Please help me welcome my dear friend LYNDA BAILEY!! She's not only a fellow historical author but a fellow 2010 Golden Heart® finalist !
For those of you who love Western Historical her new novel WILDFLOWER is a must buy!
Learn all about Linda at her website but come on back and leave a comment for your chance to win a an e-copy of your choice from Lynda's titles :)
JJ~ How ya doing, Lynda?
LB~ Great, Jenn! Thanks so much for having me here today. It’s always fun to hang out with you.
JJ~ First things first, love the cover of your new book, Wildflower. Who did it for you? Jenn winks.
LB~ Oh, gee. Lynda winks back. Let me think. That would be the fabulously talented Kim Killion of Hot Damn Designs. Ever heard of her?
JJ~ Laughs. I think I may have heard the name once or twice. Tell us a little bit about your story.
LB~ Wildflower is a total “ugly duckling” story. Set in post Civil War in Indian Territory (which is modern day Oklahoma) Matilda, aka Matt, Townsend has grown up working as a cowhand on her father’s ranch. Her mother died when she was a little girl so she’s had no feminine influences in her life. Matt doesn’t even own a dress. Of course, she longs to be more than just another ranch hand. The question is, will she achieve that dream?
JJ~ Sounds interesting. I gotta ask, though, why Indian Territory?
LB~ It was kinda a protest decision as well as a practical one. Tons of historical westerns are set in Texas or Wyoming or California, but very few are set (at least the ones I’ve read) on the Midwest prairie. Having grown up on the prairie, so to speak, it was easier for me to write about that rather than someplace I’d never lived.
JJ~ So when did you first write Wildflower?
LB~ Ohhh, good question there. Wildflower was the third book I ever finished, like maybe twelve years ago. Of course, then it wasn’t titled Wildflower. It was first titled Washita Woman (for the actual Fort Washita in Indian Territory). Then I think I called it Washita Wildflower, then Winter Wildflower. Finally I settled on just plain Wildflower.
JJ~ Why the emphasis on wildflowers?
LB~ Matt always smells like flowers, even in the winter.
JJ~ Huh. What gives on the huge gap between writing your book and publishing it?
LB~ Well, back in the day, I was still learning the ins and outs of storytelling. As I became a (hopefully) better writer, WF went through rewrite after rewrite. When I finally thought she was ready for primetime, no one was too interested in historical romances. So she got tucked away with the dust bunnies under my bed while I pursued other projects. Once I learned western romances were making a bit of a comeback – and were turning erotic, I dusted WF off, spiffed and sexed her up a bit, then entered her in the 2010 Golden Heart®. I’m both honored and humbled that I was a finalist that year. Guess you could say Wildflower is an example of never giving up.
JJ~ True that. Where can interested folks find Wildflower to buy?
LB~ Wildflower is available exclusively through the KDP Select program. Here’s the link. http://amzn.com/B008KFBYXE
JJ~ Anything else you want to add?
LB~ One lucky person will get his/her choice of any one of my titles. Just leave a comment, along with your email addy. Sorry, at this time I can only send a PDF copy. Thanks Jenn for hosting me today!
Indian Territory 1882
She made a deathbed promise.
Matilda Townsend has always dreamed of escaping Indian Territory and finding the acceptance she never had with her own father. As he lies dying from a fever, he asks her to marry so she’ll be safe. She’s then torn between winning her father’s approval and being free.
He gained an unwilling wife.
Logan Cartwright has loved Matt since he first started working for her father. Now the old man is dying and wants him to marry her. Logan knows how much Matt wants to leave. Can he set aside his dream for hers?
A contest of wills sparks passion.
While Matilda clings to her refusal to share her husband’s bed, Logan coaxes her into exploring the other many and varied ways a man and wife can please each other. Even as their passion blazes hotter than a prairie fire, they must confront a danger that threatens to destroy the ranch and divide them forever.
Like a June bug on a hot skillet, Matilda Grace Townsend couldn’t stay still.
Every time she sat, nervous energy forced her to stand. She paced the short distance to the window and drew aside the faded calico curtain only to spin on her heel and retrace her steps before her gaze could fix on anything outside. Her boot heels clacked a steady beat on the wooden floorboards as her denim pants swished in time to the macabre tune. The fire crackled at her back, but she didn’t feel the warmth.
Only cold dread.
She darted her gaze to her father’s closed bedroom door. Again. Influenza or no, Pa should’ve cussed a blue streak at Doc Bingham then tossed the good doctor out on his ear for being so meddlesome.
Yet it was quiet. Too quiet. Like that awful stillness right before her mother died. She might have only been four at the time, but she remembered.
Anxiety churned in her stomach. She clenched her hands into tight fists, her stubby nails stinging her palms. Lordy, she wanted to hit something. Someone.
She glared at that door. She’d give them to the count of five and then she was going in, her father’s temper be damned. Might do him good to get riled up.
The sound of a door opening whipped her around. Logan Cartwright barreled into the house on a strong gust of wind. He shouldered the door shut against the wicked March weather.
The sight of the tall, blond-haired Kentuckian quieted her ragged nerves and thawed some of the iciness in her chest. “What are you doing here? I thought you were riding out to the herd.”
He pulled the well-worn Stetson from his head and ran his fingers through his hair. “I was.” He nudged his chin toward her father’s bedroom. “But Chuck said your pa wanted to see me.”
Her eyebrows knitted. “Why would Pa send for you?”
“I don’t know. Figured it was important, though. He wouldn’t have sent Chuck otherwise.” He hung his lambskin-lined coat on a peg beside the door. “What’d Bingham say?”
“Doc’s still in there.”
Logan’s intense gray eyes, the color of an Appaloosa horse, met hers. “Still?”
“Yes.” Frustration again starched her spine. “And I’m sick of waiting.” She stepped toward the bedroom door. “I’m going in there.”
Logan laid his hand on her arm. She jerked away and faced him, fists up.
“Whoa, easy there, Matt.” He raised his hands and stepped back. “Causing a stir won’t help anything. Let Doc do his job.” He moved to the fireplace and the coffee pot hanging on the hook. He poured a cup. “You want some tea?”
“Chuck has yet to get to town,” she bit out, whatever calm she’d felt vanishing like snow on a summer day. “And I drank the last of the tea two days ago.”
He poured a second cup. “Then have coffee. Last time I checked, we still had plenty of sugar.”
He set both cups on the table before sitting in a straight-backed chair. Matt again balled her hand into a fist. His head made a tempting target.
He took a sip. “Either hit me or have a sit. Your choice.”
She didn’t want to sit so to keep from swinging at Logan’s thick skull, she resumed her pacing. She felt his gray gaze on her every step.
“He’s gonna be all right, Matt.”
She rounded on him. “What makes you so dang sure of that?”
“I just am.” He kicked the other chair out from the table with his foot. “Sit down. You’re wearing a rut in the floor.”
“Am not,” she retorted, not caring that she sounded more like a child than a grown woman of nineteen years. Still, she plunked her backside into the chair and reached for the second cup. After spooning in a generous portion of sugar, she took a sip and grimaced. No amount of sugar could make coffee taste better than bull piss.
“Have you seen him this morning?” Logan again inclined his head toward the bedroom door.
She shook her head then tucked her too short hair behind her ear. “I was mucking stalls when Chuck found me. Said Pa wanted to see me, too.”
Logan’s full lips twitched. “Figure Chuck likes his new job as a carrier pigeon?”
Matt fought to smile back. “He’d rather cook a pigeon than be one.”
After the shared quiet chuckle, silence blanketed the room. It bore down on Matt, making it hard to breathe. She straightened her shoulders with a toss of her head and blinked at the burn in her eyes. “I talked to Roscoe about me getting back on guard duty at the herd.”
Logan stiffened. “What the hell for?”
She hitched a shoulder. “I need to stop lollygagging.”
“You haven’t been lollygagging. You’ve been needed here.”
“To do what?” Anger and a good dose of fear spiked her words. “It’s not like Pa lets me take care of him. He’d rather go hungry than have me spoon broth down his throat.”
“You’re his daughter. Your place is here.”
She crossed her arms and jutted her chin. “Roscoe’s the foreman and he agrees I should get back on guard duty.”
A muscle popped in Logan’s cheek. “Like hell. I’ll take your shifts.”
“You’ve taken every one of my shifts for the past three weeks. And with half the men still recovering, you’ll end up with this dang influenza yourself.”
“Doubtful. Doc says if I haven’t gotten it by now, I won’t. Besides, it’s temporary. Once Gene and everybody else are back on their feet, things will get back to normal.” He calmly sipped his coffee.
Scowling, she opened her mouth to inform Mr. Logan Cartwright that she didn’t need him or anyone treating her like a ninny little girl. But the creak of her father’s bedroom door cut off the words. Doc Bingham stepped out of the room. She jumped to her feet, as did Logan, their chairs scraping the floor.
“How is he?” they asked in unison.
The doctor took his sweet time closing the door before eyeing first Logan then her. “Reckon that’s for him to say.”
A chill settled at the base of her spine. “What does that mean?”
Bingham scrubbed his hands down his face with a sigh. “It means your father wants to see you.”
She started for the bedroom.
“But first, he wants to see you.” Bingham pointed to Logan.
Stunned, Matt halted in her boots. She swerved her gaze to Logan who stared back, his eyebrows arched high. After a pause, he pushed his chair under the table then walked to her father’s room. With a last look, he disappeared through the door.