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Excerpt - The Desires of Her Heart by Lyn Cote

THE DESIRES OF HER HEART
TEXAS: Star of Destiny
By Lyn Cote

THE DESIRES OF HER HEART (Avon Inspire, on-sale: Feb 10, 2009, ISBN: 9780061373411, price: $12.99) is a beautiful historical romance between a woman forced to make a new life on the Texas frontier and the scout who leads their wagon train through the uncharted territory. Set in 1821, Dorritt Mott who is against slavery is a woman ahead of her time. When events make it impossible for her family, including an overbearing stepfather and a spoiled half-sister, to remain in New Orleans, they head to Texas to join Stephen Austin’s first angloamericano settlement and recoup their fortune in the Spanish colony of Texas.

Quinn, a social outcast as the half-breed son of a Cherokee mother and an American father, has made a name for himself as a scout and a man not to be taken lightly.

When the New Orleans lady and the frontiersman meet, they become unlikely allies as they travel the wilds of Texas. But will their trek be in vain? Mexico has broken with the Spanish Crown that had granted Austin land. And both armies plus marauding Comanche roam the pine forest and prairie of Texas.

And though they are unaware of it, there is a closer danger, a man who is plotting destruction and who will try to make Dorritt and Quinn pawns in his scheme. As their romance blossoms, can Dorritt help Quinn put his trust in the God? The Creator who has promised that those that delight in Him shall be given the desires of their hearts? What will it take for Quinn to believe that promise?

In the vein of the great sweeping historical sagas of Tracie Peterson, Lyn Cote’s Texas: Star of Destiny series will grab readers from the very first page.

Buy this book on Christianbook.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
LYN COTE is an award-winning author of both contemporary and historical inspirational romance. She speaks at state, regional and national writer’s conferences and is an active member of RWA and the American Christian Fiction Writers. Most recently, Chloe, the first novel in Lyn’s “Women of Ivy Manor” series published by FaithWords was a 2006 Rita Award finalist for Best Inspirational as well as a finalist for the Holt Medallion and the National Readers Choice Contest. She is also one the top-selling authors in Harlequin’s Love Inspired category line. Born in El Paso, Texas, Lyn and her husband now live in Wisconsin.

Excerpt of chapter one:


Desires Of Her Heart

Avon Inspire (February 10, 2009)




New Orleans, early August 1821

With tiny sharp teeth, worry ripped and gnawed at Dorritt Mott's peace of mind. Her stepfatheq, Mr. Kilbride, had been up to something for months. But what exactly? And how would it affect Dorritt's private plan? Today the colorful and chaotic gathering of the crdme de la creme of New Orleans society buffeted Dorritt like the whirlwinds of a hurricane. But she'd come because attending the amateur race at the horse track outside the city would give her a chance to pick up a few more clues, to see what Mr. Kilbride was doing away from their plantation.

Scanning the elegant assembly for her stepfather, Dorritt saw that the race had drawn more than just the gentry. Westerners in buckskin with long rifles slung over their backs and sailors who might be pirates in Jean Laffite's crew dotted the crowd. Then she glimpsed a knot of beaver-hatted gentlemen-some jovial and all excited-gathered around a bookmaker who was taking bets near the horse stable. Of course, Mr. Kilbride was in the midst of them. The man never learned.

She began moving through the crowd, nodding and smiling when addressed. Present but apart. Ever since she had debuted, she had watched New Orleans society in a detached manner, as if watching an absurd, sometimes aggravating, play.

Two overly perfumed ladies in feathered bonnets-one gray and one brown-stepped in front of Dorritt, blocking her. Behind their fans, they were of course gossiping. Gray bonnet said, "Did you hear about the Dorsey chit marrying the Hampton heir?"

"Didn't her father forbld him to court herT" the brown bonnet objected.

Dorritt didn't blame the father. The Hampton heir was a rake. But of course, to some, wealth covered a multitude of sins.

"Hampton lured the girl away and took her driving in a closed carriage-" Gray bonnet lowered her voice. "-and they didn't come home until well into the night."

"Well into the night? Didn't her mother warn her about such indiscreet behaviorT" Brown bonnet sounded aghast.

Dorritt started to move away. Some women embraced the calculated destruction of reputations as their lifework. Dorritt had no doubt the Hampton heir had ensnared a green girl who would put up with his dubious behavior. All to give him an heir. Men must have their sons at all costs. And people wonder why I've chosen to remain a spinster

Pushing ahead, Dorritt managed to navigate within hearing distance of the men around her stepfather. They were discussing the merits of the horses scheduled to run today. From the corner of her eye, she noted that a few of the Westerners were coming up to put down bets too. Mr. Kilbride was touting the merits of his entry in today's race and placing a bet on it to win. TheStaggering amount he'd just wagered with a smile made Dorritt blanch. She kept the books for the plantation. If their horse lost, which of their people would he have to sell to recoup this bet?
Feeling panicky, Dorritt turned blindly and nearly walked into her half-sister's admiring all-male court. Fifteen-year-old Jewell, with her curly black hair, large brown eyes, plae complexion, and graceful figure knew exactly how to enthrall men. Her most favored and fervent admirer at the moment was sole heir of a wealthy family.

Dorritt edged away as her sister purred, "I do hope no one will be hurt today. Horse races can be so perilous." Jewell was fluttering her white egret feather fan against the heavy air already smothering them, the reason that the races were held early in the morning.

"Will you favor me with one of your ribbons to wear?" the wealthy young heir named André asked Jewell. "I'm sure I will win if you bestow your favor on me."

Dorritt felt the urge to gag. Most of the conversations she overheard were romantically exaggerated, devoid of any content. But she had a sudden insight. While most girls didn't debut until sixteen, Mr. Kilbride had insisted Jewell debut this year. Why? Was this part of his scheming?

Hastily, Dorritt turned, came face-to-face with the man she should have been watching out for. A recent widower with two children still in leading strings, he thought Dorritt was the answer to his need for a wife and stepmother. But she didn't want to get tangled up in those long ribbons on the toddlers' dresses. She tried to smile, repressing the urge to pick up her skirts and run.

Before he'd lost his wife, Dorritt had hoped she could persuade him to back her financially in her secret plan for independence. But now he viewed her as the quick solution to his problem of raising children alone. After all, Dorritt, at twentyfive,
was on the shelf a spinster. How could she afford to refuse an honest man's proposal?

She was saved by the horn announcing the start of the first race. She turned toward the track and hoped she could drift away from the widower before she was forced again to discourage him.

The persistent worry over what her stepfather was up tg the worry that had begun waking her up nights, tried to catch her, clench her again within its sharp teeth. She hurried forward, her pulse racing.I can't think of that now.


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