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Tag: A Long Trail Rolling

Heard on the Boardwalk of Camp Floyd

Camp Floyd, Utah, 1860

“Did you hear about the other night at the saloon?” Miss Mora whispered, then forced a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes at a tall, dark, and handsome passing them on the boardwalk.

“No, whatever happened?” Miss Alamander, dressed in blue, sidled closer to her friend, if you could call her that, and together they took refuge behind her fan. Miss Mora’s lips made a moue at the back of the man who had just passed them without sparing the ladies, in their glittering (if slightly stained) dresses, another glance.

“I’d gone with Mr. Sorley for an evening of fun and cards at his cabin, entertaining him and his friends,” Miss Mora gave the other woman a wicked smile, “and—“

“I’ll bet you made a pretty penny for that night’s work,” Miss Alamander cut in, her lips tight.

She just smirked.

“Okay.” The woman in blue crossed her arms and waited, but Miss Mora just stood with one brow raised. Her curiosity eventually got the better of her, even over her annoyance at Miss Mora’s good fortune at the potential expense of hers. “What happened?” she finally asked.

“You wouldn’t think it, would you, but that big blond brute of a man, Jackson—”

“Yes?” she breathed, egging Miss Mora on.

“If you’d let me finish,” she harrumphed, “Jackson stumbled into the saloon late last night, drunk as a skunk, and…” She broke off and smiled over her fan at a man passing by, then resumed, “he stormed across the room toward this boy, and he so young he hadn’t a hair on his face.”

“And…?”

“Well, the young lad had his hat on, a big ten-galón hat, you know, like the caballeros from Mexico wear?”

“Get on with it,” Miss Alamander said crossly. We don’t have all day.” She smiled at a filthy man riding his horse past them, his stench following him, and swallowed hard.

“That boy, he got the best of him!” Miss Mora whispered.

Miss Alamander looked up from the blue bodice that just barely covering her bosom and blinked. “But no one gets the best of Mr. Jackson! That’s impossible, how did he do it?” She hissed as Miss Mora turned away from her to make eyes at a man walking down the street leading his mules not a yard away from them.

The gentleman’s accoutrements bespoke his success in the goldfields—not only his exquisite, if dusty, clothing, but the fine wood and leather cases piled high over his pickaxes, shovels, and pans. His waistcoat alone must have cost more than her wages for a month. She gulped and took a breath deep enough to nearly bust herself out of her bodice, but he never looked her way as Miss Mora strode boldly toward him.

“And how might you be today, sir?” she asked him in a throaty tone, somehow wiggling her top half at the same time she floated off the boardwalk and through the mud.

“All the better for seeing you,” he said, with a chuckle. “Will you ladies be here long?”

At least this time, he included Miss Alamander in his glance.

“That depends upon what you have in mind, sir,” Miss Mora continued, as she slithered up to him and stood between him and Miss Alamander, as if on purpose. Her gliding was made all the more difficult by the half-foot of slop which the locals deigned to call a “street” here in Camp Floyd. The soldiers didn’t seem to mind, but the ladies did.

“What do you say you come along with me for awhile,” he said, then nodded at Miss Alamander, still standing on the boards, “and then you can rejoin your friend afterward?”

The woman in blue took a deep breath and unclenched her hands and smoothed the silk down over her abdomen and joined them demurely before her. She gritted her teeth and forced a smile at him, then turned to face the other men passing her by as the stores closed for the day.

No one was up for a tussle at this early hour, at least the locals, and the soldiers would be at their mess up at the fort, so Miss Alamander cooled her heels for what seemed a month and fought back a smile.

This was going to be fun.

She schooled her features to look impatient as Miss Mora finally returned, a bit less tidy than when she’d left. She was missing a few hairpins, but wore a big smile. She jingled as she hopped up onto the boardwalk.

“So stop looking like the cat that ate the cream,” Miss Alamander said, pursing her lips, “and tell me! How did a mere boy best big old Jackson, especially when he was in his cups?”

“He cut him.” Miss Mora gave her a sideways smile. “Jackson stormed toward him, and you know how big he is, but this boy, his waist no bigger around than that brute’s leg, just stood up at his table, cool as a cucumber, knocked his glass on a table, even with his arms held behind his back by one of Jackson’s henchmen, and cut him. Sliced his arms and then those of the despicable man behind him, and bolted out the door! No one’s seen the boy since.”

“No.” Miss Alamander did her best to look shocked, but it would be nothing to what she was about to see on her friend’s face. She couldn’t wait.

“Yes,” Miss Mora said, nodding her head emphatically.

“You don’t say,” Miss Alamander said. “Now I remember. I heard something about that… I heard it wasn’t a boy at all… it was a girl!

Miss Mora’s chin dropped until it came to rest on her ample and exposed bosom. For once, she was speechless.

Wow, what a woman, if it was one! Who could she be? You’ll have to read A Long Trail Rolling to find out!

About the Book

Camp Floyd

A Long Trail Rolling

She didn’t expect to become a target…but she is one now.

Just orphaned, Aleksandra holds the family secret her father died for. She hides by joining the Pony Express as a boy, where an alluring Californio sees through her guise and offers help—and more.

Xavier’s conviction that women cannot be trusted is deeply rooted in the reasons he left his birthright. But Alex is like no woman he has ever met.

With the killer getting closer and an Indian war brewing, Alex and Xavier must decide whom they can trust, and what they really want.

Lizzi is one of the newest Bluestocking Belles!

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A Long Trail Rolling is the first book in

The Long Trails series, out now!

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Overheard at the Arguello-Lekarski Wedding, Rancho de las Pulgas

lizzi-a-movable-feast-indeed-decorSan Francisco Bay Area

April 1863

Señora Díaz looked down her nose at Aleksandra Arguello, nee Lekarski, holding hands with her new husband, Xavier beneath the lofty trees of the hacienda. She watched as the bridegroom picked a choice morsel of the carne asada from the long planks covered with the succulent roast meat and served it to her with glowing eyes. “Have you heard,” she said, “that these two have travelled all the way from Utah to here, without a duenna?” She wrinkled her nose.

“I heard they were married,” Señora Martínez said, reaching out for another hot, fresh tortilla, and ladling the spicy mole sauce over it, “or thought they were.”

“How could they possibly have thought they were?” She nearly dropped her plate in her excitement, then set it down on the table beside her. “Either one is or one is not!”

lizzie-dos-senoras“A Methodist pastor performed the ceremony in Virginia City, in the absence of a Catholic priest. It is acceptable to our church, but it turns out that is only the case when the bishop has given his approval.”

“And he hadn’t?” Señora Díaz’s eyes nearly popped out of her head, and she turned to glare at the newlyweds.

Her friend’s pursed lips provided the answer.

“Well. Well…” Señora Díaz couldn’t seem to come up with a suitable reply.

“Weren’t you planning on Xavier for your daughter?” Señora Martínez  looked at her sideways, her voice hushed behind her fluttering fan.

She glanced at her overblown daughter and pursed her lips. “My husband and Xavier’s deceased stepfather had an agreement.”

“And?”

“Well, it seems the lad ran away from home at fourteen, only to be seen again this year, with this…blonde…” She glanced at the bride, slim and glowing in her exquisite gown of bronze-gold silk taffeta and burgundy brocade, her mantilla floating down her back. She turned her gaze again to her properly dark-haired, Californio daughter, stuffing her face with another palillis, and liberally dusting her wine-colored gown with the fried pastry’s generous sprinkling of powdered sugar. She winced. “Nothing wrong with my daughter,” she whispered, if a bit sharply.

Señora Martínez  blinked and imperceptibly shook her head. “They came here from Sacramento during the flood last winter, and they saw the inauguration of Leland Stanford, our Governor. Did you know, he had to go to the Capitol building in a rowboat?”

“How do you know all this?”

“I met them at this rancho earlier in the year, and they told me the story.”

“Ah, so you’ve met them already.” Señora Díaz gulped, her eyes narrowed at her companion. “I had no idea.” She had the grace to look embarrassed.

“Yes, Xavier told me Aleksandra suggested to Mr. Stanford that they jack up the buildings of downtown Sacramento, like they did recently in Chicago.”

Señora Díaz’s brows shot up.

“He also told me,” Señora Martínez positively smirked, “that Aleksandra rode the Pony Express, as a boy!”

This was too much for Señora Díaz.

I’m afraid to report, she fainted dead away at the thought.

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lizzi-a-long-trailThis is an original piece and is incidental to A Sea of Green Unfolding.

The Long Trails Quadrilogy of Historical Romantic Suspense novels:

Book One: A Long Trail Rolling

Book Two: The Hills of Gold Unchanging, to be released 15 December, in time for Christmas! It will soon be available for pre-order for $2.99 at online retailers.

Book Three: A Sea of Green Unfolding, to be released soon thereafter

Book Four: A Bold Country Evolving, in research

A Long Trail Rolling

In 1860’s Old West, Aleksandra gets herself into a bit of strife…and the only way she can see out of it is to ride the famed Pony Express…as a boy. Not the best façade, when your boss is as gorgeous and appealing a man as Xavier…and together they somehow must evade the man who has already killed Aleksandra’s father…and has set his sights on her.

Buy Links for A Long Trail Rolling:

Amazon US

Other Buying Options

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Meet Lizzi Tremayne

lizzi-tremayneLizzi grew up riding wild in the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods, became an equine veterinarian at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, practiced in the California Pony Express and Gold Country before emigrating to New Zealand. When not writing, she’s swinging a rapier or shooting a bow in medieval garb, riding, driving a carriage or playing on her farm, singing, or working as an equine veterinarian or science teacher. She is multiply published and awarded in special interest magazines and veterinary periodicals.

You can learn more about Lizzi’s work on the following social media outlets:

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~    ~ Awards for A Long Trail Rolling   ~    ~

RWNZ Pacific Hearts for Best Unpublished Manuscript 2014: 1st Place

RWNZ Koru Awards for Excellence 2015:  Best First Book: 1st Place   &   Best Long Novel: 3rd Place

RWNZ Great Beginnings Contest 2013: Finalist

The Best Indie Book Awards 2015: Finalist

New Zealand Book Awards as a YA 15+: Longlisted

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Excerpt

Sguir! Aleksandra, stop!’ Aleksandra heard Scotty bark, and then continue in a low, steady voice. ‘Wouldn’t move, ‘f I was you, Xavier. Her da’s Cossack-trained and it ‘pears she is too.’ Scotty chuckled.

She felt Xavier ease his hold on her, but he didn’t let go, despite the blade at his neck.

‘Now a nighean,’ Scotty admonished her, ‘Xavier’s a charaid, a friend. He’s been watchin’ over ye for the best part of the afternoon.’

She relaxed the death-grip on her shashka, removing its tip from Xavier’s throat. Her gaze met his smooth cocoa eyes fringed by long, black lashes, crinkles of laughter showing at their corners. Aleksandra’s bronze-skinned benefactor had the look of a dark Spanish lord.

‘The vixen has teeth,’ Xavier said with a grin.
Aleksandra gave him the ghost of a smile, then frowned at his hands still upon her. White scars crisscrossed his right one, especially his knuckles. He let go of her and stepped back from her side.

‘Well Aleks, feelin’ better after yer little rest?’ Scotty approached cautiously, removing the sword from her shaky grip. ‘How ’bout a drink of water?’ He reached for the filled mug. ‘Ye ready to talk yet?’

She nodded slowly, eyes on Xavier.

‘Where’s yer da, Aleks?’ Scotty’s brow wrinkled, his voice tender

Aleksandra’s heart sank as she struggled to sit up. Reaching for the proffered cup, she drank slowly. The liquid’s coolness soothed her cracked lips and parched throat. Handing the vessel back, she wrapped her arms about herself tightly, chin to chest. When she swayed again, she dimly noticed Xavier moving closer, and was surprised to recognize that she didn’t mind his all-too-familiar closeness.

‘Papa is at rest,’ she said haltingly, so softly they had to move in close, ‘with Mama and my brothers.’

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