Texas Brides of Pike’s Run Series, Book 2
The Sheriff’s Gift was a wonderful book to write. It allowed me to delve into the lives of the people in the town I was creating. Alice Parker, the heroine of the story, is the schoolteacher, and Conner Lonnigan, the hero, is the sheriff. They are highly involved in the lives of the townsfolk and are often called upon to help. Alice and Conner are strong-willed people with caring hearts and no-nonsense attitudes. Not only are they perfect for the town, they are perfect for each other.
The Sheriff’s Gift sets up several other books in the series. Many of the students, once they are old enough, end up with their own stories. It has been so much fun watching them grow and change and establish their futures.
Writing is a joy, and I’m so glad I get to spend time with these wonderful characters!
Another important or fun fact about this story is that the heroine is based off of one of my sisters. She is, and always has been, one of the most important fixtures in my life. She is my rock. She is my hero. Alice is made better because my sister exists.
Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/38juYvY
Strong-willed and independent, Alice Parker is certain she’s meant to be a school teacher. She accepts her first position in Pikes Run, ready to mold the minds of young children, but unprepared to deal with her attraction to Sheriff Conner Lonnigan. If the board finds out she’s tumbled into his embrace more than once, she would be fired.
Sheriff Conner Lonnigan is awed by Alice Parker. He falls for her almost immediately, but the demands at home forbid him from marrying. Conner’s duties as sheriff control his days, and his mother’s panic attacks control his nights. He doesn’t have the freedom to devote himself to Alice, but that can’t stop him from pursuing her anyway.
Alice and Conner fight their love for each other, but the wants of the heart become too much to ignore. As they battle the demands of their jobs, the couple finds that ultimate fulfillment can only be found in each other's arms.
“What is it?” Alice asked.
He didn’t reply until she was outside. “I have somethin’ for you.”
She gave him a sideways glance. “I hope it isn’t another complaint from Beulah.”
He grinned down at her. “Nope.” He jerked his head in the direction of the yard. “Come on.”
She followed him into the yard and toward the barn. When they entered the building, the cows lowing and the horses swishing their tails, he stopped and pulled her into an empty stall.
They were alone except for the animals. This was what she’d tried to avoid, and here she was, despite her usual unflinching self-control, in the wrong situation. Though her heart exalted, her mind raced for ways to get this over with quickly.
He smiled down at her, his hand still at her elbow from when he’d pulled her over. “You look pretty today.”
“Only today?” she heard herself ask. Oh, dear! She was flirting.
He chuckled low and deep. “Every day. You’re always pretty.”
In her wildest dreams, she’d never thought to hear a man say such a thing. “What did you want to show me?”
He flushed beneath his confident smile. “A present. I ordered it for you.”
Alice’s heart stopped then sped like a locomotive. “Truly?” she whispered.
“But…but I didn’t get you anything,” she protested.
His smile turned soft, and her knees went to jelly. “Just havin’ you here is present enough.”
If he said anything else as tender and beautiful, she might faint from want of him. “Oh,” she murmured.
He gazed at her for a few moments more before reaching into his coat and pulling out a box wrapped in brown paper. He handed it to her.
Gingerly, she took it and unwrapped it slowly, wanting to savor the moment. Once the paper was gone, she sprung the latch on the box and lifted the lid. Her throat ached with emotion when she saw what sat in the velvet casing.
A small ceramic house, the rooftop covered in snow, stared up at her. It was beautiful. She ran a finger over its smoothness. “Thank you,” she rasped.
“There’s more.” He took it from her and lifted it out of its case. “It’s open in the back. You can put a candle here and since the windows are cut out, it’ll look like there’s—”
“Firelight,” she breathed. Awed and deeply touched, she gazed up at him. He’d remembered her memory of her mother and bought her a gift to commemorate the time. “Oh, Conner. How wonderful.”
He swallowed. “You like it?”
She closed her eyes in disbelief then opened them once more to look up into his handsome, dear face. “I adore it.”
And in that moment, everything she’d ever wanted changed forever. She loved Conner Lonnigan with all her heart. The emotion stampeded through her, causing her to tremble with its force. She couldn’t stop herself from rising up and taking his lips with hers.