Release Date: February 7, 2011
Author: Ginger Simpson
Publisher: Eternal Press
The wagon carrying Odessa Clay and her father overturns, killing him. Alone and scared in the middle of the desert, she faces finding her way to Phoenix and Aunt Susan. Food and water run out, and Odessa is near death when Zach Johnson finds her. Squinting up into his tanned and handsome face, Dessie believes she’s died and gone to heaven.
Would-be-outlaw, Zach Johnson finds an unconscious woman alone in the middle of nowhere. Where did she come from? First glance: she appears young, but the curves beneath the dusty gingham say otherwise. He didn’t plan to become someone’s hero, but how can he leave her stranded?
Will the promise of Odessa’s sweet lips lure Zach from the secret mission that has his gut twisted into a knot? His father’s ranch isn’t the only thing at stake—now it’s his heart.
Welcome Ginger. I'm so thrilled to have you here! To get started, what is your latest offering?
Thanks for hosting me. I’m here to tease everyone into wanting to read Odessa, my latest western historical romance from Eternal Press.
What is Odessa all about?
The blurb gives you a pretty good idea of the story, but there is so much more involved. Odessa takes a job in the local saloon, much to Zach’s dismay, and he tries to keep her from finding out that he’s turning outlaw in order to save his father’s ranch.
I love outlaws! Was there anything in particular that inspired this book, or did your muse come up with it?
My muse is always in control. I never know who’s going to pop through the revolving door in my mind and present their story. I really clicked with Odessa.
Who is your cover artist and how much input do you have in the design?
The awesome, Dawne Dominique has done most of my EP titles. She has a very uncanny talent for making the cover fit the book like a glove. I can honestly say she hasn’t presented one I don’t love.
If you could co-author a book with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would love to co-author a book with Madeline Baker. She’s been “the wind beneath my wings,” and she doesn’t even know it. I’ve read pretty much every historical western she’s written. I’d love for her to tell me that she’s read one of my books. J
What books are in your TBR pile?
I have a whole bunch loaded on my Kindle for review. Right now I’m reading Call Me Duchess by Maggie Dove. So far, it’s really holding my attention.
When you begin a new book, do you write it straight through, or do you work on more than one story at a time?
I skip back and forth. My characters tell the stories and some days they aren’t very chatty, so I find a willing participant and work on their manuscript. I think this is how I ended up with eight releases in 2011.
Tell me a little about your back list, and which of these is your own personal favorite?
Oh gosh, that’s hard to say. Every book is like a child I’ve given birth to, but if hard pressed to name my favorite, I’d have to say Sarah’s Journey. Or maybe First Degree Innocence, oh, shoot, I think Sister’s in Time. I can’t do…I can’t pick just one.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m supposed to be working on Hattie’s Hero, another western historical romance, but Hattie hasn’t been talking to me since I had dual cataract surgery the end of December. I’ve filled the time with edits on upcoming releases, but I need to get her yakking again because I’m anxious to finish and submit the story for publication. Then I can get busy with On the Rebound.
Thank you for joining me, Ginger, if I twist your arm would you give us an excerpt? J
No need for arm twisting. I’m always happy to share an excerpt. Setting the scene. Odessa and Zach have just arrived in Charleston, AZ after a long and dusty journey. They’ve just eaten dinner and now are off to the mercantile to buy Odessa a new dress to replace her worn and tattered one.
Spying the mercantile down the street, he clasped Odessa’s hand and loped down the wooden stairs and onto the dirt, dashing between a buggy and a buckboard to reach the other side. The sun had set, leaving ribbons of color tinting the sky. A light inside the store shone through the front window. Zach opened the door, peering up at the little bell that tinkled when they entered.
“Howdy.” A bald man behind the counter greeted them with a smile. “How can I help you?”
“Are you fixin’ to close or do we have time to shop?” Zach asked.
“I always stay open for customers. When I lock up depends on the type of day I’m havin’.” The clerk’s portly stomach jiggled with his laughter. “You folks look around all you want. I’ve got some shelves to stock.”
Zach followed as Odessa made a beeline for a rack of readymade dresses in a section he preferred to avoid. The tools, ropes, and saddles on the other side of the store beckoned. Tack held more interest than frilly ribbons, bonnets, and lacy undergarments, the likes of which he’d never seen before. He patted her shoulder as she flipped through the hangers, her eyes wider than silver dollars. “I’ll be over yonder.” He motioned across the main aisle.
“Wait!” She grasped his sleeve. “I need your opinion.” She picked up a blue gingham frock with one hand and a brown and white checked dress with the other. “Which do you like best?”
He shrugged. “They both look good to me.”
She put back the brown one and draped the blue across her front, holding out the wide skirt and dancing in a circle. Stopping, she peered up at him with those big, blue eyes and smiled. “I really like this one, and it’s a little less than the other. I only wish I had a ribbon to match.”
He looked at the tag hanging from the sleeve and raised a brow. His had no previous experience with buying a woman clothes, but the price didn’t seem extreme—in fact, was less than he’d figured. He plunged his hand into his pocket, counted out several bills, and handed them to her. “Go ahead and get a ribbon… and those
other things you needed, too. Take your time. I’ll wait outside.” Every time she flashed that coy little grin, the crotch of his jeans grew tighter.
The dang bell rang again when he opened the door to leave. Outside, he rested his boot on a hitching rail and surveyed the streets, now quiet and abandoned. The horizon had gobbled the sun, and already a full yellow moon shone over the rooftops at the opposite end of the street. Piano music still drifted from the saloon, but most of the horses tied in front earlier were gone. A cool breeze fanned Zach’s collar, but did little to temper his growing feelings for Odessa. He had to get her on the next stage to Phoenix. If he didn’t, he’d compound the trouble he already faced.
“Good night, and thank you.” Zach turned to see the proprietor escort Odessa to the door then close and lock it behind her. She clasped her wrapped bundles to her chest as if protecting a treasure.
The light inside the store faded and turned dark, stealing Zach’s ability to enjoy the sparkle in her eyes. He took her elbow and guided her down the stairs to the street. “Did you get everything you needed?”
“I did… and thank you. Now I can’t wait to get into that bath.” No matter how hard he tried to prevent them, images of her naked body played in his mind. Clearly, she had more of an effect on him than he’d planned. When had he started thinking of her less as a girl and more as a woman? He hadn’t really seen it coming. Now, outlined in the moonlight, her full lips, slender neck, and soft curves begged for attention. He wasn’t as experienced as most men but had learned in the bed of a local saloon whore who knew her trade well. Memories stirred his desire.