E.E. Burke's Best of the West: Take a gamble on this new release from Bestselling Author Becky Lower

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When Elise Lafontaine spies her father’s missing saddlebag with its all-important papers slung over the shoulder of a man boarding a riverboat, she follows him, hoping to retrieve the contents. Her plans come to an abrupt halt when she is declined entry to the boat, since she is an unaccompanied female. 

From his perch on the top deck, handsome riverboat gambler James Garnett witnesses her denied entry. When she shoots him a look of desperation, how can he resist those deep blue eyes and beautiful face? Of course, he comes to her rescue, pretending she is his fiancée—and she is allowed aboard. 

Begrudgingly, Elise accepts James’s offer of help to win back the saddlebag and the papers by having him play poker on her behalf, certain the thieving Confederate brothers who stole the bag will lose everything to James. But can Elise be happy with only the saddlebag and its contents? Or has she already lost her heart to the dangerous gambler? 

After a sultry kiss, Elise steals his money and the papers and jumps overboard. Then the games truly begin. Now, Elise stands at the biggest crossroads of her life—will she go her own way, fiercely independent and alone? Or will she wager everything on the man who holds her heart--GAMBLING ON FOREVER?

Here's an excerpt

“Delta Queen, here I come,” she whispered, hoping she wasn’t making the biggest mistake of her life. She could handle wide-open spaces, and campfires under the stars while rounding up wild horses, but on a big, beautiful large riverboat, a floating palace? This would definitely be a challenge for her, since she’d have to act as a refined lady. She touched her whip again and hoped she wouldn’t need to unfurl it. The nerves tightening in her stomach told her she had just entered uncharted territory and the hairs on her neck prickled again. Never a good sign.
She followed the two men up the gangplank, her fingers itching to yank her father’s saddlebag from the shoulder of the one man. She’d need to be patient and choose the best time to steal it back, and the moment of boarding would not be the best time. Better to wait until they were underway, floating down the Mississippi. Then, those two couldn’t get away. She’d nab it when they weren’t looking, just as they’d taken it from her father. Then, she’d jump overboard and be gone before morning. She took a deep breath and fisted her hands to prevent them from reaching for the bag.
The pair paid the steward for passage on the freight deck, which meant they were saving most of her father’s money for the gaming tables if they were willing to give up a bed in favor of sleeping on top of cotton and tobacco bales. She hoped she had enough money for an actual stateroom.
“Are you with the gentlemen?” The steward asked, raking his gaze over her before glancing at the men.
“Those two?” Elise pointed to the men still standing close by. “No, sir. I’m traveling alone and I’d like a stateroom, please, if the fare isn’t too much.”
The steward seemed confused. “Ma’am, I’m sorry. Our policy is to allow women aboard only if they are accompanied by a gentleman.”
“That’s preposterous!” Elise tried for a smile, hoping to charm the steward. “My money’s as good as any gentleman’s.”
“Your money is not the issue, ma’am. We don’t allow unaccompanied ladies on board. It’s company policy.” The steward clutched his papers to his chest, unaffected by her smile.
One clean-shaven, well-dressed man stood on the top deck, calmly smoking a cheroot and stroking the black string tie around his neck as he surveyed the crowd coming aboard. Elise pleaded with her eyes for the man to take action. She might be going from the frying pan into the fire but at least he’d taken a bath in the past year. She’d take her chances. She only hoped he would.

Meet Becky

Amazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the United States in search of great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it in America on a covered wagon headed west or in Regency England. Her Cotillion Ball Series features the nine children from an upscale New York family prior to and during the Civil War. Her first Regency, A Regency Yuletide, received the Crowned Heart and has been nominated for the prestigious RONE award from InD’Tale Magazine. A regular contributor to USA Today’s Happy Ever After section, her books have been featured in the column on ten separate occasions. Becky loves to hear from her readers at beckylowerauthor@gmail.com. Visit her website at www.beckylowerauthor.com

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EE: What is the first story you remember writing?  
Becky: I skipped over scribbling stories and went straight to writing screenplays. The first one I remember is a script for the TV show, Bonanza. I was twelve. My first rejection slip was very sweet and they encouraged me to keep writing. The second play I remember was in high school English class. We were supposed to act out a part of Canterbury Tales. I was so shy I didn’t want to get up in front of the class and make a fool of myself, so I decided to turn Canterbury Tales into a comedy. I wrote the script, everyone else in my group acted it out. We got an A.

EE: Be honest, when reading, do you put yourself in the heroine’s role? 
Becky: Not when I’m reading, but when I’m writing a heroine, I find myself getting lost in her character. I’m not saying I’m like my heroines, but I wish I was. The stronger they are, the better I like them.

EE: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book? 
Becky: I think I’ve found a new answer to this one. I’m in the process of moving to a new state, and have not been able to work at my desk for two months. Between the local library and my friend’s dining room table, I’ve managed to finish a final draft of my next book. I noticed some unusual neck and shoulder pain, so I treated myself to a mini-massage the other day. It felt so good, it may become my new tradition.

EE: Which of your characters would you most like to invite to dinner? 
Becky: I’d love to have James Garnett from Gambling On Forever at my table. He was so much fun to write and, as my publisher said, “I'm a sucker for a gambling man! And a SPY, too? Be still my heart!” There’s something about a man who gives good smirk that sets my heart aflutter.

EE: What one thing about your hero drives the heroine crazy?  
Becky: He carries in his pocket an embroidered handkerchief from an old love. He knows the heroine is irritated by it, and by the sentiment attached to it, so every chance he gets to take it out and play with it in front of her, he does.

EE: What has been your most rewarding publishing moment? 
Becky: As I mentioned, I’m in the process of moving. It’s been a very difficult move. I’ve cycled through four different real estate agents, made multiple trips to the area I’ve honed in on, and have spent months in a state of limbo. I finally found an agent willing to work for me. I contacted her in desperation after one more failed trip. I had two days left until I was to return to my friend’s home, and this agent and I emailed back and forth for half a day. Then, she called me and said it had taken her a while to put it together, but she had read one of my books and loved it! A true fangirl moment. Then, when I called a mortgage lender, one of the ladies in his office also had read one of my books. It seems like I’m moving to the right area.

EE: What drew you to write in the genre you do? 
Becky: Obviously, Bonanza is what got me started on westerns. Then there was the family story about being part Indian, which my DNA results disproved, but it sparked my curiosity during my teens. Finally, Zane Grey’s books. I read all his westerns and loved them, especially the ones where the woman had to dress as a boy.  I recently contracted with a publisher to write a Regency series, but I haven’t abandoned my western roots entirely.  The first book in the Flower Girl series features a hero who is an American traveling to England to buy roses for the grounds of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. The second book’s heroine is in charge of a landscaping crew for her father’s business and she dresses in men’s clothing and has cut her hair short. Zane Grey lives on.

Name a character from a book or movie that you'd like to invite to dinner? Why?

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  1. Love the excerpt ... and the cover.

  2. sounds so good i sure hope a print book can be arranged instead of ebook as severely disabled and cant do ebook peggy clayton ptclayton2@aol.com

  3. Deadpool- would be interesting

  4. Hi Becky, Elisabeth! Just saw this on FB! Sorry I'm so late getting over here. Becky I loved James Garnett. He was such a perfect hero, in my eyes, and I look forward to seeing what comes next with the Lafontaine clan. I can sure see why you'd want to be like Elise--heck I wanted to be like her, too! LOL

    As for who I'd like to sit down at the table with...I think I might like to sit down with Rhett Butler!

  5. Oh my! Too many to choose from! I would love to have dinner with Zeke Monroe from Rosanne Bittner's Savage Destiny series. A movie is harder for me off the top of my head so I'm going to go with my young adult favorite movie and say Patrick Swayze from Dirty Dancing, or Sam Elliott from any of his movies or Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves! I can never pick just one of anything. I'd love the opportunity to read one of your books and a giveaway is the best way to find a new author to add to my go to authors list.

  6. Who didn’t love Bonanza? I also loved Maverick, a riverboat gambler. I try to imagine traveling on one of those majestic, Victorian vessels. Everyone dressed in their finest... an oh so romantic period on an oh so romantic cruise.

  7. Thank you, Elisabeth, for inviting me here today. I loved writing this book. James was so much fun and Elise was the kind of woman I'd like to have been. Glad you all enjoyed reading about them.

  8. oh i forgot to name who i would invite to dinner and that would barbra Streisand I love her and love her voice !

  9. I would love to invite Maverick, but there are a lot of other great guys that I'd be just as happy with! 😁

  10. Elizabeth, thanks for bringing us another wonderful author and interview. Becky, good luck with Gambling on Forever--it reads like a winner!

    So many wonderful characters to invite to dinner. How to choose? I think I would love to have dinner with Mick Truelove from Lorraine Heath's "Beyond Scandal and Desire." He's a yummy one!

  11. Oh, Becky. We came from the same era. My sister and I drew comic strips of Bonanza. As we lay in bed at night, we made up adventures that included us and the Cartwrights. I can't count the times our Mom yelled from across the hall, "If you girls don't quit giggling and go to sleep, I'm coming in there!"

    1. I would invite Cheyenne Bodie (Clint Walker) and the Cartwright gang to dinner. Maybe Hop Sing could do the cooking. Lol

  12. I would invite Stephanie Plum from Janet Evanovitch's series. Stephany is such a fun character and always has a bunch of hot guys around her.

  13. I love reading about authors and their writing journey. My first love was Little Joe Cartwright, then one day I really "saw" Adam and well...bye bye Little Joe. Good for you, Becky for writing despite the upheaval of moving out of state. Make me hang my head as I have no excuse. I'm looking forward to reading your book because I've always loved stories that include riverboats and gamblers. Loved the Maverick movie with Jodie Foster as the feisty gambler. Your heroine sounds equally feisty and brave. As for who I'd invite for dinner? That's a toughie. Too many great actors in great movies. Love Rhett, but ultimately I'd have to go for that that devilish twinkle in a rogue's eyes and go for incorrigible Brett Maverick. That twinkle in Mel Gibson's blue, blue eyes is irresistible.

  14. Becky, so sorry I'm so late. So looking foward to reading this one. What a set up. Ordering this now. Wishing you much success with this one, with your move and all upcoming ventures. I'd love to dine with either Tom Selleck--esp. when he plays the cowboy, or yes, several others including Mel Gibson. Selleck would win out though.