I am super excited to announce that today is the release day for Love’s New Beginnings and just in time for Christmas!
When I wrote Forgotten Memories, I never imagined it would have a prequel. Lydie and Solomon were delightful secondary characters who will also make appearances in Dreams of the Heart and When Love Comes.
But soon, I heard from readers asking if I would write a book about Lydie and Solomon and how it all began in the Wyoming Sunrise Series.
Before I could ponder whether or not to write a prequel, my characters began to take on a life of their own. Lydie and Solomon were soon joined by a host of secondary characters, including Lydie’s hilarious (and extremely ornery) aunts, Myrtle and Fern.
What began as a short story soon blossomed into a book.
I’m thrilled to have you meet Lydie and Solomon when they first ventured to Willow Falls in the Wyoming Territory all those years ago. Read on for the blurb:
Where it all began…
Lydie Beauchamp recently moved with her aunts—sisters Myrtle and Fern—to the untamed Wyoming Territory. When a teaching position in nearby Willow Falls captures her attention, can she leave her aunts, one of whom just suffered a broken heart, and embark on this new adventure? Will she find the courage to persevere in the midst of challenges, one being a handsome challenge named Solomon Eliason?
Reverend Solomon Eliason has the goal of making a difference. Hired as the pastor of Willow Falls, he must convince the congregation that he is able to undertake the role of a reverend. When he’s nominated to be the adult in charge of the annual prank tradition at the school, he embraces the idea, thinking the new teacher will be an elderly crotchety woman like his former teacher. What he doesn’t realize until it’s too late is that the teacher is far from crotchety and elderly.
When Lydie’s and Solomon’s paths cross in an unexpected way during the prank tradition at the Willow Falls school, can Solomon redeem himself in the eyes of the lovely new teacher?
Take a glimpse into where it all began with Lydie and Solomon’s story in this tender tale that reminds us that God can and does use willing hearts for His purposes.
For a limited time, Love’s New Beginnings is on sale for 99 cents. And to continue you through to Forgotten Memories, it is also on sale for 99 cents. Both books are also available in paperback.
And now, a fun excerpt from Love’s New Beginnings…
Wyoming Territory, 1869
Lydie Beauchamp stalked down the dusty streets of Prune Creek, her skirt swishing against her ankles.
Usually she was a calm and mild-mannered young woman.
But not today.
Today, decorum was the last thing on her mind.
Both Aunt Fern and Aunt Myrtle would have her hide and then some if they knew what she was about to do. “So uncharacteristic of you, child,” Aunt Fern would say.
“You really ought to remember the proper way to handle disputes,” Aunt Myrtle would admonish.
Even with the thoughts of how her aunts might respond if they found out, Lydie’s fury was about to spring to life.
Lydie passed the barber shop, livery, blacksmith, and the church that doubled as a schoolhouse. She marched past the bank, saloon, and post office. Until she reached the mercantile where he stood loading items into his saddle bag.
She wished she was spunky like Aunt Myrtle, rather than quiet and reserved.
Although…quiet and reserved might not be the words he would use to describe her once she unleashed her thoughts about the whole ordeal.
“Miss Beauchamp, of what do I owe the pleasure?” The man in his forties with a black handlebar mustache removed his hat, revealing a large balding spot in his otherwise graying black hair.
“You know exactly why I’m here, Mr. Wilkins.” Lydie did her best to raise her voice, but it still came out squeaky like that of a young child’s. She would need to work on that if she was ever going to be a teacher and deal with wayward pupils.
Mr. Wilkins smirked. “Now, now, young lady. You know full well it wasn’t ever going to work between your aunt and me.”
“But Aunt Fern moved here to the Wyoming Territory just so the two of you could marry. And now you have called off the wedding two days before the event.” She placed her hands on her hips and did her best to glower.
Apparently it was not very convincing, because Mr. Wilkins only laughed.
“South Pass City is calling me.” He held a hand to his right ear. “That precious thing called gold is calling me. Prune Creek and being married and settling down with Fern are not.”
Lydie had heard of South Pass City and the gold that was to be found in the town a great distance from Prune Creek. But she’d never anticipated Aunt Fern’s intended would be drawn into the lure of hunting for it.
Not that she knew Mr. Wilkins well. To the contrary, she’d only met him a month ago when she and her aunts moved from Minnesota to the wilds of the Wyoming Territory.
“You made a vow to marry Aunt Fern. An honorableman never goes back on his word.” Why did her voice sound so tinny? She cleared her throat and tried again. “You promised to marry her, settle down with her, and make a life with her in Prune Creek.”
Mr. Wilkins shook his head. “She may have misunderstood. Look, Miss Beauchamp, I have a lot of riding ahead of me if I want to make some headway before nightfall. Sorry you’re upset and all about Fern, but this is the way it is. She’ll find someone else.”
But Lydie had an inkling Aunt Fern would never find someone else, for her heart was broken beyond repair.
“But, Mr. Wilkins…”
“No two ways about it, Miss Beauchamp. I’m not staying in Prune Creek and I’m not marrying Fern.” He swung a leg over the horse and settled into his saddle.
And then that despicable man rode off heading south.
Her eyes smarted with tears. Not because she had failed at convincing Mr. Wilkins to stay and marry Aunt Fern, but because he had hurt someone Lydie cared about more than life itself.
The thundering sound of the stagecoach rumbling down the road toward town shifted Lydie’s focus and she stepped up onto the boardwalk. She closed her eyes as a plume of dust engulfed the air.
Lord, please help Aunt Fern. Help her heart to heal.
Lydie sighed and began her walk toward home before the aunts realized she’d disappeared.
They’d left behind all they had in Minnesota to chase Aunt Fern’s lovelorn dreams. While they hadn’t many possessions at their former residence, they did have a home in which to reside and the aunts had taken in mending and washing to support themselves. Now here in the Wild West, where outlaws perched on every corner, horse thieves and cattle rustlers were the norm, and nothing refined or cultured existed in the dusty town, their futures appeared bleak.
So much for new beginnings.
Books in the Wyoming Sunrise Series:
Love’s New Beginnings – Prequel
Forgotten Memories – Book #1
Dreams of the Heart – Book #2 (scheduled for release March 7, 2023 and available for preorder).
When Love Comes – Book #3 (scheduled for release December 5, 2023 and available for preorder).
Thank you for celebrating with me! Please join me later this week for my regularly-scheduled Christmas post.