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Gillian Darrow fled her father’s house in Maine before he could put his evil plans into action. Now the actions of another unscrupulous man have left her without employment and few prospects. Following in the footsteps of other women from the factory, Gillian decides to become a mail-order bride. The advertisement from a lighthouse keeper in Maine catches her eye, and Rhys Chermont’s letters catch her heart. She hopes the lighthouse keeper can guide her home.
There’s only one problem… Rhys Chermont never posted an advertisement for a wife and never wrote any letters to Gillian Darrow.
The last thing Rhys Chermont wants is another wife. While life at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse keeps Rhys busy, he has to admit it would be nice to have a helpmate. The solitary life of a lighthouse keeper drove his first wife into the arms of a wealthy shipbuilder and led to a scandalous divorce. Luckily, for Rhys other forces are at play during the Christmas of 1890, and in Gillian he just might find the light that leads him home.
Here's an excerpt:
He raked his fingers through his ginger hair, and Gillian had the sudden urge to run her fingers through the thick waves as well.
“Would you like some hot chocolate? Best I can do for a Christmas treat.”
“I’d love some. Thank you.”
He followed her back through the dining room, placed her bag by the stairs, and nodded up the stairs. “Bedroom’s up there. We’ll head up in a bit. I’ll get our hot chocolate.”
Gillian could only nod and stare up the narrow staircase. He’d definitely said we’d head upstairs to the bedroom. On the train, she’d hoped the man she married would want to give it some time before consummating the relationship, but with Rhys, it seemed right she’d become his true wife this Christmas. So why was she shaking as if he’d tossed her into Frenchman’s Bay?
“You’re shivering, Gillian. Go sit by the fire, we’ll have our chocolate there.”
She didn’t correct his assumption about why she was shivering. She pointed her feet in the right direction and managed somehow to move them to the sitting room. Looking the room over, she weighed her options. She could be safe and take one of the overstuffed chairs with the length of a throw rug separating them, or sit on the sofa and see if Rhys would sit next to her. She took her place on the sofa.
The warmth from the fire relaxed her, and Gillian watched the snowfall through the windows. Now that she was inside and safe, she admitted it was beautiful. Large, wet flakes just right for snowball fights and making a snowman. Her mother used to help her build a snowman every year, and then they’d go into the house and have hot chocolate. That is, until her mother fell ill and left Gillian when she was eleven. After that, snowman-making was rare, and her life turned into avoiding her father and spending time with the servants.
The sound of boots on the hardwood floor brought her back to her new home. She saw the same quandary play out on Rhys’ face regarding where to sit. In the end, he sank down next to her on the sofa and handed her a mug of hot chocolate.
“Merry Christmas.” She lifted her mug in a toast.
He returned the gesture. “Merry Christmas.”
They sat before the fire, drinking their chocolate and watching the snowfall for a time before he spoke. “Sorry, I don’t have any decorations up.”
“That’s fine. It saves us having to take them down.”
His head bobbed in a slow nod. Taking her mug, he set both on an end table. “It’s hard to get out here, Gillian. I want you to know, you won’t have many visitors. Alice Ambrose will be about it, and she can only make it at rare times. I’ll try to get you to the village when I can, but in the winter…”
He stopped when she placed her hand over his. “I’m not much for entertaining, Rhys. And I’ll have you. I’d like to help you with the light…with the house…with whatever you need.”
He turned his hand so hers rested in his palm, and he closed his large, calloused hand around hers. “Are you sure? Are you really sure this is the life you want?”
She held his gaze. “Yes, I’m very sure. I think love can grow between us. I think we can have a good life here.”
Kirsten Lynn is a Western and Military Historian. She worked six years with a Navy non-profit and continues to contract with the Marine Corps History Division for certain projects. Making her home where her roots were sewn in Wyoming, Kirsten also works as a local historian. She loves to use the history she has learned and add it to a great love story. She writes stories about men of uncommon valor...women with undaunted courage...love of unwavering devotion ...and romance with unending sizzle. When she's not writing, she finds inspiration in day trips through the Bighorn Mountains, binge reading and watching sappy old movies, or sappy new movies. Housework can always wait.
Here's where you can find out more about Kirsten:
Visit me at: www.kirstenlynnwildwest.com
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Kirsten-Lynn/e/B00MF8DN0O/
E.E.: Why did you pick your state?
Kirsten: It’s funny, I actually wanted Wyoming because that’s where the majority of my stories take place (and where I live and play). Wyoming was already taken, and that turned into a great opportunity. I chose Maine because I loved the state when I visited and the story of a lighthouse keeper needing a wife came to me like a flash. It was fun writing in a state I don’t usually get to visit except in my imagination, and I could loosely tie it to my Navy SEAL series. Rhys and Gillian became the great-grandparents to one of my SEALs. It was a great lesson in not getting what you want being the best thing for you.
E.E.: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met?
Kirsten: I’ve had the honor to meet many heroes. When I worked in D.C. with the Navy, many of our board members were retired admirals who had distinguished themselves in wars from WWII through the Cold War. What amazed me was how personable the majority were (you know there’s always one). They would always visit and share their lives. Also, through my work with the Marine Corps, I’ve met many who served and sacrificed, not just the high ranking, but the lance corporals, sergeants, privates, etc., who are serving on the front lines today.
Most recently, I’ve been working with two Vietnam era SEALs who are graciously helping me with that series. One of these gentlemen served as a corpsman in Korea with the Marines before serving as a SEAL corpsman in Vietnam…definitely a hero in my book.
E.E.: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Kirsten: As the daughter of two school teachers, I’ve been reading for as long as I remember. The first book I always remember was a book of fairy tales my dad brought back from a business trip. I adored the story of Snow White and Rose Red and actually have a story I hope to publish in 2016 based on that fairy-tale.
A little later in life one of the first “adult books” I remember reading was John Jakes NORTH AND SOUTH series.
E.E.: Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?
Kirsten: Always. I create a playlist for each of my stories, so with every story it’s different music. My SEAL series takes place in the 1960s and 1970s, so that’s the music I listen to while writing those. For Gillian’s story I played a lot of Enya, especially her Christmas songs.
Today, Kirsten will give away an e-copy of SIX SIZZLIN' MAVERICK, the boxed set of six of her historical Westerns. Just comment and enter the drawing:
Kirsten wants to know:
"I have always loved lighthouses, so it was a dream to visit Maine and many of the lighthouses throughout the state. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?"