Thursday, November 10, 2011

Caroline Fyffe: Texas Twilight and Two Giveaways

Thank you for the opportunity to share my new western historical romance, TEXAS TWILIGHT, with your readers. It’s book two in The McCutcheon Family series, and was a joy to write. I think it’s because I got so attached to the family in MONTANA DAWN, I was eager to learn more about them, create a little havoc in their lives, and feel the joy of them falling in love.

John Jake McCutcheon, the fourth brother, was only mentioned twice in book one. Now, he’s out of medical school and starting a new practice in Rio Wells, Texas, the town where his extended family reside. All goes well until Dustin, the oldest Texas cousin, takes a shine to Lily Anthony, the pretty young woman who has traveled in the same Wells Fargo coach with John to Rio Wells. Sparks fly as the two McCutcheon men, so different yet also alike, square off. For all you cowboy lovers, here is a short excerpt:


Chapter one
Texas Badlands, 1886

The stagecoach lurched. John Jake McCutcheon opened his eyes and saw the young woman next to him grasp the leather loop that hung from the coach’s ceiling to keep from being tossed around. She tipped precariously to the right, then left, bumping forcefully into his shoulder. With an apologetic glance she moved away, then dabbed at her brow with a folded handkerchief. She looked at her elderly aunt.

“Tante Harriet? Are you all right?” she asked in a soft German accent. She opened the fan she held and swished it back and forth in front of the tiny woman. “Your face is extremely red.”

“Of course, Lily,” Harriet Schmidt said in a raspy voice laced with exhaustion. The old woman’s hair was swept up atop her head and fastened in a bun, but after the miles and miles traveled on the dusty, sun-baked road, it looked more like a weather blown tumbleweed after a storm. She patted her niece on the knee. “Thank heavens we’re almost there. Just one more day and we’ll be out of this oven.”

John glanced away, not wanting to seem impolite. He’d met both Harriet Schmidt and her niece, Lily Anthony, when they’d boarded the stage together in Concepción. He’d seen them on the train from Boston, too, but they’d kept to themselves, never speaking with anyone else.

John gazed out the window, thinking. He was finally finished with his medical training and heading to West Texas. Anticipation coursed though him.

Rio Wells was a long way from his family ranch in Montana, but he’d get used to it. His plan to return to Y Knot after graduation hadn’t panned out. His hometown already supported two full-time physicians. If he really wanted to make a difference in people’s lives as a doctor and surgeon, he had to strike out in a place where the townsfolk were in need. At least he wouldn’t be a complete stranger in Rio Wells. Uncle Winston and his family were there. And his fiancée, Emmeline Jordan, would be joining him this fall.

John closed his eyes, recalling Emmeline’s elegant profile and dark, alluring eyes. In his mind’s eye, her mouth drew down into a seductive little pout, a manipulation he knew all too well, but one that, all the same, fueled his blood. She was like a beautiful, exotic bird, needing care and affection.

“Oh, just to take this corset off,” Harriett said to no one in particular, then chortled softly at her niece’s shocked expression at her bluntness. “It pinches horribly. I think I’ll throw it away for good.” She paused, thinking. “No…”  Her eyes twinkled mischievously. “Actually, I’ll burn it.”

Cyrus and Jeremiah Post and Abigail Smith, the other passengers cramped uncomfortably on the opposite seat, just smiled, now used to the old woman’s antics. Miss Smith, a teacher, had been hired by the same town council that had hired John, and he felt a small kinship with her.

“You know, Doctor McCutcheon,” Harriett Schmidt went on, trying to catch his eye, “my Lily doesn’t need a corset. Her waist is eighteen inches without one.”

“Tante Harriett. Please.

John chuckled and shrugged his shoulders. He’d tried not to notice something like that, but it had been difficult, if not impossible. The girl had practically been snuggled to his side for several days.

Without warning, the driver called out sharply to the horses and the coach picked up speed. The two guards riding on top of the stage scuffled around and one shouted something unintelligible. John glanced out the window.

A shot rang out. One second later, one of the guards fell from the top of the stage, past the window, landing with a thunk as the stage rolled on. Lily gasped and threw her arms protectively around her aunt. Abigail screamed and then fainted, flopping over onto Cyrus’s shoulder.

The driver bellowed to the horses again and the stagecoach heaved forward as the six-horse team was propelled instantly into an all-out gallop. Three more shots were fired, and the sound of horses’ hooves thundered from behind.

John looked back through the dust to see a number of riders racing toward the stagecoach, eating up the distance between the two. What the hell was he supposed to do now?  He was a doctor. He’d taken the Hippocratic Oath to heal not three weeks before. His job was taking bullets out, not putting them in. But then, he’d also been raised on a rugged Montana ranch, where the unwavering reality was hard. Sometimes staying alive meant killing someone else. Besides, everyone’s lives were on the line, not just his. It would be especially bad for the women aboard. These hills were a common hiding place for Comancheros. They used women in the worst ways and then sold them into prostitution in Mexico. As pretty as she was, Lily Anthony would fetch top price. Hell, they’d sell the skinny teacher and the old woman, too.

Smoke and dust filled the coach. Pop. Pop. Pop. Lily covered her ears. Her elderly aunt coughed as she struggled to hang on. Abigail, now fully awake again, filled the small space with one shrill scream after the other, never even pausing to take a breath. John reached for his satchel under the seat, withdrew a Colt 45, and strapped on his holster. Carrying his guns was a habit he hadn’t been able to break even after his years at school. With hands nimble from experience, he loaded and fired several shots out the window. Two riders fell.

“You have another gun?”

John was surprised to see old Harriet Schmidt eyeing him expectantly. One hand was outstretched while the other grasped the windowsill as the coach careened down the road, jerking violently this way and that. “I’m not letting those filthy dogs take my Lily!”

“Can you shoot?”

“I wouldn’t ask if I couldn’t. My derringer’s not worth diddly.”

John squeezed off three more shots, then pulled another gun from his bag, handing it to Harriet. He pushed the bag toward Lily. “Bullets.”

Cyrus Post fired out the other side of the coach just as a bullet hit Cyrus’s brother in the chest, slamming Jeremiah violently against the back of the seat. Jeremiah gasped several times as he tried to hold back a rush of crimson that spurted through his splayed fingers, soaking his clothes. With just a glance, John could see he wasn’t long for this world. Abigail’s eyes grew round as she took in the blood. With a gasp, she fainted again, blessedly putting an end to her screams.

“Son of a bitch! “ Cyrus cried out. “There’s too many. Prepare to meet your maker.”

“Hush your mouth, you old coot,” Harriet shouted as she hefted the heavy gun and shot out the window. “I have more faith in God than that.”

The coach rounded a corner dangerously fast and then slowed up a bit as it began an uphill climb. One side of the road dropped off, falling some forty feet to a bed of jagged rocks.

Seizing the moment, John holstered his gun and opened the narrow door. He climbed the side of the rocking coach using the window as a step, and grasping the luggage rack, pulled himself up. He flopped onto his stomach, facing the oncoming killers and picked up the fallen guard’s Winchester. He took aim.

* * *

Since the holidays are just around the corner I’d like to share the recipe for my sister’s Beer Bread, which she makes every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It’s not exactly a recipe from the 1800s, but it surely could’ve been—it’s that easy.  Give it a try.  You’ll be hooked, too;

3 cups Self Rising flour
3 Tlbs sugar
a 12 –oz can or bottle of beer (at room temperature)
1 cup chopped walnuts, 1 cup raisins
(OR ½ cup raisins and ½ cup cranberries—I use cherry flavored!)
a good shake of cinnamon.
Mix all ingredients together and put into a sprayed and floured bread pan.
Split the top with a knife.
Cover and set in a warm spot for 30 minutes so the dough can rise.
Cook in a 375-degree oven for 1hour and 15 minutes.
Watch at the end so it doesn’t become too brown.
Remove and while still hot, brush top with butter. ENJOY!!

I’m giving away an E-Book copy of TEXAS TWILIGHT, and also a paper copy of MONTANA DAWN to two different commenters.  Share with us if you’ve ever been in competition with a friend or family member for the same sweetheart?  Don’t be shy….

Available in E-Book online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble



  1. Good morning, Cheryl. Thanks so much for having me! :) I'm very happy to be here.

    I want you to be sure to try the beer bread this holiday season. It's super easy and really yummy. Another version is to leave out the cranberries and add chopped up rosemary (I use fresh) with walnuts. I can never get enough….haha.

    Anyway, it’s nice to be here…Cheers!

  2. It did not happen to me but two of my cousin's competed for the same guy. The one who got him stayed around the family and the other one moved across the country. Even today, more than 45 years later the two do not have much to do with each other.

  3. Wow, that's amazing...even after all these years! I hope the one that moved away is married and happy with a hero all her own. Did it turn out okay?

    Thanks so much for sharing, JC! Good luck in the drawing. :)

  4. I've never been involved in that kind of a situation...although when we were little (and didn't know any better) my girl cousins and I fought over who was gonna marry one of our boy cousins. :)

    I love the excerpt! And want to know more about Aunt Harriet. She must have been fun to write.

  5. Hi Lizzie...
    I agree. When my four sister and I were little we adorded our older male cousin, Greg. He used to visit on his motercycle and dazzle us all. Those were fun times.

    Thanks for reading the excerpt. You're totally right, Aunt Harriet was a kick. I love that she is older and has the confidence to say anything that's on her mind, even if it does embarrasse Lily--in a good way of course. LOL And she can see right through John with little trouble at all...:)

  6. When I was 16 I dated this boy names Wayne. He was my first kiss. It did not last very long, a couple of months. Two months later I found out that my cousin then started dating him. Then about 7 months later, I started dating another boy, and he pressured for sex and I said no. so he broke up with me and then found out that the same cousin also started dating him. Not sure if he got what he wanted. This cousin and I are still really close. I have had other cousins and friends that have liked the same boys, but never that we had to fight over them. I was mad at her because she wanted to date those boys, but I was always broken up with them before she started dating them.
    Both of these books look great. You are a new author for me and would love to win and read your books, so please choose me for the giveaway.

  7. hi Caroline

    your book sound great and i love so much with the cover book ;)

    yes, competition in reading book with my friend and make a review ;)

  8. Hi really did have a time! Wow. I'm glad it all turned out and that you are close with your cousins. :) That's a very good thing...

    I'm happy I'm a new author to you. You can read more excerpts at

    Good luck in the drawing! :)

  9. Hello, Eli, Thank you for the flowers on my cover. That's always a nice thing to hear!

    Did I understand that you had a reading and reviewing competition? What a great idea!!

    Thanks for the comment and good luck...hugs.

  10. I dated two boys in high school (not at the same time!) who dated the same girl before they dated me. It was kind of bizarre because these boys were nothing alike! I never did meet the other girl and never even saw a photo of her. And at this point in my life I can't even remember her name! LOL! I haven't seen either boy in decades because I now live out of state.

    It's nice of you to be here, Caroline! (It's Cassie, from facebook)

  11. Caroline and Cheryl - hello! It is funny how our we really aren't separated by six degrees! So glad to see you both enjoying great success - but that happens with great writing! Have a wonderful day, Kayla

  12. Hi Kayla! Are you and Caroline old friends too?

    I still have a pic you gave me of your little one on her pony. Then when I saw your family pic with your kids, I thought, WHAT??? Those are supposed to be babies!!


  13. Hey, Cassie--thanks for coming over! Cool. High school is like that. Like you, I'm so glad those days are over. Now, we have to re-live them through our children though. All the heartache and drama. My boys are a few years past, and I'm glad. LOL


  14. Hi there, Kayla! So good of you to drop by.,,,

    And yes to your question, Cheryl. Kayla and I met a few years back (think it was 2007) when we finaled in the same category for the GH and roomed together. I didn't know her before that. It was great. We really hit it off and she helped critique my book, SOURDOUGH CREEK, which launches around Christmas time!

    Small world!

  15. This book sounds really good! Thanks for highlighting it on your blog! :)

  16. It is a small world. I don't even want to tell you how long I've known Kayla, but it involves big bangs and shoulder pads.

  17. LOL Cheryl, that is toooo funny. I used to LOVE shoulder pads!

    And Hi, Salena! Thanks for taking a look. Be sure to try the Beer Bread. I really is a must.

    Have a warm and wonderful Thanksgivine. (just around the corner!)

  18. Hello There!

    Melanie here! All I read on Facebook is...I'm over at...and a here I am too!

    Caroline, I am new to your prose, but ever since I took a chance on reviewing an 'unknown' author (to me) and my review appeared at RRAH ( I've fell in love with this whole family and my Kindle is longing to download this new story!

    Now, for the question....Not a family member, but a friend.

    I was about 15, and she was 17 (an older woman for sure) and the affections of this young man of 19 were on the line.

    I have to say, we were so different in looks and temperament that I had absolutely no chance with this Dude!

    But, infatuation does not care for that, so when she saw that he was paying attention to me (trust me the boy was just nice in a brotherly sort of way, and very protective of the 'underdog', which I was) she became very nasty in calling me names, like 'four eyes' and 'chubby' and to this day I remember that he ignored her because she was just plain mean, and always protected me from anyone in the church group.

    When I left Austria (for USA) I left them both behind and told her off...

    Many years later, I picked up the phone and a woman is telling me she'd like to apologies for her behavior to me...You guessed it, it was my 'rival' telling me she was in an motorcycle accident and she lost her eye, and all she could think is how she called me 'four eyes'! WOW! That blew me away! We are great friends now, and she lives in Australia and I see her from time to time...


    Thanks for a great post and I so hope to win this book :)

    Ashley March's 'Hook-a-Book' is...
    Stop by to find out and WIN IT!!!

  19. Melanie, what an amazing story. It's sad that it sometimes takes a devastating incident to narrow down the things in a person's life and show them what's really important. Perspective. Wow. It took a lot of character for her to call you and apologize.

  20. Melanie, what a story! That could be a plot in a book itself. While you told it I fell a little in love with the 19-year-old young man for taking your side when she became abusive. He has the attributes of a real hero!
    I am sorry to hear she lost an eye. How dreadful. But, there is always a silver lining to everything, and is a theme I usually have running throughout my books. This is it; No matter how awful something is, there is always something good that comes from it. You two got back together and are close friends now. I think that’s so cool!
    Now, I have to comment about you being from Austria. How exciting! I have a friend who’s from Imst, Tryol. I just love looking at pictures and such. It’s so beautiful. What town or city are you from?

  21. Hi Cheryl and Caroline!

    Like I said... Life, it happens and we continue to live it, and learn from everything and every choice we make.

    We get older, hopefully wiser, but learning never stops. Well, for those of us who are willing to accept that no matter how long we live, learning will be a part of our life. And welcomed. Curiosity might have 'killed a cat' but I think curious mind is something to be welcomed and encouraged in all of us. Once we stop being curious, what's left?! BOREDOM! That, we can not have...

    Cheryl, like I said, I was astounded to hear from her. She was visiting here in the US and we met that afternoon at our church, sat together, reminisced, and she came over for a few days to meet my family. I also met her daughters (btw. you will love this aside tidbit; and now that I'm about to tell you, it does sound like a soap opera; LOL!)

    I liked her daughters so much I introduced one of them to the guy you see on my picture with me. He was a very nice young man that worked with me, and just broke up w/his girlfriend, so hey what the heck?! Right. Young people should have some fun! Well, they liked each other, but she was just visiting and both were kind-a-shy, so nothing happened.

    A few years later, the young man told me (after trying to set him up with some more of my cousins who stood him up) that I owe him a date because they all stood him up...

    Fast forward to today, and I've been happily married for 11 years with this young man! I totally robbed the proverbial 'cradle'! He's 12 years my junior ;)

    He truly is my hero :)

    Caroline, I am actually Serbian, and we lived in Austria (Vienna) for ten months (worked there when I was 15 at a PUMA Factory) in 1972 we came to US (my mom & dad & my baby brother). All I remember of that time is how clean the city was, trolleys and parks, and everyone spoke English so I hadn't had a chance to 'pick up' much of German. One other thing that was so cool is the people and how welcoming, friendly and just plain good they were.

    Okay, now I've totally 'hogged' the comments and feel a bit embarrassed...Sorry...


  22. Melanie, I loved your stories - especially the ROMANCE! :-)

    Thanks for sharing.

  23. Melanie—I think that’s so neat how the two of you got together. It’s a beautiful world out there!


  24. That did happen to me when I was 16 my best friend (or I thought) tried to date my hubby now because I moved from NE to Alabama and so she thought she could get him. Heck NO I came back and 6 months later we were married. She is not my friend anymore... He was not getting away he is a great man.

  25. sorry that was me Cheryl, Brenda Mazur it didn't show my name.

  26. One of my best friends and I liked the same guy in high school. It was a little awkward at times, but fortunately we all ended up friends.

    Caroline--what a wonderful beginning to your story!

  27. Hi Caroline, just finished your book Texas Twlight and loved, loved, loved it. It was awesome! Now I have to get a copy of Montana Dawn.

    To answer your question I have competed with my best friend over the same guy in high school. My best friend dated him in high school but I did date him later in life, I think in my twenty's but it didn't work out for us.

  28. Brenda, that is a super story! I'm glad you got your man!! Happy Vetern's day!

    ..and good luck in the drawing.... :)

  29. Hi Gretchen, I'm happy you like my beginning. It was rather fun to write with all the bad guys and such. LOL

    High school can be difficult. I'm happy you all ended up friends.

    Have a great day!


  30. Hi there, Virginia! So delighted you loved TEXAS TWILIGHT. That is music to my ears! LOL

    For the rest of you, Virginia commented on my blog contest at the end of October and won a copy of TT! Woo Hoo

    Well, like they say, we have to date a lot of frogs before finding the prince. hehehe...

    Thanks so much for stopping by--AGAIN! Hugs!! :)

  31. Love the book, Will be adding it to my TBR list.
    I was very young when I first shared my true love. I was very jealous when he started showing HER all the attention. I soon learned though that my daddy had enough love for both of us and I learned to share.

  32. Connie, that was cute! When you put it like that I guess most of us have experienced the same thing. :) Loved it!

    Good luck in the drawing...

  33. nope can't say I've ever been in competition for a sweetheart before wellll....maybe girl friend but not family

    and that was more jealous I wasn't spending as much time with her.

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com