Welcome Catherine Wolffe, author of Casey’s Gunslinger, as my guest today! She brought an excerpt from her latest release. Enjoy!
What inspired you to write your first book?
Like so many other authors, I love to read but the catalyst that drove me to write was a challenge from my younger sister. We dared each other to stop talking about writing and write! Three years later the result for me was Comanche Haven. For her the book was A Vampire From Hell.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Only that love can conquer all life puts in two peoples’ path if they’re determined. Real love is courageous and stalwart in the face of danger.
Did you learn anything from writing your book? If so, what was it?
Yes, I learned several things. One, I have a never quit willpower. I say that because I didn’t get family support for my writing until just recently. Instead of letting that detour my efforts, I dug in and kept going. The second thing I learned is I love to write for the sake of writing. There are few things, which bring me so much joy and satisfaction as sitting down to write a few thousand words. A new world opened up for me when I discovered I loved writing.
Who is your most popular character? Why do your readers like or dislike this character?
Readers love Seth Loflin in Comanche Haven, The Loflin Legacy # 1. I believe the reason lies in his being a genuine alpha male with a heart of pure gold. Torn between responsibilities and love, Seth battles not only the odds stacked against a relationship with Celia but also his own inner demons. This kind of tortured soul resonates with readers.
What are your current projects?
Recently, I released the second book in The Loflin Legacy series called Casey’s
Gunslinger. I enjoy sharing the story of Seth’s friend, a bad boy turned saint and the saloon barmaid he has to save. Readers will enjoy Casey’s headstrong nature as well as Charles’ laid back, suave demeanor. Both are hiding things, which will bring the world down around them, if they aren’t careful.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’d love to share a small excerpt from Casey’s Gunslinger… here’s the blurb first…
When Casey St. Clair returns to Tyler to locate her birth father, she seeks the help of the town’s attorney, the wickedly handsome, Charles Harrison. Abandoned as a baby by the town’s most influential man, Earl Loflin, Casey’s plan includes going to any length to shame the man who sired her. Charles sees her plan as a foolhardy attempt at revenge. He’ll do his best to protect her without resorting to the methods of his past. But when his past comes calling and Casey walks blindly into a trap, he’s the only man who can save her and any future they have together.
And onto the excerpt…
Charles woke with the sunrise each morning, a habitual routine left from his years at West Point. Having spent the time at the nation’s premier military school, first becoming a soldier and afterward an attorney, he maintained the regiment easily.
Staring hard at the fire burning brightly in the grate, Charles’ focus broke off with the knock at the door. It was only 7:30 in the blooming day. With less than he polished poise, he strode to the door. “Yes?”
The woman had her back to him. Her deep blue suit coat fit smoothly past a trim waist. He had no trouble with the vision of the curves beneath the plaid skirt of russet, blue and brown. Her blond curls showed beneath a hat, perfectly matching her suit coat, while a velvet reticle of deep brown hung from her arm. He did admire a well turned out woman.
With his question, she turned. He couldn’t help noticing how the suit’s color suited her complexion perfectly.
Cassandra St. Clair cheeks flushed to a shade of pomegranates before she smiled at him. “Good morning, Mr. Harrison. May I come in?”
The shock of seeing her on his doorstep stole his tongue. Her eyes twinkled like a peacock’s feather, brilliant blue and mesmerizing.
“Of course, please, do come in” he finally managed.
“Thank you.” She said as she breezed by him in a cloud of a cinnamon and vanilla, a combination, which somehow suited her perfectly. “I hope I’m not disturbing you?” Her gloved hands rested lightly on the handle of her reticle. A faint smile creased her lips.
“No, no,” he stammered. Unable to form a complete sentence, he simply stare.
Casey went straight to the fire.
Besides the hour, the temperature was cold. “Did you walk from the hotel?”
“Yes, yes I did.” Working off her gloves, she held her hands out toward the fire’s warmth.
“I wonder if I could bother you for some coffee, Mr. Harrison.”
Looking back with a quick twinkle in her eye, she grinned. His heart quivered in his chest.
“I’d forgotten how chilly the temperature can be here in the mornings.” Rubbing her arms, her cheerful demeanor faltered slightly. With her focus returning to the fire, she extended her slim fingers, working them in front of the flames.
“Certainly, please, won’t you have a seat?” Indicating a large parlor chair, he shoved the high-backed seat closer to the hearth, making sure she was comfortable. “I’ll be only a minute.” Wandering a short distance away before turning back, he shook his head. “Uh, forgive me. I seem to have lost my manners this morning. What would you like in your coffee?”
“Black is fine. I prefer my coffee that way.”
Easing out of the room, Charles hurried to the kitchen located in the rear of the building. He glanced at the disorder of things before turning his attention to locating the coffee tray buried somewhere in his kitchen cabinet. Cleaning wasn’t his long suit. The truth was he’d been a bachelor much too long to take up the habit now. Poking around the upper cabinet, he finely found the sugar bowl. Wait! She said she liked her coffee black. With a grumble for the coffee pot, he cocked a brow. Was the fool thing asleep? He actually jumped when she appeared at the doorway.
“Is there anything I can help with?”
Strolling in, she looked at ease with her surroundings.
“I thought I might give you a hand.” Scanning the cluttered room, she reached out. “Here let me get that for you. Your housekeeper must be on holiday this week.” Taking the coffee pot from him, while he stood mute and frozen, she went to the sink and pumped water.
The flush of embarrassment raced up his neck. He tugged at his shirt collar. With a sweep of his hand to encompass the mess, he tried to explain. “I’ve been working on a case and had no time to tidy up. Struggling to the dirty dishes on the counter alone, he walked to the stove, lighting a flame under the wood inside its cast iron belly. Snatching a dish towel off the stove top before the fool thing caught fire, he strode to the laundry basket sandwiched in the far corner, depositing the cloth. Certain she watched from under those sooty lashes, he refrained from wiping the sugar spilled atop the kitchen table off onto the floor, wiping both palms across his back pockets instead. He attempted an additional explanation, “I don’t see many guests here in my private quarters, you see.” The laugh he finished with was telling, making him curse inwardly.
“Here, let’s take our coffee into the parlor. The fire will warm you.” With an elbow under her arm, he guided her back to the warmth of the fireplace situated on the back wall of the room.
“You have a lovely office, Mr. Harrison.” She traced a finger along the rosewood carving of the settee. “I find the dark wood combined with the leather suits you.” She flicked him a glance. “Do you entertain clients here?”
“Thank you, Miss St. Clair. I can’t take credit for the outer office. I had some help with the decorating?”
She lowered her lashes to her lap demurely. “I see.”
Realizing she thought he had his woman come by, Charles did his best to rectify the explanation. “Maggie McCready made some suggestions with regard to the furnishings. You mentioned you knew her, so you know how relentless she can be.”
“Yes, Maggie is a stubborn individual.”
Running a hand across the leather of the chair he sat in, Charles waited. What was she up to? She was three hours early for their appointment, shivering on his stoop. If he didn’t know better, he’d wager Cassandra St. Clair had come back to Tyler for a reason. She said it was to find her father. Why didn’t he believe that? He didn’t think it was to find work, either. No, there was more.
Glancing about benignly, she smiled when she spotted a picture of him standing next to Seth, his best friend. Seth Loflin was a tall, brown-headed fellow with an easy smile. He’d known both Seth and Tyron Loflin as long as he’d known their paw, Earl. In the picture, the two had hung an arm around each other’s shoulders in a companionable stance. Each wore Stetsons, vests and dusty boots. They resembled a team or partners.
“I didn’t know you were a cowboy. You both look so young. Are you’re celebrating something in this tintype?”
“Hum?” Her question caught him off guard. Her eyes were taking in everything in the room at once. He glanced at the tintype. “Oh yes, the end of calving season the last summer before we went off to West Point.” If she was Earl’s daughter, he didn’t consider his close relationship with her brother to be where he wanted their conversation on the subject of Earl to start. “How’s your coffee?” The wink he gave her, made her blush. Well, good to see she had some limits. So many women he met didn’t.
“Good. Thank you. I’m feeling much better now.” With her cup balanced in her fingers, she glanced at him. “West Point. My, but you’re just full of surprises, Mr. Harrison. May I ask something of you?”
“Why did you pay for my room at the hotel?”
Ah, yes, she did have limits. If he wasn’t mistaken, her question was intended to make him feel uncomfortable. Though it cost him something to admit the truth, he gave it to her. “I was concerned for your safety. You had asked where a lady could find a decent place to stay.”
She met his steady gaze before quickly glanced away. “I can take care of myself.” Her pert nose raised a fraction.
His erection twitched in his trousers.
“I’m here today to set things straight.” She inhaled, releasing the rest of her declaration on the breath she let escape. “I want you to know I appreciate the gesture, but I can’t accept your generosity.” She flicked a glance in his direction.
He swallowed hard.
“However, I will consider a loan.” With a hopeful quality to her statement, she paused.
Wondering if she tasted like sweet cherries, Charles sucked in a breath. “A loan. How do you propose to pay back a loan?” Regretting the words as they left his mouth, he tried again. “That is to say, do you have employment yet?”
Her lovely head dropped a fraction. “No, but I will find a job. I have excellent ciphering skills and I can write beautifully. I catch on fast, I’m young and strong. You can count on me finding a position.”
Her confidence was refreshing, yet a bit naïve. The glide of her hand, when she wanted to make a point, reminded him of a butterfly wing when the creature took flight. Unnerved, he stared hard into his cup. The silence spread out around them like a slow moving fog. “The offer of work still stands, Miss St. Clair. As you can tell by the condition of the place, I need help.” Hoping the pitiful pitch of his words would strike home, he waited.
She shook her head. “I…I’ll have to consider the opportunity. That’s a fact. I’m not a silly woman. I know without a man, I’ll need a job. It’s just that I know so little about you.” With that, she lifted her eyes, the dimple in her cheek winking at him.
Charles’ heart lurched. Instead of allowing the reaction to show, he stifled the response with a cough before standing. Making sure he faced the fireplace, he pondered how he’d adjust the bulge in his pants. Was she actually innocent or playing him? Tempting him with his own offer? Who was interviewing who for the position? Surely she wasn’t as brazen as that. Deciding the wingback chair he’d vacated earlier provided a useful buffer between her line of vision and his physical discomfort, Charles pivoted, propping his elbows on the chair’s back. Now if he could manage a casual reply. “Well, perhaps then, I could invite you to share an afternoon with me. It will give us a chance to get better acquainted.” He could have sworn her face froze for an instant. The bright pink hue returned to her cheeks.
“I wouldn’t think of putting you out. You must have business to attend. Don’t let me keep you from taking care of your clients.”
“It’s no inconvenience at all. I have a client outside of town. Since I have papers to deliver, we can pass the time getting acquainted.”
Rising, Cassandra settled her reticle on her arm. She didn’t say anything, yet she resembled a deer ready to bolt. Taking a step, she turned, smiling briefly. “I have appointments to keep today. There’s a dear friend of mine I want to visit. You understand, I’m sure.”
“You mean Father Samuel?” Her mouth opened but nothing came out. “He’s out of town for several days. So you see, problem solved.”
Cassandra glanced down at her shoes peeping out from beneath her suit. The quandary was evident in her expression. “I’d hoped to seek his advice about a job in Tyler.” She shook her head as if clearing another concern. “Well, I do need to visit with some other old friends I haven’t seen since I was last in Tyler.”
She stilled again, this time with the face of unease visible. The eye darting was back. “I…I have to see Maggie McCready and Jake Ramsey. They’re dear friends. I’ve known them since I came to the orphanage.”
Charles slapped one hand against the other. “Perfect!”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. I’m seeing their employer today. Ride with me. We’ll kill two birds with one stone as Maggie likes to say.” Sometimes a man had to take matters into his own hands. Coming around the chair, he took her by the elbow. “Here, let me help you with your shawl. I’ll get the papers and a blanket for the buggy.” He gave her a devilish wink. “Before you know it, we’ll be on our way.”
Dale, it’s been a pleasure being with you today. Thank you for having me. I’ll give a choice of ebooks from my list to 1 lucky commenter.
- Catherine’s links:
- Amazon Author page http://tinyurl.com/c4vmtwl
- Facebook Fan page https://www.facebook.com/AwardWinningAuthorCatherineWolffe
- Twitter http://twitter.com/catherinewolffe/
- Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6438562.Catherine_Wolffe