KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH: Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!
The Widows of Wildcat Ridge Book 1
BY CHARLENE RADDON
After losing her father and husband in a mine disaster, Priscilla Heartsel faces poverty and eviction from her home by a heartless mine owner. Tricked into a bank robbery gone wrong, Braxton Gamble finds himself shot and unconscious in Priscilla’s bed. Can they survive long enough to find a love more precious than gold? A sweet read.
April 9, 1844, Wildcat Ridge, Utah
Priscilla Heartsel wiped her bloody fingers on her long, filthy dress. She was kneeling in a hole, one of several she had dug with her own hands, seeking, searching….
Papa. Robert, where are you?
She sat back on her heels and glanced around. Several other women and children remained on the hill of rubble that, earlier that day, had been a working gold mine. The Lucky Lady. What a travesty.
Her friend, Thalia, climbed the ragged hill toward her, holding her skirts up out of the dirt.
“You need to go home and sleep, Priscilla,” Thalia said when she reached her. “You need to eat.”
“No. I have to find Robert and Papa.” She began clawing at the earth again and uncovered a shoe. Brown, not black like Robert’s. Not Papa’s either. She thought of the smile her husband had given her that morning as she’d tied his shoes before he left for his law office. If only he’d stayed there.
Why did you have to come to the mine? Why didn’t you stay here? With me? Wasn’t it bad enough that I lost Papa? Why did I have to lose you, too?
Thalia grabbed her wrists to stop her. “They’re gone. They’re all gone. All our men, some of the women and even children. Gone.”
Priscilla managed one word. “Jeffrey?”
Thalia nodded, and a tear escaped to run down her cheek.
Priscilla pulled her friend into her arms. Poor Thalia and Jeffrey were to be married in May. Priscilla wanted to cry. For Thalia, for herself, for all the widows and children left behind by this horrible, horrible tragedy. The need was a pain in her chest, in her throat. Her entire body felt ready to explode from withholding her grief.
Grown women do not cry, Priscilla. We keep our emotions to ourselves. No one wants to hear about your pain. They have their own.
Thalia drew away, tears raining down her cheeks now, but kept hold of Priscilla’s grubby hands. Looking down at them, Priscilla noticed her wedding ring was gone.
Charlene likes to say she began her fiction career in the third grade when she told the class, during Show and Tell, that a black widow spider came down from the garage roof and bit her (non-existent) little sister to death.
After two years of college as a fine arts major, and a divorce, she moved to Utah, planning to wow the world with her watercolor landscapes—until her sister introduced her to romance novels. She never picked up a paint brush again.
Originally published by Kensington in the ‘90s, Charlene is an Indie author now. She writes western historical romance, except for one contemporary fantasy she hasn’t published yet. It’s a frog princess story about a man napping beside a pond. He awakens when a frog jumps on his chest. The frog kisses him. Suddenly, he has a naked medieval princess sprawled over him. Charlene has a vivid imagination and a romantic soul.
Please excuse Charlene now. She just heard a husky whisper from one of the dusty, shadowed corners of her office. Someone’s lurking there, someone long, lanky and lascivious, beckoning to her. She has no intention of playing coy.
Links to Charlene’s website, blog, books, etc.
Her book cover site is http://silversagebookcovers.com.