Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Blog Tour Tuesday - "Always, Wyeth" - Three Rivers Express Book 3 - Fall 1860

Today Blog Tour Tuesday features 
"Always, Wyeth" -  Book 3 of the Three Rivers Express Series 
by Reina Torres Release Date 9/29/17

About Always, Wyeth:

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. 

Wyeth Bowles liked his life. Riding hither and yon suited him. Being a bachelor suited him, he had more than enough of a family with his siblings. An innocent quip after a wedding may have set the apocalypse in motion. One long look at the banker’s daughter, knocks Wyeth off his high horse and into love, but the trail to happily ever after isn’t easy. While the danger to life and limb is an everyday thing for an Express Rider, it’s the danger to his heart that has Wyeth worried. These tender feelings for the quiet newcomer could just change his life for good, but also for the better. 

Ottille Weston
was used to moving about. Her father was determined to prove himself to the rest of his family and make a name for himself in the world of banking. Arriving in Three Rivers, Tillie worries about making friends, but there was something about Wyeth’s humor that draws her out of her shell. Most of her family had always been so cold and aloof, and being an only child was so lonely. Wyeth’s outgoing manner has her craving more and more time with him. But her father’s determination to make her an advantageous match just might break her heart.  Smitten by the young woman, Wyeth is stunned to learn that there’s another who may have a claim on her heart. Good hearts and bad decisions never seem to be far apart when love is on the line.  

Will love run away with their hearts or will Wyeth and Tillie be pulled apart by circumstances out of their control?  

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 *Pre-Order Sale* 
Winter 1860 - “Always, Stone” by: Nan O'Berry
Spring 1861 – “Always, Ellis” by: Reina Torres 

Summer 1861 – “Always, Brett” 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, Wyeth" by CLICKING HERE


September 2nd, 1860 - Sunday

Dear Mama and everyone that she’s reading this to,
I was happy to hear that little Willa has made us proud in school. She was always the smartest of all of the Bowles Family. She always loved me best. That shows intelligence in a child.
Please tell William to behave himself. If he doesn’t, feel free to send him out here to me, we have quite a few stalls to muck out and there’s never a lack of busy work. I’m sure Mr. Hawkins would be happy to hire him on since we’re readying the station for yet another wedding.
Mama, please do not get ahead of yourself. My friend Clay is marrying a lovely young woman, but I, myself, am not in any danger of subjecting myself to the same punishments.
That is not to say that I am not looking forward to the birth of my first niece or nephew. I am sure that they, like their aunt Willa, will find me enthralling and proclaim me their favorite uncle as soon as they learn to speak. Give Elizabeth a kiss for me, but do not squeeze her too tight. Reassure her that even though she teased me mercilessly as a child, I still believe she shall be a truly wonderful mother. She does have the best example to follow.
I hope you are doing well and not missing Papa as much. I think of him often and the rest of you as well.
Much love from the best of the Bowles Brood,
Wyeth E. Bowles
P.S. if you have need of more money, please let me know. I love you, Mama. You are the heart of our little family and I keep you with me Always, Wyeth

Chapter One

Wyeth stopped just a few feet away from the gate at the back of the Hawkins’ back gate and tugged at the top fastening of his pants. “Now that,” he gleefully turned to his friend as he set his palms over his belly, “is what I call a full meal.”
Luke chuckled and tugged on the collar of his shirt. “It was almost worth laundering my good shirt.”
“Almost?” Wyeth cuffed his friend on the arm. “Mrs. Hawkins and Mrs. O’Neal both have a talent at the stove. Add to it the generous contributions from Three Forks Ranch, and if I’d thought about it earlier, I would have laid odds that we’d have leftovers for the next few days. Tonight, at the very least.”
“Speaking of odds,” Luke reached into his pocket and pulled a spare corner of old newspaper, “we ought to tally things up before our recollections fade like old man Grant during the ceremony.”
Wyeth’s cheeks warmed at the memory of the soft snore that followed Reverend Brown’s inquiry about who had anything stupid to say about Clay getting hitched. “He falls asleep during services all the time, but this is the first I’ve heard him actually make a noise.”
“True enough, but I don’t think Clay or Emma noticed a thing other than each other.”
Wyeth bobbed his head. “You bet that he’d remember his part of the ceremony, I was hoping he’d been too distracted by his Emma in her dress.”
Luke gave him a satisfied nod. “But you got one for Mrs. Hawkins starting in on a second handkerchief before the end of the ceremony.”
“That’s right,” he grinned and craned his neck to try to see the paper, “so where does that leave us.”
Luke’s mouth turned down at the corners. “I owe you two bits.”
Wyeth clapped his hand down on Luke’s shoulder. “You came close,” he tried to console his friend, but the smile on his face wasn’t going to help. “Maybe you’ll make it back next time?”
“Next time?” Luke’s mood seemed to crumple just a little bit more. “Another wedding?” His hands lifted up in front of his body to ward off some unseen danger. “It’s not going to be me.”
“Why not?” Wyeth nudged his friend into moving again, taking them further down the street and past the two new buildings under construction. “This town is growing by leaps and bounds. New farmers, a few new ranchers in the area. Even the new bank and the Marshal’s office mean more folks coming to the area.” He nodded over at the stage depot. “You never know. One day you’ll be passin’ by and you’ll see a pretty woman step off the stage and-”
Luke stumbled as Wyeth smacked him playfully on his back. “Hey!’
“Suddenly, you’re standin’ up before the preacher giving up every bit of freedom with an ‘I do.’”
He continued on down the street, leaving a stunned Luke standing behind him.
It only took a few seconds for Luke to catch up, but he wasn’t happy. “I think you’re full of it,” he scoffed. “If anyone’s the next to get hitched, it’s going to be you.”
Luke sauntered on as the toe of Wyeth’s boot scuffed the dirt and launched him forward a little more than a step. It took him a few steps to catch up to his friend and he managed to get two hands in front of him to shove Luke passed the smithy. “Take it back!”
Luke spun around, managing to walk backwards to ward off his friend’s approach. “You act like it’s a curse or something.”
Wyeth felt his forehead pinch up. “I never said that,” he answered back. “I just know that it’s not for me. I’m already a good son, a halfway-decent brother, and the best uncle the world has ever seen.”
“What about-”
“And now that Clay has fallen victim to cupid’s arrow, I’m the best rider in this whole station! If I add husband to the mix,” he couldn’t help the odd twitch in his jaw, “what would the rest of you boys be known for?”
Luke thought over his words and ended up nodding like he just wanted to stop arguing. “It’s a tough life in your shadow, my friend.”
Wyeth rolled his eyes and came to a short stop at the corner of the smithy. Two men were ‘conversing’ quite loudly in the cross street and before Luke could stumble into their line of vision, Wyeth grabbed the back of his coat, holding him in place.
A finger to his lips and Wyeth got Luke to shush himself. The two leaned as close to the open air as they dared.

“But it’s a prison cell!”
“Yes, it is.”
“A cell in full view of the front door and every window on two sides of the building!”

Wyeth bit back a bark of laughter. “At least he can count.”
“And his eyes,” Luke added under his breath. “Who’s the one in the fancy duds?”
Narrowing his eyes at the man resplendent in a fine grey coat and a vest that should have been embroidered with pictures of money, he looked so important. “Never seen him before.”
“I recognize the other man,” Luke added in. “That’s Jack Wallace. He’s the one bringing in all the wood and men and-”
“Putting up all the buildings. Yeah. Good man. Levi’s brought in a lot of wood for him at-”

“You assured me that it was prime property!”
“Just off the Main Street, close to what will likely be the train station when the railroad comes to Three Rivers. Next to the Marshal’s office.”
“A Marshal’s office that you’ve informed me has no marshal!”
“The town is in the middle of hiring one. When that happens, you’ll have the safest building in town.”
“With,” the man repeated, “a cell… across the street!!” The disdain on the man’s face was clear even with the distance to where Wyeth and Luke were standing. “I can just imagine what my customers will think!”
“They’ll think it’s a brilliant deterrent to criminals,” Jack’s voice was riding a thin line between pleasant conversation and irritation. “If you wanted a different spot you should have specified as such.”
“Mr. Weston!”

The corner of Wyeth’s mouth twisted in a frown. “Well, this just got interesting.”
Luke looked up at him before turning back to the unfolding scene. “What’s Pierson doing in the middle of that?”

Pierson gave the man a firm handshake. “Looking forward to seeing you open the doors for the first time, Mr. Weston! More importantly, to have you here.”
“Yes, yes, that’s all good and fine, but I’m sure you had something else to say to me or you wouldn’t have come all the way here to say it.”

From their place behind the smithy, Luke blew out a low whistle.
“No love lost there.”
Wyeth nodded, but didn’t turn his eyes away from the meeting.

Mr. Pierson’s smile was still in place, albeit a little tighter than before. “I just wanted to remind you that your daughter is due in on the stage tomorrow. We’re likely to see them just prior to dinner.”
That seemed to sour the man’s mood even more. “And that poses another problem, in and of itself.”
Mr. Pierson’s expression looked downright pained. “And what would that be, Mr. Weston?”
“The Boarding House hasn’t opened fully yet. While they’ve let me into my room and have a room for Ottille, they’ve no cook or other staff.”
“I’m sure Timmons has space at the table at the itinerant housing. You’ve been having your meals there, haven’t you, Mr. Weston?”
The man in question leveled a look at the builder that said he regarded the man’s suggestion to be one up from base debauchery.
“My daughter, at the same table as miners and… and-”
“And the men that built your bank and in the process of building your home.” Mr. Wallace grew a fraction of an inch until he met Mr. Weston’s dark glare straight on. “I can assure you that they all have manners and are fine men.”
“That may be, Mr. Wallace,” Mr. Weston didn’t move, but his tone darkened even more, “but it would be out of the question to have them share a meal with my daughter. Just because I have to endure it, doesn’t mean she has to.”

Wyeth felt Luke pulling on his sleeve, but it took a moment to turn away. “Well isn’t he a prize?”
Luke shook his head. “I kind of feel sorry for his daughter.”
“What if she’s just like he is?” Wyeth felt an odd knot in his middle. “I almost wish she would be.”
“What?” Luke stepped back and gave him a hard stare.
“I’m just saying that if she was a kind and gentle person, I can’t see how a tender heart would survive a father like that.”
Luke shrugged. “I can see that, but you never know.” A soft rumbling sound had Luke covering his middle with his hands. “And now I’m hungry again.”
Wyeth’s head dropped down until his chin fairly bounced off of his chest. “Luke, son, when are you not hungry?”
Shrugging, Luke looked back along the rear of the stage depot and between the corrals of the Livery and Express. “We can cut through and see if there’s any biscuits left.”
Giving in, Wyeth stored away his nagging thoughts in the back of his head. He turned, sauntering in the direction of the station. As soon as Luke was at his shoulder, his strides matching Wyeth’s with an easy gait, Wyeth took off running, leaving his friend rushing to catch up with him.

Tillie was sound asleep when she felt the familiar crack of a fan on her knee. She sat bolt upright, her eyes widened beyond their normal gaze, and swallowed any verbal cry of pain.
“Prepare yourself, Miss Weston. We will soon be in,” the older woman’s face pinched with distaste, “Three Rivers.”
Struggling to rise above the sleepy confusion muddling her mind, Tillie smiled in what she hoped would pass muster as an appropriate smile. “What time is it?”
Mademoiselle Dubois’ eyes were like flint in the dark interior of the coach. “You have a watch, yes?”
Nodding gently to ease the tight muscles in her neck, Tillie lifted the watch pinned to her bodice and squinted her eyes to see the teeny little hands on the face.
Another short crack of Mademoiselle’s fan on her knee. “Posture, Miss Weston. We are not wild animals.”
Tillie decided that it really didn’t matter what the time was. The light, or really, the lack of light coming through the gap between the coach’s window frame and the cover, told her it was an early hour. A spill of exhausted thoughts rushed back to the forefront of her memory. Critical of the accommodations provided for them at the last stage depot, Mademoiselle Dubois had plagued the drivers and station manager for hours until they’d decided to start the last leg of the journey while the stars were still bright in the sky. Now, at Three Rivers, Tillie was looking forward to exploring what would be her home for at least a few months. It was the rush of excitement that helped push down the instinctual sadness of knowing that there would always be another new town, at least until her father had reached his goal of proving himself to his family, earning himself a place in Boston society.
The driver called out to the station and slowed the team. Tillie was used to the tugging and rocking motioned that accompanied an anticipated stop. She didn’t bother looking at Mademoiselle Dubois to see her expression. Likely, it was the same expression she wore every day, something betwixt boredom and irritation.
Listening with her ear toward the opening in the window, she heard the grumpy tones of the driver and his partner as they scrambled down from the boot.
And then it began, the giddy rush of anticipation as she looked upon the door waiting for someone to open it and let her out of the little box.
“Do not pounce, Miss Weston. A young lady of breeding presents herself in a calm and decorous manner.”
Tillie smoothed away the smile that had been on her lips and felt the excitement dim. “Yes, Mademoiselle Dubois.”
The door opened and the driver offered Tillie a smile and his hand. “Miss?”
She took it before her companion could say anything, and felt herself tugged from the seat with a strong movement.
The driver took hold of her forearm with his other hand and lowered her down without the stairs. Tillie felt the rush of air pass her lips and gave him a soft thank you as she stepped away from the steps to allow her companion to disembark from the coach.
The town of Three Rivers at a glance was small, tidy, and warm. From her vantage point, there were all of two people out of doors, and a fine dappled Morgan pony was out in a corral, dancing about in the well-kept enclosure.
The two walked in companionable silence in the yard, a man and a young woman side by side in the quiet of the morning. One head and then the other would look up at the horse and then the horse would dart in one direction or another. Performing for an audience, the thought made her smile.
“Miss Weston?”
The familiar clip of Mademoiselle Dubois’ disapproval turned her head.
“Please do pay attention.”
Tillie’s smile settled onto her lips. “I am.” She flushed at the curious look from the stage driver. They all knew where her attention had been.
“Miss, I don’t know what could possibly be keepin’ Mr. Pierson from answering the door. He should be out fixin’ to receive the mail we have in the lockbox.”
Tillie waved off his concern. “We did have an early start. Likely he wasn’t planning for us to arrive so early.”
“It certainly was a jarring and bumpy ride,” Mademoiselle turned her eagle eye and irritation toward the driver. “Did you have to find every rut and bump in the road?”
“Well, you know…” The driver smiled at the older woman as he swept the hat off of his head and pushed his fingers through the greying waves of hair, lifting them from the flat covering his hat had created. “There were a few bumps about an hour out of the last station that we missed ‘cause we were too busy chattin’ ‘bout the weather.”
Tillie’s eyes widened slightly at the way he spoke to her companion. If she had dared to inject any sort of humor into their discourse she would have certainly suffered consequences.
Yet, Mademoiselle Dubois said nothing. The unaccustomed silence gave Tillie an unprecedented opportunity to observe her constant companion from another perspective. The stage driver’s regard wasn’t rude. His tone and gaze rang with humor, but he wasn’t mocking. In fact, the light in his eyes seemed to bear a fair amount of appreciation.
Her ever-present companion cut quite a handsome figure, even in her severe daygown in the same shade of grey that she seemed to favor. Her hair, while starting to pale at her temples, still held a lustrous mahogany color. The barest of curly wisps that had loosened around her ears during their journey was the only indication that the slicked-straight hair that wrapped into a bun at the nape of her neck wasn’t the true nature of her hair.
The driver was called away to help with the luggage, leaving the two women alone.  
The older woman turned her head toward Tillie like an owl and focused on the voice. “Who is that?”
Tillie turned and smiled. The young woman she’d seen before was leaning on the corral. She was standing on the second rung of the fence, her braids laid against the dark green of her dress.  There was a hint of petticoats that showed stark white against her dark leather boots and the straight hem of her skirts a scant few inches above. “I have no idea.”
The driver and his partner set down a trunk a few feet away and pulled his kerchief from around his neck and swiped at his cheeks. “That young lady over there is Anna Hawkins. Her Pa runs the livery, freight office, and the Pony Express station. Your other things are likely stored in their barn until your home is completed.”
Tillie raised her arm and waved back at the young woman. They were likely near to each other in age and that alone was a wonderful happenstance. “Hello!”
“Miss Weston!”
“Do you ever let her do anything?”
Both Tillie and her companion turned back to the driver at the same time, but it was Mademoiselle Dubois that spoke, Tillie certainly didn’t have the nerve to. “Excusez-moi?”
The driver laughed again, a full-throated laugh that temped Tillie to join in. “I got no idea what you just said, but I guess it don’t matter much.” He tucked his kerchief into a pocket. “I just wonder if you knuckle her under all the time or just in front of folks. I mean, Miss Weston’s hardly done or said a thing you like but from what I can see, she’s a fine young lady.” He turned his gaze toward the other young woman by the corral. “If Miss Weston here is going to spend much time in Three Rivers, she’ll spend a good amount of time around the likes of the Hawkins and the O’Neals. They’re the only women who live in town at the moment who don’t make their living in the saloons.”
Tillie stepped closer and took a hold of Mademoiselle’s arm when she paled at the thought. When the older woman’s eyes met hers, Tillie knew what she was thinking. Tillie had always been watched like a hawk, even more so when Mademoiselle had taken the job of instructing her on the proper etiquette of a young woman. Tillie knew that the stage driver’s intention was to ease the older woman’s concerns, but all he’d managed to do was to give her keeper yet another reason to keep a very close eye on her.
Managing to keep a polite smile on her lips, Tillie sighed under her breath. “Oh goodness.”

... I hope you'll continue on and find out what love has in store 
for Wyeth and Tillie 

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.

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1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful series you and your co-author have created. Best on this next installment. Doris