Friday, March 7, 2014

The ways of men: Their Firm Men

On Tuesday, my new historical Western Their Firm Men came out. I'm very proud of it, and I want to offer my eternal thanks to Jamie Miles of Stormy Night Publications, who gave me the idea for the story. As usual, the most fun I had in writing the book was getting to know the characters. Amelia Lander stole my heart when she told me her opinion of the ways of men.
The ways of men. When Amelia lay upon her little bed at night, waiting for sleep to take her so that she would wake up again, ready to go and help her pupils, she would often consider that the male sex seemed, to the contrary of what they themselves maintained, the root of all evil. 
Thus it had been that the engagement notice in the Times had struck her like a thunderbolt. If she had considered, of course, she would have suspected that such news could not be long coming. Amelia had been following the lives of the Addisons of San Francisco to the extent she could from the other coast, and it was clear that Esther was destined for a society future. Her coming out had been announced in the Times six months before, but Amelia had managed to persuade herself that a proposal could not be imminent, for Esther still seemed in Amelia's mind no more than three years old. 
But of course, Amelia thought ruefully, as the green hills of New York gave way to the green hills of Pennsylvania, Clarence Addison would want to marry Esther off advantageously, and as soon as possible, for the interest of his new bank. Why else had he kept Esther, who would not be able to remember their mother, while sending Amelia away? The ways of men. 
She would not be in time. Such news was not carried by the telegraph, and by the time it reached the society column of the Times, The wedding was almost always already past. But Amelia had promised her mother aboard the Flying Cloud all those years ago, and although in her more forgiving moments Amelia knew that there had been no way for her to keep that promise until now, she still felt the anguish of the undutiful daughter when she thought of how Esther must now be married to someone who could only be, Amelia thought, a brute of an officer. 
Amelia had met many officers. They came frequently to the dances to which she chaperoned her older pupils. They wanted the same thing her father had wanted of her poor mother, behind that closed door. The same thing that he had wanted of his proper bride, Marianne Crocker. She did not deny that there were women who wanted that thing themselves. Even in her memory, she could see how pleased her mother had been to go into the bedroom with the door shut. She imagined that Esther, eighteen and raised in society, probably wanted that from her officer as much as the pupils at the Female and Normal High School wanted it from theirs. Nor did she plan to try to persuade Esther not to want that. How else could the species propagate itself?
Do you think Amelia will hold this opinion through the whole book? Read it and see! Here's the blurb:
When she hears about the engagement of her sister, Esther, to one of San Francisco’s wealthiest merchants, twenty-five-year-old Amelia Lander decides it is high time she obeyed her mother’s last wish—that she watch over her younger sister. Amelia leaves her teaching job in New York City and travels by train to San Francisco, where she loses no time in calling on Esther and her new husband, Samuel Allen, and providing them with proof that she is Esther’s sister and that her existence has been intentionally concealed by their father for seventeen years, since Esther was a toddler.  
Samuel suggests that Amelia live with them, but when Esther says something impolite and Samuel tells her—in front of Amelia—that she can expect to be soundly spanked for her rudeness, Amelia is shocked. Samuel informs Amelia that he will run his house as he sees fit, and when she responds with insults and defiance, Amelia soon finds herself over the knee of Samuel’s business partner, Michael Sullivan, for a long, hard spanking on her bare bottom. In spite of her shame and fury, however, Amelia cannot help but be drawn to the man who chastised her so thoroughly.  
When she learns that her father is once again up to no good, Amelia runs straight to Michael with the news, and he and Samuel form a plan to stop him. But can Amelia bring herself to obey Michael and stay out of the way, or will her foolhardy actions cost the life of the man she has reluctantly come to love? 

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