Monday, April 4, 2016

Showcase Under the Desert Sky - Sarah Luck -

Sarah is the wife of NYT bestselling novelist Robert Vaughan and she serves as his research assistant, its from researching one of his novels she got the idea for her debut novel Susanna's Choice and when he didn't want to write the story she suggested he told her she should. The rest as they say is history, or in this case the birth of a Historical romance author. Enjoy my showcase of her latest release, Under The Desert Sky!

ISBN-13: 9781501103551
Publisher: Pocket Books/Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 03/29/2016
Length: 368pp
Buy It: B&N/Amazon/Kobo/IndieBound


Sara Luck is known for her “well-developed characters, accurate historical settings, and hot naked men” (RT Book Reviews), and Under the Desert Sky does not disappoint! Fans will love this story of a widowed frontierswoman and the ranch hand who might be all that stands between her and ruin.
Phoebe Sloan isn’t afraid of hard work—she couldn’t have survived on the Arizona frontier if she were. But ever since her husband was killed in a ranch accident, she’s struggled to make ends meet and preserve her young son’s birthright. Her last gamble was to start raising ostriches—the plumes are prized by fashionable city ladies—and it could work, but someone’s determined to sabotage her efforts.
Enter Christian de Wet, a South African importer who finds himself drawn to the fragile but determined Phoebe. He begins helping her around the ranch as a kindness, but the two quickly find that the heat rising between them has nothing to do with the Arizona desert! When the saboteur finds a way to endanger not just the ranch, but Phoebe’s family, will she have to forsake her happiness to save her son?

Read an excerpt:

Cape Town South Africa 1900
Christian De Wet paced back and forth in the library of the house of Mrs. Marie Van Koop
mans, the woman who’d raised him. Nineteen years ago he’d been living on the docks, sur- viving by his wits and the occasional handouts of strangers. Called Jacktar by the sailors, that was the only name he had ever known. When he was injured by a horse, Cecil Rhodes, a Brit- ish businessman who had just stepped off a ship returning from England, took the injured boy first to the doctor, then to his good friend Mrs. Van Koopmans.
Rhodes and Mrs. Van Koopmans had named him, Rhodes calling him Christian, and Mrs. Van Koopmans giving him the surname De Wet, which had been her maiden name. She had assigned him the age of ten, by which reckoning he was now twenty-nine.
 Mrs. Van Koopmans became his surrogate mother and Rhodes his mentor, providing an education for him at the Oriel College in Oxford. After graduation, Rhodes employed him in the offices of the Chartered Company in London for eight years. Over the last few years Christian had been caught up in the Boer War, which pit the Dutch against the British. What made the war particu- larly painful for him was that he was a child of both cultures. Mrs. Van Koopmans was Dutch, Rhodes was British, and Christian spoke both languages with equal facility. Because he knew nothing about his birth, he had no idea whether he was Dutch or English. Today, a troubled Christian had come to see Mrs. Van Koopmans, saying, “During the siege, when we were trapped in Kimberley, I was sure the Boers were the aggressors. I saw how they dropped shells into the civilian population, hop- ing to do as much damage as possible.
“But when the siege was broken, I left Kimber- ley to be attached to the British columns—and what did I see? The British are burning houses to the ground and putting the displaced people into concentration camps where they don’t give them enough to eat. In Kimberley we were rationed because we were running out of food, but the British  are  doing  this  deliberately.  They  are starving their prisoners, who are mainly women and children.” “I think you need to leave South Africa for a while,” Mrs. Van Koopmans said. “Does Rhodes have someplace else for you to go?” “No, he’s  hiding out  in  Rhodesia. After 126 days in Kimberley together, he and Colonel Keke- wich are no longer on speaking terms.” Mrs. Van Koopmans laughed. “And that’s bad? I think I have more respect for the British officer just hearing that.” “I have to say, I thought when I was Jacktar and living on the docks, I had a hard life. But this war is much worse.” “What do you plan to do?” “I’ve written my letter of resignation and I intend to deliver it to Groot Schuur myself. I’m sure Gordon Le Sueur will be happy to accept it. He’s never liked me—I never quite had the right pedigree.” “If you do this, you know you can’t stay in South Africa. Rhodes doesn’t like people whom he considers to be disloyal.” “I know. There’s a steamer that should be leav- ing for New Zealand in a few days.” “Tell me, do you really care where you go?” “I don’t. New Zealand, Australia, India—it doesn’t matter.” “What about America?” America? I hadn’t thought of that. I’m a Brit- ish citizen, and I only considered the colonies.”
 “It wouldn’t have to be permanent, but I do have something that might interest you. What do you know about ostriches?” “Ostriches? I know during the early part of the siege some men brought in some eggs that made a fine breakfast.” “You won’t be eating eggs, my boy. You’ll be escorting two pair of ostriches to my old friend Yhomas Prinsen. He bought an ostrich farm in Phoenix, Arizona Territory, and he wants to introduce some new stock into his flock. He asked me to arrange getting them out of the country.” “Why?” “The exporting of ostrich feathers to the United States is a big business for the Cape Colony. Now Yhomas thinks he can take some of that business for himself. He’s found the Salt River Valley in Arizona to be a perfect place to raise ostriches. The only problem he’s encoun- tered is that the colonial authorities only allow birds to be exported for exhibits in zoological gardens.” Christian smiled. “And so you are facilitat- ing getting an exhibit out of Cape Town. Is that right?” Mrs. Van Koopmans nodded. “I just hadn’t found someone I could trust to get them to Yho- mas. Will you do it?” “Shouldn’t I know something about these birds?” “Would you do it if July went with you?” “July? Is he still working for you?”
 “Of course. He’s worked for me for twenty years. Why wouldn’t he still be here?” Maricopa County, Arizona Territory 1900 Phoebe Sloan took off her brown felt hat and wiped her brow with the back of her sleeve as she rested on her rake. It’d been a long time since the last rain, yet a cloud was gathering in the west. She looked over to see that Trinidad was still mowing the alfalfa, so she began waving her hat to get his attention. “Don’t you want me to finish the mowin’, Miss Phoebe?” her hired man asked. “No, I want you to help Cornello get what’s cut into haycocks.” “It’s not dry yet. Shouldn’t we leave it in the swath?” “Yes, but if it rains, it’s ruined. So stop and help Cornello.” “Yes, ma’am.” Trinidad lifted the sickle bar and moved toward Cornello, who was at the other end of the field. Soon the two men, who were both in their sixties, were pitching the hay into mounds.
Phoebe had been out in the sun for most of the day. She’d made a pallet for Will in the shade of a mesquite tree, and the two of them had eaten lunch together before her son had fallen asleep. She walked over to see if he was awake. There was Will, her beautiful four-year-old, resting innocently on the patchwork quilt. She smiled when she saw where he’d built a house out of sticks, and fences out of seed pods. All his carved ostriches were separated into pairs. Phoebe shook her head, wondering how many children would find enjoyment by playing with carved ostriches. She looked toward the sky. The cloud was getting darker, but she was reluctant to wake the sleeping child. Instead, she walked to the other side of the tree and knelt down beside her husband’s grave, where she began rearrang- ing the rocks that outlined the site. “I need to talk to you, Edwin.” She said the words conversationally as if her husband were sitting beside her. “I went to see Mr. Forbes this week to renegotiate the loan. He said he’d drop the interest rate to four percent if I could pay five percent by the end of the summer.” Her voice began to shake. “I don’t know if I can do it. Buck tells me Mr. Prinsen wants to buy every ostrich in the valley, but if I sell our birds now, I won’t have any way to make a living.” “You’re a fool, Phoebe.” Phoebe jumped when she recognized her brother-in-law’s voice. “Frank, what’re you doing here?” “I came to talk to you. Charles Forbes told me you’d been in to see him.” “That’s none of your business.” “Oh, yes it is. That’s my nephew over there, and I won’t let you kill him like you did my brother.” Phoebe took a deep breath, but didn’t speak. They’d had this conversation before. “You know what he did was because of you and your big ideas. What fool thinks there’s money to be made in ostrich feathers?” “Mr. Prinsen thinks there’s money in it.” “He grew up in South Africa—he knows some- thing about ostriches, and there’s one thing he has that you don’t: money. Haven’t you learned that it takes a lot of money to keep this place going?” “Our first birds are mature now—all it takes to keep them is alfalfa.” “That’s a lie. You keep those two old men around. What do you pay them?” Again Phoebe didn’t answer. “Whatever it is, it’s too much. You should sell out and move into town.” “I won’t do that. Not as long as there’s a breath in my body.” Phoebe gritted her teeth. “It won’t be long until you’ll be lying right there beside Edwin. Have you looked at yourself lately? You look like a dried prune. Your hair is always a mess, your clothes are in tatters. What money you do have, you pour back into this worthless piece of sand.” By now, tears were streaming down Phoebe’s face. “I’ve told you before, I’ll take care of you.” Frank’s voice softened. “You don’t have to be here.” “Yes, you have told me before, and you’ve told me what I have to do to earn it. But no matter how desperate I might get for money, I’ll never warm your bed, Frank Sloan.”
  Frank stepped up to Phoebe. He wiped the tears from her cheeks. “Never say never, my dear Phoebe. You might find my bed much more to your liking than you ever found my brother’s.” Phoebe slapped Frank hard. A sardonic smile crossed his face. “A spit- fire—that’s what I like about you. If only it had been me that came to your bed that night, Will would’ve been my son.” Just then, in the distance, thunder rumbled. Phoebe left Frank standing by his brother’s grave as she gathered Will in her arms and ran to the house.

Publishers Weekly
Luck’s turn-of-the-20th-century romance about an Afrikaaner and an Arizona ostrich farmer is a tender aw-shucks tale. Widow and mother Phoebe Sloan is struggling to make ends meet on the ostrich farm that she talked her husband into buying. He’s gone, her in-laws hold her responsible for the farm’s failure, and her brother-in-law, Frank, is doing his best to subvert her efforts. When single, handsome Christian De Wet escorts some birds from Cape Town to a neighboring Maricopa County farmer, he meets Phoebe and is immediately smitten. It doesn’t hurt that Will, Phoebe’s four-year-old son, latches on to “Wet” as a substitute father. Ostriches are mean cusses, but Christian pitches in to help, and before long he finds his way to Phoebe’s heart. Luck’s story comes alive with likable characters playing against a backdrop of colorful Arizona Territory panoramas and topical political references. (Apr.)

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About Sarah:
Sara Luck has lived the life that other novelists write about. A retired school teacher, Sara taught in Alaska, 200 miles above the Arctic Circle. She has traveled to every state in the United States and has watched Bowhead Whales breaching in the Chukchi Sea, cavorting Dahl Sheep in the Brooks Range, leaping cutthroat trout on Oregon's McKenzie River, roaming grizzly bear and mountain lions in the Absorka Range in Wyoming, and dolphins at play from her beach home at Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Married to NY Times Best Selling novelist, Robert Vaughan, Sara has for over 30 years been Robert's research assistant, editor, librarian, sounding board, and story consultant.

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  1. Thanks for showcasing this Debbie and putting it on my radar!

  2. Oh Under the Desert Sky sounds awesome, Debbie! I loved that excerpt. :)

  3. Post twinsies! I have her on today too :)

  4. Hehe - heard of neither of them in my part of the world, but now I have and I gotta read one of hers!

  5. I love the setting Debbie. Thanks for sharing the excerpt. This is one I know I would enjoy!

  6. I read a review earlier and oh it sounded good!