Howdy, Delighted Readers!
For our stop on The Persephone Star tour, we have a fun Valentine treat. A Deleted Scene, no less!
Author, Jamie Sullivan is sharing a poignant moment from her exciting latest release featuring fiercesome western characters, setting, and action paired with a tender romance.
This scene originally came half-way through the novel, and shows a quiet moment between Penelope and one of the crew of the Persephone Star – Vera, a former prostitute with a prickly personality. Scenes got shifted around in later drafts, and there was no time for the women to make dinner together. Still, I really like the dynamic between the two women that develops here.
“Here.” Vera appeared at Penelope’s side, a knife in her hand. Penelope’s eyes widened. “Make yourself useful. You can peel the potatoes.”
The knife suddenly looked liked an olive branch, a sign of trust. She took it with a smile. “I can do potatoes.”
“Put on some music!” Vera called as she marched to the kitchen, Penelope at her heels.
Behind them the gramophone scratched as a disc was dropped on to it. Music poured out of the horn, a tinny beat lighting up the room.
Vera set Penelope to work in the corner, peeling her way through a mountain of spuds. Near the sink, Vera chopped. Her knife flew through the vegetables, her body loose and easy. After a moment Penelope realized Vera was singing along to the music, low at first, but growing louder as she lost herself in the food.
She had a good voice, clear but smoky, pretty but rough. Like Vera herself. Penelope tapped her foot along as her knife worked through the potatoes, the burn in her hands a pleasant reminder that she was helping.
“All right, just get those in the pot,” Vera called out, nodding towards the stove.
Penelope scooped up the first of the potatoes and headed for the bubbling water. “You have a lovely voice,” she said. Vera paused and Penelope worried that she had crossed some invisible boundary and broken their tenuous truce.
“I’ve always liked to sing,” Vera allowed after a moment, relaxing. Penelope smiled, continuing to drop the potatoes into the water.
“Sometimes I sang at the dancehall.”
Penelope looked over, surprised. Vera wasn’t looking at her, busy with her food.
“It paid terrible, but I still loved it. I liked having all them men look at me for something other than my body, you know?”
“You’ve got a pretty long list of skills, I’d say,” Penelope said quietly.
Vera turned, cocking an eyebrow. “Yeah?”
“Singing, cooking, bank robbing.” Penelope shrugged. “Seems a person could do worse.”
“I’m not too bad with a gun, neither,” Vera grinned.
“Gunslinger, chef, and songstress. They’ll write ballads about you.”
“I should hope so,” Vera said, squaring her shoulders. Penelope could tell she had passed some kind of test; she had won Vera’s easy smile—not the sharp one she snapped at people, but a softer, amused smile that lit up her face.
“Now, shuck that corn.”
About The Persephone Star
Love looks different from a thousand feet up.
Postmistress Penelope Moser has recently settled with her father in the Wild West town of Fortuna. Shocked by the violence around her and the depressing lives of the town’s women, she throws herself into her job. She’s determined to make the best of it before she has to marry the odious town sheriff.
But when the Persephone Star is spotted in the territory, danger literally hits close to home. Its captain—the famed outlaw Mirage Currier—is fresh out of prison and gunning for revenge on Penelope’s fiancé for locking her up and sentencing her sister to death. Penelope’s pleas to avoid violence are ignored, and a bloody showdown seems inevitable. That is, until Penelope is kidnapped and held hostage on the Star.
Shockingly, Penelope finds intrigue rather than danger in the air. Mirage’s reputation as a hardened criminal doesn’t fit with the Star’s vibrant young captain whose only goal is to save her sister from the gallows. With her sympathies shifting, Penelope must decide whether to remain loyal to her father and the man she promised to marry, or face an uncertain future with an enthralling outlaw.
About Jamie Sullivan
Jamie Sullivan has been writing for what feels like her entire life – her parents’ attic is full of notebooks brimming with early attempts at fiction. She’s found her stride, however, in romance. She’s happy experimenting with genre, and has written supernatural, science fiction, and realist stories.
To celebrate this release, one lucky person will win a $10 gift card to Riptide! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 15, 2020. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. For more chances to enter, follow the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
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