Historical Romance, 318 pages
Cover art by Pat Evans
Blurb: Valissa Prescott’s half-brother has gambled away her Galveston estate, Heartsong and it’s been bought by Nathan Stone a hardnosed cowboy and businessman who owns several businesses in Galveston. Though she thinks she has three weeks to vacate the estate, he arrives early to claim his property. Without money or close relatives, Valissa has no choice but to remain at the house until she can find somewhere else to go.
When she realizes she is beginning to fall for this giant of a man who thinks he can bully everyone into doing his will, she tries everything she can think of to get away from him. But the one thing she didn’t count on was his smoldering desire to keep her in his home.
Excerpt: Valissa Prescott stared at Milton Bower. What did the solicitor say? She must have heard him wrong. There was no way her half-brother Kyle could have been so careless. He couldn’t have gambled away everything they owned, including her home. He just couldn’t have. Or could he?
Milton said everything the Prescott siblings owned was gone. Even the house. The beautiful pink-brick structure in one of Galveston’s most desirable neighborhoods. The estate where three generations of Prescotts had lived. The home her grandfather had built for his wife and named ‘Heartsong’ when the shipping business had become prosperous. The home where her mother was born, and had been the mistress until she died of a fever when Valissa was ten years old. The home where her father bled to death from a bullet wound from an angry rival when Valissa was fourteen. The home her half-brother was to hold in trust for her until she married or until her twenty-fifth birthday if she remained single. If she were married between the ages of nineteen and twenty-five, she and her new husband would get Heartsong immediately. Valissa would celebrate her nineteenth birthday in November.
According to her grandfather’s friend and solicitor, the stipulation no longer mattered. Heartsong didn’t belong to the Prescott family any longer. It was owned by a stranger. Someone who had no connection with the family at all. Someone who wouldn’t care about the history of how the beloved mansion had always sheltered the Prescott family.
How could Kyle have been so irresponsible? He was twelve years older than Valissa; therefore their father probably considered him capable and responsible enough to take care of his younger sister. The will had been written while Edward Prescott was dying, so there was no disputing it. Kyle received the shipping business, which he promptly sold, and Valissa was to receive the estate with an allowance her brother was to provide through Milton Bower as banker and solicitor to keep the place running.
Mr. Bower insisted that, at the time, no one had known about Kyle’s gambling and drinking habits. No one had ever guessed that his trips out of town were spent losing money in gambling houses, bordellos, and saloons.
He informed her that, when it began to dawn on the bank that Kyle Prescott had depleted the large account in his name and had begun to dip into Valissa’s inheritance, they tried to stop him from leaving his little sister in dire straits. It was no use. They could do nothing. Little by little, Kyle had let all their inheritance slip away. Of course no one informed Valissa of any of this until this meeting with Milton Bower.
“Why didn’t someone tell me?” Valissa looked at him with her big aqua-blue eyes that were misting in spite of her resolve not to cry.