E.E. Burke's Best of the West featuring Rebecca Hagan Lee

Mail Order Brides
Imagine you're a wealthy rancher living in the Old West where there are ten men (or more) for every woman. What's a fellow supposed to do? Send off for a bride--or borrow one. 

I love the concept behind Rebecca Hagan Lee's BORROWED BRIDES series because it's based on actual events in our history. Men did post notices for brides, women did travel west to marry men they'd never seen. I can't imagine anything more terrifying...or exhilarating.

Today, I'm delighted to welcome my latest BEST OF THE WEST featured author, Rebecca Hagan Lee, whose award-winning BORROWED BRIDES series is being released as eBooks by Amber House Publishing, a venture started by romance queen Teresa Medeiros. 

A brand new book in the series is coming out soon. Here's a sneak peek at the first:

Golden Chances by Rebecca Hagan Lee

Can you borrow a bride for nine months without her stealing your heart?

A demure member of the Richmond Ladies Sewing Circle, Faith Collins certainly isn’t the type of lady who would answer an advertisement to bear a stranger’s child. 

Wealthy Wyoming rancher Reese Jordan isn’t looking for a lady—or a bride. But when the dark-eyed beauty responds to his ad, he cannot resist offering her more than just a contract to provide him with an heir to his fortune.

As they travel west and struggle to guard their wounded hearts, Faith and Reese quickly discover just how easily business can turn to pleasure…and pleasure to love. 

Here's an excerpt:

Washington City, December 1869
Reese Jordan grimaced as he finished writing out the words to the advertisement.  He hoped it was right. If it was, it would change his life. He studied the lines for a moment, then scratched through a word here and there, and inked in others. He smiled, satisfied with the results.
He'd done it.He'd found a way to gain his heart's desire without compromising his beliefs. Marriage was absolutely out of the question. A real marriage anyway. But, this... It would work. This was the plan of a master strategist. His plan.
Reese handed the sheet of paper to the clerk who placed it in the pile to be typeset.
"I want it in tomorrow's edition.”
"That'll be an extra two bits."
"Fine." Reese produced the money, including a generous tip.
"I'll set it right away."
Reese nodded.  Early in life, he'd learned that cash gained him the respect and attention he would have preferred to garner on his own. Right now that was part of the problem.  He swallowed hard. By tomorrow, his plan would be set in motion. There would be no turning back.
He slapped his hat against his thigh.  The sound seemed to echo in the room.  The clerk looked up at him, questioningly.  Reese jammed his hat onto his head and stalked out of the office.
A wagon rolled through a puddle near the boardwalk. Mud splattered the tops of Reese's boots and his carefully creased trousers. Reese cursed beneath his breath, damning Washington and its endless flood of traffic. The capital was readying itself for Christmas.  People crowded into the city to see the sights. Greenery, red ribbons, and the sound of bells were everywhere, surrounding the inhabitants.  Reese had little patience with the holiday.  His mind was focused on his past and the important matter at hand. He sprinted across the muddy street to the telegraph office.  It wouldn't hurt to send the same advertisement to the Richmond newspaper.
Reese scrawled the ad copy on a sheet of paper, then paid the telegraph clerk.  The cards had all been dealt.  Now, all he had to do was play them carefully and wait for the results.  Reese found himself whistling as he exited the telegraph office and walked back to his suite at the Madison Hotel, not some Christmas carol, but a bawdy little tune he'd learned in the war.  It suited his mood. Plan and plan carefully.  That was Reese Jordan's motto.
The clicking of the handset alerted the clerk in the telegraph office in Richmond.  He quickly jotted down the words to the advertisement.  The telegraph key quieted.  The clerk hastily scanned the message:
He read the advertisement a second time.  "That can't be right," he said, aloud, "I must have missed a word." He carefully penciled in the word, “for” in front of “heir”, then read the whole thing aloud. "‘Wanted:  Healthy, woman between the ages of 18-23 to provide for heir for wealthy rancher. Widow with excellent lineage preferred.  One child acceptable.  Must travel to Wyoming and remain for one year. Excellent salary and bonus.  Apply in person to David Alexander, Madison Hotel, Washington City. December 20th.’"      
The clerk nodded his head, silently congratulating himself for catching his error. He placed his fingers on the handset, telegraphed his receipt of the message back to Washington, then handed the corrected copy to the errand boy.


Coming soon from Amber House Books is SECONDHAND BRIDE, the newest book in the BORROWED BRIDES SERIES, an original never before published historical romance. 

Meet Rebecca

After arming herself with a degree in fine arts and experience in radio, television, and film, Rebecca Hagan Lee wrote her first novel Golden Chances. Since then, she’s published numerous bestselling and award-winning novels and three novellas.

She’s won a Waldenbooks Award, a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award, several Romantic Times awards, been nominated for an RWA Rita Award and has been published in nine languages.

She currently lives in Georgia with her husband, her two beloved Quarter Horses, and a miniature schnauzer named after literary icon Harper Lee.

Find Rebecca

Her website: http://www.rhaganlee.com 
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rebeccahaganleeauthor

Now, on to the questions...

E.E. What inspires you to write Western historical romance?

Rebecca: I came to write Western Americana historicals because the first finished manuscript I wrote was a complex historical set in 1878 London, Vienna, and New York featuring a diplomat hero and an English debutante. It had been rejected by several publishing houses as being set in a dead empire (Hapsburg) nobody cared about and for being too controversial. So I decided to go back to my roots and write a nice, simple, uncontroversial Western historical like the Western TV shows I grew up watching: Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Big Valley, The Rifleman, Lancer, and The Virginian. It didn't take a genius to figure out that if a girl fell in love with any of the handsome bachelors on the TV Westerns, she was guaranteed a gruesome death, so I always wrote new endings for those shows to entertain my junior and senior high classmates. I fell in love with Westerns once again while writing GOLDEN CHANCES and continue to love the genre today.

E.E.: Do you use images for inspiration?

Tom Selleck
Rebecca: I do use pictures of actors as inspiration for heroes. I tend to be attracted to tall, dark-haired, men, so my heroes tend to have those features. Growing up, I loved Fess Parker in Daniel Boone, so it's no coincidence that a good many of my heroes look like him. I also adored Peter Breck as Nick in the Big Valley and James Garner in anything. Tom Selleck and Sam Elliott also figure prominently in my Western fiction. My British/Scottish heroes tend to look like Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Hugh Jackman. Again, no accident. Lee Kincaid in SOMETHING BORROWED is blond. He looks like Robert Redford in THE ELECTRIC HORSEMAN or Daniel Craig, take your pick.

E.E.: What three things are, at this moment, in your heroine’s purse, satchel, reticule, weapons belt or amulet bag (whatever she carries)? 

Rebecca: Cassidy is carrying two hundred, sixteen dollars and twenty-three cents hidden beneath the cardboard bottom of her purse, the proxy marriage certificate between Angela Claire Cooper and Noah Bridger, and the packet of letters he wrote to her.

E.E.: Which already filmed movie represents your writing style? 

Rebecca: OPEN RANGE starring Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall would probably best fit my Western Americana books, but BROKEN TRAIL with Robert Duvall and Thomas Hayden Church fit my 2013 Berkley release, A WANTED MAN. For contemporaries, I aspire to MURPHY’S ROMANCE status.

E.E. What has been your most rewarding publishing moment? 

Rebecca: Selling my first book and succeeding against all odds. Every time a reader tells me she loved my book or my booked helped her get through a tough time.

E.E.: If you couldn’t be a writer any more, what profession would you take up? 

Rebecca: I would become a cabaret singer where I could sing the Great American Songbook.

E.E.: If you could interview one person (and it doesn’t have to be a writer) who would it be? 

Rebecca: If I could travel back in time to interview one person, I would sit down with Thomas Jefferson. If he was unavailable—hiding out from the British or away in France, I would come forward in time enough to have dinner with World War II Winston Churchill. Since neither of those gentlemen suffered fools, I’d have to be on my toes

Rebecca and her publisher will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky reaader. All you have to do is enter the raffle and comment:

If you could go back in time, who would you want to meet and why?

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  1. If I could go back in time, I would love to meet Princess Diana. I enjoy the Royal family and I think she would be a fascinating woman to get to know outside her royal duties!

    1. Oops, forgot my email address - thebigbluewall77 (at) gmail (dot) com

  2. I love your storytelling and I am looking forward to reading all your novels!...When I was a young teenager I would ride my bike across the street and look for Tom Selleck, his grandmother lived near us...never had the chance to see him!

    1. So, he would be 1 person...Princess Charlotte who died giving birth...would also be on my list...silhouettesinscale@yahoo.com

    2. Thank you, Juanita. I would have tried to get a look at Tom Selleck, too. I love your choice of Princess Charlotte. What a life she must have had with those two for parents... Then to find happiness only to die in childbirth... It would be interesting to talk to her.

  3. I would love to meet William Shakespeare. I'd love to see what the bard was really like and how his process was for writing all those plays!

    ahui89 at hotmail dot com

    1. Great choice, Ada! It would be fascinating to discover Shakespeare's writing process.

  4. I've always been fascinated by the mail order bride premise. It sounds like a great series.

    1. I love the mail order bride premise. It took such courage for women to journey so far from home to become a wife to a stranger. The grooms took an equal risk. There were lots of mismatches, but there were happy endings.

  5. Oops. Email address is helpful :) morgankwyatt@juno.com

  6. Sorry. I didn't answer the question. I'd like to meet my father when he was alive. It would have been nice to have known him.

    1. If I could grant that wish for you, I would gladly do it. I can't imagine not knowing my father. He taught me so much.

  7. I would want to meet Katharine Hepburn. She seems like she was a woman who knew how to have a good time and I think it would be so fun to see how she approached her unconventional life in those times.

  8. My email is bdulin12@netscape.net

  9. I would love to meet Eleanor Roosevelt, because she was a courageous woman. My email is .

  10. Ok....just reading that excerpt...I have to read this series.

    1. Oops my email is sandydelp14@gmail.com

    2. I hope you enjoy it. Not every bride in the series is a mail order bride, but they're all BORROWED. They all meet their husbands in unexpected ways. They're all intelligent, capable women in difficult situations who meet their matches when they least expect it.

    3. I love historical settings and strong women. Definitely be checking them out.

  11. If I could go back in time? Da Vinci, what a facinating man. jositopia@yahoo.com

    1. Great pick! I love the way Leonardo is portrayed in Drew Barrymore's EVER AFTER. That's the way I picture him now--the man who opened a door...

  12. Thanks for joining us today, Rebecca. I love your twist on the mail order bride concept. It's that element of the unexpected that makes it so much fun. If I could go back in time, I suppose there are many famous people I'd love to meet and talk to, but I would probably pick my husband's relatives who settled in the foothills of the Ozarks in Southwestern Missouri. His GG grandmother was an Indian. We don't know what tribe, but we know she was considered a healer because of stories handed down. I actually wrote a book based on what I'd read and heard about her. I'd like to meet her and her children. She sounds like a fascinating person.

    1. What a fascinating woman! I'd like to sit in on that conversation and copy down all the recipes. But I would need someone to identify plants for me. I'm terrible at that. :)

  13. Rebecca Hagan Lee ROCKS! Her characters literally LEAP off the pages and bury into our hearts. Great interview! ♥

    ~Cindy Nord

    1. Thank you, Cindy! Your high praise means so much. I'm honored and grateful.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. I'm not sure who I'd want to meet, but possibly Mark Twain, or some other well known writer. I think that might be interesting.

    1. Sorry, forgot this: Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  16. I'd love to meet Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved her stories and it would just be fascinating to talk to her.

    Marcy Shuler