Today's spotlight is Kathy Otten and her book, An Ordinary Angel - a NEW RELEASE from The Wild Rose Press. But first, a little about the author.....
Kathy is a working mom with a husband of 27 years and three kids, who are still flying in and out of the nest. She's been writing and making up stories her whole life. Her dad was big fan of the Hollywood singing cowboys as well as John Wayne. Her mom collected antiques and enjoyed trips to museums and reinactment villages. It was enevitable that all this would combine into Kathy's love for historical romances, especially from the start of the Civil War through the end of the cowboy era. When she's not writing Kathy is usually out walking her two big dogs through the woods and open farmland near where she lives. In the evening she likes to curl up with one of her four cats and a good book.
Find out more about Kathy at her website.
A lifetime of polite indifference is all Julianne Spencer sees when she envisions a future with her current suitor, Mr. Terrel Lee Parker. She is looking for someone more passionate, more heroic, who can love her for who she really is, and not the proper young lady she pretends to be. Her future seems hopeless until Christmas Eve, when fate drops a wounded outlaw at her door and she comes to realize true heroes can be found inside even ordinary men
Excerpt: A few moments later, she placed a lamp on the floor and knelt over Terrel Lee’s head wound. Frank wouldn’t let her have the scissors, so she carefully separated matted hanks of blood soaked hair with shaking fingers. Her stomach churned as she pushed the curved needle into his skin and tears blurred her vision, so she was forced to blink them away before she could pull the threaded needle through.
When she finished, she leaned her aching back against the cabinet drawers and pulled Terrel Lee close, his head resting in her lap. Fighting tears, she gently sifted her fingers through his dark brown hair. She’d never touched it before, had never even wondered how it would feel. Now she couldn’t get enough of the silky strands. She combed her fingers through it over and over, the action more soothing to herself than it was for Terrel Lee.
She’d seen curls of hair at the base of his throat when she removed his collar and unbuttoned his shirt. She wondered how much of the dark hair coated his chest. The outlaw in the other room had very little, and she was curious to discover whether the hair on Terrel Lee’s chest was as soft as this hair she slid between her fingers.
He moaned again, then opened his eyes. She expelled a shaky sigh of relief. Pain furrowed his brow, and he closed them again. He struggled for a moment against the rope that secured his wrists behind his back.
She lifted the cloth pad from behind his ear. The bleeding had stopped, but the bump beneath it had swollen. When he opened his eyes again she leaned close to check, as her father had taught her, to make sure his pupils were equally dilated and reacted to the yellow glow of lamp light. Long thick lashes surrounded beautiful eyes the color of cocoa powder. Pain kept them narrowed against the light, but he was awake, staring up at her first in confusion and now surprise.
She blinked, her eyes burning as the quaking terror she’d managed to keep suppressed suddenly rushed to the surface and spilled over in a silent stream of tears.
"Why are you cryin’?" he mumbled.
Unable to adequately express the crazy swell of emotion surging through her in that moment, she said the first inane thing to pop into her head. "Your hat."
"The s-scar-faced one found your h-hat outside, and Frank tossed it into the s-stove." She wiped her face, but only succeeded in smearing the dried blood on her fingers through her tears and across her cheeks.
"You’re cryin’ over my old hat?" He wore an odd expression, caught between disbelief and amusement.
Julianne sniffed. "But you looked so good in that h-hat."
His eyebrows rose in surprise.
"And I l-like the way you always ran your fingers around the brim. And now it’s g-gone. And if Dalton d-dies, they’re going to k-kill you!" Tears flowed in earnest as her breath caught on a sob.
Terrel Lee shifted out of her lap to wiggle around beside her and lean against the support of the drawers. A grimace of pain crossed his features. "Calm yourself, Miss Julianne, we’ll get through this."
"I don’t know, but I did not survive four years of Yankee aggression to die on Christmas Eve at the hands of this vermin. I’ll think of something."
Julianne sniffed and wiped her eyes. "You were in the war? You never told me."
"I did not think war a fit topic for conversation with a young lady durin’ Sunday dinner."
"That is the most ridiculous th-thing I ever heard."
"I hardly think so. War is a terrible thing, Miss Julianne. I don’t believe it proper that I should burden you with the horrors that haunt my dreams."
"Why not? Look at me, Terrel Lee." She gestured at the new blood stains that smeared the front of her mother’s apron. "I spent an hour tonight digging a bullet out of a man who would just as soon kill me as thank me. And since then, I’ve been holding your bleeding h-head in my lap, praying you wouldn’t d-die in my arms. What do you think, Terrel Lee? Too terrible for a young lady to handle?"
"But you’re cryin’, Miss Julianne."
"Because of your hat."
"I liked that hat." She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him, daring him to contradict her. His expression was bemused, as though he had never really seen her before.
"And stop calling me Miss Julianne in that condescending way, as though I’m some kind of china doll that will break at any moment."
"I do apologize for offendin’ you, Mi—Julianne, but I was raised a gentleman and the manners I learned as a boy have been well ingrained into my character."
"Don’t take this the wrong way, I like your manners and your southern accent gives me the shivers, but considering how long we’ve known each other, and given the situation in which we now find ourselves, I believe we have moved beyond the "Mr. Parker," "Miss Julianne" stage, don’t you agree?"
"Perhaps you’re right. And now that we have established acceptable forms of address between us, perhaps you could discretely loosen my bonds, so we might escape before the other outlaws return."
Though they had been whispering quietly, somehow with Frank sitting right there in the kitchen, Julianne hadn’t even thought of trying. Embarrassed by her mistake she glared at Terrel Lee. "I’ve changed my mind. I think I liked you better when you didn’t say anything."
Nothing beats holiday stress like a good book and I hope you're enjoying these excerpts. Check back often for more romance for the holidays!
Until later.... Be Blessed.