Though Fort Randall is an isolated outpost in 1876, Miriam Longstreet finds life there far more complicated than she expected when she reluctantly returns from boarding school. Harriet, her haughty mother, is an explosive laudanum addict, her free-spirited sister runs wild, and her father seems too occupied with his duties as commanding officer to notice. Miriam’s independent streak rebels at Harriet’s insistence that she abide by the narrow rules of army social structure. Seeking self-reliance, Miriam is confronted with difficult choices that could change her destiny.
Determined to prove her maturity then join her friend Sarah in Denver, Miriam soon realizes Harriet’s volatile behavior endangers her sister, and she sets her plans aside. She meets Private Jake Deakins. Drawn to Jake’s raw masculinity, Miriam is unable to resist verbally sparring with him. Their attraction deepens into friendship despite the possibility their familiarity could be construed as misconduct. When eligible Lt. Robert Wood shows interest in Miriam, it seems the perfect alternative. Unaware that Robert’s sole motivation is advancing his career, Miriam welcomes his courting.
But Jake has introduced Miriam to a world unencumbered by artificial social rules. Rebelling, she befriends a laundress, explores class differences, convinces her father to allow a mixed-class party, campaigns for an all-post school, and confronts her parents. Her growing passion with Jake leads them to take risks that could ruin Jake’s career. Meanwhile, Robert and Harriet plot to manipulate Miriam into marriage and Robert volunteers Jake for special duty in a life-threatening Indian fight.
As Robert and Harriet become increasingly more maniacal, Miriam and Jake realize they are in love. Together, they face a raging blizzard, the possibility of Jake’s court-martial, Harriet’s growing abusiveness, and Robert’s escalating deception and violence. The life-and-death choices they face could change everything.
Praise for CHOICES
“Nowak’s a huge talent with a long career in front of her. Choices grabs the reader on the first page and doesn’t let go…freshly told, compelling.” -Sharon Mignerey, award-winning romantic suspense author
“This is a remarkable story of unforgettable characters. With vivid prose, forbidden love, treachery and deceit, and fascinating details of life at a 19th century army fort, it’s a real page turner.” -Amanda Harte, author of the Forbidden Falls series.
In 1876, rough and tumble Denver is full of challenges for outspoken female telegrapher Sarah Donovan. Determined to make her mark, she arrives in the male-dominated town and marches head-long into the fight for women’s suffrage and any other cause she can find. She doesn’t expect to face the fact that she hides behind causes to avoid her own vulnerability nor does she suspect she will find her strength by opening her heart and risking love.
When Sarah delivers a telegram to the wrong person, she must apologize to staunchly conservative undertaker Daniel Petterman. Despite his relief that Sarah has also rescued his young daughters from local hoodlums, Daniel can’t hide his distaste for the suffragist. His careful, pensive approach to life’s problems is at complete odds with Sarah’s radical assertiveness, and he fears she will corrupt his daughters with her progressive crusading.
Unexpectedly discovering themselves on the same side of local politics, they develop a grudging respect for one another. Sarah’s fiery disposition forces Daniel’s hidden passions to the surface as the smoldering attraction between them erupts. Amid political turmoil, they find time to experience the delights and complications of ice skating on a frozen creek, dancing at a noisy German beer hall, and impromptu kisses.
Their growing relationship of trust and love is blind-sided when Sarah’s resentful coworker maliciously accuses her of using the telegraph to solicit men. Rumors explode, threatening Sarah’s reputation, career, and her standing in the suffrage association. When the gossip spreads to include Daniel and his daughters, Sarah must confront the allegations head-on. A violent suffrage riot, prostitution charges, and runaway trains force Daniel and Sarah to make life and death decisions about the chances they are willing to take on love and on themselves.
Praise for CHANCES
“Simmering sensuality, captivating glimpses of Denver’s past and a thoughtful tale of self-discovery via the magic of love. An exciting debut!” …Denver best-selling historical romance author, Janet Lane
“…a fascinating time period, conflicted hero and feisty heroine. Readers will love the interesting details of Denver…I’m eager to see what Nowak will do in her next book!” …Maggie Osborne, author of Foxfire Bride.
“A fascinatiing historical romance with a spunky heroine and an intense hero, Chances is set against the rich backdrop of early Denver and the women’s suffrage movement. Don’t miss this book!” — Robin D. Owens, RITA(c) Award Author of HeartMate
“CHANCES is a fast-paced story that is nearly impossible to put down. Debut
author Pamela Nowak is a bright new star of historical romance.” –Inspirational Suspense Author Sharon Mignerey
Winner of 2009 HOLT Medallion for Best First Book
Recipient of 2009 WILLA Finalist Award for Historical Fiction
Named as One of Booklist’s Top Ten Romance Books of 2008