An Unwilling Husband
by Tera Shanley
Genre: Historical Western Romance
Publish Date: May 5, 2014
Publisher: Lyrical Press – A Kensington Imprint
Cover by: Renee Rocco
Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.
For adventurous Margaret Flemming, arrived from Boston to be with her father, the Old West town of her childhood is a far cry from the drawing rooms and balls of the high society life she’s used to. Her fancy gowns and proper manners have no place in the dusty, cruel land inhabited by Indians and rough cowboys.And her fiercely independent streak constantly gets her in trouble. When tragedy strikes, there’s only one person she can turn to–her childhood friend, Garret Shaw–but he’s disgusted with her Society ways.
With his ranch under attack from the land-grabbing Jennings, the last thing Garret needs is to be saddled with a high-falutin’ lady. Even if she is his friend’s daughter and her kind ways tug at his hardened heart. Duty to her father forces them to wed, but he knows sure as anything, when the chance comes along, she’ll go back to Boston. No matter how much he wants her, loving her is not a risk he can take.
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Maggie’s Old Fashioned Peach Pie
3/4 c. sugar
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt (optional)
5 c. sliced fresh peaches, skins removed
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. almond extract
Pie Crust (9 inch)
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shortening
4 to 5 tbsp. cold water
2 tbsp. butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Or if you’re looking for an authentic Old West filled pastry, add logs to your wood burning stove and wait for desired heat. Mix pie crust ingredients, cut dough in half, and chill for 1 hour. While dough is chilling, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Add to peaches. Sprinkle on lemon juice and almond extract. Set aside.
Rub flour onto rolling pin. Roll dough into circle big enough to leave an inch extra around pie pan (measure/guestimate with actual overturned pie pan) Line pan with dough. Shape edges with fingers or fork design.
Pour peach mixture into pastry lined pan and dot with butter.
Adjust top crust over mixture, flute edges and cut steam vents. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until peaches are tender and crust is golden brown.
Serves 6 hungry cowboys.
Throughout An Unwilling Husband, Maggie makes it her mission not only to learn to pull her weight around the Lazy S Ranch, but to go one step further and surprise Garret with how wrong he is about her inability to thrive in the rough cattle town of Rockdale, Texas. Her pie baking skills are lacking in the beginning, but with help from her friend, Lenny, and a heap of practice, she perfects the art of the delicious old fashioned peach pie baking just in time for a big dance held by the town.
Maggie wiped a slow hand over her face.
Garret sighed impatiently beside her. “You don’t have anything on your face, Maggie. They are staring because you look—” He cleared his throat as if uncomfortable and mumbled, “beautiful,” almost inaudibly.
“Not me, sir,” she said. The scrutiny made her skin crawl and her cheeks burn.
When she took one of the peach pies from the wagon and tried to hand it to Lenny, the girl seemed frozen in place. No response, which left her holding the panned pastry awkwardly. “Can you boys grab the food?” she asked Burke.
“Yeah, of course,” Burke said, recovering from the town’s unexpected reaction to their little group.
She linked her arm in Lenny’s and led the way to the tables of food set up for luncheon. The low hum of murmuring sounded at the sight of their comfort with each other, and Lenny’s legs nearly buckled. She skidded to a stop, which jerked Maggie to a halt with her.
“I changed my mind. I can’t do this,” Lenny said so quietly she struggled to understand her.
She leaned toward Lenny and whispered. “Yes, you can. The men aren’t complaining, and the women will get used to us eventually. Now, laugh as if I said something funny.”
Lenny giggled convincingly and so did she. Garret and Burke caught up and looked at them like they were lunatics, which she happily ignored. When the pies were showcased on the dessert table, the men disappeared to help with the work on the barn and she and Lenny descended like starving vultures on the tables of food.
Boston dinner parties were quiet, mannerly, and boasted the smallest portions of food imaginable. Three boiled quail eggs did not a hearty dinner make. A lady had to keep her figure after all, but out here in a wooded clearing with a half-built barn as a backdrop, she’d stumbled upon a small parcel of heaven.
The tables were dressed with every fresh baked bread, roll and butter-slathered biscuit known to man. Colored ceramic bowls overflowed with green beans, corn, and potatoes of the scalloped and buttery mashed variety. A sizable woman with a thick German accent and an easy smile hoisted an entire fire-roasted pig onto a giant serving platter. Stews sizzled on a nearby fire pit, and when she took a longer look at the dessert table, the clouds almost parted to let down a magical sunray to grace the vibrant colors.
Daylight bounced off giant sugar granules dotting fruit-filled pastries and frosting whipped to such fluffiness surely it would float away bathed a row of cakes. The air was filled with murmured conversation and the clinking of silverware as the masses hefted generous portions of food onto metal plates.
She gave Lenny one wide eyed grin before spearing a slice of roast beef.
Garret Shaw, Maggie’s unwilling husband, has suddenly and curiously developed a taste for peach pie and hmmmmm, I wonder why? My favorite pie is cherry. What’s your favorite flavor?
About the Author
Tera Shanley writes in sub-genres that stretch from Paranormal Romance, to Historic Western Romance, to Apocalyptic (zombie) Romance. The common theme? She loves love! A self-proclaimed bookworm, she was raised in small town Texas and could often be found decorating a table at the local library. She currently lives in Dallas with her husband and two young children and when she isn’t busy running around after her family, she’s writing a new story or devouring a good book.Any spare time is dedicated to chocolate licking, rifle slinging, friend hugging, and the great outdoors.
For more information about Tera and her work, visit www.terashanley.com.
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