Today, I have an exclusive excerpt from TO CATCH A TEXAS STAR by Linda Broday as part of the Lone Star Book Blog Tour for this new release, hitting shelves today!
Texas Heroes, Book 3
by LINDA BRODAY
Genre: Western / Historical / Romance
Date of Publication: July 3, 2018
Number of Pages: 352
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He’ll do what it takes to prove his love.
On her way to town early one morning, Marley Rose McClain finds a man unconscious and bleeding at the side of the road. She loads him in the wagon and takes him to her family ranch.
Drifter Roan Penny fights for his life, his one goal eating at him—to find the ones who murdered his best friend. As he recovers, he finds himself falling in love with Marley. She’s everything he wants and dreams of making her his wife even as he knows it’s impossible.
A terrifying stranger appears and a long-kept secret shakes Marley to the core. Roan helps her through very frightening times and they pledge their love for each other. As Roan hunts down the hooded men who killed his friend and grows closer to learning the truth of the stranger’s identity, he finds both himself and Marley being stalked. Shocking events unfold, secrets come to light, and a love refuses to be denied in this cat and mouse game where danger lurks around every corner. Will Roan and Marley survive to see the future they plan?
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Praise for To Catch a Texas Star
“Fans of the previous books will enjoy returning to the McClain clan, and new readers will appreciate the story’s layered mysteries, emotional depth, and believable scenes of attraction.” — Publisher’s Weekly
“I loved the twists and turns that this story takes. It is pretty interesting seeing this romance blossom and how much their relationship strengthens as they face danger and the truth together.” — Addicted to Romance
“Marley Rose has one of the most gentle and winsome souls; her affection and compassion for others and delightful creativity pour off the pages and you can’t help but adore her.” — Michelle (Goodreads)
BY LINDA BRODAY
“You might want to sit down,” Duel said. “This will be hard to hear.”
Her legs trembling, Marley perched on the velvet settee and folded her hands in her lap.
Jessie’s eyes held tears. “Marley Rose, you have to know that we never intended to hide this from you but the over the years the facts dimmed, and you were our child in every single way.”
Wait. Was her mother saying that she didn’t belong to them? That’s why she looked so different. If she wasn’t Duel and Jessie’s daughter, who was she?
Duel cleared his throat. Jessie curled her hand around his. “Let me start at the very beginning so you can understand why things happened like they did. Before I met Jessie, I was married to a wonderful woman, Annie, and she meant the world to me. I was overjoyed when she told me she was in the family way. I made a rocking chair and a crib, anxious for the child to be born.” He paused and the crackle of the fire made the only sound in the room.
“Annie had trouble from the first but we thought it would get easier. She finally gave birth and there was so much blood. It kept coming and coming.” His voice trembled. He cleared his throat, wiping a hand across his eyes. Jessie’s cheeks were wet with tears. “Both she and my son died. I laid them in the ground, saddled my horse, and rode away. I moved from town to town, not caring where I was or where I laid my head.” His eyes met Marley’s and his anguish sliced through her. She wanted to scream for him to stop, but couldn’t.
“Every night I prayed I wouldn’t wake up, but I kept opening my eyes anyway. One day, a little before sunset, I rode into a one-horse town called Cactus Springs, tied up at the hitching rail in front of the saloon, and went inside. I sat down to play poker.”
Worry lined Jessie’s face as she rubbed his back. “Sweetheart, don’t do this.”
“It’s past time to tell her the truth.” He clung to Jessie as though she was a piece of driftwood on an ocean.
Marley’s eyes stung. What did a poker game have to do with her?
“We played along and the stakes got higher and higher,” Duel continued. “The man across from me, Wilbert Gentry, ran out of money. By this time, it was just him and me left. He reached down and jerked you up off the floor. You were wailing. You weren’t a year old yet, but already sitting up good. The prettiest little baby I ever did see. Tears left trails through the dirt on your face. Gentry sat you in the middle of the table and said he wagered you.”
Marley gave a strangled cry and jumped to her feet. “I can’t do this.”
Jessie left Duel and put her arms around her. She murmured the same soothing words as she had when Marley had been young and afraid. “This is painful, honey, but please listen to the rest,” Jessie whispered through her tears.
“I’m sorry.” Marley wiped her eyes on the back of her hand and sat back down. “Go on.”
“I won the hand and I won…you.” Sobbing, Duel rested his arms on the mantle.
Tears rolled down Marley’s cheeks. She’d been won in a poker game as though she’d meant nothing—just the cost of a raised bet.
Dear God! She’d had no value. No worth. She might as well be a cow or a mule. Shock sped through her, ripping past everything she believed about herself.
“I tried to give you back,” Duel mumbled brokenly. “What did a broken-down cowboy need with a child? I couldn’t even take care of myself. Gentry told me if I didn’t take you he’d sell you before dark and I couldn’t let that happen. I just couldn’t.” His eyes blazed. “You may hate me for the rest of my life, Marley Rose, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. You saved me. You gave me a reason to live.”
The sting of betrayal hollowed out every bit of feeling. She’d loved him for so long and loved him even now, despite the hurt. He’d lied to her, but saved her as well, and it was all too confusing.
“You’re our daughter, honey. Always were, always will be.” Jessie’s voice shook. “We loved you from the very first moment. I am certain that if your father had given you back to Gentry that day, you’d be dead right now.”
Dead? Marley felt that way inside—both body and soul.
Linda is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of full length historical western romance novels and novellas. She’s published over twenty books and short stories and resides in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and Comancheros once roamed. On a quiet day, she can often hear their voices whispering in the wind.
The love of this state and its people runs bone deep and she instills that into each book she writes. She sets all her stories in Texas because of the rich history and interesting people.
A mother, grandmother, and soon to be a great grandmother, Linda finds research fascinating and always looks for little known tidbits to add realism to her stories. When she’s not writing, she collects old coins and confesses to being a rock hound in addition to making herself a nuisance at museums, libraries, and historical places which inspire her.
You can connect with her on:
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Grand Prize: Signed Copies of Full Texas Heroes Series
Five Runners-Up: Signed Copies of To Catch a Texas Star
a Rafflecopter giveaway I hope that you enjoyed today’s special feature and will be adding this book to your reading! Many thanks to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and Linda Broday! It was a pleasure hosting and being a part of the tour! And be sure to check out the other stops for opinions and author extras!
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