Monday, December 10, 2012

Chasing Clovers Blog Barrage: excerpt, review & giveaway


Chasing Clovers by Kat Flannery 
Historical Western Romance/Romantic Suspense*paperback & e-book, 176 pages
Published by Imajin Books 
Purchase: Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N \ Book Trailer


Mail order bride, Livy Green, is desperate to escape the memories of her past. John Taylor will never love another woman again, but his children need a mother. Will they learn to trust each other, or will their pasts interfere? 

Longing to escape the awful memories and the saloon she once sang in, Livy Green lies about her past so she can be a wife to John Taylor and step mother to his two young children. Overwhelmed by the task, she struggles to put her resentment aside and love them as her own. 

John loved his first wife and is still heartbroken over the loss, but he needs a mother for his children. When his distant and unfriendly mail order bride arrives, he begins to doubt his decision though one glance into Livy's terrified green eyes tells him he can't turn his back on her. 

As Livy's past catches up with her and suspicious accidents begin to happen on the ranch, she is tempted to come clean and tell John the truth. But will he send her back if he does? Or will they forever be CHASING CLOVERS?


Kat Flannery’s CHASING CLOVERS is the perfect mix of sweet romance and Wild West adventure, with a generous dash of emotion. 


Excerpt:
Chapter One (Calgary, 1884)

The stagecoach pitched to a stop, jostling Livy Green from fitful nightmares of a past she longed to bury and the stranger she was about to marry. Her neck stiff and her back aching, she massaged her shoulders. She straightened and tried to stretch her arms, but the tiny space wouldn't allow it.

A loud sigh blew from her lips when she realized how rumpled her clothes were. Frowning, she ran her hands along her skirt. Nothing but a hot iron would get the wrinkles out. With only two other dresses in her wardrobe, and no time to change anyway, she had no choice but to meet her fiancé looking as she did.

Her stomach dropped. What if I'm not what he's expecting?

She peered out the window and wasn't surprised to see a few North West Mounted Police mingling with the other townspeople. Their bright red uniforms stood out like apples on a tree. She reached for her satchel and held it tightly before she stepped out the small door. You can do this. She squeezed the handle on her luggage. You have to.

Fort Calgary was a bustling town with two hotels on either side of the street, a small dress shop with ladies hats and fabric displayed in the window, and a red-bricked bank on the northwest corner. She watched people walking along the wooden planks and filtering in and out of the shops.

A loud squeal sounded behind her.

Livy jumped. She was almost trampled by a young boy running from his mother. Her heart lurched at the sight of the child. The familiar ache inside her soul willed her to look away. But she continued to watch mother and child until they disappeared inside the mercantile.

She took a deep breath, forced all thoughts of the past out of her mind and scanned the streets again. Her face flushed when she thought of what she was about to do.

Bag in hand, she spotted the blacksmith across the street next to the barbershop. Her stomach twisted at the sight of the saloon two buildings down. The all too familiar swinging doors waved back and forth, taunting her. Two drunken cowboys left the saloon, weaving their way down the boardwalk.

Livy clenched the satchel and tensed.

She turned away, closed her eyes, and took another deep breath. Here she would be the wife to John Taylor―a man she'd never met―and stepmother to his two children.

She took another breath. She would start over. Again.

She surveyed the busy boardwalk in search of a tall man with dark hair. Almost every man she saw fit the description he had given her, so she decided to move over to the bench in front of the mercantile and wait for Mr. Taylor to find her. Hands folded together on her lap. She tapped her toe restlessly. Where could he be?

A rough looking cowboy sauntered toward her. His brown greasy hair, and ripped denims were paired with an evil smile.

Livy tucked her chin into her chest. Oh, please don't let that be him. She'd seen his type before and knew what they were capable of. The man lingered beside her for a few moments before continuing on down the boardwalk.

She sighed with relief. How am I going to do this?

No longer Angel Green, she was now Olivia Green. The past was far behind her, except on those long dark nights that would not allow her to escape it.

She chewed on her bottom lip and stared at the busy street.

Her new life would begin here. She would survive.

She blew out a shaky breath. It was all she knew how to do.

"Olivia?" a male voice asked.

A tall man stood beside her, his hat pulled low so she couldn't see his eyes. He hesitated, then extended his hand. "Olivia?" He had a polite, resonating voice.

She shaded her eyes with a hand. "Livy will do fine." She was uncomfortably aware of his presence as he towered over her.

He smiled and took off his hat. Wavy black hair curled above the collar of his coat and his skin was tanned from the sun. He looked nothing like the dirty cowboy. Thank goodness. Instead, he wore a clean flannel shirt tucked into faded denim pants.

"John Taylor. Good to finally meet you. My buckboard is over there." He pointed the way, then peered around. "Where are your trunks?"

"I only have this one."

Her cheeks reddened as she lifted her tattered brown satchel. She held it slightly behind, not wanting him to see the holes and stains on it.

Nodding, he offered his arm. She ignored it. Friendly eyes stared back at her. After what had happened to her in Great Falls, she hated being touched by men.

"Do not be insulted, Mr. Taylor," she said, staring at his boots, "but I'd rather you show me the way instead."

She headed in the direction he'd pointed out earlier. When she heard a low chuckle from behind, she pursed her lips and walked faster. I need no one, least of all a man.

In truth, she needed John Taylor more than she could admit.


About the Author:

Kat Flannery
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter 


Kat Flannery has had her writing published in numerous periodicals. She’s received her diploma for Creative, Freelance, and Business Writing. She is co-owner of Prairie Dog Publishing, where she devotes her spare time as head of Marketing and Communications. When not focusing on her creative passions, Kat is busy with her three boys and doting husband. Chasing Clovers is Kat’s first published novel. While awaiting the release of her second book, she is currently writing the third. 

My thoughts:
Chasing Clovers is a gritty yet sweet Western romance. Livy, a young woman heartbroken over the death of her baby daughter, Emma, is destitute and answers an ad for a mail-order bride. John Taylor is a rancher with lots of land and cattle; he is also a widower with two children, Ben and Emily. He needs a woman around his house to take care of his kids and cook and clean. He doesn't want love. Neither does Livy or so she thinks. Two suffering souls meet, sparks ignite, yet both refuse to admit there may be something more to this cold, business-like arrangement.

For a Western romance I expected a little more of the time period with descriptions and details. The author has a lovely touch with describing the land and sunsets/sunrises and I would have liked even more. Livy seemed like a contradiction at times. She was supposed to be meek and wary of men but she could be mean--yelling, pushing and even slapping John Taylor throughout her brief stay in his home. The story itself took place over a manner of a few weeks and to see her get like this over a stranger was quizzical. John needed some more development to understand his seesaw feelings for Livy. 

What was absolutely touching was the relationship between the children and Livy. Ben's quickness to accept her and then call her 'Mama' brought tears to my eyes. The same with Emily--seeing Livy's hesitation to touch the little girl with a similar name to her baby gripped my heartstrings. Livy started out as such a downer (as expected) but her numerous crying jags and anxiety attacks did become repetitive and caused a few eye rolls. Despite this, there was a HEA and I liked the story. Chasing Clovers put the 'sweet' into Western romance and touched me with its delicate relationships, its tale of loss and taking a chance at  finding love again.

Rating: 3.5

Cover comment: The cover is okay, doesn't really convey much.

Book source: I received a promotional e-book copy in return for my honest review.


Giveaway:
Prize is 1 Autographed Print Copy of “Chasing Clovers”. Contest is tour-wide and open to US residents only. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Ends Dec 15.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

3 comments:

  1. This sounds like a great read-thanks for the positive review and a chance to win!

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  2. Excited to be joining in with this!!!

    parisfan_ca@yahoo.com

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  3. Thank you, Laurie, Caitlin and Meg for your honest review of CHASING CLOVERS. I'd like to wish you, and all your followers a very Merry Christmas and happy new year! :)

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