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SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT: A Kiss in the Morning Mist by Marie Patrick

A Kiss in the Morning Mist

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Former U.S. Marshal Eamon MacDermott failed to prevent the death of his brother, sister-in-law, and young nephew at the hands of the Logan gang. Wracked by guilt, he’s hung up his guns and turned his back on life altogether. That is, until he meets Theodosia “Theo” Danforth.

Widowed and running Morning Mist horse farm with the help of her extended family and friends, Theo harbors an unshakable belief that everyone needs kindness—even the town’s founder who is determined to claim her lands. But how can she convince Eamon he is worthy of happiness?

When the outlaw gang resurfaces and join forces to destroy Morning Mist, Eamon must choose between picking up his guns again to extract vengeance or letting the past remain in the past and forging a new future with Theo.



Eamon removed his hat from his head and approached the old woman. “Excuse me, ma’am.”

She didn’t jump or stop pulling weeds from between rows of sprouting greenery. In fact, she didn’t seem to be alarmed by his sudden appearance at all. Instead, she peered at him from beneath the wide brim of her hat. Her sharp brown eyes boldly assessed him as her scrutiny went from the top of his hatless head to the boots on his feet and back. She smiled, the wrinkles on her face deepening, as she nodded. “Well, now, you certainly took your time gettin’ here, son, but you’ll do.”

Somewhat taken aback by the comment, Eamon peered at the woman and frowned. She spoke as if she’d expected him, but how could she have known? He hadn’t known until a short time ago he’d be here.

She continued her frank appraisal, then stuck out her hand. “Lavinia Stark, but you can call me Granny. Everyone does.”

Despite her misshapen hands, her grip was strong and solid.

“A plea—”

He never had a chance to finish his sentence or introduce himself. He heard the back door open, then the distinct double click of a shotgun being cocked.

Eamon released the woman’s hand and dropped his hat to the ground. Without another thought, he reached for the pistols slung low around his hips but found . . . nothing. No holster, no guns. He’d forgotten he no longer wore them—they weren’t part of him anymore and hadn’t been for a long time. He took a deep breath, turned slowly to face the direction of the noise, and blinked several times. A woman stood before him, the shotgun steady in her hands. Dressed in a white blouse, a split skirt made of fine, soft suede, and tooled leather boots, she stunned him with her perfection. A hank of whiskey-colored hair slipped from the ponytail at the back of her head and fell forward. She swung it out of her face with a practiced jerk of her head.

She spoke, her voice low and gravelly, but exuding confidence. “Mister, I don’t know who you are, but if I were you, I’d get off my land. I’ve never killed anyone, but there’s always a first time.” She didn’t raise the shotgun and point it at him, but she didn’t have to. The threat couldn’t have been more clear. She would if he forced her hand.

She stood not ten feet away and looked . . . angry and unapologetic. Determined to make him leave. Green eyes, as green as spring grass, sparkled with indignation, and the firm set of her mouth left no doubt . . . she wanted nothing more than to have him gone, and he didn’t think she would hesitate to pull the trigger.

“And you can tell Mr. Pearce I haven’t changed my mind.” Her voice dropped an octave, becoming more hoarse, sounding like she gargled three times a day with rocks, but still strong and commanding and oddly, very pleasant. “I’m not selling. I’ll never sell. I don’t care how many men he sends to bully me. He’s messing with the wrong woman.”

“I don’t mean no harm, ma’am.” Eamon took a step back . . . a slow careful step, and just as carefully, picked up his hat. “I don’t know any Mr. Pearce. I’m just lookin’ for work. Or maybe a hot meal.”

She didn’t seem convinced as she stepped closer, her eyes narrowing as she studied his face.

“Theo Danforth! Put down that shotgun!” The woman beside him finally spoke and moved with a swiftness that belied her age, advancing on the woman named Theo.

A heated, whispered conversation, which Eamon couldn’t hear, ensued while he watched both women warily, his hat still in his hands, his feet planted firmly to the ground. Their conversation became more animated, though he still couldn’t hear their words. The fact Theo still held the weapon tightly in her hands was enough to let him know he wasn’t welcome.

“Look, lady, I’ll just leave. No harm done.” He shifted his weight from one leg to the other, his discomfort growing by the second. No one liked being on the wrong side of a gun, no matter which side of the law one stood on, even if the bore of the shotgun was pointed at the ground. Accidents could happen. “I ain’t that hungry.”

Despite his words, his empty stomach chose that moment to gurgle loudly. Much to his embarrassment, the noise carried to where to the two women argued. The younger one snapped her mouth shut in midsentence, while the older one, Granny, grinned with smug satisfaction.

Theo relaxed her grip on the gun, but she still didn’t smile. “The least I can do is feed you,” she said, though her expression made it clear she wasn’t happy about it. She turned and marched through the back porch into the house, slamming the door behind her.


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Marie Patrick has always had a love affair with words and books, but it wasn’t until a trip to Arizona, where she now makes her home with her husband and furry, four-legged “girl,” that she became inspired to write about the sometimes desolate, yet beautiful landscape. Her inspiration doesn’t just come from the Wild West, though. It comes from history itself. She is fascinated with pirates and men in uniform and lawmen with shiny badges. When not writing or researching her favorite topics, she can usually be found curled up with a good book. Marie loves to hear from her readers. Drop her a note at Akamariep@aol.com, or visit her website at www.mariepatrick.com.



SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT: A Kiss in the Shadows by Marie Patrick


Danger lurks in the mountains of New Mexico when sheriff-turned-bounty-hunter Brock MacDermott goes on the prowl for infamous outlaw Zeb Logan. Logan killed Brock’s brother and his family in an ambush, and Brock has never forgiven himself for failing to keep them safe.

Driven by his single-minded mission to make Logan pay, he rides from town to town on a lonely quest, careful to keep emotional attachments at arm’s length—until young, beautiful Stevie Rae Buchanan insists on joining his hunt. Stevie Rae’s father was also brutally murdered by Logan, and she won’t rest until the outlaw is either behind bars or dead.

There’s no room for romance when you’re chasing down a dangerous criminal, but when undeniable feelings develop between them, Stevie Rae and Brock must decide whether capturing Logan is worth sacrificing everything else.

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Chapter 1: New Mexico 1885

Stephanie Raelene Buchanan, Stevie Rae to those who knew and loved her, slouched in her chair in the corner of Hagan’s Saloon and watched the room darken as Brock MacDermott opened the batwing doors, his broad shoulders blocking the sunlight. A hush settled over the occupants as all eyes turned toward him. Even the piano player missed a few keystrokes in his rendition of “Camptown Races,” which didn’t seem to make much difference.

“Brock, honey!” A woman straightened against the long mahogany bar running the length of the room, feathers fluttering from a twist in her flaming red hair. She pulled the strap of her maroon and black gown back up her shoulder, patting the attached silk flower for good measure, then directed her attention to the man behind the bar.

“Winston, whiskey for Mr. MacDermott.”

No smile graced Brock’s face as he took careful measure of each and every person in the room. Stevie Rae held her breath as his gray glare fell upon her then released it when his gaze drifted on to the next person. Seemingly satisfied, he sauntered into the saloon as if he hadn’t a care in the world and yet, she knew better. He had a loose-hipped gait, but she could see the tension in him—his eyes darted from one side of the room to the other.

Did he expect trouble? Here in Little River? In Hagan’s Saloon?

Well, of course, he does. He probably expects trouble everywhere he goes.

“Pepper,” he said, acknowledging the woman now rushing across the floor, a glass of whiskey in one hand, the bottle in the other. He pulled his hat from his head, revealing a wealth of dark hair with just a touch of gray at the temples. He removed his dark brown duster and laid it across an empty chair, then took a seat at a small table with a long, drawn-out sigh. Pepper placed his glass as well as the bottle in front of him. “Thanks.”

Stevie Rae continued to watch from beneath the brim of her hat, fascinated by everything about him—the way he moved, the dark stubble on his face, and the tightness of the black shirt stretched across his wide chest. He was more handsome than she’d remembered him to be and his voice…well, his voice was something straight out of heaven.

She shook herself and clamped her lips together tighter to ignore the heat bubbling in her stomach.

He took a drink, tipping the glass back until all the liquid was gone, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallowed. He slid the glass onto the table, then ran his fingers through his hair before pouring himself another shot of Pepper’s whiskey.

She didn’t know him personally, had never met him, but she’d seen him before and knew of him. From Denver, Colorado, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and all places in between, everyone knew of the bounty hunter Brock MacDermott. His reputation, at least. No one could claim to know the man behind the reputation. Speculation abounded.

Some said he was a former military man. Others said he’d been a lawman in Texas. Or it could have been Colorado. Maybe Arizona.

No one in Little River seemed to know. He’d shown up one day a little over a year ago, bringing three outlaws to Sheriff Hardy, and had been back a few times since, but he never stayed long…only long enough to collect his money, send a couple of telegrams, have a drink, and perhaps a little tumble with one of Ruby’s girls, before he left again.

Rumor had it he always got his man…except for one…the same man Stevie Rae hunted. Zeb Logan. Thief. Cattle rustler. Bank robber. Murderer. No, cold-blooded murderer. Thinking about the man who had changed her life made her heart hurt all over again.

Stevie Rae took a sip of the whiskey in front of her and turned her attention back to Brock MacDermott. She hadn’t seen him in over six months, not until earlier today when she saw him ride into town with Hank “The Gun” Simms tied to the saddle of the horse behind him just moments after she had arrived in town empty-handed once again. Zeb Logan proved to be elusive prey, though she’d searched for him throughout the mountains and valleys of northern New Mexico—heading out several times in the four months since he’d killed her father.

She decided then and there she’d offer to ride along with him in his pursuit of Logan.

Two heads were bound to be better than one when it came to the outlaw. She didn’t even want the bounty on the man. She just wanted her revenge for the senseless killing of her father. Now, all she had to do was work up the nerve.



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marie patrickAs with most writers, Marie has had a love affair with words for as long as she can remember. One of her fondest memories is of sitting in a rocking chair with her grandmother, reading “Little Golden” books. As she grew up, Marie read everything she could get her hands on – bookstores and libraries became her favorite places. In Marie’s opinion, there is nothing better than curling up in a comfortable chair and reading about far away places, history and ROMANCE and letting her imagination take flight. She will admit to being a romance junkie – from the moment she scoped out her first historical novel, saved up her babysitting money, and bought it, she wanted to be those women and live in those times and experience every ounce of romance she could.

The love affair has not stopped – in fact, it has grown over the years. On a trip to Arizona, where she now makes her home, Marie became inspired by the sometimes desolate yet beautiful landscape. She began to envision what it would be like to live in the past, when the west was untamed, when the good guys wore white hats, and the saloon girls always had hearts of gold. Marie says her romance with the west began with her first sunset over a sea of saguaro cacti but her inspiration doesn’t just come from the wild west. It comes from history itself. She is fascinated with pirates. Sailing ships. Trains. Men in uniform (or out of uniform). And lawmen with shiny badges.

Marie Patrick lives in beautiful, sunny Arizona, where inspiration to write historical romance is in every amazing sunset. Find her at www.MariePatrick.com and on Facebook.