Today I am delighted to welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author-Doris Lemke-from Michigan, who now happily resides with her retired husband in sunny Southwest Florida.
She's a proud member of RWA, Mid-Michigan Writers and Southwest Florida Romance Writers. Doris tells me she's been in love with historical romance since first reading Gone with the Wind, and with the Wild West for even longer. Doris says: Passion's Secret, Passion's Spirit and the Passion's Legacy Series are the fulfillment of a dream that waited patiently through years of stops, starts, heartbreak, happiness--and several careers--to come true.
Living in sunny Florida sounds just lovely, Doris- quite different from rainy Scotland! But Doris is here today to tell us all about the series she's been writing for The Wild Rose Press Cactus Line.
Inventing the O’Gradys – How a Legacy of Passion and Courage was born
Sometimes when you’re writing a book, especially a historical, the characters simply won’t let you go. You think you’ve told the story that leads to “happy ever after”—but have you? That hero, who is so hot, so mysterious and so brave, is just too strong to languish in used book stores or flea market boxes. The feisty heroine who tames his restless heart is just realizing her own power as woman. You begin to wonder, what will they be like in 20 years? Will it be happy-ever-after, or will there be more crises, more mysteries, more adventures to make them and their love grow stronger? And then you wonder, what will their children be like? And finally, what are their parents or their grandparents’ stories? What made these people who they are?
That’s what happened when I wrote Passion’s Secret which has now become Book One of the Passion’s Legacy Series:
Not even Georgia’s founding family can keep its secrets hidden forever.
Follow the lives, loves—and haunting secrets of four generations of one of Georgia’s-the O’Grady family. Tempered by war, betrayal, love and loss, this brave and passionate family risks everything for love and leads us through the physical and cultural expansion of our great country—into a new century.
From the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans, to New Mexico’s sacred Taos Pueblos, and the jungles of Cuba, meet the people who demanded their stories be told, baring their secrets—and sins to the world:
Book One - Passion's Secret
She’d never give in…Camilla Langesford has no intention of letting her ailing father’s Yankee partner steal their plantation. But Patrick O’Grady isn’t like other carpetbaggers. Claiming to be a soft Northern businessman, his powerful body, brooding Irish temper and pewter-gray eyes speak of a dangerous past. And his soul-searing kisses melt her frozen heart—until a deadly secret shatters it.
He’d never give up…Langesford Plantation is the former Pinkerton agent’s last chance to solve a mystery that’s haunted him for four years. But he didn’t plan on the chestnut-haired virgin with smoldering, green eyes and a fiery temper, dogging his every step. And after a secret tryst in a hot-spring grotto, he discovers a treasure worth more than a cache of gold bars—until one night changes everything.
Patrick talked to her from the other end of the pool as he washed, his deep voice young and carefree. “I've heard of hot spring pools, but never thought I’d enjoy one in private with a beautiful woman washing my clothes,” he chuckled.
“Just your shirt, Mr. O’Grady, and this is an emergency situation.” But Camilla couldn't forget the sight of his bare chest, the corded muscles defining his strong arms, or his soft voice when he’d called her beautiful. Suddenly, she ached to reach out to something, or someone.
But certainly not a Yankee! She shouldn’t have brought him to her secret haven where she could lay on the fresh grass and dream of far-away places. Now, the position of the sun told her it was well past luncheon.
“You better hurry,” she called. “Or we'll be late and my honor will be severely compromised.”
“We wouldn't want to do that, would we Camilla?” warmed her ear, and her neck tingled from the caress of his breath.
She turned to meet his smoldering gray gaze and wide smile. A heartbeat later, she was in his arms, her palms resting against the still-damp, curling hairs on his chest.
Her heartbeat quickened at the feel of his warm, moist skin against her fingers, his strong thighs pressing against hers through the thin, cotton dress. And when he kissed her, his lips suckled hers, top lip first, then the bottom, while his tongue tickled them into a smile.
She knew she should stop him, but the heat that spread though her body wouldn’t be denied. She’d never felt anything so...right. With her eyes closed, the curves of her body molding against the sharp angles of his, her hands slid up the rugged landscape of his chest and her arms wrapped around his broad, sinewy shoulders. Then her lips parted to taste him
Book Two – Passion’s Spirit
Untamed Hearts, Worlds Apart
Raised by Santa Fe missionaries, half-Apache orphan Elena Santiago has vowed to avenge their murders the Apache way. But first, she must masquerade as a white woman to deliver a dangerous message across the country, into the land of her enemies. But more dangerous than the warning she carries, is her heart’s response to the untamed spirit behind Sean O'Grady's smoky grey eyes in a body that reminds her more of an Apache warrior than a soft, white “gentleman”.
Sean O’Grady has always dreamed of exploring the Wild West, but at twenty-five, he’s put aside his dreams to run his family’s Georgia plantation and wed his neighbor. When Elena arrives looking and speaking more like a Spanish lady than an Indian mission girl, he wonders if she's really who she say she is. Is she a virgin or a vixen? The question taunts him as he struggles with feelings he’s never felt for a woman before.
When Sean pulled away, Elena looked into his eyes wondering, is this what love feels like, or is it only lust? She decided that nothing as beautiful as the moment they’d just shared could be evil. But it could never be love, either. She had felt his passion press against her and ached for him to fill her. Now she was grateful that he hadn’t. They were from different worlds that still warred against with each other. He could never survive in her world and she refused to live in his.
As if he read her thoughts, he leaned into her, whispering so close to her ear that it could have been a kiss, "Why can’t you be Mary Louise? And I the Apache brave who will eventually claim you?” Then he turned to stare at the stream that patiently followed the course nature had carved out for it.
The question echoed in Elena's mind. For a moment, his heart had matched the rhythm of hers. The curves of her body had melted into the angles of his as they breathed the same breath and tasted each other’s souls. For a moment, they had truly been one body and one soul.
Now separated, the chilly breeze that stirred the pine needles at their feet told her that when she was with him, even angry, she was whole. And though he changed his moods faster than the mountain gods and was promised to marry a weak and silly white woman, part of her would always belong to this loco Gringo.
She also turned her gaze toward the river. "We can only be who we are."
The more I write about this family the more there is to tell. I’m currently working on two additional books about the Langesford/O’Grady clans:
Passion’s Seed – Flora DeBoucher, the beloved quadroon servant from New Orleans whose secret enslaves her.
Passion’s Promise - Lily O’Grady, the musical prodigy with dreams of becoming the next Lily Langtry, but must help free a nation first.
How long will the O’Gradys demand their stories be told? I hope they never stop.
Thank you for bringing your amazing characters here today, Doris, and I wish you the very best for great sales of this lovely series.