Title: Lucie: Bride of Tennessee
Author: Heidi Vanlandingham
Genre: Historical Western
Overwhelmed with responsibilities after the death of her parents, Lucie Croft accepts a mail-order bride contract. When she and her twelve-year-old brother arrive in Chattanooga, Tennessee, life throws another hitch into her dreams when she learns her groom is dead. Homeless and desperate, she accepts help from a handsome hotel owner.
Sebastian McCord understands what it takes to own and run a successful hotel, but he has no idea how to raise a child as a single father. When pressured by his own mother to accept the role as Lucie’s groom, he skeptically agrees. He truly needs help with his willful six-year-old girl, but will Lucie accept his offer?
Two people overwhelmed with responsibilities. Will they find love and create a family, or will life conspire to keep them apart?
Lucie watched Sebastian walk across the street and enter the hotel, thinking about his dimpled smile. She didn’t hear Mr. Beauregard until it was too late. His heavy hand landed against her ear, knocking her sideways. Meaty knuckles came out of nowhere and hit her backward, a burst of light exploding behind her right eye as she fell to the floor.
Her boss’s large frame hovered over her, blocking out the bright sunlight streaming through the glass window and door. “Get out of my store, you jezebel! I’m not good enough, is that it? I’ve been nicer to you than most, and all you can do is pine away after that no-good McCord!”
He kicked at her, the toe of his shoe digging into her upper thigh as she crawled across the rough wooden floor toward the front door. She couldn’t feel her leg anymore, but somehow pulled herself up by hanging onto the doorknob.
Confused at his unexplainable behavior, she shoved her fear away. With a quick twist of her wrist, she ignored the sharp stabbing pain and hopped backward, managing to get the door open. But before she could step outside, he grabbed her by her hair and pulled her back against his fat stomach.
Wrenching her head sideways, he tried to kiss her. With one hand, she pushed against his face, but he was too strong. Dragging her nails down his cheek, he finally jerked away and shook her.
“I pay you to sell my wares, not give away free advice and lose me a sale, which is all you seem to be able to do! You’re worthless, and I ain’t gonna keep payin’ for your mistakes!” He gripped her so tightly around the back of her neck, she felt like her head was going to pop off as he jerked her through the front door and onto the wooden sidewalk.
With a hard shove, she tumbled into the newly paved street, falling onto her already damaged hands, scraping up her knees. She didn’t move, breathing away the pain shooting up her limbs. She willed away the agony and tried to stand, but the pain only increased.
Forcing her body to rise, she took a step toward The McCord and stumbled, her leg still numb from Beauregard’s vicious kick. She looked up only to meet Sebastian’s furious gaze.
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Part of what I love most about writing is researching, no matter the genre. My research takes me to incredible locations: the Superstition Mountains and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, the Ouachita Mountains and plains of Oklahoma, and even the beautiful city of Chattanooga, Tennessee where Lucie: Bride of Tennessee takes place. I lose myself in the museums and original buildings as I study the history to make sure what I write is based on fact, yet still have readers fall in love with my characters and become vested in their happily ever after. Lucie will take you on a twist-and-turn adventure where you will laugh with her and cry with her as she discovers who she is and what it’s like to fall in love.
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I was the type of kid who, if my parents mentioned the word ‘trip’, was already sitting in the car with my bag of books. Now, trips are a little different. I still pack several books, but I rarely read them on the drive because that’s when I write. I lose myself in the story while my husband (Super Dave) drives. Of course, if we’re blazing new territory, I have to stare at the scenery because I might miss something amazing.
I write historical western, World War II laced with magical realism, and paranormal with a hint of mystery—all with romance, of course. I hope my stories make you laugh out loud, think outside the box, or cry through a box of tissues along with my characters.
I was born and raised in Oklahoma and always had a book in my hand. My parents were always reading as well (and still spend more money on books than anything else). I was around ten when my mother handed me The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I’ve read so many times my copies fell apart. When I was twelve, my father gave me Sitka by Louis L’Amour and I read every book he ever wrote.
I still live in Central Oklahoma with my husband and youngest son while he attends college. My oldest son is in the autism spectrum and is working hard to achieve his own dreams.
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