Anthology Featured author Monday guest author Time travel romance Western historical romance

Monday author Meetup: Carol Spradling’s “When Love Arrives”

Carol Spradling

About the author:

Carol may have grown up on Florida beaches, but her heart has always belonged to the mountains. Last year, she and her husband finally fulfilled her lifelong fantasy. They moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains. YAY!!!!! If she can curb her endless mountain gazing from her front door, she might get some work done on her next book. She still can’t believe she lives in an area she loves so much.

Short story writing:

When I was first approached to write a short story, I was excited and a little nervous. Could I tell a full story within 2000 words? I viewed this exercise as a personal challenge. I have to admit, it was difficult to not go into massive details, but once I got past the desire to tell the reader every aspect of the story, I relaxed and the story flowed. A short story is just that, a quick read that delivers a condensed version of a full-length novel. And to be honest, every now and then, a short story is just what a reader wants, a good story without elaborate description.

When Love Arrives blurb:

When Laurel McGrath is exposed as a stowaway on a Santa Fe wagon train, she becomes the responsibility of Butler, the group’s wagon master. He promises to keep her with the group, regardless of the threats of several men. Remaining by his side, Laurel nearly forgets the reason she sneaked into the group, but an unexpected meeting with someone from her past threatens to destroy more than her growing feelings for Butler.

When Love Arrives excerpt:

She’d never openly admit it, but Butler had been the object of more than one of her own daytime fantasies. Her eyes lowered to his wide mouth. Would the reality of his lips on hers be as wonderful as she had imagined?

Her body flushed and she lifted the hair off the back of her neck. She needed to get to Santa Fe and reunite with her fiancé before she forgot the reason for her trip. As much as she tried to fight her escalating emotions, her attention returned to the man stirring her desire.

Butler’s brows drew together the way they did when he tried to reach a difficult decision. Laurel squeezed her knees tighter around her mount. Was it possible to hope Santa Fe was nearby and at the same time, want it to be miles away?

Horshoe, cactus, stetson & horse divider

The Highwayman's Grace


Grace Blackstone never wanted to be a time traveler. She also didn’t want to be abandoned within reach of a notorious highwayman. A chance meeting with the outlaw leaves her vulnerable to more than her new ability. Having seen behind the wanted man’s mask, Grace is confused to find another man claiming to be her rescuer.

Highwayman Ethan Tanner has one goal in life, to destroy Bennett Brown. He has faced gunmen and braved the elements, but a young woman who seemingly appears out of nowhere terrifies him.

A rainy night brings Ethan and Grace together in more ways than one. She will have to trust him with her secret and he will have to trust her with his life, but are they willing to release their pasts in order to have a future together?


“You are agreeable to this?” Ethan asked, wanting to know her honest opinion.  He tried to keep his tone flat, giving her a chance to revise her decision.

She walked toward him, looking as uncertain as he felt.  “I’m not sure I know a better option,” she said.

“I hate to admit it,” he offered, “but this might be the best way to keep you safe.”  He reached his hand to her, hoping she saw his action as an open gesture, without concealed intent.  “As soon as I can find a way out of this,” he tried to assure her, “I’ll grant you your freedom.  I promise.”

“I hate to intrude, but I am in a rush,” the pastor interrupted.  The clergyman pointed to the lower section on the paper, and Ethan obediently signed the document.  Strangely enough, his hand didn’t shake as he affixed his name above Grace’s.

“Fine.  Fine.”  The pastor sanded the wet ink, and then opened his Bible.

“Ethan Tanner, do you solemnly promise to take this woman, Grace Blackstone, as your wife, providing for her and protecting her all of your days while in the sight of God?”

The words weighed heavy on Ethan’s shoulders.  All of your days.  He had just promised Grace he’d find a way to free her, now the pastor asked him to affirm to the contrary.  Deep red and purple abrasions encircled her throat next to the collar of the dress she wore.  He hadn’t seen them before, but Addie assured him, these marks were not isolated incidents.  He’d swear an oath to both God and Grace, and hope that one pledge wasn’t contingent on the other.

“I promise,” he said.

The minister turned to Grace.  “Grace Blackstone, do you promise to accept Ethan Tanner as your husband, abiding in his household and obeying his commands?”

Grace nodded slowly as though unsure.  She lifted her eyes to Ethan and her chin rose assertively.  “I promise.”

Addie sniffled behind them, and Ethan cringed.  This had been an impromptu ceremony.  What would she have done with a year to prepare?

“You are husband and wife,” Pastor Whitten proclaimed.  “May your life be filled with many children.  Now that this is done, I’ll be on my way to the Clancy farm to discuss the details for tomorrow.”  He touched the signatures with his fingertip, folded the paper, and then placed it inside his Bible.  Tucking everything under his arm, he waved to them in passing.  “Good day,” he said, and then disappeared through the opened doorway.

Ethan stared awkwardly after the minister, not completely certain what to do next.  He supposed he should take his wife and sister home.  His wife.  When he started out this morning, he hadn’t thought his day would end with a marriage ceremony.  He glanced over at his bride.  She was caught in Addie’s tight embrace, being rocked from side to side.

Lavender oil should soothe her abrasions, but he doubted her internal scars would heal as easily.  Other than give her time to forget what had happened to her, he didn’t know how else to help her.  He looked to the bruised skin at the cuffs of her sleeve, feeling as responsible for her pain as if he’d personally clamped the constraints against her delicate skin.  He’d taken two vows tonight, and while he wasn’t sure how, he planned to honor them both.  Whether successful or not, one thing was certain, no one would lay a hand to her again while he lived.  But more importantly, Bennett would pay for what he did to this woman…his wife.

Purchase here:

Find Carol  here:

Amazon Author Page: Western Romance, Time-Travel Author

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6 comments on “Monday author Meetup: Carol Spradling’s “When Love Arrives”

  1. Carol, I, too, enjoyed your excerpts. and look forward to reading them in their entirety. Time travel is a fave read for me. I’ve recently written two short stories and found I enjoy the challenge. It isn’t as easy as it sounds in the beginning but it appears you have a talent for writing them!


  2. texasdruids

    Carol, I’m so happy you could join me today. I love both your excerpts! Can’t wait to read all of When Love Arrives.


  3. Hi Carol,
    Wonderful excerpts. It sounds like you live in a really beautiful place.




  4. Writing the anthology was lots of fun, and I’m surrounded by great authors. I hope you enjoy it.


  5. Hi, Carol–I enjoyed your excerpts. Our Rawhide ‘n Roses anthology is bound to be a big seller with authors like you! I like to write 2000 word stories–I’ve done several. They’re really “scenes” which turn out to be a little story, but like you, I believe every one of them could be an entire novel. Yet, there’s something about these short tales that pack a wallop. Good job.


  6. Great excerpt. I tweeted.


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