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This week’s hook is from my Western romance, Lily and the Gambler, currently free at Amazon through Saturday! Also available to read for free on Kindle Unlimited.

Free Aug 23-27


Callaway cocked an eyebrow. “What happened to your husband, Mrs. Albright?”

Lily bit her lip. She had revealed too much, but she hadn’t confided in anyone since leaving England, and her memories were eating away at her. It might help to talk about it, and she had a feeling King would understand.

“Nigel was on a winning streak. Another gentleman accused him of cheating. He was offended, of course. When the other man refused to apologize, Nigel challenged him to a duel. He was mortally wounded and died in my arms.” She swallowed the lump in her throat and blinked back the tears welling in her eyes. She refused to cry for him anymore.

“How awful for you.” His voice sounded gruffer than usual. “No wonder you feel the way you do about gambling.”

She fumbled in her bag for her handkerchief, but he was faster. She took the linen handkerchief he offered and dabbed at her eyes. It smelled of starch and tobacco and man. Comforting scents. How many times had she snuffled into Nigel’s handkerchief?

When Callaway placed an arm around her shoulders, Lily was tempted—oh, how she was tempted—to lay her head on his shoulder and give vent to a good cry. Then she remembered it wasn’t proper to weep on a man’s shoulder in public, so she wiped her eyes, straightened her back and stared out the window.

You’re a respectable widow now. Behave like one. And no more breaking into tears in public, though she knew her vow was easier said than done. Sadness had a way of sneaking up on her at inconvenient times like this. But holding in her emotions was becoming a strain. She wanted the freedom to sob, to laugh out loud, to sing and dance again.

Maybe even to give her heart to another man.

The realization almost made her gasp. Her emotions must be thawing out in the California sunshine. What else could have brought that on? Or was it the presence of the man sitting next to her?

No. She was promised to another, and she would not succumb to Callaway just because he was charming and attentive. Had she learned nothing in the last five years?

She looked at his handsome face and felt an unwelcome thrill go through her. Apparently not.

Lily and the Gambler coverBlurb:

A mail order bride sets out for a new life only to be tempted by a charming gambler. Can he convince her to pass up a sober businessman for a foot-loose card sharp?

After the death of her lover, Lily Penhallow has learned the cost of flaunting convention. Reinventing herself as a widow, she travels to California as the mail order bride of a prosperous mine owner. But on the riverboat from San Francisco, she meets an irresistible gambler. Against her better judgment, she finds herself drawn to the handsome charmer.

King Callaway believes that since life is a gamble, there’s no point in planning for the future. After meeting Lily, he knows he has found his Queen of Hearts. But she’s engaged to his uncle, a man King respects.

Lily finds herself torn between two men and two ways of life. Will she choose respectability or love?

Lily and the Gambler is a Second Chance at Love western historical romance.

If you like mail order brides, charming scoundrels and sensual romance, why not take a chance on Lily and the Gambler while it’s free?

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Snuggle Up with Lily and the Gambler #WesternRomance

I’m thrilled to be a part of N. N. Light’s Book Heaven Snuggle Up With These Books Readathon. My book, Lily and the Gambler, is featured on Monday, November 25. Find the post here: https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/snuggle-up-readathon

Lily and the Gambler coverLily and the Gambler
by Linda McLaughlin
Sensual Western Romance

Respectability is in the eye of the beholder, or so Lily hopes. After her lover’s death she pretends to be his widow and travels to California to marry a mine owner. Then she meets King Callaway, a charming gambler.

King knows he’s found his Queen of Hearts. But can he convince her to take a chance on a foot-loose card sharp?

Only Lady Luck knows for sure…

Here’s an interview with Lily’s reluctant hero, gambler King Callaway.

LM: King, you say you’re not a marrying man. Why not?

Shrugs. I’m just not.

LM: Come on, you can do better than that. Why not?

 I like being free.

LM: Free of what?

Fear, worry, disappointment.

LM: Would you care to explain?

I saw how my mother worried every time my father took off for parts unknown, looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. How fearful she was that he wouldn’t return. How disappointed she was when he returned broke and discouraged. And how hurt she was when he left again.

LM: Ah, so your concern is that you would be like him, a disappointment to a wife.

Me? No, I’m not like him!

LM: Aren’t you?

Dagnabbit. <grumbles some more> All right, I’m a bit like him. I like my freedom, don’t want to be tied down, and what woman would want to deal with that?

LM: You might be surprised. Lily seems to be more adventurous than your mother.

Hm. You may be right. But I’d have to marry her to find out.

Or will he? Read Lily and the Gambler to find out!

Available at Amazon Kindle, BN/Nook, https://www.bookbub.com/books/lily-and-the-gambler-by-linda-mclaughlinBookBub, Kobo and Smashwords.

Give thanks for books and authors all month long at N. N. Light’s Book Heaven’s Snuggle Up With These Books Readathon. 56 books, 32 bestselling and award-winning authors, 5 Amazon/B&N gift cards plus authors share what they’re thankful for this year. I even share my grateful thoughts. Join in the fun!


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