Sneak Peek Sunday … Always

Welcome to Sara Walter Ellwood’s Sneak Peek Sunday!Sneak Peek Sunday

It’s great to be back from a busy summer. What did you do to pass the days? Work? Play? Travel? One thing I look forward to each summer is vacationing by the sea, where we can walk on the beach, lounge by the pool, and take a day trip or two. Oh, and eat. A lot. Of seafood. 🙂

It was also the perfect time to indulge in the TBR pile. I’ll post here in coming weeks some SPS titles, but the first mention goes to Sara Walter Ellwood’s GAMBLING ON A SECRET. I absolutely loved this sexy contemporary western romance with an ex-military hero, a spirited heroine with a secret, and enough compelling emotion to keep the pages turning. I can’t wait to start the second book in this series!

Friends to Lovers Historical Romance

A childhood promise bound them together.
A war and a secret tore them apart.

And now for today’s peek. This is the first excerpt from ALWAYS, a book that departs a bit from my usual M.O.  It’s a small town, friends-to-lovers romance set in post Civil War Pennsylvania.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, June 1865
After four war-torn years away, Emily Winters returns to her home town determined to face down old rumors and do whatever it takes to resurrect her late father’s printing business. Unfortunately, what it will take is help from Ross Gallagher, the only man she’s ever loved and the last man she wants to turn to.

Ross has survived the war and returned to rebuild the life he left behind. He’s a successful reporter and set to marry his boss’s daughter. Until Emily steps off the train. Ross made a promise to Emily when they were children. It’s a promise he means to keep, but Emily guards a secret that stands between them.

*

In today’s peek, Emily has just arrived from Baltimore. It’s taken the news of her father’s death to bring her home. As she walks through town, she’s stung when she comes face to face with the cold reality of her loss. Her father’s weekly newspaper and print shop is shuttered. A “For Rent” sign appears in the window.

What Emily doesn’t expect when she stops to peer through the window of the deserted shop is to hear a familiar voice speak up from behind. It’s a voice she never thought she’d hear again…

*

“Em? Emily?”

Her hands fell to her sides, her heart skipped a dreadful beat. She recognized that voice, but of course, it couldn’t be him. Her imagination was playing cruel tricks. She’d been nervous about returning home, and naturally she’d been thinking of him, and—

“Emily Winters! I’ll be damned! It is you, isn’t it?”

Emily didn’t turn around. She couldn’t. Her disbelieving gaze fixed on a blurred image in the window glass, the reflection of a young man standing behind her on the street. It couldn’t be…  She forced herself to turn, slowly, as if in a dream, half expecting him not to be there, half expecting that the hazy, distorted image in the glass was the whole of him, the essence of a ghost long since dead.

But he was there. He had changed over the years. Gone was the boy she had known. His youthful features had been replaced by the rugged, hard-angled face of a man. And those shadows beneath his eyes. Could they be testimony to the suffering and tragedy he had witnessed in war?

“Emily! How long has it been?” He looked at her, too, as if she were some sort of mirage, as if he could scarcely believe his eyes.

*

There’s a very good reason Emily is stunned to find her childhood best friend, Ross Gallagher, standing before her alive and well. Can you guess what it is?

For more 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!