Still Together

Authors of Main Street have been together since February of 2012.

We are a group of ladies who not only write what we love, but have bonded as tight-knit members. We’re friends who are there for each other through thick and thin, no matter what that issue may be.

Find your happily ever after within irresistible stories from authors from every walk of life, and various areas of our wonderful country, USA, also Canada and New Zealand.

We all write in different genres, but all of the stories have one thing in common. Happy Endings! Who doesn’t love a happy ending?

I’m excited that our next boxed set will be SUMMER ROMANCE ON MAIN STREET.
Look for our new offering in May, 2018.

We are humbled and many thanks go out to our fantastic readers. You are who we write for, and burn the midnight oil, to bring stories for your reading pleasure.

I hope we’ll have a cover reveal soon! I’ve seen a prototype – and it’s awesome!

Tell us what you love to read, what you’d love to read. Do you have a particular character, story or boxed set you preferred from our group?

Inquiring minds want to know!

I wish you Love, Butterflies and Music.

“But why do you write about history?” They Ask….

Many have asked why I write about history.

“Writing about history takes so much time, you know, all that research!” they say.

Let me introduce some of my history… about history.

I love the Old West. I love New Zealand. I love stories of “the old countries”.  I have relatives from Denmark, Scotland, Russia, and the American South, all of which interest me no end. My genealogy charts are getting more branched as I continue to delve!

  • I grew up on Highway 84 in La Honda, CA…
  • where the Younger Brothers used to hang out after big heists…
  • where the Stage ran through…
  • and the Peek-a Boo Inn (yes, it was what it sounds like), the eleven bars, three churches and one store were the standard, back in the day. La Honda and some of its history is now featured in the third story of The Long Trails series, in  A Sea of Green Unfolding)history

Then I went away to university, finished veterinary school…(had to be a hoss-doc, didn’t I?)…

  • and lived in Placerville, CA on the Pony Express Trail.history

So, I was rather steeped in the Old West from a very young age.

Well, things led to things and I made my way to New Zealand, where I’ve lived for the past 27 years and have just published my fourth book. They comprise three 1860’s historical fictions in The Long Trails series and the newest, a contemporary novella, placed in the middle of the new Once Upon a Vet School series.

“But I hate reading about history,” some others say.

I love and write history, but rather than vomiting facts and figures all over the pages in what authors call “info-dumps”,  I offer it in a palatable way, by letting my fictitious characters interact with real historical ones in real historical settings. In essence, offering history in a tasty mix. It might just make history buffs of some people who didn’t think they’d ever go there!

History is good, but what about Food?

Recipes, oh yes, did I mention recipes? history Each of my books contain a recipe, pertinent to the story and time. Food. Always important, but I digress…

In case you were wondering what my historicals are about, have a read!

The Long Trails Series

Tales of factual fiction, adventure stories rich in historical detail, following the escapades of Aleksandra, Xavier, and Tatiana as they travel across continents and seas through the 1860’s.

Book One: A Long Trail Rolling history

She didn’t expect to become a target…but she is one now.

Aleksandra is alone and running to prevent her father’s killer from discovering their family secret. Disguised as a Pony Express rider in 1860’s Utah, Aleksandra winds up in even deeper trouble when she rides full speed into the Paiute Indian War. With Xavier, her compelling Californio boss, can she escape the Indians on the warpath and evade the man who’s already killed her father—and set his sights on her?

Book Two: The Hills of Gold Unchanginghistory

No one will stand in their way—and live.

As the Civil War rages, secessionists menace California. Aleksandra and Xavier are trying to get back home—through the oncoming Civil War, the mining camps of 1860’s Nevada and California, and the Sacramento floods—to Xavier’s Californio Rancho de las Pulgas. Embroiled in the Confederate’s fight to drag the new state from the Union and make it their own, can Aleks and Xavier survive?

Book Three: A Sea of Green Unfoldinghistory

When you’ve lost everything, the only way to go is up—isn’t it?

Follow the young couple’s journey to adventure in the turbulent wilderness of 1861 New Zealand. Tragedy strikes in Aleksandra and Xavier’s newly found paradise on their California Rancho and von Tempsky’s invitation draws them to a new life in New Zealand—where the land wars between the European settlers and the local Maori have only just begun.

Book Four: Tatiana   Due out 2018!history

When the tsar holds the reins, nothing is certain—even life itself.

Stableman’s daughter Tatiana rises to glamorous heights by her equestrienne abilities—but the tsar’s glittering attention is not always gold. She and her husband Vladimir become pawns in the emperor’s pursuit of a coveted secret weapon. While Tatiana and their infant son are placed under house arrest, Vladimir must recover the weapon, or risk losing his wife and young son. With the odds mounting against them, can they find each other again—half a world away?

Find my books here!

Tatiana is my WIP (Work In Progress) right now. Does anyone have anything they’d especially like to see in the story? 

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Take care,

Lizzi

Our Christmas Tree, or New Traditions for New Lives

This year, with my boys grown and moved away, my partner and I decided to simply decorate our living room for the holidays with a ficus tree, a veer away from tradition. Rather than purchase a cut-your-own pine Christmas tree, for the first time we chose to honour our own tree—the one which lives with us every day in our home.

traditional non treeMy partner, a native of the UK, has a history of disappointment and sadness at our New Zealand Christmas. I, too, was transplanted to New Zealand (by choice, of course…). Getting used to a summertime Christmas hasn’t always been easy for me, either.

Tradition at NZ Christmas

Credit to NZ Post, with thanks, at https://stamps.nzpost.co.nz/

Seasonally-inverted southern hemisphere Kiwis (New Zealanders) have imported the northern hemisphere holiday traditions—but someone forgot to change the dates. In doing so, we’ve essentially lost the fundamental reason for celebration of the midwinter festival: the anticipated return of life after the still-to-come times of hardship—the release from darkness and want, toward the time of renewal and plenty.

tradition Cold Winter

©Photo. R.M.N. / R.-G. OjŽda

Early on, I realized this concept was more deeply ingrained in me than I’d dreamed. Moving to New Zealand was a big change in more ways than one.

Whether we move away from our childhood home or relocate a long way from our families and close friends later in life, we may find the need to create our own holiday traditions. As children, and now grandchildren, enter our lives, our roles may change even further, necessitating further adjustments.

Those living far from their birth homes often confirm that being away from family and close friends can be daunting.

Tell me about it.

My first December 25th in New Zealand had to rate as my most depressing Christmas up until that date. I had a wonderful boss, but no real friends outside of work, as I had spent every weekend with my boyfriend out on the coast, an hour away from home—and he ended our relationship over the phone, out of the blue, on 23 December.

Tradition not so good.

Thanks to https://awakened2torah.com/2017/07/19/stay-in-the-box-jack/ for the use of the photo. 🙂

Looking back, I can see it was for the best, but at the time… let’s say it wasn’t ideal.

On the other hand, sometimes one must sink to great depths to plumb the true strength of one’s spirit and guts.

Eyes blurred by tears, I managed to create the day for myself by cutting out intricate paper snowflakes from wrapping paper.

Tradition snowflakes paper

Thanks to The Balance for use of the pic! https://www.thebalance.com/

I still remember as if it were yesterday: The paper was red on one side, white on the other, and thin enough for light to shine through it. In fine pencil, I wrote around the perimeter of each, and on inner circles, what the holiday was really about—about the day being about love, and not presents. About those whom I cared for, and who cared about me. About the beautiful country in which I had ensconced myself, the tremendous job as an equine vet in an otherwise eight-man dairy practice.

tradition NZ view

The little piece of NZ beside my home on the cover of my third novel

As the years passed, I found new ways of satisfying the yearnings in my heart at Christmas time when I was unable to return to my family for the holidays. Celebrating a sit-down, full-on Midwinter dinner on 21 June for a roomful of my Kiwi friends, many of whom had never experienced a northern hemisphere Christmas dinner, not only did something for them, but did something for my own heart. It gave me my Christmas back and let me begin to enjoy true Kiwi summertime Christmases.

“Christmas is so commercialised, I don’t want anything to do with it,” I’ve heard from several friends lately. This isn’t a problem for me. I don’t watch television at all, and since I began writing, I avoid town… even my radio time has diminished. I don’t hear the commercials or Christmas jingles, so the commercialism isn’t a part of my life. I have only my memories and traditions from which to browse.

In speaking with my partner in mid-June about it, he said Christmas really didn’t mean anything to him. We discussed it at length, what would make it for him, what makes it for me. The result? He enjoyed his holiday, and this year we will have a midwinter Christmas feast and hopefully, he will regain his joy of the holidays, no matter what time of year they arrive.

I hope this helps someone, estranged by distance or circumstance from loved ones, find peace in their life.

In Once Upon a Vet School #7, Lena Takes a Foal, Lena finds herself in a situation. She was going to stay in her vet school town and take extra Large Animal ICU shifts over the holidays, as her family was out of the country, but she was invited home with her hero, Kit.

Here’s a little excerpt of their traditional Christmas:

Once Upon a Vet School #7, Lena Takes a Foal

Kit’s pickup eased off the highway into his family’s driveway, snow crunching beneath the tires. He slowed as we approached a beautiful bay Thoroughbred with a matching foal at foot, standing behind the post and rail fence.

“She’s my favorite jumper — the one I kept when everything got split up,” he said, and tightened his jaw.

“Glad you still have her then,” I said, taking a deep breath, and squeezed his fingers. “It’ll all be fine.”

“I know. Thank you for comin’ home with me,” he said, as we drove on toward the house.

“Glad you asked,” I said, taking my eyes off the pair of horses and looking forward through the windshield at what could only be Kit’s family members, by their resemblance.

“The welcoming committee awaits.” He smiled and shut off the engine, opened my door and handed me out into the freezing, dazzling sunshine, accented by the tang of the snow-drenched pines. His arm, warm over my shoulders, led me toward the group.

Any anxiety I might have had about meeting his family vanished into thin air as handshakes turned to hugs. Kit’s sister, a female version of him, stood tall and leggy in designer clothing and manicured nails, while his father offered a hint of the distinguished gentleman Kit would become. His beautiful mother was kindness itself as she pulled us in the door, toward her warm, cinnamon-scented farmhouse-style kitchen.

Christmas music played in the background when we eventually migrated from the hand-hewn kitchen table toward the living room with our foaming mugs of fresh eggnog. The huge tree caught my attention, its fairy lights and ornaments glittering against long pine needles, but my mouth dropped open at the view of Lake Tahoe completely filling the longest wall of the room. Its blue-black expanse shimmered against the snow on the surrounding mountains.

“Who’s dishing out the presents?” Kit’s mother asked, settling herself on the sofa.

“My turn.” Kit’s sister smiled and began delivering packages around the room.

I hadn’t expected anything, but had made gifts over the month since Kit had invited me. For his mother, a gardening apron; his sister, some padded hangers for her fashionable clothes; and for his pop, a big tin of the Danish Christmas cookies I’d grown up making with my family. Kit had already inhaled most of his cookies on the way up the mountain.

Soon there was a pile of gifts beside me. I stared at Kit over the top of it, my mouth open.

“What did you expect? You’re part of the family, now.

Enjoy it,” he said, and leaned across to kiss me.

My face heated. I couldn’t have been more pleased, as I picked up the first gaily wrapped package.

“A western shirt,” Kit said, holding up his first present. “I haven’t had a new one in years, thank you, Lena!”

“That forest green with chocolate is perfect on you,

Kit,” his sister said. “It looks designer, where did it come from?” She turned to me.

“It’s a Lena original,” I said.

“No, it can’t be,” she said, peering over her brother’s shoulder at the label. “It is!”

“What does it say?” his mother asked.

“Made Expressly for Kit by Lena,” she said.

Kit pulled it on and clicked the pearl snaps.

“It fits,” he said, astonished. “They never fit… and it’s actually long enough.”

“Of course, it fits, I’m a professional. Just remind me to give back your ratty old denim work shirt that was falling apart at the seams.”

“You didn’t cut it apart, did you?” Kit said, horror written all over his face.

“Your precious shirt is safe,” I said, squeezing his fingers. “I know how long it must’ve taken to get the fabric that soft.”

“You got that right,” he said, with a grin.

I glanced around, but everyone was absorbed elsewhere.

“Truth be told,” I whispered, “you might not get it back.”

He frowned, and I quirked my lips at him.

“What have you done with it?” His brows narrowed.

“Nothing, but it’s awfully nice to sleep in… it’s got your scent.”

He peeked toward the rest of the family, then turned back to me, eyes glowing.

“Now that, I’d like to see,” he said, in an undertone. “You can keep it, if that’s why you need it.” He chuckled.

The first present I opened was a beautiful copy of Robert Frost’s Birches.

“That’s for you, my dear,” Kit’s mother said, after I unwrapped it, “because you’re a swinger of birches.” Her eyes glowed as she gazed from me to her son and back again.

Everyone was happy with my homemade gifts and I was touched by the thought that had gone into their presents for me.

Kit disappeared for a moment, then returned to the room carrying a large, gaily decorated box. I glanced up at him with a smile and returned to reading about birches in the snow, my legs tucked up beneath me on the sofa.

All talk in the room ceased and I looked up to see Kit standing before me.

“This is for you.” He gently handed the package to me and sat down. “It’s breakable. Very.”

Looking sideways at him, I slipped my feet to the floor and pulled the end of the silk ribbon to untie the bow, then pulled off the paper. Whatever it was, it’d been packed securely.

Kit cut the heavy tape securing the box with his pocket knife and I opened the flaps.

Traditional Christmas in Once Upon a Vet School

Want to read more? 

Once Upon a Vet School #7 is available in print and digital. See details on my website here

It’s also available as part of Author’s of Main Street’s current boxed set Christmas Babies on Main Street here 

Come on by and check out my website here!

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Enjoy creating your own holiday traditions!

xx

Lizzi

 

Happy Holidays y Que le Vaya Bien!


I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, filled with the people you care about most in the world. If you couldn’t be with them, I hope they were in your heart.

My youngest son, my partner, and I are far from our New Zealand home… in Fort Worth, Texas. We had quite a different Thanksgiving holiday. Matthew had never had one, being from the UK and then NZ, and my son Elliot has only had what I could cobble together in New Zealand for the traditional dinner. For me, this was my first one in a restaurant! 

Luckily we booked a few days in advance and actually found a restaurant with room for us which did a non-yuppie thanksgiving feast. I ate too much… once again. I could seriously have done without the pumpkin cheesecake.  I ate it like it was pie…but it was far from that… being mostly cream. A few miles’ walk back to our hotel helped considerably.

 

The dinner was spectacular and afterwards, the entertainment was hysterical…some people at the next table had their turkey hats on…complete with gobbling and wriggling legs.

Last week, we enjoyed some great Southern hospitality in San Antonio, where we exhibited our Equi-Still Portable Equine Stocks at the AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners) Convention last weekend.  6000 equine vets all in one place! This was just one lecture!

The stocks are pretty versatile….here’s our smallest visitor to the booth!   

We headed out east three times to eat at Taqueria Los Dos Laredos Mexican restaurant where few spoke English. The best kind.  Plus, I got to practice my rusty Español. 🙂

We stayed at the historic Menger Hotel, established and in operation since 1859. Carriage horses from the Lollypop Carriage Company waited right outside

and the Alamo is across the street! Right up my alley. 🙂

I’ve had a week off from writing, but after publishing three books so far this year, I guess that’s okay.  Plus, I’ve been accumulating new stories…

I hadn’t known the history of the Alamo before, but “Battle for Texas” in the mall nearby gave much more detail on it than was even present at the Alamo site itself.

I’m already ruminating on how to include it in one of my upcoming stories…maybe in one of the novellas I’d like to write about Krzysztof’s life!  We’ll have to work on that one. 🙂 It’ll have to be heresay, as the Alamo fell in 1836 and the Galician Slaughter, the stimulus for Aleksandra’s father and mother leaving Poland, occurred in 1846. :/  That’ll take some thinking.

Today we visited the historic Fort Worth Stockyard Station. It was pretty cool.

Instead of tearing the old stockyards down, as often happens, they transformed much of the site into a tourist attraction, full of stores, restaurants, and wedding venues, with some of the old stock areas still in evidence. It’s lucky for people like me, who want to see those too!

Billy Bob’s famous honkey tonk/ dance hall is there, but as it was Thanksgiving today… well, everyone was home with their families. Few places were open. But that, too, I liked. We got to see the place without hordes of people!

Have a wonderful holiday, talk with you next month!

Hasta luego y que le vaya bien from the travellers!

Thanks for coming by!

xx

Lizzi

PS…

If you haven’t yet ordered your copy of Christmas Babies on Main Street, it’s available now!  Click here to get it now!

Hope you love the heartwarming stories therein. If you do, we’d love you to leave a review on Amazon!

Thanks again for visiting

xx

Lizzi

Ever Thought of Riding the Pony Express?

I sure did…probably obsessed on riding the Pony Express, too, when I was a little girl riding out in the hills around La Honda, California.

Maybe that’s why my first novel, A Long Trail Rolling, ended up being about the Pony Express…and a girl rider.

Many have asked why I wrote about this for my first novel. For those of you who don’t know my history, suffice it to say I grew up on Highway 84 in La Honda, California, where the Younger Brothers used to hang out after big heists, the Stage ran through, and the Peek-a Boo Inn (yes, it is what it sounds like…), the eleven bars and three churches and one store were the standard, back in the day.

I went away to university and finally finished veterinary school. I had to be a hoss-doc, didn’t I? I moved on to Placerville, of Gold Country fame, on the Pony Express Trail.  You might say I was rather steeped in the Old West.

Things led to things and I found myself in New Zealand, where I’ve lived for the past 22 years. I’ve now finished my third historical fiction (with romantic elements, of course) and my first contemporary vet girl story, Once Upon a Vet School #7: Lena Takes a Foal.

It’s actually included in our Christmas boxed set, Christmas Babies on Main Street! You’ll see it in the right sidebar, all dressed in midnight blue!

Back to History and the Pony Express!

I discovered some pretty cool things can happen when you’re researching a story. 

Thanks to Pony Express History –

The Pony Express Re-Ride runs every year, all the way from St. Jo, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. Patrick Hearty, past president of the National Pony Express Association (NPEA), wrote the Foreword of A Long Trail Rolling for me. He and his wife, Linda, hosted my son Elliot and I a few years ago, and again last year, when they invited me to ride in the re-ride and lent me their horses for the famed ride. It was awe-inspiring to ride over the same trail as all those young men, so many years ago. It is strange to realize that the portion I rode over is less populated than it was back in the day!

The  Pony Express Re-Ride continues!

This rider is putting the “mochila,” (the leather pad with the mail pockets, below) over his horse’s saddle. It’s transferred from horse to horse all the way from St. Joseph to Old Sacramento for the western run, and another one is transferred at the same time, in the reverse direction…all the way from Old Sac to St. Joseph for the eastward run.  Members of the NPEA and others may insert a commemorative letter at one end and have them delivered to the other.

Credit to Ryan Long, Deseret News

Patrick has put a commemorative letter in for me every year since we met and I cherish the growing stack of letters, knowing how many miles those letters have gone, carried by horse after horse in their locked “cantinas”, over 2000 miles of hot summer sweat and dust, prairies, rivers, and the Sierra Nevada Ranges.

Map of the Pony Express Route

http://dinosaurcowboys.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/pony-express-map.jpgThanks to Union Pacific and http://bit.ly/11K21Oh

To join the NPEA or follow the mochilas on their yearly trip, you can visit the XPHome Site

Thanks to Tom Crews!

This is Patee House, the eastward terminus of the  Pony Express, or “Pony”, as it was called.

https://i2.wp.com/www.legendsofamerica.com/photos-missouri/StJoePateeHotel-600.jpg

Thanks to Kathy Weiser, owner/editor, Legends of America

 

Pony_Express_Map

Patrick Hearty and Dr. Joseph Hatch of Utah speaking on the Pony Express

 

Patrick Hearty The Pony Express Stations in Utah

Patrick Hearty The Pony Express Stations in Utah

Photo above: Patrick and Joseph’s book. Photo to right: Joseph L. Hatch, left, and Patrick Hearty talk about the history of the Pony Express. (Thanks to Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

Traveler’s Rest Pony Express Station, Near Salt Lake City, Utah

Travellers rest station

Here is the Traveler’s Rest (or Absalom Smith) Station, with the front torn down, but the pic shows the first part built.  Thanks to the University of Utah

 

Simpson’s Springs (Somewhere out in the Utah Salt Desert!).

Simpson's Springs Station

Painting of Simpson’s Springs Station

Lookout Pass, Where my Heroine, Aleksandra, Finds a “Bit of Strife”

Lookout Pass - Pony Express Trail Thanks to Roger Douglass 

It’s in Lookout Pass that Aleksandra, my heroine, is ambushed by Paiute Indians and… (but that would be telling!)…. you’ll just have to read the book!

INDIAN ARROWE AND ECHO STATION PE STATION KEEPERS

“Mose Wright described the Indian arrow-poison. The rattlesnake – the copperhead and the moccasin he ignored – is caught with a forked stick planted over its neck, and is allowed to fix its fangs in an antelope’s liver. The meat, which turns green, is carried upon a skewer when wanted for use: the flint head of an arrow, made purposely to break in the wound, is thrust into the poison, and when withdrawn is covered with a thin coat of glue. Ammonia is considered a cure for it and the Indians treat snake bites with the actual cautery. . .”

Yep, it gets messy, but then, it often did.

The “Pony”, as the Pony Express was called, only actually ran for 18 months or so, a bit less because Indian attacks caused it to shut down for about a month and a half…  (Why, you say? Well, when all the stations for over 50 miles are burned down, stock stolen and station tenders killed, it’s pretty hard to maintain a route!)

Thanks to  David David Gallery / SuperStock

The opening of  the new trans-continental telegraph line sounded the death knell of the “Pony”, but it had served its purpose in keeping California in the Union, preventing its secession to the South! This is actually the main storyline of Book 2 in the series, The Hills of Gold Unchanging. 

Thanks to Trips into History 

That’s my bit of history for today, I hope you enjoyed hearing about the “Pony”.

Back to Today!

As you probably know, The Authors of Main Street have just put out our Christmas Boxes Set!

If you haven’t  read it yet, go for it, there are nine heartwarming stories from your favorite, and new favorite, we hope, authors, all for only 99c!

If you love the stories, we’d sure appreciate your reviews on Amazon!

Take good care.

XX from NZ,

Lizzi and the rest at Authors of Main Street

 

A New Member on Main Street: Lizzi Tremayne

Hello!

I’m Lizzi Tremayne, an award-winning author of historical romantic thriller/suspense, veterinary non-fiction and soon, veterinary small town contemporary fiction! I have two novels out now, and two more in the works!

I’m ecstatic to have been asked to join Authors on Main Street, because I feel so at home with the people here, not only the author members, but also those of you who comment on the blogs.

I grew up in the little town of La Honda, in the redwoods of California, but my small town is now Waihi, New Zealand, where I live on my six acre riverside farmlet with my horse, cows, dogs, cats and chickens. This pic was taken on a little island in the middle of the river, only 40 metres from my house!aut-island-paradise-3mb

I’m excited to be writing my first contemporary fiction for our 2017 Christmas Boxed Set—hint..I’m an equine (horse) veterinarian, so it might have something to do with that!

The excerpt below is from THE HILLS OF GOLD UNCHANGING, book 2 of The Long Trails series, released only two weeks ago!  My books are available in digital, paperback (in both standard and large print), and book 1, A LONG TRAIL ROLLING, is also available in three forms of hardcover!

cover-hills-of-gold-6x9-ebook-2-7mb

About The Hills of Gold Unchanging:

No one will stand in their way—

                                                and live.

 

As the Civil War rages, secessionists menace California.

Trying to get back home, Aleksandra and Xavier journey through the mining camps of 1860’s Nevada and California, the Sacramento floods and Old San Francisco to Xavier’s Californio Rancho de las Pulgas.

Embroiled in the Confederate’s fight to drag the new state from the Union and make it their own, can Aleks and Xavier survive? The secessionists mean business.

This is Book Two of The Long Trails Series of historical romantic thriller sagas, following Lizzi’s characters from the wilderness of 1860’s Utah to Colonial New Zealand

Setup for the excerpt:

This is the beginning of the book…

The Excerpt:

June 1860, Echo Canyon, Wasatch Mountains, Utah Territory

His blade glinted in the sunlight as he lunged toward her, but she ducked and spun, her own sword flashing in figure eights while she retreated, and his strike met with only air. He recovered and set himself up for the onslaught he knew would come, coughing as the dust kicked up by their boots thickened.

Blade up, he parried the blows she rained down upon him. He managed to get in one of his own, and retreated for a moment, breathing hard. She stepped back as well, her breasts heaving beneath the thin linen. Blue eyes glittered below brows narrowed with concentration, before her sword returned to action with a vengeance. They circled, dodging and striking in turn. Her skill was far greater, but the girl’s injuries from her last fight, combined with his greater reach and fitness were beginning to tell. A movement tugged at the edge of his vision—he glanced up from her sword to see her hat tumble off. Her hair cascaded down in a tangle to her thighs, and his heart surged.

She’s mine now.

He offered the ghost of a smile as he moved in to disarm her with a passing lunge and struck at her sword arm.

The air left his lungs and he tasted dirt in his mouth as he hit the unforgiving ground face-first. He groaned and rolled over, expecting the worst.

Above him, her laughing visage met his eyes. Her glorious curls, molten gold, fell around his face like a veil as she bent to wipe his face and kiss his lips. She slid the hilt of his sword from his hand.

“All right, halte, hold, you two,” their instructor said, in his heavy Russian accent. “There’s still work to be done, Xavier, but you’ve done well.”

Xavier Argüello took the hand his opponent offered, hopped to his feet and dusted off his clothes.

“Well done, Querido,” said his intended, Aleksandra Lekarski, as she returned his sword.

“Xavier, come here, please,” Vladimir Chabardine said, from the doorway of the cabin, where he was propped up in his sickbed. “You have worked hard. I am impressed, and it is rare that I am compelled to say that. That shashka now belongs to you. Use it in good health.”

Xavier stared at him, then at the Don Cossack saber in his hand, its leather grip smooth with years of use. He was silent for long moments.

“But it’s yours, Vladimir,” he finally said.

“It was one of mine, yes. Now it is yours. Tatiana brought my other two shashkas with her from Russia. One is for Nikolai, when he is ready, and this one is for you. It’s the least I can do, after my part in,” he looked at Aleksandra and grimaced, “your papa’s death.”

She nodded, her face grim, in acknowledgement.

“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” Xavier said, shaking his head at the Russian, as he ran a finger from the tooled embellishment on the pommel through to the rawhide bouton and strip they used for their practice sessions. He slid the protectors off and his new shashka whispered into its scabbard. He turned to face Aleksandra, and bowed to her. “Thank you,” he said, then turned to Vladimir, “and again, to you.”

She returned the bow and smiled at them both.

“You’re not quite done,” Vladimir said. “Xavier, replace the guard.”

“What would you like?” Aleksandra asked.

“One more bout. En garde,” he said, and they prepared.

Prêt.” They nodded.

Allez,” Vladimir snapped, and they began.

Aleksandra feinted, then moved to strike, but Xavier saw a hole in her defense and lunged. She twirled way, with a laugh, then drew back, looking frightened, her body twisted strangely to the right.

Was she injured?

His gaze lifted to her face, but no pain resided there, though her brow was furrowed. What a chance! Her whole left side was unguarded, and he went for the opening.

Before he could alter his course, she unwound and her shashka flashed toward him. For the second time in his life, he froze as he found her blade across his throat.

¿Recuerdas? Remember this?” she said, her eyes merry.

“How could I forget, Querida,” he spoke for her ears alone, “our first meeting?”

Hands clapped behind them and they spun as one, hands on their sword hilts.

“No need fer that, no need fer that,” said a man, mounted on a chestnut horse. Beside the horse walked a black man, tied by the wrists to the rope in the rider’s hands.

“What do you wan—” Xavier began, then clamped his jaw, as his breath came short. Blood pounded in his ears and his face heated. “What can I help you with,” he finally managed, past gritted teeth, as he walked away from the house door, toward their callers.

“Well, hello theah,” the rider said, his Southern accent heavy. “Good fightin’, and fer a girl, too.” He looked sideways at Aleksandra.

“Aleks,” Xavier hissed, as he felt, rather than saw, her bristle beside him. He glanced at her knuckles showing white on the pommel of her saber. He reached out and covered her sword hand with his own and she took a deep breath and stilled.

“We’re yer new neighbors down th’road. Y’all wanna buy a slave? We’ve jus’ done come West ‘n now we’ve done finished buildin’ the house, he’s,” he nodded at the man at the end of his tether, “jus’ ‘noth’r mouth t’feed. Ca’int use ‘im to grow nuthin’ in this rock y’call dirt around heah.” He stopped and looked at the yard and cabin. “Nice place y’all got here.”

Xavier nodded, silent.

The man’s brows narrowed, then he continued. “Well, ah wondered if y’all had a breedin—ah, a woman slave I could trade fer him. The missus wants help in t’house, an’ I could use a little…too.” The glint in his beady eyes turned his grin into a leer.

Xavier closed his eyes and clenched his fists. “This territory may allow slavery, but nobody holds with it around here.”

The Southerner was silent for a moment, then answered with a voice dripping with sarcasm. “Now that’s mahty neighborly of ya. Are y’all some o’them ab’litionists we come West to git away from?”

“As you wish.” Xavier raised a brow at him, then shifted his gaze to the man on foot, staring at the dirt. “I apologize to you, sir, but you’ll have to go home with him again. May you find yourself a better life soon.”

The corners of the slave’s mouth lifted briefly. His eyes flickered up to Xavier’s, brightened, then dulled again as he dropped them to the ground.

“C’mon Jordan,” the rider growled, “we’re not welc’m here, by all accounts.” He jerked his horse around and they retreated the way they’d come.

Xavier stood silent, watching them go, then began to shake. He closed his eyes, willing himself to control the anger, and the deepening darkness. He inhaled sharply. When he opened his eyes, Aleksandra was staring at him.

“Are you all right?” she said, her brow furrowed.

“Yes.” Xavier nodded.

“More Southerners,” Aleksandra scowled as she wiped sweat from her brow with the back of her sleeve, “running from home before the government takes their slaves away?”

“That’ll never happen,” Xavier said, from between clenched jaws. “Too strong, too wealthy—cotton—slaves. Poor beggars down South.” He peered around. “Even here. I can’t believe it.”

“Believe it,” she said. “They’re coming.”

He shook his head. “I just wish we could stop it—the abuse, the owning.”

Aleksandra wrapped her arms around him, held him close until the tremors quieted. She leaned back in his arms and studied his face, then seemed satisfied with what she saw.

“Having you here makes it bearable, I think,” he said, and kissed her.

“I’m so used to you being the strong one…sometimes I forget the demons that still eat at you,” she said.

The Hills of Gold Unchanging

Awards for the series:

With A Long Trail Rolling:

Finalist 2013 RWNZ Great Beginnings

Winner 2014 RWNZ Pacific Hearts Award

Winner 2015 RWNZ Koru Award for Best First Novel

Third place 2015 RWNZ Koru Long Novel section

Finalist 2015 Best Indie Book Award

Hope you love the story! See you soon!

xx

Lizzi

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Love on the Pony Express Trail

Please welcome

Lizzi Tremayne

Hello everyone!

I love this blog because I come from a real small town…with ONLY a Main Street, a little place in the Santa Cruz Mountains called La Honda, California! I moved halfway across the world to New Zealand…and guess what?  I found another Main Street town!  I now live out of the little Main Street mining town of Waihi, New Zealand, in an even smaller road 10 km out of town…it’s not even a main one. Just a lot of cows.

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hills-of-gold-6x9-ebook-coversm-fileThe Main Street in my first novel, A Long Trail Rolling, and at the start of The Hills of Gold Unchanging ( just released last week!), is…well, it’s actually a trail. A wagon trail, and the Pony Express Trail, in the 1860’s in Utah.

The stories in my first fiction series, The Long Trails, are historical romantic thrillers, with plenty of horses and action! I’m a horse vet, so you guessed it, there’s plenty of that in there too!

The scene…

My heroes Aleksandra and Xavier have just met…just after Aleksandra’s life has fallen apart at the seams. She’s just taken offense at something Xavier said, and he’s headed out the door, while she stayed inside to talk with Scotty, the trading post keeper….

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Xavier was harnessing Dzień to the wagon when Aleksandra came outside.

‘I can do that,’ she snapped, rushing to the side of the pony, her blue eyes icy and cheeks flushed pink. Xavier smiled at her back as she hurried around to the pony’s other side to finish.

‘I’m sure you can, Querida, but I’m happy to help,’ he said, wrapping a breeching strap around the shaft and buckling it snugly.

‘Thanks,’ she said, tight-lipped, looking away as her hands slid down Dzień’s rump towards the crupper.

‘Any possibility you might tell me just why you went loco on me back there?’ Xavier watched her brows drop as she stared at a strap she’d just buckled too tightly. Her lips tightened further as she readjusted it.

‘I want nothing to do with people who insult my friends.’

Como, what?’ He shook his head and blinked at her.

‘My friends, the Shoshone. The only friends I have left alive, other than Scotty,‘ she said from between clenched teeth, and then slumped, sobbing, against Dzień.

Cautious of her all-too-effective looking sword, Xavier slowly approached her. He slid his arm around her shoulders and pulled her against him, watchful for any fast moves on her part, not caring if her tears soaked his shirt. How long they stayed like this, he neither knew nor cared. Once her sobs quieted, he slipped his fingers under her chin, lifting her face to stare into the watery depths of her blue eyes.

‘Okay now, Querida?’

‘As okay as possible, I guess.’ She dropped her head again. ‘The Shoshone have been family to me, especially since Mama died,’ she murmured into his shirt.

‘Are you sure you won’t stay here? I’ll sleep in the stable, if it would make you happier.’

She closed her eyes and was still.

‘No, it’s okay. I’m sorry, Xavier. I’m upset, but that’s no excuse for my rudeness. Thank you for this.’ She nodded her head at his tear stained chest.

De nada. It is nothing.’ He smiled. ‘May I accompany you to your home, at least?’

‘No, really, I’m fine, thank you again. I’d better go farewell Scotty. It’s getting late.’

‘If you’re sure…’ Xavier shook his head and followed Aleksandra back inside.

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Buy A Long Trail Rolling, and The Hills of Gold Unchanging at:

Amazon

Visit Lizzi at her website

See you there!

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Lizzi Tremayne

Lizzi Tremayne

Lizzi and I met several years ago online and although I’ve never met her in person, we have talked by phone. Lizzi stays busy! She is a veterinarian who specializes in horses, and she’s very active with New Zealand’s Romance Writers. She writes and she rides! So how does she do her research when she lives so far from her childhood home? Lizzi never does anything ordinary. She spent her vacation on horseback, riding the historic trails of our west! Her stories are fast paced and suitable for any horse lover in the house who loves history, a little romance, and a whole lot of intrigue, mixed with action.  There’s a reason why her books win awards.