Love cowboys? The romance and allure of the Old
West? I've always been a sucker for a good story about the new frontier and the men and women who conquered it. Meet today’s guest, sweet historical romance author Patricia PacJac
Carroll, creator of the Mail Order Brides
of Hickory Stick series. Welcome to Adventures in Publishing, Patricia!
Hi, I’m Patricia PacJac Carroll. I’m a writer, Christian first, and blessed beyond my
imagination. I live in the Dallas-Ft Worth area in Texas with my wonderful
treasure of a husband, my spoiled dog, Jacs, and my awesome grown son, Josh.
Did I say I was blessed? The PacJac is from my initials and my husband’s. I used it as part of my author name because
there were already other Patricia Carrolls on the Internet. I was attacked by breast cancer but have fought back and
writing strong. Check out my blog -Invasion of the Booby Snatcher.
I write historical romance set in the American
West. I love the freedom of the old West, although life during that period was
difficult, especially for women. The stories in my
new series Mail Order Brides of Hickory
Stickare especially interesting in light of the
modern versions of matchmaking, such as Internet dating sites like e-Harmony.
Love is the first of the
series. Each novella is a stand-alone story, but the characters and town of
Hickory Stick are involved in each of the other stories.
I love the premise of these stories. Thomas J.
Connors decided he and his brother needed a wife. In the wilds of Colorado
panning for gold, women were in short supply, so he got the idea of sending off
for one for him and one for his brother, Jackson.
Everything seemed to be settled and the agency
in Richmond, VA. had two women picked out. Thomas was pleased with himself, but
failed to tell his brother of his plans. However, as things often go,
unbeknownst to Thomas the woman running the agency disappeared and a reporter
discovered Thomas’ very touching letter asking for a woman to share his dreams.
The letter went out into newspapers as far away
as New York City. Three women made their way to Hickory Stick, all thinking
they were going to marry Thomas J. Connors.
You can imagine the fireworks.
Here is the first page.
Caroline Lovelace tucked the worn envelopes into the pocket
of her beige, traveling skirt. She’d read the letters at least a hundred times.
A tear slid down her cheek quickly followed by another as she bade her war-torn
state of Virginia good-bye. Although the sound of cannon and rifle had been
exchanged for the sound of hammers and building, she could no longer put up
with the obnoxious offers from the carpetbaggers. They might have overrun her
state, but she’d not give them her future.
She stared at the black locomotive, considering
it a rather unlikely steed to ride to her rescue. After brushing a spot of dust
from her jacket, she boarded the now chugging train that would take her to her
knight who awaited her in a town near Denver in the Colorado Territory.
The temporary stab of fear she’d felt while
boarding gave birth to a sharp, piercing doubt. How could she abandon her
beloved Richmond and go to a place named for a twig? Her once grand home, now
owned by a wealthy coward, along with the haunting knowledge of the graves of
her fiancé and father reminded her of the loss and predicament she was leaving.
Her poor love. Robert never even got a shot off
at one of those, well, those mean old Yankees. He died of pneumonia shortly
after running off to save the cause. Humph, because of that
I am alone without even the status of war widow. She’d been forced to
join the large number of unmarried, poor women scrapping to survive in the
The train pulled out of the station with a cloud
of black smoke and a jolt that jerked her head against the metal rail over the
green, padded seat. Caroline set her lips in determination to let go of
Richmond. She was soon to be a bride. “Mrs. Thomas J. Connors.”
“What?” A sultry voice from the seat across the
aisle shook Caroline from her thoughts.
Caroline declined to own up to her oral thinking
even though she’d startled her own self when she’d spoken aloud. To cover her
error, she smiled at the woman. “Pardon?”
The stranger brushed a fly from her bright
yellow gown, a dress far more suitable to a ball than a railcar. “Were you
talking to me?”
Annoyed at the woman for intruding on her
thoughts, Caroline tugged on the fashionable hat she’d bought with the last of
her savings. “No, I. … Well, I wasn’t.”
The woman pointed at Caroline’s skirt. “I
couldn’t help notice you had a packet of letters. … My name is Julia Brooks.”
Caroline fanned the air between them. Even
though Julia’s gown was exquisite, the bright red lips against her very white
skin placed the woman in a lower class. A painted lady, perhaps? Caroline
scooted away from the woman and closer to the window. “I’m Caroline Lovelace.
Perhaps you’ve heard of my father, Judge Lovelace.”
Julia smoothed the yellow satin ensconced around
her. “Yes, I’ve heard of the good judge … and his demise.”
Caroline’s head snapped up. She wanted to wipe
the smug grin from the woman’s face. Then again, Caroline had learned to ignore
such taunting words. Yes, her father had died under unfortunate circumstances. Very
unfortunate. He’d gambled the last of the family fortune in a house of
ill repute and lost his life over the hand of a woman. Although Caroline’s
mother had been dead for over ten years, Father should not have been caught in
such a place, much less been caught dead in the Golden Palace.
A terrible nagging drew Caroline’s gaze to
Julia’s necklace. There on the tart’s alabaster neck sat Grandmother’s ivory
cameo. An exasperated, “Oh,” escaped Caroline’s lips. Too late to stop the
announcement of her discovery, she whirled to once again face the window.
However, the passing scenery was not on her mind.
Love and other books by Patricia PacJac Carroll on Amazon.