Today, rather than write about a cowboy or western-related subject, I’d like to take the opportunity to talk about a western anthology that I am privileged to be a part of. Several contributors of Cowboy Kisses are also part of this collaboration. I’m excited and pleased to be partnering with more than a dozen other western romance writers for the short story Anthology, Rawhide 'n Roses, which is set for release on March 15th.
When the idea was first proposed on the Western Romance Writers thread on the Amazon Meet Our Authors Forum for each of the authors to write a short story and publish it as a collection, I jumped at the chance. A short story of roughly 2000 words? Sure. No problem. How hard could it be?
Famous last words. Writing a short story is a real challenge, as I came to find out very fast. I think the shortest novel I’ve written is just under 70,000 words. Writing a complete story using fewer words than an average chapter soon became an almost impossible undertaking.
For my story, I chose to go with what was familiar to me, namely the Yellowstone setting from my Yellowstone Romance Series and its spin-off trilogy, the Teton Romance Trilogy. I picked a character I introduced briefly as a very minor character in Teton Splendor, added the character who is the hero in my current WIP, Teton Sunset, and added a new character, to build my story. The resulting short story is called Yellowstone Proposal, which takes place in the time between the last two of the Teton books, Teton Splendor and Teton Sunset.
Evan Connelly has been in love with Kara Russell since he first arrived in St. Louis. But how could he possibly tell her? He was from Boston, and she grew up in the wilderness of a place he’d only heard of. She couldn’t possibly see anything in him. When Kara returns home to her beloved mountains, can Evan find the courage to follow her and make his feelings known?
“Mr. Osborne? I would like to request a leave of absence.”
Zach Osborne had glanced up from the papers he’d been studying at his desk.
“Do you need to return to Boston?”
“No, sir. I . . . ah . . . I made a mistake when Miss Russell left.”
“Mistake?” The corners of Zach’s mouth twitched. “What sort of mistake?”
“I let her get away, sir.” Evan glanced at the ground. “I should have told her that I love her.”
“You want to go after her?” Zach’s eyebrows rose.
“I’ve lived in Boston all my life, Mr. Osborne. All I’ve known is how to keep my nose in a book. My family was in disbelief when I told them I was moving to St. Louis. Here, I met a girl I would like to make my wife, and I should have made my feelings known. If she rejects me, then so be it, but at least I won’t have any regrets that I didn’t try to win her over.”
“I wish I could go with you, Evan, but you know I can’t leave the practice on such short notice.”
“I’m not asking you to go with me.”
“All right, Evan, but you’ll need a guide to take you up the Yellowstone.”
Three days later, Zach Osborne had introduced him to Lucas Walker, an army scout who was heading back home to the Tetons for the winter.
“You’re in love with little Kara?” Lucas had given him the skeptical once-over. “I warn you right now. That girl is a handful. I’ve known her since we were little kids. Her claws are sharper than those of a mountain lion.”
“The Kara Russell I’ve met was nothing less than a lady,” Evan said, standing taller.
“Suit yourself.” Lucas shrugged, grinning broadly. “But don’t say I didn’t warn you. Just understand that heading to the Yellowstone will be harsher than anything you’ll ever experience.”
“It’ll be worth it, if I can win Miss Russell’s hand.”
Lucas laughed. “You sound like my brother. He suffered from a sickness of the heart, too. I sure as hell hope I’m never afflicted. I don’t need my brain addled that way.”
“When do we leave?”
“Before first light in the morning.”
The Yellowstone Romance Series
For Aimee Donovan, it started out as an unbelievable journey into the past. Little did she know that her time travel would shape the destiny of the place we know today as Yellowstone.
The Yellowstone Romance Series is an enticing mixture of adventure, love, and danger through the generations as we meet the Osborne and Russell families.
From the dawn of the rugged and untamed wilderness of Yellowstone to the majestic national park we know today, we feel the passion, heartache, and excitement on every page.
My books (and audiobooks) are available at the following links!