Dear Readers, Susan Page Davis is a dear friend, and one of my favorite authors. I love her books. This book has a unique twist on a mail-order bride story. I love, love, love it. Her characters will grip you and not let go. There’s even a touch of mystery.
Welcome, Susan. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write stories I would like to read. These are the stories in my heart. I write Christian novels, mostly romance, and a lot have elements of suspense or mystery. My books are split about half and half, contemporary and historical.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Marrying my husband Jim. That was a long time ago, but still one of the best memories!
How has being published changed your life?
It has allowed me to contribute to the family income while working at home. It has also introduced me to many incredible people.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished Terri Blackstock’s Truth-Stained Lies, and I’m reading Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution as a research book.
What is your current work in progress?
I just finished writing a novella called The Cowboy Poet for Barbour Publishing, and I’m working on a seafaring novel with my son Jim.
What would be your dream vacation?
again (I was there 40 years ago) and visit my daughter and son-in-law.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
I usually pick a place I feel would be best for the story to unfold in. Sometimes the town or the terrain are important parts of the story. For The Outlaw Takes a Bride, southern
seemed like the ideal place.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Harrison Ford—he seems like a very interesting person. I used to be a news reporter, and I’d love to have had the first interview after he crashed his plane.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I like needlework, family history, logic puzzles, and cryptography.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Finding time to do all the writing-related tasks and still have time to write new books.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Read a lot, across genres. Write something every day. And don’t publish before you are ready.
Tell us about the featured book.
In The Outlaw Takes a Bride, Johnny Paynter flees
to escape being hanged for a murder he didn’t commit. At his brother Mark’s ranch
where he thought he could take refuge, he finds his brother dead. Johnny
strongly resembles his brother, and the people in town think he is Mark.
Reluctantly at first, Johnny assumes Mark’s identity. But what will he do when
he learns Mark has been corresponding with a widow in St. Louis? Sally Golding is en route to be a
mail-order bride to Mark. Johnny must decide whether or not to go through with
the wedding, posing as his brother. But Sally has secrets she's hiding, too.
How will a marriage survive with so much deception?
Please give us the first page of the book.
Early May 1885, Colorado Plains
Johnny Paynter slung his saddle over his chestnut gelding’s back. He and Reckless would work alone today, repairing the ranch’s roundup pen. Johnny didn’t mind being up here at the line shack all alone—it was better than fighting for elbow room in the bunkhouse. Especially when he was on the foreman’s bad side. Still, he couldn’t help remembering that today should have been his day off.
Frantic hoofbeats pounded in the distance. Johnny dropped the girth ring and walked around his horse to stare down the trail. His friend Cam Combes was riding hard.
“What’s your hurry?” Johnny called as the other cowboy drew near.
“Get your gear. You’ve got to get out of here.”
Cam pulled his horse to a stop.
“Why?” Johnny asked. “What’s happened?”
“It’s the foreman. Somebody shot him. And Johnny—they think you did it. You got to run for it!”
“What on earth?” Johnny stared at him. The Lone Pine foreman was known to be harsh and short tempered, but Johnny had mostly managed to stay on his good side—except for the words they’d exchanged right before Johnny came up here to the line shack, but that wasn’t serious. “Are you telling me that Red Howell is dead? How did it happen?”
down out of the saddle and dropped his pinto’s reins. “Ike found him this
morning, on the trail about a half mile from the ranch. You were the only one
unaccounted for when he rode in with the news. Red had told us he was riding up
here to see you this mornin’. Wanted to know how you were doing with the
roundup pen. Now I guess they think you ambushed him or something.”
“That’s crazy,” Johnny said.
“Some of the boys heard you the other night, when Red told you to come up here. They’re sayin’ you had a fight.”
Johnny shook his head in protest. “That wasn’t any fight. I told Red it was my Sunday off this week, and he said too bad, and I said I really needed a day off, and he said—”
“No time to argue. Get your stuff. You’ve got to go.”
“What, go down and talk to the boss?”
Cam frowned. “If you
do that, they’ll turn you over to the law.”
“But I didn’t do anything.” Johnny glared at him. “I didn’t even know Red was coming up here. Don’t you think I should just go and tell them that?”
“No, I don’t. You need to lie low. Better yet, get out of
Colorado. Before the
sheriff rides up here to take you in.”
Johnny’s stomach felt hollow. “I’m not going to run. I didn’t do anything.” He went back to his horse and tightened the cinch strap.
“I believe you, but I’m not so sure they will. I heard some of the boys talking about a necktie party.”
Johnny froze. “Are you serious? You mean they’d string me up?”
“You know I always give it to you straight. Remember when Buck Higgins blamed you for lettin’ the remuda loose during the roundup?”
“I don’t know what to do—where I could go. . . .”
“There must be someplace you could hide out for a while, until things quiet down.”
Cam grabbed Johnny’s
extra shirt from a peg on the wall. He spotted Johnny’s saddlebag on the cot,
picked it up, and stuffed the shirt into it. “What else you got here?”
His urgency ignited a flame under Johnny. He shoved the rest of his few belongings into the saddlebag, his mind racing as fast as his pulse. “I guess I could head down to
My brother’s got a little spread there.”
“There you go.”
“That’s what you need—someplace where you can go and take it easy for a few
weeks. When things quiet down, you can come back if you want to, and see if the
boss will hire you on again. Give the sheriff time to sort out this shooting
and find out who really did it.”
“I don’t know,
take off without knowing—”
“You’d go with me?” Johnny asked.
“Sure. You’re my friend.”
Relief at not having to go alone washed over Johnny, yet at the same time he hated to get
involved than he already was. But that was Cam’s
way, he supposed. It wasn’t just little things like the incident with the
remuda. Johnny also recollected the time he’d been thrown from a green cow pony
and landed on a barbed-wire fence. Cam had
wrapped his cuts and ridden back to the ranch house with him, to make sure he
got there without passing out, and he’d given up a night off to stay with him
at the bunkhouse. He rubbed his forearm through his sleeve and could feel one
of the jagged scars he still bore from that. Even though Cam
could get a little wild sometimes, he had proven himself a true friend.
Three minutes later, the two men were riding hard down the trail away from the ranch. Johnny’s mind still whirled. His life was in danger. He could do nothing less than ride away, even though it went against every impulse.
“You said you have a brother in
“Yeah. It’s a long ways. And I haven’t seen him for a couple of years.”
“Should be all right,”
said. “And it’s only for a little while.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
www.susanpagedavis.com On my website, you can see all my books, sign up for my newsletter, enter a monthly drawing, and read a short story on my “Romance” tab.
https://www.facebook.com/susanpagedavisauthor is my author page.
www.hhhistory.com is a history blog where I post on the 23rd of each month.
Thank you, Susan, for sharing this new book with us.
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