- December 3 - Joanna Bourne
- December 4 - Pamela Callow
- December 5 - MK McClintock
- December 6 - Steve Vernon
- December 7 - Sophie Perinot
- December 10 - Rona Altrows
And don't forget to enter to win the GRAND PRIZES at the bottom of the page!
Feature and GIVEAWAY!
Today's featured book is:
Amidst the snowy peaks of the Rocky Mountains in 1871, Daniel Hobart keeps to himself―a man with a hole in his heart that matches the scar on his face. But when Daniel starts having visions of a young girl crying out for help, he begins to fear that solitude may have caused him to lose his mind. Determined to find out the truth about the mysterious girl, Daniel travels into New Hope and learns that she’s the missing daughter of widow Lacy Ellis. After a year of heartbreak, Lacy isn’t sure what to make of Daniel’s claims of seeing her daughter. But when he sets out to find Hannah on his own, Lacy decides to join him, allowing herself one last chance to hope. And as they retrace the long-cold trail of Hannah’s disappearance, two broken people manage to take some small comfort in each other, and in the possibility of a miracle…
On that incredible day when Penguin sent me samples of their Berkley Sensation line, I was both thrilled and intrigued. Thrilled because the books looked awesome, intrigued because I'd never read a western historical before. Well, let me assure you, Kaki's books are wonderful. No wonder they fly off bookstore shelves!
Not only that, but from the very beginning, Kaki has been both my constant inspiration and canny coach. She has been an amazing friend, helping me through the ups and downs, holding my hand all the way from Washington state. Kaki, thank you so much for everything—including the fantastic Grand Prize for this contest. You and I WILL share a glass of wine together someday!
“Snowing again.” Homer Cranston, the owner of the New Hope Mercantile, tossed wood into the smoking stove in the corner of the store, then let the lid close with a clang. “Snow, rain, and now snow again. Almanac said 1871 would be a wet one in the Rockies. For once, seems they were right.
Daniel Hobart looked up from the display case, curious to see who Cranston was talking to, then realized he was the only customer. He wondered why the storekeeper was being so friendly today. Folks in New Hope rarely were, at least toward him. In the eight months since he’d taken up solitary residence in the abandoned cabin north of town, he’d come to know only two men by name and none of the women. Which suited Daniel fine. At least people no longer stared at his face.
With a deep sigh, Cranston rested his elbows on the counter and stared glumly out the front window. “I hate snow.”
Knowing a response wasn’t required, Daniel bent again to study the items in the glass-fronted cabinet. It mostly held guns. But he was more interested in the knives.
A prickle along the back of his neck brought his head around. A familiar figure glided past the front window, eyes downcast, shoulders slumped as if an unbearable weight pressed down on her slender frame.
He slowly straightened.
She seemed sadder than usual. Maybe because of the season―Christmas was hard on some folks. Hard on him. Her aura of despair awakened an urge to go to her, say something, do something that might lift that veil of pain from her eyes.
But, of course, he couldn’t.
She stiffened. Her steps slowed.
He braced himself, waiting for the moment she became fully aware of him. She always seemed to―and would pause to look around until her eyes met his. Not in revulsion or fear like some, but more in startled puzzlement, like she knew him but couldn’t place him.
They had never spoken. He didn’t know her name and hadn’t asked. But he recognized that depth of sadness in her eyes. Had seen it too often in his own reflection, until he’d gotten tired of looking at it and had driven his fist into the mirror.
Her gaze met his.
That shock of awareness hit him. Familiar yet alien. A connection he didn’t understand. But it felt as real as a gentle touch on his damaged face. Defenseless against it, he could only stare back.
“Looking for a gun?”
“What?” Rattled, he looked back at the cabinet, trying to remember why he was there. “A knife.”
“Carving.” He glanced at the window again, saw the woman was gone, and let out a deep breath.
“What you making?”
Before Daniel could answer, the bell over the front door rang.
In a blast of cold air, a man entered, his hat and shoulders dusted with snow. He gave Daniel a quick look, then, skirting the pack and snowshoes Daniel had left by the front wall, nodded to the proprietor. “Hidy, Homer. Those canned goods come yet?”
“In the stock room. Come on back.”
Saved from further interrogation, Daniel pushed the woman from his mind and resumed his study of the knives.
There wasn’t much of a selection, and none was really suitable for intricate wood carving. But he was in the middle of his project and didn’t want to risk being snowed in through the rest of December without a means to finish it.
Project? Obsession was more like it. He had a stack of furniture orders waiting in his workshop in the barn, but he was making a damned dollhouse. He had no use for the thing, had no daughters or nieces who might want it, and didn’t know any children in town he could give it to once he’d finished it. Yet the idea had taken hold of him back in early October and hadn’t given him a moment’s rest since. He’d missed meals, lost entire days carving and sanding and piecing together tiny wooden parts. He had even dreamed about it at night.
Balancing a small crate on his shoulder, the other customer left, loosening a draft of cold air that sent flakes swirling across the threshold.
Snow was coming down hard and fast now. Daniel couldn’t even see the buildings across the street, much less the steep walls of the canyon rising behind them. Typical of the unpredictable weather in the Rockies, after two days of unseasonable rain had turned the November snow pack into six inches of slippery slush, it was snowing again. He was glad he’d come on snowshoes rather than horseback.
“I’ll take that one.” He poked a finger against the glass, indicating a short-bladed knife with a leather sheath that was close in size to the one he’d broken. “And a whetstone.” He was counting out his coins on the counter when he felt a tremor beneath his feet. He looked around. “You feel that?”
“Feel what?” Cranston asked, scooping the coins into his palm.
Another vibration rippled along the plank floor. “That.” Daniel heard yelling and looked out the front window to see figures running across the street. In the distance, a low rumbling sound.
The rumble grew louder. The vibration built, jiggling items off the shelves.
“Christ!” Wide-eyed, Cranston ducked beneath the counter as cans crashed around him. “What the hell?”
Daniel whirled toward the back window, saw a mountain of white racing toward him, and spun, arms up to protect his head. With a shriek of shattering timbers, the rear of the store blasted inward under a wall of snow that drove him backward. He slammed into the front wall and crumpled, arms locked over his head as the world caved in on top of him in a mangled mess of wet snow and glass and splintered wood.
In between her years as a mother, teacher, commercial artist, reluctant collection agent and surly secretary, Kaki fooled around with writing. Then, in 2008, after twenty-five years of procrastination, she sent her first manuscript out into world. Now, four years later, she has six books in print and is busily working on her next trilogy.
Although they’ll always be Texans at heart (and proud graduates of UT), she and her husband are happily retired on a mountaintop in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state, doing whatever they feel like doing―which in her case is writing and enjoying the wildlife and thinking up stuff for her husband to do. It’s a grand life.
For more information and excerpts of her books, please visit her website at www.kakiwarner.com
And two fantastic additional Christmas presents:
Kaki Warner's acclaimed trilogy: THE RUNAWAY BRIDES—three strong-willed women headed West in search of new lives. But when their train is stranded in a dying Colorado mining town, they get more than they bargained for…and find love where they least expect it.
"Lightning paced, innovative, topical … and most of all, frightening."
-- James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author