Charlene began her writing life at an early age, often penning stories where she cast herself as the heroine. It was after college when she dug out her old college typewriter and started her first novel, which came from a spirited dream she'd had the pervious night.
While that book never sold, her second novel did. Tender Touch became a Golden Heart finalist and earned her an agent who signed the book, and two others, in a three book contract with Kensington Publishing. Kensington went onto publish five of Charlene's western historical romances: Taming Jenna (1994); Tender Touch (1994 Golden Heart Finalist); Forever Mine (1996 Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer's Choice Award Nominee and Affaire de Coeur Reader/Writer Poll finalist); To Have and To Hold (1997); and as Rachel Summers, The Scent of Roses (1999).
Charlene took a break from publishing, but not from writing. A Kiss and A Dare is Charlene's first paranormal romance.
Divine Gamble is Charlene's latest work and won first place in the western historical category of the 2010 Romance Through The Ages contest.
When Charlene isn't writing, she loves to travel, do genealogy, digital scrapbooking and dyes eggs in the Ukrainian style. And she enjoys camping and fishing with her husband in the Utah wilderness.
THE WRONG MAN
Deserted by her father at the tender age of
seven, Jenna Leigh-Whittington had taught herself to ride, shoot, brawl…and
steer clear of the opposite sex. But now, in a lonely Utah canyon, the
Pinkerton agent has drawn her gun on a rugged stranger—only to discover that,
far from the dangerous outlaw she’d been tracking, he is Branch McCauley, hired
gun…and the most irresistible rascal ever to tempt and torment a woman!
If there’s one thing McCauley trusts less
than a female, it’s a female who packs a six-gun. But what a woman! Vowing to
bring the sensuous hellcat to heel, McCauley has no inkling that their
passionate battle of wills has just begun. Taming Jenna will be the most
seductive—and satisfying—job he’s ever taken on.
Jenna scowled as she studied the man
by the flickering glare of his campfire. He had the right build and appeared
close to thirty, Mendoza's age. But something didn't fit.
The Denver police chief had
described her quarry as a spoiled aristocrat, too busy wooing Lady Luck and
every other female to be much of a train robber, let alone a killer. But the
rogue in front of Jenna looked too lean and hard to be spoiled, too wary and
aloof to be a ladies' man.
To Jenna he seemed the perfect gunslinger:
cold, tough, and ready to spring. Like a big yellow cougar perched on a ledge.
Or a rattler, tightly coiled. Either way, his bite would be deadly.
In spite of the cool night breeze,
sweat oozed from her pores. She couldn't forget that lightning draw. Why had
she come here? How had she expected to take an outlaw Pinkerton's other agents
had failed to bring in? No, she refused to think that way. She was every bit as
capable as any man to capture Mendoza. She had to believe that, the same way
she had to do what she'd set out to do. Only one question remained: Was this
Mendoza or not?
"Who am I? Hell, who are you? "
Blast! Did no male exist in this
empty wilderness who wasn't so taken with himself that he couldn't cooperate
for a change?
She took a calming breath. A body
could catch more flies with honey than vinegar, old Charley Long Bow used to
say. Jenna figured flies might fancy the hairy creature facing her, so she
decided to try being friendly. "Listen, I smelled your coffee and hoped
you might spare a cup, is all. You can understand me being a mite leery of
walking into a stranger's camp without knowing who I'm hooking up with."
Firelight glinted on the man's
straight white teeth as his whiskers parted in a cold smile. "Don't recall
inviting company, but I'll play your game. Name's Branch McCauley. Now it's
His smile unnerved her. It held no
humor, only a lethal sort of grimness that cannoned her stomach into her throat
and made her wish she'd wired William Pinkerton for instructions instead of
going off half-cocked this way. "I'm Jim...Jim White," she lied.
"All right, Jim, how about some
honesty? You come here looking for me?"
"I'm not looking for anyone
named Branch McCauley. If that's who you are, you've nothing to worry
The wide, innocent eyes McCauley
studied held honesty. He relaxed. "In that case...be glad to pour you some
coffee." He reached for the battered graniteware pot. His visitor's next
words froze him in a half-stoop: "I'd feel more welcome if you'd set aside
your gun first."
Cool as Montana sleet, McCauley
straightened, hand poised above his holster. "Reckon you would. Wouldn't
do much for my sense of well-being, though."
So much for trying to be friendly,
Jenna thought. What now? She clenched her knees together to still their shaking
and swallowed the fear knotted in her throat.
"Look." McCauley shifted
his weight to one leg. "Why don't you put your gun away and have a sit?
Could be I might know something about the hombre you're hunting.
Hombre. Sounded Spanish. Like
Mendoza. It must be him. She had to get his gun away from him. Surprise seemed
the best means. She squeezed the trigger of the .44 Starr. The bullet kicked
dirt onto the man's scuffed boots. He jumped and let out a yelp as though she'd
set his feet afire.
"Dammit, kid, going up against
me won't get you anything but a six-foot hole in the ground."
"Shut up and toss over your gun
or I'll turn them boots into sieves. 'Course, my sights might be a bit
off." She raised the muzzle toward his groin.
"You made your point," he
growled as he unbuckled his gun belt and tossed it over.
Instead of the fancy weapon she had
expected a gunslinger to own, an ordinary, six-gun lay at her feet. No ivory
handle or engraved barrel. Only an ordinary .44 Peacemaker, crafted and worn
for one reason—to kill. The thought did funny things to her innards.
"All right," she said,
getting back to business. "You aren't going to like this, mister, but I
don't know any other way to be sure who you are. Drop them trousers to your
Congrats on your new release! Looking forward to it.ReplyDelete
You are so welcome!Delete