Today I thought it might be fun to share a little about Evan Holt, the hero in my sweet historical western romance Henley.
We first meet Doctor Evan Holt in Holiday Hope. He makes a few appearances in the story, but we don’t know much about him, other than he’s young and single.
When I was kicking around ideas for Henley, like where the story should take place and who should be involved in it, it didn’t take long to decide on my fictional town of Holiday as the perfect setting, and Evan as the perfect character to be Henley’s love interest.
Evan thinks he’s far too busy with his growing practice to have time for courting or relationships. But he does make time to return to his childhood home for a wedding. And the train-ride home just happens to be how he meets Miss Henley Jones.
Here is Evan’s introduction to the story:
“Enough! No more suffocating hugs, and definitely no more kisses. Your lips should be thoroughly chapped by now, so please cease slobbering on me.” Evan Holt laughed as his mother pulled his head down and noisily smooched his cheek three more times before she finally released her hold on him and took a step back. A mingling of tears and mirth glistened in her bright green eyes in a shade so similar to his own.
“Don’t begrudge me a little love, my wandering son. I’m just so glad to have you home, even if you’ll only be in Pennsylvania for a week,” his mother said, patting his arm as though she had to keep touching him to make certain he was real.
“It’s good to be here, Mam,” Evan said, grinning at her before he settled his arm around the shoulders of his youngest sister, Keeva.
He’d barely set foot off the train in Altoona, before what appeared to be his entire family swarmed him, offering hugs, and slaps on the back. He’d been kissed by every female that had made the trip to the depot to welcome him, from his eighty-year-old grandmother to his six-month-old niece he’d been so pleased to finally meet.
“I think you’ve gotten even more handsome since you were here two years ago,” Keeva said, grinning up at him with the unveiled admiration of a sixteen-year-old. Although he was eleven years older than the baby of the family, he and Keeva had always been close. Perhaps it was because they were the most alike of the seven Holt siblings.
He glanced around at the unmistakable red hair of his brothers and sisters, inherited from Eira Walsh Holt, their effervescent mother. She had moved to Altoona with her family when she was nineteen. Her father and brothers acquired jobs on the railroad, building the famed Horseshoe Curve three-track railroad that helped advance westward travel.
Evan never tired of hearing the story of how his parents met. His father, Hiram Holt, was a young farmer and had just purchased several piglets that came in on railway car. He was loading them in his wagon when one escaped. Eira caught it and carried it over to him. It had been love at first glance, and they’d wed a month later.
Now, his parents had seven children, nine grandchildren, and were about to gain another son-in-law when his sister Fianna married her sweetheart Saturday afternoon. Evan had timed his arrival so he’d have a full week to spend with his family before he boarded the train and returned to his home in Holiday, Oregon, where he’d opened a medical practice three years ago.
Love is a gamble, and heartbreak is a risk she’s willing to take.
Despite her dreams to set down roots, Henley Jones has never had a place to call home. She’s spent her life on riverboats and railroad cars, tagging along with her gambling father. A shoot-out during a card game results in his death, leaving Henley alone and nearly penniless. Out of luck and options, Henley agrees to travel across the country to the newly established town of Holiday, Oregon to marry a stranger.
A demanding practice in a town clawing its way to respectability keeps Doctor Evan Holt rushing at a hectic pace. He’s far too busy to see to pressing matters like hiring competent help, or finding a wife. When one of his patients orders a mail-order bride, Evan can’t decide if the man is crazy or brilliant. From the moment he meets her, Evan battles an unreasonable attraction to the beautiful, charming woman who seems to be hiding something from her past.
In a town flush with possibilities, will taking a chance on love end with heartache or a winning hand? Find out in this sweet western romance full of the humor, hope, and love.
Henley is part of the Love Train sweet romance series and releases April 15. Look for more books set in Holiday in the heartwarming and wholesome Holiday Express and Holiday Brides series.