Skip to main content

Wednesday's Featured Book--Heart's Heritage by Ramona Cecil

I always love getting a peek at a new book ready to hit the bookstore! When I decided to revive my blog, I wanted to post more than my thoughts of the writing life or the craft--I mean, you can only talk plot and motivation, character development and story lines so much!

So on Wednesdays (and some Fridays,) I'm showcasing great books getting ready to debut on the shelves of your local bookstore--by it online or brick and mortar. Today, I'm featuring Ramona Cecil's wonderful new historical release, Heart's Heritage--so sit back and enjoy!

Indiana Territory, April, 1812
Annie aimed the musket's barrel at the center of the deer hide shirt covering the stranger's broad chest and prayed she wouldn't be required to pull the trigger. At the same time, she sent up a silent prayer of thanks for the presence of her late husband's Irish wolfhound, Cap'n Brody. The big dog—whose muzzle easily reached the shoulder of the man's horse—appeared to have the stranger effectively treed, lending an extra dose of courage to Annie. She strove to keep her voice strong and steady. "State your name and purpose, Monsieur:"
Willing her heart to slow its pace, she hefted the gun and glared down its barrel at her target. She knew all the residents of Deux Fleuves, and most of those living in neighboring settlements within a twenty-five mile radius. But she'd never seen this man, who sat unflinchingly regarding her from atop his black gelding. And she was sure she would have remembered one so comely. She guessed him to be not quite thirty years in age. Several days' worth of rusty stubble covered his angular face. His gray-green eyes held an intense look, glancing about as if attempting to ferret out additional threats beyond her musket and Cap'n Brody.
"Is this Jonah Martin's place?" His casual tone held no hint of fear, but the way he sat straighter in the saddle spoke of his respect for her weapon.
"Oui." Best not to offer too much information, but allow him to believe Jonah might appear at any moment.
"I mean no harm." He held up both hands, empty palms forward as if to demonstrate the sincerity of his claim. "I'd just like to speak to your pa."
"You have not yet said who you are, or for what reason you are here." Though his words had fallen short of persuading her he was harmless, he must know something of Jonah to realize her husband had been old enough to have a daughter Annie's age.
"I'm Brock Martin, Jonah Martin's nephew." He dragged off his black felt hat, revealing a shock of thick, russet hair.
The name sparked an obscure memory. Jonah had said very little about his extended family. According to Papa, there'd been some sort of falling-out between Jonah and his brother, Henry, years ago. But she did recall her husband once mentioning a nephew named Brock. She'd thought the name odd, and it had stuck in her mind. If this man was indeed Jonah's kin, he deserved to know his uncle was no longer living.
Slowly she relaxed her arms, allowing the weight of the weapon to pull the barrel downward. "I am sorry to tell you, Jonah is dead." Saying the words aloud jarred Annie, filling her with renewed sadness and a measure of the same disbelief now registering on her visitor's face. Even after two weeks, she could still hardly believe that the man she married only six weeks ago was no longer living.
"Your pa is dead?" Brock's soft voice held stunned disappointment.
"Oui. My papa is dead. But Jonah was not my papa. He was my husband."
Only a slight rise of his eyebrows revealed surprise at her statement.
"May I dismount? I've been riding for several hours, and I'd like to see my uncle's grave if he is buried here." He cast a wary glance down at Cap'n Brody.
"He is. Cap'n Brody, come here," she called. The dog moved away from the horse, but only far enough to allow the man room to dismount.
"You look nothing like Jonah." She voiced her thoughts while her gaze followed Brock's slow, deliberate movements as he dismounted and tied his horse to a low branch of a sycamore.
Though she kept hold of her musket, Cap'n Brody's congenial bark and happy swishing tail eased Annie's mind concerning the man's intent. Watching the dog trot over to greet Brock with a friendly lick on the hand, Annie remembered Jonah's comment that he'd stake his life on Cap'n Brody's appraisal of a man.
In his moccasin-clad feet, Brock Martin stood maybe a few inches short of six feet tall. As he walked toward her, his lean, muscular frame moved with a kind of tense grace that reminded Annie of a panther.
"Been told I took after my ma's family." His well-shaped lips tipped in an easy smile, and his gaze radiated a genuine friendliness.
"Hey, there, Big'un." He stopped to give Cap'n Brody a generous scratch between the ears, causing the dog to nuzzle his hand and beg for more attention.
Suddenly self-conscious, Annie reached up with jerky, ineffective motions, attempting to smooth unruly curls from her face. "I'm Annie—Annie Martin." She offered her hand in greeting.
His warm, strong fingers wrapped a bit tentatively around her proffered hand, as if not quite sure what to do with it. After an awkward pause, he gave it a little shake. "Brock Martin," he said with a quick laugh. "Reckon I said that already." The shy way his gaze scooted from hers reminded Annie of one of Obadiah and Bess Dunbar's little boys greeting her at church.
"I'll show you where he's buried." Hefting the musket in her right hand, she led him to the gravesite several yards east of the cabin. Despite Cap'n Brody's approval of the stranger, it wouldn't hurt to remind the man she was still armed.
Neither spoke as they waded through a whispering stand of fragrant, knee-high prairie grasses with Cap'n Brody lumbering between them. At last they stood before the row of little mounds. For a few moments, they allowed the happy chatter of birds and the constant, deep-throated gurgling of Piney Branch Creek along the ravine behind the cabin to fill the silence.
Brock stared at Jonah's fresh grave while Cap'n Brody began his usual low, mournful whine when near his late master's resting place. Annie couldn't describe Brock's look as one of grief, but there was certainly a sadness that spoke of regret.
"You've not seen him since he and his family moved here from Kentucky?" Somehow a conversation with this man felt more comfortable with Jonah intervening, even if it be from the grave.
"I last saw him when I was five. I barely remember him." Brock's gaze remained fixed on the wooden slab bearing Jonah's name, age, and date of death. "What did he die of?"
Annie's throat tightened as she recounted how, two weeks ago, a neighbor had found Jonah dead a half mile from Fort Deux Fleuves with a Shawnee arrow in his back. Though theirs had not been a love match, she had held a fondness for her father's old friend who'd lately become her husband.
"I—I asked him to go to the fort." Annie's confession surprised her. She hadn't shared that with anyone else, even the preacher's wife, Bess Dunbar, who was like a surrogate mother to Annie. Since Jonah's death, the guilt she felt for that act had built up inside her with each passing day like a festering sore. As much as it hurt to say it aloud, it was high time she lanced it. It felt good to get it out.

After the deaths of both her husband and papa, Annie Martin is left with nothing of their legacy but a small plot of land in Indian Territory. Her place is on the homestead they cherished, and she will not let anyone take what is hers. Until she meets Brock Martin and learns he has rights to half of the land
Brock only recently discovered that his uncle bequeathed him land. Now he is torn between protecting Annie's feelings and protecting his own neck. A false murder charge forced him to flee the army, and the only way to clear his name is to hire a lawyer to defend his case. He needs money, and selling the land may be the only way to get it.
Can the two find common ground before something more precious than sod beneath their feet is ripped from their hands?

Available at:


Popular posts from this blog

A Vow Fulfilled--Chapter 4 (and a giveaway!)

If you missed yesterday's chapter, go to MaryLu Tyndall's blog to catch up! Remember to post a comment for a chance to win a basketful of great prizes including MaryLu Tyndall's latest release, Forsaken Dreams and Laurie Alice Eakes' book, Choices of the Heart. 

And now, A Vow Fulfilled:

Chapter Four Turner glanced between his cousin and Celia—no, not Celia.  William’s fiancĂ©e. The “confused” lady he was kidnapping at the bequest of his cousin could be nothing more than Miss Sheldon to him. And as long as he didn’t think of her by her Christian name, she’d stay nothing more in his mind than the living version of the portrait his cousin had painted.  A glorified portrait, he had eventually concluded after weeks of studying it, for no woman with as little guileless and much loveliness as had been captured on that canvas could love or even wish to marry a man as scheming, greedy, and narcissistic as h…

D-Day 70th Anniversary Celebration Blog Tour--Home Front Heroines

For a chance to win ALL TEN novels featured on our blog tour, please visit each blog, collect the answers to the questions, and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway on the BLOG TOUR PAGE. You have a new chance to enter each day of the tour! The contest opens June 2, 2014 at 1 am PST and closes June 13, 2014 at 11 pm PST. The winners will be announced on Monday, June 16, 2014. *Note* Several of the titles will not be released until later in the year—these copies will be mailed to the winners after the release dates.

To win the prize of ALL TEN books, you must have collected ALL TEN answers. The winner must be prepared to send ALL TEN answers within 24 hrs of notification by email, or a new winner will be selected. You can enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway once each day! The more often you visit, the more entries you receive! However, you only need to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway once to be entered. But don’t forget…to win, you must have collected ALL TEN answers. To collect the answers, y…

Tag! I'm it! Writer's Process Blog Tour!

Writers are always trying to find ways to reach our readers so when Camille Eide contacted me about a continuous author blog tour where I answer a few questions, I jumped at the chance. So thank you, Camille! Please go visit her at Extreme Keyboarding.

Question 1: What am I working on now?
At the moment, I'm writing a proposal for a new series based in the Georgia gold rush--and yes, there was a gold rush in the North Georgia Mountains in the 1830s. An unconventional woman goes in search of her missing father after her by-the-book uncle arranges a marriage to save the family business.

Question 2: How does my work differ from others in my genre?
A writer friend once told me that I write about strong women facing unusual circumstances in order to do the right thing. I like that. I also create stories around pieces of history most folks have never heard of.

Question 3: Why do I write what I do?
When I first started writing about women in unique historical circumstances, it was because …