Yet, I digress because I absolutely love cover art.
Far more important, though, Gem Sivad’s latest book, BREED TRUE, will be released from Liquid Silver Books on Monday, February 1st. And, am I ever excited.
Gem has received outstanding reviews for INTIMATE STRANGERS and WOLF’S TENDER. She’s fast becoming a leading author in Western Erotic Romance for good reasons. Her stories are gritty, realistic about those historical times. However, that feeling of sweep-you-away romance prevails.
Gem also realistically portrays the relationship between a man and a woman. Yet, love always wins out, the hearts of her hero and heroine exposed to each other, in that Happily Ever After we all want and crave.
Oh, and talk about scorching passion... yeehaw! Saddle up for the long hot ride.
Half-Apache rancher Grady Hawke owns close to 10,000 acres of water-enriched, Texas grassland.
But as soon as his white father is no longer in control, an Eastern Land Company moves to steal the family ranch, claiming Grady is too Indian to rightfully own Hawks Nest.
Grady decides to apply what he’s learned in mixing different strains of cattle. He needs to find a red-haired woman and breed back to the fair skin and Scottish features of his father. With a white child and wife, he plans to appease his neighbors and out-maneuver the greedy Eastern Consortium of business men who are trying to steal Texas land.
But when Grady meets auburn-haired widow, Julie Fulton, breeding cattle is the last thing on his mind.
“Let me get this straight,” Jewel Rossiter swept the room with a quick look of disgust. “Mr. Hawks, you want to parade me around the territory as your white wife, to prove how civilized you are.”And, Mr. Quince you want me to give my children to your wife, a move that would also eliminate any inconvenience that might disrupt the show Mr. Hawks plans to put on.”
Then she looked at Sheriff Hiram Potter, who was clearly uncomfortable with the way the evening had gone. But she spoke to both him and Judge Conklin, “And you two, they brought in to make everything legal and tight.”
After all the bullshit that had been spattered around in the talking, she’d filtered out what affected her. He gave her the courtesy of a tight smile. She considered him for a minute while the rest of the room studied her. She appeared calmer than she had been all night…and resolved.
“No one gets my daughters, understand that. My children stay with me.” Then she focused on him and he was reminded that she wasn’t a tame dog to be frightened into submission.
“Are you talking a real wife?” At his raised brow of incredulity that she might consider otherwise, she paused a moment and then amended her question. “Where would this magnificent coupling take place?
Grady Hawks almost laughed out loud at her assessment but did her the courtesy of a straight answer. “Hawks Nest Ranch abuts the Double-Q ranch east of town. It stretches above the foot hills behind Eclipse.”
“Is it isolated? Can people come and go?” Evidently, the gambler’s woman needed a place to lay low with her daughters for awhile. He declined to mention the duration of her visit.
It seemed to him that the location of the land might be the only temptation to her agreeing. She needed a haven. Maybe Hawks Nest would be that place.
Her knuckles showed white as she backed against a heavy piece of furniture and clutched the edge of the desk. So, she’s not as tough as she wants us to believe.
As Grady watched, her translucent skin blanched even whiter, displaying clearly the degree of her exhaustion, as her knees began to buckle.
He was on her in a second, his arm sweeping familiarly around her shoulders for support. “Only folks coming onto my land are those I allow entrance.”
“I’ve had a husband and I don’t want another,” she told him desperately but already her gaze assessed him.
She was interrupted by Hamilton Quince who edged close enough to follow the conversation, “Want plays a poor second to need, and right now, Mrs. Rossiter, it would appear that you need the protection of a man.”
Grady remained expressionless and silent letting Quince make his case. But the gambler’s woman didn’t spare a glance for Hamilton, intent on answers to her questions.
She skimmed the room with a suspicious gaze at the same time she spoke softly to him pitching her voice so that even Quince couldn’t hear.
“Pretty convenient me just being made widow,” her tone was intimate and although quiet, spoke volumes about her willingness to forget the matter if he did admit killing Frank Rossiter.
But he had strong doubt that she’d agree to marry her husband’s murderer.
“Did you or your hireling, kill Frank Rossiter?” she locked eyes with Grady as though she could read his soul.
She was a slender woman who reached his shoulder, bruised from another man’s fists, but she questioned him with authority, asserting her right to know.
“No,” he told her, “I can’t claim that pleasure.” From the sound of the mob, someone had been busy spreading the rumor that one or the other of them had killed Frank Rossiter.
“As you have heard, I have twin baby girls.” Her bravado wavered at the sound of the mob’s approach and she waited tensely for his response.
“The wife of Grady Hawks will be protected, as will her family, because they will belong to me.” No sense in lying to her. She’s as safe as she wants to be. I sure as hell don’t plan to hurt her or a couple of kids.
He shrugged and waited, admiring the way she hid her thoughts from those in the room.
“All right,” she agreed, accepting his proposal. It was no decision at all when faced with the sound of her other choices coming up the street.
As they turned expectantly toward the judge, she asked. “How long will we need to play act?”
The others in the room strained to hear the negotiations quietly taking place, but her words were too softly spoken. He liked her voice and that she appeared to own some sense and had no need to rely on the others in the room to make her decisions.
“This is no play act. I intend a legal wedding witnessed by the leader’s of Eclipse society. We will remain married and you will give me a son,” Grady felt her flinch and shudder.
She stepped back and away, shaking her head. “Don’t be foolish. Playacting at being your wife is one thing,” she told him, “but I won’t give you a child like I’m promising you the first pup from the litter. I’ll not leave a baby—boy or girl child to be raised by you.”
She was fierce with that disclaimer. He didn’t factor in her experience with Frank Rossiter before his own temper flared. “You have a problem with my Indian blood?”
Anger simmered as he prepared to say, to hell with the whole proposition and take his chances with the crowd gathering outside.
But, he explained himself, for her ears only. “I need to deed my spread to a son. My bloodlines range a little too close to my Kiowa mother for present company’s ease.”
Her expression was unreadable, but her hands still clutched the edge of the table. She asked, “Why would that fix anything?”
“We’ll breed back to the red hair and white skin of my father. If I’m fortunate, my son will inherit those features.” He frowned, irritated to admit his plan to deliberately dilute his Indian blood.
His voice dropped into a threatening growl. “After you give me a son, pale-skin or Kiowa, do what you will, but, the boy remains with me.”
The crowd outside was louder and Grady thought it was time for plain speaking.
“Ma’am, you need a husband and I need a wife. What say you?”
The heavy tread of footsteps and flickering light of a torch had more of her attention than he did.
She walked to the window and peered outside, ignoring the room’s occupants. Grady had time to admire the proud line of her back and shoulders as she telegraphed her right to be left alone.
He mentally shrugged and admitted defeat. The gambler’s widow had made her decision. He pulled on the brim of his hat and nodded at the others.
And then, because in a curious way, he still needed to close out his memory of her at the Eclipse social, he joined her at the window, shielding her from the room’s view.
She didn’t flinch or respond, but their gaze crossed in the window’s reflection. A shout outside, and a lifted torch, showed the crowd.
But, her gaze was tilted upward, fixed on a second story window in the Golden Eagle saloon. A man outlined there, stood smoking a cigar and watching the mob.
Her gaze refocused on Grady and green fire met cold slate. “All right,” she nodded her acceptance surprising him.
It was a good enough answer for him. Negotiations were over and he’d courted and claimed himself a bride.
She turned to him, almost in his arms and lowered her voice shielding the rest of the discussion from the other listeners in the room.
He drew deep of her scent, the smell of Comfort Quince’s soap and bottled pretties drifting up, as he leaned closer to hear her husky voice.
Her own rich musk wafted sweetly and tickled his senses, unexpectedly stirring an arousal. His eye lids drifted to half slits and a growl of hunger clawed at his throat.
Siren, they call her. Jesus. He was the first to step away.
From Gem Sivad’s site ~
Breed True , an Eclipse Hearts Novel, will be available at Liquid Silver Books on February 1, 2010. The story takes place in 1880 Texas during a period of land redistribution and Indian unrest.
Rancher Grady Hawks stands to lose his land and way of life, if he can’t convince his neighbors that his half-Kiowa heritage doesn’t threaten them.
When recently widowed Julie Rossiter needs rescued, he offers her a devil’s bargain–protection and a few acres of land with water, in exchange for a year of marriage and the chance to produce a white son and heir.
Julie Rossiter doesn’t want a husband but she needs one. To protect her children and gain security for their future, she accepts Grady Hawks’ proposal.
What Julie doesn’t expect is her new husband’s determined seduction. When she makes it clear that love has no part in their bargain, Grady sets out to change her mind.
There’s also a fabulous book trailer at Gem’s wordpress blog.
PLUS! Gem is blogging at the Liquid Silver SEx blog today.