Shaunna Writes
Shaunna Writes
  • Shaunna Gonzales, writer of romance and time travel novels.

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    About Me

    For over twelve years I've been managing my Multiple Sclerosis and writing mostly romantic stories, but now I'm branching out to time travel. I currently dwell in the Seattle area but hope to move soon. I only have my husband to cope with me and my youngest son who will soon be out in the world, making his own way.

    Now it is your turn to read what I have written. with your voracious appetites for adventure and romance. Did I mention a little time-travel with my Talisman Series?  I currently have only one in my Talisman Series but have two more in the wings waiting for my editor and one that I am now writing. If you would like a character named after you, please contact me as I have several secondary characters whos names I can play with.

    I'm currently a writer of novels that are published on Amazon books. I'm writing my fourth in The Talisman Series. 

    A snippet from the second in the series.

      

    From her seated position behind the large bush, Trish's view was partially obstructed. She reached for the bush, to steady her. There in front of her came into view an armed man. He sat astride his horse, his features concealed by a handkerchief, his clothing non-descript except for the stain on his right sleeve. His gun belt lay low over his hip. He held up the stage with a long gun.

    "Hand that strong box down," he bellowed.

    The men on the stage carefully obliged him. His partner took the strong box in hand. He appeared similarly dressed with a red bandana across his features. He set the strong box down and aimed his gun at it. A resounding bang from his gun opened it.

    "Looks like a good load," said his partner in crime.

    One of the men on the stagecoach emptied his gun on the man at the strong box, causing him to fall on it. The gunman closest to her opened fire on the man, causing him to fall to the ground. With his second in command down, he had little choice but to get off his horse. He kept his gun trained on the stagecoach driver.

    "Get down from there." He motioned to the driver.

    The driver cautiously did so, climbing down from the stagecoach.

    "Pick up that cash and gold and bring it over here."

    The driver did as he was instructed, handing the gold and cash to the gunman. The gunman shuffled his gun and took the gold and the cash, putting it in his saddlebags.

    "Get down on your knees."

    The driver did so, but reached for the downed man's rifle. The gunman fired a shot at him, wounding him. He mounted and took off, heading south.

    She sprang into action, leaving her obstructed place behind the brush. Taking the time to check on the driver, he appeared okay so she took the long gun from the dead coach robber and mounted. She turned her horse after the man who had robbed the stagecoach.

    Noticing the road to her right that the stage would have traveled, she went there, keeping an eye out for the robber. She wasn't all that good with firearms and the odds of having more than a single shot in the gun she had taken from his companion appeared limited. She continued on until she observed the robber coming to a halt. She pulled up and went toward him, stopping in the brush.

    He lowered his handkerchief from his face. She hung back, sure that he would recognize the horse she rode if he were to see it.

    She followed at a safe distance. He rode toward the river bottom, a place that looked familiar to her. It could be she had traveled to the same time she had come from. She had no time to wonder about it because he pulled up and got off his horse, taking the saddlebags that held the cash and gold from his horses back. He ground tied his horse and continued into the river bottom on foot. She got off her horse and followed at a distance.

    He seemed to be looking for something as he backtracked twice. Finally having found what ever it was between two trees, he knelt down and started digging. After a time, he had another bag. This one appeared larger. He tucked the contents from the saddlebags into the hole and then dropped the contents where he had located it and covered the hole. Apparently satisfied, he stood to go and left.

    She remained behind and looked around, noticing the dry river bank. Yes, this happened to be the same place where she had played on several occasions. Apparently, the rumor that robbers had hidden their loot here in the river bottom had been correct. If she left it here for Andy's uncle to find — She thought about that for a minute. No, if she dug it up and hid it, then he may find it. She could tell him where it lay. Time would hide it quite adequately. What she needed was to kill the bandit. She thought about that for a minute. No, not kill him but arrange for his arrest. Only if his arrest didn't lead them to finding the cache of gold. Wait a minute, if he were arrested and convicted they would put him in jail. There remained a chance that he would die of scurvy or some such thing in jail.

    She could manage to implicate him. She had to figure out what year it may be first, who he was, and trade the horse she had for another one before she got arrested or hung for horse thieving.

    Trish went back to the horse she had stolen--or, rather, borrowed--and mounted. She thought about what she would do. Was Quinn here? The thought made her heart jump into her throat. She couldn't think about that right now and yet her thoughts remained on him. She had left him here with only a fond farewell. That night had been one of sleeplessness. The following morning had been painful as well. In that final moment, she had closed her eyes, willing him to be there. It didn't matter that she loved him and that was why she left him here, alone. Well, not really alone but without her.

    She rode to the livery and deposited her horse without making a scene. The livery man didn't recognize her. She spent time going through the saddlebags in hopes of finding some cash or coin. She found a small packet of money and took it and the long gun. She exited the livery and stopped to consider the town she found herself in. The mercantile appeared to be in the same place and so did the saloon some one hundred yards downstream with its bath shack as it had been. So it couldn't have been too terribly long since she had been here before. The hotel nearby looked new, though, as well as the smattering of houses. She wondered if Quinn had sold the land.

    She went to the hotel that stood nearby, knowing it wasn't the one she'd frequented earlier. She paid for her room and a hot meal. She deposited her long gun in her room and returned to the dining room. It was large with two tables and a bench on either side. She took her seat and waited for dinner to be served. There, holding a tray of hot potatoes and steaks, stood Lucinda. Trish ducked her head, trying not to be seen. The last thing she needed was Lucinda recognizing her. She had last seen her at the trial.

    Ducking her head apparently worked because Lucinda didn't act like she knew her. Trish ate her meal in silence and went up to her room.

    Upon entering her room, she found Quinn sitting in the only chair. He appeared older; a little gray around the temples but it suited him quite nicely. Some chest hair peaked out over the top button of his homespun shirt. A smile wavered across her lips. He stood and shut the door behind her.

    "Well, I'll be. It is you. What brings you back here?"

    "I'm…" She fumbled for words, trying to get past her elated surprise. He looked better to her than a tulip in springtime. "I'm just traveling through."

    "Is that what you were doin' last time you came through? Just travelin' through?"

    "No, I…"

    He stepped so close to her, she could touch him. He remained there and she could smell the horsiness of him. So totally Quinn. She didn't know who touched whom first. It didn't matter. His hand on her cheek invited her to him. Her hand on his chest said "Is this really happening?' Their kiss lingered, sweeter than honey and pure deliciousness. Gone were the days and years between them. In his arms, the time seemed to stand still.

    He pulled back, breaking their kiss.

    "I shouldn't have done that. I'm sorry."

    "For what?"

    "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have reacted when Lucinda told me she thought it was you." His expression became conflicted, his lips pressing together in a slight grimace. "I just went to the desk and looked for the person or persons that had registered and came up here. I knew it was you even though you signed in under Mary Smith. It had to be you. Again, I'm sorry."

    "For kissing me?"

    "Yes, and with my missus downstairs. It ain't right of me."

    Trish felt the wind gush from her lungs. What had he just said? His missus? His wife downstairs? How long had she been gone? A year, maybe two, or could it be more? He was married? The thought gave her reason for pause.

    "Your wife? Who is your wife?"

    "Lucinda. She was with child when Albert…" His words fell off. Obviously, Albert's death still weighed heavily on his mind.

    "And you married her." It came out as a statement rather than a question.

    "Yes, I did. I couldn't let her be alone in such a fragile state and after you left, it just felt…well." He stumbled over what he should say. At last he found the words."It felt right."

    Trish felt betrayed at his admission. Maybe he didn't love her at all. Her next words reflected the way her head was swimming with doubts.

    "And you just had to have her, didn't you? Like some drooling, lustful animal you had to have her for your very own."

    "No, it wasn't like that at all. I just felt responsible, is all." He pawed his hand through his hair.

    She stepped away, turning her back to him. Maybe Lucinda had carried his child the whole time she had been here before.  No, this wasn't the twenty-first century. In the end of the nineteenth, and men knew how to keep their hands and …other things to themselves.

    "How long did you wait once I was gone?" she asked, stilting her words.

    "Almost seven months. She was due at any time when I married her." His tone turned to a hoarse whisper. "I didn't know her for a year after that."

    Nineteen months — or longer.

    "You've got to believe me when I say I thought of you every day. Losing you tore my heart out and left it in the mud. That is why I had to come find out for myself when she told me you were here. To find out if you came back for me."

    She hadn't come back for him. She thought she would somehow find him here in his own time. As luck would have it, she just ended up coming back to where Lucinda served food. She'd come because it appeared different from the saloon. Oh, why hadn't she gone to the saloon? She knew the answer. It was because it was there that he gambled and she needed some time before she saw him. Time to prepare herself, now that time had gone.

    The events of the afternoon seemed so far away. Yes, she had thought of him, never dreaming he would be here, never believing he would come. But come he had and now he stood in her room. Not some cheap saloon room, but a nice room where it remained clean. It could be that Lucinda cleaned this very room. If she had, she had done a right nice job.

    "Does Lucinda do the cooking and the cleaning here?"

    "No, she just serves the dinner guests every Friday through Sunday. That is when Millie is the busiest. Did you come looking for me?"

    "I—ah, well, I hoped to find you on this trip, but I didn't expect you to be in my room."

    "A bit of a surprise, I'm guessun."

    "But a welcome one." She sat on the bed glad that he was there and extended her hand toward the chair he had just vacated. "Tell me what else has happened to you since I've been gone. Have you and Lucinda had any babies?" The question nearly caught in her throat. She couldn't stop herself; call it gluttony for punishment if you will.

    "Yes, we have William, of course. He is our first and Peter is the baby of the family."

    "How old are they?" Knowing their ages would help her figure out what year it may be.

    "Will is five and Peter is three."

    Great. That meant the year maybe 1893. The boys were old enough to be told of the cache the robber had deposited. "Oh, how sweet. Are you planning more?"

    Quinn looked at her funny. Apparently, planning more wasn't a question one should discuss. He changed the subject.

    "I had better leave. My being here ain't all that smart."

    He moved to the door unimpeded, and paused there to turn to face her for a moment. He apparently tried to decide something and left.

    She didn't know what she had done that caused him to leave. It remained a possibility that she had stuck her foot in her mouth by asking if he and Lucinda planned for more children. But she didn't think so. There was his kiss. She touched her fingers to her lips, allowing them to trace his kiss. She had brought Lucinda and the boys into their conversation because she needed to know their ages and if it were possible to plant a seed of pilfering what may be left by a thief. She had to let the boys know of the loot the robber had buried so that they could find it and save the homestead in the future, if they were old enough. Will might be but Peter wasn't. She had to figure a way to tell them and she had seven days to do it.

      

    This is an unedited snippet.


    And then a snippet from the third in the series.

      

    Tricia knew that she needed to locate Quinn and tell him of the child she carried, but she felt that could wait until Zelda’s house of ill-repute was settled and running smoothly. The next day, Tricia sat in the living room at the deep crimson settee surrounded by red damask curtains with a young woman. The young lady held herself well, dressed in the latest fashion and her mousey brown hair carefully coiffed.

    “Thank you for coming by. You know what kind of a house we are building here? Right?” Tricia asked the young woman.

    “I know that you are proposing a safe haven for women to do what some men want me to do, especially one. I’m willing to do it, but only if I get paid.”

    “What is it that they have you doing? Things that might land you in the same position I’m sitting here in?” Tricia pressed.

    The young woman lowered her head and whispered, “Yes. Oh, don't get me wrong," the young lady added. "I do what I do for the enjoyment." She offered, "I'm not a prude, I just can't say it. Oh, blast it, fornicate. There I've said it."

    “Are you now or have you ever been in a family way?”

    The young woman shook her head violently, “No, I never, no.”

    They talked about nothing in general but a lot of things in there variety. The young woman held very interesting view points on the up and coming community, some very valuable and some not so much so. Most were from a young person's point of view.

    At last, Tricia stood and said, “Very well, stay here and Zelda will be in with you.” She went into the kitchen to talk to Zelda.

    “I think you may have your first young lady in there.” She indicated the front room. “She seems willing enough but I don’t know if she is experienced enough. She seems awfully young. You had better interview her and find out.”

    Zelda nodded and went out to the front room.

    She returned a few minutes later with her arm around the young woman. “Tricia, I would like you to meet Daisy. It isn’t her real name, but to hide her true identity, it will be her name as she works here.”

    Tricia felt a smile spread across her face, she stepped forward grasping Daisy’s hand. “Welcome.”

    The young woman's countenance brightened considerably. She stepped forward and took Tricia's hand. "I've watched this house be built and longed for the opportunity to come inside. Now I'll be living here. Oh, this is so exciting."

    "I'm glad that you have come to live with us, too." Zelda said looking at her appointment book. "Oh, please excuse me, I have another appointment." She modestly bowed and turned to leave.

    "I will show you upstairs to your room. There is a wide variety as you are the first of Zelda's hires." She led the way up the stairs, past Zelda who sat in the parlor with another visitor.

    "Oh, this room is lovely," Daisy said looking into the first room.

    "Oh, it is, but you might want to see the other six rooms first before you decide," Tricia said to her, leading her down the hall. At each of the rooms Daisy oh-ed and ah-ed and then when she was given the choice, went back to the first one.

    "I like this one the best. And I'm sure I will like the sun streaming into it each morning."

    "There is that. I never considered that when I chose my room. I just went for the size with the baby coming and all."

    "Well, there is that. But I don't need to worry about that."

    Tricia stood at the top of the stairs listening to the ongoing interview. The next of Zelda's interviewees was much older. A Mrs. Mayfair sat at the settee. She was a robust woman of medium height with brown eyes and a speckle of gray in her hair. She wore a black coat over her prim and proper brown dress. Tricia thought how old her coat made her look. She examined the woman from a distance noting a lack of lines about her face. She couldn't be thirty and yet her hair and the way she dressed said she was older. 

    "Well, you are quite the surprise for what we are looking for at this house." Zelda said to the woman.

    Mrs. Mayfair stood leaving her satchel on the floor. "I'm not here as one of the many soiled doves who will be coming 'round. Mr. Cordon at the newspaper said you would need a house keeper and cook of sorts."

    "And what do you cook?"

    "I'd be happy to cook for you in a way of applying for the job. I'm newly here from France."

    "You could cook us French cuisine?" Tricia couldn't help but feel fortunate. She had never had true French food and looked forward to it. If indeed Zelda did hire the woman.

    "Well yes, if it is warranted. I also cook a more usual fare as well."

    Zelda must have noticed how fluent her English was. "Well, I must say I'm surprised by your English, but setting that aside, how much of a warning do you need for fixing us something for dinner tonight?"

    "I brought my satchel with a few things in it so I could start immediately if you would like."

    "Then by all means, my dear. I'll show you to the kitchen." Zelda led the way to the kitchen and stayed only long enough to see the woman put on her apron and wash her hands. Tricia followed at a distance.

    "Is she for real?" she asked Zelda.

    "Apparently so," Zelda answered.

    "If she is half the cook she says she is, I think we should snatch her up."

    "Let's see what she prepares for dinner, should we?"

    Some time later, Zelda, Daisy and Tricia sat at the table eating a decadent croque tartine parisienne of ham and cheese on a buttered rye. Zelda hired Mrs. Mayfair on the spot.

    Tricia spent that evening helping Daisy settle in. She had little so it was easy and Tricia left her when a gentleman caller came around.

    The following days were filled with settling in. Zelda hired another girl whom she called Lily. Lily moved in with her vast wardrobe, by 1890's standards, complete with two boas. Zelda hired a girl named Heather more as a housekeeper and to help Mrs. Mayfair. Mrs. Mayfair was to keep the house in plenty of pastries as well as the general cooking. Tricia felt sure her waist would suffer from the pastry but Zelda insisted that the luxury would bolster the house. Tricia suggested they set up a pastry shop on the side. Customers could use the side door and in good weather sit on the wrap around veranda to tell their tales or wait for their soiled dove in pleasurable foods. Zelda liked the idea and assured Tricia that she would look into it. Tricia was kept busy organizing and decorating the house while the other women entertained men. Tricia simply had to look the other way when Mr. Cordon came to call. Of course there were the occasional odd gatherings about the table for a luxurious banquet which Zelda managed. All in all, Mrs. Mayfair's cooking won stellar praise from the men folk that visited the house. Not only for her pastries but for her "nouvelle cuisine" with its use of venison and beef. Of course they didn't know they were entertained by such good food preparation, but they appreciated it.

    One day Sheriff Babcock knocked at the door. Tricia at first ignored the persistent knocking thinking Zelda would get it but, when she didn't, Tricia came down from upstairs to invite him in.

    "Why if it isn't Sheriff Babcock." She took a step back. What did he want? Surely not a romp in the hay. "What can I do for you today?"

    "Well, I'll be. I thought that was you walking down the street a couple of days ago but wasn't sure with...um." He looked like he had just swallowed a whole one of Mrs. Mayfair's pain au chocolats. "I have other things to discuss with Zelda. Is she available?"

    "Well as you can see, it is me, and I do have a 'bun' in the oven. Let me check to see where Zelda may have gone. Please, won't you sit down?"

    Sheriff Babcock sat uneasily on one of the overstuffed chairs while Tricia went in search for Zelda. She first went upstairs expecting her to be entertaining but when she wasn't there Tricia went towards the downstairs. She found her coming up the stairs from the basement.


    This is an unedited snippet.

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