Arizona Sunset is the first book of what became the Arizona historical romance series. I wrote it in the early '90s but didn't do anything with it for twenty years. That might seem unusual to those who aren't writers, but if you are a writer, you write-- that does not mean you necessarily even want to publish. When I decided to become an indie writer, it was on the list of those I intended to bring out. I had no idea even then that Arizona Sunset would be the beginning of a series.
It turns out the seventh in what I've called the Arizona historical romance series, will be out later in March. It is set in 1905 and carries on some of the earlier characters with new additions. Here is a snippet from a book that will always be dear to my heart for a host of reasons:
"It had its moments,” he said, nuzzling her neck. He needed a shave as usual at the end of the day. The bristle against her skin added to her excitement. She sighed.
"Like with Lieutenant Gardiner?”
She pushed off his hat as she ran her hands through his hair.
He looked ruefully down at the hat on the floor. "You know how much that Stetson cost?”
She heard the smile in his voice. "I'm sorry," she said. "Can I find any way to make it up to your hat?"
"I doubt it."
"I could pick it up and put it properly on its rack."
He shook his head. "Not a good idea because to do that, I'd have to let you go, and I don't want to do that."
She smiled, taking his hand into hers and nipping one finger. "You really had a good time?”
“It had its moments,” he repeated, his eyes teasing.
"Couldn't you see yourself living like that--like Ralph Reimer for instance?"
"Maybe for some men that's all right, but for others it won’t work."
"And which ones are you?"
“Abby, quit trying to change what is. Life is how it is. Sometimes it’s too late to change.”
"You can’t believe it is for you. You are a young man. You can change what you want. You have to know you cannot go on as you are.”
“And then what?”
“There are no guarantees in life.”
She felt the passion draining from her body. “Why did you marry me, Sam? What did you want?”
“What do you think?”
“If it had been just sex, you’d have taken me the first night. You could have. I couldn’t have stopped you.”
"I don't rape women."
"We both know it wouldn't have been rape, not then or now."
"I did want you. Still do, but not if the terms are my pretending something I know isn’t so. I am who I am. Is that good enough for you or not?"
“Are you saying you might want a life with me? A forever kind of life?”
“If I did, would it change anything?”
She couldn’t answer that. She had never thought she’d stay with Sam, never imagined a real life here. Or had she? “Well, whatever I want,” she said, “it wouldn’t be for much of a life if you go riding off all the time to rustle other men’s cattle. Someday you will get shot or caught and then what?"
“I could go riding out in the hills here and have my horse fall and break my neck.”
“It’s not the same.”
She felt angry and disappointed. She had hoped so much that things would change. She had told herself this was all for the moment. In her heart she had known from the beginning, from the time she had seen him in Tucson. She wanted more than she could ever have. It wasn’t to be. He didn’t want what she did. She felt so disappointed that tears welled up. She would not cry in front of him. She also couldn’t risk making a baby with a man who wouldn’t want forever with her. She wouldn’t leave herself a child to raise alone.
“Good night, Sam.”
She wished he would say something to stop her, would promise her things that could make it work, but he didn’t. He just let her go.