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May 27

Crossing Texas Stagecoach-Style by Linda Carroll-Bradd

Saddle up and welcome Linda Carroll-Bradd as she takes us on a stagecoach ride across Texas. LindaC-B_300x300

Thanks for having me as your guest, Anna. In the mid-1800s, people needed determination and patience to travel from one side of Texas to the other. Stagecoaches ran on a weekly or bi-weekly schedule. A trip from St Louis to San Francisco involved about 25 days of travel. The coaches were drawn by six horses and stops were made every 12 miles for fresh teams. Depending on the terrain, coaches covered between 5 and 12 miles per day—running day and night. Passengers were grateful to get hot coffee, biscuits and jerky at these stops; on rare occasions, hot meals were available.

The suggested items would have filled a large satchel, or three. In addition to clothing, passengers were admonished to pack 6 pair of thick socks, woolen underdrawers, blankets—one in summer and two in winter, 3-4 towels, heavy overcoat, light coat, hat and their choice of pistol or knife for personal protection. A lady such as Jessamay Morgan from San Antonio reading that list and traveling in summer would probably not worry about the woolens or blankets.

Once Jessamay got inside the stagecoach, she could choose a window or middle position (approximately 15” in width was the allowance) on either a forward or backward-facing bench seat. No one wanted to be the last to board because that earned a place on the middle bench with no backrest. As she set out on her journey, she could read the rules about men forgoing swearing and smoking in a lady’s presence, but tobacco chewing was allowed, as long as the chewer spat downwind. I would hope so. Or if the person (presumed to be a male) couldn’t refrain from drinking alcohol, then he must pass the bottle around. Yum. Snoring loudly or using another passenger’s shoulder as a pillow was frowned upon. Improper advances toward a woman could get the male kicked off the stagecoach in the middle of nowhere. Nothing about a woman making a pass was mentioned. Forbidden topics of conversation were stagecoach robberies and Indian uprisings. Sounds like a smart rule. Passengers were encouraged not to jump from the stage in case of runaway horses so as not to be left victim to the weather, hostile Indians or hungry coyotes. Ouch.staegecoach in front of stone building

Jessamay had a purpose and she looked at all these strictures as part of her great adventure. She was done with the life at Miss Veronica’s Pleasure Palace and wanted to see mountains—at least until she set her gaze on a handsome stage passenger, Slade Thomas. But nothing every goes as planned. The “excitement” of her first trip is interrupted by a holdup, and she and Slade fight the clock to outwit the bandits.

EXCERPT

Miss Morgan leaned back against the cushion and let out a groan. “The air is stiflin’ and I just can’t breathe. If you won’t let me open the shade, I’ll just get cool another way.” Her pale hand rose to the buttons at her neck.

In fascination, Slade watched as she undid her collar and then the first two buttons on her blouse, exposing a regal neck and creamy skin. Awareness of this woman hit him in the gut and his body reacted. Damnation! He shifted on the seat to ease the strain on his trousers and accidentally bumped Miss Morgan’s knee.stagecoach in sunset

She shot him a questioning look and slowly pressed her leg the length of his. From her reticule, she pulled out and flourished a fan painted with red roses. Waving her left hand, the fan moved quickly in front of her face and she sighed. “That’s better.”

Slade detected a look of envy from the quiet woman across from him. On this point, he agreed with the outspoken Miss Morgan. The coach was unbearably hot, enough so that he planned to remove his waistcoat at the next stop. Keeping up the image of a traveling rancher be hanged.

Mrs. Harrington sniffed. “Proper young ladies don’t use fans in public. That’s vulgar.”

Miss Morgan pinched the front of her blouse between two fingers and pulled it several inches away from her chest.

Without realizing he’d even moved, Slade eased his head sideways and spied a glimpse of her cleavage. Abundant curves. He froze, suddenly aware of how disrespectful his action must appear. What the hell was he doing?

After flashing the complainer a syrupy smile, Miss Morgan aimed the fan directly over the blouse opening and flicked her hand back and forth. “There’s times when a body’s comfort comes afore all else.” She sighed, lolled her head to look directly at him, and batted her eyelashes. “Don’t you agree, sir?”

Capturing.the.Marshalls.Heart.webCaptured by her knowing gaze, Slade stiffened and fought for a casual answer. He opened his mouth and felt a boot tip run along the back of his calf. His mouth snapped closed and he swallowed hard.

Blood pounded in his ears and his hands fisted on his thighs. Too many months had passed since his last visit to a parlor house. That had to be why he was misinterpreting the casual bumps and touches caused by the jostling stagecoach. No other explanation made sense.

The saucy gal turned toward the middle of the coach. “I surely don’t know how you ladies wear all these layers of clothes in this heat.”

What had she just said? Slade scrutinized every detail about Miss Morgan. From the wisps of light brown hair framing her face to the green jacket hugging narrow shoulders and rounded curves to the skirt that revealed a tantalizing flash of booted ankle.

Who was this woman?

Mrs. Harrington clapped her hands over the ears of the small boy at her knee. “Miss, you are most assuredly a disgrace.”

Miss Morgan lifted her head, gazed at the woman, and shrugged. “Maybe so, but I bet I’m cooler.”

Capturing The Marshal’s Heart is FREE in Kindle Unlimited. http://amzn.com/B00EKS4OHS

More information on Linda Carroll-Bradd and her other titles can be found at www.lindacarroll-bradd.com, http://blog.lindacarroll-bradd.com, Twitter https://twitter.com/lcarrollbradd, and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Linda-Carroll-Bradd-author/44081494263528

BIO: As a young girl, I spent lots of time lying on my bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, I discovered and devoured romances. At a certain point, I grew cocky enough to think I could write one of these stories. Twelve years later, my first fiction sale was achieved–a confession story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, I now write heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor and a bit of sass from my home in the southern California mountains.

 

19 comments

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  1. Jacquie Biggar

    Hi Anna,
    I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award! Here is the link: https://jbiggarblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/so-honored-to-receive-a-liebster-award-blogging-blogaward-amwriting/

  2. Alicia Dean

    Wow….interesting blog post. I love all these facts about stagecoach rides. Does not sound like a pleasure trip, for sure. As for this:

    Snoring loudly or using another passenger’s shoulder as a pillow was frowned upon.

    In my opinion, that’s STILL frowned upon. 😉

    Loved the excerpt and blurb. Jessamay sounds like quite the vixen. 🙂 Best wishes for tons of sales!

  3. Monique DeVere (@MoniqueDeVere)

    25 days??!!!!! I can’t begin to imagine how harrowing such a trip would have been. Great post and fantastic facts. Makes me praise the Lord that I live in the 21st century. Best luck with downloads and later sales! 🙂

  4. Vicki Batman

    Oh my, I can’t imagine. Recently, my aunt gave me a rose cutting and according to the antique rose website, a cutting would have traveled to my state in a wagon. What a long journey.

    Have you seen the Santa Fe tracks in Kansas?

  5. susan coryell

    Anna: Just returned from San Diego a few months ago and saw these wonderful stagecoaches in Old Town. I could relate to your description–they were tightly packed and pretty darn rough-riding was my thought! Thanks for the post. The book sounds compelling.

    1. Linda Carroll-Bradd

      I always forget about places like San Diego as having info on the Old West. I love the reminder. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Marissa Garner

    Fascinating post and great excerpt. Pure enjoyment!

    1. Linda Carroll-Bradd

      Marissa,
      The kind words are appreciated. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Linda Carroll-Bradd

    Alicia,
    So true, I guess bus trips would be the analogy to current times for being packed close together.
    Thanks for posting.

  8. Linda Carroll-Bradd

    Monique,
    I agree about the 21st century for medical issues. The part of me that loves the frontier era and reading about those times is the part that writes historical stories.:) Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Linda Carroll-Bradd

    Vicki,
    I have seen the grooves in the ground at the end of the Oregon Trail in central Oregon. Lots of the non-native plants in Oregon were trekked across the country in wagons. I’m in the midst of researching The Oregon Trail for a future book and am loving what I’m learning.
    Thanks for commenting.

  10. Judy Baker

    Loved the excerpt and a ride on the stagecoach

    1. Linda Carroll-Bradd

      Thank you for visiting the blog and leaving a comment.

  11. Stanalei Fletcher

    Never knew that about stage coach rules. Great excerpt. Loved the heat!

  12. Carol Burnside

    I’ve ridden in a stagecoach and it’s constantly jarring and bumpy. Can’t imagine how sore the passengers were after days of that.

    Enjoyed the excerpt.

  13. Diane Burton

    Great into in your post, Linda. I never thought about everything a person had to take with them for a long stage coach ride. Thanks.

  14. Linda Carroll-Bradd

    Stanalei,
    My discovery of the rules was a surprise, too. Thanks for leaving a comment.

  15. Linda Carroll-Bradd

    Carol,
    So you’ve had the first-hand experience. That’s great. Thanks for stopping by.

  16. Linda Carroll-Bradd

    Diane,
    I liked that passengers could get the suggested list from the stage company. I appreciate your comment.

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