Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Hero Profile & Excerpt ~ HITCHED TO THE GUNSLINGER by Michelle McLean

Hitched to the Gunslinger
by: Michelle McLean
Genre: Western Historical Romance
Release Date: August 24, 2021
Publisher: Entangled ~ Amara
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Gray “Quick Shot” Woodson is the fastest gun west of the Mississippi. Unfortunately, he’s ready to hang up his hat. Sure, being notorious has its perks. But the nomadic lifestyle—and people always tryin’ to kill you—gets old real fast.

Now he just wants to find a place to retire so he can spend his days the way the good Lord intended. Staring at the sunset. And napping.

When his stubborn horse drags him into a hole-in-the-wall town called Desolation, something about the place calls to Gray, and he figures he might actually have a shot at a sleepy retirement.

His optimism lasts about a minute and a half.

Soon he finds himself embroiled in a town vendetta and married to a woman named Mercy. Who, judging by her aggravating personality, doesn’t know the meaning of her own name. In fact, she’s downright impossible.

But dang it if his wife isn’t irresistible. If only she’d stop trying to steal his guns to go after the bad guys herself.

There goes his peace and quiet…


Name: The wanted posters call me Quick Shot but I prefer the name my mama gave me, Gray Woodson.

Age: 42. Or…43 maybe. Somewhere around there.

Physical Description: A little softer around the middle than I used to be and there might be a little snow on the rooftop. I still cut a fine figure though, if I do say so myself. Taller than most around here and spend enough time in a saddle that the rest of me is tough and strong.

Occupation: Sigh. Gunslinger. But not by choice and I don’t like talkin’ about it. Next question.

3 likes in no particular order: Easy. Naps. Food. Being left alone.

3 dislikes in no particular order: Easier. Work of any kind. Bein’ hassled. Bein’ a damn notorious gunslinger.

Drink of choice: Mineral water. Only a fool gets sloshed when people are constantly gunnin’ for him.

Favorite food: Anything I don’t have to cook myself that’s halfway edible. As long as there’s no apples in it!

Favorite dessert: See the last question. Though I do really love a nice warm cherry pie.

Favorite song: *glowers in silence and mutters something about never singing*

Favorite color: The color of Mercy’s eyes…like overripe blueberries. But don’t tell no one I said so!

Choice of transportation: A horse, generally, though my own, Birdie, is more of a pain than she’s worth.

Most prized possession: My mama’s wedding ring

Favorite way to unwind: A nap

Favorite way to spend an evening: I told you, a nap

Best friend: Don’t have one, don’t want one, and don’t listen to Sunshine if he says it’s him. Friends aren’t nothin’ more than someone you might lose. At least I thought so until I came to this damn town…

Best memory to date: Seein’ Mercy for the first time. Lord, that woman is a spitfire!

If you could have a do-over, what would you do differently? I don’t know…maybe not win that first gunfight…

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? None! I’m tryin’ to retire dammit! I finally get away from gunslingin’ and now I got roped into bein’ the sheriff and honestly, what does a man have to do to get a break around here?

What profession would you not like to do? Gunslinger. Which is why I’m tryin’ so damn hard to get out of it. Oh, and sheriff which is why I kept sayin’ no when the whole town tried pushin’ it on me! I’m only doing it ’til they find someone else.

Most romantic gesture: *ears grow red* That’s private. *sigh* Okay, don’t tell her, but for our anniversary this year I’m finally goin’ to teach Mercy how to shoot.

Words to live by: Never pass up the opportunity for a nap.

“What are we going to do with them?” Mercy asked, looking down at the men who were hog-tied at her feet.

“Bring them to the sheriff?” Jason asked.

Mercy shook her head. “He ran off a few nights ago.”

“He take one look at ol’ Mr. Woodson here and run off with his tail between his legs?” Jason asked, though his tone sounded more jesting than admiring.

“Actually, yes,” she said, ignoring Gray’s raised eyebrows. She didn’t know why she felt the need to defend him, but…well, credit should be given where it was due, and it had been Gray’s presence that had scared off the sheriff.

“Apparently being stuck between the dangerous Josiah and the murderous Quick Shot Woodson was too much for the sheriff’s poor constitution to handle,” Mercy said.

Gray watched her with a curious expression, those eyes of his boring into hers.

“Murderous, eh?” Jason glanced at Gray with a grin.

He stopped staring at Mercy and waved Jason off. “Nothin’ but stories. I’m perfectly harmless.”

“Uh huh,” Jason said, and Mercy laughed.

Gray was many, many things. Harmless was not one of them.

He finished tying up the last man and stood with his hands on his hips, looking down at them, his face drawn with weary lines. “We can at least take them to the jailhouse. They’ll be more secure there. I’d just as soon get them off the property.”

Mercy put her hand over her heart. “Why, Mr. Woodson. I didn’t think you cared so much for my safety.” She kept her tone lighthearted, but she truly was touched that he’d want to get the dangerous men off her property as quickly as possible.

He pinned her with another look she couldn’t decipher. She’d pay a nice pile of money to know what was going on in that man’s head when he looked at her.

“We keep them here, Josiah might come back around lookin’ for them. I’m too tired to fight another posse right now. A man can only defeat so many enemies a day.”

Ah. Of course. He was worried about himself. Not her.

“Hey, I helped,” Jason said. “That one’s mine.” He pointed at the pudgy one who was still curled up like a newborn baby.

“Took your time about it, too.”

Mercy bit her lip to keep from grinning at Gray’s droll tone. “That’s no way to encourage him,” Mercy said. She turned to Jason with a brilliant smile. “You did wonderfully, Mr. Sunshine. I’m sure you’d have been able to take on the whole lot, given the chance.”

Gray snorted. “We’ll let him try next time, shall we?”

Mercy and Jason both opened their mouths to respond, but Gray ignored them. “Go hitch up the wagon, Sunshine.”

Jason scampered off, and Mercy shook her head. “A little praise and encouragement goes a long way. He held his own today. Did better than I did,” she said with a little laugh.

“You did well enough,” Gray muttered.

Her eyes widened. “Did you just pay me a compliment?”

He gave the knot he’d been tying one last tug before standing up. “You managed to point the gun in the right direction and didn’t shoot any of your own men. Hardly rousing praise but suit yourself.”

She shrugged. “That might be the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.”

He opened his mouth to argue—or maybe agree…the man was impossible to read—but Jason rolled up with the wagon and Gray turned away to help load the men. She sighed. She was never going to understand that man.

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Michelle McLean is a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl who is addicted to chocolate and Goldfish crackers and spent most of her formative years with her nose in a book. She has a B.S. in History, an M.A. in English, and loves her romances with a little heat, a lot of humor, and always a happily ever after.

When Michelle's not working, reading, or chasing her kids around, she can usually be found baking or diamond painting, which she accidentally got addicted to while bored one day. She resides in PA with her husband and two teens, the world's most spoiled dog, and two cats who absolutely rule the house. She also writes contemporary romance as Kira Archer.

Places to find Michelle McLean:

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