Romance and Mystery by Lois Carroll

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THEN AND NOW

by

Lois Carroll

A Romance from Melange Press Satin Romance

Two stories of women owning a business, one in the 1800s and one today. Are they too busy to find love?

Then and Now by Lois Carroll

Two novellas under one cover of Then and Now: In a Stew and Secrets in the Snow

  • In A Stew: Catrine and her younger sister were forced to leave their Utah home after their overbearing sheriff father was killed. Needing to find a job, they take a stagecoach to B-town near where the new railroad is being built across Arizona Territory. Though startled by her natural beauty, the sheriff offers her a job running a restaurant he owns that closed when the cook was shot. This would be a dream come true for Catrine, but will he leave her alone or try to run her life like her father? Could they work together when the sparks fly between them? Falling in love would be as easy as eating a bowl of her yummy stew.
  • Secrets in the Snow: The sole owner of a wedding attire shop and budding designer of beautiful wedding dresses, Cynthia is a virgin at age 35 with romantic dreams about finding the right man to make her dreams come true. Her friend Anne is about to get married. Anne's fiance's older brother, Michael, 37, is strongly opposed to the match and will do anything to stop the marriage, including proposing to Anne himself. Mistaking Cynthia for Anne on their first meeting, Michael offers to marry her in order to save his brother from what he considers a very bad decision. Snowbound with the handsome big-city businessman for the long weekend, lonely Cynthia takes a big chance that changes everything. After that weekend, they each have secrets in the snow.
  • Excerpt from IN A STEW:

    "Well, well, what do we have here?" He turned from his inspection of Catrine and noticed Sissy. He straightened and frowned. "Ain't you too young to be here?"

    Sissy moved closer to Catrine and grabbed a handful of her skirt. Catrine put her arm around her shoulder to reassure her.

    "I beg your pardon, sir," Catrine dared before the driver interrupted her.

    "You'd better back off, Sheriff," he said. "These ladies ain't what you're thinking they is." He cackled a laugh and continued his duties with the stagecoach.

    The rude man confronting Catrine frowned but stepped back a bit, much to the sisters' relief. "And then just what might you be?"

    Catrine noticed the star then, hanging crooked from his vest. A sheriff? A disgusting performance for a sheriff, she thought. She remembered that her father was domineering, but he was always dressed neatly in clean clothes that she had kept laundered for him. His star always hung straight on his vest. And what's more, she had never heard that he had been rude to a lady, though she had to admit that was probably because no lady ever challenged him.

    Facing this sheriff, Catrine was in no position to be meek.

    "Not that it's any of your business, Sheriff, but I'm here looking for a job and a place where my sister and I can live," she got in using a quickly drawn breath. She dragged in another and straightened her spine. She could do this. She had to do this. “If you really are the sheriff here, perhaps you can tell me where to inquire."

    His eyes widened with a shocked expression. "Are you crazy, lady?" the man asked. "Hell, you come here to a town near a railroad camp with a young girl tagging along and you expect to find work that doesn't involve being on your back?"

    Excerpt from SECRETS IN THE SNOW:

    "You are not marrying my brother."

    His dark hair, sprinkled with a touch of gray, had broken free of any combed arrangement it once had, and fell across his forehead with a sexy casualness she was totally unprepared to notice in such detail.

    He shifted all his weight to one foot and raised his fisted hands to his hips. “Well? Don’t you have anything to say?" he asked in an annoyed tone, goading her to speak.

    But Cynthia couldn't move. She couldn't speak. What could she say to his declaration? The man's blue eyes glared at her with an icy-hard certainty. She surmised from the expensive-looking motorcycle, his clothes, and his authoritative manner that he was probably rich and definitely used to getting his own way. She should have felt afraid and yet for some reason she did not.

    Suddenly she wanted to see those eyes when he smiled because she knew they would be warm and caring. In that moment she realized that her conclusion was based on more than mere conjecture. She knew those eyes. Yes. And she'd seen them in a photograph when they were laughing and loving.

    She released the keys in her pocket and clasped her hands at her waist. Her heart, previously beating rapidly with concern, now skipped a beat. She knew who this man was. A smile curled up the corners of her lips. Knowledge gave her confidence and the daring to toy with him for a few precious moments,just for the pure pleasure of it.

    "Your proposal of marriage, Mister Bolten, is most unusual," she told him. "But I shall have to decline." She smiled more broadly at his surprised expression. "I'm sure you'll be relieved to hear that I have no intention of marrying you or your brother, for that matter. And now that we have that settled, would you like a cup of hot tea while you give your jacket a chance to dry out before you leave?"

    eBooks by Lois Carroll

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