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!

https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/snuggle-up-readathon

Enter the giveaway below, and please follow me at https://www.bookbub.com/profile/linda-mclaughlinBookBub!

Linda

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Sweetwater Springs Christmas #holiday #anthology

I was very pleased to be included in Debra Holland’s Sweetwater Springs Christmas, a holiday anthology set in her Montana Sky World. If you like sweet Western romance, you will enjoy this collection of short stories.

Sweetwater Springs Christmas:
A Montana Sky Short Story Anthology

by Debra Holland and Friends
Western Historical Short Story Anthology

Sweetwater Springs Christmas anthologyCome celebrate the holidays in 1895 Sweetwater Springs, Montana, as ten Western romance authors join New York Times Bestselling author Debra Holland in telling short stories of love and laughter, heartbreak and healing, and most of all, Christmas joy.

Sweetwater Springs Christmas: A Montana Sky Short Story Anthology is available from Amazon in print or e-book for purchase or read free on Kindle Unlimited.

Also available in audio! Check it out at Audible.com.

My story in the anthology is “The Best Present”. For this story, I shed my romance persona and wrote about a ten-year-old girl having the worst Christmas of her young life. I drew on some personal experiences, including my memories of my tenth Christmas, which took place two weeks after the death of my grandmother. Allison’s story has a different ending than mine did, but it’s the most personal work I’ve ever written, and writing it was an emotional experience for me.

train graphic

Ten-year-old Allison Harcourt’s life has been turned upside down since her father lost his job and her beloved grandmother died. She’s not looking forward to Christmas, especially since she can’t figure out how to finish the scarf she’s making for her mother. An unexpected stop in Sweetwater Springs brings her and her parents to the boarding house of the widow Murphy. Sometimes sweet things can be found in the most unexpected places.

Excerpt:

“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents.”

Allison Harcourt stared at the opening lines of her favorite book, “Little Women”, until the words blurred. Unable to read, she closed the volume.

Christmas won’t be Christmas without Grandma.

Sudden tears filled her eyes, and she turned her head to stare out the train window, blinking furiously to make the moisture go away. Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry. The words pounded rhythmically in her head to the clack of the train over the tracks. Mama and Papa hated seeing her cry, but it was hard to hide the tears with Mama sitting across from her. If only her seat faced front. Then Mama wouldn’t be able to see her.

Her mother heaved a sigh. “Why do you read that book when it makes you weep?”

Allison wiped her eyes and looked at her mother. For once Little Women wasn’t the reason she was crying, but she gave the same answer she always did. “Because it’s so good.” It was a familiar refrain, one they had exchanged the second and fifth and tenth time she’d read the book. Usually, she only cried when Beth died, but now, with Christmas only a day away…

She slipped the book into her carpetbag and turned back to the window so Mama couldn’t see her face. The scenery outside sped by as the train clattered along the track, clouds of black smoke billowing back from the locomotive. Allison could barely see through her tears, but it didn’t matter. She was tired of looking at the prairie, so flat and boring, especially today with the sky a pale gray. There were supposed to be mountains ahead, but her seat faced the rear of the train. All she could see was what was behind her–not just miles of prairie, but her friends, her school, and her home back in Pittsburgh–before Grandma died and Papa said they were moving.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In September of this year, I had the chance to take a tour of Montana and we traveled part of the route Alison and her parents would have taken on the railroad to Sweetwater Springs. I’ve started a new book set in this world, which I hope to have finished next year.

Merry Christmas

Linda Mclaughlin