Author: Sharla Lovelace

Sunday Spotlight: The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas by Jodi Thomas, Sharla Lovelace and Scarlett Dunn

Posted October 25, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

An ex-soldier, has lost his way, and Emery, a woman running to find a new life, and five little rich girls just wanting to get home before Christmas.

When I started THE COWBOY WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS, I knew it would be a historical set in 1867, starting in a small inland port when Trapper Hawkins takes a job to haul freight. The pay is good, maybe enough to give him a start, but the cargo is five girls.

I’ve driven the roads from Jefferson, Texas to Dallas many times. But this time, in my mind, I was making the journey in a wagon with outlaws determined to kidnap my cargo, the little girls.

The story came alive in my mind and I laughed then cried, then fell in love with my characters. I learned to survive in the untamed land and fight off outlaws.

I drove as the story played out in my head. In three hours I’d covered a month by wagon while fighting storms and hunting for my supper every night.

By the time I stopped in Dallas and pulled into a hotel, my head was packed. It took me two months to write it all down and I think “Father Goose,” the story of one broken soldier and a runaway woman risking their lives to save five little girls may very well be my favorite short story ever.

Celebrate the holiday by making the journey across Texas with me this Christmas.

Jodi Thomas

Sunday Spotlight: The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas by Jodi Thomas, Sharla Lovelace and Scarlett DunnThe Cowboy Who Saved Christmas by Jodi Thomas, Sharla Lovelace, Scarlett Dunn
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
Genres: Westerns
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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In these Texas-set stories of romance and adventure, the Civil War is over, Christmas is coming—and it’s time for three rugged fighters to become lovers...

FATHER GOOSE by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jodi Thomas

Dispirited by war, when Trapper Morgan accepts a job hauling five little rich girls to Dallas, all he cares about is the money. He doesn’t expect they’ll awaken his spirit—or that their intriguing nursemaid, Carolina, will awaken his heart. And when danger strikes as Christmas Eve nears, he definitely doesn’t expect Carolina and the girls to risk their lives—for him . . .

THE MISTLETOE PROMISE by Sharla Lovelace

A catastrophic storm, an ailing herd, and a failing cattle ranch have left Texas rancher Josie Bancroft in danger of losing everything her father worked for. Still, she’d rather die than merge with her neighbor rancher Benjamin Mason, the man who broke her heart years ago, on Christmas Eve. As old sparks fly and secrets are revealed, however, Ben is determined to help Josie—and prove that this time around can be different. That the misunderstandings of Christmas past need not define their future...

CHRISTMAS ROAD by Scarlett Dunn

Yellow Fever has hit Clint Mitchum’s Texas hometown and taken his father and siblings, leaving Clint ever more cynical. Racing homeward to be by his mother’s side, Clint finds only a note from her, asking that he help her caregiver, a young woman named Amelia. Assuming his mother has passed, in his grief Clint ventures out to search for Amelia—and finds the best of gifts—just in time for Christmas...

Excerpt

The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas by Jodi Thomas, Sharla Lovelace, & Scarlett Dunn

Excerpt from “Father Goose” by Jodi Thomas

Trapper spent the morning preparing for his new job as if it was an assignment during the war. He studied maps, learned a bit about his employer, the girls’ father, Colonel Gunter Chapman. He’d been an officer in the Mexican–American War back in the 1840s.He was ruthless and came home with injuries. But that hadn’t stopped him from moving farther west from the protection of even the forts and starting a huge ranch.

Trapper had seen that kind of man many times in the war. A king on his land.

Trapper bought clothes for winter, a new hat and a warm coat from his winnings last night. He’d worn most of his clothes too long for them to be presentable. Now, when he got to Dallas, he’d be dressed more like a cowboy, a Westerner. And, if the raiders killed him along the way, he’d have a fine funeral outfit.

Walking toward the dock, he planned. He’d meet the little ladies, tell them the rules for the trip, and get underway. He decided he only needed three rules. One: Be ready to travel at sunup. Two: Stop at midday for thirty minutes to rest, take care of private needs, and drink water. Three: At sundown make camp. He’d cook a meal of whatever he shot along the way or use the supplies.

When Trapper had checked the wagon, he noticed the teamster hadn’t packed but two blankets, so he bought the girls each one. After all, they were little girls, and they’d need comfort.

He also added apples and canned peaches to his load.

Trapper was feeling hopeful about the journey. He’d bought two extra rifles and several boxes of bullets. He’d get these girls home safe and collect his five hundred dollars. Then he’d drive away in his new wagon with Midnight tied to the back.

A man who has a wagon, a horse, and enough money in his pocket to buy land was rich indeed. For the first time since the war he allowed himself to dream. He thought about something besides surviving one more day.

As he waited, he saw a small widow lady sitting on a bench near the dock. Trapper remembered the teamster had told him to hire a woman to travel with him, but surely he could handle five little girls.

There were so many women in black right after the war, it seemed like every woman dressed the same. Strange, he thought; the men wore blue and gray, but all the widows wore black. Mourning had no side, no color.

The paddleboat pulled up to yells and waves from the waiting crowd. As cargo began to roll off the side, passengers walked off the front in a thin line. It wasn’t long before he saw a tall woman in a light blue cape marching with five little girls behind her. She had to be the nurse traveling with his cargo. They all wore a uniform of sunny blue and white. They reminded him of a mother goose and her goslings. He guessed he was about to become the father goose.

Trapper had no doubt these were his charges. The first girl was tall, only a head shorter than the nurse. Her blond hair was tied back, as if she was trying to look older. The next two were shorter, with auburn hair. The younger and thinner of the pair wore an old wool cap and seemed to be crying. The fourth girl was probably about five and was round as a goose egg. The last one, and the smallest, seemed to be having trouble staying in line. She weaved back and forth as she kept jumping up and down as if she could see everything if she was two inches higher.

Trapper straightened and removed his wide-brimmed hat. There were several families meeting travelers, but he was the only man standing alone in front of a small covered wagon. Eventually, the nurse would find him.

The tall woman weaved her way around groups of people and the girls followed in a row. Well, all but the last one followed. The littlest one seemed to be having trouble keeping up.

Finally, the lady noticed him and headed his way. She stopped three feet from him and the girls lined up behind her. Except number five, who bumped into four and almost knocked two and three out of line.

“Are you the driver for Colonel Chapman’s girls?” The woman’s voice was cold and held no hint of a Southern accent.

“I am.” Trapper bowed slightly, not sure what to say or do. He decided to keep the poker game quiet. “I’m Trapper Hawkins, ma’am.”

“I understood there would be a nurse traveling with you to take care of the girls’ needs.”

He thought of saying he could handle them, but for the first time he wasn’t sure. Number five had lost her shoe and was starting to cry. The tall one, number one in the line, was glaring at him and the chubby one, number four, was laying her head on one shoulder, then the other, as if trying to see if he might look better from another angle.

“Mr. Hawkins, I’m sure you got the instructions. I assure you I will not be releasing my charges to you until you fulfill your part of the bargain. A woman to tend to their needs is essential.”

He thought of giving up. Letting the oh-so-proper lady take them back. They’d be safer on the boat, if the rumors were true. “If I don’t have a lady with me, you planning to turn around?”

“No. I’m going to file charges on you for breach of contract. Then I’ll notify the girls’ father and wait here until proper escort can be arranged. Colonel Chapman will not be happy if his exact orders are not followed.”

Trapper didn’t even know if there was a crime called breach of contract in Texas. They had too many murders, robbers, and cattle thieves to mess with a breach of anything.

The woman pushed out her chest and made her stand. “If the colonel doesn’t have his daughters home by Christmas, there will be hell to pay.”

Trapper had no idea what she was talking about. He was starting to look forward to the outlaws on the trail.

“I’m loaded and ready, ma’am. I’ll get them to Dallas.”

She opened her mouth to fill him in on all the facts when number five started limp-walking on one shoe and fell over her bag. Her foot went through the handle, so now she limped with one leg and dragged the bag with the other.

He just watched her. This last kid had the coordination of a day-old calf.

To no one’s surprise, the tiny girl started crying.

The chubby one, number four in line, started to help the littlest one up, but the nurse cleared her throat so loudly several people turned in her direction.

Number four looked like she might cry too, but she let go of number five.

The nurse said to him in her lecture voice, “We don’t baby our girls. Not even the littlest one. Understood? These girls are Texas princesses. Born in this wild state. They’ll grow up to be strong women, not crybabies.”

Trapper thought of pushing the nurse off the dock and seeing how strong she was, but he figured she’d file charges for that too.

Before anyone could move, a lady in black knelt down and lifted number five off the dock, freed her foot from the bag, and cradled the crying girl in her arms. “Come sit on the back of the wagon, child, and I’ll put your shoe back on. It’s far too cold a day to go without it.”

The nurse glared at the woman for a moment, then seemed to relax. “I see the traveling companion for the girls has finally arrived. She’ll be too soft on the girls and we’ll have our work cut out for us when they come back to school in February. However, it is good to see you picked a proper lady.”

As the widow tied the little girl’s shoe, the nurse stepped away to direct the luggage to be loaded into the wagon.

Trapper leaned toward the widow. “Lady, if you have the time, would you act like you’re traveling with me? Just till we get out of sight of that woman. I got to get these girls to Dallas and I’m not sure that nurse will let me do my job without a proper lady traveling with us.”

“I was going to Dallas also.” The widow’s voice was low, almost a whisper. “The stage doesn’t seem to be running this week. If you’ll let me ride along with you, I’ll play the part all the way.”

Trapper was shocked. “You would?”

She nodded. “I’d be safer with you and five girls than traveling alone. If you prove to be a not-so-honorable man, I have a weapon and will shoot you.”

He smiled. Her voice had a bit of the South in it and she could shoot. She had to be a born Texan. They understood each other. If he broke his word, she’d shoot him, no breach of contract needed.

“I’m Mrs. Adams.”

Trapper removed his hat. “I’m Trapper Hawkins. You’re doing me a great favor, ma’am.”

The nurse came back as men finished loading the wagon. “I’d like to introduce my little ladies before I leave them with you.”

She started with the oldest. “Catherine Claire, thirteen. Anna Jane, eleven. Elizabeth Rose, ten. Helen Wren five.” The nurse pointed to the smallest, still in the widow’s arms. “Sophia May is four. Colonel Chapman had three wives. All died in childbirth and none gave him a son. Poor man.”

Trapper studied them as the nurse gave instructions to Mrs. Adams and marched back to the boat. The tallest daughter, with her blond hair, would probably be from the first wife. Two and Three from a redheaded wife. And Four and Five from the third wife. He’d guess that wife had brown hair and big brown eyes.

Trapper turned to his charges. “Look, little ladies, I doubt I’ll straighten those names out in three weeks, so how about I call you in order by number?” He pointed to the tall blonde, first in line. “One.” Then the two auburn-haired girls. “Two and Three.” He smiled at the next and couldn’t help but laugh as she giggled, waiting for her number. “Four,” he said, touching her nose. The tiny one waited for her new name. “You’re Five. It’s a game we’ll play.” He glanced at the widow. “A secret game. Like code names.”

When he noticed the widow asked no questions, he added, “Only we have to call her Mrs. Adams. She deserves our respect. She lost her man in the war.”

All the girls nodded except Five. She was spinning around again like an unbalanced top.

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Bane’s Choice by Alyssa Day

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!


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Guest Review: Stay With Me by Sharla Lovelace

Posted September 11, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Stay With Me by Sharla LovelaceReviewer: Tracy
Stay With Me by Sharla Lovelace

Publication Date: August 22nd 2014
Format: eARC
Add It: Goodreads
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two-half-stars

Ian was the wild boy every girl dreams of, a renegade who thrived on breaking the law and setting Savi’s body on fire. It was all fun and games and hot excitement, no strings attached, until the one day he got serious—and then disappeared without a trace.

Savi has spent the ten years since committing herself to her work, her daughter, and to not thinking about Ian—or love. Just when it’s possible she might have found the one man who can change her mind, Ian pulls into town, bringing with him all of the lust, danger, and excitement Savi remembers.

As Ian stirs up old feelings and draws Savi back into memories and passion she’s too weak to fight, he’s also digging up dirt on the man Savi is falling for, doing everything he can to prove that Duncan is not who he seems to be. And Savi, unsure whether she can trust either man, will be forced to decide between rekindling a love that never really burned out and building a new one that looks ready to catch fire.

 

Tracy’s review of Stay With Me by Sharla Lovelace

Savanna is a 43 woman who helps run her father’s business, has a 21 year old daughter who is grown and out of the house and has a huge crush on the new veterinarian in town. She keeps finding excuses to take her dog Gracie in to get checked just so she could see the guy. One of those times she actually gets the nerve up to ask him to coffee and he accepts! Yay!

When they head to the local butcher shop, the one owned by her sister and brother-in-law, she’s shocked to see her first love behind the counter. Ian was her best friend growing up and they got into shit tons of trouble together. They also were friends with benefits when they got old enough. Eleven years before Ian let her know that he loved her and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. Four days later, she found him in bed with another woman. He then he left town and she never saw him again. The fact that he’s back now freaks her out and she’s not sure how she feels about seeing him again.

While Savi is figuring out her feelings for both Duncan and Ian her father is considering selling his business, she finds out her sister is getting pressure from the local “mob boss” and that her business is in trouble. Savi’s life is in turmoil and she’s not sure what she can do about it.

This was my first read by this author and while I liked some things about the book, the overall story just wasn’t my cup of tea.

In a romance I usually find myself rooting for the couple on both sides of the coin – both hero and heroine. In this story I wasn’t sure who I was rooting for – Ian or Duncan. I didn’t feel like I had enough information about either one of them to make an informed decision and apparently Savi didn’t know either. Her emotions were all over the place in the story and when I thought she’d go one way (to one guy), she’d go the other. The man she ended up with was not the one I expected it to be and frankly I wasn’t feeling the love between the two of them enough to enjoy what I think was supposed to be a touching HEA.

As far as the other part of the book – having to do with Savi’s dad’s business – it was pretty convoluted and resolved quite easily which didn’t seem appropriate. We were led to believe that this “mob boss” guy was one evil bastard but he was quickly put in his place and he just kind of agreed and walked away. What?? It didn’t make sense to me.

The relationship that Savi had with her sibling, her father and her daughter were pretty cool. I thought that they had a great family dynamic and that was portrayed well. I also enjoyed the parts of the book that were humorous. The author has a fun sense of humor and when that was played up I found the book much more enjoyable.

So…while I didn’t love the book I thought it has some good aspects to it. I may read another of this author’s work in the future just to see I like one of her other books more than I did this one.

Rating: 2.5/3 out of 5

This title is available from Beyond the Page Publishing. You can buy it here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

two-half-stars


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Guest Review: Just One Day by Sharla Lovelace

Posted November 30, 2013 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Just One Day by Sharla LovelaceReviewer: Tina
Just One Day by Sharla Lovelace
Publisher: Indie
Publication Date: September 24, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 115
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

She has nothing but time . . .

Twenty-four hours. That’s how long Andie Fremont has to say yes—or no. At forty-four with a daughter in college, she’s no young kitten with starry-eyed ideas of what love is. Still, when the man who is everything she should want pops the question with a ring he knows isn’t her style, during a party she didn’t want to have, Andie balks. Something tells her that it isn’t right.

Looking to clear her head, Andie hits the Texas highway in search of an answer. And when she stumbles upon an old roadside diner she decides waffles might be it, at least for now. What she didn’t expect to find was Jesse Montgomery. The man who stole her heart and broke it all in one day, two decades earlier.

As a Texas-size storm takes shape outside, the electricity between Andie and Jesse builds inside. Suddenly Andie is faced with more than just yes or no. As the storm clears there are two men who will want answers.

I have never read anything by Sharla Lovelace prior to this book, so I didn’t have any idea what to expect. It stated in the book description that if you were a fan of Susan Mallery or Susan Addison Allen you would probably love her work, so I had high hopes.

This was a very short little novella. I liked that it was a quick read, but it certainly left me wanting more! Just One Day is the perfect beach read, or anytime when you just don’t have all day to curl up with a great book. It tells the story of Andie, a woman who seems to have it all. She is in her forties and is dating the supposed “perfect man”. He has her throw this gigantic party on a yacht for all their friends and HIS co-workers that she didn’t want to have, and then in front of everyone proposes to her and pops out a huge ring that is SO not her style. She is totally horrified! So what does she do? She throws up!

You see, Andie is ready for marriage – she is just not ready to accept everything thrown at her in the whirlwind public fashion that she receives. She tells “Mr Perfect” that she needs time. He totally understands he says…..and gives her a GENEROUS 24 hours to decide! (What a guy!)

Meanwhile, Andie jumps in her car to go for a drive to clear her head. She sees a diner and decides to stop. Who happens to be in the diner?? The guy that broke her heart 20 years ago! And to top this off, there is a horrible storm rolling in…..

Needless to say, Andie has a lot of thinking to do. Will she stay with Brad the supposed “perfect guy”, or will she risk another chance at losing her heart again to Jessie?

I loved the story and I thought the characters were very down-to-earth. Besides the drama, there was also romance, suspense, and even a little comedy thrown in for good measure. I will definitely be looking for more by this author, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a lighthearted romance that isn’t dull and predictable.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

This book is available from Beyond the Page Publishing.  You can purchase it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

three-half-stars


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