My special guest today is Lauren Linwood with her upcoming release BALLAD BEAUTY. Before we get into the specifics of the book. Lauren wants to share with you some thoughts about why she wrote this particular book.
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy Gale finally figured out that “there’s no place like home.” She had traveled far and wide—to the magical land of Oz—but she realized that what she needed was in her own back yard all along.
It took me awhile to figure that out, too.
I’m a native Texan who’s written five historical romances. Two are set in the medieval era, and the other three focus on the American Old West, namely Kansas and California. Then as I got ready to start a new manuscript, I had that light bulb moment.
Why not write about Texas? So I did!
Ballad Beauty began with my decision to write about a Texas Ranger. No, not a professional baseball player (although that could be the next idea). I wanted to write about the legendary lawmen which helped tame Texas, bringing order to the chaos of the wild state.
I decided to go with a big contrast—my hero would be the Texas Ranger—and his father would be a famous outlaw that he wants to bring to justice. To ramp things up, I had this outlaw have a partner in crime—and he would be the heroine’s father. My hero knows exactly what his father is; my heroine hasn’t got a clue as to what her father really does for a living.
And thus, the beginning of Ballad Beauty was born.
BLURB – Ballad Beauty
After ten years apart, Boston schoolmarm Jenny McShanahan receives a letter from her beloved father that instructs her to join him in Texas. She has no idea that he’s become Famous Sam McShan, the Robin Hood of the West. She arrives to find Sam already gone, but he left instructions for Jenny to hire a guide and rendezvous with him in Nevada.
Texas Ranger Noah Daniel Webster knows Sam personally because his father, Pistol Pete Webber, was Sam’s longtime partner in crime. When Pete is killed during their last big score, Noah requests the assignment to bring Sam to justice. Going undercover, he volunteers to act as Jenny’s escort across the dangerous prairie, using her to track her outlaw father’s location.
As they journey through rough country, love blossoms—but Noah knows the second he arrests Sam, his betrayal will kill Jenny’s love for him. Should the lawman do his duty as a Ranger, or should he let love rule? The choice Noah makes will change their lives forever.
Available for pre-order
BUY LINKS for Ballad Beauty: Amazon
EXCERPT – Ballad Beauty
Noah watched different expressions flit across Jenny McShanahan’s face in rapid succession. He saw joy, surprise, anger, and bewilderment come and go as quickly as mosquito bites. He also wondered about the man that followed them to the hotel. He spotted him atop the stage that brought her to Apple Blossom. He knew the gentleman hadn’t gotten off at the same time as the other passengers who had disembarked.
So why was he here now? And were they both interested in the same lady for the same reason?
“Would you be so kind as to send my things up to my room?”
He turned his attention back to the desk.
“Yes, ma’am. Consider it done.”
Jenny thanked the clerk. “And one more thing. Do you know how I would go about locating a Mr. Slim Patterson?”
The desk clerk visibly blanched. “Mr. Patterson, you say?”
She smiled sweetly. “Yes. My father would like me to get in touch with Mr. Patterson. He is to escort me to Nevada.”
The man laughed uncomfortably, his giggle high and girlish for one so rotund. “I’m sorry, Miss McShanahan. It won’t be possible for you to speak with him.” He paused and swallowed hard. “Mr. Patterson died in a knife fight last night. Something about debts he owed was the story I heard from the barkeep.”
Noah watched Jenny grow still, her green eyes dominating her face, which drained of color. She gripped the counter a long moment in order to steady herself. She seemed to come to some decision as she focused on the clerk.
“Would you recommend taking the train to Nevada, sir?”
Laughter filled the small lobby. “From Apple Blossom?” He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. “You could probably walk faster from here to there. No,” he shook his head, “overland route’s the only way to get there ‘fore Jesus returns.”
Jenny walked away, an odd look on her face. She moved toward the exit. Just before she reached the doorway, she looked over her shoulder.
Noah nearly dropped his teeth when she asked the clerk, “Would you please direct me to the nearest saloon?”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lauren Linwood became a teacher who wrote on the side to maintain her sanity in a sea of teenage hormones. Her historical romances use history as a backdrop to place her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire for one another grows into the treasured gift of love. Her romantic suspense novels feature strong heroes and heroines who unite to defeat a clever antagonist and discover a deep, abiding love during their journey.
A native Texan, Lauren lives in a Dallas suburb with her family. An avid reader, moviegoer, and sports fan, she manages stress by alternating yoga with long walks. She plans to start a support group for House Hunters addicts—as soon as she finishes her next piece of dark chocolate.