Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Blog Tour Tuesday - ALWAYS, RANSOM by: Reina Torres

Today Blog Tour Tuesday features 
Always, Ransom - 
Book 1 of Three Rivers Express Series 
by Reina Torres

About Always, Ransom:

The Express took men and rode them hard across the West. That adventuring spirit belonged to men full of life, ready for whatever met them on the trail, everything, except for love. 

Ransom McCain was the last man hired to ride for the Three Rivers station, but he was chosen to take the first ride west because he could think on his feet. Tensions are high because there are people determined to make the express fail, and little does Ransom know that he would fall for a woman caught in the crossfire.

Delia Burroughs is a young woman with plenty of heart and the strength of spirit to help her family survive in the West. But one by one they’ve left until it’s just Delia and her father. His grief and struggles may make it impossible for her to leave and make a family of her own. When she met Ransom, she knew she’d found a man she could love, but forces are determined to take her new home from her and perhaps her chance at real love.

Ransom and Delia will have to decide if what’s happening between them is something they want to fight for, or will they let themselves be pulled apart by the danger they’re both facing.

The Three Rivers Express Series is a set of Sweet Western Historical Romance which will be written alternately by Reina Torres and Nan O’Berry 

Starting with the Spring of 1860 when the Pony Express began their service of mail delivery between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California, each of the Three Rivers Express books will take on a new season and a different rider. 

Spring 1860 - “Always, Ransom” by: Reina Torres
Summer 1860 - “Always, Clay” by: Nan O'Berry
Fall 1860 - “Always, Wyeth” by: Reina Torres
Winter 1860 - “Always, Stone” by: Nan O'Berry

Ride the trails with our intrepid heroes and heartwarming heroines of the town of Three Rivers, Wyoming

You may purchase Always, Ransom 

Chapter One:

It was the first day of spring and the riders had been up from an hour before dawn seeing to preparations for the meeting. Levi Hawkins, the Station Master for Three Rivers had been on the porch of the bunkhouse waiting for them to stumble out into the darkness with a list of the final chores in his hands. He gave the first set of marching orders to Ransom as he was always the first to step up, and beside him was Clay Adams, an inch thinner than Ransom but an inch taller in height.
That meeting had been a few hours earlier and now, Ransom gladly set the last of the chairs in place in the first row of the church. The long wooden benches that always occupied the tidy building were enough for the normal crowd of residents, but today it would be site of a meeting that involved nearly fifty people,  who were coming in from miles around the town and they needed every available inch of the building to fit them all, including borrowing some chairs from the General Store and Levi’s own, leaving his dining room and living area nearly bare.
Stretching to ease the dull ache in his back, Ransom McCain lifted his head and rubbed the back of his hand over his brow. Even in the early morning chill, it was easy enough to work up a sweat given all the work they’d had to do. He caught Clay’s eye and gave him a nod. “Almost done?”
Clay shook his head and turned around, heading outside into the warm dawn, and coming back a moment later with a chair that looked like the legs had been cobbled together from several different chairs, each turned leg had its own unique pattern. “Just this one left and we’re done.” Setting the chair into place with a satisfied nod of his head, Clayton looked up and nodded. “Now I’m done.”
Ransom dug the paper list out of his vest pocket and ran his eyes over the penciled marks before he folded it back up and tucked it away. “And we’ve finished the list.”
He made his way through the sea of chairs to his friend’s side and together they made their way back outside. The church sat at the end of town, almost like a sign marker that proclaimed civilization in the middle of the vast expanse of land that was Wyoming. From the front steps of the church, you could see all the way down the main street, all the way down past the General Store, the bath house, and both saloons that called Three Rivers home. And even now, with the sun’s rays warming the ground and rousing the normal residents, there were a number of wagons and riders on horseback entering the town.
Beside him, Clay blew out a long whistle. “There’s still one thing we need to do.”
Ransom looked at his friend and shook his head. “The list is done, remember?”
Clay’s smile was just a shade under a grin. “Levi’s not the only one in charge.”
“Oh,” the truth of his words hit Ransom square in the chest, “that’s right. Mrs. Hawkins.”
The two shared a look and dashed off across the street between a pair of riders who were entering town on an easy lope. With a wave from Ransom, they made their way through the maze of corrals and fences and into the bunkhouse with laughter shaking at their shoulders. Both men snatched up the bundles of clothes that they’d left out on their bunks that morning and took off again across the dusty street.
Standing just inside the door of the bath house was Jeb Miller, an older man with an easy manner and a sharp razor. He was currently at work on Levi himself, laid out in the barber’s chair with a froth of white across one cheek.
“Nice to see you boys again.”
Ransom smiled at the sight before him and tread carefully into the room. “Good to see you, Mr. Miller. Sorry to rush in like that.”
Clay set his bundle down on a counter. “We wanted to beat the rush and a get a head start on Mrs. Hawkins’ rolls for breakfast.”
Levi chuckled in the chair and Jeb had to lift his razor away from the man’s cheek. “Well, I’m sure my wife will be happy to know she inspired your behavior even if it took her baking to do it.”
Jeb clucked like a mother hen. “Now hold still, Levi, I’ve got work to do.” He tossed some words over his shoulder as he cleaned his razor. “Go ahead into the other room. I’ve two baths drawn up and ready. You’ll get first dibs on the hot water.”
Well that’s all it took to get the boys moving. Even though they were full grown men, the prospect of a tub full of hot steaming water all to themselves was enough to prod them into action.


Delia Burroughs sat beside her father on the front seat of the wagon and tried to ignore the pinched expression in his face as she gathered her shawl about her shoulders. “I’m sure they kept room for us at the Livery, Pa.”
The only answer was a swift crack of the reins and grumble from the man beside her.
Earlier that morning, her father had been full of excitement for the day ahead. He was old friends with Levi Hawkins, the Station Master at Three Rivers, and if truth be told, the reason why her father was manning the swing station just a few miles outside of town. But when her father had gone outside he’d found that not only had his son hitched the wagon for the trip into town, but he’d also saddled his own horse and had packed his saddle bags to the hilt.
Delia hadn’t heard the beginning of the conversation, but she had heard the end of it. James had made his feelings quite clear and while her father had stood there, glaring at his son, his hands fisted at his sides, she knew the confrontation had hurt him deeply.
She could hear it in the shuffle of his steps on the kitchen floor as he’d rummaged through the cabinets and she’d heard it in the hollow thud of the empty bottle as it had fallen from his fingers before he’d emerged again from the house.
But she had no way of fixing it then, for James had already ridden off down the road, leaving the both of them behind.
Even though that had been several hours before she knew her father was still struggling to deal with the loss.
“I’ll help you, Pa.” She sat on the seat, grimacing as the wagon hit a rut and continued on. “I can saddle the horses. I can brush them down and feed them.” She tried to catch his eye, but he wouldn’t meet her gaze. “You taught me how.”
“I taught you to saddle a pony,” he scoffed at her words, leaning further over the reins as if it would make the horse move faster, “you can feed them, and muck out stalls, but these are Morgans, Delia. They’re strong and most of them half broke. They want them for speed. You’re not used to that. You’ll get caught up in the reins and break your neck.”
She heard the venom in his words and shrank back from the cold cut of his voice, but she refused to cower. She kept her back ramrod straight as they continued on, but she closed her mouth and kept it closed for the rest of the trip. There was no reason to utter a word. She smelled the stiff crawl of alcohol on his breath and knew that if she pushed him anymore, he’d likely seek out more in town. She’d done her level best to hide the stuff and dispose of it when her father was gone from home. But she always seemed to find another bottle when he’d return.
At least on this trip into town, she knew her father would be there with Levi at the meeting and then they would have supper with the Hawkins family. With luck, they’d return early from the meeting, now that James was gone. There would be more work to do and two less hands to do it.
A stiff wind blew sideways across the trail and her father’s shoulders rose to block the wind from his neck where the sliver of skin was exposed above his collar. Beside him on the bench, Delia felt the wind go straight through her like a knife. She had her mother’s old woolen jacket that she’d managed to cut down to size, but even with that added layer, the wind was vicious and felt like needles prickling against her skin.

When they were within sight of the town, Delia let out an audible sound of relief and she saw her father turn toward her. She flinched, her hand grasping at her skirts, not because she was afraid of him, but because she didn’t want to hurt him any more than he’d already been hurt.
“I’m sorry, Del.” Hearing him call her the childhood nickname he’d given her was another pang of pain in her heart. “I’m sorry for this morning.”
“It wasn’t your fault, Pa.” She struggled to give him a smile and ease the tension between them. “You weren’t expecting James to leave.”
The wagon rumbled on, slowing when a horse rode in from the south and pushed in front of their path. “He didn’t say anything ahead of time, but I suppose I should have seen it coming.”
Delia wanted to nod and agree, but she kept still and quiet. James and her father had been growing apart since her mother passed on a few years before.
“He didn’t want to live there. He didn’t want to be so far away from everything.”
“We’re not so far away,” she added in, eager to make things better for him, “it didn’t take us long to come into town, even with the wagon.”
Her father nodded and he whistled, turning the horse’s ears back. With a tug on the reins, the gelding ambled toward the livery barn on the left. “Still, it wasn’t what he wanted, so I guess letting him go was for the best.”
There was so much more that Delia would have wanted to say, but none of it would have made a difference to her father. “You’ll not breathe a word of this, Del.” He didn’t sound angry. Her father sounded desperate. “If they ask where James is, you tell them he stayed behind.”
She nodded. And when he narrowed his gaze at her, his eyes glittering with intense pain, she opened her mouth and told him what he wanted to hear. “He stayed behind.”
Her father’s expression eased like a cramp, a rush of a grin across his lips caught her off guard and when he brought the gelding to a stop at the door of the barn, she wasn’t ready for the sudden stop and nearly pitched forward off the seat.
“Whoa there.” A soft voice caught her attention and her hand as she reached out to steady herself. “Careful now.”
Turning to see her rescuer, she was taken aback. The man at her side was a stranger to her. “Thank you,” she felt her chest constrict beneath her corset, the bite of the stays eased up as she drew in a breath.
“You don’t want to fall from there.”
She looked down from his face to the ground and nodded, feeling like a silly goose. She knew precisely how high she was from the ground. She’d been climbing in and out of the wagon for years. But sitting there, her hand in his, gazing down into the face of the man who’d sprung into action to keep her from pitching forward from the bench, she was suddenly unsure of herself.
She tried to draw her hand away, but he held on. His hold wasn’t painful, but she questioned his touch with her eyes and a curious curve to her brow.
He answered with a soft chuckle and slight bow of his head. “I might as well help you down if you were planning to get out of the wagon. Since I already have your hand.”
She blushed and felt the heat tickle her skin from her cheeks to her ears. And that’s when she wanted to take her hand back, only to bury her face in both of them and hide until the awkward moment was over. She turned to her side, hoping that her father would help, but he was already climbing down from the wagon, deep into conversation with Levi Hawkins.
“I can assure you,” he turned her head with his humor-laced tone, “that you can trust me to help you down.”
“I trust you,” she began and her mind took a moment to catch up to the words she’d sputtered at him, “I’m just not sure I trust myself.”
Picking up her reticule from where she’d tucked it under her skirts, she stood, keeping a hold of his hand as she stepped down onto a runner. Her second foot followed the first and with an indrawn breath she felt herself lifted down to the ground. She felt her skirts swirl around their legs, coming to a stop in one direction and roll back in the other as she covered his hands with her own.
“Thank you,” she repeated the words she’d spoken earlier and found that she meant them in more ways than one. She felt safe with his hands upon her waist. And when she looked up into his eyes she felt a subtle confusion sweep through her. He was pleasant enough to look at, but that wasn’t anything new to her. Working at a stage depot brought her into contact with a number of men, from all walks of life, but this man, the way he looked at her made her feel as if the ground beneath her feet moved, as if the ground beneath them was alive. “Goodness.”
He smiled at the sound of her voice. “I-”
“Olivia?” Turning toward the much beloved voice, Delia felt herself cast adrift again, reaching out with her hands to find purchase. And stepped into the embrace of Olivia Hawkins.
The two women laughed and pulled the other closer into each other’s arms. With their eyes squeezed shut they turned around in a whirling circle. “Oh, thank goodness you came.”
Delia heard the joy in Olivia’s voice and found herself clutching the other woman closer, missing the maternal affection that Mrs. Hawkins always seemed to have in excess. “I wanted to see you again, so very much.”
“Well, we shall have all day together, Delia, but-” Olivia stopped short, releasing one arm from her embrace and turning Delia back toward the wagon, “I should introduce you to one of our riders.”
Delia saw the same young man standing there and smiled at him. Of course he was one of the riders. Nearly every man in town that she didn’t recognize was likely to be employed by Russell, Majors, & Waddell, either was a rider or a livestock tender or like her father, tasked with maintaining one of the swing stations.
Olivia waved him closer and stepped between the two. “Delia Burroughs, I would like to introduce, Ransom McCain.”
Delia watched as the man bent slightly at the waist, lowering his head for a moment before standing to meet her gaze again . It was a gesture that told her he had manners. And it was the ease of his movement that told her his manners had been ingrained in him for quite some time. But it was the soft look in his eyes that had her near breathless.
He had quite simply stolen her heart.
“Miss Burroughs,” his voice was deep, deeper than she had expected. He was smaller in stature than her brother. Even from his place a few feet away, she knew that he was only a few inches taller than her, and that was just fine. “I'm pleased to make your acquaintance.”
“Mister McCain, was it?” She heard her tone and knew she'd put in a little lilt at the end just for his benefit.
And when he nodded, she ignored the pointed look from Olivia at her side.
“Pleased to meet you as well. Have you been in Wyoming long?”
His smile broadened and he twisted his neck slightly as if his collar had tightened about his neck. “No, miss. I haven't been here more than a month or two. And in Three Rivers no more than half that.”
“Well,” she lifted her chin and gave him her best smile, “you are welcome. I’m sure you’ll do well here.” She turned and nodded at Olivia as she struggled to ease the hitch in her breathing. “The Hawkins family is the best in these parts. They’ll take good care of you if you do the same for them.”
She could see Olivia’s face flush with healthy color as she took her hand.
“If it wasn't for them,” Delia felt a knot form in her throat, “we wouldn't be here today.” And with that unexpected admission, Delia felt her lungs gasp for air. She turned away from the look of concern in Ransom’s eyes, and even the thought of his name made the sensation worse. What had made her say such things in front of him. How silly or needy must he see her now?
The worry rolled over her like a rush of heat and she gave Olivia’s hand a squeeze as her stomach threatened to rebel. “I'm sorry, Olivia dear, I am not feeling quite well.”
Delia saw Ransom step closer to her and she sighed with relief when Olivia took hold of her arm and pulled her closer and into her own side.
“You must be freezing. It can't have been that warm when you left the station. Come,” she drew Delia along with her toward the house, “Ransom will care for the horses. We’ll get you inside and before the stove to warm you up.”
Delia gave her a grateful smile and walked beside her to the gate. It was only when they paused for Olivia to lift the latch that Delia spared a look back toward the barn and found Ransom hard at work, removing the harness on their horse, his hands moving in a careful methodical manner, and she could tell by the way he bent over the horse, his head turned toward the old gelding’s ear, that he was talking to him.
The gentle gesture was one that she knew she wouldn't soon forget, nor was her heart likely to make it easy for her as it seemed to swell deep within her chest.
“He's a good man, Delia.”
She heard the soft laughter in Olivia’s voice and turned to look at the kind woman beside her. “Of course. I doubt Levi would hire anyone who wasn’t.” She followed Olivia through the gate and paused while Olivia set the latch again. “And I owe you both for helping Pa with the job at the station.”
Olivia took her by the arm and gave her hand a pat. “Levi recommended your father for the job because he has faith in him. We both have faith in him. You’ve all had your struggles since your mother passed, and we were happy to give your father a chance to continue doing what he was meant to do.”
They climbed the steps to the porch together and Olivia held the door open for her younger friend.
“And perhaps you were meant to be here as well. With friends who consider you as one of the family.”
Delia found herself wrapped in the embrace of Olivia’s daughter, Anna. “Oh, goodness!”
“It’s been so long since we’ve seen you!”
Delia marveled at the change in the young girl who was less than a year younger than her brother. In just the last few months, little Anna had sprouted up like a wildflower. Her long hair, which, like her delicate features, marked her as Olivia’s daughter, was dressed in long braids that trailed down her back. With a soft sigh, Delia brushed the wisps of hair back from Anna’s temples. “Too long, my friend, but we are together again.”

The ache in Delia’s middle eased as she was drawn easily into the rush of gentle emotions that surrounded her and thanked her lucky stars that she still had such wonderful friends who loved her as much as she loved them.

About Reina Torres:

Love - Romance - Books

Aren't they all the same thing?

Oh, I sure hope so! 

I've been reading romance books for what seems like forever. When I was a teen, the days that I wasn't in dance class after school I'd go to the mall to wait for my mom to finish work for the day and my haunt of choice... Waldenbooks. (I think I just showed my age there.)

Whether it was Scottish Lairds, Medieval Knights, Regency Gents, Rough and Tumble Cowboys, or handsome modern Heroes, I loved them all! There was always another hero and heroine to follow through page after page of breathless love!

I really hope that my readers will enjoy some of the same thrills as discover characters to love between the pages of my books.

Connect with Reina Torres:


  1. Best wishes on your new series, Reina! Thanks for the excerpt.

    1. Mahalo, Kathryn!! It's very exciting... I hope you enjoy it!

  2. I loved this book and can't wait for the next three!

    1. Thanks, Heather :D We're hard at work on the rest of the series

  3. Good for you and I'm very excited for you and this series. Keep those fingers flying. Doris