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Trail of Hope by Heidi Vanlandingham is a Wintertime Reading Event pick #westernromance #historicalromance #americanromance #romance #giveaway

Title:  Trail of Hope


Author:  Heidi Vanlandingham


Genre: American Western Historical Romance


Book Blurb:


Forced on a trail of death, will their forbidden love get in the way of stopping a killer?


Sophia Deveraux is a debutante desperate to find someone who can protect her from the evil man pursuing her. When an injured native is captured, her hopes for survival are renewed. She just needs to convince him to help her.


While pursuing the men responsible for killing his family, Choctaw lighthorseman Clay Jefferson is beaten and thrown onto the Trail of Tears. But as an innocent beauty nurses him back to health, he finds himself falling for her. Now, he must choose between giving his heart to Sophia or keeping his vow to avenge his family’s murder.




Sophia and Martin patiently waited while the young soldier squatted and took off his hat, then with a well-practiced motion, ran his fingers through his rather shaggy reddish-brown hair. He thrust a small wrapped bundle into her hands. “Here, Miss Sophia. I saved these for you an’ Mr. Jefferson. I ’magine he’s right tired of the broth you’ve been feedin’ him. If he ever wakes up, he’s gonna be hungry.” Mindful of his gaze as she carefully unwrapped the parcel, her expression turned from curiosity to suspicion to concern as her eyebrows drew together in a frown. As if knowing where her thoughts had turned, he held up a hand. “Don’t worry on my account. I watched those two new soldiers. When they didn’t eat everything, I took what was left. I’d a been here sooner, but the major’s carryin’ on something fierce—all possessed like, if’n you know what I mean.”


Sophia made a very unladylike grunting sound. “I know exactly what you mean.” She paused and took a long breath. She understood the risks Bryan took on their behalf—stealing the food—and knew if he were caught, the punishment would be severe. “How will we ever repay you for all you’ve done?” Even in the dim light, she could see the red blush spreading across his face.


“Aw, shucks, Miss Sophia. My mamma would have my backside if I didn’t help you. It’s not right, what’s happenin’ to the Indians. Besides, you’d do the same for me.” Bryan jumped up and jammed his hat back down onto his head, making the hair around his ears stick out more than usual. “I need to get back before they notice I’m gone.” He took a few hurried steps away from their small camp…then returned, his face scrunched into a thoughtful frown. “I’m not rightly sure what the major’s carryin’ on about, but my gut tells me you need to be careful, Miss Sophia. Stick close to Martin, an’ keep your eyes open.” His blue eyes hardened, reminding her of the flash of a gem in bright sunlight. “Don’t you take any chances, you hear?”


With a quick nod, she stood and laid her hand over his dirty coat sleeve. Leaning forward, she placed a quick kiss on his cheek. His short stubble tickled her lips. Biting back a smile when his face flamed red again, she whispered, “Be safe yourself—and thank you.”


He mumbled something unintelligible under his breath as he ducked his head and hurried away.


Propped up on one elbow, Clay watched the beautiful woman lean forward and kiss the soldier on the cheek. He recognized the girl from the few times he’d awakened to find her caring for him. With her attention on the soldier, he took a few moments to study her. She was truly beautiful. Her long dark brown hair was pulled back in a messy braid that hung down the middle of her back. Like the Indians surrounding them, she was too thin. An army blanket was wrapped around her shoulders. He could see the stains on her long skirt, which he knew from experience hadn’t been washed since she was rounded up like everyone else. The hem of her skirt was unusually short…he glanced down at the makeshift sling binding his arm and realized she’d used the ruffle on him.


Staring at her, his gaze traced the elegant curve of her neck and her straight nose. She had full lips and wide eyes…dark brown if he remembered correctly. She was beautiful, reminding him a little of Martin’s daughter.


His uninjured shoulder trembled from the strain of holding up the weight of his upper body, and he slowly eased himself back down. He pulled the blanket up with his good hand and stared up at the purplish-pink streaks crossing the sky as the new day dawned. Sparse patches of midnight blue faded, oblivious to the still-glowing white stars blinking their unknown song—but he didn’t see them as his thoughts turned back to the woman, wondering again who she was.


He knew he should be thinking about how to escape so he could return to the search for the men who killed his family. He needed to find justice for their deaths before he could return to his job as a Lighthorseman—his people’s version of the legal system. He’d left the other five men in his patrol to take care of their assigned district, but by now they would be worried. He should have already returned home.


A soft peal of laughter floated toward him, and the puckered skin between his brows ached as his scowl deepened. His current situation was maddening, and what he should be thinking about was finding his horse and returning to his search…yet all he wanted to think about was the woman’s beautiful face and kind nature.


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What makes your featured book a must-read?


Trail of Hope is a book about survival in the hardest and most extreme times. It is a story of lost family, a clash of cultures, and the narrow-minded dominance of a new country’s leadership. Most of all, though, it is a story about love and acceptance, which we all need in our lives.


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:


Heidi Vanlandingham writes sweet, action-packed stories that take place in war-torn Europe, otherworldly magical realms, and the Wild West. Her love of history finds its way into each book, and her characters are lovable, strong, and diverse. Heidi’s stories transport the reader to a different place and time for understanding, compassion, and most of all, love.


Growing up in Oklahoma and living one year in Belgium gave Heidi a unique perspective regarding different cultures. She still lives in Oklahoma with her husband. Her oldest son is on the autism spectrum, working hard at living on his own, and her youngest son graduated magna cum laude and is now discovering his own dreams. Heidi’s favorite things in life are laughter, paranormal/fantasy romance books, music, and long road trips.


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Jan 26

I like to read holiday romances in the winter


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Jan 23

Thank you, Heidi, for sharing your book in our Wintertime Reading Bookish Event!

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