Welcome to Wednesday Writers! Today’s guest author is Jo-Ann Roberts who will be sharing an excerpt from her Historical Romance Grace—Brides of New Hope. Welcome, Jo-Ann!
Grace-Brides of New Hope
By Jo-Ann Roberts
Widow Grace Donegan is no stranger to hardships. With winter coming on, and with the impending loss of her home as well as her job at the café in New Hope, Kansas, she has three options. Yet, she won’t give up her two children, refuses to join Miss Jennie’s girls at the Rhinestone Saloon, or condemn herself to a second loveless marriage. When an opportunity to save her home arises, she agrees, never imagining her salvation would arrive with a set of broad shoulders, a charming smile, a kind heart, and a pair of blue eyes making her wish for things long forgotten.
As skilled as he is with a gun, Pinkerton Agent Tripp Walker has spent the last ten years undercover, spying on Confederate informants, interrogating witnesses, and chasing outlaws. Sent to New Hope to infiltrate a gang of bank robbers, he intends to focus solely on his job. But when a woman with arresting hazel eyes flecked with gold and hair the color of summer wheat turns out to be the widow he’ll be boarding with, keeping his resolve may prove more difficult than tracking the elusive gang.
As Christmas approaches, will Grace accept Tripp’s offer of marriage just to save her home and give the children a father? Or is his proposal genuine, offering her a forever-kind-of-love?
Caleb pushed back his chair, heading for the tree. He chose a branch and slipped the loop through the needle-like leaves, just in front of a cluster of gray-blue berries. Grace joined him, looking for a spot to hang her ornament. When she bent down, her eye spotted something among the dense foliage which made her smile.
“Fiona, come look at this,” she called. As her daughter approached, Grace lifted and separated the branches.
“It’s a birdie’s nest,” Fiona breathed, a note of awe in her voice.
“Well, will you look at that,” Tripp said, hunkering down next to Fiona. He reached in, bringing the nest closer for Fiona’s inspection.
Fiona went up on her toes. “Where are all the baby birdies?”
“I guess they got old enough to fly away to start their own family, kinda like Mr. Tripp wants to do with us,” Caleb said, fingering the star he’d put on the tree.
Tripp looked up at Grace and reached for her hand. “You know, princess, there’s an old German tale which says if you find a bird nest in the tree you harvest for Christmas, you will have an entire year of health and happiness.” He squeezed her fingers tighter. “And that’s what I want with you and Caleb and your mama . . . but I want a whole lifetime of it.”
Caleb’s insight, as well as Tripp’s repeated confirmation he wanted to make them a family deepened Grace’s belief that marrying Tripp Walker would help lay to rest the ghosts of her past. When Grace was able to speak around the lump in her throat, she asked, “Is there more to the story?”
Tripp nodded. “At the very first Christmas, as the legend says, all the world’s birds burst into song when Jesus was born.”
“That’s a lovely story, Tripp,” Grace said, a wistful note in her voice. While she had no memories or stories of growing up in a loving family, Tripp’s youth had been shaped by the blending of his German ancestors and his stepfather’s Texas roots. A warm glow filled her heart knowing that when she married Tripp, Fiona and Caleb might benefit from this melding of love, faith, hard work, and commitment to family.
“Can I have the birdie’s nest?” Fiona lifted hopeful eyes to Grace then to Tripp.
Just as Grace started to object, Tripp’s gaze collided with hers, his unspoken warning taunting her. If you want the honey . . .
But it was Caleb who intuitively knew how to handle his sister. “I’ll make a deal with you, Fee. If we keep the nest in the tree like Mama and Mr. Tripp wants until Christmas then you and me will take it to the woods and leave it in another tree. That way maybe another mama bird might use it for her babies. What do you say?”
Fiona twisted her lips to one side and frowned, a sure sign to Grace she was pondering her brother’s suggestion.
“Deal!” she cried, thrusting her little hand towards her brother.
While Caleb just rolled his eyes, Grace and Tripped laughed aloud. “Are you sure you know what you’re getting yourself into, Tripp?”
Swinging Fiona into his arm, he gathered her close to his heart. “A lifetime of kisses and more love than any man could ever hope for.”
~ ~ ~
Want to read more? You can find Grace-Brides of New Hope at Amazon
About the Author:
Born and raised in western Massachusetts, Jo-Ann Roberts was fascinated by America’s Old West and always felt she was destined to travel on a wagon train following the Oregon Trail. With her love of history and reading, she began reading historical romance during high school and college. Victoria Holt, Jude Deveraux, and Roseanne Bittner were among her favorites. Influenced by her father, she fell in love with John Wayne, James Garner, and her all-time favorite, James Stewart and grew up watching Wagon Train, Bonanza and Rawhide.
A firm believer in HEA with a healthy dose of realism, Jo-Ann strives to give her readers a sweet historical romance while imparting carefully researched historical facts, personalities, and experiences relative to the time period. Her romances take her readers back to a simpler time to escape the stress of modern life by living in a small town where families and friends help one another find love and happiness.
When she isn’t creating believable plots and relatable heroes and heroines, Jo-Ann enjoys spending time with her husband, children and grandson. She also enjoys baking, quilting and eating way too much chocolate.
After 38 years in public education in Connecticut and Maryland, she’s now calls North Carolina home. She is the 2018 Winner (Historical Category) of NEORWA’s Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest. Her debut romance, Lessie-Brides of New Hope Book One, is a 2020 RONE Award Nominee.