I've written a blog post on the Sweet Americana Sweethearts website about my research into corsets of working women. I needed to know the kind of corset Gema would have worn. It's not what you think. Check it out here.
I'm planning to post another snippet from Music of Heart in a few days. With NANOWRIMO starting tonight I'll have to get that done. My first NANO project is a novel to be included in a new Multi-author series debuting in January 2018. That's all I can tell you now, because it's a secret. Stay tuned.
Oh, there's a Pre-Order link too.
Music of Heart is being edited as you read this. As you know, it's Gema and Red's story. You met them both in Laundry Lady's Love, the first book in the Stones Creek Ladies of Sanctuary House Series. In the previous post you read the first scene. There is now a cover and release date.
Here's another snippet. Red has found Gema after her escape from the King Gang. She was soaking wet from a fall in a creek and the rain. Though she's now in dry clothing she isn't able to get warm. Red knows a way to help. Even if they hadn't been in a compromising situation before, this will seal their fate.
They’d finished the stew and Gema was working on the tangles in her hair. Red could tell she was still very cold. Her hands trembled as she brushed. Every so often her entire body shook, her shivering trying to warm itself.
Red was standing behind her, leaning against the wall, his arms crossed over his chest. He’d placed the bowls in a bucket of water. They could be washed in the morning.
How was he going to suggest what he knew needed to be done? He’d been in a similar circumstance before when he and several other cowboys got caught out in a blizzard. It was awkward enough with men. But with a man and a woman— That just made their situation and its outcome even more inevitable.
He was still chilly but nowhere near how cold to the very core he knew she’d gotten. That was so very hard to relieve.
Red stood and rubbed his face with his hands. No point in putting it off. Gema needed to be warmed so she didn’t succumb to lung fever. It was a real possibility. It looked as if her hair was dry. That was good. Having a wet head, everyone knew, could lead to lung fever. He moved in front of her and squatted down.
“Miss Gema? Are you any warmer now that you’re all dry?” A violent shudder jerked through her. Red took the small hand that still had the bluish cast to it in his. “Miss Gema— Gema. There’s a way to get you warm. I haven’t suggested it before because— well, you’re a woman, a single woman trapped here with me, a single man.”
She lifted her eyelids, and the pool of her deep blue eyes studied his face warily.
“It’s bundling. We share the warmth of the bed. Our body heat trapped beneath the blankets creates sort of cocoon. My body heat will warm you.”
Gema’s eyes got wide. Shock was written on her face.
“No, Honey. We’ll both be fully clothed. You can even put on some of my trousers if you want.” He pointed to the tan canvas pants folded on a corner of the table. “And socks. I have a pair you can wear. That will help you too.” Red got up and retrieved the items.
Another shudder wracked her body as he set the garments in her lap. She needed to agree soon, or he was afraid she’d become ill.
“I—I need to— before.” Gema’s face turned bright red.
He figured out what her problem was. “Oh, yeah. I’ll just go check the animals. There’s the chamber pot.” He pointed to the corner. Grabbing his coat and hat, Red donned them and fled out the door. He’d give her plenty of time to finish her business before he returned. He’d take care of his needs too.
As soon as Laundry Lady's Love was released readers began clamoring for the next book in the series. I listened and am nearing the end of writing the book. It's Red Dickerson's story. He lost Laura in Laundry Lady's Love but now gets his girl in Music of Her Heart. The cover's not ready for release but I have the first scene to wet your appetite.
Gema's a Russian immigrant who lost her family several years ago. She was taken to Sanctuary Place and now has come to Stones Creek. You met her in Laundry Lady's Love. Several readers wrote and told me I was spelling her name incorrectly. If she was American, that would be right. But she's from Russia. In my research for Russian girls names I found Gema. I'm not sure if they pronounce it Je-mah or Jee-mah. I prefer the first.
Here's the first scene. I'll post more snippets as the time for release gets closer.
Music Of Her Heart
All she could hear was the blood pounding in her ears and the ragged intake and exhale of air as she ran. Gema Volkovichna didn't look back. She just ran. She had to get away. That woman, Flora, had placed herself in danger for her. Gema wasn't going to allow that to be wasted.
She hadn't a clue where she was going, just away. Away from the small cave, the group of outlaws was using as their hideout. Away from certain rape and abuse.
Terror drove Gema on. She tripped, nearly falling. She wished the clouds would break so she could see the sun. She had no idea what direction she was running. Was she heading toward Stones Creek or away? Were the trees thinning? If she left, the cover of the forest would they find her? Stones Creek was near where the land sloped up from plains to forested hills. Just past the edge of town the woods began.
If only she could get back to Stones Creek. Then she'd be safe. Or would she? She'd been kidnapped right from the street in the middle of the day. Or rather the alley behind the hotel where she worked as a maid.
Gema had left the hotel by the back door to go have her midday meal at Sanctuary House where she lived. She hadn't been in the Colorado town long. Only since January. It was now late-March.
As she walked behind the hotel, Gema was grabbed from behind and flung over the back of a horse. Whoever was holding her across the saddle kicked the horse into a gallop before she could even try to scream. The saddle horn dug into her hip. It wasn't long before her hat lost its hold and fell to the ground. Gema hadn't a clue how far they traveled. She might have even fainted for a while.
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