Shannon here: Historical romance author, Lorna Seilstad shares a romantic excerpt from her latest release, The Ride of Her Life. Every time you comment on any post dated May 14 – 18, your name goes in the drawing for a copy. Deadline: June 25, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Lorna:
Mr. Tallman tapped Levi’s cap. “Ready to ride one of the ships of the desert?”
Levi looked around. “I don’t see a ship.”
“That’s what they call camels.” Nick picked up Levi and turned to Mr. Tallman. “You want him right here?”
Lilly put her arm out to block the way. “Wait a minute. Are you certain it’s safe for my little boy to ride this thing?”
“My Baba’s a gentleman. We’ve been giving camel rides to folks at the lake for almost ten years now. Haven’t you seen him? No one’s been bitten or maimed in any way. But since you’re worried, why don’t you and Mr. Perrin ride first?”
Lilly stepped back and hurried to fold her hands in front of her. “No, that won’t be necessary.”
“I don’t know about that.” Nick raised his eyebrows in Levi’s direction. “What do you think? Should your mama and I go for a ride, then let you have a turn?”
“Yes!” Levi clapped his hands. “Go, Mama. It’ll be fun.”
Lilly burned Nick with a glare, but he merely chuckled. “Besides, Lilly, I’ll feel safer with you next to me.”
“You shouldn’t, because I’m gonna kill you the first chance I get,” she hissed.
Nick grinned and motioned toward the camel. “It’ll probably be easier for you to . . . um . . . ride astride.”
“I’ll manage to ride sidesaddle.”
“That’s the spirit.” Mr. Tallman offered Ali Baba a treat from his coat pocket.
“Where’s the stirrup?” Lilly looked on both sides of Ali Baba and lifted the blankets over the saddle.
“There’s not one. You direct a camel with your toes, so a stirrup isn’t necessary.”
Lilly’s eyes grew wide. “My toes?”
Mr. Tallman’s belly shook when he laughed. “You won’t have to do that because I’ll be leading him on the rope.”
“And I’ll make sure you don’t slide off.” Nick patted the saddle. “Need help getting on?”
“I can manage.” Lilly sat down on the tack box, then swung her leg beneath her. She stood gracefully before attempting to lift herself into place on the saddle, but she couldn’t fully get on. She slid off, her fingers running along the animal’s wiry hide. She tried three times.
Nick chuckled, hopped on the crate, and nudged her out of the way. He grabbed the horn and pulled himself up. After swinging his leg over the side, he scooted to the back half of the saddle.
“Maybe Levi should accompany you instead of me.” Lilly turned to find her son.
Before she knew what Nick was doing, he’d hooked an arm around her waist and drew her upward onto the camel’s back. In one smooth motion, he deposited her on the front half of the long saddle.
“Well done, Mr. Perrin.” Mr. Tallman stroked Ali Baba’s head. “Now, here’s what you two have to do. When Ali Baba stands, he raises his back legs first, so you’ll be tilted this way.” He demonstrated the steep inclined plane with his hand. “So you need to lean backward at that point. Then, when he raises his front legs, you both lean forward. See that horn in the front of the saddle and the one in the back? Hold on to those so you don’t fall off.”
After making sure the two riders were ready, Mr. Tallman signaled Ali Baba to stand. The camel raised his long back legs, and because Lilly was seated sidesaddle, instead of leaning straight back, she leaned to her left. Her shoulder came into contact with Nick’s solid chest. She sucked in a breath and started to pull away. When she did, she slid forward a bit. Nick snaked his arm around her waist and secured her against him.
He smelled of pine and outdoors, the scent stirring something deep inside her, long forgotten. The warmth in her stomach mixed with the raw fear coursing through her. How had she let herself get in this intimate of a position with a man? She was a married woman.
A sob stuck in her throat as the single word pulsated in her thoughts.
No. No. No. She loved Ben. He would hate seeing her leaning against another man. She shouldn’t be here. She belonged to Ben. At the very least, she should ask Nick to remove his protective arm immediately. And she would—if she could discover any other way to stay on the camel.
About Lorna: Iowa native and resident Lorna Seilstad received her B.S. in education from Lubbock Christian University. After her first child was born, she quit teaching and became a professional wiper. “I wiped noses, tears, skinned knees, baby’s bottoms, and countertops every day. But at naptime, I wrote.” Today, she writes inspirational historical romance with a generous dash of humor, and lives with her husband and three children. Read more at www.LornaSeilstad.com.
About the book: The only man pragmatic Lilly Hart needs in her life is a six year old. Widowed two years ago, Lilly leaves the shelter of her intrusive in-laws’ home to stand on her own and provide for her young son by working for the summer as a cook at Lake Manawa. However, her in-laws find that life utterly unsuitable for their grandson, and when a row ensues, a handsome stranger–who designs roller coasters, of all things–intercedes on her behalf. Still, Lilly is not about to get involved with any man, especially this cocky (though charismatic) gentleman. Little does she know she is about to begin the ride of her life.
Filled with delightful characters and the romance of summer, The Ride of Her Life is another supremely entertaining story from the witty Lorna Seilstad. Readers will laugh out loud and sigh contentedly as they spend the summer of 1906 in Lake Manawa.
The countdown begins May 19. I’ll feature my favorite posts from several quarters, plus readers’ picks every Saturday.
Come back May 20th for Speculative fiction author, Jill Williamson.