I finally wrote the first of, what I am calling the Blemished Brides Series, at the end of last year, and it was published this past January. That book, IN HIS EYES, was followed two months later by IN HIS TOUCH, and I'm proud to announce that the third in the series, IN HIS ARMS, just released .
This series is quite a departure from my Yellowstone and Teton novels, which are set among spectacular wilderness backdrops, packed with action, adventure, and survival (and of course, lots of romance as well), or my time travel westerns in the Second Chances books. The Blemished Brides are all about evoking emotions, and overcoming the challenges and prejudices for being handicapped or different. While I had thought that the books would focus mainly on the heroines and their handicaps and/or limitations when I started this series, it soon became obvious that the leading men were also overcoming their own personal challenges. The hero in each book needed the heroine as much as she needed him.
I'm having a blast writing this series, and one of the challenges has been researching and finding out about different handicaps, and how people in the nineteenth century were perceived and treated when they had physical limitations.
I posted Chapter One of IN HIS ARMS last week. You can find it here
This is an excerpt from IN HIS EYES
“Before we go, there’s something you have to know about me, Trace.”
His palm left the small of her back, and his hand guided her arm through his, as if he were her beau and taking her for a Sunday stroll.
“I already know you, Katie,” he said in a hushed tone, and led her down the steps.
When she reached the gravel ground, her head shot up in the direction of his. She laughed scornfully. “You don’t know anything about me.”
Trace stopped. His body shifted slightly toward her.
“I know that your mother tried to mold you into someone you’re not all those years ago, and failed. I suspect that the folks at that school in New York tried to do the same thing. I’ll bet they failed, too, even though you’re pretending that you’ve conformed because you had no other choice.” He paused, and stepped closer, the heat of him seeping straight through her. Katherine held her breath.
“I know that you missed this ranch, and the horses. And, I know without a doubt that you want to run through the fields, and get into trouble, like you used to.”
Trace’s deep voice, soft and caressing against her cheek, left her speechless. Katherine continued to look up in the direction of Trace’s voice, her mouth open. He’d never paid her any attention when they were kids, how could he guess all these things about her so accurately?
“As much as I want to, I can’t do any of those things anymore,” she stammered. “I can’t be the person I was back then.”
Trace laughed. He took a step back. “Why not? Because you’re all grown up and proper now? You might act all stiff and formal around Wilma Rodgers, because it’s what you were taught, but even the best trained horse will kick up its heels when given a chance at freedom.”
Katherine shook her head. “You don’t understand. I can’t see to do the things I used to.”
She pulled her arm out from Trace’s. This was a mistake. As much as she wanted to go visit Goldfinder, she couldn’t go with Trace. He wouldn’t want to be burdened with a blind person.
Before she had a chance to turn back toward the house, a warm hand clamped around her upper arm and stopped her.
“I know that you can’t see, Katie. I don’t understand why that would keep you from doing the things you used to enjoy.”
Katherine stood, speechless. She shook her head. Had he even understood what she’d said?
“I’m blind, Trace.”
“So, you’ve stopped living because you’ve lost your vision?” he challenged, his voice adamant.
“I haven’t stopped living,” Katherine argued heatedly. Her voice rose in anger. “I’ve simply made a new life for myself. I’ve accepted my blindness, and I make do.”
“Make do?” Trace laughed. “I’ve seen the way that handler of yours leads you around like some dog on a leash. Is that what you call living?”
Katherine wheeled to face him. Her hand shot to her hip, and she leaned forward. She narrowed her eyes like a sighted person would do when riled, what she used to do as a child, and focused them on the shadow in front of her.
“Wilma has been my guardian and teacher since the day I arrived in New York. She taught me how to manage without my eyes, and she’s always had my best interest in mind.”
“That may very well be, Katie,” Trace replied calmly. “But I also think she’s holding you back. Maybe not intentionally, but holding you back, nevertheless.”
“How can you make such assumptions? You don’t even know her. And you certainly don’t know me.”