Saturday, July 2, 2022

Book Blog Tour and Giveaway: In Honor's Defense (Hanger's Horsemen #3) by Karen Witemeyer

Welcome to my stop on the book blog tour for In Honor's Defense by Karen Witemeyer. This book blog tour was organized by Lone Star Book Blog Tours. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win all three books in the series. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: In Honor's Defense
Series: Hanger's Horsemen #3
Author: Karen Witemeyer
Publication Date: June 7th 2022
Print Length: 384 pages
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
He's Faced Countless Perils on the Battlefield, but Nothing so Dangerous as Falling in Love.

Luke Davenport has been fighting all his life--for respect, for country, and for those unable to fight for themselves. But now that his Horsemen brothers are domesticated, he's left alone to battle the wildness within. When an opportunity arises to take a job on his own, tracking down a group of rustlers, he jumps at the chance.

Damaris Baxter has mastered the art of invisibility. Plain and quiet, she hides in books and needlework, content to be overlooked. Until her brother dies suddenly, leaving her custody of her nephew. She moves to Texas to care for Nathaniel, determined to create the family for herself that she never thought she'd have and to give him the family he desperately needs.

When Nate finds himself knee-deep in trouble, Luke's attempt to protect him leaves Damaris feeling indebted to the Horseman. But suspicions grow regarding the mysterious death of Damaris's brother. And the more questions they ask, the more danger appears, threatening the family Luke may be unable to live without.

Prologue, Part One

St. Louis, Missouri

Invisible people rarely received correspondence. A fact Damaris Baxter had accepted long ago. So when the housekeeper entered the parlor and held out an envelope with her name occupying the address line instead of her aunt’s, it took a moment to process the unprecedented event.

As the youngest of eight children, with no particular radiance of either face or manner to draw attention, Damaris had grown accustomed to being overlooked. In fact, she held the Baxter family record for being left behind on outings most frequently with an impressive total of five. Her brother Joseph had managed the feat twice, being the one most likely to wander off after being counted, but he’d never truly been forgotten, just temporarily misplaced. Their parents had forgotten about Damaris for an entire afternoon on one occasion, not missing her until she failed to appear when called for supper.

Mama had scolded her for being too quiet for her own good, accusing her of hiding away to read books instead of participating in family activities. She’d demanded Damaris pay closer attention in the future so as not to be left behind again. Mama had wept through the entire exchange, of course, then nearly hugged the life out of Damaris at the conclusion of her lecture, assuring Damaris that she was loved if not memorable.

Being invisible had its uses, however. Forgettable girls rarely got called on to recite lessons in front of the class. Or asked to dance when one had a perfectly good book to read. Yet when one reached marriageable age, invisibility became a significant disadvantage. There was always someone prettier, wittier, or more charming to draw the attention of available suitors. Which was how Damaris ended up as a companion to her great-aunt Bertha at the age of twenty-three. Not only was Damaris on the shelf, she was in the back corner behind the knickknacks, collecting dust. At least with Aunt Bertha, she’d found a way to be useful.

Damaris pulled her scattered thoughts together, set aside her needlework, and reached for the letter. “Thank you, Anna.” She tried not to sound as astonished as she felt, but her voice carried a touch of breathlessness despite her best efforts.

Anna noticed, of course, and smiled. “It’s from Texas, miss.”

“Texas?” From Douglas? But the handwriting on the envelope wasn’t his. Not that she was an expert on her brother’s penmanship. He was fifteen years older and had been absent for more of her life than he’d been present. He’d moved to Texas right after his son was born and had only returned to Missouri once, the Christmas after his wife died.

Seven-­year-­old Nathaniel had seemed so lost during that visit, so withdrawn. Damaris’s heart had ached for the grieving little boy. At sixteen, she knew enough to realize there were no words to take away his pain, so she didn’t offer any. She simply made sure he was never alone. She sat on the floor next to him while he played. Brought him cookies from the kitchen. Offered to read him stories. When he finally grew comfortable enough with her to crawl into her lap and help her turn the pages, she’d fallen completely in love. She wrote him letters and sent him small gifts for his birthday and Christmas each year, never really minding that he didn’t write her back. Young boys couldn’t be expected to correspond with eccentric aunts they probably didn’t even remember meeting. She’d been in his life for ten days. A mere drop in the ocean of his young existence. Douglas wrote to their mother a few times a year, so Damaris managed to keep up with Nathaniel through secondhand sources.

“I hope it’s not bad news,” Anna said when Damaris made no move to open the letter.

Damaris’s heart pounded. What else could it be when it came from a stranger? Unless . . . could it be from Nathaniel? He’d be, what, fourteen by now Perhaps it was his handwriting.

Please, Lord. Let it be from Nathaniel, not some stranger with ill tidings.

Damaris placed the envelope in her lap with all the care of a seamstress laying out a piece of expensive Venetian lace. She smoothed her hand over the front before stealing herself to flip it over and discover what lay inside. Her hand trembled slightly as she removed and unfolded the stationery.

(Continue reading the Prologue on 7/3/22 on the Lone Star Lit Book Blog Tour.)
Voted #1 Reader's Favorite Christian Romance Author of 2019 by Family Fiction Magazine, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. She makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children.

Win all three paperback books in the Hanger's Horsemen series by Karen Witemeyer! (US only)

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. The author, Karen Witemeyer, assumes all responsibility over this giveaway.)

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  1. Reading the prologue of the book really hooked me. What a great way to introduce the heroine of this story. Thanks for sharing here.

  2. sounds like a unique theme - which is what I am looking for! Thanks for sharing

  3. Thanks for sharing this excerpt. It is most compelling!