by Sarah J. McNeal

Prairie Rose Publications

Released December 6, 2018


Matilda Barton’s broken heart may never heal. The love of her life, Sterling Thoroughgood, has been gone three years with no word. Is he dead or alive? Why should it matter to her? She’s spent the past three years trying to save her father, her ranch, and her dignity—but her heart has taken the worst battering of all. Now that her father has died, the livestock has been sold off, and the ranch is in disrepair, her life is empty. When Sterling Thoroughgood rides up to her house on Christmas Eve, is it any wonder she greets him with a shotgun instead of a kiss?

Sterling Throughgood has worked hard to build a ranch in Hazard, Wyoming. Admittedly, it took longer than he thought, but he had to have a good start for Matilda, the woman he’s always loved. Arriving at her house on Christmas Eve, he discovers a lot has changed in three years. Her father, his mentor, has passed away—and Matilda has become bitter because of what she felt were empty promises Sterling made in the past. But Sterling is not a quitter, and he will pit his determination against Matilda’s iron-clad will any day of the week—even on Christmas Eve.

He hopes that the puzzle box he made for her with his special gift inside will prove to her his ever-constant love, but is it too late for that? Can Matilda understand his three-year absence amidst all the loss she’s gone through? Is their love lost forever, or does the peculiar puzzle box hold the key to happiness for both of them? Can Sterling be more than just A CHRISTMAS VISITOR…


“Don’t you even think about stepping up on this porch, Sterling Alexander Thoroughgood, or I’ll shoot a hole in you big enough for a team of horses to jump through.” The woman wearing a faded blue calico dress aimed the shotgun straight at his heart…and sometimes his liver since she wasn’t holding the shotgun all that steady.

Sterling raised his hands in the air. His bare hands were practically numb from the cold. He glanced up at the slate gray sky. Snow’s comin’. Then he grinned at the woman holding the shotgun. “Merry Christmas to you, too, Matilda.”

She dipped the shotgun for just a moment, but raised it again as if on a second thought. “What do you want here after being gone for three years? Did you break some hearts up in Wyoming? Maybe you have some fathers and brothers gunning for you and you thought you’d come running back here to hide.”

Well, there it was. He’d hurt her when he left and she wasn’t about to let him forget it. “I came to see Allister. I told him I’d be coming back soon as I got my place up and running. We had an agreement about him selling me some cattle and maybe a bull to get a good, diverse herd started of my own.” He reached out his hand to press down on the barrel of her shotgun pointing it toward the broken down boards of the porch. “So, if you could see yourself clear to let me speak to your daddy, I’d be obliged.”

Matilda placed a hand on her hip while the other held tight to that shotgun. “Seems you’re a little too late, Mr. Thoroughgood. Pa died last year from pneumonia. He’d been sick a while and I had to sell off all of the livestock except for the mule and a few chickens to pay for the doctor and his medicine. I guess you’ll be leaving here empty handed.”

“Tilly, darlin’, I’m so sorry to hear the news that Allister has passed away. He was a good man and a good friend to me.” He stretched out a hand to touch her arm, but she stepped back just out of reach.

“Don’t you dare call me sweet names or my nickname, you snake. You’ve been gone three years and not a single word from you in all that time. All that sweet talk means nothing to me now.” She opened the door and stepped back to wave him into the house.

“I need to get my horses settled in the barn first, but I’d be obliged if I could come in for some coffee after that. It’s been a long trip from Wyoming.” He tipped his hat and turned to step off the porch. Once he had hold of the reigns of both horses, he glanced back up at Matilda who still stood with her hand on the door wearing a strange expression on her face.

“Don’t be surprised at the condition of the barn. Part of the roof has a hole in it. You might want to put the horses in the stalls on the left to keep ‘em warm and dry. There’s a little hay in the loft still.” Her voice seemed less determined and ornery. Sterling liked it better when she cussed him than when she pretended to be obliging.

“Thank you, Matilda. I brought some feed with me. Do you have some stock you need me to feed or have anything I need to bring in for you?”

Her throat worked for a moment and her eyes took a watery sheen. Please don’t cry, darlin’. His heart hurt for her. Things must have been tough for her over the past year. Finally, she managed to speak and her voice had its defiant edge to it again. “Hector, the mule, could use some hay and there are a few chickens needing to be fed some dried corn, if you don’t mind a little work.”

Sterling chuckled relieved she had regained her starch. “No trouble at all. I’ll see to things in the barn. You best get on in the house out of the cold. You reckon we could have a cup of coffee and talk when I get back from the barn? I’ve been riding for days in the cold to get here and could use something hot to get me percolating again.”

“Ran out of coffee three days ago. Hot water might have to do.”

“I brought provisions with me and some things I thought Allister and you might need. I need to see to my horse first, so I’ll just get on out and get those chores done. You take it easy for a while and I’ll fix us up a fine pot of coffee as soon as I get back from the barn.”

Matilda nodded her head as an answer, took up her shotgun and walked into the house shutting the door with a decided bang behind her.


Buy Link:  A Christmas Visitor  

The Last Book in the Wilding Series

I Dream of You

By Sarah J. McNeal

Fire Star Press, imprint of Prairie Rose Publications

A Dream…A Kiss… And Deadly Secrets


Kyle Red Sky dreamed of the woman with fire in her hair, but when she comes to town, something dark and dangerous follows her. He wants to help her, but she is reclusive, avoids men, and the scarf she always wears around her neck tells him she harbors a dark secret.

Mia Beckett is a survivor. Finally, she has found sanctuary in a small western town far from danger where no one knows her or her past and she intends to keep it that way. But she can’t forget the man she saw once in a dream who told her the paths they walked were destined to meet. However, when she meets Kyle Red Sky and realizes he is the man from her dream, she knows, if the dream becomes a reality, he may die.


Kyle kicked open the door of his mother’s former dress shop despite the sign that read, No Men Allowed. The raging fire upstairs in the private quarters made this an emergency, certainly enough to ignore that sign. Smoke began to fill the shop as he raced up the stairs calling out the name of the new shop owner. “Miss Beckett! Miss Mia Beckett, where are you?”

As he reached the landing of the second floor, he heard someone cough nearby. With the wet blanket wrapped around him he rushed toward the direction of the cough until he found the woman lying on the floor almost unconscious from smoke inhalation. As soon as he removed the wet blanket he wore and wrapped her in its protective layer, he scooped her up in his arms to carry her away from the flames and smoke. The scarf she wore fell away from her neck and her head lolled back against his chest to reveal a thin, straight scar that ran all the way across her throat from her left ear to her right. It wasn’t an old scar, most likely no more than two or three months in the past. She attempted to raise a hand as if to cover her throat and replace the silk scarf. He’d always seen her wear a scarf of some description or another around her neck since her arrival in town. Now he knew all those scarves were not her unique sense of fashion, but her desire to hide the scar. She was a woman attempting to keep a secret.

In a whisper he could barely hear, she said, “Please, don’t let them see.” And then she fell unconscious.

“You have my word.” He knew there was little chance she could hear his promise, but it didn’t matter.

Buy Link: Paperback       Kindle


Releases on January 15, 2018 (May be preordered until then)

Logline:  June believed Kit loved her…until she married him


June Wingate has just married the man of her dreams only to overhear a conversation at her reception regarding the truth about why he married her. Her heart and trust are broken. She cannot return home to the unhappiness that exists there. Her only alternative is to refuse her husband’s bed and publicly pretend their marriage is happy until she figures out the truth and determines what to do.

The newly elected mayor of Hazard, Kit Wilding needs a wife to satisfy the town’s demands that their mayor be a married man. He’ll do whatever it takes to make Hazard a better place for veterans and orphans. Ever since he returned from WWII, he has suffered with “battle fatigue” and wants to keep his condition a secret while he tries to heal from the horrors of war. He trusts June, but now that they’re married, his wife has become distant and secretive. Never-the-less, Kit is not the kind of man to give up easily.


A loud slap echoed through the house. June’s hand stung as she placed it back in the pocket of her dressing gown, part of her vast trousseau paid for by her parents.

Kit stepped back and rubbed his reddened cheek with his left hand while Snort, Kit’s dog, barked. June couldn’t help but notice the flash of his golden wedding band in the light of the dressing room. Her heart clenched at the sight of it. They’d been married only a few hours and now this…

“Hush that barking, Snort.” The dog quieted, but kept a sharp eye on June just in case. Kit glanced from the dog to June. “What the hell was that for, June? Did I do something wrong by trying to kiss my wife?”

“You bet you did. I thought you loved me and now…” She wasn’t quite sure how to say it to him now that she knew the truth. Honestly, she could barely believe what she had overheard at their wedding reception. How could she explain to him what she heard and express the doubts she had about his love because of it? Well, best to find a way because it seemed quite evident to her that he wasn’t about to leave her be until she did.

“You’d best tell me what this is all about, June, because I’m beginning to have doubts about your sanity and beginning to wonder about my own.” He cocked his head and narrowed his blue eyes at her.  If this is one of your cockamamie jokes, it isn’t funny—and please don’t tell me you married me just to spite your parents. I’m fairly certain your mother doesn’t think I’m good enough for you. She’s only spoken to me about four times in all the years I’ve known you. It’s a little late for second thoughts, June.” Snort began to pace between June and Kit as if to decide whose side he should take.

Buy Link: AMAZON



Contemporary short story by Sarah J. McNeal


Logline:  Facing death might change Gideon’s life.



Gideon thought he had the perfect life as a musician with a beautiful model as his girlfriend, until he was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Ashamed and afraid he may die, Gideon hits bottom when his girlfriend dumps him for a real man.

Hope comes in the form of his father’s ghost and a person he has just met. Can he beat the odds and survive? And if he does, can he ever find happiness again?




Something electric sparked in the air as silence ensued.  He gazed into her eyes as if attempting to read her heart.  The oxygen left her lungs and her heart flung itself against her ribs as he moved his lips closer to hers.  The black irises in his eyes widened.  His hand held the back of her neck and his fingers slid into her ponytail and loosed the clip that held it in place. The moment stilled.  His voice sounded no more than a raw whisper when he spoke.  I've wanted to do this for so long.  It feels like I'm in a dream.�  Then his lips, firm and warm took hers in a kiss that started as gentle as a snowflake falling on a pine bough. 

Lila returned his kiss and it grew into something filled with urgency and longing.  She moved her hands around his neck to bring him closer and closer still.  Warmth spread throughout her being like a thousand lights all turned on at once.  They drew back from the kiss, took a breath and kissed again.  His eyes darkened from aqua to navy as his hands pulled her closer until they pressed into one another from hip to chest.  His breathing hitched as he pulled her close to him and enfolded her in his arms.






Memories of Maple Street: Pawprints On My Heart

Have you ever had a pet that left indelible paw prints or hoof prints on your heart? Pets we've rescued that rescued us, as well and animals that maybe weren't so much pets as acquaintances who've taught us a thing or two 

The third edition of our successful series, Memories From Maple Street, U.S.A. Pawprints On My Heart, is chock full of stories about special pets we've had. These tales evoke loving memories of days gone by when these animals played a huge part in our lives either as pets we had as children, or as adults.

Wayfaring Stranger/ My contribution

Imagine my surprise when my mother picked me up at school and told me about the strange, furry creature who came to our house.

Anatole France once said, Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. This collection of true animal stories will serve to prove him right!

Includes authors Gayle M. Irwin, Ann Swann, Carol Huff, Sarah J. McNeal, Charlie Steel, C.J. Samuels, Jim Landwehr, Cherley Grogg, Beverly Wells, Gil McDonald, Meg Mims, Tina Holt, Tanya Hanson, Cheryl Pierson, and L.D.B. Taylor.

Buy Links: Kindle      Paperback



(a Wilding Western Romance)

Love doesn't come easy...for some, it may never come at all.


Though Hank Wilding and Lucy Thoroughgood have been lifelong friends, Lucy has managed to lose her heart to the handsome rancher. But Hank's a sworn bachelor after a soured engagement two years earlier. His heart begins to thaw when Lucy introduces him to the orphans she cares for, but a Lakota premonition threatens the happiness of the inhabitants of Hazard, Wyoming, and may end in tragedy for Lucy Thoroughgood.

Excerpt: (The Bargain)

In the quiet of the barn filled with the smell of fresh hay, horse manure, and leather tack, Hank sensed rather than heard someone enter the building. Ah, the smell of sunshine and roses. Must be Lucille Thoroughgood. Without turning to look at her, he set the pitchfork against the wall of Lonesome's stall. What do you want, Lucy? he grumbled as a greeting.

        Mr. Wilding, I have something I'd like to propose to you. Her voice sounded tense. When he turned to face her, he saw those blue eyes dart away from his to peer at the straw on the floor. She promptly straightened her spine and must have forced herself to look him straight in the eye. Her starched manner made him want to mess with her.

        A proposal? He moved closer to her maybe too close. He felt something shift in his chest like a warning bell. �Well now, I haven't ever had a lady propose to me before. He joked, badly, just to get her goat. Generally, women were not to be trusted. He'd learned that lesson the hard way. But Lucy was his old friend since grade school. Even though she must have been born straight-laced and proper, she spoke her truth, plain and simple. Beneath that barbed wire exterior beat a heart of gold. 

        Lucy propped her fists on her hips and he thought she looked like a charming sugar bowl all ruffed up in her pink flowered dress and her sweet, straw hat that sat askew on her gleaming brown hair. She knitted those brows together and narrowed her eyes at him. I'm not proposing marriage to you, Mr. Wilding. I'm proposing a business deal sort of.

Excerpt:  (the Lakota Prophesy)

Kyle brought the truck to a stop as close to the front door as the driveway allowed, but before Lucy could open the door, Kyle clasped her arm. She turned to face him and noticed a faraway look in his dark eyes. What is it, Kyle? Is something wrong?

His face took on a grim expression when he spoke. All I know is something dark is coming. Be careful, Lucy.

Something in her chest clutched. Kyle had a special gift and his words were not to be ignored. Is something bad going to happen?

I'm afraid so. I wish I knew what it was, but I don't. I only know it's evil.

You're scaring me, Kyle.

I don't mean to. Hank and I will keep an eye out. Tell your dad what I said.

Excerpt: (the prophecy comes to pass)

Love Me Tender played on the radio and reminded Hank of Lucy dancing with him to the song. The light, fragrance of roses filled his senses. Lucy's perfume.

Reality settled back into Hank's consciousness as they entered the emergency room.


Buy Links:

Amazon:  Kindle   Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars

A Romance Straight from the Heart

By Rising Star Reviews on June 1, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
HOME FOR THE HEART is one of Sarah McNeal's books I call "straight from the heart." This is another offering in the Wilding Series--this time about Hank Wilding. Since he's loved and lost once, he's wary and a bit difficult to pin down. That's fine with Lucy Thoroughgood--she can wait. Her life is full with orphans whom she tries to help with meaningful activities. Hank's horses are the perfect thing she needs--if only he doesn't turn her down.
Each of the Wilding novels have a touch of Lakota mystique, and this one does not disappoint. I'll leave it to you, the reader, to learn about that.
Also, one special orphan has captured her heart, and she wants nothing more than for this young Lakota to be made whole.
I highly recommend Home for the Heart

Five Stars
Rising Star Reviews 


A Terrorized Town...A Killer Beast...And Deliverance


Joey Wilding isn't certain what's killing the livestock in Hazard. Some believe it's a bewitched beast, others a wolf gone rabid. As the town veterinarian, he's seen mutilation before, but not like this, as if something enjoyed the killing.

When Claire Beau asks Joey to help her injured wolf, and begs his discretion, he begins to suspect he has found the Beast of Hazard�and its beautiful mistress. But as he walks through the woods after dark, something more ominous than any wolf stalks him from the shadows.


As they stepped out into the dark night, a chill ran down Joey's spine as he remembered that terrible growl he heard in the woods. He was comforted a little by the light on the barn that flooded the space between the barn and house with a pale light. From off in the distance, a sound came from the depth of the forest that shook Joey to the core.

Claire's face grew pale and her eyes widened. We should hurry, she said in a voice tight with fear. Whatever that thing was out there, Claire must know something about it. The woman who had a huge wolf as a pet suddenly looked afraid of the thing out there. Her response made him very uneasy. Could he trust her?

Buy Links:  Amazon

When Love Comes Knocking

Buy Link:  Amazon 

A lonely widow...an indiscretion...a gift for redemption


Penelope Witherspoon was charmed into marriage by Evan Thoroughgood only to learn she loved a philanderer, who gambled away his inheritance and drank too heavily. It came as no surprise that four months after their marriage, Evan was shot dead for cheating at cards. Since his death, Penelope has come to depend on his older brother, Gil. In fact, she has come to love and respect him. No two men could be further apart in character. But, if Gil learns of her secret indiscretion, he will want nothing further to do with her. What is Penelope to do?


As soon as she made it back home, she got out her laundry pot and heated the water on the stove. She washed clothes with her lye soap and hung everything on the line that Gil and Banjo made for her. It was about two in the morning before she ran out of laundry to wash. Her hands burned from the lye. Finally, she slipped into her worn, cotton nightgown and slipped into her bed. She didn't even bother to bank the fire.

Penelope sat in her bed with her back to the pillows, her knees pulled tight to her chest and her arms wrapped around them and listened to the still of the night. The only sound she heard were the trees whispering messages to one another on the wind. She laid her cheek on her knees and wished...and wished...and wished.


Now available in single short story for 99 cents

Buy Links:  Amazon 

A broken dream...a cancelled wedding...and an unexpected blessing


When Juliet Wilding's dreams are crushed, she cancels her wedding plans to Harry O'Connor. But Harry is not about to give up on the only woman he has ever loved.  What neither of them expects is the event that will forever change both their lives.


"When will the new owners be moving in?" She asked the question without making eye contact.

"On the twenty-first of June." 

She slowly turned to look up into his face. "Why that's when our wedding day was supposed to take place."

"That's when our wedding day will take place, Juliet. And this house is my wedding gift to you. Actually, it's a wedding gift from your family, too. They helped me renovate it with you in mind." He lifted his hands to encompass the whole house. "All of this, it's all for you, darlin'. It doesn't have much furniture yet, but--"

She extended her arm and kept him away with her hand on his chest. "No, Harry, this can't be our house."

"I assure you it can--it is."

A tear slipped from her eye and made a path down her cheek.

What the hell? Had he been wrong to buy the house? "If you don't like it, I can change it. I'll do whatever you want. I just want you to be happy."

"It's not the house. It's not you; it's me. I can't marry you. I refuse to ruin your dreams or your life." She wrestled out of his arms when he attempted to embrace and reassure her.

The earth was churning under his feet and his heart clenched so painfully he wasn't sure he could get his breath. "I know you love me, Juliet. You're my dream. You're my life and my future."


Fire Star Press

Paranormal/Time Travel

Can the heart live inside a violin case? Can a message reach across time?


Genevieve Beaumont is haunted by dreams of a drowning man she is helpless to save. When she buys a violin and discovers news clippings and pictures of its owner and how he died from downing, she knows he must be the man in her dreams.

She travels to the little town where he died 90 years before to investigate who he was and how he died. Little does she know how her own life is tangled in the mystery...until she steps through the threshold of time to 1927. 


She heard him take in a slow breath then he spoke to her in a more relaxed, quiet tone. "I beg your pardon, miss, I didn't mean to curse. What's your name?" The younger man's voice soothed her as he knelt beside the couch where she lay. He wrung out a cloth in the bowl of water beside his knee, folded it, and applied it to Genevieve's brow.

"My name is Genevieve Beaumont. I was just standing at the window and now I'm here." She lifted a shaky hand to her brow. "My head is pounding."

"You bumped your head when you fainted. Is that a French name?"  He lifted a quizzical brow and smiled.

She lifted her eyes and got a good, close-up look at him then. Her heart almost stopped beating in her chest. She sucked in a deep breath. What was happening to her? How could any of this be possible? The man holding the cool cloth to her head was the man in the pictures she found in the violin case!

She would not have guessed he had auburn hair, or that his eyes were such a vivid, bottle green. He wore a collarless, khaki shirt with the sleeves rolled up and suspenders instead of a belt held up his tan, canvas trousers. Oh, but he was handsome,so much more than his pictures ever allowed. She didn't have time to admire the young man's good looks because her mind swirled round and round with the unfathomable implications of her situation.

BUY LINKS: in paperback and all e-book formats including Kindle


HOLLOW HEART just released as a single on Amazon Kindle for 99 cents

Buy Link:  AMAZON

Lost love and the hope for possibilities


Madeline Andrews is a grown up orphan. Sam Wilding made her feel part of his life, his family and swore he'd come home to her when the war ended, but he didn't return. With the Valentine's Ball just days away, the Wildings encourage Madeline to move forward with her life and open her heart to the possibilities.  But Madeline is lost in old love letters and can't seem to let go.


Madeline folded the letter and slipped it back into its envelope. Her heart ached as she put the envelope back into the box. She placed it with reverence on her dresser beside the picture of Sam and her, laughing into the sun on that beautiful summer day, years ago. She twisted the gold ring with the little heart-shaped ruby around her left ring finger. Sam had given it to her the day he left for deployment to Europe. He said it was a promise ring. The ring would remind her of his love, his promise to return, and his pledge to wed her when the war ended. A sigh escaped her. None of his promises had come true.


Fire Star Press

An abandoned piano, rejected love, and hope


After her fiance humiliates her and breaks her heart on what was to be their wedding day, Ella

 Dubois has vowed never to open her heart again.

Nickoli Vesa, a Romanian pianist, has loved Ella for years, but she sees him only as her  friend.

How can a deserted piano heal a shattered spirit and inspire it to sing again?


The music spilled from the heart of the baby grand and poured its sorrow on Ella until she

didn't think she could bare the terrible loneliness of its mournful sound another moment.  Her

eyes welled with tears. Her own deep, unrelenting sadness came to the surface and ate at her

heart.  The piano stood in dignified repose like a stalwart soldier waiting for orders, but all the

while knowing there will be no further orders, no further requests for its talents.  Ella felt the

love of her life had done the same to her and she, like the piano, must press on with whatever

dignity she had left.  How long would the piano suffer like this?  How long would she?  

When Nickoli completed the song and the notes died under the falling snow, he returned to

Ella and took her in his arms as if guessing how sad the piano made her feel.  He whispered

close to her ear.  "She still has hope.  She still sings."  



FOR LOVE OF BANJO, revised edition just released May 15, 2014

Deceit stands between Banjo Wilding's love for Maggie O'Leary and his search for the father he never knew.


Banjo Wilding wears a borrowed name and bears the scars and reputation of a lurid past.  To earn the right to ask for Margaret O'Leary's hand, he must find his father and make something of himself.

Margaret O'Leary has loved Banjo since she was ten years old but standing between her and Banjo is pride, Banjo's mysterious father and the Great War.



In one graceful movement, he dismounted the pinto then stepped to the porch where Maggie stood with unrestrained tears that flowed down her cheeks.  Banjo swept her into his arms and kissed her.  The kiss wasn't his brotherly, friendly peck on the cheek.  He kissed her with a slow burning need and ran his tongue along the groove of her lips then slipped inside. 

He tasted of coffee and mint.  Maggie reached up to weave her arms around his neck.  She stepped on her tiptoes to better reach him and taste him.  Her heart raced and heat rushed hungry waves of yearning into places in her body she never knew existed as she responded to his explorations with her own.  If only she could slip into his pocket and follow him wherever he went.  She wanted to become the marrow in his bones, to always be a part of him.

Just when she thought he would take her to her room and make love to her as she had asked, the kiss ended.  Banjo bent his head his rough cheek rasped against hers.  The fragrance of him, a combination of horse, pine and crisp snow, caressed her senses.  He slipped his hand into her hair and gently rubbed the tender skin of her neck where her blood pulsed beneath his thumb.

His mouth so close to her ear she felt the warm moisture of his breath as he spoke his last words.  She would never forget them, not as long as she lived.  Breathless from the kiss, he said, "Don't forget me.  Write to me every day and I'll write back.  You are the star in my sky and my compass home.  I'll come back, if it's the last thing I do, I will come back.  I swear it."

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON KINDLE   Paperback at Amazon:


revised edition by Prairie Rose Publication releases 4-23-2014

A haunted plantation...A mysterious trunk...And a date with destiny



When Lola Barton inherits a rundown plantation, she believes her life has finally taken a positive turn. But, when she finds a mysterious trunk in the attic, it takes her into the past and to a man with dark secrets...and she.s married to him.


Harmonica music floated down from the attic...the last place in this tumble down

wreck of a house Lola Barton wanted to go.  Had someone or something taken up

residence there?  Lola made her way up the darkened attic stairs measuring each

step as the ancient boards creaked in protest under her feet.  Her flashlight

beamed a narrow circle of light illuminating the cobweb-covered door at the top

of the landing.  Her heart raced and pulsed in her ears.  Hands trembled with the

surge of adrenaline as she pressed forward.  She ignored her inner voice that

warned, "Don't go!"

Her cynical mind told her the rumors that Misty Oaks Plantation had ghosts

weren't true.  The tales of murder and betrayal had to be the overactive

imagination of the local townspeople.  A homeless vagrant had to be the most

logical explanation for the disturbance. 

Once she gained the landing, she blew the cobwebs from the door and leaned her

ear against it to listen for any movement on the other side.  Wisps of harmonica

music lifted in the air.  Perhaps someone left a harmonica lying around and the

wind blew hard enough through the cracks in the walls to make it sound as

though someone played the instrument.  Just the wind.  No ghost.

With her courage bolstered by her logical conclusion, she grabbed the doorknob

and turned it. 


Find Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride at:


Previous Reviews:

You Gotta Read Reviews

Reviewer: Val

Joseph Wilding left his prosperous Virginia ranch and his grieving father to live in obscurity and guilt over his brother’s death until he marries Lola instead of Callie McGraw, the woman he abhors but whose life he was attempting to save.
Lola discovers a warp in time in an old trunk when she falls into 1910.  She finds herself married to Joe, a stranger shadowed by secrets.  Mistaken for Callie McGraw, a thief and a woman of ill repute, Lola finds her life is threatened by a scoundrel who believes she stole his money and only Joe stands between her and death.

With danger threatening all around and secrets keeping them apart, can Joe and Lola find their destiny together or will time and circumstance forever divide them?

I often sit here and think how I would handle living in a different time period. When Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride fell into my hands, I instantly fell in love with the book. I was able to take a trip through time which I will remember for a long time to come. As with any time travel book, I usually always ask myself if something from the past could hinder something in future. I feel as though I need to pay close attention and try to keep up with what is about to happen. This book was the polar opposite for me. I was so engrossed in the book, I didn't have think about what may happen, I simply sat back and let this book sweep me away. 

Lola is a feisty woman who is hell bent on proving to herself and others that she will not end up like her mother. As an independent woman living in the 21st century, Lola has goals to become a lawyer so people will look up to her and is finally on her way to making her dreams come true. Joe lives in the 20th century, faces turmoil of his own and feels as though he needs to live a solitary life. Now imagine how you would react to being transported from the 21st to the 20th century without an inkling of how it happened. On top of that, you find yourself in the middle of your own marriage to a man you don't even know. This is exactly what happened to Lola. From the moment Lola and Joe lay eyes on one another the sparks fly in more ways than one. Each is drawn to the other but at the same time are exasperated with one another. Their relationship throughout the book is enchanting, humorous, spicy and genuine. These two really touched my heart.

Solid secondary characters like Banjo (a young man who has been on his own since he was about ten) and Argos (Joe's faithful canine) really brought a strong familial feel to the book. Each played an important part as a protector who would lay down their lives for those they held close.

Ms. McNeal is a new author to me and I found Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride to be a deeply sensual yet very touching read. I instantly fell in love with the writing style and I just have to say Ms. McNeal has a gift of writing with great humor, witty dialogue and superb imagery.

This book has become a new favorite of mine and I know you will fall in love with it as well. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves time travel, suspense, romance and steamy love scenes. You don't want to miss this book.


Western/Historical/Time Travel
Rating: 4 cups

Lola Barton does not scare easily. She has experienced the bad side of life and come through it just fine. Until she climbs the stairs to the attic of the house she inherited from her mean Aunt Callie and leaves her life in the present day behind.

Harmonica Joe Wilding resides in 1910 Hazard, Wyoming. He is a doctor of sorts who has won his bride in a card game. The Queen of Hearts not only got him his bride, she may have also brought him the love of his life.

Lola finds a trunk in her aunt's attic and begins to rifle through the contents. She tries on the clothing found there, but the playing card takes her on a journey of a lifetime…straight into a wedding…in 1910 Wyoming. Joe has played the card game of his life in order to rescue a woman who he believes is Callie, a cold-hearted woman who has stolen money from a man who is intent on seeing her pay for the crime. Only certain traits begin to make him see that this is not the Callie he knows. Instead, her niece has fallen through a rip in time and right into his heart.

Can you just imagine leaving your life behind and stepping into the shoes of someone who not only resembles you but is despised by most of the town? Lola's attitude towards Joe made me laugh out loud several times. She has a twenty-first century attitude in an early twentieth century world. I found her easy to relate to. The writing pulls the reader into the story and keeps them glued to their seats until the very end. And the love scenes are steamy and sensual. Ms. McNeal has certainly impressed me with this wonderful tale. Beware though, the publisher's site for this book does give the warning that this is for adults only.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More



Good Reads Reviews 4 Star review by Kimberly Murray 



My YA western that takes place in the Great Depression from Painted Pony Books is available in Paperback, Kindle and all ebook formats.

The Great Depression...Rum Runners and Old Fears...Love Against the Odds


Lilith Wilding can't remember a time when she didn't love the English born Robin Pierpont, but she knows he loves another so she hides her feelings beneath a hard veneer of self-protection.

Robin Pierpont dreams of flying airplanes and winning the heart of the one he loves, but when he gets involved in illegal rum running to help a friend, those dreams seem to turn into just a fantasy. When he is called upon to face his worst fear to save Lilith's life, his fate may be sealed in death.


Robin heard the crack of the limb as it began to buckle under the weight of the little girl with red curls. His heart pulsed into his throat and hammered in his ears. The smell of pine filled the air. Of all the trees Lilith chose to climb, why didn't she pick something sturdier, like an oak?

"Reach up and give me your hand, Lilith and be quick about it." He stretched his arm to her as far as he could reach. A few inches remained before he could grab hold of her.

"I'm not scared, Rob," Lilith said in a voice filled with bravado but, when she lifted her brown eyes to peer up at him, he saw the wells of tears she refused to shed. She choked on a sob. "All the same, if I'm gonna fall and die, don't tell Daddy I climbed this tree. He told me not to do it."

Robin had to work to stuff down his laughter at her brave attempts to appear fearless. "Come now, Lilith. Quit acting stupid. Reach up and grab my hand. You can worry about your daddy's punishment later." Another ominous sound of splitting wood issued from the limb. A flock of birds took flight as their habitat began to crumble. Robin knew the limb couldn't hold much longer. Twenty feet or so below them, the swollen Wind River plunged over jagged rocks heavy with the surge of melted snow from the spring thaw from the Tetons. On a good day, the rapids could sweep a person off his feet and carry him over the falls a short distance down river, but the high water and rapid current were deadly now. Robin's own fear caught in his chest at the sight of the surging water.


Fly Away Heart is now one of 5 sweet western romance novels included in a boxed set titled LOVE'S FIRST TOUCH for only 99cents!

Buy Link:  AMAZON

A Husband For Christmas 

Also available as a single for 99 cents

Buy Link for single


A night of horror and a wish for a new life.


Jane Pierpont and her son, Robin, survived the Titanic, but her husband went down with the ship and the emotional scars of that night have kept her and her son locked into that frightening event. Robin is terrified of deep water and Jane has nightmares and survivor�s guilt. She yearns for a family, a loving husband and maybe another child, but she feels disloyal to Michael's memory whenever Teekonka RedSky comes near her.

Teekonka RedSky loves Jane and her son, but all his efforts to help them past their painful memories of the night Michael Pierpont died have been unsuccessful. Unwilling to give up, can his Lakota beliefs help him bring peace to Robin and free Jane to love again?  


Teekonka let go of the latch and stepped back into the room. He took Jane's hand in his, its warmth radiating into her chest. "I wondered if you and Rob would attend the festival with me."

Jane felt confused. "The hotel is just down the street from here. We can manage to get there quite well on our own."


He shook his head and squeezed her hand. "You don't understand, Jane. I'm asking you and your son to go with me because I want to court you."


Jane pulled her hand free. Self-reproach engulfed her. Before her stood a handsome, strong man who wanted to court her and include her son, but she couldn't. It wasn't right. Surely, Michael's spirit was close by, and he would never approve. He couldn't help dying. "I...I'm flattered that you should ask, but I can't. My husband..."


Teekonka's jaw clenched. "Your husband is dead. He's been dead for seven years." He stepped back from her. A frown turned his firm lips down. After he walked to the door and lifted the latch, he turned to her again. "I'm sorry. I apologize for reacting so angrily.  You still love your husband. I understand." The door closed, and he was gone.


Jane stood alone in a room that had suddenly grown cold and dim.




Reviews For Love of Banjo

Romance Junkies 4 star review

Gallop into a historical western with Banjo and Maggie as they try to find their way back to each other and overcome obstacles that threaten to tear them apart forever.

Maggie O'Leary is a beautiful young lady who helps her father run a ranch. She has been in love with Banjo since she was just a young girl and he saved her life.  When Banjo approaches her about leaving to find his father, she knows that she must let him go or he will never be at peace about his past.  Will Maggie's love be enough to bring Banjo back to her? 

Banjo Wilding is a charming man with a shocking past and no real name to call himself.  He was a troubled youth until a family took him and made him a part of their family.  Banjo loves Maggie with all his heart but he feels that he is not good enough for her and must find out who his real father is.  And only then will he be able to put the past behind him and give his love freely to Maggie.  When Banjo discovers the truth will he be able to be the man he thinks Maggie deserves?

FOR LOVE OF BANJO is a sweet historical western. Sarah J. McNeal pens a novel that takes a reader on an emotional roller coaster ride.  Your compassion will go out to Maggie and Banjo as they take their journey into the unknown.  The secondary characters are just as endearing as the main characters.  I laughed at some of the antics, tensed when things got rough, and got teary-eyed when two souls soared together.

Maggie is a fun and quirky character that I enjoyed immensely.  She is sweet, sassy and loves with her whole being.  She is a strong character that will do anything to keep the man she loves.

Banjo is a man who is honest, strong and caring.  He has gone through a lot in his past and you cannot help but to hope he finds peace. He is determined to make it back to Maggie and have the love of a woman who makes him whole.  He also realizes that everything he ever wanted and needed was always right there before him.

FOR LOVE OF BANJO is a delightful tale about how love can rise above everything. 

 Billie Jo



Reviews for THE VIOLIN


 Coffeetime Review 4 Cups

Manic Readers gave The Violin (revised edition) a 5 star review

Reviewer: Alberta

I love time travel romances, and I loved this one. Genevieve is a product of the foster child system, a repressed, self-conscious, shy, unloved and unlovable teacher with dreams of an unknown man that recur nightly.

When she sees an auction for an old violin, she feels compelled to buy it, behaving totally out of character for her staid self. Inside she finds information about the owner who drowned in 1927. She embarks on a journey to find out more about the man, his family and the violin. She manages to go back in time to 1927, meets and falls in love with John, the owner of the violin.

She is welcomed by family and friends but she knows she must try and save John's life, before returning to her own time. Their love is doomed to separation by years or death or both.

The Violin is intricately written, and the difference in personality between Genevieve in the present day to Genevieve in 1927 is clearly defined and startling. The whole town seems to know something that she doesn't, but when she finds out what that is, she can't or won't believe it could possibly be true. I loved the characters, both main and secondary, and the conflicts are satisfactorily resolved. I think you'll enjoy it as much as I did.




I loved this story so much that I do not want to give anything away. The Violin by Sarah J. McNeal is a sweet and compelling romance. The plot felt very real to me. From the first page I was drawn into the story and I was as intrigued by the mystery of John as Genevieve was. The author does a wonderful job of describing the characters. I identified with Genevieve’s fears and her loneliness. I found myself cheering her on. I highly recommend this novel.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance