One Summer when I was a teenager, my best friend invited me to her family’s lakeside cabin in northern Alberta, Canada. The location was 370 km (230 miles) north-east of our families’ neighboring farms. The lake was named after a bird…whose name I can’t remember…but I do remember the lake was a smaller one near a larger one called…wait for it…Cold Lake. How fitting is that for a remote northern location? And yes, I remember the Mysterious-Bird-Named Lake being very cold to swim in.
But what I remember most is their cabin. It was small and rustic. No electricity or running water. Only a bed, table, wood stove, and a couple of kerosene lanterns inside a one-room hideaway in a small clearing in the forest. The walk to the outhouse on the other side of that clearing felt extra-long in the dark with only a lantern to light the way. In contrast, my family’s farmhouse was a 3-bedroom new-built 1960s bungalow which was very modern at that time.
In my new book, A Bride for Brynmor (releasing Sep 19), my heroine and hero (Lark and Brynmor Llewellyn) get stranded in a tiny log cabin at an equally small train junction. Brynmor and his brothers have hired the station attendant to transform the location (which sits in the perfect location between Denver and Noelle, Colorado) into a freight hub. But when Brynmor and Lark first arrive at the junction, they must get off the train unexpectedly.
Below is an excerpt that follows their getting off (or the jumping off) the train as it leaves the junction and picks up speed on its way to Noelle. And below that is a chance to win an e-copy of A Bride for Brynmor.
But first my series & book blurbs...
Songbird Junction Series
Welcome to Songbird Junction where Welsh meets West in Colorado 1878. The journey to find a forever home and more starts here. Brynmor, Heddwyn, and Griffin Llewellyn are three Welsh brothers bound by blood and a passion for hauling freight—in Denver where hard work pays. Lark, Oriole, and Wren are three Irish-Cree Métis sisters-of-the-heart bound by choice and a talent for singing—in any place that pays.
A Bride for Brynmor - Book Blurb
Can a sister who’s lived only for others find freedom with one man? Family has always come first—for both of them. He’s never forgiven himself for letting her go. She’s never forgiven herself for almost getting him killed.
When Lark and her songbird sisters are separated fleeing their cruel and controlling troupe manager, only Brynmor Llewellyn can help Lark save her sisters and escape to the far west. But Lark wants more. And so does Brynmor. When they’re stranded in a spot as difficult to guard as it is to leave—a rustic cabin at a train junction between Denver and the mountain town of Noelle, Colorado—they find themselves fighting not only for survival but for redemption, forgiveness, and a second chance for their love.
Will the frontier train stop of Songbird Junction be Lark and Brynmor’s salvation? Or their downfall when her manager, a con artist who calls himself her uncle but cherishes only his own fame and fortune—demands a debt no one can pay?
A Bride for Brynmor - Excerpt (with Cabin Inspiration)
(Some backstory: Ulysses is Lark’s troupe manager and Barnum and Bailey are orphaned lambs that they are transporting to Noelle.)
“I didn’t want to face Ulysses’ anger again so I jumped.” Lark pressed her lips tight, ending her story there. Let him think she had been most afraid for herself.
“Or…” Brynmor doffed his wool cap and raked his finger through his hair. The soft glow from the stove's growing fire turned his thick auburn waves even redder. “You didn’t want me to face him again.”
She’d accomplished that. Her stubbornly helpful Welsh giant was safe.
Her shivers lessened and her bravado returned. She raised her chin. “Or I never liked watching from the wings. Now I can see what you discovered in this cabin.”
“You’ll see nothing.” His long sigh left a ghostly trail in the air. “The attendant’s belongings are gone. He didn’t even stay long enough to make a dent in the food supplies we’d left him.”
“Good news. He left with intent, and there’s no need to search for him. You can stay here.” With me.
He grabbed several blankets from a nearby stack and arranged them on the floor by the stove.
“What are you doing?”
“Making a nest for our lambs.”
Our. Her heart thudded as she savored the silent echo in her soul. “How cozy,” she murmured, trying not to appear undone by a single word. When she placed Barnum and Bailey on their bed, her arm brushed Brynmor’s and her body flushed with heat.
“Everything in here is snug,” he muttered as he stepped back to give her room. Or at least tried.
She set the bag—that she’d slung over her shoulder before bolting from the train—on the floor, took out two bottles of milk, and handed one to Brynmor. They both knelt to feed the suddenly very wiggly lambs.
Barnum and Bailey’s eagerness to guzzle every drop consumed her attention. They rocked forward and back, bouncing against the bottles as they enjoyed their feast. Their darling eyes widened, their impish tails wagged, and their spindly legs quivered. When they finished, they flopped down on their bed and curled up close to each other, becoming one enticingly fluffy ball of wool.
No matter how cute, she couldn’t stare at them all night. She turned her gaze to the clutter in the cabin, so she wouldn’t be tempted to stare at Brynmor all night as well.
“If you see a feed sack,” he said, “let me know. When Barnum and Bailey wake up, they might enjoy some ground corn.”
The corner of a familiar shape caught her eye. She wound her way through the freight to get a better look. “Of all the things to have in an office, and one this size, why is a piano here?”
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Is there a location from your youth that has inspired you?
Maybe a cabin or a friend's house? Or even a treehouse? As a kid, I always dreamed of having a treehouse—they seemed like great fun in the stories I read and watched on TV.
Comment below (before the end of the day on Sunday, Sept 15) for a chance to win an e-copy of A Bride for Brynmor.
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Fall in love with a new Old West...where the men are steadfast & the women are adventurous.
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