I am pleased to welcome Caroline Clemmons today!
Many thanks to Peggy for inviting me to her blog today.
Do you like water sports? Not being athletic, I love just watching water. Light dancing across, ripples, waves, current, all fascinate and soothe me. Because I live in North Central Texas, the Brazos River is my favorite river. Where does it originate? How fast is the current? Are the shores safe for play?
Going to visit my grandmother in southwestern Oklahoma meant crossing the Red River. Being a stupid kid, I always begged my dad to stop and let me play in the river. He refused and told me there were too many spots with quicksand. Of course, being a stupid kid, that only increased my interest. Hadn’t Nancy Drew survived sinking in quicksand to her waist? Well, yes, but the key to that is that is was only to her waist. Now I’m an adult and, I hope, not quite as stupid. I’ve learned that, as usual, Daddy spoke the truth and there are many spots where quicksand awaits unsuspecting humans and animals.
My current fascination is with the Brazos River, which is the longest river in Texas. It is unclear when European explorers named it, since it was often confused with the Colorado River not far to the south, but it was reportedly seen by La Salle. Later Spanish accounts call it Rio De Los Brazos de Dios (the river of the arms of God), for which name there were several different explanations, all involving it being the first water to be found by desperately thirsty parties.
The Brazos is a wonderful river here in North Central Texas. There are caves along the banks, places to swim, fish, huge catfish, eerie pools, and...you guessed it...quicksand! The parents of an elderly (age 91) friend lost their wagon and team trying to cross the Brazos almost a hundred years ago. This was before my friend was born, when her mother was pregnant with the friend’s next older brother and had already had one small son. Not only did they lose everything, they had to walk about 20 miles back to Weatherford for help from family. There are other accounts of families suffering the same tragedy attempting to cross the Brazos. Pioneers had it rough!
The Brazos River plays a part in my new trilogy, The Men of Stone Mountain. BRAZOS BRIDE is the first of the trilogy. Here’s the blurb:
Hope Montoya knows someone is poisoning her, but who? She suspects her mother was also poisoned and knows her father was murdered. Who wants her family eliminated? She vows to fight! She realizes she won’t last the eight months until she turns twenty-five and her uncle no longer controls her or her estate. Never will she be dominated by a man as she was by her father, as she has seen her mother and grandmothers dominated. If she marries, she gains control now, but only if she weds a man she can trust. Only one man meets her requirements. Can she trust him to protect her and capture the killer...but then to leave?
Micah Stone has been in love with Hope since the first time he saw her. But he was accused of her father’s murder and surely would have hung if not for his two brothers’ aid. Most in the community still believe him guilty. But the drought has him too worried about water for his dying cattle to care about his neighbors’ opinions. When Hope proposes a paper marriage in exchange for land on the Brazos River and much needed cash, her offer rubs his pride raw. His name may be Stone, but he’s not made of it. He can’t refuse her for long, and so their adventure begins.
And here’s an excerpt from the wedding night of their paper marriage:
She looked at her hands. Perhaps she was unreasonable. Or maybe insane for sympathizing with a man who'd had to work harder because of her family.
"I know it is an odd situation. If—if you wear your shirt and britches, I guess it would be all right if you slept on top of the cover here." She patted the bed beside her.
He froze. Not a muscle moved, and he only stared at her. Had she misunderstood? Did he think her offer too forward?
She babbled, "That is, if you want to. You said I should trust you. Well, maybe you would be more comfortable where you are." Why didn't he say something? Would he prefer sleeping in a chair to sharing the bed?
From the street below, she heard raucous laughter and someone called to a man named Ben. Music from a piano, she supposed in the saloon, drifted in through the open windows. A gust of breeze moved the curtains and slid across her skin. In this room, though, there was no sound.
Slowly, he rose and extinguished the lamp as he moved across the room. She slid one of the pillows beside hers then scooted down. What had possessed her to offer him half her bed? Would he think she invited more?
Too late to take it back now, for the mattress dipped as he stretched out. Quaking inside at the thought of him so near, she turned her back to him. She heard his weary sigh, as if he relaxed for the first time in a long while.
"Good night," she offered, and hoped he understood the finality of the phrase.
"Yep. Good night, Mrs. Stone." The mattress shook as he turned his back to her. She felt the soles of his feet press against her ankles. He must be several inches too long for the bed and she guessed he had to bend his legs to fit. She didn't dare turn to see firsthand.
She lay perfectly still, afraid to take a deep breath. Soon his breathing changed and she knew he slept. Outside the open window the town quieted and the distant tinkling of the piano was the only sound. Light from the full moon illuminated the room and slanted across the bed. A soft breeze drifted across her, lulling her in its caress.
With a sigh, she fought to relax, but abdominal pain kept her awake no matter how her body cried for rest. Perhaps if she planned, she’d forget the pain and chills that racked her frame.
Plan, yes. She needed a plan for food preparation when she returned to her home. No, Micah said he had a plan. Oh, dear, once more he took charge when it was her life, her home.
Maybe Aunt Sofia and Uncle Jorge would have left by then and things would be fine. Already she felt more secure. She sensed her eyelids drifting closed and the sleep’s blessed relief approaching.
A gunshot ripped apart the night.
The blast startled her and she screamed as something thudded near her head, showering her hair and face with splinters. Panic immobilized her. What had happened?
Micah dragged her onto the floor as a bullet ripped into the mattress.
I hope this blurb and excerpt tempt you to buy BRAZOS BRIDE. Only 99 cents at Amazon, it’s a bargain. Here is the link:
About Caroline Clemmons:
Caroline Clemmons writes mystery, romance, and adventures—although her earliest made up adventures featured her saving the West with Roy Rogers. Her career has included stay-at-home mom (her favorite job), newspaper reporter and featured columnist, assistant to the managing editor of a psychology journal, and bookkeeper. She and her husband live in rural North Central Texas with a menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, reading, travel, browsing antique malls and estate sales, and genealogy/family history.
Excerpts from some of her exceptional reviews can be found on her website at www.carolineclemmons.com. View her blog posts Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com and find book reviews, giveaways, interview, and miscellany.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/carolinclemmons (No E in Caroline)
Caroline loves to hear from readers at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for letting me visit today!
Thank you, Caroline!