Today I welcome a friend from my group blog The Roses of Prose, romance author Nancy O'Berry! Today she's sharing an excerpt, her thoughts on the western genre, and a short story...
Giving in to Charity
Sweetbrier Academy Book Three
Mainstream Romance: Historical/Period, WesternISBN: 978-1-60435-360-0
Word Count: 65,130Release Date: July 02, 2009
When Opal Benedict offers Charity Wilson a chance to further her horizons, she travels to Virginia City and accepts the job of personal secretary for the wealthy J. T. Merewether. Here she plans to sort out her personal life and better herself.
Unaware of the tension between Merewether and his business partner, Charity is entangled a love affair that may well exact the highest price of all when she falls for the genteel Silver Baron.
Can Tobias Merewether overcome his dark past and fulfill their destiny?
“Miss Wilson, mining is as much back-breaking labor as it is reading the earth and having intuition on where to find the veins of silver trapped in the ore. Every miner has his secrets.”
“Including you?” she asked. Charity leaned toward him, her voice lowered to a husky whisper.
Tobias reached over and placed his hand over hers. Drawing his head within inches of her face, he gazed into her eyes. Her scent overwhelmed him. He saw her surprised expression.
Her soft breath slipped from her lips and fanned his face, and beneath his thumb, the increased thump of her pulse touched his skin. He gazed at her lips. A sprinkle of sugar caught against them, and he had the overwhelming urge to sample, to lick off the sweetness, and plunge into the warmth depths.
“Especially me,” he answered.
His hand still upon hers, he brought the other up and slid it along her cheek. “You have sugar on your lip,” he explained.
Her eyes warmed, their color deepening. “I do?” she whispered, her voice barely heard.
“Indeed,” he replied.
He couldn’t stand it. He had to see. Tobias lowered his head. She closed her eyes as if giving consent for his action. With a groan, he captured her mouth with a waiting hunger. Never had he expected such a tangible mix of flavors assaulting his senses. The tanginess of the hickory from the coffee beans, the sweet burn of the crystals from the sugar, the warmth of her lips melting into his, all of these senses helped to develop an urgency of its own. With the tip of his tongue, he traced the line of her lips, begging. She opened for him with a moan from the back of her throat that drove him to near madness. His tongue rushed in and stroked her inner cheeks. She drew a breath and suckled him.
Damn the table for being between them. His body rose from the chair. She pushed forward.
He stroked harder, his fingers sliding around each side of her neck, feeling the race of her blood as wild as his own. Only when his lungs threatened to burst did he pull back. Her eyes remained shut, her lips swollen by his rakish antics—and Tobias regretted nothing.
“Miss Wilson, eating with you is quite an experience.”
We've all grown up with heroes of the silver screen, Roy Rodgers, John Wayne, Gene Autry come to mind and each cowboy had a similar group of beliefs they carried with them. These truths are the ideals that draw us to the mythical cowboy. These ideals were brought to the American consciousness in 1934 in the book entitled "Code of the West". In this work, the author, Zane Grey, highlighted the ideas of hospitality to others, fair play, loyalty to the brand, and respect of the land. Many of these principles are interfused with Native American culture, hence the conflict between the two cultures.
Ramon Adams, a western historian went further to explain , that in the west were there were few written laws a cattle man must create his own in order to establish order in chaos.
In Wayne's last movie "The Shootist" ,his character remarks, "I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a hand upon. I don't do this things to others and I require the same of them"
Yep, it says it all.
On http://www.legendsofamerica.com/WE-CodeOfTheWest.html , a list of some forty agreed upon guidelines have been written down. Here are some of the more "interesting" rules.
· Don't inquire into a person's past. Take the measure of a man for what he is today.
· Never steal another man's horse. A horse thief pays with his life.
· Defend yourself whenever necessary.
· Look out for your own.
· Remove your guns before sitting at the dining table.
· Never order anything weaker than whiskey.
· Don't make a threat without expecting dire consequences.
· Always fill your whiskey glass to the brim.
· A cowboy doesn't talk much; he saves his breath for breathing.
· A cowboy is loyal to his "brand," to his friends, and those he rides with.
· Never shoot a woman no matter what.
· Honesty is absolute - your word is your bond, a handshake is more binding than a contract.
· Live by the Golden Rule.
All good rules to live by.
" Yes, it is true that men on the plains are all men but even the most ardent cowboy must yield to a woman's touch," or so says Miss Charity Wilson formally of Wyoming Territory and now residing in Virginia City, Nevada.
Traveling to San Francisco, I happened to meet a very elegant woman in the dining car. She wasn't your usual traveler. Most women rarely even in these modern times travel without a companion. I suppose that is what drove me to speak. Dressed in lavender with a magnificent hat complete with a tulle veil that was tucked neatly under her chin, she strode past me and sat down at a small table near the back of the dining car.
It was interesting to watch her. She moved in a slow silent glide that barely rustled the taffeta. Yet, ever man in the car looked at her with envy and each woman with distain. Being a reporter, she peeked my interest. Standing, I retrieved my cane and hat and walked toward the rear where she sat. I stood waiting for her to take notice like some dog expecting a pat upon the head. She took her time and pulled her lace gloves off slowly revealing long slender fingers that were made to stroke the keys of a piano.
I cleared my throat and she looked up. I dare say even at twenty and eight my knees shook like a youngster at their first church social. She placed her gloves on the edge of the table and spoke. "May I help you?"
The words could melt butter spoken with such a soft southern drawl.
"I was wondering if I might dine with you?" My God, I even stuttered.
Her lips twitched and she nodded toward the empty seat. "A gentleman is always welcome."
I bowed, pulled the chair out, and took my place. "So, what brings you out west?"
Again, her mouth pulled as if she were trying to hide a smile. "What makes you think, I was not born here?"
"Your dress, your manners," I expounded. "I think that perhaps you are from the continent."
"Hum," smiled and dropped her chin no more than an inch hiding the lovely face.
The steward came and took our order. Once he left, she took hold of the netting that covered her face and pulling it back exposed her most charming features, her eyes. Those deep grey orbs were in deep contrast to the color of her skin. Such a unique color they reminded me of water and as a man, I would have loved to dive into those limpid pools to drown in delight.
Over coffee, we talked. In the course of our conversations, I discovered that she was from New Orleans and on a journey to Virginia City to become a social secretary for J. Tobias Merewether. As the afternoon dragged on, I found the conversation turning toward her true occupation, an escort. She explained to me, how after the civil war, women were a commodity to be traded and how through some fortunate circumstances she was saved by another woman named Opal Benedict who educated her and taught her the social graces.
Opening her reticule, she pulled a small white engraved card from her purse. Pressing it into my palm, she told me to use it on my return visit at a place called Sweetbrier Academy, in Panther's Landing, Wyoming.
I promised I would and tucked the sweet trinket into the breast pocket of my coat.
Slipping her gloves on her hands and lowering the veil, Charity Wilson rose. I stood. A woman such as this deserves the dignity of a man paying respects. "Might I accompany the lady back to her coach?" I asked.
She gave me a coy smiled and lay her sweet palm upon my arm. The scent of lavender slid around me making me rather heady from the experience. "I'm afraid that would not be something I could allow."
And she walked out with just as much dignity as she came in. Oh, Tobias Merewether, you are one lucky man.
Thanks, Nancy! I can't wait to read Giving Into Charity! Readers, be sure to look for Nancy's books!