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Bethel: Runaway Brides of The West - Book 18 by Kimberly Grist is a Wintertime Reading Event pick #historicalinspirationalromance #westernromance #inspirationalromance #sale #giveaway



Title: Bethel: Runaway Brides of The West - Book 18

 

Author: Kimberly Grist

 

Genre: Inspirational Western Historical Romance

 

Book Blurb: 

 

A semi-retired bootlegger and a beleaguered sheriff- because no good story ever started with cookies and milk.


She’s shaking off the dust of her well-worn boots, not looking back and hoping for a transformation. All she needs is a new dress, a new town, a husband, and a fresh start. Daughter of a traveling merchant, Bethel is tired of peddling her Daddy’s “Special Sauce” and being run out of town by every sheriff east of the Mississippi. So it’s time to head west. She just needs to sell a few more bottles to help fund her trip. After all, who wants to meet their new husband looking like a gypsy? If only she could shake off that irritating detective waiting at the stage stop.


Sheriff Bart Bailey can’t believe the chaos awaiting him at the jailhouse. He has enough on his plate with his two nieces dumped in his lap by his irresponsible sister. Now his zealous replacement has already arrested the flaming-haired beauty sitting in the cell who resembles the gal on the wanted poster. If only the first mail-order bride he sent for had shown up, The girls definitely need a mother. Hopefully, the woman he’s been corresponding with recently will fit the bill. He plans on sending for her as soon as he has the money.

 

Excerpt:

 

“Far be it from me to cheat the government out of what’s due them, but two-dollars-a-gallon tax for a bit of corn liquor is too rich for my blood.” Bethel’s father, Michael McPhee, pulled on his sagging bow tie, which mimicked his shoulders’ deflated position. “Most folks see whiskey-making as a God-given right, like curing hams or putting up preserves. Unfortunately, it seems the folks in Washington think differently.”

 

Bethel’s brow furrowed as she studied her father. “So it’s not the whiskey-making they’re opposed to, so much as they have their eye on a share of the profits?” She tapped her finger along her cheek. “Is there any consideration for folks who depend on your blend for medicinal purposes? How else will Mr. Thomas treat his rheumatism or Mrs. Forsyth make up her cough syrup?”

 

“Indeed, it’s a sad day when the government looks to balance its books at the expense of a poor man’s affliction—” Her father rubbed his chest. “Mine being my empty pocketbook.”

 

Bethel pressed her hand to her stomach, considering the numerous recipes her family had shared for generations for common ailments. “How about apple or peach brandy? Is it taxed in the same way?”

 

“Tobacco, whiskey, and other indulgences are only for the rich these days. The government is calling it a luxury tax.” His hands pinching the lapels of his patterned vest, her father inclined his head toward his peddler’s cart. “Good thing I sold your ma’s pianoforte when I did. An excellent trade I made of things too—a farm that was breaking my back to a lifestyle without a care in the world.”

 

“You sold Mama’s piano because we didn’t have any place to put it.” Her eyebrows flew upward at her father’s embellishment of “selling” the farm. They’d left due to foreclosure, a hand-delivered invitation from the local sheriff to vacate the premises, resulting from being unable to pay their taxes. Their wheels had gathered no moss since her father’s business as a peddler had been less than stellar as they traveled from town to town.

 

“It was providence, to my way of thinking. What point is there in hanging on to a lot of possessions? It ties a man down. Besides, there’s no finer music than what comes from your fingers flying across the strings of your dulcimer, and it brings in the customers too.”

 

Bethel felt her stomach twist in a knot at the thought of some of the seedy characters that visited their wagon when they traveled to the various towns. But her father’s new habit of parking on the outskirts of numerous communities in the evening and striking up a friendly game of cards brought new waves of terror. So far, she’d only had to endure stares and innuendos, but her father’s lack of paternal concern had become impeded by his thirst for the corn liquor and peach brandy he peddled.

 

She smoothed her faded dress. “Two dollars is an enormous amount of money. Why, rice is only five cents a pound and a yard of calico is only ten. You could supply the wagon with goods for the next several weeks with that kind of money.”

 

“See now, that’s the thing. I used every bit of what I had left on supplies of a different nature.” A hint of her father’s Scotch-Irish brogue hung in the air. “I’m sorry, darling, truly.”

 

“But, Pa, we had five dollars set aside.” Bethel posted both hands on her hips. “You lost it playing cards, didn’t you?”

 

“Not all of it, though I’ve had bad luck lately.” Her father winked. “Things will soon be humming along just as before.”

 

“No.” Bethel crossed her arms and tapped her foot. “I’m not playing and singing for a bunch of men you lure in to try and cheat at cards.”

 

“You wound me, daughter.” Her father placed his hand over his heart, shaking his head slowly in mock dismay. “The cards are to add a bit of fellowship to the festivities. Besides, I’d be winning instead of losing if I was a cheat.”

 

“You know what I mean, Pa. There was a time when you made an honest living. Not that long ago, most folks welcomed us into towns and communities. We may not have had much cash, but there was always enough rice and beans to serve up at suppertime and some to share when folks were in need. The peddler’s cart serves as one of the only links to town. We can make a tidy profit trading calico, washboards, and other goods for eggs. People in town want eggs, and if we have a surplus, we can sell to a city-bound railroad car.”

 

“You deserve more than rice and beans.” Her father kicked a stone with his boot.

 

“Adding the occasional rabbit for a stew, my stomach has grown quite accustomed to its consistent presence.” Bethel stepped closer, placing her hand on her father’s sleeve. “We can do better. Let’s focus on making an honest living.”

 

 “Look, girl, I don’t like involving you, but we depend on that money to make ends meet. I won’t ask you to sing and play tonight, but you’ll have to do your part and start smuggling again.”

 

“That’s just asking for trouble, and you know it. Besides, the last time we got thrown in jail, you promised we wouldn’t have to go through anything like that again.”

 

“Wouldn’t be much of a father if I broke my word, would I? Have a bit of faith.” Placing his hands behind his back, he paced the width of the wagon. Then turning on his heels, his eyes crinkled at the corners. “I got this all figured out. We’ll make enough money to get back on our feet, and it will ease your conscience too.”

 

“I don’t understand.”

 

“What’s the one thing you do better than singing and playing the dulcimer?”

 

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

 

Grab your copy on sale!

 

 

 

 


What makes your featured book a must-read?

 

5 Star review: This runaway bride story was a delightful read and I gobbled it up like movie theater popcorn. Looking forward to reading more of the authors work.

 

A page-turning read with relatable characters, two adorable little girls, some unexpected twists, and a believable resolution.

 

Giveaway – 

 

Enter to win a $20 Amazon gift card:

 

 

Open Internationally.


Runs January 23 – January 29, 2024.


Winner will be drawn on January 30, 2024.

 


Author Biography: 

 

Kimberly Grist is married to her high school sweetheart, Nelson. She and her husband have three adult sons, one with Down syndrome, and they have a passion for encouraging others.

 

Kim has enjoyed writing since she was a young girl; however, she began writing her first novel in 2017. “I believe you should come away refreshed and inspired after reading a book. Despite my best efforts, sometimes life is difficult. I need and want an outlet, an opportunity to relax and escape to a place where obstacles are met and overcome. My stories are designed to entertain, refresh, and inspire you, the reader. They combine History, Humor, and Romance with an emphasis on Faith, Friends, and Good Clean Fun.”

 

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