Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dreams, Deceptions & Desires: 4 Star Review

Title: Dreams, Deceptions & Desires
Series: DP's Western Escape Series
Author: Barbara Sheridan
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Length: 118 pages / 38,000 words

Genres: Interracial/Multicultural Historical Western Romance
Heat Level: Steamy


BLURBFreewill Wyoming, 1868
Torn between two worlds, Cody Blackheart dreams of a place where whites and Indians can keep their cultures intact and separate, yet he knows it can never be. His only hope is to use the railroad to tie the area together and show they all can live in peace. As a leading citizen and landholder, Vivienne Medina has earned the town’s respect, but her past holds secrets, and she cannot deceive her neighbors forever. Sheriff John Avery desires Vivienne’s dark-eyed beauty, but her haughty nature symbolizes every prejudice he has ever faced, leaving him reluctant to cross that forbidden line no matter how tempting. And Kate LeMaster’s dreams of a better life for her son, but secrets and forbidden desire might destroy that hope before she can let down her guard and trust again.
Freewill Wyoming welcomes everyone who rolls into town, but for four lonely people, it offers a chance to face their dreams, deceptions and deepest desires.

EXCERPT #1 Adjusting her bonnet to shield her face from the sun, Vivienne Medina began the long drive back to Deville, all the while trying to convince herself that there was nothing wrong with having her mother live out here with her married friends, Myra and Hank.
They had a sturdy roof over their heads and they certainly didn’t lack the necessities of life. She even saw to it they had all the little extravagances they requested, like the dime novels they enjoyed, which she ordered from New York each month. She’d even had a shiny new piano shipped from New York though her mother had protested the cost and bother.
She wanted her mother to live with her in the house she was having built at the edge of town, but it couldn’t happen yet, not until her future was secure. She couldn’t jeopardize losing everything she’d always wanted even if this place was different than most back East.
Everything? an inner voice asked skeptically.
Almost everything, she amended, staring blankly at the bobbing head of her horse. She’d often imagined how it would be to love someone wholeheartedly and have him love her in return. But that was utterly impossible. She thought she’d found that a few years ago, but it had been a girl’s fantasy. She’d been nothing but a mistress who’d been bought and paid for. And though Peter Medina had been kind, gentle, and generous to a fault, he was the genuine product of a prominent white family, and she was…not.
Forcing the insecurities away, she cleared her mind and kept her eyes on the long road ahead.

The heels of Kate’s shoes clicked on the polished marble floor of the spacious foyer as she made her way to the curving staircase leading to the second floor. She took her time, remembering her girlhood dreams of living in such a sumptuous house surrounded by delicate porcelains, gilt-framed paintings, and brocade covered furnishings.
Sadness replaced wistful memory as she walked down the long, mahogany paneled corridor to Margaret Swanson’s bedroom. Those pleasant dreams had died a long time ago when, at the age of thirteen, she had to assume the housekeeping and seamstress duties of her late mother. It seemed forever since she’d been a carefree child, reading her schoolbooks in the sunny front window of her father’s haberdashery.
Banishing the past, Kate smoothed a hand over her hair and over the front of her simple yet fashionable plaid dress. She was about to knock when Margaret and her mother’s voices drifted through the partially opened door.
“I wouldn’t even have the little harlot come here if there were a better seamstress within fifty miles!” Margaret uttered a frustrated grunt. “She probably brought that Indian bastard of hers, too.”
“Margaret, hold your tongue,” Mrs. Swanson ordered. “The girl was undoubtedly taken by force.”
Margaret snorted her contempt. “Was she? That man made regular visits, didn’t he? If it was so unwanted, would her father have drunk himself to death instead of killing the cur? Would she have kept the baby instead of sending it to the orphanage? I think not.”
Kate dug her nails into the cloth handle of her sewing bag and clenched her jaws until they ached. How smug they all were. Especially Margaret. It was common enough knowledge in the kitchens that she was far from virginal.
Maybe she’d been a fool to love a man who only made infrequent visits, maybe she should have refused his advances, but she hadn’t, and she was making the best of things. Of course she’d borne the child conceived that night. Who wouldn’t after being ushered into a filthy room where a supposed midwife would “take care of her problem”?
Surely everyone was entitled to a mistake no matter how large. She’d learned her lesson.
Margaret Swanson’s voice caught Kate’s attention once more. “Her father told Dr. Walls she showed no remorse at all.”
Kate shoved open the bedroom door, sending it crashing into the walnut table close by, the edge of the marble table top cracking the oak door panel. “How dare you condemn me? You’re the one who’s marrying to get a father for the bastard your cousin’s husband gave you! At least I was in love with my baby’s father even if he didn’t return the affection!”
Mrs. Swanson collapsed onto the arm of the settee, and Margaret’s eyes glazed over with fury.
Kate reached out, gripped the shoulders of the wedding gown, and yanked. Bits of imported lace and elaborate crystal beading flew in the air.
EXCERPT #3 Cody unloaded the newly milled lumber from the back of the buckboard, rehearsing what he planned to say to the bigwigs his brother was bringing from Washington. He found himself cursing under his breath with every other word. True, it had been his idea to lobby for the railroad line from Cheyenne to stop at Freewill, but he was no talker. Bennett was the one used to dealing with the political types. He knew exactly who liked to hear what, and he had the social poise to say it to maximum effect.
“But you’re the attraction, big brother. You’re the war hero, the thoroughly civilized full blood Indian who validates their plans of assimilation and westward expansion. If you present yourself the way they want you to, everybody will prosper. You’ll stop the bloodshed before it gets worse.”
Stop the bloodshed.
That was what he really wanted, although he certainly wouldn’t turn away the wealth the town’s expansion would bring. The satisfaction of putting Matt Logan out of the transportation business spoke for itself, but if he could keep his people from being slaughtered, the sacrifice of giving up part of their land would be worth it. He’d fulfill the vision of his Mandan grandfather.
A child will be born to my son,
a warrior who will save lives by walking two roads at once.
By learning the ways of many fathers, he will make
a safe place for the people.
Cody set the last board on the pile and wiped the sweat from his brow with a swipe of his hand. He was in no hurry to fulfill the second part of his grandfather’s vision, the part that foretold his untimely death at the moment of his greatest happiness.
EXCERPT #4  John took a deep breath and bit back the anger as he’d learned to do in childhood. Perhaps he should have put on his government blues for the journey. Then maybe these damn fools would have the decency to respect the uniform if not the black man wearing it. He glanced at the Texans out of the corner of his eye. Thankfully their conversation had turned to the calico queens whose company they’d recently enjoyed.
He turned his attention back to the scenery passing outside the stage window.
It felt good to be away from the desolate outposts, poor food, and even poorer supplies for a while, but he couldn’t ignore the nagging emptiness at having to leave behind his fellow scouts and the way of life that had become so familiar to him.
The long Army career he’d envisioned was gone now, but at least he was alive and free thanks to Colonel Gregson. It was still hard to believe that the white officer had stood up for him, using his influence to avert a court-martial despite the fact the man assaulted had been Gregson’s nephew, Captain Harry McDermott.
He closed his eyes, momentarily sickened by the memory of Harry McDermott skewering a pregnant Apache woman with his saber then wiping the bloody blade onto the head of her horrified five-year-old daughter.
The slowing of the stage was a welcome respite from his dark thoughts, and John got out of the coach as soon as the driver stopped in front of Pleasantville Station. The weather-beaten cabin and stable served as a stopover for the final leg of the journey to the town of Freewill.
John stretched his cramped legs just in time to hear one of the Texans exclaim, “Great-God-Almighty! Can’t a body go anyplace without bein’ surrounded by nigras an’ injuns?”
John cast a sympathetic look toward the other waiting traveler—a young white woman with a baby whose coloring and features suggested Indian blood. Stark fear shone in her eyes. She encircled her child with her arms, her tense posture relaxing a fraction when the Texans turned their noses up at her and followed the stage driver to the long trestle table at the far end of the main room.
The baby dropped a dried gourd rattle, and John stepped forward to pick it up, sensing that the young mother had been bending for it the better part of the day.
“Stay put, ma’am, I’ll get it.”

AUTHOR BIOBarbara Sheridan has been published for over ten years and has over two dozen books currently available in both electronic and print form. She has been inspired by everything from the original Dark Shadows and cheesy horror flicks to loads of old TV westerns, war movies, and hot musicians and actors.
Barb loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her via her:Website: http://www.barbarasheridan.com/contactform.htmlTwitter: http://twitter.com/BarbaraSheridanFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraSheridanAuthor

 4 Stars Review

Four people, Cody Blackheart and Kate LeMaster, John Avery and Vivienne Medina  came together in a small town of Freewill in the year 1868. Each with their own fears and hopes for a better future. Cody's grand father received a vision of him being the one who would bring two worlds together but loosing his life when he falls in love.  Kate a young woman with a little boy left to fend on her own after her father committed suicide due to her shame running away from the scorning looks and hateful glares. John an ex soldier looking for peace and quiet to become the town's sheriff and Vivienne hiding from a past that would haunt her and hiding it away. 
The story plot set against the back drop of a railroad that would pass through the little town obtaining the much needed traffic for the town's survival. The tolerance of mixed couples and the ongoing attacks of the Indians on the "white folk" making it a good story to read. I like American History and read a few books concerning the same issues. Always fascinated how people could find common ground to work out their circumstances amid rivalry, the greed for money and accepting each other for who they are.With that said the story line lacked flow to make this a really good and enjoyable read. To many holes that made you wondering "What am I missing?"The first thing I miss was the vision, no where does it say he would die but yet the fear factor was played in Cody and his mother when he announced that he want to marry Kate and it causes a few frowns reading the short story. Then the sudden stop when Cody and Kate had to work out his so called death scene. Nothing was mentioned -how did Kate feel about the deceit, her acceptance?The story just end with Vivienne informing John about this. For the strong role the two characters portrayed right from the start it made a abrupt end.The so called Indian attack that was stopped by John and a few men had no real punch to it leaving a few questions in the air. Although the story had a nice build up towards it but the execution failed in my opinion. Both men, strong in build and character and madly in love with the two women had no quibbles of sleeping at the local brothel. It raised an brow or two.
The sensuality among the two couples just enough to make it sensual.
The whole story just lack to capture my imagination.
It is an easy and quick read.
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