About the Book:
Love Under the Western Star is Book Three in the Passion Quest Series but can be read as a stand alone book.
The peace of Pleasant Valley has been shattered. The feud between the Tewksbury and Graham families has escalated from a sheep versus cattle dispute to a war over access to the only water in the valley – the Wide Muddy River. Hope Tewksbury and Joseph Graham have found love in the midst of this war, and now they must find peace.
Dr. Amy Toller is an alien anthropologist studying the fourth planet orbiting the star Chi. – the one the locals call Zona. She is searching the Galaxy for clues to humanity’s past, and the mythical planet called Earth. She and her fellow scientists infiltrate Pleasant Valleythe Zona society, which mimics the American West of the 1880's. Their goal is to discover what these distant cousins know of humanity’s birthplace. But first, they must end the bloodshed.
Will Hope and Joseph's love be thwarted by the hatred their families have feel for each other?
The train hissed, then squealed to a stop, its doors sliding open. A porter stepped out and placed a small footstool on the ground; then he reached his hand to help a woman and her three children step off the train and onto the wooden platform.
Readying herself to board the train, Hope grabbed her carpet bag and ticket in one hand, and resolutely gathered her skirt and petticoat in the other.
“Miss,” the porter said, touching her elbow. He guided her up the steps and onto the train.
“Thank you,” she said, entering the car. Surveying the interior, she noted the scarcity of vacant seats. She slowly made her way along the aisle. A tall man with a winsome smile rose. He removed his hat and motioned for her to approach.
“Miss, there is a seat, next to me.” She took in his visage. Even though Caine had often cautioned her against talking to strangers, this man had an authoritative look, and his military uniform added a trustworthy air.
“Thank you, sir.” She noticed the captain’s bars on his shoulder boards. “I am not displacing you? Surely you'd like to sit by the window?” Hope asked.
“Not a problem, miss. A gentleman would never let a lady sit on the aisle.”
Hope shrugged and nodded as she slid into the seat, settling next to the window.
The man waited while she put her bag on the floor at her feet. “My name is Joseph,” he said, replacing his hat, gliding over to sit beside her.
“I'm Hope.” She smiled a greeting.
“Hope. That is a lovely name. May I ask where you are headed?”
At that moment, the conductor made his way down the aisle. “Ticket, ma’am.” She handed hers to him, and he punched it with his hand-forged nippers as the train lurched out of the station.
Hope returned her attention to Joseph. “I'm heading home, to Payson.” She removed her bonnet, and placed it on her lap. She gave her curls a gentle shake and waited for the breeze to cool her. “And you, sir? What is your destination?” She asked, not needing conversation, but not wanting to be impolite.
“I am also headed to Payson.” Seeming to need to explain, he added, “I've been discharged from military service, and am looking to purchase a small farm with my earnings.”
“I see. But, the war is not over, is it?” In school, they had studied about the war. It had been raging for several years, but it seemed so far away in the books and maps her teacher used as she tried to explain it. Now, it was up close and personal, sitting right next to her.
“No, it is not. I was honorably discharged. I was injured; my leg is no longer fully functional.”
“Oh, I'm sorry.” She glanced and saw how he held his leg out straight, then quickly redirected her gaze out the window.
“You don't remember me, do you?” Joseph asked.
Hope turned in her seat to study him. His skin was tanned, indicating many hours spent outdoors. He had a healthy head of long brown hair. His upper lip was capped with a dark bushy mustache. His sturdy chin and neck were covered by a thick bristly beard. Underneath wide and level brows, his silvery eyes were framed by the thickest, longest lashes she had ever seen. Aware she was staring, she flushed slightly.
“No, I'm sorry, should I know you?”
“I remember you. Hope Tewksbury. The little red-haired, freckle-faced girl, with her nose always in the books.” Joseph chuckled. “I was six years ahead of you in Mrs. Greenwood's class. I often got into trouble. Wound up getting paddled at the pillory a time or two.”
“I'm sorry, I don't recall. My mother told me to stay away from boys like you.” She chuckled. “And, in all the commotion, I wouldn't have recognized you.”
Joseph laughed. “No, I suppose not. My backside, more than my face, was visible to most townspeople. Well, not to worry, my dear. My time in the Army has changed me for the better.”
Hope's heart fluttered a bit as she thought, he called me dear. “So, have you been in the Army all this time?”
“Yes, I've been in Bama these last six years. My Pop thought the experience would make a man out of me, so he encouraged me to enlist. Then the war started. I did my duty, and did it well enough to move up to the rank of captain. But, after I was shot, they decided to send me home. Can't say I'm sorry. I've seen enough death to last me a lifetime.” He shuddered.
Hope nodded. And, now he's coming back to Payson—and the feud.
About the Author:
Sahalie Blue was born and raised in the Midwestern US along the shores of Lake Michigan. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest, treasuring the great outdoors of her new home.
Sahalie loves hiking in the region's majestic Cascade Mountains, dense mossy forests and sagebrush-filled deserts. Her revered, special place is Sahalie Falls, a roaring waterfall that pounds the McKenzie River into a rainbowed mist.
She's been married for several years to a computer guy who loves to tell jokes. She appreciates laugh-out-loud moments. She enjoys reading just about anything, but mysteries, romances, and science fiction are her favorites. She is passionate about expressing her thoughts and feelings in her writing.
Down the Rabbit Hole by Joz Maxel
About the Book:
Book 3 in the Absolution Series
Out of the madness came something extraordinary. But not without a price.
An innocent crush
Turned into a rush
When he gave me the attention I craved
His touch became vile
Like a turn of the dial
The path down the rabbit hole he paved
Carrick came along
Told me I belonged
In this world to be cherished and loved
When life spun out of control
It crushed my soul
My fate written in the stars above
Due out October 11th!
Excerpt:"I brought you out here..."
"Fine, demanded you come out here so you couldn't say no to my plans to take you out."
She pushes off the car and prowls over until she's standing toe-to-toe with me.
"Does your plan involve taking me for a ride?"
"Is that what you want?"
The corners of her mouth kick up like she's losing the battle to stop herself from smiling. From recent experience I know something smart ass is going to pass through those luscious lips.
"I think I like the idea of you taking me for a ride as long as it's long and hard." She bites on her tongue and winks.
As she steps around me, I let out the breath I'd been holding, feeling her body so close to mine. I turn around to see she's already straddled on the bike, patting the seat in front of her.
Running my hands through my already messy auburn hair, I pick up the helmet and offer it to her. "Safety first."
"You always play safe?" Grabbing the helmet and sliding it on her head, she does the clip under her chin and leans forward on her hands, pushing her tits together.
Fuck me, this girl is going to kill me.
About the Author:
Joz Maxel is a married mother of three living in Western Canada. Falling hard into the indie world four years ago, she has been an avid reader, pimper and blogger.
When an opportunity to write a short story for a contest presented itself she thought "Why not?" and went for it. Her debut novella, My Absolution, was published in August 2017.
When not writing or juggling her house of mayhem, she yells at the television while watching her beloved Edmonton Oilers or binge watches Supernatural, Stranger Things and Riverdale, just to name a few.
About the Book:
Samantha Hillis, a widow of three years, has just begun to put her life back together when a shooter in the parking lot of the mall destroys dozens of cars and causes multiple injuries. Sam is pulled into the arms of Adam Stapleton, a handsome lieutenant of the Highway Patrol, and she feels for the first time in years what it’s like to be held in a man’s arms. And it’s wonderful.
But Adam has his own set of rules, intended to keep her safe. As a series of double-takes and other events happen that make her doubt her own judgement, she realizes she’s been drawn into a web of suspicion. She’s now the object of a murder investigation, of stalking, and her own home has been broken into and ransacked. The only one she can trust now is Adam.
He paused after taking a sip. “It was time, Sam. I loved her desperately, but I’ve finally arrived at the conclusion she isn’t coming back. They say it takes two years. I’m not sure yet I made the right decision. But there was an opening here, So here I am.”
“With no furniture.” She was grinning now.
He gave her a wink. “That amuses you, doesn’t it? Brat.”
She rose as the washer finished its cycle, and stuck her tongue out. “I can be.”
“Can be a…?”
“A brat. If you want.” She was throwing things into the dryer and looking around for something to add. “Dryer sheets?”
“What’s a dryer sheet?”
She stared. “You’re kidding, right?”
“Yes. They’re in the cabinet above your head.”
She reached up. And up. She finally got the door open. She could see the box, but couldn’t reach it. Finally, she gave him a withering glance and came over to drag the barstool to it. Climbing on top of it, she opened the cabinet.
“Determined, aren’t you?” he said, frowning. “Sam? I’d really rather you didn’t do that.”
“Well, you don’t seem to be offering to get it.”
“I’m waiting on you to ask. Nicely.”
She turned to face him. But her scowl had increased. “Never mind.” She pulled the box of sheets out and dropped them on top of the dryer with a thud.
As she moved her foot backward, however, it slipped off the stool and she fell—straight into Adam’s embrace. The air whooshed out of her lungs as she found herself cradled in his arms and staring up into his face, inches away.
He stood there, holding her, for several minutes, and she began to grow uncomfortable under his scrutiny.
“Now,” he said finally, in a voice that was not at all amused, “shall we try this again?”
She looked away, nodding.
“Did you ask for my help?”
“You didn’t offer—”
“—Did you ask?”
“But you knew what I needed—”
“Sam? Answer the question.”
She gulped. “No.”
About the Author:
An assignment by my elegant and sweet fifth grade teacher was what started it all. The assignment? To write a short story and read it aloud to the class.
Enter a story about a group of fifth grade kids camping in the woods who were attacked by a Grizzly; add body parts everywhere and kids being mauled to death one by one, and pile on top one horrified teacher (Poor Mrs. J!). The kids thought it was cool, however, and I was hooked.
Writing continued throughout Junior and Senior High, in the form of space stories, then spy stories, and by the time I reached high school, had turned into romances! Every year when spring fever hit, I would take my notebook outside at lunchtime, and soak up the sun, and write. Then I would take it home and type it up on onionskin paper, on an old Underwood typewriter (Yes, I know I'm old!)
One day a few years ago while cleaning, I came upon a tote containing a wad of onionskin paper, rolled up. I was delighted to find a story that I had written when I was about eighteen, and thought, "Hmm, I wonder what would happen if I sat down and re-wrote this? And submitted it?”
My favorite Heroine? One with intelligence, integrity, courage, and firm determination. I love to have the heroine and hero ‘make a difference’ in the surroundings and lives of others in the story. And needless to say, my favorite hero is an "Alpha male" who loves his woman to distraction, but is smart (yes, in my opinion, smart is extremely sexy!) stern, and willing to be as strict as necessary to protect her from danger, even danger from herself.