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Released: July 2014
ISBN: 9781311672520
Kindle US, Kindle UK
Apple, Kobo, Nook
Series: The Kansas Pirates Saga, #2
Author: S.L. Kotar and J.E. Gessler
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Price: $3.99

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What is a dream but a fight against the odds; a struggle to rise above the ordinary and express a creativity that encapsulates the soul. When love is shared, that emotion becomes a dual consciousness. As a small child, Seth Ward had seen a valley filled with wild strawberry plants and had imagined that one day he would own that land and cultivate those plants. Growing to adulthood and facing the harsh reality of raising two small children in Lawrence, Kansas of the 1850's, however, life was reduced to dreary survival and dreams were tucked away into the recesses of yesteryear.

When love and remarriage came to Seth unexpectedly in the person of a strange, wild, nautical woman named Nelander, he shared his dream and she determined to make it a reality. A sad twist of fate brought the strawberry field into their possession and using the last of her seaman's savings, she bought 5,000 plants to add to the wild variety in the hope the family could make a success growing and selling the sweet berries.

The enterprise faced nearly insurmountable obstacles but as often as disaster struck, the touch of a higher power seemed to guide their way. With the assistance of two former slaves, an elderly woman and her son, the small clan of "Kansas Pirates" persevered, ultimately discovering that one dream had the power to blossom into dozens.

All the wrath of the sea gods, combined, could not have come close to approximating the pain she felt. Barbara Nelander-Ward had prepared herself for the worst, but this agony surpassed her wildest expectations.

Face flushed, heart racing, fists clenched, she stifled one cry, but as the spasms came again in fresh waves, she howled an invective.

“Damn!” Ashamed of her weakness, for she was not one to surrender easily, Nelander clenched her teeth, spat, then offered a weak apology. “I am sorry. I had not meant to cuss. But at least,” she tried, “I did not put a ‘God’ in front of it.”

The tall, solidly-build man at her side, himself the color of a furled topsail, forced a grin. “That would have been swearing.”

“I promised I wouldn’t, but you damned landlubbers have such delicate ears.”

He didn’t remark on her second use of the impolite word.

Offering his hand, Seth Ward encouraged her to take it.

“Hold onto me. Squeeze as hard as you can. Concentrate on —”

“Crushing your fingers? That is an incentive, if ever I heard one.”

Despite the temptation, she did not oblige. “Go to the door and look out. Just one last time, to see if anyone is coming.”

Slipping silently away with the grace of a deer, which belied his stature, Seth crossed the living room and stood in the open entranceway. A breeze blew in from the north, cooling his body, if not his nerves. He might have saved himself the trip. The road leading to the farm had not been traversed in several hours, and then by the doctor. No sign of any wagon, carriage or foot-weary traveler met his eye.

He wished it otherwise. His wife put a great deal of stock and not inconsiderable faith in the arrival of her friend. As unlikely as it seemed for a woman to travel by herself from the Nebraska Territory all the way to Lawrence, Kansas on a journey of mercy, such events were known to happen.

But not by an ordinary woman, he reminded himself. By an extraordinary one.

Barbara Nelander-Ward, familiarly called “Nelander” by friends and foes alike, had undertaken just such a trip only five months before. It had been winter then, but she swore to go, and by God, she had. Making her way across one territory and into another, she had sought and ultimately found the temporary home of their former neighbors, Terrance and Beth Windsor and their two sons, Jed and James.

The reunion had not been a happy one. During the summer of 1859 when drought held the land in a viselike grip, burning the soil and parching all living creatures to the point of death and beyond, the Windsors had opted to pack their bags and seek greener pastures. While the Wards held steadfast and ultimately persevered, they had not.

Nebraska had proved proven greener, but only in a figurative sense, for it did the Windsors no good. Without land to till or money to take them further, they had settled in a shanty town named Snow Bluff.

For all their chance of escape, it might better have been named Hell's Bottom.

Top Reviews
Life and love on the Kansas planes continues in this sequel to Pirate Treasure
I loved Pirate Treasure, so I couldn't wait to continue on with the second book in the series, Strawberry Fields . . . The book is a quick read with well developed characters and the author has researched thoroughly the exact emotions and beliefs from the time regarding rights of Blacks and the balancing act of admitting free/slave states into the United States. ~ Betzgreat, Amazon

• • •

As with the first book in the series, Strawberry Fields is just as engrossing as Pirate Treasure. Through their expert writing abilities, Kotar and Gessler pulls readers in from page one, back to post-Civil War Kansas and into the lives of a small family just trying to survive harsh conditions in the expanding American West. There's always someone there to try pulling you down, but often there can be someone there to help pull you up again. Seth and Nelander are an ideal couple with an enviable and apparent love for not only each other, but also Seth's children. These characters are well-written and easy to become endeared with. Nelander is such an interesting and unusual character that her part in this series is essential. No other type of heroine would bring these stories alive as she does. SHE is the reason there are pirates in land-locked Kansas. This is a wonderfully engaging story, and anyone who loves historical romance, pirate stories, Civil War and post-Civil War stories, and how has a bit of a sense of humor will love this series. ~ Heart of Fiction



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