DIVINE GAMBLE, a gritty, sensual American historical western romance available on Amazon for pre-order now. $.99 until release on August 20.
Danger stalks Maisy Macoubrie. At fourteen she saw the man she foolishly loved murder her father. She would have been next if she hadn’t run. Fourteen years later, she’s still running. If only she could provide a safe home for her and her son, but she’ll never get rich dealing faro in saloons…not with a cold-blooded killer on her trail.
The Preacher never meant to become a gunman. Sometimes life interferes and forces a man down a path he doesn’t care to follow. Always alone, always hunted, he dreams of all he’s been denied—peace, family, love.
The moment Maisy and The Preacher meet, their lives change once more. United in battle against a powerful enemy, they fight side by side, but can they beat the odds they face? Is love worth the biggest gamble man has ever known?
Danger rode a howling wind into Pandora, Colorado, that autumn night. A gleeful desperado, the gale scoured the town's nooks, alleys, and yards. It iced window panes and froze puddles.
Maisy Macoubrie stood on the boarding house stoop, watching trash blow down the street, her faro bag held in front of her like a shield. She enjoyed a good storm, but tonight, her mood seemed as ragged and tense as the weather. Blessed Saints, but her back ached. Thank heaven the gambling season would be over soon, and she could go home to Utah.
The eight o'clock stage slogged past the boarding house and slid to a muddy halt in front of The Pandora House. Half a dozen men on horseback followed. Passengers bolted from the still-rocking coach into the well-lighted building. The others did the same. Once they'd all warmed up and filled their bellies, they'd want a pleasant way to pass the evening, such as gambling.
Maisy sighed. Time to go to go deal faro at the Bloated Goat Saloon.
Something darted under her skirts. She swallowed a screech and yanked up her hems.
"Soda!" Crouching, she petted the grumpy looking calico cat. "Oh, you're wet."
Maisy stood. "Come on, I'll let you in, and give you something to eat."
The cat darted inside the second she opened the door and dashed up the stairs. Leaving her faro bag beside the door, Maisy followed and let the cat into her room. "Stay off the bed until you've cleaned yourself."
The calico padded over to her special rug under the window and set to work licking her fur. Maisy fetched Soda's food from the storage space in the washstand.
"Here you are." She put several pieces of chopped, dried beef on the floor. "I have to go to work." Maisy bent and put her hand beside the cat's right front leg. "Come on, shake with me like I taught you."
She almost chuckled at the look of disgust on Soda's face, but the cat raised her paw. "Good girl. I'll see you later."
She'd no sooner stepped back out on the front porch than Lenny Goodman dashed up the steps. "’Evening, Miss Maisy."
"Good evening, Lenny. Did Nose send you?" In the light from his lantern, his face looked older than fourteen years. His eyes displayed a sort of wisdom and disillusionment in their depths that aged him. His chin showed the promise of a beard he would soon have to start shaving. It wouldn't be long before her son Danny would be doing the same.
"Yep. Said it was too dark for you to have to find your way to the saloon without a lantern." He took her bag from her as she descended the steps to the boards laid over the muddy road in drier weather—her landlord's idea of a boardwalk.
Lenny held up the light while Maisy maneuvered the makeshift pathway. Before reaching the boardwalk that fronted the stores, the rain had soaked her cloak and skirt hems.
"I stepped in a mud puddle back there," Lenny said, joining her in front of Sims Café and Bakery. "Need to scrape it off." He went to work, using the edge of the porch to relieve him of the gunk. "You want to take the lantern with you and go on?"
Maisy glanced toward the Bloated Goat Saloon. Light from the windows showed on the boardwalk. "No, I'll be all right, Lenny. Thank you."
She took her bag from him and went on. Storm doors kept the weather out of The Goat, but they also blocked the light the shorter, swinging doors would have allowed to escape. Maisy peered over her shoulder to check on the boy and walked into something solid and unmovable.
An avid reader, Charlene Raddon never planned to be a writer. A vivid dream changed that. She dragged out a portable typewriter and began to put her dream on paper. Originally published by Kensington Books, Charlene is now an Indie author. All her books have received high accolades, contest wins, and awards. When not writing, she designs historical book covers at her site, http://silversagebookcovers.com where she specializes in westerns.
Charlene’s website: http://charleneraddon.com
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Charlene-Raddon/e/B000APG1P8/