Monday, March 5, 2012

Susan Page Davis's Almost Arizona

Bio:

Susan Page Davis is the author of 37 published novels and novellas. A Maine native, she now lives in western Kentucky with her husband Jim, a retired editor. They have six children and eight grandchildren.     You may find Susan on her website or facebook.

Back Cover Blurb:

Almost Arizona by Susan Page Davis

Julia Newman heads home to her Arizona mountain town on one of the last surviving stagecoaches. Instead of a happy reunion with her brother, she is treated to a holdup. The man investigating the robbery is Deputy Sheriff Adam Scott—whose marriage proposal Julia turned down two years ago. Now Adam thinks her brother Oliver is mixed up in the robbery. Julia knows better, but when she arrives home, Oliver is nowhere to be found. She knows she must locate him before Adam—or the lynch mob—does. A cryptic message from Oliver sends Julia riding across the high desert to find him.

Book Excerpt: 
September, 1911

Chapter One

   She couldn’t have Arizona unless she shared it with Adam Scott. That was horribly unfair.
   The stagecoach rolled out of Flagstaff, and Julia Newman leaned eagerly toward the window to see every landmark along the dusty road toward Ardell, the tiny mining town she thought of as home. Some would call this land bleak and unforgiving, but Julia loved Arizona. She’d longed for it during her two years away.
   She ignored the three male passengers for nearly an hour. She’d already appraised them and dismissed them, having pegged them as a businessman, a rancher, and a miner. Harmless, but uninteresting compared to the scenery rolling by.
   When they came within two miles of the town, the road climbed steadily. Not long now. Would her brother, Oliver, be waiting when she stepped down from the coach?
   Julia had come most of the way from Philadelphia on the railroad, but Ardell depended on the old-fashioned methods of transportation. She wasn’t sure the town had ever seen an automobile. Wagons and teams hauled ore to the railroad head, though Oliver said the president of High Desert Mine, where he worked, was seriously considering trying out a truck. They weren’t sure it could take the steep ascent to Ardell and the main mine. More dependable in these mountains was the stagecoach that toiled up the trail twice a week with mail, passengers, and once a month, the mine’s payroll.
   Julia drank in the cloudless sky, so perfect and so vibrantly blue in the dry, cool land. She anticipated each vista, watching for the huge rocks that stuck up out of the earth without warning, and the low plants that managed to grow in the harsh climate of the high desert. This was home.
   Unfortunately, it was also Deputy Sheriff Adam Scott’s home—but she wouldn’t think about him until she was forced to.
   The wind tugged at her hair until she was afraid it would pull her hat right off and fling it across the chaparral. With reluctance, she withdrew her head from the open window and set about fixing her hatpins more firmly.
   The man sitting on the seat opposite her made no pretense of looking elsewhere. He had the mien of an investor, going up to see Mr. Gerry at the mine. That or a banker, which she couldn’t imagine up here in the mountains, but he was too well dressed for most of the occupations common in Ardell. He watched her with a smile on his lips. Julia avoided making direct eye contact. Had he been staring at her the whole way? She oughtn’t to be grooming her hair in the presence of gentlemen, but she didn’t want to lose her hat, and she didn’t want to forgo the view, either.
   One of the two other men sat beside her—a rancher who must have come to the area since she’d been away to teach school in Philadelphia. The other sat in the far corner, on the seat with the banker type. Dressed in a flannel shirt and denim pants, the bearded man had slumped in the corner as soon as the coach door was closed, then shut his eyes, opened his mouth, and commenced snoring. Julia figured he was probably employed by the High Desert Mine, where Oliver was employed as the bookkeeper.
   A shout from outside caught her attention.
   “Whoa, now! Whoa.”
   The stagecoach slowed, and the man across from her peered out the window. Julia tried to suppress her annoyance. She didn’t want to waste a minute getting home. But the driver, Chick Lundy, sounded as calm as ever, so she relaxed and finished pushing in a hatpin.
   A gunshot exploded, outside but a short distance away, and the man jerked back from the window. Julia’s pulse caught and then raced. Another gunshot sounded, right over their heads. The rancher tensed and pulled out a revolver.
   The bearded miner sat up, blinking. “What’s going on?”
   A couple more muffled shouts reached them but Julia couldn’t make out the words. She didn’t think they came from Chick or his shotgun rider, Bub Hilliard. The voice sounded farther away than that. The coach came to a halt.
   She was about to ask the man opposite if he could see anything when someone outside yelled, “Throw down the guns!” The well-dressed passenger reached inside his jacket and pulled out a compact but lethal-looking pistol.
   Julia sucked in a breath as her heart galloped on at full speed. She grabbed her handbag. One thing she’d learned, living in a mining town: Don’t ride the stage unarmed. Still, she hadn’t expected this today. She’d imagined that Ardell was more civilized by now. It seemed she was mistaken. She drew out her weapon and tucked it discreetly in the folds of her skirt.

Susan Page Davis is giving away a copy of Almost Arizona . The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Until next time. . . Sharon A Lavy

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your new book sounds delightful. I have read your Finding Marie series and really enjoyed it. I would like to enter the drawing.
Pat Hines - pshines@frontiernet.net

Teela said...

GReat first chapter. Caught my attention immmediately and I would love to win this book and review it. Thanks for offering this giveaway, TeelaYoung at hotmail dot com

Wendy Newcomb said...

This sounds like a great book and one I'd really enjoy. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

wfnren(at)aol(dot)com
wrensthoughts.blogspot.com

Carol N Wong said...

It would be so awful to think your brother was involved in a criminal activity. I am very interested in how this book comes out at the end.

Thank you for the chance to win this one.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Marianne said...

Wow...i live in Arizona in the winter (some might call me a snowbird, though really i'm not old enough to be in that genre), and love to read about the history of this state. And i love Susan's novels, so would love to be entered in this awesome giveaway. Thanks for the opportunity.

Marianne said...

And then i forget to say...i am from El Mirage, Arizona

mitzi underscore wanham at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

This would be a good book to win. Thanks for the chance I've never been to Arizon but have 2 families of relatives living there.
Maxie (mac262@me.com )

Susan Page Davis said...

Thank you, everyone. It's great to hear from you all. I was privileged to spend some time in Arizona in the past (my sister used to live in Mesa), and it's an absolutely beautiful state. I can understand why people love it.

Merry said...

I love Susan's books, so please add me for Almost Arizona. Thanks!
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

apple blossom said...

I love heartsong books
thanks for chance to win

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Sherree Chmitlin said...

I so love books that "Love Inspired" has put out over the years. I started out getting their books when they first started and love them. I had to quit the subscription a while back, but still check them out at Walmart, Thrift stores and Bookstores.

Would love to win "Almost Arizona" by Susan Page Davis. I have read some of her other books and have not been disappointed.

Nancee said...

Thank you for offering this drawing. I'd like to be a winner!
Nancee
quiltcat26@sbcglobal.net

Joy Hannabass said...

I love Susan's books and I know this one will be as great as the ones I've read!
Thanks for the giveaway!
Blessings...Joy

ibjoy1953(at)yahoo.com

ann said...

I love reading stories like these. Hope to win :]
amhengst at verizon dot net

misskallie2000 said...

Looking forward to reading "Almost Arizona" and have on my wish list.
Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

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