Wednesday, August 19, 2020



by Andrea Downing


I’m happy to announce that my latest Historical Western Romance will be released on August 31.  It is currently in pre-order at

 Barnes and Noble

iBooks on app




Can revenge be on your mind when you’ve been Shot Through the Heart?


Gunslinger Shiloh Coltrane has returned home to work the family's Wyoming ranch, only to find there's still violence ahead. His sister and nephew have been murdered, and the killers are at large.
Dr. Sydney Cantrell has come west to start her medical practice, aiming to treat the people of a small town. As she tries to help and heal, she finds disapproval and cruelty the payment in kind.
When the two meet, it's an attraction of opposites. As Shiloh seeks revenge, Sydney seeks to do what's right. Each wants a new life, but will trouble or love find them first?



 “Home. I’d like to see you ride off now please.”

“I’ll ride off but I want to ask you: what difference would it make if I said no? Or if I rode off and circled back? You think you’re safe here? On your own? I showed you in the office what could happen. So, what do you think your pleasant little request would do if I, or anyone else, didn’t feel like riding off? What would you do then?”

She pulled the knife so fast she knew he’d hardly seen her hand move. It had taken a lot of practice to learn to do, but practice she had. And she knew just how to use it.

“An Arkansas toothpick? Is that what that is?”

“If that’s what you call it. Back east we just called it a clasp-knife. You see, this one springs out. And before you ask, yes, I know how to use it. I studied surgery, after all.”

“I bet you did, but…”

She closed the knife and slid down from her horse. “I’m tired of this conversation, Mr. Coltrane. I’d appreciate it if you headed off now.” She started to undo the cinch on her horse and pulled the saddle, swinging it over the rail of her fence.

“Tell me one thing—”

She swiveled back to him, squinting across at him on his horse, the moon just lighting his features so she could see his darkening beard and some of the scrapes and nicks from the glass. “No, you tell me one thing!”

“All right. What?” 

She knew from his snarl he wasn’t going to be happy about answering, whatever her question was.


“Why what?”

“Why, really, are you following me?”

Coltrane made the slightest movement in his saddle as if he were getting more comfortable. His breathing got more pronounced but his hands were still on the reins as he glowered down at her. She could hear him make a decisive smack with his mouth but still he didn’t reply. He looked away as if he were considering what to do, then pivoted back to her.

“My sister inherited our ranch from my father. My father thought I was a good for nothing—” 

“And are you?”

“Probably. Maybe then. Maybe not so much now.”


“She then married a man, Oswald Parmeter was his name, maybe is his name if the bastard’s still alive. Had a child by him. A real good-for-nothing who fell in with a bunch of other no-goods, outlaws. Parmeter left her on the ranch. Alone. With the child. Then one night—”

“I don’t think I want to hear the rest.”

“No, ’course you don’t. You know what happened, and you know it could happen to you.”

She moved around her horse to stand just below him and peered up at him. “Mr. Coltrane, I’m not your sister, the outlaws aren’t coming back here. You have to get on home now.”

He ignored her. “They killed both her and the child, those animals. For what? For what reason? As far as anyone can make out, it was because Parmeter had run off with some of their money or something and it was their revenge. He told them, I believe, if he inherited the ranch and some money she had, he could pay them back.”

She felt sick. Men who could kill a child and a woman really were animals. Just as he said. She clasped her forehead, then glanced back up at him. “Where…where were you when this happened?”

He snorted. “I was just as my father said I was: good for nothing. I came back to make a fresh start shortly after and heard the whole thing. The town doesn’t like me much because I asked too many questions, stirred up their shame. Not to mention I went round every damn ranch in the area and got our herd back. Most of them had used a running iron to change the brand but it was plain as day. Others had felt sorry the cattle weren’t being seen to, were honest people, and handed them over. So now I’m waiting.”


“Waiting to decide what to do next. Waiting to see if those bastards come on back. Or Parmeter comes back to claim what I guess is rightly his—my ranch. As her legal husband it should be his, but I’ll be damned and in my grave before I let him have it.”

Sydney got hold of her horse’s bridle and swung the reins over his head to lead him to his stall. She turned back to Coltrane as she opened her gate. “Get home, Mr. Coltrane, and stop worrying—or even thinking—about me. I’ve managed to get myself here and can look out for myself. Seems like you’ve got other things to worry about. I’m fine.”

She could just hear him mumble, ‘Last words,’ as he reined his horse to the east and headed home.


Sydney realized she had never thought of outlaws or bandits or whatever the heck they called them out here. She had just wanted to get away from the east and her humiliations at wanting to be a doctor, the way her parents had more or less disinherited her, and she had been forced to take advantage of the kindness of her professor and his wife, another female doctor. She’d known she could never repay them, but she could make them proud and feel they had accomplished what they had set out to do—make her an outstanding practitioner, serving patients who needed her. Iona, the wife, had passed on now and relations with Garnforth, the professor, had become complicated, but her feeling of indebtedness hadn’t gone. 

The cabin was something the Agency let her have, near enough to the reservation but far away enough for her not to be a temptation to the soldiers at the fort. Somewhere in her was a belief soldiers were upstanding, kept the peace, served the good, and would hardly do anything so crass and wrong as to take advantage of a woman. Surely, they knew their commanding officer would deal sharply with them if they even tried. But their words, their language, even the ignorance of the wives who were there and shunned her—that was most puzzling. The women preferred having a male doctor look to their needs rather than a ‘disgraceful’ woman.

The door creaked open and she dropped her bag to get hold of the lantern, opened the glass and struck one of her Diamond matches by feel until the flame blossomed and she lit the wick. The sound of the glass hitting the rim as she replaced it relieved the quiet for a moment before she plopped her hat on the table and turned to the basin whose water had chilled during the day. Too tired to go out and get fresh and heat it, she grabbed the soap and scrub brush and scrubbed her hands before washing her face. As she leant over the basin, she recalled Shiloh Coltrane, the feel of his breath on her face, the hands that seemed almost elegant—too elegant for a man like that—and his resolve she be safe. She found it difficult to think straight, to sort her feelings about a man who insisted on seeing her home safely while he projected the hard countenance and isolation of a loner. It was a conundrum.

She undressed and changed for bed, slipped between the covers, but it was Shiloh Coltrane’s face she saw in front of her, Shiloh Coltrane’s voice she heard. And Shiloh Coltrane’s warning that echoed in her mind.




Julie Lence said...

Congrats on your upcoming release!!

Andrea Downing said...

Thanks Julie. I'm excited :-)

Patti Sherry-Crews said...

Congratulations on your upcoming new release! Great cover! Since I was lucky enough to have read a copy of Shot Through the Heart, I can tell everyone what a terrific western romance it is. I loved both the main characters and watching their romance unfold was delicious with some twists and turns and a hero who had faith in heroine. Nice excerpt! Good luck with your new release. It's a winner.

Andrea Downing said...

Patti, thank you so much for those very kind words. I did enjoy writing this with two such diverse h/h, and I hope others enjoy it.

Kristy McCaffrey said...

Great cover! Congrats on the upcoming book. Sounds wonderful!

Andrea Downing said...

Thanks Kristy. I hope it's wonderful!

Julie A. D'Arcy said...

A very enjoyable excerpt. I am certain it will be a great read. Wishing you well with your sales.

Andrea Downing said...

Thanks so much Julie. Good to see you here and hope all well 'down under.'