Sneak Peek Sunday . . . Petticoats and Handcuffs?

Welcome to Sara Walter Ellwood’s Sneak Peek Sunday!  This is another peek at A Touch of Camelot, a lighthearted historical western with a Camelot twist.

Sneak Peek SundayGwin and her ten-year-old brother Arthur are the only survivors of the murder of their troupe after playing a tent revival in San Francisco. They’ve fled California in fear for their lives but have since been apprehended by the authorities.

Cole Shepherd is a brand new Pinkerton detective. His first assignment? Escort the beautiful con artist and her precocious little brother across country by train to testify. His only directive? Don’t “misplace” his wily charges along the way. Simple.

Or maybe not.

It’s only been one day and Cole has already foiled two creative escape attempts. Tonight is their first night together aboard the Union Pacific Express 840. So, how can he be sure Gwin won’t fly the coop the minute he closes his eyes to catch some much-needed sleep?

*

Cole parted the curtains to their berth to find her lying on her side, a sheet pulled up over her chest, revealing the slim shoulder straps of a white chemise. Her head rested on one hand and her long-lashed eyes glimmered mischievously in the overhead lamplight. “What are you going to do now? Search me for weapons?”

Cole studied the delicate line of her jaw, the curve of her lips. Oh, she knew what she was doing to him, and he didn’t doubt for a minute she would try to use it. When Fritz Landis had warned him not to let his guard down, Cole had never foreseen this particular danger. He hadn’t known then he would be stuck traveling across the country with a sharp-witted, smart-mouthed, pint-sized temptress.

He took the handcuffs from his pocket and reached for her right hand. She jerked back. “Hey! What’s this?”

“Just taking precautions.”

“Where in heck do you think I’m going in my underclothes? Do you intend to shackle Arthur, too?”

“No, he’s sleeping with me. He can’t go anywhere without crawling over me, and, I assure you, I’m a very light sleeper.”

*

Hmmm, how do you think Cole’s plan will turn out? Will he succeed in getting the good night’s sleep he deserves?

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

Sneak Peek Sunday … His Big Moment

Historical Western RomanceWelcome to Sara Walter Ellwood’s Sneak Peek Sunday! This week, a peek at A Touch of Camelot, a light historical western romance with a Camelot twist.

Our heroine is Guinevere Pierce, daughter of one of the slickest con artists in the west. Our hero is Cole Shepherd, the son of a small town sheriff. Their story begins in Abilene, Kansas, 1871 when Cole is just sixteen.

If our hero isn’t working or pursuing his studies, he can be found with his nose buried in an issue of The Police Gazette. His dream is to become a Pinkerton detective.

While watching a medicine show one day, Cole’s keen sense of justice is inflamed when he sees an adolescent boy pick a man’s pocket. And the chase is on.

The pickpocket is scrawny but nimble. He leads Cole on a merry scramble as the pair dart and dodge their way through the dusty streets of the bustling cow town and out to the cattle yards…

***

 By now, the kid had reached the corral fence and was getting away. Cole glared at those dirty boots as they climbed first one slat and the next. He lunged, reaching out just in time to snag the kid’s pant leg. He refused to let go even as the boy kicked. “Give it up, kid! Give it up now, and it’ll go easier on you!”

Cole yanked hard, bringing the boy down. They collapsed into the mud, Cole landing on his back to wrap his arms around his captive’s middle. The contents of the kid’s pockets spilled out: an astonishing collection of coins, bills, watches, and playing cards.

Cole howled a curse when he felt teeth sink into his forearm, but he didn’t let go. He rolled over instead, flipping his adversary onto his back. They’d already lost their hats in the scuffle, and Cole saw russet-red hair fashioned into a crude bowl cut. It looked soft and glossy, and it was just as it occurred to Cole that he’d never seen hair like that on a boy that his palm swiped across the kid’s chest and he stopped dead to discover he wasn’t wrestling with a boy at all. They both froze.

“Sweet mercy,” Cole whispered.

He had never felt a girl’s breast. He had dreamed about it a few times, and, of course, he had contemplated it a lot. There were girls back in Beaver Creek who wouldn’t have minded if Cole came courting, but none were the type a fellow could rightly consider grabbing at. Besides, marriage was the last thing on Cole’s mind. A Pinkerton didn’t have time for a wife. No, Cole had finally been forced to reach the gloomy conclusion that breasts weren’t likely to play a large part in his future.

But now his moment had arrived! And he wasn’t quite sure what to do about it. His hand, however, suffered no such uncertainty. It refused to budge even as his conscience screamed, Get your hand off her bosom, Cole! Give it up now and it’ll go easier on you!

***

Sneak Peek SundayI hope you enjoyed meeting our intrepid hero and sticky-fingered heroine.

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

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!