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Release Day! – His Forbidden Bride/Honoria:The Forbidden Bride

Sep 02, 2016

Release Day is here at last for His Forbidden Bride (spicy version)/Honoria: The Forbidden Bride (sweet version)! And I know a lot of you have been looking forward to Honoria and Solomon’s story for a long, long time. Well, here it is! So who am I to stand in your way? Get started reading Chapter One right now….


Haskell, Wyoming – 1876


Honoria Bonneville was about to go mad. The clock on the mantel of Dr. Abernathy’s office ticked with such deep foreboding that it pulled every nerve in her body taut. She wrung her white handkerchief in her hands as she sat hunched in a spindly chair on the other side of the waiting room from the clock. Her lungs burned, but she fought the urge to cough—fought it and fought it and fought it until she couldn’t hold out anymore.

She burst into a spell of coughing that wracked her from head to toe and made the pale, middle-aged woman sitting across from her start. That woman quickly fell into coughing too, as if Honoria’s outburst were contagious. A third patient—an older man—frowned and hugged himself tightly, as if summoning the willpower to not be made sick by the women. Honoria squeezed her eyes shut, praying for her lungs to be still.

Heaven knew she had enough practice holding her breath and keeping the things that were inside of her from coming out. She’d been biting her tongue and swallowing all of the things she had wanted to say for the past twenty-five years of incessant bullying by her sisters, Vivian and Melinda. She’d even endured snide comments and a turned-up nose from her younger sister, Bebe.

Once upon a time, she’d tried to speak out, to fight back against the unfairness that was heaped on her. It had been easier when she was a small girl and her mother was still alive. Ariana Bonneville had been the one light of hope in young Honoria’s life. She had been the single stabilizing influence in Rex Bonneville’s life—though he’d never appreciated her for it. She’d been the center of Honoria’s world, and when she’d died in childbirth—along with Rex Bonneville’s only son—when Honoria was seven, the light had gone out of her world. And the sense had gone out of the Bonneville family.

Grief that had never healed spilled through Honoria, and she dissolved into another round of wracking coughs that brought tears to her eyes. It was the coughing that made her cry, she insisted to herself, not grief, not pity for her lot in life. As her mother lay dying, her final words to Honoria had been, “Always remember who you are, Honoria. Your honor is your shining light. Hold your head up high, face your trials bravely, and be honest in all things.” There had been words of love and sorrow too, but in every day that passed since then, Honoria had obeyed her mother, behaved with quiet honor, and born the brutality of her sisters and the neglect of her father with as much courage and strength as she could muster…for Mother’s sake.

Now that strength was failing her. She coughed again, in unison with the other woman waiting to see Dr. Abernathy. She’d been strong as long as she could, but for months now Honoria had felt the unmistakable sensation of the Universe holding its breath. Something was about to change.

The door to Dr. Abernathy’s examination room swung open, and Dr. Abernathy himself popped his head into the waiting room. He held a small stack of files that he looked at several times between staring at Honoria, the old man, and the other woman. He shuffled through the papers in the file, cleared his throat, then focused on Honoria.

“With a cough like that, I’d better see you first.”

An unexpected tremor of fear passed through Honoria as she stood and slipped across the waiting room to the examination room. Dr. Abernathy stood back so she could go before him. Once she was inside, hovering anxiously beside a short table, Dr. Abernathy shut the door.

“Let’s see now.” Dr. Abernathy shuffled through the files, mumbling to himself. He set one down on the table, then scowled as he thumbed through the other two. “What an utter nuisance.”

“I’m sorry?” Honoria asked in a small voice.

Dr. Abernathy made a disapproving noise. “Why does Dr. Meyers keep insisting on seeing patients when he is constantly being called out to that blasted Indian reservation?”

Honoria blinked, unsure if she was supposed to answer the question. “I saw Dr. Meyers about my cough this morning.” She opted to explain.

“Yes, and I’m sure your father will have something to say about that,” Dr. Abernathy grumbled. “I’ve been your family doctor for years.”

There was no point in explaining that that was the exact reason she’d seen someone else about her concerns. “Dr. Meyers had just finished examining me—listening to my lungs, testing my sputum with some chemicals he has—when the army officer came to take him to the Cheyenne camp. I…I understand it was an emergency.”

Dr. Abernathy continued to mutter, “Damned inconvenient, if you ask me. Causing me extra work. Those savages don’t deserve it.”

A sudden snap of dislike caught Honoria off-guard, sending her into another coughing fit.

At last, Dr. Abernathy set one of the two files he held aside and his expression lightened. “Ah! Here we are. Just as I suspected.” His countenance turned grave. He stared at her over the top of his glasses. Honoria began to shake, too afraid to ask what he suspected. She didn’t have to ask. “It’s obvious, really,” he went on. “Consumption.”

Honoria’s breath caught in her throat, and the room went dark for a moment. Her legs turned to jelly, and if she hadn’t reached out to grab the examination table, she was certain she would have fallen over. She’d known it. In her heart, she’d known all along. And she knew what consumption was.

It was a death sentence.

“Looks like it’s fairly advanced, going by Dr. Meyers’s notes,” Dr. Abernathy went on, as if describing how a garden wall was built. “The coughing will continue, as will instances of coughing up blood. Yes, yes.” He scanned the rest of the file. “I wouldn’t plan on lasting more than six months to a year.”

“That’s it?” Honoria squeaked, clutching her handkerchief to her chest.

Dr. Abernathy shrugged. “Could be less, could be more.” He cleared his throat and closed the file, tossing it on the table with the others. “If I were you, young woman, I would get my affairs in order.”

The tears that had stung Honoria’s eyes earlier burned hotter. That was it? Twenty-five years and her life was over? She shook her head, her shoulders sinking. Twenty-five years of life and what did she have to show for it? A battered spirit and an empty heart.

What a waste. What a terrible, terrible waste.

Dr. Abernathy cleared his throat. “I have other patients to see. More than usual, thanks to Dr. Meyers.”

Honoria blinked up at him through her shock and grief. That was all he had to say? Censure for Dr. Meyers? After giving her a death sentence? The urge to run filled her.

“Thank you for your time, sir.” She managed to push out the words with a hoarse breath.

Dr. Abernathy grunted, then pivoted to hold the door open for her. Clutching her handkerchief to her chest, Honoria hurried out the door. She tried to hold her head high—like she always did—as she made her way through the waiting room, but as soon as she was out in the hot, July sun of Haskell, she burst into bitter, wrenching tears.


Oh no! That doesn’t sound good at all! But is Honoria really dying? Find out by reading either His Forbidden Bride (spicy version) or Honoria: The Forbidden Bride (sweet version) now!

His Forbidden Bride is available at AmazoniBooksBarnes & Noble, and will be available for Kobo soon.

Honoria: The Forbidden Bride is available exclusively at Amazon and for Kindle Unlimited.



Weekend Excerpt – His Forbidden Bride/Honoria: The Forbidden Bride

Aug 26, 2016

I know how much you guys have been looking forward to Honoria & Solomon’s story, His Forbidden Bride (spicy)/Honoria: The Forbidden Bride (sweet). Well, it’s almost here! It’ll be out in one week! So why not read a little bit of it today? Think it will satisfy you or make you more excited? *wiggles eyebrows*


She made it almost all the way to the intersection with Elizabeth Street before hearing Solomon’s concerned call of, “Honoria, stop!”

She could only managed a few more, tripping steps before lurching to a halt. Rough coughing stopped her. She shouldn’t be running, as sick as she was. She held her handkerchief to her mouth, helpless to do anything but wait until Solomon caught up with her.

“Honoria, my god.” He skipped straight past politeness and gripped her arms as he reached her.

Honoria’s coughing subsided, and she let her hand fall from her mouth. “I…” She couldn’t meet her eyes, could only stare down at the contrast between her white handkerchief and the dark brown skin of his hands. “I…” She couldn’t. She couldn’t burden him.

Only, before she could summon up the strength to break free from his supporting hands, Solomon said, “Elspeth told me what you said to her.”

Honoria snapped her eyes up to meet his, full of fear. Would he reject her now? The one person she admired above all else?

No, there was so much tenderness, so much regret in his eyes that all she could do was break down into sobs and nod.

“No,” he whispered.

And right there, in broad daylight, directly across from the hotel, near one of the busiest intersections in Haskell, Solomon Templesmith pulled her into a tight embrace, resting her head against his shoulder. No one, not even her own father, would ever show her so much sympathy. Solomon was little more than a stranger, forbidden in so many ways, but the comfort he was offering turned her inside out and made her feel as though she was floating in the midst of her misery. She wept freely against his shoulder, leaning heavily into the firm muscles of his chest, closing her arms around his back. She’d dreamed of this moment with him for years, only to have it come at the end.

They might have stood there for hours or it might have only been seconds when Solomon said, “Tell me all about it.”

Sense returned to her slowly. She gulped a few breaths, working to have the power to stand on her own. As soon as she could, she pushed back, wiping away her tears and straightening her back. It still took several deep, deliberate breaths before she could raise her gaze to meet his.

“Dr. Abernathy says I have consumption,” she admitted, her voice shaking like tall grass in a storm. “He says I have months left.”

Solomon’s expression crumpled into extreme sympathy. “Oh, Honoria, I’m so sorry.”

He could have left her right there, but instead he took her hand and led her over to the side of the road, to a bench that sat out in front of Charlie and Olivia Garrett’s house. He helped her to sit, then sat beside her. Out of the corner of her eyes, Honoria spotted several people looking on curiously, including Mr. Gunn on the hotel’s porch. She didn’t mind his observation, but she wished everyone else would disappear. She wished everyone in the world but her and Solomon would disappear.

“What precisely did Dr. Abernathy say?” Solomon asked in a solid, businesslike voice.

Honoria wrung her handkerchief, used it to dabbed her eyes, and gathered her thoughts. Solomon was sitting too close to her, but at that moment she truly didn’t care.

“I…I’ve had this cough for quite some time,” she began in a weak and weary voice. “Bonnie—you know, Bonnie Horner, who’s walking out with my father—has been urging me to see a doctor.”

“Bonnie is a wise woman.” Solomon nodded.

Honoria managed a small smile for praise of the woman who—in spite of having her father for a beau—was vilified more often than not in the Bonneville house.

Her smile faded fast. “I went to see Dr. Meyers first thing this morning. He examined me. He even ran a test with chemicals that he explained were new and helped diagnose disease.” Solomon made an impressed sound. “But he was called away by an army officer. Dr. Abernathy takes over his cases when Dr. Meyers is away, so I left and went about my business until this afternoon.” She sniffled as recent, bad memories assailed her. “I went to Dr. Abernathy for the results just now, and he told me.” She squeezed her eye shut, and more tears streamed down her face.

“Could Dr. Abernathy have been wrong?” Solomon asked.

Honoria shook her head. He had Dr. Meyers’s file. I saw Dr. Meyers writing in that file while he was examining me.”

Solomon’s shoulder sagged. “I’m so sorry.” He rubbed Honoria’s back, sliding his arm around her and letting her rest her head on his shoulder from the side.

“My life has been such a waste,” she blurted before she could stop herself. Her tears continued to spill.

“Don’t say that.” Solomon’s voice was so tender that it only made her weep harder.

“But it’s true. I’ve let myself be pushed around and bullied by my sisters since Mama died. I’ve lived a half-life. And there were so many things I wanted to do.”

“What did you want to do?” He brushed a loose strand of hair away from her forehead.

Honoria sighed, closing her eyes. “I wanted to make something of myself. I wanted to do something with my skills, help people. I…I wanted to fall in love, marry, and have children.” Her voice faded to a wisp as she mourned all of the children she’d never have now.


Oooh! Excited for more! You only have to wait one week! His Forbidden Bride/Honoria: The Forbidden Bride comes out next Friday, September 2nd!