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Saturday, September 2, 2017

His High Stakes Bride by Martha Hix ❤️ Fun Facts, Book Tour & Prize Pack Giveaway ❤️ (Historical Romance)

Win, lose—or fall in love . . .
After losing her mama and all she has, vagabond Patience “Patty” Sweet dreams of reuniting with her father in the New Mexico territory. So she teams up with a no-good gambler whose winnings enable her to get her closer to her destination. Patty hates hanging around saloons and poker parlors, pulling dishonest deeds. But when a game of five-card draw goes wrong in Lubbock, Texas, Patty gets offered up as collateral—to a handsome stranger who’s about to turn the tables . . .
Lawyer Grant Kincaid has no intention of claiming his prize—a nearly nineteen-year-old petite beauty with sweet eyes—who has a hold on him he can’t deny. But as he tries to help Patty untangle herself from her shady partner, he discovers she’s not as innocent as she seems. For starters, she’s already stolen his hardened heart . . .

How did you come up with the hero in HIS HIGH-STAKES BRIDE?

Grant Kincaid, an Alabama-born attorney, was a character in the first two long novellas in the #TexanBrides series. He’d moved to Lubbock early in the 1900s and by 1910, he was bored from horsing around with cheap women and cheaper whiskey, but he had no interest in piano recitals or the nice, ice-cream social type of girls who populate small towns in Texas. Despite his penchant for naughty women, he’s a true Southern gentleman. When he wins a way-too-youthful Patience Sweet in a poker game, he has all the makings for his ideal woman, however...

Did I say he was a Southern gentleman? No gentleman would bed a child, and she lies and claims to be 17. (She has her reasons. It turns decent men off, which is what she’s counting on.) Grant takes the honorable way out. He decides to marry her. After a decent courtship, of course.

So. Back to the initial question. Where did I get him?

I may be a Texan with deep roots in the Lone Star State, but I hail from families who lived on LaGrange Mountain in Alabama, and I’ve spent almost four years of my life in the state of Mississippi. With my courtly cousins in Alabama, I quickly learned not to say I liked or wanted anything, or else they’d move heaven and earth to get it for me. Moreover, my first decent job was with a wonderful Mississippi lawyer.

Actually, I never dreamed I’d work. I was supposed to be an heiress. Keep in mind. Those were the old days, pre-Women’s Lib. Women got married, unless they couldn’t snag a man. If they worked, they were secretaries, nurses, or schoolteachers. I yearned to work. I’d bluffed my way into this attorney’s office. Sure, I’d studied business in college, but he was looking for a legal secretary.

Already the employment office had warned him that I’d flunked the shorthand test. I just knew this lawyer fellow was gonna show me the door, once he knew my stenography skills were as bad as predicted. So he calls me into his office to “take a letter.” My head bobbling, I plunked down in a chair, my hand shaking. His fingers templed beneath his chin, he squinted up at the ceiling. “Deeeeaaaaarrrrrr Mistttttttterrrrrr Jonnnnnesss….. In…response…to…your…claim…”

My head shot up to look at Thomas J. Wiltz, Attorney at Law. He smiled and winked. I smiled back. The rest of the letter went just fine. I could have worked for him all the days of my life.

Grant Kincaid had a lot of the Thomas J. Wiltz in him. He was first and foremost a HERO. My hero. He would look out for the damsel in distress. And Patience Eileen “Patty” Sweet was a damsel very much in need of help.

When it came to hot, well, I didn’t look to Mr. Wiltz for the hot part. Grant got that on his own, thank you very much!

Can you tell us a little bit about the other characters in HIS HIGH-STAKES BRIDE?

The heroine, Patience Eileen “Patty” Sweet, is the most flawed in my long list of heroines. (I began writing romances for Silhouette Special Editions back in 1986, so I do have a sizable list!) She’s on her own, but she’s determined. She wants to find her missing father and will do just about anything to locate him. In the “old days”—when I was writing between 1983 and the year 2000—I wouldn’t have dared to write such a woman, but one of the great things about today’s books is the freedom to write what you please. So I did. Now, mind you—Patty may be acting like a slut, but she’s not one. I draw the line there. But I don’t mind making her more than a wee bit larcenous.

Patty’s father is a mining engineer who left his wife and only surviving child—Patty, of course—in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when accepted an assignment in the Territory of New Mexico. That was the last they heard of Jethro Sweet. No word, no money, no nothing. Patty’s mother took the easy way out. She found herself a man and took off with him. Why did she abandon her daughter? Lafayette Merkel didn’t want the baggage of a teenage girl. Mama Sweet loved her daughter, but she’d had enough of the sad-sack limbo that her missing husband had put her through. If she didn’t leave, she might’ve had to sell some of her jewelry, for heaven’s sake!

Patty, alone and desperate in Tulsa, was literally starving to death when Merkel’s son showed up, looking to collect on some money his father owed him. Chet Merkel became her friend. Then her partner in crime, literally. They shared a goal: reaching El Paso. There, Chet figured to cross the border into Mexico, met his beloved, and then take up a mining claim to mine for crystals. In El Paso, Patty hoped and prayed to rendezvous with her father.

It takes money to travel from Tulsa to El Paso. Therein lay the scam that Chet and Patty perpetrated between that Oklahoma town and Lubbock, Texas, where Chet offered Patty as his ante in a game of poker. As it were, she’d just discovered her so-called friend had used all her part of their filthy lucre for his own gain. He’d double-crossed her. She was glad when he lost her to Grant Kincaid.

What woman wouldn’t be glad? Grant’s looks and charm actually had little to do with her reasons. Lawyer Kincaid was her only chance for escape from the mess she and Chet had made. Were it only so easy…

Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?

One at a time! Grant came first in this instance, of course, because he was in the first two installments in the #TexanBrides series, HIS MAKE-BELIEVE BRIDE and HIS RIP-ROARIN’ BRIDE. It’s the same with Grant’s friend, Jewel, and her familial connections, as well as the sheriff and his deputy.

As for Patty, the female lead, I worked on her before I started writing. She was tricky! I had to have her worked out beforehand, or I knew I’d be in a world of hurt.

The Merkels and Dorinda? I quickly realized as I wrote that Patty would benefit from a cohort, so I added Chet and rewrote the first chapter. Her mother and Chet’s father, they showed up on their own. Dorinda, too.

When I wrote long historicals, back in the print-only days, I always thought about the plot first, since I’m by nature a plot person. But GOOD STORIES ARE GOOD BECAUSE THEY HAVE GREAT CHARACTERS. So I created a backstory on both the hero and the heroine by making a timeline for each of them, going back at least fifty years in their families. I found this EXTREMELY handy in the writing, because I knew the characters and what caused each to be the way they were.

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

Okay. Truth to tell, I am older than Mount Rushmore. I’ve been published since 1986. I was 37 at the time. Already I’d been a seasoned genealogist for ten years. I’d been studying family history all my life. I love history and I read about history, rarely fiction. When I traveled, and my husband and I were fortunate—we traveled a lot—I didn’t want to go skiing. We went to cathedrals and battlefields. I live for research in other words. I had a long list in my head. “I want to write about cattle drives.” “I want to write about Mexico.” “What happened to Santa Ana, after he lost Texas? I want to write about that.” “I want to write about the English nobleman who bought the pear farm in Texas, sight unseen.” “Wouldn’t it be fun to write about a mail-order husband?” Et cetera. More truth to tell, I think I put too many facts and details in my older books.

How did you come up with the concept and characters for this book?

It all began with HIS MAKE-BELIEVE BRIDE, which was supposed to be a short story, a freebie, to introduce my backlist to a new generation of readers. You see, I quit writing fiction for 16 years. (I wrote non-fiction, when I wrote, mostly business histories such as the history of San Antonio’s Pearl Brewery.) My skewed thinking was, Where is the one place in Texas that would be awful in the early 1900s, where no woman would want to be? Anywhere in the Panhandle or West Texas, I figured. But I had ideas to write loads of books, many of them in West Texas, which I love, so I decided to grab Lubbock, which I knew ZERO about, except that my husband went to school there for a year and my great-grandfather retired up the road in the late 1800s.

I had no idea I’d end up with Lubbock for three stories!

On the up side, I was forced to go there. I took my granddaughter and her daughter, and we had a most excellent Girls Adventure. We found the beauty in the place, and I’m glad for picking Lubbock over Midland.

Why didn’t I put sex and more sex in this series?

It wasn’t because I’m a prudish old woman. I don’t have anything against sex in a book, although I think some of the new stuff is ridiculous in the extreme, but the omission in #TexanBrides really has to do with word count. These are short books, each about 30,000 words. I’m used to writing long, more complicated stories, where the relationships are better set before sex is consummated. I just couldn’t figure out how to do write the sex without making the scenes gratuitous.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

That Steve Zacharius allowed me to write the series in the first place. That my editor, Martin Biro, was a fantastic emotional support throughout the project. That I got to eat at the adults’ table again, very big smile!

Do you have any advice to give aspiring writers?

Mine great minds. Seek writers and industry specialists whom you admire and/or trust. Study how they work their magic. See if they’ll mentor you. See if they will read your stuff, critique it. Look for a group of writers who want to get together to read and discuss/comment on each other’s work.

I was in such a group for seven years. At the start, I was one of two published writers in that circle of seven. It didn’t take long for all of us to be published.

Get a thick skin about criticism. It’s tough when someone says your baby is ugly. Believe me, it’s hard to tell a writer his/her baby is ugly. I got to the point where I absolutely refused to read for others, because I just didn’t want to be in the business of hurting someone’s feelings. But the reason that circle of seven got published, stayed published, and did well? CRITICISM. Of course, some of us were more vocal than others, defending our work. “So-and-So is blah-blah-blah, and blah-blah-blah, so I am not changing it!” But we’d come back with our arguments as to why So-and-so wasn’t so Blah, and we finally came up with this: IF ONE OF US WAS STOPPED BY SOMETHING, the author needed to realize that something was amiss. Figure it out and fix it.

After all, she had six great minds to mine, to help figure it out.

What is something unique/quirky about you?

My dad was a fifth-generation Texan…born in the 19th century. In 1899 to be exact!

Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!

We’re dealing with the hell and damnation wrought by Hurricane Harvey. I learned to respect and stay away from hurricanes after stupidly riding out Camille in 1969 in Biloxi, Mississippi. Churning up a 30-foot wall of water, that nasty miss blew through the coast with winds over 200 mph. She was Category 5 and left nothing intact. Until Katrina came along, she was considered the most destructive hurricane to ever hit the United States.

With my kids and then-husband, I rode her out on Keesler Air Force Base in Bryan Hall, a windowless classroom. It was definitely the safest place on the base. One of the ladies in my group had two kids and was expecting another, but her husband wasn’t with her. Naturally, she went into labor that evening. She named the baby Wendy Camille.

What is the weirdest thing ever happened to you?

Just as I started writing the first book in the #TexanBrides series, I was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma complicated by a large abdominal mass. After a confirming MRI, I withstood a six-hour surgery to remove my entire kidney and all the rest of those nasty bits and then I endured a grueling recovery…only to learn that I didn’t have cancer in the first place. I was supposed to be a happy camper.

Where were you born/grew up at?

A sixth-generation Texan, I was born in Dallas, and grew up in a number of Texas places, Dallas being most of them. My parents were older, my father a medical doctor, but they were gypsies by heart. Quite unconventional. We were constantly moving, often returning to their shared hometown of Dallas. Let me qualify that. My father grew up in the very small East Texas town of Atlanta. His parents moved to Dallas in 1921. That came after Daddy graduated from Baylor Medical School. As for me, I also spent a great deal of my often misspent youth in the Texas Hill Country, where I now live.

I’ve also lived in Biloxi, Mississippi, Lansing and Flint in Michigan, and in Reno, Nevada.

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Wife, mom, grandma, Know-It-All, writer.

If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

Smoking cigarettes.

Who is your hero and why?

My husband, hands down. For almost 44 years, he’s put up with me and the steamer trunk of aggravation I brought to our marriage. I am so fortunate to have him!

Lubbock, Texas, 1910
Under a full moon
It is a sad day in a woman’s life when she comes to grips with weakness
of character. Today might have been that way for Patience Eileen Sweet,
but she couldn’t dwell on something like that. Not this day, which had
turned into a warm autumn night in 1910. Not when she intended to escape
the mess of her own making. Her papa would have told her, “Patty Cake,
proceed with caution.” He always claimed full moons bring babies, lunatics,
and any number of disasters, particularly mine cave-ins.
Tonight would bring change; that she knew beforehand. This night
unfolded for Patty in a saloon. By the midnight hour the floozies had
served their last drinks and were nowhere to be seen, most of the customers
having cleared out. The bartender did nothing to cover his yawns. Cigar
smoke still curled toward the tin ceiling. Gaming chips still pinged. Three
gamblers refused to give in or give up.
Still and all, it would be over soon.
Looking up from her mending, she meant to steal a glance at her
“stepbrother,” but she locked gazes with one of the gamblers instead, and
not for the first time this evening. The three were close enough that she
could get a good look—he was the handsomest man she’d ever seen. As
he had the other times, he nodded once. There was a puzzled, curious look
to his fine features, certainly not the nasty-old-pervert leer that Dorinda
had warned her to look out for.
She did like this man’s black-haired, blue-eyed looks. He wore the
garb of a West Texan—a yoked shirt with mother-of-pearl buttons and
denim britches that hugged him just right. His boots were the same kind
that cowboys wore, only this ’poke’s weren’t scuffed or worn out. His
clothes looked too clean, his hair and chin too smooth for a man of the
land. He looked rich.
Patty moved her line of sight to her partner-in-crime, Chet Merkel. It
was his turn to deal, and she could tell he was losing at five-card stud.
They couldn’t afford for him to lose, not even for one evening, yet she
prayed for his bad luck.
She knew what his next move would be. He’d barter her virginity. For
the third time.
Twice before to two different men in two different towns.
Tonight it was Scarlet Garter Jenny’s Saloon. The “winner” would
be a short, dark sheriff wearing a big, thick wedding ring. Or else the
winner might be that curious fellow—the smooth-shaven pretty boy that
the drunkards, gamblers, and preening waitresses called “counselor” and
“mouthpiece,” with “Grant” or “Kincaid” thrown in from time to time.
Well, the painted ladies usually said “Sugar.”
Neither of these men looked as gullible as the previous winners of her
so-called prize.
Anyway, Patty knew how to get out of being the night’s reward. Did
she even want to? Just looking at Grant Kincaid had her in a tizzy. One
way or another, things would be different tonight. She was cutting all ties
to her double-dealing snake of a “stepbrother,” Chet Merkel.
Definitely, she wouldn’t be rendezvousing with Chet later.


Martha Hix grew up in Texas and didn’t mind listening to stories about how her ancestors had been in the place for a long, long time. Well, in Texas that just meant more than a hundred years. This weird kid soaked up the stories and became an ardent student of family and general history, which came in handy when she took to writing both fiction and non-fiction. Eventually, her romance novels were translated into many foreign languages, some of them very foreign, like Japanese, Greek, and Turkish. On the home front, she lives in the fabulous Texas Hill Country with her husband and their spoiled four-legged kids. Visit her on the web at


Up for grabs:
                      *Silver earring with "jeweled" case
• Enameled necklace with matching bracelet
• Chrome flask
• Teal lightweight pashmina scarf with Kensington Books logo
Three pairs of Victoria's Secret fragrances and body cream sets

Win a copy of His High Stakes Bride via Amazon!
50 Winners!


  1. I like the flask, very unique gift. Love the cover of the book, sounds like a great read.

  2. I like the flask, very unique gift. Love the cover of the book, sounds like a great read.

  3. Thanks for sharing! -Janet @ Silver Dagger Book Tours

  4. Sounds so good. I love the frag and creams.

  5. I love western romances,and I'm a Emerald birthday so I live the Emerald bracelet and necklace!

  6. Thank you for the contest! I love the shawl.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I enjoyed the excerpt. Grant and Patience “Patty” sound like interesting characters. I like the shawl.

  9. LOVE the excerpt & behind the scenes info. Patience is my kind of heroine, able to take care of her self when needed. I love the blue shawl and the Victoria's Secret fragrances & body creams. Thanks for the chance to win :)

  10. I really can not wait to read I love your imagination and the way your words flow together on page and paint a beautiful story every single time! You are an inspiration!! thank you

  11. ilike them all and then i love to have them all


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