E.E. Burke's Best of the West: A New Release from Award-winning Author Jacqui Nelson

Today, it's my great pleasure to host fellow author and friend Jacqui Nelson as my Best of the West guest. Jacqui and I met back in 2010 when we were both finalists for the RWA's prestigious Golden Heart award for Historical Romance. Jacqui won...but I don't hold that against her. In fact, I'm one of her biggest fans! Her writing has won numerous awards, and it's no surprise. She has an amazing talent and a unique voice well suited for Western historical romance. Read on, and see what I mean... 

Between Home and Heartbreak
Book 2, Gambling Hearts Series

Who is Eldorado Jane? Long-lost friend or scheming superstar?

Texas Hill Country — 1879

Plain Jane Dority vanished while riding in a storm beside her childhood best friend. Eighteen years later, Wild West trick-riding superstar Eldorado Jane returns to claim her birthright: the Dority homestead now owned by the steadfast Texan who never forgot Jane or forgave himself for her disappearance.

Lewis Adams would give anything to see his friend come home, but he's certain Eldorado Jane isn't his Jane. So why does this mesmerizing woman—with the talent and fame to have anything she desires—want the remote patch of land that he loves? There's only one way to find out: accept a wager with a deceiver who holds the power to bring back his friend or break his heart. The outcome rests in her hands. Or does it?

Friendship. Betrayal. Blackmail. Eldorado Jane holds every card...except the one that matters most.


** This is the scene where Lewis Adams gets his first glimpse of what Eldora (aka Eldorado Jane), Wild West trick rider can do. **

Led by the blasted Appaloosa Cayuse, Lewis’ horses spilled through the hole Samson had busted in the corral. The volatile stallion crowded him and Lila into a corner, shielding and hemming them in at the same time. Whatever had spooked the horse, he’d gone from needing protection to offering it in a heartbeat.

Either way, he was ensuring Lewis lost everything.

A shrill whistle whipped Samson around and sent him thundering after the last horse departing the corral. Lewis leapt onto Lila bareback and gave chase.

Samson plowed a path straight through the river of heaving horse flesh. Lewis slipped Lila into his wake. The brute had become Lewis’ best chance to avert disaster. If he could catch the lead horse, the Appaloosa, and turn him, his followers might embrace their herd mentality and turn as well.

Lewis scanned the distance, remaining between the stampede and the trail.

Eldora Calhoun stood dead ahead. Disbelief then fear sent Lewis’ heart racing as fast as the herd. Horses usually tried to avoid running over people or anything that made for unstable footing—if they weren’t spooked witless.

Eldora couldn’t stop them. She was going to get herself killed. Unless Lewis reached her before the horses did.

Samson pulled ahead to run even with the Appaloosa. Lewis urged Lila to move up beside the pair but the herd jostled Lila sideways, away from Samson, hemming them in again, leaving him unable to reach Eldora.

Finally, she moved.

Pivoting sideways, she braced one foot behind her and raised her hands as if preparing to grasp something in front of her…where nothing existed but air. Never once had her gaze left Samson.

Understanding made his heart leap with hope. She intended to mount Samson on the run.

** Does Eldora make the mount? Well, she is the star of a show that’s entertained New York and all across the county, so the odds are in her favor. But there are plenty of other challenges that Eldora has no idea how to handle in the wild and remote Texas hills including Lewis. **

Amazon Buy Links:

Between Home & Heartbreak (Gambling Hearts, book 2): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01L9RZRKK
Between Love & Lies (Gambling Hearts, book 1): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B014BNUCKO

Meet Jacqui

Fall in love with a new Old West...where the men are steadfast & the women are adventurous. You’ll find cardsharps, scouts, spies & Wild West trick riders in my stories.

My love for historical romance adventures with grit and passion came from watching classic Western movies while growing up on a cattle farm. I've been nominated for over 20 awards and won the RWA® Golden Heart® & the Laramie® — but my best reward is hearing from readers who have enjoyed my books.

Contact info


What does your hero hate most?

I knew only two things about Lewis Adams when he played a small part in Between Love & Lies (Gambling Hearts, book 1): he was extremely easygoing and only lost his cool if someone tried to steal something from him or a person he cared about.

So when I asked the question, who’s the best and worst woman for Lewis? I knew it had to be a woman who would come to steal his land—the land he’d bought with the hard-earned dollars he’d gained during book 1’s cattle drive.

How do your hero and heroine clash?

In Between Home & Heartbreak (Gambling Hearts, book 2), Lewis is overprotective and sees Eldorado Jane as a daredevil, a look-before-you-leap type of woman. She is after all a trick-riding superstar in a Wild West show.

In reality, Eldorado Jane may be a daredevil, but she isn’t a senseless one. She’s trained long and hard to achieve her fame and fortune. The more Lewis tries to protect her (and in the process stifle her), the more she strives to convince him that taking chances is not only fun but an essential part of life.

What could we find in your heroine's purse?

My heroines seldom carry purses, but I love using clothing to help paint a picture of my characters and how others feel about them. Here's my hero, Lewis’ thoughts about Eldorado Jane, and her companion Col. Roy Calhoun, when they first arrive at Lewis’ homestead…

Lewis had never glimpsed anything or anyone as captivating as Eldorado Jane: a woman fully dressed, covered from chin to toe, wearing a jacket that hugged her like a lover’s eager embrace…until it fell in a flare of ruffles over the back of her skirt, over the delectable curve of her—

He locked his attention on the uninspiring territory of Calhoun’s equally well-tailored but fully unpleasant form. “You from San Antonio or Austin?”

What inspires you daily?

Before I start my day, it's become my routine to post an inspirational picture on my Facebook Author Page and on Twitter. I like themes. So far I've done two: sunrises and coffee cups. Soon I'll be embarking on a third theme. If you’re interested in seeing the pictures, there are links to my social media sites at the bottom of this blog post. 

Complete this sentence. When I want to relax, I. . .

I curl up on my sofa and watch a show. Recently I started watching "Peaky Blinders." I love the characters and the use of history (World War I) as motivation for their actions. These are seriously flawed characters that have survived the worst of times. The war is over but everyone is still struggling to survive in the gritty and corrupt industrial city of Birmingham in 1919.

Is there a “Blooper” in your story?

During the final polishing of Between Home & Heartbreak, a couple of my advance readers let me know that I'd used the word "stranglers" instead of "stragglers" in this sentence: Clusters of longhorn cattle dotted the land, as did the stragglers being rounded up by men on horseback.

I’m not sure how those cows would have strangled someone with only cloven hooves to do the deed! J

What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?

A book never seems done to be me. There are endless ways to polish and strive for perfection (and catch errors like the one above). The only way for me to stop is to start a new book. Currently I’m working on a short story for an anthology and book 3 in my Gambling Hearts series, which will follow Mr. Vandrill (my Wild West show crack shot) and Oralee Adams (Lewis’ sister) on a cattle drive hounded by rustlers and thieves of all sorts.


Today, Jacqui is giving away 2 free e-copies of Between Home & Heartbreak (or if you already have this book, your choice of one of her other e-books). Just enter the raffle and leave a comment:

What is your favorite classic Western movie, and why?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. THE SEARCHERS with John Wayne is an old favorite. It's quite an epic. A fantastic story spanning many years. There is a villain & also some humor.

    It used to be on TV at least once a year. I miss the Saturday afternoon movies on the television.

    1. I love the SEARCHERS! It had loads of tension and was indeed epic. I was never sure if the John Wayne character would do the right thing. Thanks for sharing your movie pick with us, Mary!

  2. none; haven't seen many

  3. Shenandoah! I remember the Western TV shows the most though... Bonanza, Big Valley, Gunsmoke, etc. The books sound terrific! Thanks for the chance!

    1. Great picks, Daphne! Thank you for saying my books sounds terrific!

  4. Shenandoah! I remember the Western TV shows the most though... Bonanza, Big Valley, Gunsmoke, etc. The books sound terrific! Thanks for the chance!

  5. Deadwood. For the story and Sam Elliott

    1. Oh, I love Deadwood! My favorite characters were Al Swearengen and Dan Dority. Nothing black and white about those complex fellows. And anything with Sam Elliott is fantastic. Thanks for commenting, Alisa!

  6. I love Clint Eastwood movies. Not so much the really old ones but I still watch them with my husband!!

    1. I love the Clint Eastwood movies as well, Cindy! My favorite is actually an older one called "The Outlaw Josey Wales." I think it was one of the first films he directed. Thanks for commenting and entering my giveaway contest!

  7. Oops, I always loved "Magnificent Seven" and "Rio Bravo" to start. Doris

    1. Oh yes, those two movies are awesome! Dean Martin's character in Rio Bravo is so well done. Thanks for positing your picks!

  8. Hmmm, not sure... I have always enjoyed watching Calamity Jane.

    1. I haven't seen the Doris Day "Calamity Jane" movie, so I'll have to put that one on my to-watch list. I see there is a new movie in development with that title as well, which is great. The more Westerns the better, I say :) Thanks for sharing your movie pick with us, Colleen!

  9. So glad you could join us today Jacqui! Your visits and your books are always a treat.

    I'm looking forward to the remake of the Magnificent Seven. How about you?

    1. Yes! I have high hopes for that remake. I've even got the release date marked on my calendar - Sept 23. I know it can never be as good as the original, but I'm hoping it will be great in its own way. Thanks again for having me on your blog, Elisabeth!!

  10. True grit.really like John Wayne western.

    1. True Grit has so many memorable moments, including the famous shoot-out on horseback. Love that movie! Thanks for sharing your pick with us, Judy!