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Lasso the Moon

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Motivated by a childhood promise, Paris Garrett travels to the wilds of Arizona Territory to seek fame as a stage actress. Never mind that she doesn't possess a lick of experience or that her true passion is songwriting. Before he died, her beloved papa encouraged her to reach for the stars. She promised to lasso the moon! She's already slipped free of her over-protective brothers. Nothing and no one, especially some badge-wearing Romeo, is going to rein her in or stand in her way. Joshua Grant's life went from ...
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Overview


Motivated by a childhood promise, Paris Garrett travels to the wilds of Arizona Territory to seek fame as a stage actress. Never mind that she doesn't possess a lick of experience or that her true passion is songwriting. Before he died, her beloved papa encouraged her to reach for the stars. She promised to lasso the moon! She's already slipped free of her over-protective brothers. Nothing and no one, especially some badge-wearing Romeo, is going to rein her in or stand in her way. Joshua Grant's life went from diamonds to dirt in less time than a rattler strikes. His uncle was killed, leaving him with an opera house he doesn't want, and forcing him to quit the law enforcement job he loved. The topper: In order to keep his sidewinder snake of a cousin from inheriting, he has to honor his uncle's will and marry within two weeks. Life can't get much worse, and then he falls for an eccentric, spitfire songwriter with a mysterious past and a passel of troublesome admirers. Marrying Paris is about as smart as kissing a coyote, but that's exactly what he intends to do-whether she likes it or not. Together they could realize their dreams. That's if they don't drive each other crazy first!
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A fantastic historical that will have you laughing all the way to the last page . . . and will grab your heart as well as your funny bone."  —Romance Junkies

"A great combination of romance, laughter, mystery and triumph."  —Affaire de Coeur

"This is a delightful shoot-out of a romance, a good ol' fashioned tale of high-spirited fun."  —BookPage

"A sweet romance, a delightfully funny tale, and a sexy story of love found and dreams realized."  —Romance Readers Connection

"A warm, lighthearted nineteenth century romantic romp."  —Harriet Klausner, Gotta Write Network

"I highly recommend [this book] and look forward to Ms.Ciotta's future novels."  —Romance Reviews Today

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781932815283
  • Publisher: Medallion Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Series: Wild West Romance Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 335
  • Product dimensions: 4.00 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author


Beth Ciotta is a writer of contemporary and historical romances.
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Read an Excerpt

Lasso the Moon
By Beth Ciotta Medallion Press, Inc. Copyright © 2006 Beth Ciotta
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-932815-28-3


Chapter One Territory of Arizona, 1877

He'd kill Mason Burke if he weren't already dead. Damn his will and that damned stipulation. Joshua Grant threw back a shot of rotgut, marveling at the dead man's tenacity. Six feet under, and his uncle had still managed to get in the last word.

"Can I get ya' anything else, Sheriff Grant?"

"Yeah, a wife." Josh glanced up from the bullet-nicked bar to the scrunched-up face of its owner. "Never mind. Hit me with another shot. On second thought, make it a double." His future as a wedded theater owner flashed before his eyes. "Hell. Just slide me the bottle and be done with it."

"Sure 'nuff, Sheriff."

"Stop calling me that." He snatched up the quart bottle of whiskey Jimmy Hell slid his way. "I told you. I turned in my badge yesterday."

The proprietor of Hell's Drinkin' Hole indicated the rowdy clientele with a flick of his tattered bar rag. "So that's what this party's for?" Smirking, the hairy-knuckled wiseass braced his beefy forearms on the splintered ledge of his bar and leaned forward. "Funny, but I can't recall your reason for leaving town exactly."

Josh leaned forward as well. "That's because I never said exactly." He straightened with a smile and let the taunt settle. Maybe it was the liquor or maybe he was just plain out of his head, but he almost felt giddy when Jimmy narrowed his eyes. He'd been spoiling for a fight for days. Since Mason wasn't available, he'd settle on the nearest pair of fists. Even if those fists were the size of Christmas hams.

Only Jimmy Hell's attention had cut to the swinging doors. "What the ...?" His bushy brows cut into a stern V. "Here comes trouble. Good thing you're here, Sheriff. I can't afford another brawl this week. I'm down to six good tables and I'm lucky if I got ten chairs with all their legs."

"Thanks for the warning." Josh ripped the cork out of the bottle with his teeth. Spitting it clean over the barkeep's shoulder, he muttered, "I'll be mindful of where I sit. And stop calling me Sheriff. I'm not the law anymore." That said, he tipped the bottle to his lips and turned to see what form of trouble had stumbled into the saloon. Just for curiosity's sake. He'd figured on spying Rosco Timbers or Newt Gibbons, two of Yuma's more cantankerous yahoos, seeing that the mean-spirited Riley brothers were already in attendance. So he near about choked on his half-swallowed drink when he spotted the fresh-faced half-pint standing in the doorway, a bulging carpetbag in hand.

From a distance it was right hard to tell if the kid wearing baggy denim trousers, a faded blue, knee-length shirt, and a dirt-brown fedora was a boy or a girl. A heartbeat later the half-pint stepped forward and tripped over Moe Wiggin's king-sized boot. The hat went flying and ebony, waist-length hair spilled out.

One mystery solved.

Moe scooped up the fedora and plopped it back on the young woman's head. She smiled at the old coot as she elbowed her way through the redeye-guzzling, cheroot-smoking crowd.

Josh knew everyone in and around Yuma. He didn't recognize her. Cute as a baby coon, and his gut warned twice as bothersome.

The kid navigated her unwieldy bag through the maze of occupied tables and chairs, offering apologies as she bumped arms and legs along the way. Intrigued, Josh trained his gaze on the determined runt as she cut a deliberate path through the boodle of pokes and doves, suggesting she knew exactly where she was headed.

"If you got any four-legged chairs in the vicinity of the piano, Jimmy, I suggest you clear 'em out." Josh grabbed his quart bottle and trailed the girl. Maybe he'd get his fight after all. Unfortunately, his progress was hindered by a slew of well-wishers. Assorted doves kissed him for old-times sake. Friends and acquaintances slapped his back or pumped his arm in enthusiastic handshakes. They all wished him good luck. The law-abiding men of Yuma had insisted on throwing him this going-away party. Which was fine, dandy, and thoughtful, except he wasn't all that pleased to be going.

That had been Mason's idea.

"Damn him," he muttered again for good measure. Miserable, and not near drunk enough, he tossed back a healthy swig of whiskey before vying for a spot behind Moe Wiggins, who stood on his one good leg outside a two-man-deep crowd. "What's going on?"

Moe squinted at the kid who was in an animated discussion with the saloon's pianist. "Ain't sure. All I know is that Fingers was in the middle of Buffalo Gals and that gal elbowed her way in and put a stop to it."

"Why?"

Moe squinted harder, as though it might somehow improve his hearing. "Can't hear what she's sayin'."

Neither could Josh. His party had grown from loud to deafening. Jimmy Hell was right about one thing. Trouble was brewing. He could see that even in his bleary-eyed state.

"Whatever she's up to," Moe said, "it ain't good."

"It ain't my concern." But, for the life of him, he couldn't tear his gaze from the petite girl. A cute little bunny trapped by a pack of mangy wolves, the sharpest teeth belonging to Burgess and Billy Riley.

Moe drained his beer, sleeved a dribble of brew from his pointy chin. "You've never been one to let a boilin' pot overflow."

"I'm no longer the law in these parts." He figured if he repeated it enough times, he'd get used to the idea. Still and all, he couldn't bring himself to ignore the baby-faced tomboy. The need to protect was a right hard habit to break.

Unable to resist, he moved closer to the action.

"You don't understand, sir." She dropped her bag near the rickety piano and shook a cramp out of her hand. "This is an emergency. I'm in desperate need of your instrument. If you would only accommodate me-"

"Accommodate ya'?" Fingers raised an amused eyebrow above the rim of his wired spectacles. "Ain't never heard it called that before, honey."

His drunken entourage snickered.

"You needn't worry," she hurried on. "I'm very good."

Fingers's other eyebrow shot up. "You don't say?"

She smiled and nodded. "I promise you'll enjoy it."

Josh bit back a groan. How naïve could one girl be not to realize how a passel of men were twisting her innocent words?

"Listen," Fingers said, mopping his brow as though the temperature had shot from eighty to a hundred. "I'm in the middle of a slew of requests. Give me a few minutes and then-"

"A few minutes? It's been days!"

"That long?" Fingers traded a smirk with the leering audience. "Well, now. I reckon I could take a short break." He pinned her with a smarmy look. "Just how good are ya', honey?"

"My brothers think I'm excellent."

The pianist hooted. "Your brothers?"

Owl-eyed and eager for details, the snickering mob leaned forward. Josh swayed right along with them.

The girl blinked at Fingers. A few seconds later a blush crept up her neck, making a beeline for her cheeks. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have ... it's just that I'm ..." She waved off her words and glanced toward an empty table. "I'll wait over there until you've finished your requests."

Relieved, Josh reached back to massage a crick from his neck. At least the kid had sense enough to vamoose before things turned ugly.

Burgess Riley clamped his burly hand over her wrist and whirled her back around. "What's your hurry, sweet thing? If Fingers there ain't willin' to accommodate ya', I sure as hell am."

"Me too!" chimed his brother.

Her face lit up like a noonday sky. "You have a piano too?"

The crowd guffawed.

Josh rolled his eyes. The twinge in his neck pinched.

"No piano. But don't worry. We'll make our own music." Burgess forced her hand over the crotch of his filthy trousers. "Let's put them talented fingers to good use. What do ya' say, wildcat?"

Josh chucked his whiskey bottle and pushed forward. Here comes the fight.

The kid acted faster, kneeing Burgess square in the balls.

For the love of ... Josh grimaced as the man's wounded howl sliced through him and every other man in the gurdy.

Wide-eyed, the raven-haired ball-buster turned to run and slammed into Billy's scrawny chest.

Flashing a gap-toothed grin, he snatched her up. "Gotcha!"

She hauled back that same deadly leg and kicked him in the shin. Billy dropped her and yowled. Hopping up and down on one foot, he spewed obscenities raunchy enough to make a hash slinger blush.

Looking only slightly embarrassed, the girl backed into a wobbly-legged Burgess.

Grabbing her by the forearms, the yahoo hauled her backside hard against his injured region and snarled. "You messed with the wrong man, sweet thing."

Josh moved faster this time. When the girl wrenched left he threw a right, ramming his knuckles into Burgess's mouth. The man flew backward, the kid with him.

Quick as lightning, Josh snatched her up and into his arms. The fedora tumbled to the floor, allowing him a full view of her heart-shaped face. The patrons' slurred heckles faded to a drone as he studied the petite minx up close and intimate like. Her smooth complexion, almighty pale in contrast to her ink-black hair, suggested she spent more time indoors than out. A surprise, given her tomboy appearance. Even more surprising was the jolt of lust he felt when he gazed into her walnut-brown eyes, eyes that sparkled with an intoxicating mix of innocence and bald appreciation. Complicating matters, a queer lump lodged in his throat when she quirked a shy smile. "What the hell?"

His gruff words snapped her out of a moony-eyed daze. Blushing now, she struggled like a roped stallion to gain her freedom. "Let me go, you big ape!"

The crowd's whoops and hollers intensified as another skirmish heated up between the Riley boys and a couple of do-gooders. Josh was too busy protecting his gingambobs from Miss Musicmaker's deadly knee and-Christ almighty-elbows to pay much mind.

"Watch out!"

At Moe's warning, he dipped the feisty minx just as an empty bottle whizzed past her pretty head. At the same time a chair sailed through the air, shattering the front pane. An out-and-out brawl erupted. Thanks to Mason, he had a lifetime of bar brawls ahead of him. From what he'd heard, the patrons of the Desert Moon opera house were a rowdy bunch.

At least his new life wouldn't be dull.

He glanced down at the pissed off half-pint. "Let's get you out of here, sweetheart."

"I'm not your sweetheart."

"Whose sweetheart are you?"

"No one's." Scowling, she reached behind her and tried to pry his hands from her waist. "I ... I mean someone's. Some big fellow. An ox of a man who's going to beat you to a pulp if you don't let me go."

"You're a terrible liar." He hiked her higher in his arms and caught a whiff of her glossy hair. Lilacs. The sweet, flowery scent blindsided him, stealing him back to his childhood. A time he preferred to forget. Squashing the bittersweet memories before they reached full bloom, he focused on the swinging doors.

Three men crashed into a nearby table, fists flying. Cursing, he hastened his steps, the girl's best interests at heart. Damn if the menace didn't struggle harder as he hauled her out of harm's way.

"I'm warning you, mister!"

"Warn away."

She elbowed him in the gut.

A second later she kicked him in the shin.

"You're making it difficult for me to behave in a valiant fashion here, kid."

She slapped at his hands. "Don't make me hurt you."

He laughed for the first time in over a week.

Two feet from the doors, she twisted in his arms, reared back and socked him.

"Son of a-" He bit off the curse and worked his offended jaw. "What'd you do that for?"

"I'm sorry. But I did warn you."

"So you did. Now I'm warning you. Stop fussing. We're leaving."

"But-"

"I warned you." Grinning, he hauled her up and over his shoulder like a sack of grain and whisked her from the saloon. The rowdy mob cheered.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Lasso the Moon by Beth Ciotta Copyright © 2006 by Beth Ciotta. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 20 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013

    !

    Oh god....first review right off the bat is egomaniacal harriet klausner and her cliff note plot spoiler. Bn should ban this person and delete all her plot spoilers.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    amusing historical romance

    In 1877, Paris Garrett travels to the dangerous Arizona Territory in hopes of fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a famous stage actress though she has no experience. When she feels down with no hope of achieving her goal, she thinks of her beloved late father who encouraged her to always seek to make your dreams happen. --- Joshua Grant left his first love law enforcement, which he hopes to return to soonest, but first must meet the stipulations of his late uncle¿s will. He must marry within two weeks or his odious cousin inherits the opera house. Though he does not want to own the opera house and detests giving up law enforcement even temporary he would rather be dead then let his relative gain possession. Still he has no one in mind until a talented songwriting dreamer arrives in town. Joshua knows she is a mistake, but he wants the wannabe actress so why not marry her. Of course he first must win her over while his cousin has other plans for her, him, and the opera house. --- LASSO THE MOON is an amusing historical romance starring two likable protagonists and a vile antagonist. Joshua has no idea what happened to his simple life feeling eh must be JINXED first with the will and now with Paris whose CHARMED innocence and obsession somehow SEDUCED his heart. Fans will laugh at the escapades of the lead couple and hiss at the villain as Beth Ciotta provides a warm lighthearted nineteenth century romantic romp. --- Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Funny and sexy

    Paris and Josh are brought together by fate and take you on a funny, sexy ride while as they realize their destiny. Cute and sexy 213 page read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2013

    good

    Would have given it five stars without the sex and taking the Lord's name in vain.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2013

    Likeable, kind, honest characters

    It was so nice to read a book with characters that were kind and honest. Paris and Josh cared about family and integrity. I loved reading about a female character who wasn't moody and overly assertive. Paris knew what her goals were and was determined to reach them but she still showed kindness to the people she met along the way. She wasn't afraid to accept help when she needed it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2013

    Amazing

    I love strong-willed women, and the mystery of the story was really great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2013

    Loved it!

    I enjoy books that have me laughing out loud. This one works!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2013

    Good book

    I enjoyed this story, good book hope the author comes out with more in this serios

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013

    ;)

    Very good. 209 pges. Sweet story that had a great pace with humorous momemnts. Recomend this n i wshed they had a follow up tory to the brother seth and emily.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2013

    This is a good read

    I really loved this book. One of my favorites

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2013

    Cute

    Fast read. Very cute. Well worth my time

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2013

    : )

    Loved it!! ; )

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2006

    What a Ride!

    The Wild West comes alive in all its glory in this sparkling tale by Beth Ciotta. Paris and Josh make a great pair, and their adventures will have you rapidly turning pages as they battle inner demons and outer villains before they ride into the sunset of their dreams. Don't miss this fabulous and amusing western!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted March 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

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