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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dare to Dream - by Debbie Vaughan (with 2 a's)

It’s said love is timeless. Meghan Dennehy, is about to prove it.

Uncomfortable in her world, the antiques of the past hold far more interest than the fast paced era Meghan Dennehy lives in. Only happy with her nose in a book or in the life built in her dreams, she longs for a place to belong and a love of her own.
A hundred years in the past, Will Thornton, a half-breed former army scout is caught between two worlds.  Passing for white, he does not forget his native heritage and proudly bears the name Ghost Walking, given him by his grandfather. His heart yearns for someone to love him for who and what he is.

Fate intercedes to bring them together. But destiny isn't always kind, even to young lovers.  It will take more than passion to bind them.  It will take faith in a love that transcends time.
To Buy This Book
Debbie's Web Site


Meghan climbed carefully, testing each rung before transferring her full weight, batting at the cobwebs threatening to envelope her. Her first glimpse of the second level made her forget spiders and instead envision cowboys and cattle drives, wild Indians, and mustangs. The loft had been someone’s sleeping quarters.

Two narrow beds sat side by side covered in Indian blankets that for some reason the mice had chosen not to chew. They were filthy, yes, but whole, as were the two moldy leather saddles. Mold was better than dry rot. The leather could be brought back with proper care. Her heart skipped a beat.  Her mind turned to gentle hands, calming wild things like the man in her dreams. A sob almost choked her.

“You okay up there?” Donna yelled from below. “I found the buckboard.”

A deep breath steadied her. “I have about ten thousand dollars worth of Indian blankets and saddles. Get the rope, and I’ll lower them down.”

Her hands itched to open the trunks at the foot of each bunk. She lifted the first lid with reverence, a door back in time. A cavalry uniform, complete with faded yellow suspenders, lay neatly folded. A Bible. She blew away the dust and read the inscription: William Thomas Thornton. Was the old woman a Thornton? Loose pages fell and crumbled to dust in her hands. She wanted to cry for the loss.

Meghan moved to the next trunk and found, of all things, a wedding dress. The lace was yellowed with age but whole. Something furry touched her hand, and she squealed, awaiting the bite that never came. Sucking up her courage she lifted the dress to find molting rabbit fur attached to the frayed netting of a dream catcher. They had been all the rage a few years ago. Like a spider’s web with a totem attached, the disk was supposed to catch bad dreams and keep them from harming the sleeper while letting the good ones in through the spaces in the web.

A rumble of thunder snapped her back to the present. After carefully wrapping the clothing, Bible, and other articles in the Indian blankets, she tied the bundle with the remainder of rope and secured the end to her belt. With the pack on her back she stepped onto the top rung of the ladder. A crack of lightning lit the gloom with the bright white of a strobe. She stared at the hideous thing, not an inch from her left eye. The huge wolf spider swung toward her. Meghan screamed, batting at it with her free hand, and the pack pulled her off balance.  The rung broke and she pitched backward into the air. The second scream died on her lips as her head struck the center beam with a sickening thud and searing pain shot through her skull. Her hair pulled her head backward as it caught briefly on the wood. Blackness shrouded her vision.

                                                        * * * *         
Chickens flew out of the barn in all directions.  “Damn varmint!” Charlie swore.

Will grabbed the Winchester off the antlers by the door and lit out at a run. Bad enough there’d be no eggs tomorrow with the hens scared to death, but he’d be damned if he’d let a fox kill the chickens, too.

He slung the massive door back with one good shove and shouldered his gun, not planning to risk a miss shooting from the hip. Not a fox in sight. The only thing out of place, besides the chickens, lay dead on the ground at the foot of the ladder. Where the hell had the little thief come from, and how did he get out here in the middle of nowhere? He kept the rifle up as he scanned the barn but found nothing else amiss. Finally satisfied he wasn’t about to be bushwhacked, Will set his gun aside and approached the boy.

A puddle of blood soaked the clay under his head. The pool didn’t seem to be growing, so best to leave it alone for now. The kid’s body lay arched over the bundle of blankets tied to his back, arms, and legs going every which way. His chest rose and fell in a slow but steady rhythm. Well, he knocked himself cold for sure. Time would tell if his head swelled inside. Will ran a finger over the kid’s full lower lip then along his chin. Not even peach fuzz, just a boy in a growing spurt if those tight jeans were any indication. How could the kid stand it?  Everything all bound up like that made Will want to tug at his own crotch to loosen things. Hell, Charlie might have to cut the britches off him.

He squatted to straighten the kid’s legs and arms, feeling each for breaks, but finding none. The boy might be black and blue for a couple of months, but other than his head, nothing seemed busted. He stepped back to the door and yelled, “Charlie, bring your bag, we got us a hurt youngin’ out here.”

Charlie’s head popped around the cabin door. “What’cha say?”

“You heard right. Hurry up!”

“I’m comin’. Hold your horses.”

Will walked back to the kid and eased the bundle from under him. Might as well see what he took while he waited for Charlie. His Bible tumbled into his lap. What kind of thief stole a man’s Bible? His dream catcher came out next. What good was either of these things to the boy? He pulled the straw hat off the kid’s face, tugging gently when it caught on something. The sight took him by surprise.

Hair like spun silver tumbled from the hat to cover her face. A filly?


Will brought in the trunk from the barn to set at the foot of the bed. He heard her stirring about in the kitchen, but was determined to leave her alone until everything was ready. He laid a fire in the fireplace and surveyed his efforts. He hoped they’d do for now.

He stood and arched his back until his spine cracked. He must be getting old. He caught wind of a wonderful aroma drifting from under the door. A compliment to her cooking would be a good start and far from a lie. Everything she’d made so far had been perfect.

He eased the door open, not wanting to startle her by just bursting in. Turning his head to the right, he saw the chair under the door handle and frowned. Was she trying to bar his way? He turned his head to the left and forgot to breathe as his heart tried to escape his chest and his cock, the tight confines of his britches. He stepped through the doorway to gape.

In the lantern light, her pale body bent over the tub rim, slender and perfect. Fair hair swirled in the water as her right arm groped for the pitcher. He grimaced when the spasm set in, watching her cradle the limb to her chest until the pain passed.

“Meghan?” He spoke her name softly so as not to startle, and she froze. He unbuttoned two buttons of his shirt and pulled it over his head. “Let me rinse your hair.”

She didn’t speak, nor did she move to rise. Will knelt behind her, knees on either side of hers and dipped the pitcher into the tub. He poured the contents slowly along her nape, using his other hand to squeeze the soap out. The bulge of his erection rubbed against her bare bottom with each movement. He leaned farther in order to draw her mane from the water so he might rinse the last of the soap away, and her ass wriggled.

Wrapping her hair around his hand, he pulled her head back gently, forcing her to gaze up at him. Tears streamed down her face.

“Hush, love, hush,” he cooed as he pressed her to his chest.

“I’m sorry. I’d take it back if I could.”

He pulled her face around, her hair still his handle. “Take what back?”

“The others, if you’d come first, they never would have been. But you weren’t there. I had to come find you.”

Will smiled despite her tear-stained face and kissed each eye. They must be destined for each other if he understood what she meant. “What or who came before doesn’t matter. I was wrong to ask. Everything started new the day we met.”

“So you don’t think I’m a slut? You don’t care I’m not a virgin?”

Will wiped at the tears on her lashes and cursed himself as twice the fool. He kissed her tenderly. Breaking the kiss, he pulled his lips only far enough away to say, “No, I would never think that of you. I just couldn’t bear the thought of anyone else touching you, or you them.” He allowed his hand to roam over her breast. “As to the other, at this moment I am happy you’re not a green maiden, else what I plan to do might shock your sensibilities.”

A shiver ran through her, and her eyes widened. “What did you have in mind?”

Will smiled wickedly, and then kissed her senseless. When her body went limp in his arms, he turned her around until she again faced the tub. His tongue dipped into her ear, causing her to buck against him. He chuckled.

“Lean way over, sweetheart. Get a good grip on the rim.” Will urged her arms outward, curling her fingers over the tub’s edge. He angled her butt up and nudged her knees outward, sat back, and assayed her position. “Mmm, stay put. I won’t be long.”

He took longer than he should have to get his boots off. The lantern light glistening off the dew already collecting between her thighs became horribly distracting, or maybe it was the knowledge she wanted him as bad as he wanted her. He tossed the last boot across the room and she made an—eep! His britches and drawers came off as one.

Knelt behind her, he ran a finger down her spine, and she arched her back like a cat. When the same finger ran the length of her slit, her back bowed, and her ass went up. Wet and perfect. He seemed to continually promise to take things slow and then make a liar of himself. He’d try again for her sake.

He eased his rampant rod down to rest between her lower lips, swallowing the groan that rose from his depths as they touched. Cupping her breasts in his hands, he massaged them while he danced his tongue along her neck and shoulder.

“Will?” Her butt tilted more in invitation.

“Mmm. Sugar, I’m tryin’ to take this slow.” The groan escaped as she wiggled her ass.

“Can we try slow another time? Please?”

Her skin went goosepimply under his hands. Pure meanness made him ask, “Please, what?”

“Love me, now.” The plea ended in a sob.

The need in her voice stole the air from the room. Will drew back slowly, allowing the swollen head of his shaft to stroke back over her bud then further until he reached her entrance, wet and ready. He held himself in check and moved forward an inch at a time. His hands stilled her hips when she would have thrust back onto him, possibly ending everything before they started.

When his groin touched her butt, she pushed back, taking up that last bit. A shudder ran through her and into Will as her inner muscles trembled and squeezed the length of him.

Her sigh turned to a moan when he began to thrust.


Author’s Bio - Debbie Vaughan

I was raised by various relatives in rural Arkansas. We didn't go places or do exciting things but I had a sense of adventure and a vivid imagination.  My grandpa's wagon was a royal coach, the plow horse my charger and the barnyard animals were whatever I wished them to be. I learned at an early age, my mind could take me wherever I wanted to go and make me whoever I wished to be. 

When I learned to read, the pages took me to far-away lands and places, the past and the future.  I was hooked. I loved everything about books, the smell and feel of pages between my fingers. This love of books would later lead me to my job as a library assistant.
Content to read, it didn’t occur to me to try my hand at writing.
In my teens I discovered romance novels.  I loved historical and strong, virile heroes.  Later I became interested in the paranormal.  I devoured Ann Rice, Laurell K. Hamilton and others in the genre and found one constant. I always preferred the monsters. It was while composing my junior and senior themes in high school I discovered my love of writing and according to those literature teachers, a talent for it.

My ideas of what made a hero changed, as did my opinions of timid, meek heroines. No Pitiful Pearls for me, I liked my girls to have grit! An idea began to form.  What if I took my changed perceptions and tossed in a generous dose of humor? Could I write a novel?

I had many false starts and setbacks along the way to Dare to Dream, life has a tendency to get in the way of art, but I persevered.  I joined Romance Writers of America, author’s forums and the on-line critique group, ERAuthors, all of which gave me encouragement, knowledge, a shoulder to cry on as well as many new friends including critique partner, Australian author, Lillian Grant.

To all who encouraged and believed in me, thank you.

A Brief Interview With Debbie:

Q) What inspired you to write professionally?
It’s something I have always wanted to do but I thought you had to be someone “special” to make it.  I was right.  Most of the writers I have met are very special people willing to share their experiences and knowledge with us newbies.  Charlaine Harris was one such writer.  She is the most humble, down to earth person you’d ever want to meet.  She said a writer must write.  This is a fact. A writer can’t NOT write.  And to become a successful author you have to finish something, polish it and submit it.  In other words, you have to write the darned thing! 
Q) Writing fiction, erotic or otherwise, takes a writer out of their everyday life and comfort zone. To go there, writers usually insert themselves in one familiar place. I know one author who actually does his best writing in Starbucks. Another rented a room above a garage two blocks from her house. Where do you write?
No place spectacular.  I have an office in my spare bedroom.  All I really need is no distraction.  Unfortunately for me, most of my distractions are in my head. I need to mow the grass. The car needs washed. Did I remember to pay the water bill? 
Q) For you, what constitutes a "good" day in your life?
 The bills are paid and I still have time to write.  A great day is when someone wants to publish what I wrote.  An excellent day is when you get fan mail saying how much they loved your book and why.  It doesn’t get any better than that. 
Q) As a writer, what is your ultimate goal?
  I was asked this question when I joined a critique group.  My answer was the same then as now: I want to be on the New York Times Best Seller List. 
Q) Has a neighbor ever inspired one of your character, and why?
 Yes.  She is inspirational in a lot of respects but I think it is her steadfastness I admire most. 
Q) How do you juggle home, career, family, and writing? 
 Err, better than some?  My housekeeping takes a turn for the worst when I am on the downhill slide toward the climax of a current project.  Family isn’t an issue for me.  I see writing as my career, my JOB pays the bills. 
Q) There is so much that goes on behind the scenes in writing, such as rounds and rounds of editing. When you began writing professionally, what problems or bumps popped up that you never expected, and how did you adjust to them?
For me, rejection was the hardest thing.  I like people to like me.  I strive hard for that.  But it wasn’t so much the, “thank you, but no,” that was upsetting--it was the not knowing WHY.  I can cope with anything given a reason.  Editors seldom take the time to give reasons as they go through hundreds of submissions.  I know this on an intellectual level, but on a visceral level, I still need to know why.
Q) Briefs or boxers on your men? Why?
 Either works as long as they fit.  I don’t like a satchel ass.  Sorry, you did ask!  I’d rather have tighty whities than baggie boxers.  Too much wrapping paper on the present if you know what I mean. :) 
Q) If your soul mate cooked you the ultimate sensual dinner, what would be on the menu?
It wouldn’t matter one little bit.  The fact he thought enough to do it means everything. 
Q) Silk or satin sheets? What color? Why?
 Silk.  Raw silk.  I’m partial to all things red.
 Q) What have you had to sacrifice to become a writer?
 Sometimes I think it is my sanity, but most of the time I don’t see it as a sacrifice.  I love to write. 
Q) When you write, are you a character in your stories, or are you on the sidelines watching the story as it unfolds?
 When I write first person I am always a character.  Always.  In third, I tend to bond with one character more than the others, but it isn’t as real to me.  That’s probably why I prefer to write in first.
 Q) Is being a writer as satisfying as you thought it would be?
  In some ways it’s much more so.  There is such a rush to look at a finished page and know that a few minutes ago those words in that combination didn’t exist.  When you complete a project, it’s like giving birth.  That’s your baby going out into the world. 
Q) What's next for you? Are you considering new characters in a new setting?
 I have story ideas stacked one on top of the other jostling for first in line. 
Q) What's your favorite era and why?
I don’t think I have one.  Love is where you find it and I am happy with that. 
Q) Which do you prefer to read – e-book or hard cover?
 E-books are here to stay.  They are so practical in so many ways.  But, I will never lose my love of a bound copy. It’s a tactile experience for me. 
Q) When the day arrives you have to stop writing, what's the one thing you hope your readers will remember?
 That I wrote with my heart.  People tell me all the time, how real my characters seem. (Even when they are traveling through time.)  One reader said, “You made me cry.”  That is high praise. As writers we want them to connect with our characters, to experience the journey with them.  Her comment will probably go down as the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. 
Q) Do you implant subplots in your stories very often – a personal dilemma the hero or heroine has to overcome as well as the primary obstacle?
 Yes, all the time.  We all have issues we have to deal with, things from our past or present that make us who we are.  I think adding that aspect makes a character more real tot the reader.  No one wants to read about perfect people with perfect lives.


  1. Thank you David for being kind enough to post this for me. You're a gem!

    Debbie Vaughan

  2. My pleasure, Debbie.
    Thanks for entrusting me with it. =)
    Sell tons of books!

  3. I'm waiting for the release of this one!

  4. Oh, yeah! Can't wait! Congrats Debbie on the new release!

  5. Well then you are in luck! Siren has just placed it on the pre-order list. From now until the 7th, if you pre-order you get 15% off.

    Thanks for stopping by Amber and Judith!

    And David, from your lips to God's ear, or at least the reading public.


  6. Wow. Great excerpt Debbie. Very hot and nicely written. Good luck with your career, and many happy sales, dear.