Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Blog Tour Tuesday: HEALING MONTANA SKY


Today Blog Tour Tuesday features Debra Holland's new Western romance novel, Healing Montana Sky.

About the Book:


After a grizzly bear kills Antonia Valleau’s trapper husband, she packs her few worldly possessions, leaves her home in the mountains of Montana, and treks to nearby Sweetwater Springs, seeking work to provide for her two young sons.

Reeling from the loss of his wife during childbirth, Erik Muth must find a nursing mother for his newborn daughter to survive. For their children’s sake, Erik and Antonia wed, starting a new life together on his farm on the prairie. But it’s no easy union. Antonia misunderstands Erik’s quiet personality. He finds her independence disconcerting. Both hide secrets that challenge their growing intimacy.

When Indians steal livestock from farms around Sweetwater Springs to feed their starving tribe, the outraged townsfolk demand retaliation. Erik and Antonia must work together to prevent a massacre. Will a marriage forged in loss blossom into love?
 
Excerpt:

Antonia Valleau cast the first shovelful of dirt onto her husband’s fur-shrouded body, lying in the grave she’d dug in their garden plot, the only place where the soil wasn’t still rock hard. I won’t be breakin’ down. For the sake of my children, I must be strong. Pain squeezed her chest like a steel trap. She had to force herself to take a deep breath, inhaling the scent of loam and pine. I must be doing this.
          She drove the shovel into the soil heaped next to the grave, hefted the laden blade, and dumped the earth over Jean-Claude, trying to block out the thumping sound the soil made as it covered him. Even as Antonia scooped and tossed, her muscles aching from the effort, her heart stayed numb, and her mind kept playing out the last sight of her husband. The memory haunting her, she paused to catch her breath and wipe the sweat off her brow, her face hot from exertion in spite of the cool spring air.
Antonia touched the tips of her dirty fingers to her lips. She could still feel the pressure of Jean-Claude’s mouth on hers as he’d kissed her before striding out the door for a day of hunting. She’d held up baby Jacques, and Jean-Claude had tapped his son’s nose. Jacques had let out a belly laugh that made his father respond in kind. Her heart had filled with so much love and pride in her family that she’d chuckled, too.
Stepping outside, she’d watched Jean-Claude ruffle the dark hair of their six-year-old, Henri. Then he strode off, whistling, with his rifle carried over his shoulder. She’d thought it would be a good day—a normal day. She assumed her husband would return to their mountain home in the afternoon before dusk as he always did, unless he had a longer hunt planned.
As Antonia filled the grave, she denied she was burying her husband. Jean-Claude be gone a checkin’ the trap line, she told herself, flipping the dirt onto his shroud.
          She moved through the nightmare with leaden limbs, a knotted stomach, burning dry eyes, and a throat that felt as though a log had lodged there. While Antonia shoveled, she kept glancing at her little house, where, inside, Henri watched over the sleeping baby. From the garden, she couldn’t see the doorway.
She worried about her son—what the glimpse of his father’s bloody body had done to the boy. Mon Dieu, she couldn’t stop to comfort him. Not yet. Henri had promised to stay inside with the baby, but she didn’t know how long she had before Jacques woke up.
          Once she finished burying Jean-Claude, Antonia would have to put her sons on a mule and trek to where she’d found her husband’s body clutched in the great arms of the dead grizzly. She wasn’t about to let his last kill lie there for the animals and the elements to claim. Her family needed that meat and the fur.
          She heard a sleepy wail that meant Jacques had awakened. Just a few more shovelfuls. Antonia forced herself to hurry, despite how her arms, shoulders, and back screamed in pain.
          When she finished the last shovelful of earth, exhausted, Antonia sank to her knees, facing the cabin, her back to the grave, placing herself between her sons and where their father lay. She should go to them, but she was too depleted to move.
          Jacques appeared on his hands and knees, peering around the corner of the cabin. His dark eyes lit with pleasure when he saw her. The baby flashed Antonia his wide grin and scooted toward her. Only in the last two days had he gone from pushing himself across the floor to a hands-and-knees crawl.
          Henri trailed so close behind Jacques that he had to walk wide-legged so he didn’t step on his brother.
          The baby reached her, placed his hands on her legs, and pressed himself up, grabbing at the front of her tunic. “Maa.”
Antonia hugged Jacques. He’d soiled his rabbit skin diaper and smelled, but she held him close, needing to feel the baby in her arms.
He wiggled in protest.
She dropped a kiss on his forehead and reached up to her shoulder to unlace the leather ties of her tunic, pulling the flap down to free her breast. He began to suckle greedily.
Henri dropped to her other side and leaned against her.
Antonia put her arm around him. Just holding her sons brought her comfort but also increased her despair. What do I be doin’ now?
Should I be takin’ the boys and leave? Head for Sweetwater Springs?
Antonia shook her head. No! I won’t be leavin’ Jean-Claude. Cain’t leave my home.
But without her husband to provide for them, she didn’t know how long she’d be able to manage on her own.
Somehow, I’ll be findin’ a way, Antonia vowed.


About the Author:
 
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Debra Holland wears
Model Michael Foster & Debra Holland
several hats when it comes to writing. As a psychotherapist, she writes nonfiction books. The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving is her first nonfiction book. More nonfiction books about grieving, boundary setting with difficult people, and relationships, are forthcoming.

Debra also writes fiction--Historial Western Romance, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy Romance, and Science Fiction. Her Montana Sky series, sweet historical Western romances, is published by Amazon Montlake.   

Debra lives in Southern California and has one dog and two cats. She's a second degree blackbelt and teaches martial arts. She also is a corporate crisis/grief counselor. You can join her newsletter subscription list or learn more about her at www.drdebraholland.com.  



2 comments:

  1. This sounds like such a great story. I wish you all the best. Angela Raines-author

    ReplyDelete