped like a bubble. She clenched her hands
and clamped down her jaw. It shouldn’t rankle. After all, he was a low-born
working man with the manners of a sailor and the hands of a field worker. As
soon as she safely reunited with her family, she’d dismiss him and never give
him another thought. Ever.
The Justice of the Peace asked Jackson a few questions. Finally, the JP
nodded to Margaret. “Ma’am. Do you have anything to add?”
Margaret spoke in a higher range than usual and put in a breathy quality to
her voice as she once did when prowling ballrooms looking for a gentleman of
rank and wealth to charm her way into a proposal. “Oh, no, sir. My beloved
husband”—she shot an overly adoring gaze at Jackson— “said it all so
beautifully that I have nothing at all to say.” She batted her eyelashes at him.
Jackson blinked and his eyes widened just enough to reveal his surprise. He
recovered and shrugged at the JP with a smile. “We’re newly married.”
“Er, thank you both.” The JP strode away to speak to another passenger.
With his brows raised, Jackson let out a half laugh. “You should have been
on the stage.”
“I might say the same about you.”
Scoundrel. Of course he knew she was playacting and not speaking in
earnest. She’d been foolish to believe, even for a few seconds, that he could be
tender instead of a complete cad. He was far beneath her notice. A servant. A
peasant. A worm. There, that felt better.
My name is Robyn Echols. Zina Abbott is the pen name I use for my American historical romance novels. I’m a member of Women Writing the West and Western Writers of America, and American Night Writers Association. I currently live with my husband in California’s central valley near the “Gateway to Yosemite.”
I love to read, quilt, work with digital images on my photo editing program, and work on my own family history.
I am a blogger. In addition to my own blog, I blog for several group blogs including the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog, which I started and administer.
Roslyn Welsh is sent by stagecoach to Junction City to marry a man with whom her aunt and guardian, without Roslyn’s knowledge, had been corresponding. His requirements for a wife were that she must be at least twenty-one years of age with a family Bible for proof, and she must have no children. Only, Roslyn is not quite twenty-one, she has a baby, and her aunt has no intention of sending the family Bible with her. The marriage prospect turns into a disaster. Stuck in a strange town with no money, she is told there is no work for a decent woman with a baby. To allow herself time to figure what to do with her future, Roslyn accepts an offer to ride the stagecoach to the Ellsworth B.O.D. Stagecoach station to help the stationmaster’s wife.
Elam Stewart survived the American Civil War, but his left leg from above the knee down did not. With no home to return to and realizing there are very few people willing to hire a man with only one good leg, he’s convinced he has no future. While working as a day laborer in the local Junction City livery, he becomes intrigued by a visitor named Ross who is anxious to spend time with the horses. Elam discovers Ross’s secret. Then he learns where Ross intends to seek work. Even though he does not have a future, he does have a Spencer repeating rifle. He can have a purpose.
Roslyn and Elam ride the same stagecoach to the Ellsworth Station on the Kansas frontier. Between resentments among the stock tenders, difficulties with animals that pass through the station, and the threat of attacks by the Cheyenne Native Americans, is there a future for Roslyn and Elam at the station? Or will their future take them on another stagecoach ride away from Ellsworth?
Please look for my other two books in the Widows, Brides & Secret Babies series, Mail Order Lorena and Mail Order Penelope, that will be published this summer. The three stories are related and part or all of them involve the stagecoaches and stations on the Kansas frontier in the late 1860s.
“Reckon I’m steady.” Still staring forward, a slight flush colored Elam’s face. He slowly shook his head. “Figure it’s a sorry day when a man needs a woman to help him stand on his feet.”
In addition to his declaration he had regained his balance and could stay upright, Roslyn, sensing his feelings of embarrassment, stayed quiet. She also noticed that Elam did not step away from her. His arm still held her next to his side. “Elam, don’t feel that way. You have helped me so many times. Why do you feel uncomfortable that this one time I was able to help you?”
He shook his head. “Not how it’s supposed to be. I know, losing this leg and all, things done changed for me. I ain’t going to have the life a whole man can expect.”
“You are a whole man, Elam. You lost your leg in the war, but you’re still alive. Yes, getting around is more difficult for you now, but everything that makes you a whole person is still there.”
Multi-award-winning author of 25 best-selling Regency Historical Romances, Donna Hatch is a hopeful romantic and an adventurer at heart. Each book she writes is filled with wit and heart and plenty of swoon-worthy romance. Donna sings, plays the harp, and loves to ballroom dance. Her family, including six children and two cats, recently left their native Arizona for the Pacific coast of the US. No matter where they live, she and her husband of over twenty years are proof that there truly is a happily ever after.
The widowed Elise is a perfect English lady living within the confines of society for the sake of her impressionable young son. Her quiet world is shattered when she meets the impulsive and scandalous Jared Amesbury. His roguish charm awakens her yearning for adventure. But his irrepressible grin and sea-green eyes hide a secret.
A gentleman by day, a pirate by night, Jared must complete one last assignment from the Secret Service before he can be truly free. Elise gives him hope that he, too, can find love and belonging. His hopes are crushed when his best laid plans go awry and Elise is dragged into his world of violence and deceit. She may not survive the revelation of Jared’s past…or still love him when the truth is revealed.
The Guise of a Gentleman is a wholesome Regency Romance, a.k.a. “clean” that explores finding one’s true self, loyalty, honor, and trusting loved ones. With plenty of swashbuckling action, it provides a several good twists that play off of familiar situations and proudly proclaims the redemptive power of love.
His lazy laughter rang out, filling her with slow warmth.
She barely controlled the impulse to smile. Instead, she raised her chin while trying to look appropriately irritated. “You laugh at me, sir?”
“You are a sheer delight.” He enclosed one of her hands between both of his. Though terribly, terribly improper, the sweet possessiveness of his gesture sent giddy little thrills through her. “Do you know that in many countries, once a person has saved the life of another, that person must remain with his savior until the debt is repaid? If we were to honor that, then I must be with you, watching over you, every minute of every day.”
She considered remaining in this man’s presence every moment of every day. Definitely not. Her good sense would never survive it.
She disentangled her hand and said primly, “Fortunately, we do not have such an inconvenient custom in England.”
Karlie Lucas is a school crossing guard by day and a writer/artist by night.
A graduate of Southern Utah University, Karlie received a B.A. in Creative Writing, with a minor in art. She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, The International English Honor Society, SCBWI, as well as ANWA, the American Night Writers Association.
Karlie is interested in all things magical and mysterious, especially elves and dragons. She is an avid fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling.
When not writing, Karlie can often be found drawing, baking, watching her favorite old school shows, or just spending time with her family.
She currently resides in Dallas, Texas with her husband and a cat named Kally.
For hundreds of years, the gates of Tarragon have been sealed from the outside. Prophecy speaks of the day the last Key Keeper will return and wake the dragons from their spell-cast slumber, returning them to their rightful home.
Seeking to fulfill her father’s dying wish, Anwen Porter travels to the Drakonii Mountains where she meets Tyler, a mysterious local with a secret. With his help, she learns more about her clouded past and her own abilities. But when Courtney, a lovesick mage, tries to insert herself into their plans, things begin to go horribly wrong.
With death threatening at every turn, Anwen must learn to rely on her newfound friends to survive.
Anwen watched, transfixed. She felt like she was watching a movie, except she had a front row view of everything. When the jackal-like creature attacked Courtney, she found herself closer to the edge of the drop behind her.
Why were they after her? And why were her new friends defending her? She shook her head, trying to make sense out of everything, but it was all happening too fast.
Two more creatures broke off from the fray, moving towards the two women on the precipice, one from each side. Courtney feinted towards one, then the other, not sure which to expound her energy on. They were both closing in at the same pace. “Back!” She waved the spear in front of her, trying to ward them both off.
One Fallen jumped forward, growling menacingly to distract her as the other raced for the other side. Courtney pierced the one through the heart and heaved it away as the other sped past her, towards Anwen.
Courtney turned to offer warning, hoping to check its flight with her weapon. Instead, she heard a scream, then a loud splash as something fell into the water below. She turned in time to see another bout of steam billow, noticing that Anwen was missing. Courtney called out to her, running to the cliff’s edge.