Last Chance Cowboys: The Rancher by Anna Schmidt – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Anna Schmidt who is celebrating the recent release of her latest book Last Chance Cowboys: The Rancher, the fourth book in her Where the Trail Ends series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.

“You can’t be sure we’re doing the right thing,” she said.

He drew closer to the barbed wire separating them. “It’s impossible to know what’s right. But it doesn’t stop me from wanting you.”

The world is changing, and the West isn’t as wild as it used to be. Trey Porterfield welcomes a new era of law and order—and the influx of settlers coming to the Arizona territory. But not everyone is willing to see the old ways change, and as the cattlemen and the herders take sides, a full-blown range war may be inevitable. There’s only one way Trey can see to bring peace to his feuding neighbors.

Marry the enemy.

Nell Stokes is a young widow fighting just to stay alive. In Trey, she sees a chance to heal old wounds and start over. Love was never in the cards, yet as Trey and Nell fight to unite the feuding land, they’ll discover a passion neither could have expected…and a danger far greater than either has ever known.

Enjoy an Excerpt

When Trey reached home it was after dark and he rode straight to the bunkhouse. Javier sat on the banco outside the door, his arms folded across his chest, his legs outstretched and his hat covering his face.


Trey reined in his horse and dismounted. By the time he had covered the distance between the horse and his friend, Javier was standing, watching closely as he clearly tried to judge Trey’s mood.

¿Qué más, jefe?

Trey grabbed his friend by his shirtfront and backed him up to the wall of the bunkhouse. Never before had he laid his hands on Javier in anger, but this time the man had crossed a line that friendship couldn’t forgive. “You tell me.” He stared at Javier, who met his gaze briefly, then glanced away.

“Not sure what you’re….”

Trey shook him. “The Stokes place last night—and the night before. You have anything to do with that?”

He had his answer before he finished the question. Javier scowled up at him, meeting his eyes directly. “You gotta choose a side, Trey.”

Trey felt an anger unlike any he had ever experienced in his life. It was born of frustration and exasperation, and fear. The fear that after the decades that his parents, his sister Maria and her husband had managed the ranch successfully, despite all kinds of human and natural disasters, he might be the one who failed. He gave Javier one more shove and then released him.

“Why do there have to be sides? Why can’t we all just live here and work the land and….”

While Trey might be quick to anger and quicker to let things go, Javier had no trouble showing his rage. He stepped closer to Trey and, with no pretense of modulating his voice, shouted, “You know why, Trey, and stop pretending you don’t. Them damned woolies chew the grass down to the nub, all the while their sharp hooves finish the job by digging up whatever’s left by the roots. This used to be open range—cattle range—and now we’re supposed to share it? You got any idea how far we’ve had to drive the herd to find decent pasture for the summer? That’s because of them.”

“And that makes it all right to terrorize a widow and her sick son for two nights running?” Trey roared in return.

Javier studied him hard for a long moment. They were both flushed, their fists clenched, their bodies poised for a fight. Javier was the first to step away. He stared down at the ground waiting for his breathing to calm, then looked up at Trey. “You falling for that sheepherder’s woman, my friend?” His tone was sympathetic.

Trey pulled off his hat and ran his fingers through his sweat-slicked hair. “She’s an innocent in this fight, and I just don’t want to see anybody else get hurt, Javier. There’s got to be a way we can work this out. They aren’t going away—and neither are we.”

“We were here first,” Javier said, his voice petulant.

Trey allowed himself a wry smile. “Technically the Indians were here first and look what we did to them. After that it was the Spaniards—your ancestors. And they raised sheep, my friend, long before cattlemen showed up.”

The two of them leaned on the corral fence and gazed out into the black night for a long moment. “This isn’t just about sheep versus cattle, Javier. The truth is things are changing—everything about the life our parents knew is different. Every year another new town springs up or spreads out. We either learn to live with that or we spend the rest of our time on this earth fighting against progress that’ll surely beat us in the end.”

“So what’s your plan?” Javier asked.

Trey shrugged. “Don’t have one—just the notion we need to make this more about how we’re gonna live in peace and less about needin’ to be right.”

“Let me ask you something, Trey. If that woman and her boy weren’t part of this, would that change the way you look at it?”

“I hope not—but yeah, maybe.”

Javier pushed away from the split rail fence. “Got to give you one thing—she’s awfully pretty, and from what I saw of her at the church social, she’s not afraid to stand her ground. She’s got conviction. You need somebody like that, Trey. Too bad she’s on the wrong side of things.”

Trey bristled. “Need someone like her? Is that how you see me? As a man who needs somebody to speak for him because I’m too weak to do it myself?”

“You’re strong in ways I’ll never be able to understand, Trey. But you’ve got this way of thinking that everybody’s as good as you are. Few are. Most folks are a blend of good and bad. Nell Stokes appears to know that.”

“I know that.”

Javier shook his head. “Trouble is you have this idea you can change those other folks to come around to your way of seeing things.”

“It’s called hope,” Trey argued.

“It’s called impossible.” Javier glanced back at a couple of the other cowboys coming out of the bunkhouse, stretching and yawning. “We got the night shift,” he said, as he pulled on his hat.

Trey turned to the other hands. “You boys head on out. I need Javier here to help me.”

“With what?” Javier’s eyebrows lifted with suspicion.

“Come morning we’re gonna pay a call on Henry Galway and see if we can work something out—a council or something to start decidin’ what’s fair. And then you are going to apologize to Mrs. Stokes for scaring the bejesus out of her and her son. But before we do any of that we’re gonna head for the Stokes place and see if we can repair any of the damage done there before she and her boy get home. Get some rest, Javier—we leave at daybreak.”

About the Author: Award-winning author ANNA SCHMIDT delights in creating stories where her characters must wrestle with the challenges of their times. Critics have consistently praised Schmidt for her ability to seamlessly integrate actual events with her fictional characters to produce strong tales of hope and love in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. She resides in Wisconsin.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, or IndieBound.

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Last Chance Cowboys: The Lawman by Anna Schmidt – Guest Post and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release of Last Chance Cowboys: The Lawman, the newest book in Anna Schmidt’s Where the Trail Ends series. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the book (US only).

What makes cowboys so appealing? Well, Hollywood has always made them the rugged handsome hero–for me the real cowboy is appealing because he faced such incredible challenges. I mean, have you ever seen the terrain in AZ and NM?

12_2-cvr-last-chance-cowboys-the-lawman_-anna-schmidtFrom acclaimed author Anna Schmidt comes a sweeping historical Western romance about the unbreakable bonds of family, second chances, and a whole lot of heart in the Wild West.

“This is me, Addie,” Jess murmured. “You and me, the way we always were.”
But it wasn’t, no matter how much she wished it were true. They were different now. She would always love him…
But can she trust him not to break her heart?

Jess Porterfield fled to the big city after his father’s sudden death, leaving behind his family ranch-and his childhood sweetheart. Now Jess has returned as the local lawman, determined to prove his worth…and win back the one woman he could never live without.

Young frontier doctor Addie Wilcox was devastated when Jess left her behind. Now he’s back and it’s difficult to remember why she should keep her distance. But with the town’s richest man set to see her hang for a crime she didn’t commit, Addie must put her faith in the lawman who broke her heart-and trust that together they’ll find their second chance at love.

About the Author:Award-winning author Anna Schmidt delights in creating stories where her characters must wrestle with the challenges of their times. Critics have consistently praised Schmidt for her ability to seamlessly integrate actual events with her fictional characters to produce strong tales of hope and love in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. She resides in Wisconsin.

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iBooks.

Would You Rather? with Anna Schmidt – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Sourcebooks. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a copy of Anna Schmidt’s newest release Last Chance Cowboys: The Drifter.
The first in Anna Schmidt’s Where the Trail Ends series, Last Chance Cowboys: The Drifter, has just been released! To celebrate, Anna’s here to play a quick game of “Would You Rather?” with us!

Would you rather go without the internet or a car for a month?

Car. I can walk and assume public transportation and rides with friends would still be an option.

9_8 anna schmidt book cover Caught between a greedy corporation and a desperate love of the land, Maria Porterfield barely has time to mourn her father’s death. If her family is to survive, it’ll be up to her to take charge—but she can’t do it alone. When a mysterious drifter rides into town, the handsome cowboy seems like an answer to her prayers. But Chet isn’t interested in settling down, no matter how tempting the offer…

Chet made his way West looking for a fresh start—the last thing he wants is to get involved in someone else’s fight. But something about Maria awakens a powerful need to protect the fierce beauty at all costs. He never thought he’d find love, but as danger presses in, he may find there’s more beyond the next horizon than just another long and dusty trail.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The rain started just after midnight. Maria was awakened by the plop of large raindrops on the canvas of the tent. She lay very still, willing each plop to bring more and more until there was a true downpour. When it happened, she grinned, then laughed out loud and shook Trey. “Wake up,” she said. “It’s finally raining.”

From outside the tent, she heard first grumbles and then shouts of pure joy as the men came awake and realized that they and their belongings were soaked. Trey sat up and rubbed his eyes with his knuckles. Then, as he became aware of the sounds of the rain and the men’s shouts, he grinned. “Can I go?” he asked.

“We both will,” Maria said, tossing him his boots before pulling on hers. She lifted the flap and followed Trey outside. In seconds, they were both drenched, and she had to laugh when she saw Happy and Bunker and Slim dancing around what had been the campfire. Even Roger was smiling, and when he saw her, he came to her at once and bowed. “May I have this dance, Miss Maria?”

Deciding it was time to put aside her irritation with Roger and his jealousy, she took hold of his hand as they joined the cowboys circling the fire pit. She looked for Chet and saw him standing off to the side, his face turned up to the sky and the balm of the falling rain.

“Come on, Trey,” she called and broke the circle to grasp her brother’s hand. Trey pulled Chet into the circle as well.

“And promenade,” Bunker shouted and began weaving his way along the circle, nodding to each man he passed until he reached Maria. “And swing your partner,” he bellowed as he practically lifted Maria off her feet and swung her around. She basked in the swirl of faces spinning past and laughed. “Put me down, Seymour,” she ordered, but she wasn’t serious. The truth was that she could have stayed that way all night—her face pelted with rain, the air already beginning to cool, and the promise of new growth on the range something she could practically taste.

Bunker set her on her feet and instructed the others to bow to their partners as he was bowing to her, his grizzly beard sopping wet. As she promenaded with Bunker down the line, she felt a lightness and joy that she had not known in months. The rain and the cadence the men kept to substitute for music made her feel as if just maybe everything would be all right after all. These men were like family, and together they would find their way.

“Change partners,” Bunker shouted and spun her away and straight into the arms of Chet Hunter.

All at once, the world went still.

He held her as if she were something fragile and precious, and yet she could feel the warmth of his hand spanning her waist and see the silhouette of his rock-solid muscles beneath the soaked fabric of his shirt. He locked his gaze on her face—and as he guided her through the dance, she found that she could not look away. No, it was more like she did not want to look away.

Then a flash of lightning lit the night sky, spooking the horses, and as suddenly as the celebration had begun, it was over. The men ran to calm the horses, leaving her standing next to the dead campfire. But before he left her, Chet leaned in close and said, “Best find cover, Miss Maria. Looks like this might be some storm.” He hooked an errant curl behind her ear. “Go,” he said, and his voice was husky—intimate.

She did not move, not even when he glanced back at her. She thought she saw the hint of a smile cross his lips, but then he was lost in the blackness of the night. As she hurried back to the tent she shared with Trey, she tried to remind herself that the moment they had just shared was nothing more than a mutual celebration. Would he be any different when he saw her? Of course not. Chet Hunter was a good and kind man—who worked for her, who had made it clear that in time he would be moving on.

She was the one who was going to feel awkward when she saw him next. She was the one acting like a love struck girl experiencing her first real crush. She was the one who could not seem to think about anything except how his arm had felt when he danced with her and how those lips had quirked into that half smile…and how very much she wondered what it might be like to kiss the handsome drifter.

About the Author: Award-winning author Anna Schmidt delights in creating stories where her characters must wrestle with the challenges of their times. Critics have consistently praised Schmidt for her ability to seamlessly integrate actual events with her fictional characters to produce strong tales of hope and love in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. She resides in Wisconsin.

Buy the book at Amazon, Apple, BAM, Barnes and Noble, Chapters, Indiebound, or Kobo.

a Rafflecopter giveaway