I adored writing this type of character! Optimistic, kind, determined and, honestly, quite courageous.
I needed someone who could draw out a recluse, and it had to be a person who understood that love is the most important thing. She had to have experienced her own loss, so she could identify with what grief can do to a heart, and she absolutely had to have grit. Especially when dealing with a stubborn, but gentle, fellow like Jack Walsh.
EVALINE’S GRIT also has an element of mystery. There is a murder that needs solving, and because Evaline doesn’t give up on Jack, he learns the truth to his past.
It was a joy to bring these characters their happy ending! Happy reading!
Reclusive Man Series
From award-winning author Kara O’Neal, comes her first sweet and clean historical romance, Evaline’s Grit.
Grape, Texas, 1885
Evaline Cameron works in her father’s dry goods store, and the establishment is the social center of the town where she shines as the hostess. She includes everyone in her joy, and much to her father’s dismay, wants to draw out the reclusive and elusive gentleman living in a shrouded cottage on the outskirts of town—Jack Walsh. For a reason she can’t explain, she senses Mr. Walsh needs her. And he’s too vital, too handsome to spend his life shut away. She’s going to befriend him. She’s going to learn his secrets and help him. Even if it means putting herself in harm’s way.
Something hammered at the back of his head. He groaned and rose, but a gentle touch pressed his shoulder.
“Don’t try to move too fast.”
Alarm flashed up his spine, and his eyes shot open. His breath caught when he found an angel hovering over him. Evaline Cameron.
“How do you feel?” the vision asked, her face drawn in lines of concern and care. “What hurts?”
With her leaning over him? Nothing. And everything. As his head pounded, so did his pulse. He had to send her away. Now. “Could you…scoot back please?”
Apology shone in her wary brown eyes, and she did as he asked.
Slowly, he pushed to sit, then lifted his hand and touched the spot that burned at the back of his head. He pulled his fingers away, and some blood coated his skin.
She gasped. “Here. Press it gently to the spot.”
He glanced at her, then down at the wet handkerchief she held out to him. He hesitated. But he needed something to stop the bleeding, so with his eyes averted from her, he took the linen. He gingerly placed it on the wound, wishing the hammering would stop.
Of course, it didn’t help that the woman who tempted him to rejoin life knelt near him. She had as much to do with the battering going on in his body as his injury.
“What happened?” she asked.
He couldn’t have a conversation with her. He had to get her to leave. “Doesn’t matter. I’m fine.”
“You’re bleeding,” she argued gently. “You were unconscious.”
He moved to stand. “That’s passed. I appreciate your kindness.”
She’d also risen, her face filled with concern and alarm.
But he ignored what he saw and tried to give her handkerchief back. However, the blood staining the linen gave him pause. “I apologize. I’ll wash it and leave it with the bottles when your father delivers supplies next week.” He lowered his arm.
“Mr. Walsh, I think I ought to make sure you’re all right and fetch the doctor. Knocks on the head can be dangerous.” She smoothed a palm over her stomach, then linked her fingers together and rested her hands against her skirt.
He’d experienced worse. “I’ll be fine. Thank you for your care.”
With a look of uncertainty, she bit her lip. “No gratitude is necessary. I was glad to be here, even though seeing you lying on the ground like that frightened me.”
He grimaced. “I’m sorry about that.” If he’d been paying better attention, he wouldn’t have smashed his skull against the bottom of the upper half of the outside cupboard he used to store supplies.
She shook her head. “No need to apologize. Really.”
He needed to ask her to go. Now. He drew in a breath, but she interjected with, “You’re so alone out here that I worry for you. What if you get hurt worse than this? No one would be around to help you.”
Which suited him. He didn’t deserve to live after killing a husband, father and friend. A good man. “I’m capable of caring for myself.”
Despite the throbbing in his head, he lifted a hand and said firmly, “Miss Cameron, I’m fine. Please, return to town.”