Charlene Raddon is a lady I consider a friend even though we have never met in person. She is an exceptionally talented Author and an equally talented Cover Artist and Graphics Designer. I am pleased and honored to feature her work.
The Writing of:
“Writing Taming Jenna was the most fun I’ve had with any book. I love Jenna’s spunk. And Branch’s tough exterior and soft interior makes him my favorite kind of hero. The idea for the story came from an unusual source for me. I was at lunch with my critique group and needed a new story idea so I asked our most imaginative member to give me one. She said, “Write about a woman who has to find a man and the only way she can identify him is by a scar on his bottom.” Ok, sounds a bit kinky, but it challenged me.
Jenna becomes a Pinkerton agent to find her missing father. Her first assignment is to catch a train robber in Utah, and—you guessed it—he can only be identified for sure by a scar on his bottom. Jenna sees the job as a bit kinky, too, but, being Jenna, she plows forward and does her best. Which is pretty good, when it comes right down to it. Too good for the comfort of a certain bounty hunter, one Branch McCauley, who is after the same outlaw. Watching them try to defeat and out-do each other proved to be pure entertainment. Developing their romance provided a new challenge. You see, knowing what her mother suffered when her father disappeared, Jenna swears off marriage. Men? Who needs them? Branch, on the other hand, has reason to hate Pinkertons. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pull this one off.
Of course I like the story—I wrote it. But judging from the five-star reviews on Amazon, I’m not alone.”
THE WRONG MAN
Deserted by her father at the tender age of seven, Jenna Leigh-Whittington had taught herself to ride, shoot, brawl…and steer clear of the opposite sex. But now, in a lonely Utah canyon, the Pinkerton agent has drawn her gun on a rugged stranger—only to discover that, far from the dangerous outlaw she’d been tracking, he is Branch McCauley, hired gun…and the most irresistible rascal ever to tempt and torment a woman!
THE RIGHT WOMAN
If there’s one thing McCauley trusts less than a female, it’s a female who packs a six-gun. But what a woman! Vowing to bring the sensuous hellcat to heel, McCauley has no inkling that their passionate battle of wills has just begun. Taming Jenna will be the most seductive—and satisfying—job he’s ever taken on.
Jenna scowled as she studied the man by the flickering glare of his campfire. He had the right build and appeared close to thirty, Mendoza’s age. But something didn’t fit.
The Denver police chief had described her quarry as a spoiled aristocrat, too busy wooing Lady Luck and every other female to be much of a train robber, let alone a killer. But the rogue in front of Jenna looked too lean and hard to be spoiled, too wary and aloof to be a ladies’ man.
To Jenna he seemed the perfect gunslinger: cold, tough, and ready to spring. Like a big yellow cougar perched on a ledge. Or a rattler, tightly coiled. Either way, his bite would be deadly.
In spite of the cool night breeze, sweat oozed from her pores. She couldn’t forget that lightning draw. Why had she come here? How had she expected to take an outlaw Pinkerton’s other agents had failed to bring in? No, she refused to think that way. She was every bit as capable as any man to capture Mendoza. She had to believe that, the same way she had to do what she’d set out to do. Only one question remained: Was this Mendoza or not?
“Who are you, mister?”
“Who am I? Hell, who are you? ”
Blast! Did no male exist in this empty wilderness who wasn’t so taken with himself that he couldn’t cooperate for a change?
She took a calming breath. A body could catch more flies with honey than vinegar, old Charley Long Bow used to say. Jenna figured flies might fancy the hairy creature facing her, so she decided to try being friendly. “Listen, I smelled your coffee and hoped you might spare a cup, is all. You can understand me being a mite leery of walking into a stranger’s camp without knowing who I’m hooking up with.”
Firelight glinted on the man’s straight white teeth as his whiskers parted in a cold smile. “Don’t recall inviting company, but I’ll play your game. Name’s Branch McCauley. Now it’s your turn.”
His smile unnerved her. It held no humor, only a lethal sort of grimness that cannoned her stomach into her throat and made her wish she’d wired William Pinkerton for instructions instead of going off half-cocked this way. “I’m Jim…Jim White,” she lied.
“All right, Jim, how about some honesty? You come here looking for me?”
“I’m not looking for anyone named Branch McCauley. If that’s who you are, you’ve nothing to worry about.”
The wide, innocent eyes McCauley studied held honesty. He relaxed. “In that case…be glad to pour you some coffee.” He reached for the battered graniteware pot. His visitor’s next words froze him in a half-stoop: “I’d feel more welcome if you’d set aside your gun first.”
Cool as Montana sleet, McCauley straightened, hand poised above his holster. “Reckon you would. Wouldn’t do much for my sense of well-being, though.”
So much for trying to be friendly, Jenna thought. What now? She clenched her knees together to still their shaking and swallowed the fear knotted in her throat.
“Look.” McCauley shifted his weight to one leg. “Why don’t you put your gun away and have a sit? Could be I might know something about the hombre you’re hunting.
Hombre. Sounded Spanish. Like Mendoza. It must be him. She had to get his gun away from him. Surprise seemed the best means. She squeezed the trigger of the .44 Starr. The bullet kicked dirt onto the man’s scuffed boots. He jumped and let out a yelp as though she’d set his feet afire.
“Dammit, kid, going up against me won’t get you anything but a six-foot hole in the ground.”
“Shut up and toss over your gun or I’ll turn them boots into sieves. ‘Course, my sights might be a bit off.” She raised the muzzle toward his groin.
“You made your point,” he growled as he unbuckled his gun belt and tossed it over.
Instead of the fancy weapon she had expected a gunslinger to own, an ordinary, six-gun lay at her feet. No ivory handle or engraved barrel. Only an ordinary .44 Peacemaker, crafted and worn for one reason—to kill. The thought did funny things to her innards.
“All right,” she said, getting back to business. “You aren’t going to like this, mister, but I don’t know any other way to be sure who you are. Drop them trousers to your ankles.”
They had lost everything that mattered . . .
Three nightmarish years of marriage has shattered Brianna Wight’s sheltered world. Leading her husband to believe she’s been murdered, she flees to St. Louis . . . harboring terrible secrets that could be the death of her.
The tragic loss of his Indian wife left Columbus Nigh a wanderer; necessity made him a wilderness guide. But now he finds himself drawn to the enigmatic woman who’s hired him to lead her westward. Her gentle strength stirs his lonely heart . . . her tender beauty arouses his deepest passions.
Would they find love again on a western journey?
But the perils of the Oregon Trail pale beside the murderous wrath of the man who tracks them across the harsh frontier. Briana knows the only way to save herself and Columbus is to risk their tender love. Only then can she free herself from the horrors of the past — and embrace a rapturous future . . .
Their love was fated . . .
A mail-order bride from Cincinnati, Ariah Scott traveled all the way to Oregon to marry one man, only to lose her heart to another. What will become of her now? Ever since her father died at the hands of a vengeful relative, Ariah’s life has been shadowed by dark secrets. And now her forbidden desire for Bartholomew Noon fills her with uncertainty — and a secret longing that can never be fulfilled.
And forbidden . . .
From the moment Bartholomew saw Ariah standing alone at the Portland train station. the keeper of the Cape Meares Light was lost. Hopelessly in love with this angelic beauty who is fated to live beside him at the isolated lighthouse as the wife of another man, Bartholomew never dreams that destiny will someday bring them together. Is Ariah truly the woman he can cherish . . . forever?
A woman without a prayer . . .
A widow with two children, Tempest Whitney has had to mortgage everything to repay the money her husband had stolen. But even as she struggles to hold onto her Utah homestead, a scheming rancher buys up her debts, demanding she either get off his land or marry him. Then a dark-haired stranger shows up, claiming to be her dead husband . . .
A man without a past . . .
Buck Maddux spent two years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Now a deathbed promise has brought him to Tempest’s homestead. A man without roots, he doesn’t plan to stay — or to feel so fiercely protective of this feisty beauty he saves from a hated marriage of convenience. Suddenly, Buck years for a home, a family, a lasting love. But what can he offer Tempest? The surprising answer lies in the forbidding canyons of an ancient Anasazi tribe, where fortune and danger await–along with a passion more precious than gold . . .
A woman’s smile . . .
Rosalyn Delaney’s husband, Josiah, vanished six years ago. Following a private detective’s lead, Rosalyn leaves Salt Lake City and boards a train heading to the mining town of Whiskey Ridge, Arizona. She arrives at Rose House, an old mansion reputed to be haunted, only to discover that her missing husband has been killed, and his business partner, Whip Kincaid, is wanted for his murder. Determined to uncover the secrets surrounding Josiah and his death, Rosalyn decides to stay–even though she begins to receive nightly visits from a charming “ghost” . . .
A Ghost’s Kiss . . .
Escaping a troubled past, Whip Kincaid had hoped he could make a fresh start in Whiskey Ridge and open a saloon with his friend Josiah. Now, as a murder suspect hiding in his own house, Whip’s future looks bleak indeed . . . unless he can find the real culprit. But the unexpected intrusion of Rosalyn ruins his plan to sneak out at night to investigate. Scaring her away is his first step in clearing his name, but Rosalyn doesn’t rattle easily. And Whip isn’t sure he wants the lovely widow to walk out of his life — especially when she’ll take his heart with her.
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