Welcome to the 2017 A to Z Blog Challenge. During the month of April, Chrys N. Jay shares snippets from friend’s books, and takes a peek at love.
Today, for ‘T’, Kathleen Tighe Ball joins us with an excerpt from her book, Tramp’s Bride. Kathleen shares exciting news with us – she now has nine books in Amazon’s Top 100 Western books.
Handsome Cowboy Tramp Hart left his home and friends over a year ago. He’s finally back to make amends and take his place on the ranch. That is until he walks into the house he designed and finds a woman living there. He needs a plan to get her out so he can move in.
Mail Order Bride Ilene Duffy traveled from New York City to Asherville, Texas only to find out her marriage contract was no longer valid. Rancher Cinders and his wife Shannon offer her an empty house on their land. Ilene has no intentions of getting married.
Join me in Asherville, Texas and watch Tramp’s antics as he tries one thing after another to get Ilene out of his house. Tramp had finally met his match.
Here’s an excerpt from Tramp’s Bride:
Urging Jack, his bay quarter horse, forward until they reached the spot he’d yearned for, Tramp Hart then pulled on the reins slowing his mount, to a stop. From his location on top of a hill, he could see the expanse of the ranch, a ranch he’d helped to build. He’d been gone over a year, and he wasn’t sure what type of reception would be waiting for him.
The ranch looked great. Better than great. There were plenty of cattle and a few more houses on the property. Cinders always seemed to have a magical touch with both horses and cattle.
Tramp felt bad the way their friendship had ended. He sure hoped he’d be able to mend fences. He needed to be home.
Taking a fortifying breath, he loosened the reins and pointed Jack in the direction of the main house. One of the new houses on the property was the design he and Cinders had planned for his home. He did own a quarter of the ranch and had been foreman until he’d left. A smile spread over his face. Cinders must have known he’d be back. But despite the smile, the lump in his throat remained.
He dismounted, tied Jack to the wood railing, and slowly walked up the steps to Cinders’ house. He hesitated before knocking taking a moment to close his eyes and hope he’d find himself welcomed. He knocked and waited but no one answered. In the old days he’d have just walked in but not now.
With hat in hand he walked across the yard to his house. He opened the front door and it surprised him to see it furnished. Cinders had always been a generous friend. He’d take a quick look around and then brush down Jack. Taking his hat off, he nodded, admiring the workmanship on the house. He walked farther inside and stopped short. There in the kitchen stood a willowy, dark-haired woman. She wore her hair up but a good amount of it had escaped, and a few enchanting ringlets hung down. She was busy making candles. He couldn’t help but notice how lovely she was.
She jerked her head up and her mouth formed an O. “Listen mister, I don’t want any trouble with you. I have a shotgun and I ain’t afraid to use it.”
Tramp peered around and didn’t see a gun let alone a shotgun. “What are you doing in my house?” he asked annoyed at the way she stared at him.
“Your house? I think you have the wrong idea cowboy. The bunkhouse is just to the left of my house. So, if you don’t mind, I have to finish dipping these here candles and hang them to dry. Good day.” She went back to her candles making him feel as welcome as a polecat at a picnic.
He ran his fingers through his hair and frowned. “I do believe there’s been some type of mistake made. This is my house—”
“Nope, absolutely not. Now please leave.” She hung the candles she was working on to dry and the next thing he knew, he was looking down the barrel of a shotgun. “Git!”
He instantly put his hands up. “Listen Miss— Heck, I didn’t get your name. I’ll just leave you be until Cinders comes back.”
“It’s Ilene, Ilene Duffy”
“I’m Tramp.” He saw a spark of recognition in her eyes. “See ya around.” Offering a polite nod, he turned and walked back to the door, grabbing his hat on the way out. Perhaps Cinders hadn’t wanted him to come back after all. He’d half expected it, but still his heart dropped.
The last year had been spent soul searching and mourning his friendship with Cinders. They’d grown up together and they’d always had each other’s back until Charlotte. She was the prettiest gal this side of the Mississippi and he had loved her with everything within him. He tried to be happy for Cinders and Charlotte when they wed. Heck, he was even the best man. Some best man.
Once his betrayal became known, he couldn’t face Cinders anymore and he’d lit out. It ripped out his heart and his soul. He never realized how much his friendship with Cinders meant to him. Charlotte’s grave was over yonder under a big cottonwood. He never could bring himself to visit it.
He’d known he was taking a chance coming back but he wasn’t ready for the disappointment that coursed through him. He ambled over to Jack and untied the reins. “Looks like we’re going to have to go on for a few more hours.” He patted Jack’s neck.