A Rocky Mountain Romance by Misty M. Beller ~ Blog Tour & Sneak Peek!

The Wyoming mountain country seems like the perfect place for Zeche Reid to find himself. When a blizzard sends him scrambling for cover, he stumbles upon a lady and her professor father holed up in a remote cabin. His protective instincts won't let him desert them to continue his travels, especially when the father’s haunting memories from the War of Succession put his daughter’s safety at risk. 

Fighting her own nightmares after the war, Greta Michelly is trying to settle into this rugged mountain land, but her bad memories are nothing compared to the demons that haunt her father. The haven they’ve found in these Rocky Mountains seems to be the solace he needs to find peace—until a mysterious sojourner appears on their cabin doorstep. She can’t help but be drawn to the wild aura that surrounds the man, but that strength seems to be that very thing that intensifies her father’s struggles. 

As Zeche is torn between his craving to protect Gretta and the awful realization that he’s the one putting her in more danger, he’s forced to make a difficult choice. But when a run-in with an elk changes his plans and Gretta is faced with a danger Zeche is powerless to control, Zeche has to find a way to protect her at any cost. Even at the cost of his heart. 

Book links:

About the Author:
Misty M. Beller writes Christian historical romance and is the author of the bestselling Mountain Dreams Series and the Texas Rancher Trilogy.
She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and daughters now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.
God has placed a desire in Misty's heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God's abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.
Writing is a dream come true for Misty. Her family--both immediate and extended--is the foundation that holds her secure in that dream.
Author contact links:
Learn more at www.MistyMBeller.com.Misty loves to connect at her website, FacebookGoodreadsTwitter, Bookbub, and Pinterest


Chapter One

Near South Pass City, Wyoming Territory
October, 1866

This storm had the power to ruin his journey.
The ashen snow clouds hung thick in the sky, which meant Zeche Reid wouldn’t have much time before the blizzard hit. Icy dampness seemed to hover in the air as it captured his breath, and even his exhales hung like leaden clouds, harbingers of the coming threat. Chipmunks had been scurrying all morning, hopping from pine to spruce to cedar, searching for the last remaining acorns. All the signs bespoke snow. A lot of it.
He stared out across the rocky peaks of the Wyoming mountains. Snow blanketed most of the pinnacles, but others stored the white only in nooks and crags. In the valley beneath him, patches of brown grass peeked out from the frozen covering. The plants would be buried soon enough.
Which meant he needed to find a place to hole up.
He'd been hoping for a cave, but he may have to settle for that rock overhang just visible on the side of the mountain opposite him. Nudging Biscuit forward, he shifted with the gelding’s unsteady gait as they maneuvered the winding deer trail around the rocky cliff side. A lone flake almost the size of his thumbprint drifted down in front of them.
He’d covered a lot of ground these past weeks since leaving the icy chill of the Sweetwater River. But there was still so much to see and explore in these mountains. Now that his sister, Mara, and her husband had taken on most of the horses and training from their family ranch, he no longer bore that responsibility. And his youngest brother, Ezra, could handle the stage stop on his own, especially as things slowed down through the winter months.
There was almost nothing holding Zeche back. No one who needed him.
The chance he’d been waiting for had finally come. An opportunity to strike out on his own and explore as far into these Rocky Mountains as he and Biscuit could go before spring. Unfortunately, the going had proved slower than he’d expected, especially with several snowfalls making the trails slick. But slower travel gave him more time to take in the views. More time for the majesty of this mountain wilderness to sneak into his chest and take hold.
New snowflakes followed the first, falling in steady procession as he rounded the crest of the mountain and the trail descended more steeply. Something below caught his eye, and he reined in.
A cabin.
With smoke curling from a rock chimney attached to the side of the wooden structure, it looked as out of place in this desolate land as a glass storefront. Yet, the structure seemed to snuggle into the trees around it as if it had always been there.
The building sat several hundred feet away from him, near the bottom of the mountain where the ground leveled out.
You never knew what kind of people would be living this far out in the remote mountains. Should he avoid the place altogether? He could still head on to that rock overhang and wouldn’t have to worry about dealing with these folks.
But as a gust of wind found its way between his neck and the hood of his buckskin coat, he could almost feel himself nestled in that warm room near a crackling fire, his hands curled around a mug of hot coffee. The imagined smell of the savory brew crept into his senses and he nudged Biscuit forward.
The snow fell in earnest now, its icy drops pricking the exposed areas on his face. Maybe they’d even have a hot stew cooking. He’d not tasted stew since leaving the stage stop. Ezra’s cooking skills weren’t the best, but the boy could brew a pot of soup without burning it.
As he neared the spot where the ground leveled off—about thirty feet in front of the cabin—Zeche reined his horse to a stop. He should announce his presence before he moved close enough to knock on the door. Didn’t want to get shot.
“Halloo, in there. Anyone home?” They had to be home, with the smoke seeping from the chimney and mingling with the snowflakes as it rose.
A long moment passed, and he wet his lips to call again. “Halloo, in the cabin. I mean no harm.”
The door cracked open, as if those were the magic words. But then it didn’t move again. The six inches or so of darkness revealed nothing inside. But it was wide enough that a gun could be trained on him. And who knew if the ol’ coot with his finger on the trigger was sane or crazy.
“I mean no harm,” he called. “Just looking for a place to wait out the storm.” Another moment passed. This was fruitless. He should have bypassed the cabin altogether and headed on to the overhang he’d spotted on that other mountain. At least then his fate would be mostly his to control, not tucked in the hands of some half-crazed mountain hermit.
He was about to tell the person in the cabin to never mind and have a nice day, but the door opened wider, halting his throat from working up the words.
A soft glow of light cleared the shadows from the doorway, and a skinny form slipped through the opening onto the cabin’s small porch.
The person stood tall and lanky, wrapped in a fur coat with the hood pulled up around his face. And the man did, indeed, hold a rifle targeted at him. Loosely, anyway. The stock was tucked into his shoulder with the barrel pointed Zeche’s direction, but the man didn’t peer down the sights to take aim.
“I mean no harm,” he tried again. Maybe this situation could be resolved yet. Although the prospect of spending the next several hours—and possibly the night—with this suspicious, rifle-pointing recluse held less appeal by the minute. He shouldn’t have expected different.
“I was just looking for a place to ride out the storm.” He scanned the structure, his eyes locking on something in the rear. “If you have a lean-to in the back, I can stay there with my horse.”
The figure stood for another moment. Maybe studying him. Maybe the man couldn’t speak.
“Settle your horse in the back and come inside the cabin.”
Zeche’s gaze flew to the fellow’s face. That voice. It wasn’t the baritone of a man at all. That softness had to be…

He squinted, trying to make out the features tucked inside the hood of the coat. Dark eyes stared back at him, framed by a feathering of dark hair and a dainty, pointed chin. Even from this distance, how could he have missed the pretty, angular lines of a woman’s face?

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