I’m happy to welcome Wild Rose Press author Karen Hulene Bartell. Today, Karen shares embarrassing moments from her new release, Wild Rose Pass.
Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog. It’s a pleasure to be here today!
Wild Rose Pass has two protagonists—Cadence and Ben. Like you and me in real life, both experience more than their share of uncomfortable situations.
When he meets her, Ben feels outclassed. Cadence sends him a condescending, look but don’t touch message. His fellow officers at the fort—all West Point graduates—talk down to him, an enlisted man, who received a field promotion.
Ignoring the familiar pang of exclusion, he tips his hat to her with a courtly flourish. “Ma’am.” Just because they see me as a savage, do I have to act like one?
Later, when Cadence’s fingertips accidentally graze his thigh, he leans into her space. She inclines her body toward his, wondering, How will his lips feel on mine? Eager to learn, she closes her eyes, parts her lips, and waits…
Moments pass before she hears a strangled, “We’d better head back.” Opening her eyes wide, she stares horror-struck. Did I just make a fool of myself? She imagines him laughing behind her back or bragging what a fool he made of her. “Fine.” Jerking the reins, she digs her knees into her horse’s sides and takes off at a canter.
“Cadence, dear, everyone at the fort expects us to marry, and we mustn’t let them down…When do you want to set the date?”
While the assembly listens for her answer, her jaw and neck stiffen with suppressed rage. He didn’t propose marriage. He issued an order and expects me to obey. Her eyes narrow as she regards the room’s beaming faces. Military tradition is the reason behind his arrogance. Everyone expects me to accept the dashing West Point officer’s proposal.
The target of a smear campaign, Cadence is ostracized at church during the sermon of the Samaritan woman. Sibilant whispers, steely eyes, and judgmental scowls meet her as people swivel in their pews to leer. A tingling begins at the nape of her neck and sweeps toward her cheeks and ears. Her self-esteem plummets, and humiliation courses through her body as she struggles to make sense of their hostility. Do they compare me to the fallen woman?
And you think you’ve had bad days? Spoiler alert: This historic romance is a HEA, but not without mortification or strife. Hope you’ll read Wild Rose Pass to learn how Cadence and Ben resolve their humiliating moments. The first chapter’s on me!
• Travel back to the Frontier with two people of different worlds, drawn together by conflicting needs!
• Lose yourself in time, where 1880s East confronts the West Frontier, and two opposites are drawn together by conflicting needs!
• Based on a true story, WILD ROSE PASS is a romantic journey into yesteryear. Share the challenges with Cadence and Ben in a ride through the past! https://bit.ly/2T1V3JM
Cadence McShane, free-spirited nonconformist, yearns to escape the rigid code, clothes, and sidesaddles of 1880s military society in Fort Davis, Texas. She finds the daring new lieutenant exhilarating, but as the daughter of the commanding officer, she is expected to keep with family tradition and marry West Point graduate James West.
Orphaned, Comanche-raised, and always the outsider looking in, Ben Williams yearns to belong. Cadence embodies everything he craves, but as a battlefield-commissioned officer with the Buffalo Soldiers instead of a West Point graduate, he is neither accepted into military society nor considered marriageable.
Can two people of different worlds, drawn together by conflicting needs, flout society and forge a life together on the frontier?
Reining his horse between catclaw and prickly-pear cactus, Ben Williams squinted at the late summer sun’s low angle. Though still midafternoon, shadows lengthened in the mountains. He clicked his tongue, urging his mare up the incline. “Show a little enthusiasm, Althea. If we’re not in Fort Davis by sunset, we’ll be bedding down with scorpions and rattlesnakes.”
As his detachment’s horses clambered up Wild Rose Pass, the only gap through west Texas’ rugged Davis Mountains, Ben kept alert for loose rocks or hidden roots, anything that might trip his mount. A thick layer of fallen leaves created a pastiche of color shrouding the trail from view. He glanced up at the lithe cottonwood trees lining the route, their limbs dancing in the breeze. More amber and persimmon leaves loosened, fell, and settled near the Indian pictographs on their tree trunks. When he saw the red- and yellow-ochre drawings, he smiled, recalling the canyon’s name—Painted Comanche Camp.
“How far to Fort Davis, lieutenant?” called McCurry, one of his recruits.
“Three hours.” If we keep a steady pace.
Without warning, the soldier’s horse whinnied. Spooking, it reared on its hind legs, threw its rider, and galloped off.
As he sat up, the man groaned, caught his breath, and stared into the eyes of a coiled rattler, poised to strike. “What the…?”
Flicking its tongue, hissing, tail rattling, the pit viper was inches from the man’s face.
A sheen of sweat appeared above the man’s lip. “Lieutenant—”
About the Author
Author of the Trans-Pecos, Sacred Emblem, Sacred Journey, and Sacred Messenger series, Karen is a best-selling author, motivational keynote speaker, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life. She writes multicultural, offbeat love stories that lift the spirit. Born to rolling-stone parents who moved annually, Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Westerns spurred her to write (pun intended). Wanderlust inherent, Karen enjoyed traveling, although loathed changing schools. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings. Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen resides in the Hill Country with her husband Peter and her “mews”—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog.
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