Caroline Clemmons joins the blog today with her new release, SAMANTHA: A SWEET HISTORICAL WESTERN, Book 5 in the Love Train Series.
A woman running for her life…
A man determined to save her…
A terrible scheme to trap her…
Samantha Hayes didn’t intend to eavesdrop. She was merely getting a breath of fresh air when she heard her fiancé reveal his plot to end her life soon after they wed. He needed her fortune, but he had no intention of being bound to a woman who limped. She had only agreed to marry him due to her uncle’s pleading. Now she knew the truth and she vowed she would disappear.
Pinkerton Agent Kent Butler has been hired by Samantha’s aunt to find her. He follows her to Council Bluffs, where she boards the Union Pacific heading west. He sends a wire to the person who hired him, and then buys his ticket to join Samantha. Kent counts himself lucky when the conductor suggests Kent sit next to Samantha. Kent hadn’t counted on the two of them falling in love almost instantly. As the train chugs toward North Platte, Kent discovers the woman who hired him had deceived him. He has no intention of taking Samantha back to her aunt.
When her ex-fiancé shows up, she’s terrified. Will her plan to save herself work? What will happen when she learns Kent’s secret?
He’d come to think of himself as the mouse and Miss Hayes as the cat toying with him. He’d followed her from Chicago to Philadelphia, Springfield in Illinois, Columbus in Ohio, Louisville in Kentucky, Des Moines in Iowa, and now he’d caught up to her in Council Bluffs where she had to wait two hours for the Union Pacific headed west. He sent a wire to John that he’d found her. John wired back that he’d let the client know, and Kent was to stay with Miss Hayes. That fit with Kent’s plans to head west to Oregon.
She was even more beautiful in person than her photo. He hadn’t been prepared for the effect she had on him. Fatigue showed on her face, with dark circles under her blue eyes. Dressed in what appeared to be an expensive traveling costume, she sat on a bench in the station with a book in her hands.
Occasionally, she pressed a hand to her back. He figured her limp made her back hurt. For some reason, he wanted to locate a wheeled bath chair and help her into it so she didn’t have to walk.
What was wrong with him? She was a cheat, a thief who’d stolen from her own family. He’d better get a grip on his senses and remember that important fact.
Sitting where he could watch her, he saw an unsavory character try to draw her into conversation. She very politely, but firmly, sent the man on his way. In spite of her obvious exhaustion, she had a lovely smile when she flashed a grin to a small child.
He was certain he had the right woman, but she didn’t act as he’d anticipated. Her train was called and she rose. She used a cane, which obviously made carrying her carpetbag awkward. Somehow, he had to find a way to talk to her. Perhaps she would slip and give him a clue to whether or not she had the jewelry with her. Surely she wouldn’t be foolish enough to be carrying a fortune with her. Hurrying to help her up the steps into the rail car, the smiling conductor, Henry Manners, beat him to it.
“Here, Miss, let me help you into the train. I’m Henry Manners and I try to be a help to all my passengers.” The gray-haired conductor was well-known to frequent travelers on Union Pacific’s 1216. The widower had a smile and a helping hand for everyone he met.
“Thank you, Mr. Manners. I’m Samantha Hayes. I try to be self-sufficient, but I’m so tired that I don’t think I could have managed the steps on my own.”
The conductor took her arm. “It’s Henry, Miss Hayes, just plain Henry. Let me help you to a seat.”
“Oh, but I don’t want to take you from your duties, Henry.”
“Helping passengers is one of my duties, Miss Hayes, and the most important one. This is a good place right here.” He lowered his voice conspiratorially. “The temperature is more comfortable in this part of the car.”
She rewarded him with a wide smile. “Thank you for your help. You must call me Samantha if I’m to call you Henry.”
She could really turn on the charm. Wouldn’t Henry be surprised to learn she was a thief?
Kent kept pace with the pair so he’d be able to grab a seat near her. The car was filling rapidly.
When the young woman was seated next to the window, Henry turned around.
“Well, hello, Kent.” Henry shook his hand. “You traveling on business or headed to that ranch of yours?” Other passengers squeezed by Henry and him.
Kent was proud to answer, “I’m a full-time rancher now. I’m headed for the prettiest ranch you could ever hope to see.”
“So you’ve told me.” Henry chuckled, then a pensive expression came over his face. “Say, Kent, why don’t you sit here by Samantha. You can help her if she needs it and I’m not around. I need to be greeting other passengers.”
What a stroke of good luck. “It would be my pleasure, that’s if it’s all right with you, Miss ….”
She looked up at him with the prettiest blue eyes he’d ever seen. “Samantha Hayes, and you may sit here.”
A Note from the Author
When I was asked to participate in the Love Train Series multi-author project (MAP), I accepted eagerly because I had worked with the creator and organizer previously. I chose SAMANTHA as the name of the heroine and gave her a limp, the result of a childhood accident. She meets the hero, Kent, on a train, aided by a matchmaking conductor named Henry. Samantha doesn’t know that Kent is a former Pinkerton detective. In the Love Train Series, one or both of the main characters has a secret.
When I was small and my family lived in Southern California, we sometimes traveled by train to visit my grandmother in Hollis, a tiny Oklahoma town just four miles over the Texas state line. Eventually, we had to have relatives drive to Amarillo to meet us when the train stopped service to Hollis. When I was fourteen, I traveled to visit my siblings in California by myself. I felt sooo grownup. (My older brother brought me home, with me sitting between my two nephews who fought much of the way!)
The next year, my parents and younger brother and I made the trip. I admit I’ve never been able to have a compartment with sleeping berths, but I still loved watching the landscape from a train window. The rocking of the carriage soothed me. On trips to England, Scotland, and Germany, my husband and I rode various types of trains. I prefer trains to airplanes.
Charlene Raddon conceived the idea of the Love Train Series and designed each of the ten covers. Pam Crooks, who is the most organized person I’ve ever met, kept us sorted while writing her excellent CHRISTIANA to open the series. Charlene’s book in the series is LULA MAE. Several of my favorite authors are in the line-up. My selection, SAMANTHA, may be found on Amazon in e-book, print, and Kindle Unlimited.
About The Author
Through a crazy twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To compensate for this illogical error, she writes about handsome heroes, feisty women, and scheming villains in a tiny office surrounded by research books and mementos. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd indoors on their pets.
The over seventy titles she has created have made her a Top 100 Amazon historical author, a bestselling author, and won awards. She writes sweet to sensual romances, both historical and contemporary as well as time travel and mystery. In addition to her series she has written single titles and contributed to multi-author series and box sets. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, reading, dining in restaurants, browsing antique malls, delving into genealogy, checking Facebook, and taking the occasional nap.
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Thank you for being my guest, Caroline! This looks like a great read in a great series of sweet Western historical romances.