GUESS WHAT’S RELEASING IN ONE WEEK?
THE RUNAWAY WIFE, Book Four of the Award-Winning Brides of Little Creede Series!
When CiCi finished The Innocent Wife, Book Three of BRIDES OF LITTLE CREEDE, the intention was to move on to something else. Namely, a Contemporary Western series they’d started that needed to be finished. They’d also framed out and begun a romantic suspense/ thriller novel. Except CiCi’s wonderful readers had other ideas. They asked for more Little Creede stories. The asking became a loving demand.
What else could CiCi do except start plotting?
And a second trilogy was born.With all of the beloved secondary characters of Little Creede taking on personalities of their own, Cheryl and Char knew it was vital to keep the townsfolk in sharp focus along with the three new couples whose romances and personal dramas would unfold within their own stories. Plus, time needed to march on in a realistic way. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, modernization was already encroaching, and the Wild West would eventually catch up, requiring constant research as the next three books were plotted.
Talk about fun . . .!!
The Runaway Wife, Book Four of the now-extended series, introduces a new hero to CiCi’s devoted readers, Sam Singleton. A fun little tidbit… CiCi’s hero on the book cover is Michael Wayne Foster, model and actor, known for his role in The Walking Dead TV Series, and he’s currently shooting a movie in Hollywood. How cool is that? Char and Cheryl had the pleasure of meeting Michael a few years ago at a writers’ conference. A very nice man with a huge sense of humor, it’s great having him represent CiCi’s hero.
Sam is a former riverboat gambler and hired-gun, turned security expert for the town’s new, flamboyant Gambling Galleria, owned by none other than Knight Gleason, the redheaded, brash Southern-Irish riverboat entrepreneur readers first met in The Innocent Wife (Book Three). Sam’s got his hands full, policing poker tourneys, thwarting cheating gamblers, uncovering unsavory criminal activity, rescuing pantry thieves . . . Well, one pantry thief by the name of Izzy McDougall, who has a very good reason to be rooting through the Galleria’s kitchen pantry in the first place. Izzy’s the perfect foil for the strong, rough-around-the-edges and fiercely loyal Sam.
Here’s a short excerpt for your reading enjoyment:
Searching for the pie server, a thump and a muffled oath brought Sam up short. He spun toward the sound, coming from the cavernous pantry where most of the dry goods and supplies were stored.
Silently he advanced across the large room, drawing his gun as a precaution. He wouldn’t put it past some drunken sot to stagger in from one of the gaming rooms, searching for money, thinking any Galleria staff would be dumb enough to keep a safe in here.
The pantry door stood open an inch. The whisper of rustling and more muttering hovered in the air. Tensing, he readied for possible danger. Thumbing the latch, he brought up his gun arm and yanked, hard.
A mound of tattered clothes and dark curls tumbled out of the opening, landing on the floor at his feet. What the—?
Sam bent and caught a thin, flailing arm, jerking the thief upright. From the cracked, scuffed boots to the downcast head of tangled, choppy hair, this was no gambler desperate for extra coin, only a young boy starving for something to eat. Narrow-shouldered, dressed in torn trousers and a shirt studded with burdock stickers, the kid could probably cram an entire cherry pie into his gullet and his britches would still slide down his backside.
Tamping down any feelings of sympathy, he marched the now-struggling pantry poacher across the kitchen and shoved him into the nearest chair. The boy tried to bolt, so Sam gripped one bony shoulder. “Stay put and tell me who you are.”
A dirt-encrusted face raised to his. “Let me go!”
He frowned, taking a more focused look at the boy. Full lips. High cheekbones underneath the crud. Long lashes framed remarkable blue-gray eyes. Delicate ears were visible from between the shorn locks.
“You’re a girl.” She squirmed in her seat and made to escape. Sam’s grip tightened, holding her in place. “You’re not going anywhere, missy.” He hooked another chair on the toe of his boot and dragged it over to block her in, trapping her against the wall until she had no choice except to remain still. “Start talking.”
Her grimy fist pounded the table surface. “You’ve no right to keep me here.”
Sam didn’t have time for this foolishness. “Your name. Now.”
She strained against his hold on her shoulder and spat out, “Izzy.” Her mouth firmed. “Now, let go.”
“Last name.” He gave her a brief shake. “I’m fast losing patience, and our jail doesn’t have any niceties for females.”
At the mention of jail, what color remained in those high cheekbones leeched out. “Don’t lock me up! I only wanted a place to rest and maybe something to eat.” Dejection came off her in waves. “My name is Izzy McDougall. Please don’t stick me behind bars.”
He eased up on his grip, cupping her shoulder with more care to examine her, looking for lies and finding nothing more than a scared girl. If she was more than eighteen or nineteen, he’d eat his hat for supper. Judging by what he now determined were bruises underneath all that dirt and grime, he realized someone had mistreated her.
Anger tightened his jaw. Where her ragged shirt gapped, a man’s fingerprints marred her slender neck. Doubtful a woman would have such a large grip. A growl rumbled in his throat. The urge to track down whoever’d hurt her—and beat the hell out of ‘em—rose swiftly inside him.
THE RUNAWAY WIFE: https://www.amzn.com/B08F3W4KM7
BRIDES OF LITTLE CREEDE SERIES: https://www.amzn.com/B07JX4TRC5
CiCi is busy plotting and researching Book Five, The High-Society Wife, expected to release late spring, 2021. Well, you know, it keeps Char and Cheryl too busy to get into trouble.