Cord Matthews sets his sights on the open Montana Territory when the War Between the States rips everything from him including his own heart, Olivia Bartlett. Cord builds a new dream, but a ghost from his past won’t let him forget what his heart wanted most.
Olivia Bartlett, forced to flee her Virginia home and the man who owns her heart, finds new purpose as a nurse to the wounded at Fort Laramie, Wyoming Territory. But war and separation haven’t diminished her love for Cord Matthews, or her stubborn belief he is coming for her. When tragedy steals another loved one and danger threatens her life, Olivia flees to Montana Territory, seeking refuge.
Reunited on the Montana frontier, can Cord and Olivia hold tight to their love despite the guilt each carries for a past they can’t change and defeat a danger who seeks their destruction?
First, thanks so much Kat for hosting me and my wild characters, Cord and Olivia, on your blog. I appreciate the help in getting the word out about HOME FIRES!
It is my pleasure, Kirsten! Before we get to the excerpt can you please tell my readers what inspired you to write HOME FIRES?
Later Cord disclosed how he served with Colonel John S. Mosby (one of my favorite commanders during the Civil War, go figure), but lost the woman he loved to the war. Then I was introduced to Olivia Bartlett who was serving as an Army nurse at Fort Laramie in the Wyoming Territory, but headed to a new post in Montana. She explained, she had been sending letters East to the man she loved who served as a Captain of Mosby’s Rangers, she’d been sending these messages faithfully for the four years following the War of Northern Aggression. Their story of separation and reunion kept my fingers typing, so I could find out what happened next.
How Cord and Olivia ended up in Montana was more due to my homesickness for the West than anything else. I was living near D.C. at the time, but my heart belonged back home. Initially, the Matthew’s ranch was supposed to be near Fort Phil Kearny in Wyoming, but after doing the research I found that wouldn’t work with my timeline. I wanted the story to take place in 1868, and Fort Phil Kearny had been abandoned by then due to Red Cloud’s War. Soooo, I went with my second choice and moved the ranch and family up the Bozeman trail to Montana near Fort Ellis, and the towns of Bozeman and Virginia City. The move wasn’t too painful as I lived in Montana for a few years and it became a second home.
The rest of the story, to quote Paul Harvey, was up to the characters. I am a panster of the first order, and so I let Cord and Olivia tell me their story from start to finish; introducing me to their families, friends and enemies as their story unfolded. With every page, Cord and Olivia became more entrenched in my heart and their family started tugging a few heartstrings, as well; especially Cord’s cousin Nathan, who has his own story.
Below are the back blurb and a short excerpt from the reunion scene between Cord and Livy. I hope this story finds a place in your heart, too! Thanks for stopping by and reading a bit about how this story came to life.
The rustle of skirts moved closer, but not the clip of boot heels against the polished slat board floors. Cord’s gaze remained fixed to the floor, and despite his mind dredging up her betrayal he felt his lips curve when bare feet peeked from under a navy blue skirt. “Livy.” He whispered. He lifted his gaze and it locked with eyes so blue they made the Montana sky look white.
“Livy.” His whisper so low she couldn’t be sure if she heard it, dreamed it, or wished it, but then, his gaze latched onto hers. Her eyes slid closed against everything flashing in those cinnamon depths. Love. Desire. Hope. Anger. Hurt. Betrayal. The same emotions poisoning her own mind. Her heart held tight to love and discarded the rest. .
Driven by an invisible bond to Cord Matthews fiercer than any human emotion, Olivia stepped forward. She took inventory of the man before her. He was no longer the sweet young man of twenty, sporting a dashing gray uniform and heading off to a war his damnable honor forced him to fight. A man chiseled and hardened by acts and scenes her mind couldn’t conjure stood filling the small entrance to the Brennan home. Broad shoulders with muscles straining against a buff chambray shirt skimmed to a narrow waist. The denim pants, popular in the West, stretched over thick, strong thighs and legs. Someone cleared their throat and her gaze shot back where deep lines creased the bronzed skin around his eyes. She admired the man Cord had become. He fit this rugged land like he’d been born to it.
She dismissed Tom with a wave when he excused himself. One more step planted her in front of the ghost who haunted her dreams and nightmares. She inhaled horse, leather, sage, Cord and…home. Before she scolded herself away from her course, or he could stop her, Olivia lifted to the balls of her feet, wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her lips to his.
His initial jolt disappointed her and she braced for rejection; but then, his arms snapped around her so strong she thought her ribs would crack. His mouth slid across hers demanding she deepen the kiss, and she parted her lips, allowing him full access. His tongue swept the inside of her mouth, and with a low feral moan Cord’s kiss turned hard and consuming. The taste of all the sweetest memories of her life with Cord caused her insides to shake. His embrace tightened on instinct calming the tremors.
Her fingers dug into the strands of silky black hair that brushed his collar as she pulled him closer. She choked back a cry from the pleasure and pain his kiss sent through her body. Her lungs burned for air but she didn’t want to breathe if breathing meant breaking the connection with Cord. Don’t be a dream. Don’t be a dream. Don’t be a dream. The drumbeat pounded from her head to her heart.
His mouth was ripped from hers. “Dammit, Livy.”
She tightened her hold around his neck and tried to pull him back to her.
“I saw your grave.”
Copyright© 2014 Kirsten Lynn, Prairie Rose Publications
Kirsten Lynn writes stories based on the people and history of the West, more specifically those who live and love in Wyoming and Montana. Using her MA in Naval History, Kirsten, weaves her love of the West and the military together in many of her stories, merging these two halves of her heart. When she's not roping, riding and rabble-rousing with the cowboys and cowgirls who reside in her endless imagination, Kirsten works as a professional historian.
Please join Kirsten on Facebook, Twitter (@KLynnAuthor), www.kirstenlynnwildwest.com and blogging once a month at prairierosepublications.blogspot.com and firstname.lastname@example.org