Adventure! Mystery! Romance!
Award-winning, bestselling authors present sweet western historical stories to ignite your imagination and feed your passion for reading. Let us sweep you away from your daily cares and entertain you with our sigh-worthy novellas set between 1865 and 1900. What a line-up we have for you! UNDER A MULBERRY MOON anthology is a bargain at only 99 cents.
Better hurry—this anthology is available for a limited time only.
Stories in Under a Mulberry Moon ~
Millwright’s Daughter – Zina Abbott
Worth the Wait – Patricia PacJac Carroll
A Family For Merry – Caroline Clemmons
Ada and the Texas Cavalryman, Brides of Texas Code – Carra Copelin
Comes A Specter – Keta Diablo
The Widow Buys A Groom – P.A. Estelle
Matthew’s Freedom – Cissie Patterson
The Lady Lassoes An Outlaw – Charlene Raddon
A Family For Polly – Jacquie Rogers
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Excerpt from A Family for Polly by Jacquie Rogers:
Polly and Ford have arranged a secret marriage of convenience—she needs to be married to keep her adopted children, and he has to have a wife before his grandfather will deed the ranch to him. This excerpt is when she’s going to her very private wedding.
“Are you ready, Polly?” Elvira called through the door. “Bea’s here!”
Polly was dressed in her finest, but did that mean she was ready? She’d never be ready, but she had to soldier on for the children’s sake. “I’ll be out in a minute.”
Polly gave her skirts one last tug, pinned on her bonnet, and checked the mirror to make sure she was presentable, then opened the door.
Bea looked quite pretty in her green Sunday dress. “Well, Polly, you certainly got ready in a hurry and you look absolutely ravishing. Ford’s eyes will pop plumb out the sockets when he sees his beautiful bride.”
“I don’t know about that, but we’d better get going lest we be late.” Polly led the way down the three flights of stairs.
“I sent Steve and Ford to the florist shop,” Bea said as they walked down the path that lead to the street. “There won’t be much of a selection but at least you’ll have a bridal bouquet.”
“Thanks, flowers are nice—but not really necessary. We’ll be saying our vows in private, signing the papers, and that’s that. No one will know other than Mr. Ecclestone and Ford’s grandfather. Once my children are truly mine, and Ford’s grandfather signs the deed over, then we’ll get an annulment and we’ll both be free to marry whomever we please.”
They turned onto Main Street. As they walked in front of the mercantile, Jane Dorchester greeted them.
“Shopping today?” she asked.
“No,” Bea said. “Polly’s getting married.”
Polly could’ve stuffed her reticule in Bea’s mouth.
Jane put down the tools she’d been arranging and smiled. “Married? Oh my, this is quite sudden.” She gazed at Polly’s midriff.
Lavinia Zimmerman, wife of the bank teller, and her son came out of the mercantile, each holding a parcel. “Polly, did I hear right? You’re getting married?”
“How wonderful—congratulations!” Lavinia grabbed her newly adopted son’s hand. “I can hardly wait to tell Dennis. We’ll see you at the church.”
“But…” There was no use for Polly to say anything else because Lavinia had already headed down the street toward the bank.
“Looks like you’ll be having a few guests,” Bea said.
Polly groaned and picked up the pace. “We have to get to the church before they do. I don’t want Ford thinking I invited half the town to a wedding that unites us in name only.”
“Four people isn’t half the town. But then you know how it is in Mockingbird Flats—any excuse for a party.”
“We’re not having a party.”
As they passed by the fire station, Fiona Bushnell, the fire chief’s wife followed behind them saying, “I was in the florist shop a while ago and heard that you’re getting married so I was on my way to the church. With such short notice, I didn’t have a chance to make you a nice gift, but I ordered some apple turnovers from the bakery to be delivered.”
Polly stopped and Bea had to take a few steps back to stay with her. Her throat tightened but she managed to say, “Thank you, Fiona. That was a lovely thing to do.”
“Oh, and I invited Jessica. I hope you don’t mind.”
Polly certainly did mind but since Polly hadn’t invited Fiona either, she could hardly say that she objected to Fiona inviting her sister-in-law, the town doctor’s wife. “Of course not. That was very neighborly of you.”
Jessica Bushnell hailed them with a wave. “I’m so happy for you, Polly!” She held up a basket. “Baby things. I’ve been saving them for our town’s next wedding. First baby can come anytime—the other ones take nine months.” She giggled. “We won’t mention how many first babies in this town were premature.”
Jacquie Rogers, winner of four Will Rogers Gold Medallions, the Laramie Grand Prize, and several other awards, is a country girl at heart. She grew up in Owyhee County, Idaho, where the Old West still lives on. Come to her weekend of living history at Silver City, Idaho! It’s July 20-22, 2018. You can find more information at http://www.jacquierogers.com/silvercityevent.html.
Party online with Jacquie at:
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Or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
A second later, the sound of gunfire came to Aurora. The coach was being attacked!
Dropping her book, she grabbed her reticule with the Colt inside. She had her hand in the bag ready to draw out her gun and her gaze on the window when Higgins said, “Best keep away from the window, Miss. Might get hurt.”
As if to prove his warning, a bullet zinged through the window shade and buried itself in the seat back near her head.
“Good hell,” Rank muttered.
Aurora threw herself to one side, one hand clutching her bag with the Colt .45 inside, the other hand on her thigh, making sure she hadn’t lost the derringer in her garter. She glanced at her two companions and gasped.
Elmer Higgins held a Smith and Wesson aimed at her chest. He smiled. “It’s a robbery. Just sit quiet, be a good girl, and you’ll be fine.”
Aurora had grave doubts about that, but she clamped her mouth shut, took her hand slowly out of her reticule, removed her other hand from her leg, and clutched the bag to her chest. The gun muzzle inside poked into her breasts, adding to her awareness of its presence, so close, yet, out of reach, like the derringer, and the knife in her boot. No more doubt remained but that she’d misjudged Mr. Higgins.
Moving the muzzle of his gun toward Rank, he said, “Toss your gun out the window. Now.”
Rank did and then squeezed as deeply into the corner as he could, his eyes never leaving the Smith and Wesson aimed at him.
Aurora waited, hoping something distracted Higgins, so she could pull out the Colt and get the drop on him. Was it the Hell’s-Gate gang the man belonged to? They were known to rob stages on this route.
More important to her, did Higgins know where Jason was? What would he do if he knew there was a lawman on the stage?
He grinned. “Don’t fret, Miss Cavender. I won’t allow anything to happen to you.”
Outside, a cry of pain came from the vicinity of the driver’s seat. Had the driver been shot? Or Garret?
The gang chasing them hadn’t quite reached the stage yet. The top of the stage and all the luggage stored there should protect the men driving the stage.
The thought had barely passed through her mind when riders appeared at the sides of the coach. The gunfire stopped, and the stage skidded to a halt, raising even more dust. Aurora wanted to leap out to check on Garret. She might hate him for abandoning her the day of their wedding, but she didn’t want him to die.
Higgins, no longer the meek salesman, threw open the door. “After you, Miss.”
She wanted to curse at him the way Jason would have. This was not going the way she’d planned when she left home for Utah. She pulled a scented hanky from her reticule, slipped the crocheted handle over her arm, and descended to the ground. The hanky she held to her nose to keep out the dust.
Higgins shoved Rank out behind her and he landed in the dirt. When the outlaw jumped down, he grabbed her arm. “Don’t go anywhere, sweetheart. When matters are finished here, you and I shall become better acquainted.”
She tried to pull away. “I said let me go.”
“Do it, Elmer,” a firm, familiar voice said as Garret appeared beside Aurora. “The lady belongs to me.”
“What?” It hit her then —Garret was part of the gang? No, he couldn’t be. She glared at him. “How dare you say—?”
Yanking her against him, he kissed her, shutting her up. Damn him. Twice now, he’d pulled that stunt. His mouth on hers felt hard and all-business, unlike the way he used to kiss her. “Keep quiet and go along with me, if you want to keep living,” he whispered against her lips.
He kissed her harder.
Blurb for Millwright’s Daughter:
After the death of her mother in 1882, Eliza Wells goes to live with her grandmother, Caroline Arnold, whom her parents named as her guardian. Not long after her grandmother has a stroke, her uncle, Joseph Wells from Kerr’s Ferry, California, whom she has never met in person, arrives in Ohio and whisks her away for a visit with family while her grandmother recovers.
At first Eliza enjoyed visiting her cousins in California. Now she grows concerned at her uncle’s repeated refusals to arrange for her transportation home. Her grandmother has not replied to her letters, so Eliza can no longer look to her for help.
Since Caroline, slowly recovering from her stroke, has heard nothing from her granddaughter in months, she hires Kit Halsey, a former railroad detective, to find her granddaughter and bring her home. He agrees, for what he will receive in pay for the job will put him through law school.
Joseph urges Eliza to spend time with his business associate, Daniel Irwin, almost fifteen years her senior. Unlike her cousin, Eliza does not care for Daniel. The only man for whom she feels an attraction is the new freight driver, Kit Halsey.
Startling details from the past come to light, and the only person Eliza can turn to for help is Kit—if he is willing to risk his future to save her.
Kit Halsey’s gaze never left Caroline Arnold as he slowly rose from his chair. He agreed to accept this short-term job, hoping it would prove interesting and as financially lucrative as Mrs. Arnold indicated it would.
Kit realized one of the keys to his success as a railroad detective had been he possessed good instincts. He hoped those same instincts would serve him well once he passed the bar and practiced law.
Right now, his instincts screamed to him the old woman had not told him everything there was to know about this case.
About Zina Abbott:
Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical romance novels. A member of Women Writing the West, Western Writers of America and American Night Writer’s Association, she writes for several blogs including the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog she started to feature authors of sweet historical North American romance. She currently lives with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” When she is not piecing together novel plots, she pieces together quilt blocks.
Zina Abbott links:
Zina Abbott Books website: http://zinaabbott.homestead.com
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The Widow Buys A Groom by Penny Estelle
The year is eighteen sixty-eight. Like every state in America, the Civil War has taken its toll. Mass casualties leave women to survive on their own, raise children without fathers, and run ranches, homes and businesses without help. Meadow Creek, Kansas is no different.
Reverend Strong strives to find a solution for his town. He contacts clergymen in other states and discovers women aren’t the only ones devastated by war. The men fortunate enough to make it home soon realize they’ve lost everything and must start new lives. .
Katherine Parnell owns Maggie’s Baked Goods. Ever since her husband was forced to fight for the Confederacy, she and her son, Timmy, have been fighting their own battles. She might need a man, but has no intention of marrying again. She informs the good Reverend of that in no uncertain terms. .
Jim Sutton has demons of his own and comes to Meadow Creek to start over. He has no desire to get married either. On more than one occasion, he comes to Katherine’s aid and finds himself smiling around her and the boy, something he hasn’t done in years. When Jim lands in jail, the woman whose green eyes haunt his dreams at night is the only one who can help him.
Can Katherine and Jim find love again or will ghosts from their pasts keep happiness at bay?
The shots continued sporadically as he made his way closer. He kicked his horse into a gallop when he heard high pitched squeals and yelling but was too far to hear what was being said. When he topped the crest of a small hill he found a small homestead. The house looked like one large rectangle and white smoke escaped from the roof from a lingering fire. His attention went to a small barn with an old buckboard sitting on the side. In the corral was an old plug, a cow, and calf.
Another shot came from behind the barn. Jim pulled his gun and followed the noise. He pulled his horse up short and stared. There was Katherine sitting on the cold ground and looked to be loading a gun, while her son was whooping and hollering as he ran about twenty feet away to set up some old cans and rusted out buckets. When Timmy was done, she told him to get behind her. Jim’s jaw dropped even further when he watched her wiggle down onto her stomach. Her legs were bent at the knees with her ankles crossed in the air, blue wool stockings visible from her brown shoes to where her dress was laying on her upper legs. Her elbows were set on the ground and she was steadying the gun in her hands.
Jim watched her take aim and fire the gun.
“You missed again, Mama.”
“Yes, I’m aware.” Jim smirked at the irritation in her voice. She brought her head down, only inches from the ground, and fixed her sight on the target. The gun exploded and the old bucket went flying. Katherine dropped the gun, spun over onto her back and came to a sitting position with her arms opened wide. “I did it!” They were both screaming and Timmy flew into her arms which had them both rolling around in the dead grass.
Jim got off his horse, laughing at the sight before him. The play continued a few more seconds until Katherine’s face registered shock and she jumped to her feet, stumbling back to the ground then quickly hopped up again. “Wha…what are you doing here?” she asked breathlessly.
Katherine’s hair was a heap of auburn curls and tangles hanging in her face. A faded brown coat, that was several sizes too big, had a patch on the elbow and the sleeves were rolled up. The hem of a blue skirt was stuck on her stocking about three inches above her knee showing off a shapely leg. Smiling at the site in front of him, Jim walked up and took a small branch from her hair. He nodded to her exposed leg.
Gasping, she was quick to cover her leg and step back, limping on her ankle. “Again, Mr. Sutton, what are you doing here?”
“I heard shots. I came to see if there was a problem.” He shrugged, trying to hide another smile. “I guess there wasn’t.”
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Comes A Specter by Keta Diablo
Six months ago, Anya Fleming’s ten- year-old son, Willie-boy, found his father hanging in the barn. Traumatized over his father’s suicide, the boy hasn’t spoken a word since. Now, Willie-boy has come down with a grave, unknown illness and there’s only one man who can save him, Sutter Sky, a learned Blackfoot shaman known as Yellow Smoke—a shaman who was once deeply in love with Anya.
But Fate had other plans for Anya and Sutter—she was forced to marry Lewis Fleming, a cruel man who berated her night and day, and brokenhearted Sutter immersed himself in the mystical customs and beliefs of his People and became a healer.
As if Anya didn’t have enough to deal with after her husband’s death and son’s illness, an evil, sinister ghost is terrorizing their ranch. Anya is convinced the spirit is Lewis, who apparently isn’t done making her life miserable.
When she turns to Yellow Smoke for help, will he put side his bitterness and save Willie-boy? And can the renowned shaman dispel the powerful ghost from their lives and send him back to Hades?
Sutter stood before Anya, a rifle cradled in his arms. He had the look of a heathen—long, midnight hair that hugged the collar of his white shirt, olive skin and eyes the color of grey smoke. Tall and well muscled, he looked a little older, but remained as magnificent as ever—as she remembered, as she had dreamed so many nights. He’d always smelled like a wild northern wind. If she closed her eyes right now, she could call forth that luscious memory, or beg the light breeze to bring it to her.
His rich, low voice broke into her daydreams. “You’re not welcome here, Anya… or should I say Mrs. Fleming?”
Long seconds passed before she recovered her senses. “Do you think I’d be here, Sutter, if I weren’t desperate?”
He didn’t correct the use of his white name. “You have a husband; go to him if you’re desperate.”
“Lewis is dead.”
If she had meant to shock him, she had failed. The muscles of his face remained immobile, and his eyes normally expressive eyes betrayed nothing.
“He hung himself in the barn several months back.”
“Is this where I’m supposed to tell you how sorry I am?”
“Guess not.” Shoulders squared, her chin came out. “That might be asking too much of your cold, black heart.”
“What do you want, Anya?” With a toss of his head, he indicated his growing impatience. “Why are you here?”
Under her breath, she added, “And I’m certain I’ll find Lewis crawling back into his grave one morning.”
“You’re rambling, Anya. I don’t know what about and I don’t care. Let me ask again: What do you want?”
Pretense at this point was pointless. “My son is gravely ill.”
“Humph. If my son were sick, I’d have ridden towards Butte for the nearest doctor.”
“Doctor Metz is a drunkard and I could ride here faster.”
“Pity, that,” he said with a roll of those smoky eyes.
“You could help him, Sutter. If I ever meant anything to you—”
“Don’t go there.” He put a hand in the air. “That’s a long time ago, a time I don’t like to revisit.”
Tears brimmed in her eyes, and for the first time since she’d ridden in, she saw a spark of something in his eyes.
“What’s wrong with the boy?”
She shrugged. “I don’t… don’t know. Willie-boy hasn’t spoken a word since he found his father hanging in the barn.”
His eyebrows came up. “Willie-boy?”
“William, but I’ve always called him Willie-boy. I suppose it’s silly….” Her voice trailed off as she held his eyes.
“Go away, Anya.” He shuffled back into the cabin, his moccasins missing the creaky plank that had warned her of his presence. He called out over his shoulder, “I don’t help white-eyes.”
Keta’s Bio and Social Media links:
Keta Diablo lives in the Midwest part of the United States on six acres of woodland. When she isn’t writing or gardening she loves to commune with nature. A lifelong animal lover, she also devotes her time and support to the local animal shelters.
Keta’s a bestselling Amazon author who writes in several genres, including western romance, historical romance, paranormal romance and the occasional gay romance. Her books have received numerous Top Pick, Book of the Month and Recommended Read reviews.
You can find her on the net at the following places:
Author home: http://ketaskeep.blogspot.com
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Keta-Diablo/e/B002BODURI/