Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Heartbreak Trail sneak peek #2

Meet 2 brand-new characters. The hired trail hand is Toledo McGuire, and his horse is Sultan. Here's your assignment. I need pictures of him and of his horse, Sultan. Andi first meets him when the half dozen temporary trail hands Mitch hired the day before ride into the yard. They're all young and boisterous. All except the one off to the side . . . 

After reading the excerpt, please help me find a picture of Toledo! He's about 19 and you can read his description. I need a link for a picture, like you did before. And HELP! I can't find a picture of his gorgeous horse, either. So, I'd love links to both pictures. Thanks! Leave the links in the comments box. 

       Off to one side of the group, a tall, good-looking cowboy sat his horse as if he were leading a rodeo procession. Andi caught her breath. The horse was at least sixteen hands tall and held his head high. His black mane and tail stood out against his glistening white body.
       He’s gorgeous! Andi thought. Not your ordinary cow pony. She couldn’t help wondering if the horse was any good at rounding up maverick steers. He seemed more suited for a parade than for a cattle drive.
       The cowboy also held his head high. He acted more serious than the other drovers, though he was not much older. His clothes were clean and pressed instead of trail-worn. He caught Andi gaping at him and swept off his hat.
       “Howdy-do, miss,” he called to her in a pleasant voice, nodding politely. A wide smile showed even, white teeth.
       Andi blushed. Not just any cowboy, either. She returned his nod.
When the new drovers dismounted and shook hands with Mitch, the tall cowboy stayed in his saddle. He surveyed the ranch with sparkling, black eyes. “I want to get settled straightaway,” he told Mitch. “Where’s the bunkhouse?”
       Mitch waved at Levi, who had come up beside Andi to watch. “Levi, show Toledo where he can stow his gear, will you?”
       “Sure thing,” Levi said, goggling at the circus spectacle. “This way, mister.” He led the way past the round pen and behind the blacksmith shed.
       Andi flicked a hurried glance at the other five cowhands, who were chattering and yanking their saddles from their dusty mounts. Then she took off after Levi to get a closer look at the white stallion. Maybe this Toledo fellow will let me ride his horse if I ask nicely, she thought.
       Andi caught up to Levi and Toledo as they rounded the blacksmith shop. “That pretty little filly your sister?” she heard Toledo ask. She stopped in mid-step and hung back to keep out of sight. A tingle crept along her spine at the cowboy’s bold words.
       Levi looked up at the rider towering over him. “No, she’s my—”
       “Is the boss your pa?”
       “Who, Mitch?” Levi laughed. “Somethin’ wrong with your eyes, mister? He’s not old enough to be my pa. He’s—”
       “Where’s the bunkhouse?” Toledo cut in, ignoring Levi’s jab.
       “Over there.” Levi pointed to the blue-gray building just beyond the blacksmith shed. “Likely there’s a good bunk or two left.” He turned on his heel to go.
       “Hey, whoa, boy,” Toledo ordered.
       Levi stiffened and slowly turned to face Toledo.
       The new cowhand smiled pleasantly. “How ’bout lugging my stuff inside?”
       Andi held her breath. It was worded nicely, but if Levi let Toledo boss him once, he’d keep doing it. Should I warn him? No, Levi had to stand up for himself. And he wouldn’t like it if she interfered.
       Levi had no trouble speaking his mind. “Do it yourself.” His clenched fists told Andi that although her nephew had matured considerably the last couple of years, his rough edges still lingered near the surface. “My uncles give the orders around here.”
       “That so?” Toledo answered, not missing a beat. “Well, when they’re not around, I’ll see to it.” With that, he popped Levi with the knotted end of a rope he was carrying. “See?” The crack caught Levi across the shoulders. He yelped and ducked, just missing the next snap.
       Andi gasped at Toledo’s rattlesnake-quick reaction. Levi may have deserved a cuff for his sass, but not that way, and certainly not from a hired hand. She took a step forward.
Sid appeared in the bunkhouse doorway. “What’s the ruckus?” he demanded, stepping down from the porch.
       Toledo cocked an eyebrow at Sid and rested his palms against the saddle horn. “Just teachin’ this smart-aleck kid some manners.”
       “I see.” Sid’s eyes turned stormy. He chewed his lip, as if deciding how much truth there was to the new man’s words. Levi’s reputation for backtalk followed him everywhere. “Light down and haul your stuff inside,” he said. He nodded at Andi. “Afternoon, Miss Andi.”
       Toledo twisted around in the saddle and his expression brightened. “Howdy-do again, miss.” He climbed down, doffed his hat, and bowed low. “We haven’t been properly introduced. Toledo McGuire at your service.” He looked up. “I—”
       “This here’s Miss Andrea Carter,” Sid broke in, underscoring her relationship to Toledo’s new bosses. “And she ain’t got time for idle yappin’ with no slicked-up cowhand. She was just leaving.” He gave her a look that left no room for argument. “Levi too. They got work to do.”
       Toledo straightened and settled his hat back on his head. “Well, that’s a real shame. It surely is.”
       Andi felt her face flame. How dare Sid boss her like she was ten years old! And in front of the handsome new hired hand too. She held her ground, fully intending to show Sid he couldn’t tell her what to do.
       Then she remembered Mitch’s advice to mind Sid and Cook and let them fuss. Help me brush Sid’s words off, she prayed quickly, before I say something I shouldn’t. She lingered a moment admiring the white stallion then turned to go.
       “Sure sorry you can’t stick around, Miss Carter,” Toledo said. “Sultan would love to make your acquaintance.” He slapped his horse’s neck. “Wouldn’t you, Sultan?”
       The horse nickered and tossed his head. His long, black mane rippled.
       Andi stepped toward the horse, but Sid’s glare kept her from sidling up closer to greet Sultan properly. Beside her, Levi kept a wary eye on Toledo. He looked ready to duck if the new drover decided to pop the knotted rope-end at him again.
       Sid motioned them away then rounded on Toledo. “Enough tomfoolery. Get your gear inside if you want a good bunk.” He pointed to where the rest of the new hands were headed their way, hauling their saddles across the yard. “It’s just for a night or two, but those youngsters will grab ’em quick enough if you don’t.”
       Toledo didn’t appear in any hurry to claim the best bunk. He touched the brim of his hat to Andi. “Hope to see you again before the drive.”
       “Oh, you’ll see plenty of us,” Andi said. She walked backward to keep Sultan in her sights for as long as she could. “Levi and I are Cook’s helpers this trip.” Saying it out loud made Andi’s heart swell with satisfaction. I’m really going!
       “You don’t say!” Toledo’s smile grew wider. “A bright spot to look forward to after a long, dusty day in the saddle. Maybe I’ll play and sing for you in the evenings.” His hand reached out and rested on a guitar strapped to the bundle tied behind his saddle.
       “I reckon you’ll be singin’ and playin’ for the cattle during night duty.” Sid’s mouth turned down.
       Toledo laughed. “That too, old man.”
       Levi tugged on Andi’s sleeve. “Let’s go.” As they headed back to finish loading the chuck wagon, Andi couldn’t miss Sid’s words.
       “That fella’s trouble, and Chad’s gonna hear about it from me.”
       Andi let out a breath. Grumpy old Sid was always quick to find fault with one new man or the other. Sure, Toledo acted a bit too sure of himself, but he was also charming and good-looking. Sid had no call to disapprove of him so openly.
        Besides, Andi mused, I kinda like him . . .


  1. What color is Toledo's hair?

    1. Also, can we give you pics from google images?

    2. Sure! You can find the pictures anywhere. Uh . . . well . . . what color do you think his hair should be? Anything but blond. :-)

    3. Okay, I remember. His hair is black, and his eyes are dark.

    4. Strawberry blond!!(THAT'S A LIGHTISH BLOND RED)

    5. I agre with Evelina that's shuch a pretty shad of hair

  2. You should get a pic of Roy Rodgers to be Toledo.

    Good sneak peak! I cannot wait for it to come out!!!

    1. I think Roy is a bit too old to portray a 19 year old, and . . . Roy Rogers was a Christian and 'good guy.' Toledo is, well . . . wait and see.

    2. Oh...I can guess! You might be able to find a younger version of Roy though.

  3. This one is as close as I could find... The horse isn't very tall though and it is in motion.

  4. Horses :


    I haven't found anything for Toledo yet.

  5. Here are a few suggestions for Toledo:
    1. http://www.wearysloth.com/Gallery/ActorsC/tve3574-19600910-51.jpg
    2. http://tesla.liketelevision.com/liketelevision/images/lowrez/bonanzj19213.jpg
    3. http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/2088/2881/1600/b201_Image147.jpg

    The actor's name is Ben Cooper and he was on Bonanza and Gunsmoke.

    1. Great! Thanks for the name. I'll see if I can find more of him.

  6. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/510384570244797244/
    Here are two I thought would fit the horse.

    1. Oops I thought it was supposed to be all black... Sorry

  7. I found a couple that might work for Toledo.

    And also this one: (I don't know if he looks too old to be 19, though.)

    And here's some I found for Sultan, although it was hard to find all white horses with a black mane and tail:

    1. Those are good ones:)!

    2. Thanks! I really like yours too!!!

  8. Toledo:

  9. here are a few. I hope they help:)


  10. Horse pictures


    Their are Twp guys in the link though...….

  11. Here are some links. I think he looks too old though.



  12. Here are two I found...

    1. Thanks! Me too. what a great color combo. I haven't seen many like it :)

  13. Maybe these for Toledo:



    1. Love the first one. I'm going to do a voting post, so you all can vote on the Toledo you like best, based on a brief character sketch I'm writing for him. :-)

  14. Here is another I found.... really like this one :)

    1. Yes, someone else sent this one too. I liked it but since I already had a nice head shot that I liked even better, I decided not to use this one. Thanks! :-)

  15. Here's 2 I found for Toledo -


  16. I love this! I get such an amazing mental image. That's one thing I've enjoyed with all the books-they were descriptive but not boring in descriptions! I've grown up reading Lucy Maud Montgomery, and these are some of my favourite "modern" (as in written in recent years!) books, so you can tell that they measure up well! And Andi seems to be just the same...with a crush??! I haven't read the sneak peek for the first Milestone book, because I'm going to be getting it soon and want to save the surprise element! Plus, I've got a good idea already from other blog posts!
    Keep writing, Mrs. Marlow! You'll always have an audience here! Several weeks ago, I got to sit down (while sorting through books-takes a long time, as I enjoy RE-READING EVERY BOOK! Especially when deciding what to give away! Anyway, I came across some of the younger Andi books one of my siblings got at Christmas, and they sure were sweet! I hope to write like that someday (with my own style, of course!).
    God bless!

    1. Thanks, Indi! This is a great encouragement to me! And you . . . keep on writing too!

  17. what day does Heartbreak Trail come out?

    1. July 27, unless you are a reader of this blog. :-)
      For my fans, I will let you all get it a month ahead of the stores and online booksellers, because my publisher always gets it into their warehouse about a month before it releases (or even earlier sometimes!)

  18. I don`t really get it? How do you order earlier?

    1. Well, my publisher sends me a box or two of books WAY before they release them to Amazon, CBD, and bookstores. So fans can order a book from my website. I'll announce it when it happens. :-)

    2. okay! thx :D

  19. when will the next sneak peak come out?

    1. Next week if I remember to post it. It's all ready to go. :-)

  20. Sultan sounds soooooo beautiful!!!!! ÷)


Let Andi know what you think!