Authors: Patricia Rice
To Hard To Handle
New York Times Bestselling Author
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Copyright 1994, 2011, 2012 by Patricia Rice. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.
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Praise & Accolades
4 ½ stars – Romantic Times
"Ms. Rice is in her element as she gives us a recipe for romance... one delicious read."
Despite Mexican laws to the contrary, Texans in the 1830s owned slaves. The American settlers who came to this Mexican state were intent on building the Southern plantations and farms that were suited to the east Texas weather and soil. The Texas cattle ranch famed by Western literature was not an American concept of this period.
However, not all the settlers owned slaves. For the sake of my story, I have chosen to make my heroine the owner of land, not people. If this creates a setting more modern than the period, I apologize to any historians who might object.
Mississippi, Spring 1824
"Daddy's drinking again!" Alicia's expression was more irritated than scandalized as she swept into the front parlor, her full, ankle-length silk gown billowing with her brisk pace. "What are we going to do?"
"The same thing that we always do, ignore him." Elizabeth consulted the ornate gilt mirror between the front windows, arranging the flowers in her hair and checking her drop earrings for evenness. "Lily will be playing when the guests arrive, and we'll send everyone in here and they'll not even miss him with all the fun they'll be having. Perhaps we should have some refreshments ready so the men will have something to occupy them before the dancing starts. Hannah, see to setting out a table." She directed this last remark toward a black servant making hurried last-minute adjustments to the white organdy gown of the youngest member of the family.
The servant glanced with frustration from the gown’s loose waistline to the young woman at the mirror.
The wearer of the loose gown, Lily waved the maid away. "It's all right, Hannah. I'll be sitting down all evening. No one will notice. This is the night Beth's bringing Artemis to the asking point. Let us not stand in the way."
The two exchanged conspiratorial glances that said, "The sooner, the better," and the servant hurried off to do as told. Lily took her place at the magnificent new Steinway that had replaced their old harpsichord, satisfied that she was where she wanted to be.