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How exciting to announce that my latest release, O’NEILL’S TEXAS BRIDE, McClintocks book 2, is now available. I hope you love this book as much as I loved writing this one!
One of the difficulties of writing numerous books is trying to find a fresh twist for each one. Readers know that in a romance there will be a happily-ever-after ending, but getting there needs unexpected action. For O’NEILL’S TEXAS BRIDE, I decided to take my ranch hand hero on a difficult undercover assignment to capture the culprit responsible for disasters at a Texas coal mine. My decision meant lots of research into coal mining in the 1880s.
What I found was lots of information on mining from prehistoric times to today, but not much about the period I needed. At last I found details on late 19th century mining. Additionally, my critique partner’s father had been a miner and she provided important details about daily life in a mine town.
Hero Finn O’Neill is an honorable man who has spent his life trapped by circumstances beyond his control. Through his sister’s marriage to Dallas McClintock in THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, McClintocks book one, Finn and his family finally experience good fortune. Finn dreams of a life in partnership with Dallas raising horses. To achieve the dream, he must purchase land. Problem is, he has no money other than the generous salary paid him by his brother-in-law.
Stella Grace Clayton is a loving daughter and school teacher also trapped in a life she hates. No, she doesn’t hate teaching, just that her family lives in a coal town. Knowing her father won’t live a full life as a coal miner, she dreams of a better life for her and for her family. What’s more, she’s determined her younger brother will not be forced into that life. Nor does she want her sister or herself faced with only miners from which to choose a husband—but so far mine workers are the only men they meet.
How do two people from two diverse backgrounds meet? Thank you for asking. ☺
Here’s the blurb for this romantic mystery titled O’NEILL’S TEXAS BRIDE:
Finn O’Neill longs for his own ranch, his own horses, his own home and family but thought the lofty dream beyond him. Now the opportunity has arisen but to achieve his dream, he bargains with Grandpa McClintock and his nephew to pose as a miner and seek out the person or persons causing disasters at the Farland Coal Mine.
Stella Clayton has witnessed the heartbreak and tragedy of a coal miner’s life. Her family came from England to the promise of a better life only to find the same hardships. She is determined that her young brother will never follow in their father’s footsteps. And she vows she will never marry a man who engaged in that work. She fights to resist charms of the handsome Irishman who’s recently come to work in Lignite, Texas.
When Finn arrives in Lignite, he immediately falls for the beautiful schoolteacher, Stella Clayton. But her father is one of the men suspected of causing destruction. What Finn discovers soon puts him and members of the Clayton family in peril. Can he salvage his dream, fulfill his promise, and protect the woman he loves and her family?
Here’s an excerpt of Finn in his undercover job:
This [mining] was no life. At least the married men had families to offer comfort and support and a wife to cuddle with at night. How did the single men keep going?
He didn’t mind working from before dawn until after dark on the ranch, but he hated being underground. ‘Twas not a fit place for a human, only for worms and moles and gophers. Plus the repetitive hacking at the coal wrecked his back and shoulders.
Solve this puzzle soon or go mad. Think of Lippincott’s fine ranch, boyo. ‘Tis going to be yours if you can ferret out the troublemakers.
He figured there were multiple problems at work. He no longer suspected Karpinski either. The man was full of dark looks but he worked hard as he played. That left Swensen and Hartford. Neither man was on his crew. Mayhap he could strike up a conversation with Hartford at dinner or breakfast.
Swensen was married and lived in one of the houses near Clayton. What excuse could he find to talk to Swensen? Didn’t he have a son working in the mine? Yeah, a kid about the same age as Lance Clayton.
Hmm, that fact set him to thinking, but he’d have to work on that another time. His mind had given all he could for this day. He laid the apple core beside his boots and fell asleep.
When he woke the next morning, the apple core was gone. Worse, his knife was visible inside his boot. Last night, he’d carefully covered his boots to conceal his weapons as he did each time he undressed.
He checked around him, but others appeared engrossed in dressing and making their way to the dining hall. Quickly, he pulled on his clothes and then his boots. He knelt and looked under his bed. Sure enough, the apple core was there next to his concertina and duffle bag.
James called to him, “Hey, come on if you want to make up for missing supper last night.”
“Coming.” Shoving his shirttail into his britches, he grabbed the core and tossed it in the rubbish bin as he followed James.
He longed for a hot bath and his own bed at the ranch. The only reason he slept soundly in this bunk with a thin, lumpy mattress was his complete exhaustion. One thing was for sure, he was building muscles in his arms that would help him later on the ranch. He hoped that’d be on his ranch.
O’NEILL’S TEXAS BRIDE, McClintocks book two, is available at these sites:
Right now, to celebrate the release of book two, THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, McClintocks book one, is FREE in the USA. Here are the links:
I’m already at work on Nettie Sue Clayton’s story. She’s the younger sister of Stella Clayton by two years. Where Stella is a redhead with a fiery temper, Nettie Sue is a blonde with a sweet, mischievous nature. Well, sweet until she tangles with Josh McClintock in McCLINTOCK’S RELUCTANT BRIDE.
Victorian London – Police and Policing – Perception of policeman’s character According to an article published on SATURDAY, JUNE 17th, 1848…
The MODEL POLICEMAN moves only in the most fashionable areas. He is rather particular in seeing if the coal cellar is fast, about supper-time. He is never inside a kitchen, unless “the street door has been left open.” He is affable to the footman, and smiles to the page, but suspects the butler, and calls the French maid proud. His appearance and spirits are greatly regulated by the neighbourhood. In Belgravia he wears straps, plays with a pink, and buzzes to himself some popular tune. In St. Giles’s his cheeks get hollow, his buttons grow rusty, his belt is put on anyhow, and his highlows are polished only with blacklead!!
The MODEL POLICEMAN arrives at a row before it is quite over, and sometimes gets at a fire a minute or two before the fire-escape. He knows every pickpocket in the world, and has seen everybody who is taken up two or three times before. He has a vivid recollection of what another Policeman remembers, and if the testimony of an Inspector is impugned, he shows a great love for his cloth by swearing (as the saying is) “till all is blue.” He objects to “plain clothes;” he thinks them not uniform and “unperfessional”. He never smiles when inside a theatre, nor sleeps at a sermon, nor takes an opera-glass to look at the ballet when stationed in the gallery of Her Majesty’s. He rarely releases the wrong person he has taken into custody for disturbing the performances. He has a virtuous horror of Punch and Judy, and insists upon the India rubber Brothers “moving on” in the midst even of the Human Pyramid. He never stops at a print-shop, nor loiters before a cook-shop, nor hangs about a pastry cook’s, excepting to drive away the little boys who choke up the door where the stale pastry is exhibited.
He is not proud, but will hold a gentleman’s horse at an emergency, and take sixpence for it. He rings bells the first thing in the morning, runs to fetch the doctor, helps an early coffee-stall to unpack her cups and saucers, pulls down shutters, gives “lights” to young gentlemen staggering home, directs them to the nearest “public,” and does not even mind going in with them, “just to have a little drop of something to keep himself warm.” In fact, the MODEL POLICEMAN does anything for the smallest trifle, to make himself useful as well as ornamental. Above all, he never laughs. He is the terror of publicans on Saturday nights, but is easily melted with “a drop” – on the sly.
He is courageous, also, and will take up an applewoman, or a “lone woman” with babies, without a moment’s hesitation. He is not irritable, but knows his dignity. Do not speak to him much, unless you have a very good coat. Especially do not joke with him when on duty. You are sure to know it by his collar being up. Do not put a finger upon him, for he construes it into an assault. Of the two Forces, he certainly belongs to the Physical, rather than to the Moral Force. He is tremendous in a row, and cares no more for a “brush” than his oilskin hat. He hates the name of Chartist, and cannot “abide” a Frenchman in any shape, any more than a beggar, especially if he has moustaches. He has a secret contempt for the “Specials,” whom he calls “amateurs.” He rarely fraternises with a Beadle, excepting when there is an insurrection of boys, and it comes to open snowballing, or splashing with the fire-plug. He prohibits all sliding, puts down vaulting over posts, leapfrog, grottos, chuck farthing, and is terribly upset with a piece of orange-peel, or the cry of “Peeler.” He avoids a lobster-shop, for fear of vulgar comparisons, and hates the military – “the whole biling of them” – for some raw reason; but he touches his hat to “the DUKE.” He rarely sleeps inside a cab of a cold night. He never lights a cigar till the theatres are over. He is a long time in hearing the cry of “Stop thief!” and is particularly averse to running; his greatest pace is a hackney-coach gallop, even after a Sweep, who is following, too literally, his calling. He is meek to lost children, and takes them to the station-house in the most fatherly manner.
He is polite to elderly ladies who have lost a cat or a parrot, and gives directions to a porter in search of a particular street, without losing his temper. He is fond of a silver watch, and he reaches the summit of a policeman’s pride and happiness if he gets a silver chain with it. Next to himself, however, there is nothing he loves half so closely as his whiskers. He would sooner throw up staff, station, and be numbered amongst the dead letters of the Post Office, or the rural police, than part with a single hair of them; for the MODEL POLICEMAN feels that without his whiskers he should cut but a contemptible figure in the eyes of those he loves, even though he exhibited on his collar the proud label of A1! Beyond his whiskers, his enjoyments are but few. He watches the beer as it is delivered at each door, he follows the silvery sound of “muffins!” through streets and squares, he loves to speculate upon the destination of the fleeting butcher’s tray, and on Saturday night he threads the mazy stalls of the nearest market, his love growing at the sight of the savoury things it is wont to feed upon.
Thanks to the fabulous site VICTORIAN LONDON, owned by author and archivist Lee Jackson.
The police force of London was never in the public eye quite so glaringly as it was during the investigation of the notorious Jack The Ripper reign of terror. From that first accepted series of killings – serial murders – has emerged a timeless fascination with the people who investigated and failed to bring to justice the bloody killer.
In the two books of my Devane Mysteries, I have once again used these gruesome killings as a kind of eternal haunting of my hero, Police Inspector Michael Devane. Devane is haunted, clairvoyant and an opium addict in a time when such things were common but rarely talked about openly. If you would like to read the books, please visit Liquid Silver Books for excerpts and purchase links: Book One: OUT OF HELL Book Two: AN UNSPOKEN BETRAYAL