I’m catching a flight at 5:30 a.m. this morning to head to a writer’s retreat up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I’ve only been to Pennsylvania once before, and I’m really excited about having the chance to return. It will be chilly, but there will be plenty of warm spirit as 7 of us come together to write, brainstorm, and simply get away from it all. We even plan to write by the fire at Hershey Lodge one afternoon before having dinner there. Between that and a tour of Amish country, we are going to have a wonderful time filling our creative wells. Lots of sleeping in, chick flicks, and local adventures will be enjoy by all as well.
So, since I’ll be out of pocket much of the day today, I thought I’d keep this post simple. I’m sharing a short excerpt from my new release, With This Ring? This is a novella collection with Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jagears. The Husband Maneuver, my contribution to the collection, features Daniel Barrett (mule trainer and ranch foreman who also just happens to be the inspiration for a dime novel hero – Dead-Eye Dan – due to his past exploits as a bounty hunter) and Marietta Hawkins (ranch-owner’s daughter and avid reader of Dead-Eye Dan novels).
Marietta loves the man, not the legend, but Dan worries her reading has built up unrealistic expectations. Besides, he has given his boss his vow never to make advances toward his daughter as long as he is in the man’s employ. When she learns that Dan is planning to leave the ranch, she decides to take manners into her own hands to wrangle a proposal out of the man she loves before he is gone forever. But when a deadly hailstorm hits the ranch, all plans for romance fall by the wayside.
I had a lot of fun playing with the dime novel aspect of this story. In fact, I start each chapter with a scene from a Dead-Eye Dan dime novel. So there is really 2 stories in 1. 🙂
Here’s a short excerpt from where Marietta decides to take matter in her own hands. Hope you enjoy!
Marietta held her breath until the echo of Daniel’s footsteps told her he’d moved on. Slowly, she removed her hand from where it had slapped against her mouth to keep any unwanted sound from escaping, and settled it over her dancing stomach. A hundred acrobatic grasshoppers seemed to be turning flips inside her.
That had been close. Too close.
If Daniel had spotted her, she’d have lost her only advantage. Surprise. If she’d learned nothing else from her dime novel reading, she’d learned the effectiveness of the unexpected. How many times had Dead-Eye Dan overcome impossible odds because he’d taken his quarry unawares?
If she had any hope of maneuvering her hard-headed, stubborn mule of a man into a proposal before he left, she’d need every weapon at her disposal. And surprise would be the first cannon she’d light. With any luck, the strike would obliterate the shield he always wielded in her company and allow her to get close enough to employ more subtle tactics.
With a flood of resolve gushing through her veins, Marietta grabbed her novel and dashed down the loft ladder. Hesitating only long enough at the barn door to ensure the coast was clear, she glanced both ways then ran to the house.
Father was leaving on the cattle drive in four days. That left her precious little time to plan, but she’d find a way. She’d not allow Daniel Barrett to escape her so easily. She’d placed a bounty on his heart, and she intended to collect.
- I’ll give away a copy of With This Ring to 2 people who leave a comment on today’s blog.
- Tell me about your ideal getaway location. If you were planning a retreat, where would you want to escape to?
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