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Overheard at the Silverpines Inn

By A Concerned Citizen Who Wishes to Remain Anonymous

My lands! As if our dear little town of Silverpines, Oregon hasn’t endured enough calamities in the past year — earthquakes, a mud slide, and a fire that consumed nearly everything in its path between 3rd Avenue and Chinatown! It is salt in the proverbial wound to now be forced to endure the scandal brewing across town at the old Kingsley mansion.

If it weren’t for a certain postmistress taking her dinner at the Silverpines Inn yesterday afternoon, we might never have learned the truth. Sadly, it appears the headmistress of the new Silverpines Finishing School for Young Ladies, Rachel West, is stringing along not one but two beaus. Indeed, it is a sad state of affairs to witness an instructor of social graces carrying on so, but I fear the evidence against her is overwhelming.

For one thing, she was overheard having a somewhat heated conversation with the dashing Mr. Finneas Banfield, who I’m delighted to report was wearing the latest in fashion from Boston. Ah, but our small town could use more of his charming Old World manners and British accent. In short, the orphan-widow appeared to be rebuffing the man’s adoring attentions. How heartbreaking!

An hour later, the same young instructor in deportment was seen driving her new, outlandish automobile to the train depot. There she proceeded (without a proper chaperone) to greet a perfect stranger and chauffeur him across town to her finishing school. I wish that was the worst of my news. Alas, there is more.

No one in town has ever laid eyes on the man. I asked around to be certain, and it was confirmed by no less than two other reputable townswomen: Never before has a Black man so much as paid a visit to Silverpines.

Upon further investigation, I learned that Mrs. West posted a letter a few weeks ago for a mail-order groom. And not just any groom! Rumor has it Mr. Boone Cassidy is a bounty hunter. A bounty hunter! I shudder to contemplate the reasons anyone would require the services of such a dark and brooding gunslinger. I can only pray he completes whatever mission he’s been called upon to perform with haste, before the rumors about his budding romance with Mrs. West spin completely beyond my control.

As one of the senior matriarchs in our town, I’ve tried everything within reason to quell the gossip. I truly have. But even a God-fearing, upright citizen like myself cannot easily explain away a public embrace like the one Mrs. West apparently shared this morning with Mr. Cassidy. Be assured, I will keep my ear bent to the ground for more details and report back the moment I can confirm this latest distressing report.

About the Book

Silverpines

Orphan and widow Rachel West is returning home to Oregon after eight years of living with her guardian on the East Coast. Thanks to a lavish inheritance from her great-aunt, she now has the funds to realize her dream of opening the Silverpines Finishing School for Young Ladies.

Unfortunately, a former co-instructor from Boston follows her to Silverpines, claiming a deathbed promise to look after her. Highly suspicious of his intentions, she sends off for a mail-order husband to provide a buffer between them; but she makes it clear in her letter she wishes to court first and only marry if they develop feelings for each other and the “good Lord wills it.”

As a bounty hunter by trade, Boone Cassidy is accustomed to far more dangerous tasks than ridding spoiled debutantes of their unwanted suitors. He fully expects the uppity Mrs. West to send him packing the moment she realizes a Black man has been sent to her aid. After laying eyes on her at the train station, however, he realizes he’s made a great many incorrect assumptions about the lovely headmistress. All of a sudden, thwarting the attentions of her dandified, self-proclaimed beau from Boston becomes a task worthy of his most gallant efforts!

Available in eBook on Amazon + FREE in Kindle Unlimited at
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RKW915S
Coming soon to paperback!

Two Short Excerpts~

RACHEL WEST’S STORY:

November, 1900 — Silverpines, Oregon

Rachel West shivered as she stepped onto the train platform. It wasn’t the chill of the late autumn breeze so much as the feeling of stepping on ghosts that shook her up on the inside. For a moment, she fought the urge to spin around in her designer boots, sprint back to her private cabin on the train, and keep on riding.

She’d been away for eight long years from the one town in the world that felt like home. Or should have…

Squinting against the glare of the morning sun, she turned in a full circle, trying to find one familiar structure or one familiar face from her treasure trove of memories.

And utterly failed.

A spurt of panic gurgled through her mid-section at the sight of the new-looking cafe facing her. A freshly painted butcher’s storefront rested to the left of it, and a post office was located just across a side street from it. They had to be new, because the paint was so bright and un-peeling, and none of their roofs boasted the usual slight ripple of unevenness that so many buildings take on once they’ve had the chance to settle.

Her head swiveled. There was also a book store she didn’t remember standing next to the post office. It was an inviting little building with a big, cheery picture window crowded with books. Normally, she would have tossed all her earthly cares to the winds and made a beeline for the cozy nook for book lovers, but she was too busy pondering the notion that she might have made a horrible mistake at disembarking.
Why, even the depot building squatting behind her looked new! Had she misunderstood the announcement and gotten off at the wrong stop altogether?

“Rachel? Is it really you?”

She jolted at the soft, lilting alto wafting across the train platform. Nothing around her looked familiar, but she’d recognize that voice anywhere.

“Penelope Wallace!” she cried joyfully, whirling to face her childhood friend. She was in the right town after all, even if it didn’t look right.

“It’s Cooper now. Penelope Cooper.”

They threw themselves in each other’s arms with squeals of sheer delight, and Rachel experienced a pang of remorse at the knowledge it had been more than two years since they’d last exchanged letters, maybe three. Good heavens, how the time had flown!

To avoid making any awkward excuses for her lack of correspondence, Rachel fell back on her good manners and well of natural charm. “Eight years hasn’t changed you one bit. You don’t look a day older than sixteen.” The moment the words sailed from her mouth, she regretted them; because it was painfully clear that Penelope had indeed changed.

She still looked young and girlish, but the sparkle that had always lurked in her wide, innocent eyes — despite how hard her temperamental, overly controlling mama had tried to extinguish it — was entirely gone. It its place was bone-weariness and the bruising shadows born of hard times. A recent tragedy, if Rachel were to venture a guess.

They were the same kind of shadows she witnessed in her own eyes every time she stood in front of a mirror.

Silverpines


BOONE CASSIDY’S STORY:

…Thank you kindly for your assistance in this unbelievably stressful matter. If you send me a trustworthy bounty hunter, I will be forever grateful.
Yours truly,
Rachel West 

When a knock sounded on the door of his train car, Boone hastily wadded the letter and stuffed it back in his pocket. “Yes?”

A sandy-haired attendant with a mop of flyaway curls popped his head inside and looked surprised to find a Black man in a pin-striped travel suit lounging in the luxury cabin. “I, ah…” He swallowed. “I’m looking for a Mr. Cassidy?”

“Present and accounted for,” Boone answered dryly, wondering if the man would refuse to serve him like the last one had. In anticipation of such discriminatory treatment, he’d brought along a decent sized stash of non-perishable foods and bottled beverages.

“Very well.” The waiter swallowed again and stepped inside the car, looking nervous. “W-would you care to order any dinner?”

“I would.” Boone was afraid to get his hopes up, but his traitorous mouth started to water at the thought of a warm meal. It had been a full two days since his last one. “What’s on the menu?”

“Roasted ham and chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, steamed asparagus, and a fruit salad.”

“Sounds good to me.” More like heaven, actually. He was already imagining himself biting into the steamy, succulent meat entrees.

“What would you like to drink? There’s tea and lemonade, coffee and…never mind. I don’t believe I’m allowed to serve wine and spirits to your kind.”

As a God-fearing Christian the past twenty-eight years, Boone wasn’t all that interested in ordering wine and spirits, but he couldn’t help resenting the jab about his kind. He knew without asking that the man was referring to his rich-as-molasses color, thanks to his half-Nigerian and half-Hispanic roots. “Tea and coffee would be marvelous,” he assured with a wink, hoping to settle the young man’s jumpiness.

He only looked more nervous. His glazed-over gray eyes dropped to the twin holsters slung around Boone’s hips.

Boone held his gaze steadily. “I’m a bounty hunter, heading up to Silverpines, Oregon to help rescue a little schoolmarm from a conman.”

A faint smile tugged at the edges of the waiter’s mouth, and his shoulders relaxed a fraction. “That sounds like quite an adventure.”

Boone shrugged. “Most of what I do is dangerous work, but it pays well.” Come to think of it, he was probably the wealthiest Black man in the Midwest. In the country, for that matter! Another thought struck him, making him shoot a sly glance up at the waiter. “The sooner you arrive back with my dinner, the bigger your tip will be, son.”

The young man gulped and took off so quickly he stumbled over his own feet on his way out the door.

Boone chuckled at his expense and returned to the wildly un-exciting task of pondering the best way to rid the uppity Mrs. West of her unwanted suitor.

About the Author

Jo writes sweet historical and contemporary romance stories — with humor, sass, and happily ever afters.

A typical day finds her with her laptop balanced on her knees, a fizzy beverage within reach, and a cat snoozing on her knees. He takes credit for most of what she does.

When Jo’s not writing stories, she’s reading them. She adores dashing gentlemen, resilient heroines with a sense of adventure, humorous sidekicks, dusty cowboys, bounty hunters, mail order brides…you get the idea.

She loves to visit with readers in her Cuppa Jo Readers group on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/CuppaJoReaders/.

To receive a personal email about each book she publishes, join her New Release Email List at JoGrafford.com or follow her on BookBub at https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jo-grafford.

Plus you can read free chapters of many of her books on http://Wattpad.com/user/JoGrafford.

Will Love Run True?

Dear Teatime Tattler Readers,

I am delighted to inform you that everything is proceeding on schedule in my brother’s courtship of my best friend, Constance Drake. How Samuel fretted when Constance’s father put an end to his suit, but Mr. Drake has seen the error of his ways and now gives permission for Samuel to chart a course toward wedded bliss.

Courtship

It seems the original misunderstanding has been corrected. Since Samuel is an ardent abolitionist and travels frequently on lecture tours, Constance’s father believed that his daughter would risk being widowed. We in the Ohio Abolitionist Society all know the dangers abolitionists face. We have dodged thrown eggs and tomatoes in more than one town. But we are determined to do what we believe is right.

Constance and Samuel will make a wonderful couple!


After seminary, Samuel hopes to be placed at a church in Ohio. His reputation grows with every speaking engagement, so I’m sure he will find the perfect church in which to continue his abolitionist mission.

The only fly in the ointment is Micah Spencer. He and Samuel used to be the best of friends when they attended seminary together, but Micah made some poor choices for his life. He once told me how much he admired Constance, but when Samuel started courting her, Micah bowed out. To make matters worse, Micah turned to slave catching as a way to earn money. Can you imagine?  Micah works directly against Constance. Surely he doesn’t think he has a chance with her now.

I cannot imagine a more perfect union than that of my brother and my best friend. My mother often quotes Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “The course of true love never did run true.”  But surely the way is set for my brother. Micah may pine for Constance, but how could she possibly choose him over Samuel?

About the Book

Ohio promises freedom. Kentucky threatens bondage. Only one thing would entice an escaped slave to take the risk

In 1838, escaping slaves know Ripley, Ohio is a good place to cross into freedom. But slave catchers know it as well. Micah Spencer spends a frozen night silently waiting for runaways, unaware that the next escaping slave will change his life.

Runaway slave Opal knows she’s risking her life and that of her infant by leaving Kentucky and making a desperate journey north. If she is to make it, she’ll have to trust the one person she’s learned to fear.


Constance Drake admires the heroic abolitionists of Ripley but wonders if she has the courage of her convictions. When she’s asked to cross into enemy territory, she’ll have to rely on her faith and every ounce of bravery she has.

Read free with Kindle Unlimited or Buy now!

An excerpt from Freedom River

Constance had been high-spirited during their school days together. Since becoming an adult, she’d adopted a more restrained manner, but that daring spirit still twinkled in her eyes.

The warm memory of their one and only dance made Micah smile. During his last year in college, the town had put on a spring dance. Every maiden in the county had shown up in their best frocks, but Constance had outshone them all.

Micah couldn’t dance worth a lick, but he wasn’t about to let the opportunity pass him by. When the musicians had struck up Annie Laurie, he’d approached Constance from behind and slipped his hand into hers. She’d spun around, obviously surprised, but then she’d smiled.

Oh, that smile. With one daring grin, she’d accepted his invitation and branded his heart.

With his heart pounding and his skin on fire, he’d led her to the edge of the dance floor, set his palm on her waist, and lifted her other hand.

Despite her lacy white glove, her hand on his shoulder felt like a hot coal. She’d followed his dubious lead, all the while smiling into his eyes. At that moment, Micah knew what the hawk felt when it soared above treetops. He would win the girl and make her his own. He would marry her, love her, and care for her until he died.

But his best friend loved her too. Samuel had kept him awake half the night, sighing over Constance. A few weeks later, Samuel began calling on her every Sunday afternoon. Micah had watched and waited, unwilling to surrender his hopes and unable to intervene.

That had been the beginning of the rift between he and Samuel. Samuel Lynton had absorbed every word of Reverend Rankin’s abolitionist teaching. In those days he’d been a zealot for the cause, debating with his fellow students and writing articles for various abolitionist newspapers. He’d risen rapidly in Reverend Rankin’s organization, and he was undoubtedly the teacher’s favorite.

But Micah’s school days hadn’t been so ideal. When his father had learned of Reverend Rankin’s message, Micah’s tuition had disappeared. Samuel’s father owned one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the state, a legacy Samuel would one day inherit, but Micah’s options were few. He could either return to his family’s farm or find another way to support himself. How could Micah ever hope to compete with Samuel?  Then he’d seen the notices in the Ripley paper. Rewards for the return of runaway slaves would be easy money.

About the Author

Claire Sanders is an award-winning author of inspirational novels. Her attention is always drawn to stories about someone fighting for what’s right in the face of overwhelming resistance. That, and a life-long interest in history, led to an appreciation for the abolitionists who dared to break mankind’s law in order to uphold God’s law.

Claire writes about Christians in conflict. Never one to preach, Claire lets the plot reveal how the characters’ faith sustains them through the struggle.

To find out more about Claire, see an complete list of her novels, and sign up for her newsletter, visit her website –

       www.clairesandersbooks.com.

email:  claire@clairesandersbooks.com

Twitter:  @booksbyclaire

Facebook:  Claire Sanders News

Bookbub:  Claire Sanders

High and Mighty Teatime

Tea

A flurry of activity whirred through the parlor of Lady Benedicta Rangecroft, where a gathering of ladies was setting up to hear the news of London from Lady Selina Peckham. The tea service, complete with both China and Indian, a selection of finger sandwiches, and delicate pastries were set with the finest care. The visiting guests, five in total, made up the most influential women in Morgan Hill, South Carolina.

They busied themselves with social responsibilities prior to the taking up the responsibilities of motherhood, which would unavoidably usurp their valuable time. This meeting was an invaluable opportunity to discuss important matters of the day. And by extension, to stay abreast of the news from foreign lands. And today, as luck would have it, Lady Selina Peckham, is gathering to delight the group with news of London.

Lady Selina Peckham, while standing by the fireplace holding the mantle with one hand, was in thoughtful preparation to perform an imitation of Henry Irving’s performance of Mathias in “The Bells”.

“Ladies, it was precisely at this time,” Lady Selina began, with a flourish of her arm and placing her wrist upon her forehead, regaling the group with her performance.  “I was dumbfounded, upon the realization that Mathias, the primary lead character, would be haunted for the rest of his life because of a moments madness.”

At this point, Lady Christmas Harper, set down her tea cup and saucer with such command that all could hear the clang of the china. “But didn’t you say that Mathias had virtually killed a seed merchant in order to gather money to pay off his own mortgage?”

Lady Selina’s shoulders slumped knowing that the critical  moment was destroyed with the foolish question. “My dear, it’s not a simple matter of murder, he was a desperate man, the seed merchant was overly fortunate, . . .”

“Heathen, he was a heathen to take another man’s life for such a selfish reason.” Lady Christmas stood to make her views known beyond doubt.

During the kerfuffle, Lady Gertrude Stark, reached out for her third sandwich. She carefully slid the sandwich behind her tea cup, in order, that it would escape Lady Benedicta’s attention. 

Tea

Clearing her throat, Lady Benedicta gently set her tea on the table and ushered her opinion to the fore. “Please, let us remember that we are here to fortify our minds with clever new ideas and thoughts to ponder. We are fortunate that Lady Selina so willingly exposed herself to the dangers of the theatre in order to regale us with the story of Mr. Henry Irving’s performance. Let us be understanding. Continue please,” Lady Benedicta said with authority, and again sat poised with her tea cup and saucer in her lap.

Lady Selina smiled patiently at her challenger until finally Lady Christmas capitulated and dutifully took her seat among group.

“Simply said, Henry Irving’s performance in “The Belles”, was tragic magnifique. I am not over praising his skill when I say his command of the stage is nothing less than astonishing. No other actor will ever be able to match his resonate vocalization, masculine gait across the stage, and his tender fall from grace,” she said tipping her head just enough to show due reverence to the performer.

During the moment of stillness that followed Lady Selina’s pronouncement, Lady Gertrude captured another three cookies from the closest tray, having already finished the earlier sandwiches. She briskly eyed the room, so as to make sure that her theft went unnoticed by all.

It was at this time Lady Philippa leaned forward, glassy eyed and swooning. “It sounds like the most romantic evening that could ever be endured. How can you stand that the performance ended?”

Lady Christmas, upon hearing turned her head from the conversation and bit her lip.

Upon hearing just this one note of appreciation, Lady Selina drew herself to the cushion closest to Lady Philippa and prepared herself for yet another confession. “That is not totality of the surprises we endured that evening.”

Lady Selina stood again, and walked about the room while she gathered the perfect words to compliment the most important revelation of the evening.

The gathering of women, beyond Lady Christmas, waited with bated breath.

“After we arrived at the Lyceum Theatre, and after we enjoyed the opulence of the crystal chandeliers, the velvet wall dressing, and the handsomely carved wooden banisters. After we were met with dignitary’s, business men, and their elegant wives. After we…”

“Get on with it, can you?” Lady Christmas nearly shouted.

Abruptly, Lady Selina turned her back toward Lady Christmas and continued her talk focusing entirely on the other three in the room. She noticed for a brief moment, that Lady Gertrude had a biscuit crumbs on her mouth. Lady Selina, not wanting to be distracted, offered a most discreet wiping of her own mouth, to entreat Lady Gertrude to wipe the crumbs away. Then she continued, maintaining her dignity to the end.

Tea

“After we were seated in our most comfortable box seats, and just before the performance began, can you imagine what happened next?”

“Do, please tell us, before we are lost in your circular theatrical tale,” Lady Christmas blurted.

This outburst was followed by Lady Benedicta clearing her throat for the third time in this conversation.

“Oh, yes, please do put us out of our suspense,” Lady Philippa said, clapping her hands and bobbing her knees up and down.

“Imagine if you will, the red velvet curtain opens, the gas lights on the stage using some magical method of sorcery. . . “

“Sorcery! Holy Mother of God, what demon story is being inflicted on me now!” Lady Christmas exclaimed her protest at the top of her lungs.

The next few moments were a flurry of activity.

Instantly, Lady Philippa audibly gasped, pulled out her ornamental fan, leaned back in her chair, and waived the fan briskly in front of cheeks. Which by this time, at the mere mention of sorcery had gone flush with excitement.

Lady Gertrude took the break in the conversation to refill her tea cup and fill her saucer with the final pastry on the serving tray. 

Lady Benedicta stood, placed her hands on her hips, and with an admonishing glare, stared fiercely at Lady Christmas. 

“You will take care not to insult a guest in my home or you will be forced to leave and not return again. It doesn’t matter that you are my sister-in-law. Am I made perfectly clear?”

It was at this point that Lady Christmas, whose eye’s had filled with scorn, looked to the heaven’s for strength. She muttered a soft prayer to herself and finally took her seat once again, and braced for the worst. Which was inevitably to follow.

Then, without hesitation, Lady Benedicta nodded for Lady Selina to continue.

Lady Selina had determined her best opportunity to complete her story was to focus her attention toward Lady Philippa and remain this way through the duration of her story.

“As I was saying, the gas lamps on the stage were extremely bright and this was the first time I had seen anything like this. But the lights in the theatre were dimmed to the point that the entire audience was sitting in the complete dark.”

“Oh no!” exclaimed Lady Christmas.

“Oh yes!” exclaimed Lady Benedicta.

“Oh my!” exclaimed Lady Philippa.

“I will,” Lady Gertrude said, and pinched an untouched sandwich from another woman’s plate.

Lady Philippa moaned in astonishment. She was dumbfounded beyond measure. Her fan flipped with such energetic gyration that it nearly split up the middle.  “Well, I have never sat in the dark during the performance of any kind, let alone in a box seat with my husband. The entirety of the audience could see you. In the dark, it’s near madness.”

Lady Selina shook her head, “No my dear, all the audience was in the dark. Never in my life, and I have been witness to dozen’s of plays, have I ever sat entirely in the dark with my husband in a public venue. I don’t mind saying, it was thrilling to say the least.”

A wily smiled passed across Lady Benedicta’s sober face for the first time today.

There was a stillness that fell across the room, each woman in her own seat pondering the dark.

“I’ll tell you ladies, it was a celebratory event,” Lady Selina said taking her first sip of tea. 

About the Book

Valentine's Day

Eleven lovelorn singletons. Eleven tales of Cupid, catastrophe, and maybe more…

These characters have had it with love—or, if not with that, with Valentine’s Day. But no matter how they fight it, Cupid refuses to relent. From struggling singles to secret crushes to enemies turned much, much more, these lightning strikes of love will add a spark of hope to your holiday. 

Worst Valentine’s Day Ever flips the script on lonely hearts who seem destined for Valentine’s disaster. If you like laugh-out-loud rom-coms, terrible dates gone right, and gorgeous happily-ever-afters, then you’ll love this adorable collection. It ain’t all hearts and roses; but these tales of triumph will find your faith in Valentine’s Day—and your faith in love—restored. 

Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Worst-Valentines-Day-Ever-Anthology-ebook/dp/B07N16BVZD/

About the Author

Daphne Masque – Writes about Romance in the theatre for any time period.

Daphne started keeping a journal during her formative years, junior high. Journaling and bad poetry started her love of working with words. She didn’t know it would last a lifetime. She went on to study Theatre Arts in college and since that time she’s been working in the theatre for over four decades. Her love of dialogue, storytelling, and bringing characters to life has been her passion ever since she first stood on the stage. Writing romance has brought a new dimension to her craft. She adores putting the two elements of romance and theatre in the same world. She hopes you enjoy her stories as much as she enjoying writing them.

Join her email list at:  http://www.daphnemasque.com/contest/

Protect This Unfortunate Woman From Folly!

Loyal Readers,

Our attention has been riveted by a most unfortunate bit of news from America, which as you know is mired in that horrid Civil War.  We have it on good authority that a certain young woman (EW) will be hosting a large number of the Union army on her (SM) property.  Should we expect a white flag to hang from her front gate soon?

How has this come to be? Could it have something to do with the afternoon she spent entertaining a certain handsome (according to sources) Colonel?  She was spotted by several of the townsfolk just a day or so ago talking to the very same man in front of The Griddle, as he helped her from her buggy. Was the interlude planned?  One wonders. If EW had not planned to meet him, would she not have ridden into town with one of the people? Alone, she thought she was able to move about unobserved.

So, why is all of this history important?  Well, we are familiar with the independent streak the young woman possesses, as well as her prowess with a gun, having been schooled by her very own brother, a high-ranking officer for the Confederacy.  In fact, many of our young sons joked about her ability to pick off a rabbit quicker than most—just before they signed up to fight for the Cause.

But according to sources, who we always protect as part of our neighborly pledge, she almost killed the Colonel when he visited her recently.  As proof of that, The Mercantile affirmed the purchase of large quantities of new plaster and wood to be delivered to SM, her property.

This same colonel and his equally intriguing lieutenant were spotted paying a visit to her yesterday. This was after large amounts of horse feed, tents, and related gear was loaded up in wagons with orders to deliver to SM. According to facts as were related to us, our sharpshooting young miss nearly killed the Colonel with her Papa’s shotgun. Of course, it was a mistake, but it is curious that she would be so distracted as to misfire—something that her reputation would tell us never happens!

Folks of New Bern, we bear a responsibility to guide our young people. We need to turn those who stray from the right path back onto the road.  Our concern is that there is a young child of five whose sensibilities could be compromised by the activity that his sister (and guardian) is planning. We all know she is without her Mama and her Papa, who recently left to find her brother, all while still grieving the loss of his wife. So, it is with concern and a heavy heart that we call upon all the decent folk to help intervene. If not for the salvation of this young woman’s soul, please do it for the sake of our beloved sister—SM’s dear departed Mama—and see that she is righted on the virtuous path.  Unannounced visits would be a good thing to do.

Stay tuned. This story will undoubtedly continue and must be told!

Civil WarAbout the Book, Embers of Anger

Ella Grace Whitford was Southern charm at its finest until the war hit. Her hometown felt sure their Southern boys would protect them, but they were wrong. Suddenly, she is on her own, with limited resources and the care of her little brother and his new puppy. Nothing was as she had known it, and everything she believed in was about to be challenged.

Colonel Jackson Ross was given the responsibility for law, order, and stability after the town of New Bern, NC fell to the Union forces. His rugged good looks, charm, and military bearing are difficult enough to ignore.

But when this charismatic commander of Burnside’s third brigade finds out that Ms. Whitford is living with little protection on a large plantation adjacent to the town, he knows he must come up with a solution to protect her. As dangerous secrets emerge, he must choose between protecting her or remaining loyal to the Union. Will his decision bring them both ruin– and possible death?

Click here to read for free (Kindle Unlimited)!  https://www.bit.ly/2Gj4smASCEmbers

About the Author

Anna St. Claire is an avid reader, and now author, of both American and British historical romance.  She and her husband live in Charlotte, North Carolina, where their once empty nest has filled with her cat, two dogs, and her two granddaughters.

Anna relocated from New York to the Carolinas as a child.  Her mother, a retired English and History teacher, always encouraged Anna’s interest in writing, after discovering short stories she would write in her spare time.

Her fascination with history and reading led her to her first historical romance—Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind.  The day she discovered Kathleen Woodiwiss,’ books, Shanna and Ashes In The Wind, Anna was hooked.  She read every historical romance that came her way. Today, her focus is primarily on the Civil War and Regency eras, although Anna enjoys almost any period in American and British history.

She would love to connect with any of her readers at annastclaireauthor@gmail.com

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!

Lizzi

A Long Trail Rolling is the first book in

The Long Trails series, out now!

Find the book here:

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