Before I get into the story sample, I wanted to update a couple links from books that were recently published. From time to time, I get asked when a book is up on Kobo and Apple iBooks, so I’ll take a moment to post those links now.
I’m also posting links to Diesel and Flipkart. These books are also set to distribute to Page Foundry, Scribd, Oyster, and Baker & Taylor Blio, but I’m not sure where to go to find them at these places. I have not signed up as a Scribd or Oyster member, and I’m not familiar with Page Foundry or Baker & Taylor Blio. My publisher and I opt my books into as many places as possible to make things as easy as we can for anyone who wants to read my books. This is why I don’t go exclusively at one place, and my publisher supports my decision.
I will say that I’m very sorry to see Sony go. 😦 I knew a couple of Sony readers and wonder what they’re doing now.
Kobo – not there yet
Kobo – not there yet
Diesel – not there yet
At this time, Boaz’s Wager is not on Kobo, Apple iBooks, Flipkart, or Diesel yet. I’ll keep an eye on it and put the links in a post when it does.
Patty’s Gamble is the rewrite of the novelette “The Keeping of Greg Wilson” which I had unpublished years ago. In my next post, I’m going to go into the background of this and how I came up with the Montana Collection. 🙂
Patty’s Gamble takes place during the same time Boaz’s Wager does. But I wanted to give some hints in what will be in Patty’s Gamble while I was writing Boaz’s Wager so I wrote the part below in Boaz’s Wager. (The women are on a porch.)
“Patty, I want you to meet Eva,” Heather introduced as Eva approached them. “Eva just married Boaz.” Looking at Eva, she added, “Patty just got married, too. She married Greg Wilson.”
Patty tied the horse’s reins to the post and rolled her eyes. “I’d hardly call what Greg and I have a marriage.”
“Why? What’s wrong? Is Greg not happy?”
“That’s an understatement,” she grumbled and headed for the porch, her shoulders slumped. “I don’t know what to do. I’ve cooked and cleaned for him. I even brought him a newspaper and tried to rub his back. But does he appreciate any of it?” She turned to face the two women who followed her up the porch. “No! With the way he’s acting, you’d swear I just ruined his life.” She paused for a moment and smiled at Eva. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude. It’s nice to meet you.”
Eva returned her greeting. If one thing could be said for Patty, she was lively. She didn’t seem like the type who accepted everything that came her way. Instead, she went out and got what she wanted. Intrigued, Eva listened as Patty continued moaning about her ill-fated marriage.
“I just don’t understand Greg.” Patty plopped in the rocking chair across from them and crossed her arms. “I thought men were pretty simple to figure out. As long as their bellies are full and they’re not tripping over things in their house, they should be satisfied. At least my pa’s an easy man to please. He’s happy for the littlest things anyone does for him. And look at Mitch.” She gestured to Heather. “He was smiling and talking about you nonstop when he married you. I swear, he’d never been that happy before. But will Greg see what a blessing I am? Of course not. And why? Because he’s stupid.”
“Oh, you don’t think he’s stupid,” Heather replied. “A little misguided perhaps but not stupid.”
Lowering her voice so Hannah wouldn’t overhear, she said, “I went to his bed wearing nothing, and he didn’t do anything.”
“You what?” Eva asked, shocked that a woman would do something so…so…bold.
“I gave him what every man dreams of,” Patty replied, shooting her a meaningful look. “And what did he do? He left the room. Now, go on and tell me that’s not stupid.”
Heather bit her lower lip. “Well, it doesn’t take much to encourage a man.”
“Exactly. And honestly, I don’t know how I could have been more encouraging than that.” Patty grunted and leaned back in her chair. “I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried everything but nothing’s worked. The fool keeps going on and on about how he’ll figure a way out of the marriage.”
Eva glanced at the barn where Boaz helped Mitch with the evening chores and thought her situation wasn’t all that different. Not really. They were both married to men who didn’t want a real marriage. While Boaz wanted to be married, he only wanted a wife of convenience so in no way could she consider that a real marriage.
What Mitch and Heather had was a real marriage. What Herb and Rachel had was a real marriage, too. And anyone could tell how happy they were by simply looking at them. It’d be nice to have that kind of happiness in her own marriage, just as Patty wanted in hers. She couldn’t blame the woman for being frustrated, especially since she went out of her way to go into her husband’s bed without a single thing on.
Heather reached out and clasped Patty’s hand. “You haven’t tried the most important thing of all. You haven’t been yourself.”
She rolled her eyes. “If being myself would work, he would have married me a long time ago.”
“I don’t recall you being anything but the person you think he wants you to be.”
“A man doesn’t want a woman who can lasso cattle better than he can. Don’t get me wrong. Greg manages very well on the ranch, but there are some things he could do much better. Like breaking his horse? I could have handled that one, but he paid Boaz to do it. And why? Because he’s a man and I’m a woman. Greg expects me to be feminine at all times.”
“Patty,” Eva began, “just because a man wants to be married, it doesn’t mean he wants a wife.”
Eyebrows furrowed, Patty looked at her. “What?”
“Boaz only wanted to marry me so he could have a mother for his children. He sleeps in the parlor and I sleep in the bedroom.”
Heather’s eyes widened. “Was that his idea?”
“Well,” Eva began, “at first it was mine because I didn’t want to be with him right away. Then when I was ready, I found out he planned for us to sleep in separate rooms all along.”
“When I married Mitch, I thought he wouldn’t want to be with me right away because we rushed through everything.”
“So he slept on the couch?” Patty asked.
“No,” she slowly replied. “He slept in the same room with me.”
“And…it went as you’d expect it to.”
“But it didn’t happen that way for me,” Patty pointed out, “and it’s not happening that way for Eva. You know what I think? I think some men don’t know a good thing when they have it.”
“Or they’re too afraid to accept it when they do,” Eva added without bothering to think over whether or not she should disclose so much about her marriage. It was nice to know she wasn’t the only one with a husband who was reluctant to sleep with her. “I understand why, though.” It wasn’t fair to him that she didn’t explain things further. “Since his first wife died in childbirth, he’s afraid I’ll suffer the same fate.”
Heather pressed her hand to her heart. “You weren’t here before he straightened his life out. He’s been through so much, and he took her death hard.”
“I figured that. It’s why I’m not so upset about it. Sure, I’d like to have something like you and Mitch do, but I realize the situation is different.” After a pause, she added, “I think it’d help Patty to know she’s not the only one going through this. I know I feel better knowing I’m not the only wife who doesn’t have a normal marriage.”
“I feel better too, Eva,” Patty agreed. “It’s nice to know not every woman has it easy. I’m sorry, Heather, but it’s not fair to watch Mitch fall all over himself to impress you. You have him wrapped around your finger. I honestly don’t think there’s anything he wouldn’t do for you.”
Heather glanced between them and shrugged. “I don’t know what to say.”
“There’s nothing you can say,” Patty replied. “We’re glad you don’t have to go through what we do. It’s horrible. Eva,” she looked at her, “the notion that you’re going to die in childbirth might be possible, but I don’t think it’s likely. Most women survive it just fine.”
“I know that,” Eva said, “but I don’t think Boaz can be logical when it comes to this.”
“I know it doesn’t seem like it,” Heather began, “but Boaz is trying to protect you.”
“I realize that. It’s the only reason why I don’t try to knock some sense into him.”
Patty giggled. “I wouldn’t mind doing that to Greg, and I would if I didn’t want to kiss him so much. So tell me, Heather. What secrets do you have for us? What can we do to nudge our men in the right direction?”
Heather fiddled with her hair. “I don’t know.”
“What do you do if you want Mitch to join you in bed?”
Heather’s face went beet red, but Eva was glad Patty asked the question.
Clearing her throat, Heather softly said, “It doesn’t take much to get him interested. A touch in certain places, a lingering kiss, telling him I’ll be in bed waiting for him… He’s not hard to encourage like Greg is.”
Patty rocked back and forth, tapping the edge of the chair’s arm with her fingers. “I wonder if I can get close enough to Greg to try the touching and kissing thing. I think if I told him I’d be in bed, he’d run out of the house.”
Though it wasn’t funny, Eva felt a chuckle rise up in her throat. “I’m sorry, Patty. I didn’t mean to laugh.”
“Oh, I know it sounds ridiculous. It is ridiculous! No man in his right mind would refuse to take a woman up on the offer to be intimate. That’s why there’s something wrong with Greg up here.” She tapped her head. “I just wish there was some medicine I could give him to cure him of his stupidity.”
“Alas, no such thing exists.”
Heather shifted in her chair and leaned toward them. “Patty, if you really want Greg to act like a husband, then do something about it. Don’t sit idly by while he’s running out of the room.”
“And what do you suggest I do?” Patty asked. “Lasso and tie him to the bed?”
“Oh, be serious. Patty can’t do that,” Eva argued, glancing at Hannah to make sure she was still out of hearing range from them.
“Sure, she can,” Heather began. “If anyone can lasso any moving thing, it’s Patty. She can make Greg stay in the house with her. She doesn’t have to tie him to a bed, but she can make it so that he has to spend time with her and get to know her. And who knows? Maybe if he’s on the run and she catches him, he might be impressed and see her in a new light.”
“But that’s not ladylike,” Patty replied. “You know that horrid woman at church wouldn’t like me doing something like that. She’s always telling me I act too much like a man for my own good. She’s the one who gave me the idea to let him rescue me and it worked. He married me to save me from John Meyer.”
Noting Heather’s grimace, Eva asked, “Who’s John Meyer?”
“Just the worst piece of scum in Lewistown,” Heather muttered. “Patty, you’re asking for trouble by arranging something with John.”
“Everything’s fine,” Patty assured her. “I paid him the amount due to him. He’s gone his way.”
“I don’t know.” Heather crossed her arms. “He’s a sly fox. You can’t trust him.”
Patty waved off her argument. “The mayor was there to help arrange the whole thing.”
“You better hope Greg doesn’t find out he was tricked into marrying you.”
“He won’t unless you two say something.”
“We’re not going to say anything. Besides, how can we if we don’t know the details of the arrangement you made?” Then after a pause, she added, “You and Greg will be a good match once he realizes you’re perfect for him, though you need to be honest about who you are in order for him to see it.”
Patty shook her head, indicating that she didn’t believe Heather and rose to her feet. “I better go. I want to be sure one of his ranch hands secures all the stalls.”
“You think one of his ranch hands isn’t doing his job?”
Shrugging, she said, “It’s a hunch. Nothing more. I won’t say anything unless I find out for sure. Thank you for lending me a caring ear.” Turning to Eva, she added, “And it was nice to meet you.”
Eva returned the sentiment and watched as Patty got on her horse. Though she dressed very ladylike, she mounted the steed like a man, something Eva suspected was so natural for her, she didn’t even think about the fact that she was wearing a dress. With a groan, Patty readjusted her legs so she was sitting on the saddle like a woman and smoothed the dress to properly cover her legs.