Allow me to introduce PROTECTED, a Western romance set in the 1860s. It is a story about authentic people, but also about love and the gritty, real-world road back to faith.
Eighteen-year-old Abby travels to Texas with her parents and three other families in a wagon train. Disaster strikes, and the orphaned children must fend for themselves. The responsibility of getting them the rest of the way to San Antonio lands on her. After a close call with two questionable men met on the trail, the others persuade a very reluctant Abby to finish the journey disguised as a boy.
Enter Manny, a tall, lean, Hispanic Texan, returning home from a cattle drive. He intercepts the wagon train and offers to help them finish their journey, believing all the while that “Abner” is leading the small band of orphans. Making friends is difficult for him, and he unexpectedly relishes his growing relationship with his new friend.
Abby is an independent woman at a time when society expects women to be anything but. Her challenge is giving up control and placing her faith in God. Manny, disfigured in a fire as a child, finds it difficult to acknowledge his God-given worth and to place his trust in others.
Friendship, romance, betrayal. Forgiveness does not come easy. Spend some time in this scorching Texas summer, and discover the surprise waiting for you there!
PROTECTED is Beauty and the Beast crossed with John Wayne’s The Cowboys and Disney’s Mulan, with a splash of Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. It is book one of a planned series.
Update: On Father’s Day, 2021, I found an email in my spam folder from Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. It was an invitation to join the family. Deb Haggerty offered me a contract to publish Protected. Abby and Manny entered the world in April 2022!