FOR THE RECORD
Genre: Historical Romance / Christian
Publisher: Bethany House
Date of Publication: December 6, 2015
Number of Pages: 336
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Rather Than Wait for a Hero,
She Decided to Create One
Betsy Huckabee has big-city dreams, but nobody outside of tiny Pine Gap, Missouri, seems interested in the articles she writes for her uncle’s newspaper. Her hopes for independence may be crushed, until the best idea she’s ever had comes riding into town.
Deputy Joel Puckett didn’t want to leave Texas, but unfair circumstances have made moving to Pine Gap his only shot at keeping a badge. Worse, this small town has big problems, and masked marauders have become too comfortable taking justice into their own hands. He needs to make clear that he’s the law in this town–and that job is made more difficult with a nosy reporter who seems to follow him everywhere he goes.
The hero Betsy creates to be the star in a serial for the ladies’ pages is based on the dashing deputy, but he’s definitely fictional. And since the pieces run only in newspapers far away, no one will ever know. But the more time she spends with Deputy Puckett, the more she appreciates the real hero–and the more she realizes what her ambition could cost him.
PRAISE FOR FOR THE RECORD:
“Jennings creates a perfect blend of love, mystery, and wit in this 19th-century romance.” —Publishers Weekly starred review
“Jennings’ latest is a delightfully entertaining historical romance featuring charismatic humor, unpredictable thrills, and vigilante justice. The plot is tense and exciting, and the novel sparkles with the wit and charm of its spirited heroine. It is more romantic and less stuffy than your average inspirational, and Jennings uses classic western touches like six-shooters, spurs, and white Stetsons to land readers squarely in the Ozark Mountains of 1885.” —Booklist
“This is such a delightful read with an adorable romance and a fun and entertaining story line. . . The interactions and dialogue between the main characters are sheer perfection. The mystery and drama with the hero’s backstory and the masked marauders keep the momentum of the story going at a nice pace and allows for no dull moments. There is so much to love here in this little gem, it is easily one of Jennings’ best.” —RT Book Reviews
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Excerpt: Chapter 1, Part 2
Pine Gap, Missouri
Hooting and hollering, the riders raced into the clearing, straight at him. Who were they? If they meant him harm, he was hopelessly outnumbered. With coats turned inside out and socks over their boots, the only identifying markings would’ve been those of their horses, but even they looked to be rubbed with soot. Dozens of them appeared, some waving a bundle of switches in one hand instead of a torch, but they paid him no mind. Streaming past the depot, they continued their ghastly calling as if he were of no more consequence than the squirrels darting about for acorns beneath the oaks.
Instead of being relieved, Joel fumed. He was not used to being ignored. As the men were disappearing into the trees, he cupped his hands around his mouth and hollered a challenge.
“Hey! Don’t you see me standing here, or are y’all afraid to stop?”
He was downright affronted that no one thought enough of him to break stride.
Just before his horse dipped out of sight, one man reined hard to the left. Gravel flew as his horse cut and circled around the depot clearing. The man was massive, and the loose sack over his head only added to his bulky profile. One of his horns had twisted and pointed down like a crazed bull’s. His horse plunged its head, wanting to rejoin the herd, but the masked man held it steady and steered it directly toward Joel.
With the disguise, Joel couldn’t make out much about the man besides his size and his attitude. A leader—definitely. Fearless and arrogant. Someone he’d lock horns with sooner or later.
Might as well be sooner.
Joel stepped to the edge of the platform and looked down on the rider. Every nerve was taut. Every sense sharpened.
The man’s expression was not visible through the mask. He shifted in his saddle, and before Joel knew it, he felt the cold wooden handle of his own gun in his palm. But the man hadn’t drawn a gun on him. Instead of bullets flying his way, a bundle of switches skidded across the platform and landed at Joel’s feet.
One glance to see they posed no threat, and then Joel had the rider back in his sights.
The man’s horse pranced as the noise of the other riders faded into the woods.
“A bundle of sticks?” Joel said. “What’s that supposed to mean? Who are you?”
The white painted circle over the masked man’s mouth distorted and stretched with his answer. “I’m the law.”
Turning his horse, the rider spurred it, and they shot off like a cannonball to catch their companions, thundering across the clearing and ducking where the road entered the woods.
Joel’s scalp crawled. Releasing a long breath, he holstered his gun and only then allowed himself to consider what could’ve happened. They’d warned him that the mountains were dangerous. He’d thought the risk better than the fate that faced him at home, but now he wasn’t sure. Whatever he’d expected on his arrival, this wasn’t it.
Nope. This definitely wasn’t Texas.
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She is the author of Sixty Acres and a Bride, Caught in the Middle, and At Love’s Bidding and contributed a novella to A Match Made in Texas. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children.
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