Fleeing the abusive headmaster at the St. Louis orphanage, Roth Beaumont turned to gun slinging as a means for survival. Years of looting and raiding put his face on several Wanted posters, and instilled in him an aversion to settling down. That is, until he meets Lydia Tyler, the woman building the orphanage along the Rio Grande. Although he’s the deputy of Revolving Point, Lydia detests his hardened ways. She’s also got trouble on her hands: a headmaster linked to Roth’s old nemesis. Roth will do everything he can to help Lydia. And convince her he's not as deplorable as his guns suggest.
Lydia Tyler has no use for guns and violence. All she wants is to build her orphanage and give her children a safe and loving home. Trouble is, Papa has hired a headmaster without her say-so; an arrogant man who schemes to usurp her authority, a man Deputy Roth despises. When Roth offers to rid Lydia of the troublemaker, Lydia doesn’t approve of his methods. But that doesn’t stop her from melting every time Roth holds her hand. The more she gets to know him, the more she reconsiders his menacing ways. He may be a gunslinger, but the warmth in his gaze hints there's more to him than his pistols.
Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome author Julie Lence and hero Ross Beaumont from Julie’s latest release, Lydia’s Gunslinger. First up is Ross.
Where are you from? St. Louis
Tell us a bit about Lydia’s Gunslinger. I grew up in an orphanage. The headmaster enjoyed tormenting boys, and whipped me on a few occasions. When I was old enough, I ran away, leaving my sister behind. I had no money, so I fell in with a band of outlaws. Made a name for myself robbing banks and payrolls. Outlaws don’t really have friends, but there was one person I could somewhat trust, Gage Cantrell. He helped me steal my sister away from the orphanage. I left her in Tucson after Gage and me pulled another heist and then split up, because a posse was after us. That’s when I met up with Percy, a miserable lout, and rode with him to Revolving Point. Situated on the Rio Grande, that town has a reputation worse than any outlaw. Rumors along the trail said Revolving Point nearly burned down, and the worst of the outlaws now made it his home. Percy had to find out for sure, and as luck would have it, Buck Grayson was there. Bastard that he is, Grayson forced me to pin on a badge and help him keep law and order. If I didn’t, he promised to send me to The Walls. His method for keeping me in line is my sister. Debra was injured and Grayson brought her to Revolving Point to heal. Now, he’s forced me to greet the orphanage lady, Lydia Tyler.
Lydia took me to task the moment we met. Trouble is, I like that. And the spark of defiance in her eyes. But Lydia’s a society lady and has troubles of her own, namely in the form of the man her pa hired as headmaster of her orphanage. A woman like her probably doesn’t want anything to do with me, or my guns, which she detests. But she keeps company with me, hints at a bit of larceny in her bones. With or without her say-so, I’m gonna rid her of her troubles.
That is quite a story, Ross. It has all the components romance fans are looking for: interesting characters with a “past” and layered conflict. But, what did you think the first time you saw Lydia? That she’s a pretty, little spitfire, with hair as black as coal, eyes like a cat, and a temper to match mine.
What was your second thought? That I was gonna get even with Grayson for setting her in my path.
Was it love at first sight? Lust is more like it. Love didn’t come along until a few days later.
What do you like most about Lydia? Her sass, the way she fusses over me and how she doesn’t try to change me.
How would you describe her? Lydia is pretty inside and out. She has a good heart and protects her orphans as fiercely as a mama bear guards her cubs. She’s loyal, outspoken and generous to a fault.
That’s a great description. How would she describe you? Over-bearing, temperamental, crude, crazy, a menace… and those are my good qualities.
What made you choose outlawing as a career? Didn’t have a choice, seeing how I had no skills or money. It was either steal and eat or starve and die.
What is your biggest fear? Losing Lydia, in any way.
How do you relax? I don’t. If you had enemies like mine, you wouldn’t, either.
Who is your favorite fictional character? I don’t have one. I’m not one for reading, unless it’s a Wanted poster.
Good one. What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Don’t wear spurs. They make too much noise.
Whippy sense of humor. We like that. Now it’s time to chat with Julie.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why? Johanna Lindsey and Judith McNaught are my reasons for beginning a career writing romance. Ms. Lindsey has created the wonderful Malory family and she inspired me to combine my interests in all things western with family sagas. Ms. McNaught has a flawless voice and I wanted to write just like her, because she makes it seem so effortless.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I don’t have an event that I brought to the story, mostly because I don’t know an outlaw or anyone who owns and operates an orphanage. But Roth has a devil-may-care attitude to resemble that of my brother.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? Currently, I self-publish thru Amazon. Years back, when e-books were coming onto scene, I did have a small-house publisher. She was fantastic and I enjoyed working with her, but she took ill and had to close the company. At that time, I remember thinking I could start over and find a new publisher or try the self-publishing route. I chose the latter and am happy to say I enjoy having control over every aspect of publishing a book.
What project[s] are you working on now? I am in the beginning stages of writing a new series. My first hero, Slade, made an appearance in a short story and someone suggested he needed a story of his own. He’s an outlaw sent to the Prescott farm to lay low and help with chores to avoid imprisonment or swinging from a noose.
What's up next for you? The next book in this new series will feature Slade’s brother, Landry. He’s a gambler with a reputation to rival any outlaw.
Julie brought along an excerpt to further tempt our interest:
"You own women!" Lydia shot up from her seat.
"I have a contract with the doves 'til November." He eased her back down. "I don't hurt them. And I don't let anybody else hurt them."
"That's supposed to make owning them right?"
"Had I been born with money like you, things would be different. But I wasn't. Be glad about that. I can help you with Cooper."
"I don't need your help."
"You little fool." Roth chuckled and that irritated her. "You underestimate Cooper now and he'll end up with everything you own."
"So you say," she retorted, glaring at him, at his hair brushing his shoulders, his brown eyes and the way his Stetson sat lopsided on his head. He's not the man I thought he was. That same sadness from the other day consumed her again. "You might be right in that he wants control of the orphanage," she conceded.
"And your money. Could be he wants more. Man doesn't go around losing five hundred dollars to another man less he's got plenty of money to spare. Or plans to have plenty in the future."
"He'll inherit. He's one of Dante Cooper's heirs." She stood. "Thank you for your concern, but I can handle the matter on my own."
"You really can't be that naive." Roth shook his head and Lydia grew more aggravated with him.
"I am not a simpleton." Guns, soiled doves, thinking me fragile in the head; what good did I ever see in him?
"You're not, but you're gonna be my wife."
"Have you taken leave of your senses?"
If you are as intrigued with this week’s guest and this story, go to:
To purchase Lydia’s Gunslinger, go to: www.amazon.com/dp/B007873DIE