Now Available: Lily and the Gambler, Sensual #WesternRomance

I’m excited to announce my latest release, Lily and the Gambler, a sensual western romance set in California’s Gold Country in 1868. Lacey Savage designed the gorgeous cover.

Lily and the Gambler cover

Blurb:

Respectability is in the eye of the beholder. Or so Lily Penhallow hopes when she assumes the guise of the widow Albright. She has learned the price of flaunting convention and is determined to obey society’s rules from now on. After her lover, Nigel Albright, was killed in a duel over a card game, Lily dons widow’s weeds and travels to Grass Valley, California where she plans to marry the man her uncle works for, a respectable mine owner named Hugh Ogilvie. Then, on the riverboat from San Francisco, she meets Creighton ‘King’ Callaway, a professional gambler, just the kind of man she should avoid.

King believes that since life is a gamble, there’s no point in planning for the future. You have to trust Lady Luck. After meeting Lily, King knows he has found his Queen of Hearts. But can he convince her to pass up a sober businessman for a foot-loose card sharp?

Only Lady Luck knows for sure…

(Previously published in a shortened version by Amber Quill Press)

Excerpt:

Lily smiled at him. “That was quite a trick. Do you tell fortunes, too?”

“As a matter of fact, I do. Is the lady interested?”

“Perhaps,” she said, aware he was flirting with her again and annoyed with herself because she was enjoying it. “There should be a deck of cards here somewhere.”

“No cards required. Just let me see your palm.”

Unable to stop herself, Lily stripped off her gloves and let him take her hand. He held it in his left hand, and with his right index finger, traced the lines on her palm. Shivers ran up her arm at each caressing touch. His scent, a mixture of bay rum, male musk, and a faint hint of tobacco, overwhelmed her.

“What do you see?” she asked, her voice suddenly breathless.

“Health and long life.”

“What, no handsome stranger?” she joked.

He raised his head and stared into her eyes. “Oh, yes, I see romance ahead for you. With a dark haired fellow. But he isn’t a stranger.”

For what seemed an age, she stared into his green-gold eyes while her pulse quickened and warmth stole through her veins. It would be so easy to surrender to the feelings he evoked.

“I also see a fork in the road ahead,” he added softly. “You have a decision to make. A very important decision.”

She snatched her hand away, knowing she couldn’t afford to be distracted by him. It wasn’t as if he had made her any promises. “I think you need to practice your fortune-telling skills, Mr. Callaway.”

He chuckled. “There’s something else I’d like to practice.” Cupping her chin, he stared at her, his eyes full of half promises. “Oh, hell, I may get my face slapped for this, but…” His hand moved to the back of her neck as he lowered his head and captured her lips in a kiss that stole her breath away.

For a moment, she closed her eyes and gave herself up to the kiss. Then a door slammed somewhere in the house, reminding her of where they were. She pushed him away. “How dare you?” she hissed.

He gave her a lazy grin. “What’s that old saying? Nothing ventured, nothing gained?”
“I think you’d best be going.”

He paused at front door, turned and held her gaze for a moment, then left.

She sighed and leaned against the doorjamb. What had she been thinking to let him kiss her, however briefly?

Available at Amazon Kindle, and BN/Nook. Coming soon to other online retailers.

Linda

New Release: Silent Signals, A Cowboy Christmas by @lcarrollbradd

Silent Signals, A Cowboy Christmas series
by Linda Carroll-Bradd
Publisher: Prism Book Group
Release Date: 11/18/16 (24,431 words)

Silent Signals cover

Blurb for Silent Signals:

After losing half his herd in the Great Blizzard of 1886, rancher Konrad Werner needs to safeguard his cattle. Tomboy Anora Huxley trains the Australian Shepherds and Kelpies that run the family’s sheep herd. Although cattlemen and shepherds are at odds, the pair discover common interests. A threat is overheard, and Konrad rides out to Anora’s ranch to protect her. The tense situation reveals their true feelings. Will Anora be swayed by family loyalty, or will she listen to her heart that responds to Konrad’s silent signals?

Available now at Amazon Kindle.

Excerpt:

Mikel returned, dropping two rolls of wire onto the counter. “I have a new shipment of barbed wire too. Perhaps that works better for your needs?”

Konrad turned and laid a hand on the smooth wire. “The fence to pen in my cattle has several components, so this is what I need. But thanks, Toussaint.”

The shopkeeper shrugged. “Some ranchers prefer the barbed.”

“I do too, and I may have to resort to that when the winter weather sets in. But I’ll wait on that purchase.” He leaned his other hand on the counter. “This year, I’m building a brush fence. I’ll use what I can from downed branches and rocks cleared from the field that will be planted in the spring.” He shrugged and straightened.

“Makes sense.” Mikel nodded as he pulled the pencil from his ear. “I remember those types of fences in old country. Uncle had them around his vineyard.”

Konrad was sure his wasn’t the only sad story the store owner had heard over the last year. “Gotta come up with the cheapest solution for protecting my cattle.” He shook his head. “The ranch can’t withstand any more losses like last year.”

“Excuse me, sir.” A female voice floated in the air.

The tone was pitched low, almost intimate. Konrad shifted and raised an eyebrow at the tall woman dressed in an ill-fitting coat and a split skirt that showed several inches of boot-encased legs. “Are you speaking to me?”

“Have you considered using herding dogs to contain your cattle?” The blonde woman took one step closer, her gaze intent.

“No.” This stranger had an opinion about how he ran his ranch? His body stiffened.

“I train the dogs that work the sheep at Green Meadows Ranch, and I don’t see why the dogs couldn’t be used with cattle.” She glanced over her shoulder and then back to connect with his gaze. “The principles are the same, as long as the person uses the right cues.”

He squinted at the green-eyed woman who stood only a few inches shorter than his six-foot height. Wisps of blonde hair had escaped the edges of her plain black bonnet and straggled along her cheeks. Her face was pleasant enough—probably would be more so without the frown creasing her forehead. “Have we met?”

“I apologize, Mr. Werner. I’m Anora Huxley.” A blush reddened her cheeks. “I am acquainted with Gaelle.”

His younger sister by five years. Which explained why he didn’t know this woman from his schooling years. Huxley did sound familiar, though. But he didn’t have time to contemplate why because the woman now stood by his side. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a thick-set scowling man hovering two feet away who looked madder than a newly branded steer. The second member of the arguing duo.

“My dogs are exceedingly smart. A special breed with strong herding instincts. They respond to hand signs and whistles, and from a distance of more than ten rods.”

He held up a hand lest he be stuck here listening to her run down every detail. “I do not wish to be lectured on how to run my ranch. My brush fence will suffice.” Regretting the stiffness of his tone, he lifted a finger to tap the brim of his hat. “Good day, Mrs. Huxley.” He spotted the brief widening of her gaze before scooping up the roll of wire and headed toward the storeroom. Irritation at the outspoken women and her high-handed advice put an extra punch into each footfall.

Cover Contest Finalist

Also, voting is open until November 20th for the winter cover contest sponsored by Still Moment Magazine. I’m proud that Silent Signals is one of ten finalists. To vote, leave the title or the #9 in a comment on the magazine’s Facebook page.

Linda Carroll BraddAbout the Author:

As a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication–a confession story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, Linda writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor from her home in the southern California mountains.

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