Shannon here: Misty M. Beller shares a romantic excerpt from her latest Historical Romance, A Sweetwater River Romance. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing for book 1 in the series, A Pony Express Romance. Winner’s choice of format. Deadline: June 24th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Misty:
Excerpt from A Sweetwater River Romance, Chapter One:
Ezra stopped on the stoop of the main house and kicked the mud from his boots. The fire in the bunkhouse would have to wait until he saw the stage off and the horses settled. These Eastern chaps would just have to learn that there was a priority in how work had to be done in the territories. An order to things, if they were to be done right.
Pushing open the door, he shucked his gloves and headed toward the stove. As his eyes adjusted to the dimmer light, he glanced over at the table where three bodies perched around the long wooden planks.
He stopped short as his gaze caught on a shock of red hair. No, not a shock. Thick, springy curls, pulling loose from their owner’s attempt to restrain them at the base of her neck.
Her neck. His guests must be a man and wife then, heading toward a new life in the western territories. He shifted his gaze from the woman to take in the measure of her husband, but his focus almost skittered past the thin, blonde woman sitting beside the first.
Two women? What in blazes?
His focus pulled back to the fire-haired lady, just to be sure his mind hadn’t deceived him. And that was the exact moment she looked up at him.
Their eyes met and something caught him up short. Maybe it was the force of her gaze—the intensity of it. And then, as quickly as they captured him, her penetrating eyes released him and she looked away.
He took the opportunity to turn back to the stove, gripping the wooden handle of the oven door as he struggled to gather his wits. Hadn’t Tanner said he only had two passengers and they would both be disembarking the stage at the Rocky Ridge? Surely these women weren’t his guests. They couldn’t be traveling alone.
He shifted to grab the coffee pot and scoot it toward a cooler part of the stove, which gave him an opportunity to glimpse the women from the corner of his eye. His peripheral vision was blurry, but he could make out the image of that carrot-colored hair. Or…maybe not carrot exactly. A bit darker, but still striking.
Pulling his focus back in front of him, he leaned down to toss a few more chunks of wood into the firebox. Where was he going to put these women, if they did indeed need lodging? Surely they’d need a place, at least for tonight. They must be turning back to ride the eastbound stage tomorrow. From that quick glance, they seemed to be respectably dressed—maybe even part of the wealthier set, although he couldn’t be sure.
So the bunkhouse just wouldn’t do, with its two old straw ticks barely propped up off the floor. At least he and Zeche had added a wood floor in the building instead of leaving it as packed dirt, although that was more to keep the rodents out of the supplies than for their few guests. But such a rustic, dirty structure was hardly fit for two ladies.
And they couldn’t stay here in the house with him, an unmarried man. Although maybe he could sleep in the bunkhouse…
But…that still felt wrong. Maybe he’d been alone in this wilderness for too long, but this wasn’t any place for a pair of ladies.
About Misty: Misty M. Beller writes romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.
She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and daughters now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.
God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters. She loves to connect:
About the book – A Sweetwater River Romance:
Taking flight from their quiet Pennsylvania town seems like the only way for Tori Boyd to protect her dearest cousin’s virtue. And the success of their escape may now depend on the man she’s been writing letters to for over a year now in the vast wilds of the Wyoming Territory.
Ezra Reid has finally stepped out from under the shadow of his older brother and sister, now having full responsibility to man the Rocky Ridge Stage Stop through the winter. The success or failure of the stage and telegraph contracts falls squarely on his shoulders, and he’s entirely focused on the work – at least until his mysterious correspondence partner shows up on his doorstep.
As Ezra takes on the search for a proper situation for Tori and her cousin, there seem to be no good options for the ladies. Especially since Tori won’t even discuss the one option that might succeed – marriage. When the danger chasing the women takes on a form none of them anticipated, how far will Ezra have to go to keep the Tori and her cousin safe? It’ll take a lot more than luck to ensure his heart is the sole casualty.
Can’t wait for the drawing? Get your copy now:
Question for Readers: What color is your hair and since no one is ever satisfied with what they have, what color do you wish it was?
Come back June 20th for Suzanne Bratcher!