E.E. Burke's Best of the West featuring Lori Handeland and Linda Winstead Jones

This month, I have a double feature for Best of the West. 

Lori Handeland and Linda Winstead Jones have released a series of six magnificent Western historical romances. The covers alone would convince me to purchase them, but the blurbs and excerpts really hooked me. If you liked The Magnificent Seven, you're going to love The Rock Creek 6.

Six elite Confederate soldiers band together after the War Between the States, hiring out their guns to protect lawless towns. Violence is all they know, until they make their way to Rock Creek, Texas.

Let's take a look at the first two books: Reese and Sullivan. 

Reese by Lori Handeland
Available from Amazon
     Mary McKendrick, a headstrong schoolteacher who wants nothing more than to find a home, takes charge when a band of ruffians attempts to destroy Rock Creek. 
     With very few men left in town after the war, Mary travels to Dallas to hire Reese, the mysterious and reluctant leader of a band of guns for hire.
     Reese is haunted by the war and all he did during it. The only constant in his life are the five men willing to come whenever he calls them. They will do anything for each other; they are all they have left.
     Though Mary prides herself on managing everyone and anything, she can't manage Reese or her feelings for him. Reese doesn't believe he is worthy of loyalty and devotion; he certainly isn't worthy of love. In Rock Creek, Mary McKendrick teaches him differently.

Here's an excerpt:

He was the most interesting man she’d ever seen, which might have had something to do with his naked chest—something else she’d never seen—but she didn’t think so. He was striking. Once you saw him, you would not forget him. Mary doubted she ever would.
    His hair was gold, several shades lighter than his skin, and tousled, probably from sleep. He could use a shave. The beard on his jaw looked at least two days gone. The hair on his chest was darker than the hair on his head, more the shade of his beard. The chest captured her attention, lean and firm; black pants framed a flat belly. The top button hung open, revealing that the curling hair, which appeared so soft, trailed below his stomach, down, down, down to—
    “Seen enough?”
    Mary yanked her gaze to his face, embarrassed to have been caught ogling. This was business. Even if he chose to meet a strange woman in his room without a shirt or shoes, that did not mean she had to stare. Though it was hard not to.
    She cleared her throat. “You’re Reese?” Best not to even mention his state of undress or ask if he could open the window, since the room had gone hot and stuffy.
    “Who wants to know?”

Sullivan by Linda Winstead Jones

Available from Amazon
     For Eden Rourke, making her way from a sheltered life in Georgia to rough and tumble Rock Creek is an easy decision, if not an easy journey. 
     A tenderhearted woman, shes always been driven to help those in need, including the half-breed Sinclair Sullivan whos been ambushed and beaten directly in the path of her wagon. 
     Coincidence? She thinks not.
     When Sullivan discovers that the woman who saved him is Jed Rourkes sister, he feels obligated to escort her to Rock Creek. He tells himself that once shes there shell be Jeds problem, not his. 
     But Eden is not only tender and unfailingly optimistic, shes persistent. And shes decided that Sinclair Sullivan is meant to be hers. 
     Eden doesnt believe in coincidence, but she does believe in fate.

Here's an excerpt"

   When she stood over the fallen man she had another gut-wrenching flash of doubt. He was huge. Bigger than she’d realized. 
    He remained facedown in the street, and she had a chance to study broad shoulders beneath a once-white shirt that was now covered with dust and dirt and smudges that could only be blood. His own, and perhaps that of others, as well. His legs were incredibly long, and they were covered in worn denim that had been tucked into large black boots.
   She’d lived all her life among large men, overly protective males who’d sheltered and adored her and called her Little Bit or Shorty. Most of the big men she’d known had big hearts, but it was impossible to tell about this one.
   She lifted her head to find Teddy standing very close beside her. He stared at her with wide dark eyes, waiting for her to proceed. Those thugs had called the man on the ground a breed. One look at Teddy was enough to confirm that he was of mixed blood himself; she would’ve known even if the sheriff hadn’t revealed that his late mother’s name was Rosario. With deep brown eyes, long black hair, and beautifully warm brown skin, Teddy was a lovely child. And he looked up at her as if he expected her to do something.
   “Well”—she sighed—”we can’t just leave him here.”

Other books in the series are:
Rico by Lori Handeland
Jed by Linda Winstead Jones
Nate by Lori Handeland
Cash by Linda Winstead Jones

Meet Lori

Lori Handeland sold her first novel in 1993.  Since then she has written many novels, novellas and short stories in several genres--historical, contemporary, series, paranormal romance, urban fantasy and historical fantasy. 

She has been nominated five times for the RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, winning twice, for Best Paranormal and Best Long Series Contemporary.  She is a Waldenbooks, Bookscan, USA Today and New York Times best-selling author.

As well as writing The Nightcreature Novels, The Phoenix Chronicles, The Shakespeare Undead series, The Luchetti Brothers, the Rock Creek Six and several stand alone novels, Lori also writes the gritty, sensual western historical romance series Once Upon a Time in the West under the name Lori Austin.

She can be reached through her website at www.lorihandeland.com or www.loriaustin.net

Meet Linda

Linda's first book, the historical romance Guardian Angel, was released in 1994. In the years since she's written in several romance sub-genres under several names. In order of appearance, Linda Winstead; Linda Jones; Linda Winstead Jones; Linda Devlin; and Linda Fallon. 

She's a six time finalist for the RITA Award and a winner (for Shades of Midnight, writing as Linda Fallon) in the paranormal category. Most recently she's been writing as Linda Jones in a couple of joint projects with Linda Howard, and rereleasing some of her backlist in ebook format. She can be found at any one of a variety of Facebook pages, on Twitter @LWJbooks, at www.RedDoorReads.com and www.lindawinsteadjones.com.

Now on to the questions! Lori, you're first:

E.E.: What are the next five books on your ‘to be read’ pile?
Lori: Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Wool by Hugh Howey, Concealed in Death by JD Robb, W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton, One Kick by Chelsea Cain

E.E.: Which already filmed movie best represents your writing style?
Lori: Die Hard—The plot moves quickly, stuff blows up, characters say amusing things about each other and the stuff that is blowing up.  This works in both westerns and in paranormal.

E.E.: What sound or noise do you love?
Lori: Rain outside an open window at dawn.

E.E.: What will always make you smile, even on a bad day?
Lori: Our boxer rescue, Reggie. His face is the sweetest thing on earth.

Linda, you're next:

E.E.: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
Linda: While I love tea, the answer has to be COFFEE. It’s the one vice I won’t give up. I used to drink it with milk and sugar, but for the past several years I’ve been drinking it black. Ah, coffee, the elixir that makes writing possible . . .

E.E.: What three things are, at this moment, in your heroines purse, satchel, reticule, weapons belt or amulet bag (whatever she carries)?
Linda: I have to jump to Hannah Winters, the heroine in Jed. She would have (among other things) a flask of whisky, a red garter, and a book about a faraway place she longs to visit.

E.E.: What is your heros “kryptonite” – in other words, what will bring him instantly to his knees?
Linda: Has to be the heroine. Always. Don’t you love to see a man who fears nothing brought to his knees by a woman?

E.E.: Whats the best birthday (or any holiday) present you ever received?
Linda: It’s Christmas, shortly after my first few books were released. I opened a box from my parents. Inside was a gold charm bracelet with three charms on it. I have three sons, so I assumed there was a charm for each of them. Oh, no, those three charms were engraved with the names and pub dates for my first three books. I was inappropriately thrilled. (I hope the kids didn’t notice.) I got a couple more charms as gifts later on, and then they stopped coming. My mother said she’d had no idea I would write so many books! Since I’m now at seventy, I get it.

Today, Lori and Linda are giving away eBook copies of REESE and SULLIVAN. 

Just comment and enter the raffle for your chance to win:

Have you seen THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN? Who was your favorite of the "seven"? Or, do you have a favorite Western hero?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Welcome to GLIAS Lori and Linda! I'm so excited to share this series with our readers. The covers are, well, HOT! And what's inside is even better. I loved The Magnificent Seven. Thought Yul Brenner was fantastic, but I have a soft spot for Steve McQueen. Would love to hear where you two got the idea for doing the series together and also where your ideas for heroes come from.

  2. Steve McQueen! Yes. :-) As to where Lori and I came up with the idea, hmmm. We were both writing westerns at the time, and we would talk about stories we had planned. We'd kick ideas around, compare notes, just talk. Then a publisher came out with a planned series of connected books, and it just seemed like a perfect fit. And we were off. :-) As to where my heroes come from -- Later, after more coffee. -- Linda

  3. Thanks for having us, EE. I am a Yul fan too. The hero of REESE, is based on Yul in The Magnificent Seven. RICO is "the kid" and NATE is the dissolute preacher. (I also watched the Mag Seven TV show)

  4. Thank you for the opportunity to win these books. I already love Lori's Nightcreature books and I know I would love this series. It looks very interesting. Love the covers!! ; )

  5. Thank you, Sandy! I think you would love this series. It's one of my personal faves!

  6. Looks like a great series! I love Linda's paranormal books.

  7. Sounds like this will be a really interesting group of reads - love the covers!

    1. Glad you like them. Linda and I did a lot of searching for good man-chest. It was a tough job but someone had to do it.

  8. On to where heroes come from: I thought about this some while I was in spin class this morning. Anything to make the time pass more quickly. :-) It's hard for me to say where my heroes come from, because they're normally just *there.* Sullivan, Jed, and Cash are very different heroes, but they all came about in a very organic way. I'm not a plotter, I'm a pantster. Which means that when I'm writing, I very often don't have any idea what's going to happen on the next page. My characters are the same way. They often surprise me.

    1. It's always wonderful to discover another writer who has a similar process. Saying "HI LINDA!"

    2. Sounds kind of like my process. They come to me, I don't go to them. :)

  9. Welcome back to GLIAS Linda and Lori !
    Love the concept of the books and series. Best of luck.

  10. I've never heard of The Magnificent Seven. Haven't a clue what it's about *blush*. I do like Western Historicals but for some reason can't seem to find many

    1. You definitely need to check it out if you love westerns. The movie or the TV show. They were both great.

    2. I listened to Reese on audio over a year ago and I loved it!

  11. Terrific interview, E.E.! Gosh, the Magnificent Seven, it's been a few years. But wasn't Yul Brenner the toughest gunslinger. What was the movie in which he was a robot where people go for entertainment and.... it's late, I'm on deadline :) But he has to be at the top of my list, and of course Clint Eastwood in The Outlaw Josie Wales. And even Lee Marvin in Cat Baloo. :) I could go on and on...

    1. Westworld!! Love that movie too. Or maybe it's just Yul.


  13. Hi, Ladies, and welcome to GLIAS! Did you know Rock Creek is in Blazing Saddles? LOLOL