Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Blog Tour Tuesday: ASHLEY by Kate Connors

Today Blog Tour Tuesday features 
Ashley: Brides of Cinnabar Book 1 
by Kate Connors

About Ashley:

Mal McElhoes' spur-of-the-moment purchase of a sheep herd might not have been his smartest decision. The ranch in rough and tumble Cinnabar, Montana, on the outskirts of Yellowstone Park, is more work than he can manage, especially with good-for-nothing ranch hands. And he's even losing those, thanks to the new railroad coming through. He needs more help and companionship than his loyal, whip-smart collie can offer. What he really needs is a wife.

Ashley Sullivan's prospects in New Hampshire are bleak. Her family's fallen on hard times. She does what she can to help out, but she doesn't want to be a burden on them. Besides, she's holding a few secrets in her heart: she'd like to run her own boarding house someday, she'd like a grand adventure, and, just maybe, she could fall in love. So when an offer to be a mail order bride to a sheep rancher in Montana comes up, she leaps at the chance.

Construction on the National Pacific Railroad nearby brings new opportunities for Mal and Ashley. But it also brings new dangers. When his sheep start disappearing, mail ordering a bride might turn out to be the smartest decision Mal ever made...

You may purchase ASHLEY by CLICKING HERE.


Mal didn’t have long to wonder why James and Ernie were hanging out at Wallace’s instead of sitting in the bunkhouse playing cards. Blaine was waiting for him at the ranch.
     Surprised to see him, Mal asked, “Trouble?”
     Blaine shrugged. “More like a business opportunity, if you’re up for it, Mal.”
     He helped Ashley to the ground before introducing her to Blaine.
     The sheriff tipped his hat. “Sorry to trouble you so soon after your arrival, Miss.”
     Ashley shook the large man’s hand with a nervous smile. “I hope it’s nothing too serious?”
     “Oh, it’s more of a travel blunder than anything, Miss. Don’t you fret none.”
     Mal went to the house, intending to let Cindy loose, and found a letter nailed to the door. Blaine and Ashley followed.
     “More of my men walked out on me, for the railroad!” He crumpled James’ note. “They’re all gone now.”
      Mal didn’t know what to do. Even if James and Ernie had been the worst hands ever, how could he possibly run the ranch without any ranch hands? He didn’t want Ashley to worry so he tried not to let his fears show.
     “Well, this may be just the ticket then.” Blaine gave him a hearty clap on the back. “I happen to have a group of travelers that lost their mode of transport.    The saloon’s all full-up with railroad men. We need beds and now you’ve got a few extras.”
     “What are you talking about?”
     “There’s an Army Colonel transferring back to Virginia. Got his whole family here and the carriage he commissioned lost a wheel.”
     Mal raised an eyebrow. “One of your carriages?”
     Blaine shrugged again, looking elsewhere. “Might be.”
     Mal grinned. “I did offer to fix that for you.”
     Blaine answered gruffly, “Well you can get on that tomorrow.”
     When Mal finally opened the door to the ranch house, a dog bolted between their legs and made straight for Ashley, barking a happy welcome and hopping around in excitement.
     Ashley squealed in delight, crouching down to pat the black and white dog, now licking her face. “You didn’t tell me you had a dog!”
     Mal said, “That’s Cindy. I can’t believe I forgot to mention her. Come on, girl! Don’t be a pest.”
     He made to coax her away from Ashley, but she scooted between his legs and flopped herself onto the ground before the young woman, rolling over to expose her belly. His fiancĂ© beamed in satisfaction, rubbing the dog’s fur. “Oh she’s dear, I don’t mind at all. We never had a dog at home. My father thinks they are filthy creatures.”
     Mal considered the dog rolling around in the dirt at their feet. “Well, your father’s probably right, but Cindy is a pretty great dog!”
     Mal unpacked the wagon while Blaine briefly outlined his plan. Colonel Jackson and his family would pay for lodging and breakfast and spend the night in the bunkhouse. In the morning  Blaine would hire Mal to fix the carriage wheel so the Jacksons could get to Livingston before the next train to Denver.
     Ashley interrupted their conversation to suggest, “That’s going to be quite a lot of work to get done on time. You might want to pay extra for rush service.”
     Mal tried to hide a grin when Blaine huffed at the idea of “paying extra” but ultimately agreed that he would be keeping Mal from his other work. He offered an additional two dollars to get the job done.
     Ashley asked, “Will that also cover the cost of the materials?”
It was all Mal could do to keep from laughing at Blaine’s reaction. The sheriff had finally met his match when it came to bargaining. Ashley was proving more resourceful by the minute.
     Ashley asked, “How many should I plan for dinner?”
     “There’s four in the Colonel’s party, plus you and me.”
     “And me,” said Blaine. “I’m a mite peckish.”
     “So seven people.” She nodded and strode into the pantry, determined to make a nice meal for their unexpected guests. Mal had plenty of jerky of various types and  not much else. It was a good thing they had shopped so well in Livingston.
     Plans made, Blaine borrowed Mal’s wagon and went to collect his travelers from town. Mal was thankful that Ashley proved unflappable, what with suddenly having to come up with dinner for seven.

About Kate Connors:

Kate Connors grew up in Boston and always dreamed of living out west. After three visits to Yellowstone National Park she decided that just visiting wasn't enough. She's worked in Yellowstone National Park since 2014. The story of the Montana town of Cinnabar that existed for 20 years due to a right of way dispute caught her fascination and she hopes you enjoy reading these sweet romances starring characters who have placed all their bets, hopes and dreams on this little town that lies on the outskirts Yellowstone National Park.

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  1. Oh this story sound so precious. Love the excerpt. Wishing you the very best on this one. Doris

  2. Kate, I like the fact you learned about a defunct town and are bringing it back to life.