Sneak Peek Sunday … Something wicked this way comes.

Sneak Peek SundayWelcome to Sara Walter Ellwood’s Sneak Peek Sunday! This is our last visit with Cal Delaney and Rachel Girard, the bounty hunter hero and cattle princess heroine from Broken Vows, a marriage of convenience tale set in 1878 Fort Worth.

Last week, Rachel began to realize that, with caring, comes risk. Cal has just come to the same realization.

He believed when he hung up his guns that he was finished with his old life and ready to make a new one, but after so many years of living by the gun, does he have it in him to put down roots and make this his home? Maybe it’s impossible for a man to escape what he is. Maybe it’s foolish to even try.

Cal’s right to feel uneasy. There’s trouble brewing. Some aspects of his past will not be left behind…


Cal filled his lungs with sweet, clean night air that still carried traces of beef stew from the chuckhouse. The cattle in their pens rustled lazily. Crickets chirped. From somewhere behind the stable, he heard two cats hissing and squealing. Either fighting or making love. He raised his gaze to the moon. It hung low in the sky, nearly full, round and yellow and wrapped in a ghostly haze. But it wasn’t a cloudy evening. What was that filmy haze swirling like misty fingers over its face?

A familiar chill raced up his spine. It reminded him of the hunt—when he was getting close to one of his prey. But he wasn’t a hunter anymore, and a bizarre turn of phrase came to mind. Maybe not the hunter but the hunted?

Don’t ever let your guard down, Cal. Who had taught him that? The old gunhand Grady? Jason Farley, perhaps?

He stared at the moon. That haze, that swirling mist, put him in mind of the steam that rose from a witch’s caldron as she stirred up some diabolical delight, and he recalled a line from Macbeth: By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes.

Instinctively, his hands dropped to his sides, to his thighs where his Colts used to ride. They were, of course, not there. He clenched his fists and tore his gaze from the giant glowing orb in the sky. He resisted an irrational urge to steal a glance over his shoulder. There was nothing back there, just a stable full of horses and two randy cats going at it like there was no tomorrow.

Historical Western Romance

There was more to that handsome gun than she wanted there to be…

You’re spooking yourself, Cal. He shook off the feeling and headed back up to the big house.


Broken Vows is available now at AMAZON.

Next time… a peek from A Touch of Camelot, a historical western with a Camelot twist!

For more fun sneak peeks, hop on over to SNEAK PEEK SUNDAY HERE!

Sneak Peek Sunday… So, what’s love got to do with it?

Welcome to Sara Walter Ellwood’s Sneak Peek Sunday! This is week 6 of a 7-week series with Cal Delaney and Rachel Girard, the bounty hunter hero and cattle princess heroine from Broken Vows, a marriage of convenience tale set in 1878 Fort Worth.

Historical Western Romance

There was more to that handsome gun than she wanted there to be…

Last week, we left our sparring newlyweds getting along about as well as a pair of Kilkenny cats. Circumstances will soon arise, though, that force them to either work together or risk exposure of their bogus marriage contract.

There may be hope for these two yet.

With caring, though, comes another sort of risk. When Cal goes into town on Rachel’s birthday and fails to show up for supper that night, Rachel assumes the worst. And the worst, she’s stunned to discover … hurts.


It was already past dusk. The night was clear and balmy. She ran across the darkened lawn until she reached the pavilion, far enough away to feel safe from prying eyes. She grasped the wooden railing, trying to catch her breath and calm herself. A cow mooed, low and mournful, and a calf bawled back. She could see the bunkhouse from here. Light poured from the open windows. Distant male voices drifted on the night air.

She imagined Cal in bed with Lacey Holloway and waited for the anger to come. She willed it to come, like a conjured spirit, swift and sure and furious. She needed it to come, but it wouldn’t. All she felt was a sick sort of churning in her stomach, a maelstrom of emotions she couldn’t identify. Cal Delaney, whoever he was, whatever he was, he wasn’t good for her. The sooner he was out of her life, the better.

Then she heard it. Hoofbeats. Soft and regular, thumping on the dirt drive.

She turned to see his tall figure astride Friday, the stallion that had brought him all the way from Dodge City and beyond, the horse that probably knew him better than any person ever would.

With the back of one hand, she wiped at eyes still brimming with tears. Thank heavens the sun had already set. Any redness would be undetectable in this light. She smoothed her skirt and folded her arms. She knew she was visible from the corral where he was now drawing rein. If he had any decency at all, he would try to explain.

Cal dismounted and tethered his horse to the hitching post. She recognized the tilt of his hat, the long, easy strides as he turned and started back toward the house—his walk


Sneak Peek SundayNext week … something wicked this way comes.

For more fun sneak peeks, hop on over to SNEAK PEEK SUNDAY HERE!

Sneak Peek Sunday – They Tangle!

Sneak Peek SundayIt’s Sneak Peek Sunday! (Yes, two blog hops in one week. Check out my February 22nd post below to join the Romancing the West Hop.)

This is week 5 of a 7-Week visit with Cal Delaney and Rachel Girard, the bounty hunter hero and cattle princess heroine from Broken Vows, a marriage of convenience tale set in 1878 Fort Worth.

Poor Cal. He and Rachel have been married for less than a week, and—without a little bed-warming at night to smooth out the day’s rough spots—the road of holy matrimony is proving to be very bumpy indeed.

He’s trying to get settled in working the family ranch, but Rachel has been baiting him for days. He can’t so much as turn around without her being there, her sharp eyes following his every move, just waiting for him to make a mistake. She’s not shy about pointing them out, either— right in front of every ranch hand within earshot…


She stood on the other side of the fence. He couldn’t see her, but he could hear her, and he could feel her eyes boring holes into the space between his shoulder blades. “You’re not planning on selling that bull in the holding pen to Charlie Canfield this afternoon, are you?”

Cal stopped coiling some rope and turned. She wore a white linen blouse tucked into a light tan skirt. The collar was open-necked, and he could see a fine sheen of perspiration coating the exposed skin of her slender throat. It was all the more frustrating that, even though he felt like he could wring that lovely neck, the sight of her sweating in the hot sun was singularly arousing. “Do you see a problem with that?” he asked.

Historical Western Romance

There was more to that handsome gun than she wanted there to be…

Paco and the other ranch hands stopped what they were doing and looked up. They had been observing the sparring newlyweds for two days now.

Rachel sucked in a deep breath before her eyes locked once again with her husband’s. “Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.”

Silence descended like a death shroud over the rapt group. Cal set his jaw. He didn’t say anything for a long time. Finally, he tossed his lariat to Paco. “I’ll be back in a minute.” He crossed to the fence and scaled it. If she wanted a showdown, she’d get a showdown. Cal was being paid to act the part of her husband, not her lackey.

Upon seeing the silent fury on his face, Rachel’s eyes widened. She recovered quickly, though, and donned that go-ahead-and-try-it expression Cal was becoming all too familiar with. He snagged her arm in passing, swinging her around in a semicircle and forcing her to stumble along after him toward the stable. “We have to talk, Rachel my sweet.”


 Next week… So, what’s love got to do with it?

For more fun sneak peeks, hop on over to SNEAK PEEK SUNDAY HERE!

Romancing the West . . . “Are you going to pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?”*

(Or Why I Love Westerns) 

*Quote from The Outlaw Josey WalesWarner Brothers, 1976
To hop, scroll down or  CLICK HERE!

Western Historical RomanceWhen I was a kid, my mom worked evenings, which is why I spent a lot of time with my dad, an avid tennis player and movie buff. This meant, when the weather turned cold and the tennis nets came down, I got to go to the movies.

A lot.

And I don’t mean fluffy Disney films either. I mean, real movies. Once Upon a Time in the West, True Grit, Two Mules for Sister Sara, The Shootist, High Plains Drifter, and The Outlaw Josey Wales.

Movies that could put hair on your chest. Even if you were a girl.

It was the 70s, and the great American anti-hero had come into his own. It’s no surprise then that, even at a tender age, I began a lifelong love affair with his rugged Western counterpart—John Wayne at the end of his career and Clint Eastwood in his prime.

BROKEN VOWS  is my homage to the Westerns I grew up on.


Tell me about your favorite Western movie, TV show or book.  Or for movie trivia folk, below are five of my favorite classic Westerns along with quotes. Match ‘em up! (Try to resist googling!)

** REMEMBER: Everyone is invited to comment, but you must leave your email address to qualify for hop prizes.**  (See details above. Winner to be announced at 10 p.m. EST on February 26, 2013.)

  1. “Dear Mary, Mother of God, help this no good atheist to shoot straight.”
  2. “Don’t tell me how to rob a bank. I know how to rob a bank.”
  3. “Baby sister, I was born game, and I intend to go out that way.”
  4. “Get ready, little lady … Hell is coming to breakfast.”
  5. “Even bad men love their mommas.”
  • (A)  True Grit
  • (B)  Two Mules for Sister Sara
  • (C)  3:10 to Yuma
  • (D)  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • (E) The Outlaw Josey Wales

Thanks for stopping by!


Sneak Peek Sunday – The Wedding Night

Happy Sneak Peek Sunday! This week’s excerpt peeks in on the first night of connubial bliss between Cal Delaney and Rachel Girard, the bounty hunter hero and cattle princess heroine from Broken Vows, a marriage of convenience tale set in 1878 Fort Worth.

Cal has obvious reasons for taking Rachel up on her unusual marriage proposal—act as her husband for six months in exchange for $20,000. Their contract is simple, a marriage in name only, but the devil is in the details.

The wedding is done and the wedding night looms. Rachel is mortified to learn that her new husband sleeps in the buff…


Rachel’s gaze traveled down over firm pectoral muscles and a flat belly to a point where sun-tanned skin met the waistband of his trousers. All man, she thought, her throat suddenly going drier than a desert gulch, every God-blessed inch of him…

Before her gaze could drop any lower, she looked up guiltily to meet his amused expression. It wasn’t just his physique, she decided, it was everything, everything about Cal Delaney that disturbed her. His eyes, his mouth, his stance, his attitude. Especially this last, his attitude, which she could read clearly in those unsettling blue eyes. As if he knew every scandalous thought that tripped through her brain, as if he could—contract or no contract—claim his husbandly rights at this very moment if he so pleased, and…

One callused hand dropped to the buttons on his trousers, and Rachel raised her chin a notch. She refused to look away. She dared him to go further. She’d been around animals all her life, dogs, horses, cattle. Men were no different. It was never a good idea to show fear.

One button, two…

Son of a–

“Fine!” She felt her face heat as she crossed the room to a linen chest to yank out two folded blankets and a pillow. Whirling around, she threw the whole pile at him. He caught the blankets but missed the pillow. “You’ll be sleeping on the floor, Mr. Delaney!”


Ah, darn. Better luck next week, Cal. 😉

For more fun sneak peeks, hop on over to Sneak Peek Sunday HERE!

Broken Vows is available now at AMAZON.