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Ryan Majors, trapper, mountain man, and half Nez Perce Indian, is down on his luck. Trapping is in decline. In St. Louis, Missouri, he learns of his brother Chet’s murder and swears revenge. He also promises to help his sister-in-law and her children. Luck appears in the form of an opportunity to lead a missionary wagon party to the Willamette Valley. Ryan would rather teach a mountain lion to dance than lead a missionary, but the money and the minister’s spirited daughter, Johanna Wade, persuade him otherwise.
Johanna Wade left her native Boston to join her father’s missionary wagon to Oregon. She didn’t count on meeting the ruggedly handsome mountain man-turned trail guide, Ryan Majors, who would teach her not only how to survive in the wilderness but a reason to love again.
Softening toward him, Johanna gently added, “I’d like to trust you, Mr. Majors.”
“Ryan.” She smiled tentatively. “Well, we do have a long journey ahead of us, and I’d rather not spend it quarrelling.”
“Neither would I.”
Johanna sighed with relief, inhaling his scent of leather and soap. Soap? “Mr. Majors...”
“Ryan,” he corrected.
“Have you bathed since we arrived?”
“I scouted the area and found a stream to bathe in. I’d be happy to show it to you before we leave.”
Johanna longed for a good hot bath. “I’d appreciate that.”
When Ryan stepped closer, she stepped back, feeling the urge to escape his strong, masculine presence and its magnetic hold on her. “In the morning, that is.”
She glanced sideways, admiring his strong features--the broad cheekbones, the aquiline nose, and the jut of his chin. His dark coloring, no doubt, came from his Nez Perce mother. “What do you remember about your mother?”
Ryan gazed at her in surprise. “Little. A few lullabies she sang and the blackness of her eyes. She died givin’ birth to my brother. We grew up among her people. The Indians got a respect for life white folk don’t. I don’t kill nothin’ I won’t use. My granddaddy was a tribal leader. He taught me to respect the animals, even goin’ so far as to ask for its forgiveness ’fore we kill one.” He stared hard at her. “I don’t believe in killin’ for no reason.”
Spirals of warmth went through her hands where he caressed her calloused palms with his fingers. His eyes, unfathomable pools of darkness, gazed through to her soul and she shivered, unable to move from the spot. She had to find her voice or be lost in his magic. At last, she asked, “Was that man that killed your brother arrested?”
He dropped her hands abruptly. His jaw muscle twitched as he spat, “Heck, that rotten, no-good snake-in-the-grass ain’t been found. But he will be! Sure as I got breath left in my body, he’ll pay for murderin’ my brother.”
“Ryan, what do you plan to do to him?”
“Miss Wade,” Ryan snapped, “this doesn’t concern you.”
Johanna stiffened. “I beg to differ, Mr. Majors. It most certainly does concern me if it involves this missionary party. My father spent years planning the mission in Oregon. I traveled hundreds of miles to be part of his mission. The last thing we need is a trail guide who’ll run out on us.”
“I’ve no intention of running out on you.” Ryan’s gaze softened a little. “Ever see a grizzly, Johanna?”
She glanced at him in surprise. What did grizzlies have to do with the matter? “No,” she replied flatly, “but I read about bears in a book.”
“Grizzlies are the meanest bears alive, with teeth as long as butchers’ knives and claws to match. One clawed at my brother Chet until I shot it dead.”
“But there’s something meaner than a den of grizzlies.”
“Man. He kills for no damn good reason.”
“Is that why you prefer the mountains?”
“Hell yes! The white man came with his religions and his diseases and killed off half the Indians.”
They continued on in silence, skirting the rear of wagons whose occupants were either asleep or too preoccupied with their own private conversations to notice the couple. Johanna stopped beneath a thick cottonwood tree. Not since Robert’s death had she talked so much to a man. What was it about Ryan Majors, she wondered, that made him easy to talk to? With the exception of Stephen Green, she had no other male acquaintance. Her lonely hours as a governess had been filled with reading books or her father’s occasional letter. “I often wish I knew my mother,” she sighed sadly. “She died when I was born.”
“So, you lived with your pa?”
“Oh, no. Father had to go off to his missionary work. He couldn’t take a helpless baby with him. Aunt Mabel raised me.”
Ryan scowled. “Hell, it sours my milk to think a man of God, or any man, would haul off and leave his child. If a man has a family, he ought to stay put.”
The American West and the pioneer days has been a fascination for Catherine Greenfeder since fifth grade when her teacher, Mrs. Seguine, created a “pioneer day” complete with square dancing and venison stew. Her trips to Oklahoma to visit her parents who relocated to Tulsa from New York City sparked an interest in the plight of the Native Americans and those earlier settlers in the frontier states. A fan of romance fiction since high school, Catherine Greenfeder decided to write her first romance novel after careers in publishing and advertising. WILDFLOWERS is the product of several years of research and writing.
Catherine attributes her love of writing to growing up in a household of storytellers, especially her mother who loves to entertain with stories about the past.
Membership in the New York City chapter of Romance Writers of America encouraged Catherine to pursue her writing career and provided a network of support and encouragement she cherishes immensely.
WILDFLOWERS, a historical romance, is her first novel, but it is the second book which is being released in electronic format and Print on Demand (POD). ANGELS AMONG US, a paranormal romance, is the first book released by WINGS ePRESS, Inc. in 2006. Catherine is thrilled to be able to share Johanna and Ryan’s adventures and romance on the Oregon Trail during 1848.
“In some ways I identify with the storytellers or the shamans who told their tales around the campfires long ago. It’s both a craft and an art to bring characters to life, pass along the culture, and entertain. I hope that I have done this and to continue to tell tales which will fill the pages of my books.”
Catherine Greenfeder lives in Nutley, New Jersey with her son Jonathan, husband Wayne, and beloved Labrador retriever, Maxi.
Four and a half hearts from The Romance Studio
Five Angels from Fallen Angel Reviews
Wildflowers: "Greenfeder's western romance is filled with the trials of settlers going west. The author pulls no punches, and the dangers are graphic to say the least, but very realistic for that era. The villain is a nasty piece of work; the heroine strong-willed; and the hero brash but lovable and a bit clueless when it comes to matters of the heart." -- Four Stars -- HOT -- Romantic Times, October 2007
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 346
Paper Weight (lb): 14.6
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