09 April 2019

The Unexpected Champion | Excerpt + Giveaway


They’re as different as could be. But they’ll need to trust each other to survive the wilderness . . . and the dangers chasing them.

City dweller John McCall never expected to be out in the High Sierras of 1868 on a wild-goose chase to find the Chiltons’ supposedly lost grandson. But now that he’s out here, things have gotten even more complicated, mostly due to wildcat Penny Scott. She’s not like any woman he’s ever met–comfortable in the woods, with a horse, and with a gun.

When Penny and John are taken against their will by a shadowy figure looking for evidence they don’t have, both realize they’ve stumbled into something dangerous. With their friends and family desperately searching for them, Penny and John must make a daring escape.

When they emerge back into the real world, they discover their kidnapper just won’t stop. This city man and country woman must bring a powerful, ruthless man to justice, all while fighting a very inconvenient attraction to each other.

Publisher: Bethany House
Release Date: March 5, 2019



He’d never before been this close to a woman like Penny Scott. A woman in boots and trousers who knew the frontier, who truly was closer to an untamed creature than a civilized, proper woman.

How could a man not find her fascinating?

She didn’t move, and he sure didn’t tell her to.

It went on far too long before the cry of an owl, the whisper of the breeze, and the rustling of branches from far overhead broke the trance. He straightened away and her fingertips, cold from the cloth, slid down his face and his neck, then dropped to her side.

He cleared his throat and said quickly, “This plan to quit leaving tracks made sense up on that trail, but down here, with these banks hanging high over our heads and the stream just beginning from springs out of solid rock, there’s nowhere else we can walk, so if they follow us this far they’ll pick the same direction.”

Miss Scott sighed. “You’re right. But we still don’t want them to know where we break off. How long do you think we should walk? Should we try and get out of this canyon? Or look for a sheltered place down here?”

She was consulting him. It was a proud moment. “The stars are out now, let’s keep pushing. And if a place to stay pops up, we’ll rest a while.”

“It’s a decent night, not too cold, but the water must be runoff from the snowcaps. It’s nearly as cold as ice. I’ve got some beef jerky in my bag here.” She fished it out and handed him a couple of pieces. “But no blanket, certainly no dry clothes. I can’t hunt, the noise would give us away. We’ll be none too comfortable.”

She kicked into the icy water and began wading knee-deep. “Watch for a bank that has a stony surface. We’ll need to get out of this water now and then, or our feet will freeze.”

He couldn’t help but notice her lovely figure right in front of him, despite those outrageous trousers she had on. A man had to be very careful of his mind wandering off, thinking thoughts he ought not to ponder. Instead, he thought about whether to take up their talk of Ronnie again but decided to opt for peace, at least for a time. What became of that little boy needed to be settled, and yet John had accepted money to complete the job.

But he wouldn’t steal a child away except to protect that child. “Since I’ve met you, you’ve threatened to shoot me, you’re wearing disreputable clothes, and you’re traipsing through the wilderness alone with a man you only met today.”

And he’d decided to keep his mouth shut, hadn’t he? And yet here he was, yammering. “I’m not sure Ronnie is safe with you.”

Even in the dark, with her a few paces ahead, he saw her shoulders square. He’d bet her chin just jutted out and her eyes flashed fire.

Well, at least he was getting to know her.


Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.

You can also find Mary at Seekerville and Petticoats & Pistols.


(1) winner will win

a complete set of all three High Sierra Sweethearts books (print, US only)
$20 Barnes & Noble gift card

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight April 8, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm April 15, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Love the covers and storylines for this series.

  2. Thanks for sharing! This book sounds like a winner!

  3. I really enjoyed this series!

  4. John & Penny are bound to create a fun & interesting book to read! Thanks for sharing.

  5. I'm excited to read this series! Thank you for sharing.

  6. I like the hats on the cover.
    Thanks for the contest.