A Widow’s Secrets

(18 customer reviews)

$4.99

Sample Chapter

Admired by everyone, the widow Elianna Winslow is the most sought after woman in town. She is beautiful, gracious, and generous to a fault. Beyond her smile and her beauty is also a woman of many secrets. She walks a fine line between benevolence and impropriety, and her secrets could destroy her. To become the woman she was meant to be she must find the courage to face her past before she can have a future.

She’s brave to try marriage not once, twice, but three times. And as the saying goes ‘the third time is the charm’. Lt. Colonel Ethan Cahill, an army officer, is the perfect man for her but he has to make his way through her battered heart to find the gem he knows is hidden there. Luckily, he’s strong enough for the both of them.

Publisher’s Note: This steamy historical romance includes action, adventure and elements of power exchange.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Bmo7Tp

Sample Chapter

 

Chapter One

 

South Pass, Wyoming Territory, 1871

 

Boyd Lattimore rode into South Pass, looking and feeling a bit saddle weary. He was tired after having been delayed due to snow—seemingly endless, unrelenting, bitter snow. As he headed further west, he knew he would have to cross many mountains, but not in this part of the Wyoming Territory. South Pass City was on a plateau of rolling hills set in the middle of the Rocky Mountains.

He had never heard of the town until the previous year when the newspapers were full of the news of Esther Hobart Morris becoming the first woman in the country to serve as a Justice of the Peace. A little-known women’s suffrage clause had been slipped into the Wyoming Territorial Constitution, which granted women the right to vote and hold office. The men responsible for signing the constitution had been so anxious to get their hands on the gold found in the area, they had not been too careful about what exactly they were signing. According to the newspapers, the men were not worried. In their opinion, women had little interest in voting, and those who did would vote as their husbands decreed.

Personally, Boyd had never met a woman so amenable. If they were around, he would like to meet one.

For now, he was spending a few months in South Pass. The decision had not been one of his choosing, rather one of family obligation. He was to be the temporary manager of the Gold Bust Saloon, owned by his cousin, John Haskle. John had gone home to deal with a family death, leaving a thriving business behind in the hands of his bartender who promptly pocketed the profits, closed the doors, and disappeared.

Boyd would be relieved of the job as soon as his cousin returned. When the time came, he intended to continue westward. He had made his fortune, pulling gold out of the bowels of the Colorado Mountains. It had taken five long years, but he was set for life. Boyd had traveled to Ohio to visit his parents, share his findings with them, and to tell them he was settling in the west permanently.

He had heard good land was available on the west coast in the state of California and in the territories of Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. Boyd wanted a chunk of that land and he had the wherewithal to claim it. He was done with steep mountains and snow. He wanted sunshine and plenty of it, although it would not be in his future for the next couple of months. The timing was inconvenient, but he had promised his family, and he always kept his word.

In the last year, Boyd had become dissatisfied with his life, not withstanding his sudden wealth. Being a single man had lost its appeal, and his visit with his family had heightened his feelings of unrest. When he saw his brothers married and settled, and he played with his nieces and nephews, he found himself bothered by his aloneness.

He was heading west to find his promised land, and to settle down and get serious about having a family. Boyd had not made a fortune strictly for himself. He needed a woman, and he had a picture of her in his mind. She would be sweet, malleable, and obedient. She would be a good woman, easy on the eyes, and proper, as a woman should be.

The previous decade had taken a lot out of him and the Lattimore lineage. He had fought in the war and lost a brother to the conflict. Boyd had been one of the lucky ones to return home with all his parts and pieces. However, he had been disillusioned by the horror of what man could do to man. He had realized even before then that he needed to follow a different path than what his parents expected.

He burrowed deeper into his fleece-lined coat and pulled the collar higher on his neck. It was beginning to snow again. Boyd had been told, warned really, that at its elevation of eight thousand feet, snow fell on South Pass almost every month of the year, occasionally even during the high summer months of July and August.

Well, he would not be here that long, a few months and he would be gone. Boyd was glad when he passed the signs for South Pass City at the town limits. Even if calling the town a city might have been a misnomer, he hoped to find a hot meal and a warm room for the night.

Five years earlier in 1866 gold had been discovered in South Pass. Now, Boyd rode by the remains of several mines, closed and boarded up with Keep Out signs posted. One appeared to have been dynamited to smithereens. He saw other businesses open though, so maybe enough good ore was coming out of the mines to keep the town alive.

Boyd rode slowly along the half-mile length of Main Street his cousin had boasted was bustling with enterprise. Unfortunately, he could see signs indicating John would not return to the same prosperous environment he had left. Abandoned buildings sat side by side with Out-of-Business signs tacked to their doors. As he searched for the Gold Bust Saloon, Boyd thought his cousin had named his place aptly. The South Pass gold boom had unquestionably gone bust. Unless new veins were found, the town did not have much time left. Boyd’s cousin did not know it yet.

He reined his horse to a stop in front of a newspaper office. One of the most beautiful women he had ever seen was walking down the sidewalk. Wrapped in a long, fitted winter coat, and wearing a jaunty hat, she was stunning. Both men and women greeted her with cordial smiles, exchanging pleasantries before she moved on.

“She’s a looker, ain’t she?” a nearby old man cackled from his seat on the wooden porch steps of the newspaper building.

“Who is she?” Boyd asked.

The old man cackled again. “Youngster, that-uns out of your league. That there is Mrs. Elianna Winslow, the richest woman in these parts. Come all the way from St. Lou-ie to marry Solomon Winslow of the Sweetwater Mine. Damn shame for a woman as ripe for the picking as that one to be widowed.”

“I agree,” replied Boyd, his eyes following as she walked away. “Where can I find the Gold Bust Saloon?”

“It ain’t open no more,” the old man provided.

“I know, but it will be reopening soon. Better yet, point me to the best hotel in town.”

“Ain’t got one of those neither,” the old man answered. “People been leaving town, not coming in. The hotels are closed and so are most of the boarding houses. You might get a room over the Gold Spike Saloon ‘cept those goldanged do-gooders have done run the whores out of town. It ain’t no fun there no more! Those righteous knee-benders built two churches right after they done ruined the town!”

“What is the town coming to?” Boyd asked with his tongue tucked firmly in his cheek.

“That’s what I been asking!” the old rascal declared, slapping his leg. “What’s a town without liquor, gambling, and whores for the pick’in?”

“A boring one,” Boyd agreed, tipping his hat and moving on. It was a good thing he would not be stuck in South Pass for long.

***

The widow in question, Elianna Winslow, was not the wealthy woman nearly all the citizens of South Pass believed her to be. She was also not a lonely widow, as she did not spend all her evenings in solitary pursuits. When her door had closed behind tonight’s guest, he had left behind a twenty-dollar gold piece. She promptly added it to the others in a hand-carved ivory box she kept in the compartment under the window seat.

Elianna had been entertaining men in her home for a few years. She was extremely careful about who she let in on her secret. Her male clients had to be well off to afford her price, and they had to know how to keep their mouths shut. She was careful about where and when she received her friends. They only came by appointment. They arrived after dark, stabling their horses out of sight in her barn, and knocked on the kitchen door at the rear of the house. She did not want the men seen coming to or from her house, and most of them did not want it known either. Elianna believed she might be the best-kept secret in South Pass City.

She had come to South Pass in 1868 as a mail-order bride. She had been barely eighteen-years-old, lying to the matrimonial agency and claiming to be nineteen. Most men wanting mail-order wives expected young, virginal brides. The obligatory letters of recommendation and lists of qualifications resembled the pedigrees needed for a prized cow.

When Elianna had been delicately questioned about the state of her virtue, she had feigned insult at the question and rose to leave. She knew how to play a convincing role when needed. She had reluctantly been persuaded to stay and sign on with the agency, and they had offered several prospects for correspondence. Elianna had selected Solomon Winslow as one of them because he claimed he already had a house built, waiting for a wife. She needed a home.

Elianna’s parents had abandoned her when she was seven years of age. At thirteen, the workhouse where she had been raised sold her to a prominent household of the Baltimore Hamiltons to be trained as a housemaid. The mansion had awed her. She had not been as impressed with her employers.

While working as a scullery maid, not the promised housemaid, she had been compromised by Mr. Cecil Hamilton and his two sons within the first week of her arrival. After Mr. Hamilton forcibly took her virginity, his sons assumed they had the right to use Elianna anytime the opportunity arose.

By the time, she turned fourteen trying to avoid her employer and his sons had become a daily ritual. The rest of the Hamilton staff refused to acknowledge what they knew was taking place because their jobs were at stake. Elianna’s prospects were slim. She knew if she became pregnant, she would be thrown into the streets.

Her choices had been bad and worse.

She ran away from the servitude and abuse at fifteen. She ran as far as she could until, by sheer chance, she met a woman by the name of Helen Bradley. Helen had recognized another damaged soul, and she had changed Elianna’s life. She taught Elianna how to walk, talk, dress, and behave like a refined lady. Helen taught Elianna by example how to gain respect.

When it became necessary, Elianna had applied to the Armitage Matrimonial Agency to find a husband. Solomon Winslow of South Pass City in the Wyoming Territory promised her a house, and a good life. When he sent the money for Elianna’s travel expenses, she was married by proxy and set out on the next train west. When she reached the end of the rail line, she traveled the rest of the way by stagecoach.

Elianna got the house she was promised. It was far grander than she had expected, and it was filled with beautiful furniture and items Solomon Winslow had ordered from catalogs and had shipped into town. Winslow Manor was the largest house in South Pass City. It was built on the rise of a hill, surrounded by acres of treeless land, overlooking the settlement considered the halfway point on the Oregon Trail.

She also got a husband who turned out to be thirty-two years older than he had described. Solomon was not the gentleman of twenty-five years of age, of balanced weight and height, who had advertised his good habits and ability to provide and support. Unfortunately, Elianna was already legally married to him.

She had responded to Solomon’s ad for a young, intelligent, and refined lady of childbearing years who could complete his home as a wife and mother. He had been delighted she was as young as she claimed, trim of figure and beautiful.

Living with Solomon was not what Elianna had expected. Even so, it was an improvement over her first fifteen years of life. Since he had not kept his part of the bargain to tell the truth, Elianna had not felt the tiniest bit of guilt for being dishonest herself. She faked her virginity. A bit of chicken blood, spilled from a bottle at the appropriate time while struggling with him, along with a scream of pretend pain, had easily convinced Sol that Elianna was what she advertised.

Elianna’s new husband treated her well enough, but it turned out Solomon had spent most of his fortune building and furnishing the manor. As he was paying off his debts from the house for his young mail-order bride, the gold production from his mine had dwindled to nothing.

Three months after her arrival, Solomon made Elianna a widow. He was killed in a mine cave-in, leaving her with the largest house in town and no means to support herself.

The obvious choice was to remarry, and she had plenty of offers, starting the day after Sol’s funeral service. However, Elianna had no desire to remarry or to live in poverty again. Most of the miners were no longer hitting pay dirt, and she would not live on hopes and maybes. She could have moved on; however, she had nowhere to go or the money to get there. At least in South Pass, she owned a home, and she had a good reputation, one she guarded fiercely.

It was Mr. Mortimer Dickerson, the bank manager, who had first suggested how Elianna could earn money to support herself. Initially, she had pretended shock and outrage by his suggestion. Realistically, she was not surprised. The temperance and church organizers of South Pass had not won their crusade against liquor or gambling in town. However, they had succeeded in outlawing prostitution. Suddenly certain amenities were unavailable to the powerful and wealthy men who had used such services regularly.

Elianna found herself running a secret and exclusive parlor. She was the only woman available, and she ran her business on her terms. Word-of-mouth connections were agreed upon in advance.

The public Widow Elianna Winslow was respectable, a prominent leader in the women’s groups of South Pass City, respected by one and all. She volunteered her time to the women’s church groups, and she brought sweets for the children in school just because it made her happy.

The private Elianna wined, dined, and provided her exclusive customers with several hours of congenial company. There was no ambiguity in what she was doing. She was selling her body and her charms at a top dollar price. Instead of earning less than two dollars a week for backbreaking work, cleaning, or cooking, she received twenty dollars a visit, and she did not spend all her time on her back. She entertained patrons two or three times a week, as she pleased. She had learned to enjoy the company of most of the men who sought her attention and paid well for it.

The men Elianna entertained were the most prominent businessmen, and wealthy mine and ranch owners in the area. In addition to paying the sum required for her services, they often gifted her with jewelry or nuggets of smelted gold ore. She enjoyed an enviable standard of living. If the townspeople believed she was living off Solomon Winslow’s inheritance, she would not be the one to tell them differently.

***

The elegant Elianna Winslow fascinated Boyd Lattimore. He saw her several times a week in town, driving a fancy black buggy with silk fringe, or riding a powerful-looking gray gelding. He discovered she came to town to visit various merchants and the bank, or to attend meetings with groups of women.

It had taken Boyd weeks to drive the vermin out of the Gold Bust Saloon, and to order the beer and liquor needed to reopen the doors. He was not a bartender, so he had hired one, Charlie Baskin, and business was picking up slowly. Boyd kept the books and ordered the supplies, leaving the day-to-day operation to the bartender. His management duties would not keep Boyd busy though.

Elianna was aware of the new man in town. He was a cousin of John Haskle, although she saw no family resemblance. John was an overly large man, coarse in his behavior and words. One of her friends had approached her on his behalf. However, Elianna had never considered John Haskle a possible client.

The new man, Boyd Lattimore, was tall and slim. He could even be called lanky. Elianna had awakened one night from a dream where she was entwining her fingers into his thick chestnut-colored mane of hair. She immediately pushed the image out of her head. She had to deal with quite enough men. She did not need another. Elianna knew Boyd was watching her when she went into town, and she experienced a little jolt of responsiveness whenever she felt him glancing at her, even as she told herself to ignore it.

During the last three years, Elianna had made and saved quite a bit of money from her private parlor. She had enough saved to open a business, a legitimate enterprise such as a dress or millinery shop. It was simply a question of time and opportunity. Elianna was gradually realizing she would have to leave South Pass. The mining town was going bust, and the time was soon coming when she would have to move on. She had not decided on the when or the where yet, but at some time in the future, she would be running a different type of business.

***

“Ellie, let me stay!” Joe Fletcher begged, following Elianna to the kitchen door. Joe owned a ranch outside of town. “It’s not like anyone would miss me,” he pleaded. “I ain’t got no wife. Marry me, darling!”

“No, and no,” Elianna replied, as she smiled and kissed him. “I can’t have anyone see a man coming out of my home in the morning. They would assume the worst, and don’t call me Ellie!”

“Darling, I need you!”

“You have had me for the last several hours,” Elianna laughed. “You know the rules!”

“Once more, please?” Joe begged. “With the price of beef down, I might not be able to afford you much longer.”

“Sweet, sweet, Joe,” Elianna purred. She had lost two of her best customers already as they had closed their doors and moved away. Joe had been a replacement. Her hand went to his crotch, and he groaned as she caressed him, “One more time, but you must hurry.”

“Oh, darling, it ain’t gonna take me long,” Joe promised as Elianna led him into a small room off the formal parlor where she removed her robe. Joe almost lost it before he touched her. As it was, he took her fast, pounding into Elianna as she braced herself over a table. He was right. It was over in a few minutes. After a long and smoldering kiss, Joe left through the kitchen door.

Elianna prepared a bath for herself, heating water on the kitchen stove, and setting the tub in a small room off the kitchen. It was a ritual she performed; a luxury to make herself feel like a pampered woman. She drank a glass of sweet tea as she soaked in the flowery scented water, to assuage the bit of guilt she felt for what she was doing.

She went to her bed feeling soft and clean, and she fell asleep while reading one of her treasured books, one she had already read a dozen times.

A pounding on her kitchen door awakened Elianna, and she saw by the clock on her mantle it was well past one in the morning. Pulling on a robe, she rushed down the stairs and peeked through the window, before opening the door to Dr. Clinton Lawson.

“Is anything wrong?”

Standing tall, but weary, Clint Lawson removed his hat respectfully. “No, Elianna, everything is fine. Mrs. Chadwick had a boy. He looks to be a healthy and strong baby. There is something wonderful and life affirming about bringing a new life into this world. It is one of the greatest pleasures of being a doctor. I wish more women would allow us doctors to tend to them.”

He eyed Elianna with a sheepish smile. “Another great pleasure is engaging in your company. It occurred to me as I was driving by your lane, that I have not had the pleasure of visiting you lately. Would you by chance have what is left of the evening free?”

“I was hoping to call it a night,” Elianna admitted, but she offered her hand to the doctor and stepped inside the kitchen, drawing him with her. She peered through the window to make sure his buggy was out of sight. “Would you like a drink?”

“A little of that aged brandy you keep on hand would hit the spot,” Dr. Lawson suggested.

“Come into the parlor,” Elianna invited. She liked Clint Dawson, and she enjoyed his company. He made regular appointments, though he was rarely able to keep them. The nature of his work was handling emergencies, setting broken bones, and dealing with the sick. She poured him a brandy, and he pulled her into his arms, lowering his head to take her lips.

“You smell delicious,” he whispered.

“Scented bath soap,” Elianna answered in his ear, enjoying the appreciation in his eyes.

He tugged on the wide lapels of her robe, and his hand went inside as he opened it for a full view of her attributes. “Did you have any plans for tonight?”

“No,” Elianna whispered as she kissed him while his hands stroked her breasts. “You have to be gone by dawn!”

“A small price to pay for enjoying what you have to offer,” he promised.

Elianna led Dr. Lawson upstairs and into the second bedroom, one of six bedrooms on the second floor, though one was sequestered. Her personal bedroom was off limits. She conducted her private liaisons in the other five bedrooms, and she would even take care of specific requests in the parlor if her clients were impatient. She would not allow her male company to intrude upon her private sanctum. Business was business. Her private space belonged to no one but her.

Elianna’s first forays into sex had consisted of her desperately fighting against the Hamilton men. All the fighting achieved was bruises and beatings. Solomon Winslow had been considerably older than Elianna had expected when she had arrived as his bride. Her husband had not been a particularly patient man, but he had taught Elianna what he expected from a wife. He was an apt teacher, tossing aside most of the ideas Helen had painstakingly drilled into her about a woman’s dignity. Solomon had wanted his wife naked as much as possible and willing to obey his commands.

Elianna had soon learned disagreeing to his requests was a surefire way of angering her older husband. She disliked being punished, or having a tender and sore bottom as a result. Since losing her husband, Elianna had discovered some men enjoyed spanking a woman’s ass, and they needed little motivation.

She had been cautious when choosing her customers, weeding out the men who wanted to display their male superiority with loud mouths and harsh actions. She had two clients who were spankers. Clint was one of them. He might end his visits by reddening her bottom, but at least he knew how to satisfy a woman.

Clint brought Elianna to three fabulous orgasms over the course of their night together. He fell asleep naked and sated. When the ringing alarm clock warned it was time for him to leave, he made love to her once more.

The doctor knew how irregular his hours could be, and he had no idea when he would find time to revisit Elianna. He made sure their last sexual romp included everything he liked. He spanked her bottom until she cried. Then he dried her tears and spent the next hour using her body in any manner he saw fit. He kissed, fondled, and screwed her, smacking her ass just because he enjoyed doing it.

When Dr. Lawson was done, Elianna knew to remain facedown on the bed naked. He liked seeing the results of his handiwork. As he dressed, he occasionally strolled back to the bed to stroke her reddened bottom.

With three last stinging whacks, Clint turned Elianna, raking his eyes over each luscious curve. “Looking at you makes me want to bury myself into you again,” he groaned.

“Don’t be a stranger for so long next time,” she pouted.

“I won’t. Be good. If I can get away next week, I will be back. If I don’t, meet me in my office next Thursday.”

Elianna nodded. “The last time you said that, I waited for several hours, and you didn’t show. Besides, I’m afraid someone will see us sneaking upstairs to your rooms.”

He smiled and kissed her. “It’s the life of a doctor.”

She stretched out on the bed like a waking kitten, and Elianna smiled as the doctor set a gold eagle on the top of the dresser. Then he was gone. She rubbed her tender bottom, wondering why spanking turned on certain men.

Clint was the easier of Elianna’s two spanking customers. Reverend Luke Marks was the other spanker who was due in from his preaching circuit in another week. He would stay in South Pass a week, and Elianna knew if the reverend could afford it, he would visit her. She would be left with an extremely sore bottom after he was gone. Elianna believed he lessened his guilt for sleeping with her by spanking her. He blamed her for being accessible for his sinful urges, yet he returned whenever he routed himself through South Pass.

Elianna rolled out of bed to take another bath. She would not think about her next spanker. Knowing in advance often made it worse. The traveling preacher carried no gun, but as far as Elianna was concerned, his large hand was his weapon of choice.

18 reviews for A Widow’s Secrets

  1. Miss Contrite

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Elianna is a great character as is Ethan the story has sad parts as well as humour. There is proper dialogue and a story line, I would love to see a follow-up to this couple. My only wish would be to have more spanking scenes

  2. Maryanne

    A Widow%u2019s Secret.

    This is a fantastic epic tale of an extremely strong woman. Elianna has secrets from her past and in her present life but she is a loving, caring well respected woman who helps people when she can. Boyd comes to town and is enthralled by her will she open up to him and take a risk with changing her life? This is a brilliantly told story that I found difficult to put down. I would love there to be a follow up.

  3. rjr

    Brilliant! Captivating! One terrific read!
    This is definitely one of the best books I’ve read in quite some. Ms. Starr always writes a great western, and this one is one of her best. The characters are realistic and fully fleshed out. The plot is ever-changing and engaging. I was so involved, I actually found myself crying at one point. I cannot remember the last time I did that while reading a book. The heroin, Elianna, is a strong woman who has fought to overcome a frightening past. Throughout her life she retains her integrity, even when bending the rules, and her thoughtfulness for those less fortunate. The author does a remarkable job of reminding us of how different a woman’s life was just 100 years ago. She writes strong women and the dominant men equal to them. There are good people, there are bad people, and there are some tough situations in this story. There is great romance, lots of steamy sex, and there is great love between several couples. I rarely feel this way about a book, but I would love for the author to write another book picking right up where this one left off. Not that it is a cliffhanger in the least, it’s just such an engaging story that I wanted it to continue. I hope you will find yourself as entertained as I was by this terrific, well researched, and well written story. If this author is new to you, I highly recommend that you read some of her other books. Most have become favorites of mine.

  4. DONNA L

    November 22, 2018
    I am a complete fan of this author and once again she delivered a western story that
    is a beautiful love story with interesting characters.This is one of those stories that you
    just can’t put down.A era where women were put into untenable situations beyond
    their control,where men’s word was law.Reading of how Elianna had to struggle just
    to survive was heartbreaking.Abandoned by her parents at an early age,she knew
    nothing beyond neglect and abuse.Escaping such a life was not easy on the young
    Elianna,but with her life at risk,the choice was simple.Elianna had similar luck in
    marriage as well and by the time she met Colonel Ethan Cahill,she had buried two
    husbands.Elianna was no wilting flower,she was strong and courageous despite
    her very chequered past.Ethan was a dominant man but he encouraged Elianna
    to live out her dreams and passion.The depth of their love was tested in so many
    ways but triumphed against all odds.This story is full of emotions,danger,lust,
    secrets,desire and one woman’s fight for justice.
    Ms Starr created anticipation in every aspect of this book,it’s a must and absorbing
    read.

  5. DONNA L

    November 22, 2018
    I am a complete fan of this author and once again she delivered a western story that
    is a beautiful love story with interesting characters.This is one of those stories that you
    just can’t put down.A era where women were put into untenable situations beyond
    their control,where men’s word was law.Reading of how Elianna had to struggle just
    to survive was heartbreaking.Abandoned by her parents at an early age,she knew
    nothing beyond neglect and abuse.Escaping such a life was not easy on the young
    Elianna,but with her life at risk,the choice was simple.Elianna had similar luck in
    marriage as well and by the time she met Colonel Ethan Cahill,she had buried two
    husbands.Elianna was no wilting flower,she was strong and courageous despite
    her very chequered past.Ethan was a dominant man but he encouraged Elianna
    to live out her dreams and passion.The depth of their love was tested in so many
    ways but triumphed against all odds.This story is full of emotions,danger,lust,
    secrets,desire and one woman’s fight for justice.
    Ms Starr created anticipation in every aspect of this book,it’s a must and absorbing
    read.

  6. Lillie1922

    I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.? Elianna’s story is a western historical romance, actually the saga of her move west.? Adventure, the will of a strong woman to survive and more tragedy than one life should hold.? A long, full read.? Somehow she kept managing to find spanking men.? Lucky woman.? Mariella Starr always delivers.

  7. Ajjmb

    I adore Mariella Star%u2019s books. This new one was really good even though it was an up and down of emotions. I was in tears when Elianna lost Boyd. I was hopeful for her when she met Ethan. I was so excited about the baby and I loved all the friends that support Elianna. This is one of those books that will make you laugh and make you cry. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book.

  8. Sam

    This widows goes through a lot during this story and has been through a lot before it begins. She does a great job of rising to the challenges set before her. I was very happy when she was finally able to marry someone she loved. The author did a great gob of writing a captivating book with fascinating characters.

  9. Nicolette

    Elianna has had a hard life but makes the best out of what life gives her. She she doesn’t like sharing. A good love story

  10. Nicolette

    Elianna has had a hard life but makes the best out of what life gives her. She she doesn’t like sharing. A good love story

  11. LuCinda Beebe

    If I could give this book more then 5 stars I would definitely give it more stars. The way that Ms.Starr pulled me into the story and made me laugh and also cry was superbly done, my husband even asked me at one point what was that matter because I had tears running down my face. This book deals with loyalty, love, adventure, risks, and conflicts. The plot-line is sobering and heartbreaking at times but also captivating and absolutely fascinating. This is the first one of Mariella Starr’s books that I have read and I will definitely be search for more.

  12. charlotte Huelsemann

    The widows secret by Mariella Stone
    This is the story of Elianna a woman that had a very hard life. She buried two husbands. One she wasn%u2019t married to very long but he was not a good husband. He did leave her a house. Then comes the second husband who she really cares about but he dies taking her out of a dying town. Then she meets man # 3. This books has twists and turns that takes you from laughter to tears. It is very well written.

  13. Nancy Hughes

    This is a historical western with a strong female character, Elianna. She%u2019s had a tough life, and has had to learn, to take care of herself. She%u2019s beautiful, intelligent, as well as ambitious. This is her story. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.

  14. Redrabbitt

    The story is an amazing tale; it encompasses the hardships a woman faces, especially compared to a man. No wonder women had few opinions, and sometimes what they did was looked down upon. The story has a large cast of characters, interaction, and situations. It kept me turning the pages and even had me on a roller coaster ride of emotions.

    Widow Elianna Winslow may live in the finest house in South Pass, Wyoming, but a house doesn%u2019t put food on the table. Her late husband worried more about impression than how to live, spending his wealth on things. To most people in town, she is a lady, but to a select group of secret men, she fills a carnal need. During the day she teaches children to read, works with missions in the church, and then at night, the secret society calls upon her to fill their needs.

    Boyd Lattimore will enter South Pass to help out his cousin and reopen the saloon until he can return, and then Boyd plans to continue westward. He is enchanted by the lovely widow and wants to court her, but then again, many other men have tired. Making her an offer that is profitable to her, and a chance for him became a love story.

    The town is drying up just as all the gold mines are petering out, so Boyd and his bride decide it is time to leave and head toward on the Oregon Trail to La Grande. He promises her that once they are settled, he will send back to South Pass and have her belongings brought to them. The trip isn%u2019t easy and with it comes problems. When she arrives in La Grande, it will be with the escort of the US Amry, and especially one Lieutenant Colonel Ethan Cahill. Ethan is shocked when his troops and he learn that she was responsible for taking out a band out outlaws that tried to rob her and another wagon along the trail.

    The story has several twists and turns, mystery and suspense, life and death scenes. The truth of Elianna%u2019s life is full of pain and heartache, but she is a survivor, and resilient. The men in her life enjoy her sexual prowess, and to the two main male characters, Boyd Lattimore and Ethan Cahill, she will be honest with each of them what all she has endured since childhood to present.

    The story is full of multiple spanking scenes, by various men, some during sexual encounters, and sometimes for punishment. The sex scenes are explicit with power exchange. The story does cover her relationship with multiple men.

  15. Tami

    Elianna has trouble to overcome her past and the death of her husband. She has to fight very hard and this makes her a very strong but also caring woman. Ethan, who falls hard for the beautiful widow, has to give everything to find the way to her heart. It will not be easy, but it is well worth the effort.

    This was a great story with many bumps in the roads for Elianna and Ethan. The story moved me very much, there were several scenes where I had tears in my eyes. This is a great western romance that shows that love can conquer everything.

  16. Hope W

    Wow, Mariella Starr has a written another wonderful hit! The story is well written and the characters are developed and likeable. The storyline weaves a tale of both heart breaking and heart warming moments that you can feel the character’s feelings, pain, and happiness. There ae times of loss, love, trust, family, redemption, and survival. Meanwhile the characters are developed and have flaws but are also strong characters that understand survival. They deal with insecurities and trust issues but work at overcoming life’s tragedies to build a better life. This book is well worth the read and I highly recommend this book for a great time!

  17. Jf12574

    A really great book, not only i the love story but also tactfully showing us a side of history often forgotten. Women had to do what they had to do in order to survive the loss of a husband. This book shows the strength and determination of that character as well as a tough love story. One of the best I’ve read!!

  18. Toni L

    This is an interesting, well written story that leaves me with mixed feelings. Elliana overcomes so much in her life before she can get to her HEA that it feels like a much longer story. The characters are interesting and without a doubt the life of a pioneer woman would have been harder than I can imagine, but it felt like the author was pushing a political agenda, which left me feeling a bit used.

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