EL CAMINO REAL
I have a new series in the works, El Camino Real (pronounced Re-ahl). It will be introduced in the Christmas anthology – SANTA WORE SPURS. The translation of these beautiful words is The King’s Highway. In El Camino Real, the family is named King and they live on a ranch called El Camino. The opportunity to release a story with Desiree Holt, Becky McGraw and Sandy Sullivan was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. It is an honor. The anthology will release on November 15th. I have posted an excerpt below.
For most of my life I have lived along the King’s Highway. This is a real place, a road which runs from Natchitoches, Louisiana to Mexico City, Mexico. It follows Highway 6 in Louisiana and Highway 21 in Texas to San Antonio, it is not a 4 lane busy byway, but a quaint country thruway. After San Antonio, it becomes a series of roads and even trails which lead over private property. But once upon a time, it was a thoroughfare for cowboys, conquistadors, Native Americans, friars and pioneers.
Stretching for a thousand miles across piney woods, rolling hills and barren wastelands, it has seen more history than your average roadway. The trail was blazed in 1690 by Alonso de Leon, explorer. Not every trading route the Spanish built was designated a royal highway. It had to have a destination which the Spanish felt was economically or strategically important. The huge, rich territory of Tejas was definitely a reason.
There have been times, on moonlit nights, when I have just walked along the byway, imagining the wagon trains, the immigrants, outlaws, armies and explorers who came before me. Many who died at the Alamo traversed this ground, Civil War soldiers camped along its path. There are legends aplenty of lost gold and ghosts and not long ago my brother Jess swore that as he drove along a portion of the road near Crockett, that the scenery kept repeating itself, like he was in the twilight zone, he kept passing and repassing the same stretch of road and houses. Ha! Or it could have been Jess’s wild imagination. Either way, this is not just a road or a highway, it is a trail of history and very important to me.
El Camino Real, my series, will celebrate this history by telling the story of a family who was given the grant to a large section of land by the Mexican government in the 1800’s. Through the years it grew into a ranch of renown and a family who would leave their imprint on the state, the sport of rodeo and the cowboy way of life. Join me and meet the King family: Brothers – Justice, Shiloh, Jase, Trace and Trevor along with Cade and their sister Abby, the stars of Breath of Heaven. I hope you will love them as much as I do. El Camino, the ranch, sits on the King’s Highway and we will spend many happy hours learning more about the King’s, the ranch and the history which made them great. Plus, it will be hot! Ha!
Here’s an excerpt from BREATH OF HEAVEN El Camino Real – The Beginning part of the SANTA WORE SPURS anthology.
“You do realize we’ll kill each other.”
Jase held up his hands in the same defensive posture he’d utilized for their entire history as siblings. Abby was small, but feisty. As the only sister of five brothers, she’d learned early on to talk loudly and carry a big stick. “He understands the situation and he knows you well. I’m sure he’ll arrive in a helmet and body armor.”
“Cade had best wear a cup if he knows what’s good for him. I’m gonna knee him in the nuts if he messes with me,” Abby grumbled just as a blast of icy wind swept through the house.
“Now, is that any way to greet an old friend for Christmas?”
Cade. A thousand emotions hit her like a tsunami. Longing. Lust. Regret.
“Are you glad to see me, Abilene?”
Damn his ornery hide, he knew she hated the name Abilene. “Glad is not the best word for it, Cade. Irritated would be a more appropriate term.” She didn’t know which was worse, being rude or lying. As far as Cade was concerned, rudeness was Abby’s mode of self-defense. Lying to him was preferable. It was better than embarrassing them both with the truth.
Cade sauntered to the fireplace to warm his hands, inspecting the family photographs on the mantel. “I told you this wouldn’t work, Jase. Frankly, I’d rather room with a cranky skunk than put up with your sister’s snarly attitude. Why isn’t my photo up here? I’m family.”
“Your photo’s on display at the Post Office.” Abby braced herself to face her nemesis. She steeled her resolve to react in the manner to which they’d become accustomed. Wiping her hands on a dishtowel, she turned. Slowly.
Wham! There it was.
No matter how often she laid eyes on him, no matter if it was from the rodeo arena stands, watching him on TV or sitting across from him at the dinner table, the effect was always the same. Her knees went weak. Her heart pounded. Her nipples hardened and her pussy creamed.
Cade Tallbull was the sexiest man alive. Bar none.
Also, no one could make her madder faster than this egotistical, arrogant, sanctimonious Don Juan in spurs. “Skunk? Snarly?” Abby put her hands on her hips, flung her hair over her shoulder, narrowed her eyes and threw back her shoulders. “I’ll have you know I’m an absolute living doll. I’m sweet, thoughtful and kind. And if you don’t quit grinning at me like an idiot, I’m going to brain you with this skillet.” She picked one up off the stove and weighed it in her hand.
“Ah, that’s my cue to leave. I’m glad to see you two enjoying each other’s company, just like normal.” Jase began making his way toward the front door, stepping lightly as if traversing a mine field.
Cade stood behind the leather sofa with arms folded, facing Abby as if he were contemplating a duel. “Catch you tomorrow, Jase, and thanks for abandoning me in the enemy camp.”
Abby noticed Cade and Jase exchanging a knowing look. Jase slapped his best friend on the shoulder. “Be careful. She’s armed.”
Cade snorted. “Your sister is lethal. But I do enjoy a challenge. Taming flighty, feisty fillies is my specialty.”
Jase put on his coat, easing out as Abby grumbled. Cade ducked and a rosy red apple bounced off the door. “Tame me?” She picked up another apple and considered her target. “You don’t have the balls, Tallbull.” Even as she threw down the gauntlet, she knew she’d made a mistake. Abby had just waved a red cape in the face of the biggest bull Alpha in Texas. Damn! Why did he have to be so good-looking? Every time she was near him, her whole body went into sexual shell-shock. Six-foot three, two-hundred forty pounds, perfectly ripped, wide shoulders, coal black eyes, dark hair and enough scruff to make him look like an old west desperado. Yea, he was gorgeous and she wanted to run for the hills.
Cade began to move toward her. Slowly. Abby was no fool. She started backing up.
“Au contraire, my dear.” He cupped his oversize package and bucked his hips toward her. She jumped. “Do I make you nervous, Buttercup?” Cade wanted to lick the fluttering pulse point at the base of her neck so badly, he could taste it. “I’m hung, Abby. I have a yard of hard, a battleship full of balls and enough hair—”
“Stop it!” She couldn’t take anymore! Before Abby knew it, he had her backed against the wall. “You Are Out Of Line,” she growled.
Placing one hand on either side of her head, Cade leaned over and looked her right in the eye. A scant quarter of an inch separated their bodies. Her breasts were straining to touch his chest. Lowering his voice, he whispered in her ear. “A moment ago, when you thrust your shoulders back, did you know it made me want to suck your nipples?”
I hope you’ll read ‘Santa With Spurs’ – coming in November.