Dawn Comes Early (Brides of Last Chance Ranch Series #1)

Dawn Comes Early (Brides of Last Chance Ranch Series #1)

by Margaret Brownley


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595549686
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 03/13/2012
Series: Brides of Last Chance Ranch Series , #1
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 974,736
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

New York Times best-selling author Margaret Brownley has penned more than twenty-five historical and contemporary novels. Her books have won numerous awards, including Reader’s Choice.Though successful, Margaret decided to leave behind the secular publishing world to follow God’s will for her: to write inspirational fiction. Since then she has published the Rocky Creek series and A Lady Like Sarah was a Romance Writers of America RITA finalist.Happily married to her real life hero, Margaret and her husband have three grown children and live in Southern California.

Read an Excerpt

Dawn Comes Early

A Brides of Last Chance Ranch Novel
By Margaret Brownley

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2012 Margaret Brownley
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59554-968-6

Chapter One

Arizona Territory 1895

Cactus Paaaaaaaaaatch!"

Whistle piercing the air, the wheels of the Southern Pacific ground against the metal rails, jerking passengers back and forth before coming to a screeching stop.

Kate Tenney was the only traveler to rise from her seat. Ignoring the curious gazes of the mostly male passengers, she walked along the narrow aisle and down the steps to the deserted open-air station. Steam puffed across the wooden platform like a hissing dragon. She clutched at her skirt with one damp hand and shaded her brow against the bright noon sun with the other.

The steamer trunk filled with her precious belongings landed with a thud by her side. It had been delivered by the dark-skinned, uniformed porter who then grabbed hold of the handrail and swung his bulky frame back onto the train. He leaned out just far enough to signal the engineer with a wave of his hand and to afford Kate one last pitying look before vanishing inside. He wasn't the first to take pity on her, but if things worked out as she hoped, he would most certainly be the last.

The train slithered away, picking up speed until all that remained of the Tucson-bound express was the sound of a distant whistle and a line of black curling smoke.

Hands on her waist, Kate glanced around with a growing sense of dismay. This couldn't be Cactus Patch. Please don't let it be so. Never in all her twenty-nine years had she imagined such a desolate place.

Finding the nearby baggage room, ticket counter, and telegraph office empty, she turned a complete circle, squinting against the sun's white glare. Other than the cluster of sand-colored buildings in the distance, the flat, arid land stretched all the way to the purple-hued mountains on the horizon with only an occasional cactus to break the monotony in between. Heat waves shimmered from the desert floor and sweat trickled down her temples.

She removed her feathered hat and wiped away the dampness on her forehead with the back of her hand. The hat was more fashionable than practical and had to be tilted in an unappealing way before it offered any real protection from the sun, but the last thing she needed was freckles or a red nose. She was determined to look presentable, if not altogether professional. Her future depended on it.

She pulled a tattered telegram from the pocket of her blue traveling suit. It had taken six days to travel to Arizona Territory from Boston, and she longed for a bath and cool drink.

The telegram clearly stated that a ranch hand would pick her up. It was signed by Miss Eleanor Walker, owner of the Last Chance Ranch. The advertisement for a professional woman to be "heiress" to a cattle ranch had stoked Kate's imagination. She responded partly out of curiosity, but also out of desperation. She needed work, but more than that she wanted the respectability that came with owning land.

She sighed and tucked the telegram back into her pocket. So where was her driver? Where, for that matter, was anyone? The town—if indeed it was a town—showed no sign of life. She couldn't even make out a horse or carriage. Had someone played a trick on her? Was this, in actuality, a ghost town?

Shuddering, she shook away the thought, but riding herd on her imagination was not so easy. What if she had to spend the night stranded in this deserted place? Or was attacked by Indians, bandits, or a pack of hungry, snarling wolves?

She groaned. Her vivid imagination never failed to make a bad situation worse. It was a writer's curse, and the only solution was a course of action that would keep her mind from going off on one of its flights of fancy.

Spotting a rope coiled on the platform, she gathered it in hand and tied it to a handle of her trunk. She wasn't about to leave her clothes and precious books unattended, though she couldn't imagine who would steal them.

She yanked the trunk off the wooden platform, stirring up a cloud of dust, and started toward town. Dragging the trunk was like dragging a dead mule. She moistened her cracked lips, but grit filled her nose and mouth. Her eyes burned and her throat was parched.

The going was slow. At that rate she would be lucky to reach town before dusk.

She stopped from time to time to catch her breath, but the closer she got to Cactus Patch, the harder it was to control her overactive mind.

It wasn't much of a town. Indeed, by Boston's standard it was little more than a whistle-stop. Adobe false-front buildings lined the narrow dirt road, with only a narrow wooden boardwalk separating the two. The sun directly overhead failed to cast so much as a shadow, let alone a spot of shade.

She passed several buildings, the scraping sound of her trunk breaking the silence. According to the handwritten signs in the windows, all businesses were closed, even the barbershop, gunsmith, and Cactus Patch Gazette. A breeze had picked up and a tumbleweed rolled down the middle of the street. The wind felt like the gush of a hot furnace bringing no relief. A loose shutter on a two-story building banged like a slow-beating drum. A saloon's batwing doors moved and squeaked.

The town looked abandoned but oddly, she felt the weight of a thousand eyes upon her. Her imagination playing tricks on her, no doubt. Had to be. Still ...

"Hello," she called. The word felt like a rock in her dry mouth. She cleared her throat and tried again, this time louder. "Anyone there?"

She came to a side street and breathed in relief. Horses were tied to wooden rails, their tails swishing back and forth like pendulums measuring the passing of time. A buckboard wagon was parked on the side of the street along with a buggy.

Never did she think to see a more welcome sight. Horses and wagons meant people. This apparently was the heart of town. It had a bank, a hotel, and a sign that read Marshal—but all appeared to be deserted. At the far end of the street stood a windmill and water tank. Anticipating the feel of cool water in her dry mouth, she quickened her step.

"Hello," she called again, but her call was met with silence. She narrowed her gaze to the doors of the Blue Rooster Saloon. Where was everyone? Had she miscounted the days? Was this in reality the Sabbath instead of Tuesday like she supposed?

* * *

"Shhh." Bessie Adams hunkered behind a pickle barrel in Green's General Merchandise Store. A shadow inched its way across the floor indicating someone outside walking past the store window. The shadow stilled and Bessie's heart thudded.

Finger to her lips, she signaled for her sister not to move. Lula-Belle peered from behind the potbellied stove, her rounded, fear-stricken eyes staring from a well-worn face.

Bessie's joints ached from kneeling on the hardwood floor. At age sixty she was too old for such calisthenics. Was it too much to ask that a woman come to town to do her weekly marketing without having to fear for her life?

As the town's resident outlaw, Cactus Joe had long worn out his welcome. Now he stood outside the shop, and only a pane of glass and a barrel of pickles separated her from him. It was enough to give a person heart failure.

If only she hadn't worn her flowery skirt and yellow shirtwaist. It would be easier to hide an elephant amid the store's adobe walls than her brightly colored garments.

At the first round of gunfire, Mr. Green had bolted the door and locked himself into the stockroom in back with absolutely no regard for the safety of his customers. Bessie hadn't seen hide nor hair of the store owner since. Just wait till she got her hands on the scoundrel. It would serve him right if she took her business elsewhere.

The doorknob jiggled and Bessie's stomach lurched. Gaze riveted on the dark form standing outside the door, she looked around for a weapon but the tools were kept at the back of the store. Only dry goods, sewing notions, and groceries were displayed in front. She eyed the bin of onions and potatoes but settled instead on a can of VanCamp's beans on a nearby shelf. It wasn't much of a weapon, but it was the closest at hand. Let the outlaw raise one finger toward her or her sister and she wouldn't be responsible for her actions. She lifted her gaze to the ceiling. God forgive her.

Something caught her eye and she practically fainted. The peacock feather on Lula-Belle's ridiculous hat waved like an engineer trying to stop a train. Bessie reached across the aisle and snatched her sister's hat off her head.

"Ouch!" Lula-Belle hissed, glaring at her. She grabbed the hat in Bessie's hand, and the two struggled for a moment before the boater shot up and caught on a ceiling hook used to hang meat.

"Now look what you've done!" Lula-Belle rubbed her head, her tightly wound curls bobbing up and down like tiny springs. "That hurt," she mouthed.

"A bullet will hurt more," Bessie mouthed back.

The doorknob jiggled again and Bessie ducked out of sight. Despite her frazzled nerves, she thought up a plan. Unfortunately, the plan required her sister's cooperation—never a good thing.

Mercy, it was the same old story. Nothing would get done if it wasn't for her. Her husband, Sam, would starve to death if she wasn't around to feed him. As for her two grown nephews, their lack of domestic skills was the least of it. Neither one of them had the slightest idea how to find a wife. This meant she had no choice but to put her considerable matchmaking skills to work yet again. Now it looked as if she would even have to do the marshal's job and catch Cactus Joe herself.

Heart pounding, she forced herself to calm down. It was no time to panic. Lula-Belle would panic enough for both of them. "I'll hide on the other side," she whispered, pointing to the cracker barrel. "When he comes inside you distract him. Make a lot of noise."

Lula-Belle's already-pale face turned as white as the shawl around her shoulders. "What ... what are you going to do?"

"While he's looking at you, I'll sneak up behind him and hit him over the head." She held up the can of beans. "I'll hold him down while you get the marshal."

Lula-Belle stared at the tin can in Bessie's hand, her face suffused with doubt. "I don't think ..."

The sound of breaking glass sent Bessie scurrying across the floor on hands and knees and ducking behind the cracker barrel. She grimaced. Her knees and back would never be the same. Too late she realized her sister had followed her and was now hunkered down by her side.

"You were supposed to stay on the other side."

"You didn't tell me that," Lula-Belle argued.

Bessie rolled her eyes and tried to think how to salvage the situation. The cracker barrel wasn't wide enough to provide adequate protection for both of them. Before she could think of a solution, the door flew open and Lula-Belle grabbed her arm.

Cactus Joe stepped inside the shop, glass crunching beneath his boots. Holding his gun aloft, he was dressed in his customary black trousers and shirt. He had dark, greasy-looking hair, a thin mustache, and an eye patch. It was the patch that saved them as he obviously couldn't see to his left.

It was now or never. After prying Lula-Belle's fingers from her arm, Bessie shot up quick as a jack-in-the-box and threw the beans hard. The can sailed past the outlaw, knocked over a stack of Log Cabin syrup cans, and bounced off the wall before ricocheting back to hit Cactus Joe on the shoulder.

Startled, the bandit fired his gun. The bullet whizzed straight up to the ceiling whereupon Lula-Belle's prized hat fell atop his head.

Blinded by feathers, Cactus Joe yelped and danced around the store, knocking over canned and soft goods alike in an effort to rid himself of the felt confection.

Lula-Belle let out a bloodcurdling scream. "Save the hat!"

Just as the outlaw freed himself, a woman stepped into the shop—a stranger.

Looking straight at Bessie, she said, "Thank goodness. I thought I heard a gun—" She spotted Cactus Joe and froze, her rounded eyes riveted on his weapon.

Cactus Joe swung around, grabbed the stranger with one arm, and dragged her outside.

"Quick, lock the door," Bessie yelled, even though the broken glass wouldn't keep out a fly. At the sound of gunfire, she and her sister dived behind the counter, cracking their heads together in their haste to hide. Never in all her born days did Bessie pray so hard.

* * *

Kate's captor dragged her along the deserted boardwalk. "Let me go!" she cried. Her ears still ringing from the deafening report, she hit him hard with her fist and kicked him in the shin.

"Ow, that hurt." Sounding annoyed, he jerked her back and waved his gun.

She gasped. This is my imagination. Please, please, let it be so. Only it wasn't. His fingers digging into the f lesh of her arm convinced her of that. She glared up at him and shuddered. The formidable black-clad figure glared with one good eye. He had a thin, slightly crooked mustache, shoulder-length black hair, and pockmarked skin.

He pointed the gun at some distant target and fired again. Kate flinched. The man shot at the trunk she'd left in the middle of the dirt-packed street, and her clothes and books were now scattered on the ground.

"You didn't have to do that," she cried. "You didn't have to shoot my trunk."

"It's this blasted eye patch," he muttered. He sounded almost apologetic, but the steel-like grip on her arm remained. "Can't see worth a plugged nickel. I was actually aiming for that saloon."

Another shot sounded, this time from a distance away. A chip of wood flew off a nearby sign. Fearing that the distant shooter would fire again, she screamed, "Help, help!"

The outlaw yanked her closer, slamming her against his chest. "Shut up."

"Let her go, Cactus Joe," someone called from atop the Golden Star Saloon.

"Come and get her, Marshal," her captor hollered back. He fired another shot, this time aiming at the roof.

Mercy. If she was writing this scene, her heroine would have a weapon in her boot and the courage to use it, but at the moment she lacked both. Since her high-button shoes contained nothing more than two sore feet, the man named Cactus Joe had little to fear from her.

Pointing his gun at the saloon, he moved backward to the opposite side of the street, pulling her with him. He reeked of whiskey, tobacco, and sweat. Fear knotted inside her. Her body shook so hard that at first she thought the jingling sound was her rattling bones instead of his spurs.

He walked faster now, dragging her along with him.

"You ... you have no right to make me a party to your n-nefarious ways," she stammered.

"I hate to disappoint you, lady, but we ain't goin' to no party."

He forced her down an alley and behind the buildings toward two horses. No—one horse. Her eyes were playing tricks on her. She felt dizzy, faint, her legs weightless. Her head began to swim and she swayed. With a muttered curse the outlaw shoved her away. She fell forward, hitting the ground hard.

Momentarily stunned, she fought her way through the thickening fog. Confusion surrounded her. Running feet. Shouts. The pounding of horses' hooves. She raised herself up on both hands but was blinded by the sun.

She had no idea how long she lay there, unable to move. Finally a shadow swept over her, mercifully blocking out the relentless dazzling light.


Chapter Two

The woman wasn't injured as far as Luke Adams could tell, but she was definitely dry as a bone. He helped her to her feet, but she started to crumble to the ground again. One hand behind her back, he slid an arm beneath her legs and lifted her off the ground with a quick swoop. She felt light, almost weightless in his arms, as he carried her into his blacksmith shop.

His wolf dog, Homer, greeted him at the door, tail between his legs. Part Mexican gray wolf, the dog had pointed ears and long legs and tail. Homer had dived for cover during the initial round of gunfire and that's where he'd pretty much stayed. Now he regarded Luke as if seeking reassurance, the dim light turning his amber eyes almost yellow.

"It's all right, boy. She's not going to hurt you."

A quick glance toward the darkened forge told him his younger brother, Michael, had taken off the moment Luke stepped outside. His brother hadn't completed the simplest task Luke had assigned him. The unopened can of Neatsfoot oil meant the leather bellows had not been lubricated. Michael hadn't even calked the wood to keep the bellows from losing pressure.


Excerpted from Dawn Comes Early by Margaret Brownley Copyright © 2012 by Margaret Brownley. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. 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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Dawn Comes Early 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
MizChelleB More than 1 year ago
Every once in a while, I get the pleasure of reviewing a novel that encapsulates every reason why I love to read. I want a story that makes me laugh, makes me cry, keeps me guessing, and includes characters, both major and minor, that are so vibrant and bursting with vitality that they stay with you long after the book is closed. Dawn Comes Early, by New York Times bestselling author, Margaret Brownley is just that kind of book…and then some! The first book in Brownley’s The Brides of Last Chance Ranch, Dawn Comes Early begins with a bang…literally. Kate Tenney has arrived in Cactus Patch, Arizona to take on the daunting task of becoming the heiress to a cattle ranch. Having written several dime novels about ranching, she considers herself well suited for the job. But before she can even reach the ranch, she is held at gun point by Cactus Joe, and rescued by the local blacksmith, Luke Adams. It doesn’t take her long to learn that Luke might be more dangerous than Cactus Joe, at least more dangerous to her heart. Despite her obvious lack of skills, Eleanor Walker, the hard and demanding owner of Last Chance Ranch, decides to keep her on a trial basis. If she can prove her worth and merit after four months, the Last Chance Ranch will be hers. That the ranch comes with the stipulation that she never marry does little to sway Kate from her goal of land ownership. Abandoned by every man she’s ever known, she has no fondness, or trust, of men. In spite of snickering ranch hands, obstinate horses, and her traitorous mind – which refuses to stop wandering to the thought of Luke – she vows to meet the demands of Eleanor and Ruckus, the ranch hand assigned to teach her the ropes. But will she be able to meet Eleanor’s greatest demand, to forsake the love of Luke, who keeps whittling away at her distrust and the hardness of her heart? To say this is a must-have for your bookshelf is an understatement. Just when you think you know where Brownley is going to take you next, she surprises you with another twist and turn. Just when you think you’ve figured out a character, she reveals another side to them. And just when you smile at her clever writing, she follows up with something so ingeniously comical, that you find yourself laughing out loud. And beneath the well written plot, three dimensional characters, and unforeseen developments, lies a sweet message of faith. Simple in its delivery, tucked between Aunt Bessie’s ridiculous purple dress, and Ruckus’ clever phrases, the message of faith and trust in God shines through. Five stars is not enough, but all that I am afforded to honor this book with. Thank goodness this is the first book in a series, and this isn’t going to be the Last Chance we get to spend time with the folks from Cactus Patch!
Ishap01 More than 1 year ago
This book tells a story of a banned writer named Kate Tenney who leaves Boston to start a new life.The story is very good.The book was a smooth read.The characters fit in the story perfectly.The novel has a country feel through it which I like I felt as if I was there myself seeing through my eyes.The cover of the book is adorable too.Overall I loved the story.I am looking forward to reading the next book Brownley writes.
love2readnovels on LibraryThing 5 months ago
After a dime novel she'd written was banned, Kate Tenney finds herself on the way to the Arizona Territory to answer add to become heiress to a large cattle ranch. Eleanor Walker wants someone who will make the ranch their life and promise to not only learn ranching, but also never to marry. For Kate, that is not a problem. She doesn't trust men at all since all the ones she's known have walk out of her life. She's not at all acquainted with the hard work ranching requires but she is determined to make it happen. Luke Adams comes to Kate's rescue the first day she's in town. He shows her kindness and is not at all like any man she's met before. He makes her feel things she's never felt before. Kinda like the 'toe curling' feelings she wrote about in her novels. So which will she choose? The Last Chance Ranch or Luke Adams?You can always expect a fun adventure when you pick up a Margaret Brownley book. Dawn Comes Early is no exception. Kate and Luke are really fun to get to know. The way Kate learned ranching was not only funny but seemed very natural. I thoroughly enjoyed Luke's aunts. They were a hoot and had me laughing out loud more than once, especially toward the end. One character I particularly appreciated was Ruckus. He had such great faith and wisdom. It wasn't just what he said but the way he said it. He provided Kate with many teachable moments that we as readers could also relate to. The ending was cute and there is a hint as to the next installment. Also, the author gives you a little 'dime novel' history, at the end, which was fun. If you enjoy a good western romp then I recommend Dawn Comes Early! A thank you goes to Booksneeze for providing this complimentary copy for my review.Paperback: 352 pagesPublisher: Thomas Nelson (March 13, 2012)ISBN-10: 1595549684ISBN-13: 978-1595549686
judyg54 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Kate Tenney, from Boston, finds herself answering an ad that reads, " 'HEIRESS WANTED' Looking for hardworking, professional woman of good character and pleasant disposition willing to learn the ranching business in Arizona Territory. Must be single and prepared to remain so now and forevermore." Kate finds herself in Cactus Patch, Arizona determined to be the person that can fulfill all the requirements of the ad. What she wasn't counting on though was the handsome, trustworthy and caring Luke Adams, who was the town's blacksmith. Kate is determined though that men cannot be counted on or trusted so she does everything she can to fight her feelings for Luke. This book had alot of very interesting characters throughout the story. The ranch hands, Luke's two aunts, and the town villian, Cactus Joe. They all kept the story interesting. This was a lighthearted read for me. It was not a page turner and can't put it down until I see how it will end, but I really did like the ending and the loving and endearing way Luke showed Kate how much he cared. I want to thank BookSneeze for sending me this book for review.Paperback: 352 pagesPublisher: Thomas Nelson (March 13, 2012)ISBN-10: 1595549684ISBN-13: 978-1595549686
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A slow, but good book Last Chance Ranch was started by Eleanor Walker's mother with one steer and is now one of the largest ranches in the Cactus Patch, Arizona area. Eleanor has learned throughout her life not to trust men but now that she's in her sixties she needs to find someone to leave the ranch to. She does have some requirements though, it must be a woman and she must sign a contract agreeing to never marry. There have been several women apply some left the ranch immediately, some a day or two and one even lasted two weeks, that is until Kate Tenney shows up in Cactus Patch in the middle of an attack by Cactus Joe. All the businesses are locked up, nobody in the streets, is this a ghost town? Where is the man that is supposed to pick her up and take her to Last Chance Ranch? Kate was determined to own Last Chance Ranch, after all, like Miss Walker says, "nothing is permanent except for land" and "love isn't kind, men can't be trusted", this about sums up how Kate has felt her whole life. Kate has felt God abandoned her the day her dad left and she had to start taking care of her mother, if only Ruckus would quit throwing those Bible verses at her, not Bible verses like we know them, they are translated into his own words and they really make her think. I think it was kind of a slow read but there was enough there to keep me interested in finishing the book. Sometimes it's nice to slow down a little bit and what better than a book to do it. There was some excitement at different times and that helped. All in all I am glad I read the book and am looking forward to reading the next one "Waiting for Morning". I have read several of Margaret's books and I do enjoy her writing.
Shay14 More than 1 year ago
This was such a great book. The characters were fantastic. Miss Walker is something else. I really enjoyed her character and figuring out why she is the way she is. Kate Tenney strikes me as smart, independent, and stubborn. She thinks she has life figured out. Luke Adams is the strong, silent type. Their romance was sweet. The conversations they would have together made me laugh most times, and other times I would want to shake them both for their blindness! The story progresses naturally. I like that the timeline is more than a week or a few days. Some authors try to cram a whole love story into a week, which isn't realistic at all. Instead, Kate and Luke converse over months and have plenty of time for feelings to develop Kate comes to Last Chance Ranch because she feels she has no where else to go. The name of the ranch is very fitting, in her case. She is at her lowest point when she comes to Cactus Patch and can't afford to lose. Luke is content to be the town smithy and live his simple life. So he is unprepared for the feelings Kate awakens in him. Can they both figure out their own hearts before it's too late?! If there is one thing wrong with this book, it is this: I'm not sure whether or not Kate becomes a Christian. I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but the progression for Kate doesn't seem realistic to me. I don't feel she was ministered to enough throughout the story to really come to an understanding with the Lord. Other than that, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants a good ol' fashion cowboy read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fun read.
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3boysgram More than 1 year ago
Delightfully funny book. I look forward to reading the entire series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite Margaret Brownley book. If you like this book you should read books by Julie Klassen, Beverly Lewis, and Dale Cramer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MarB1 More than 1 year ago
This is my first experience with Margaret Brownley's work and I liked it! Kate Tenney is a fiction writer. She writes dime novels. Her latest novel was banned in Boston and she's convinced she will never get published again, so she went looking for something else to do with her life. When she reads an advertisement in a newspaper from a ranch owner looking for an heir, she decides to give it a try. If she's going to be the heir, she must sign documents that states that she must remain single for the rest of her life. All the men in Kate's life have abandoned her, so she has no desire to marry. On the day of her arrival in Cactus Patch, a local outlaw is in town. Cactus Joe gives Kate a good scare and she ends up on the local blacksmith's working table. Luke, the blacksmith, takes Kate to the Last Chance Ranch. He's telling her that there were other young women trying to become Mrs. Walker's heir. They all didn't last long. When Kate meets the lady boss of the ranch, she's determined to proof that she's suitable for the position of heir. Altough Kate hardly knows anything about ranching, Mrs. Walker decides to give her a chance. Kate must proof herself the next four months. Luke has developed romantic feelings for Kate. And Kate notices his glances. She's telling herself that no man can be trusted, so she must get Luke out of her head and think about the Ranch only. Some time later Kate is kidnapped and Luke is determined to find her. But then a sand storm hits... Will Luke find Kate? Can he convince Kate of his love? Will Kate ever learn to trust a man again? Luke's aunt Bessie has read Kate's banned novel and gets some hilarious ideas from it. Sometimes I had to laugh out loud! In this book I've met some very nice characters. Margaret Brownley has a bright voice and therefor this book was a pleasure to read. *Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for my review copy.*
ButterflyBlessingsBlog More than 1 year ago
This was a truly fun read. Those who read my reviews most often know how I love realism and this book had a genuine feel of community to it. I didn't feel as if Kate & Luke's story was the only one going on (with everyone else there just as filler) but truly like we were seeing life through their eyes. The emphasis was on them, but the other characters were moving forward in their lives as well. It made the story more three dimensional. There was tension, action, romance, and comic relief right from the beginning. I loved Cactus Joe and thought the author was brilliant creating him as both villain and a sort of tragic clown. The whole idea of Kate being a writer of banned books was genius. It created such a buzz about her in town - and a lot of discussion that is still applicable today. Each character felt like they had a history that was well developed and interesting. I loved getting to know them. Because of that, their actions and the story line was even more dynamic. I loved some of the choices they made - like Kate and the windmill. You have to read to know what I'm talking about. I don't want to give anything away. The only thing I wish could have happened was more time spent between Luke and Kate. I know that was realistic for the time period though. This is one I would heartily recommend. I want to thank Thomas Nelson for providing a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Its_Time_Mamaw More than 1 year ago
A split your breeches hilarious novel!!! Kate Tenney has a passion for writing dime novels. Not only has she had one her novels rejected but it has been banned. She might as well been banned herself by the way everyone was treating her since they found out about her book. So she decides to answer an advertisement in the newspaper. Looking for a woman of good character and pleasant disposition willing to learn the ranching business in Arizona territory. Must be SINGLE and prepared to remain so now and forever more. Will be given ownership of ranch. —Eleanor Walker Kate packs up and heads out to Arizona Territory in hopes of becoming the heiress of Last Chance Ranch. When she becomes a land owner of a cattle ranch everyone that looked down on her will see she is as good or better than them. When Kate steps off the train in Cactus Patch the town looks deserted and there is not anyone there to take her to the ranch. She drags her trunk closer into town and is accosted by a bandit Cactus Joe. He had a gun and he was shooting at everything. She is knocked unconscious and when she comes to she was being doused with water by a very handsome man that she mistook for Brandon the hero in her novel. But it was the towns handsome blacksmith, Luke Adams. He let her know that he was very concerned about her injuries and volunteered to give her a ride out to the Last Chance Ranch. He felt a responsibility towards her and found her very attractive. When she arrived at the ranch she found that as a stipulation of becoming the heiress she would have to learn the ranching business from the bottom up, literally. Her first assignment was to muck out thirty stalls. Then she had to learn how to ride a horse western style. Which was pretty hard because she kept falling off the horse. Once she was able to keep her seat she was to learn how to rope and then be able to rope a calf. She also had to help in birthing calves. She worked from sun up to sundown sometimes longer. Her mentor was a ranch hand by the name of Ruckus and he had a bible verse for just about every time he talked to someone. But Kate had stopped trusting God when she was very young. She felt as if God had abandoned her as a child. Luke visited the ranch and she had to run errands for the ranch into town which included to the blacksmiths. Kate and Luke realized they had a hankering for each other. But Kate's mother had drilled into her head that men could not be trusted. Besides she had vowed to Eleanor the ranch owner that she would remain single or forfeit the ranch. The character Ruckus was a sower and sowed seeds of faith, hope and trust in Kate. Will she trust in God and grow in faith? Will she hope for more than land? This was a fun book with many metaphors from the ranch hands. Which they call tall tales. There were many colorful characters like Cactus Joe, Aunt Lula-Belle, Aunt Bessie and let's not forget the ranch hands. I Highly recommend this book. I rated this book a 5 out of 5. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson/Booksneeze for review. I was in no way compensated for this review it is my own opinion.
purplerose75 More than 1 year ago
Kate Tenney has lived in the city all her life, but she’s written about life on a ranch, so hard can it be? Well, if you don’t count the cows, or the stubborn horses, it’s not that bad. Or the teasing of the ranch hands. Then there are the cacti. You have to watch the cacti. They’re sneaky. But aside from that, it’s all fun and games. Then you throw in a sweet and handsome blacksmith, his meddlesome-but-well-meaning aunts, and the most inept outlaw west of the Mississippi, and you have a delightful adventure. Between falling off her horse and falling for Luke, poor Kate can’t get her bearings. She’s quite sure she has what it takes to become heiress of Last Chance Ranch. All she has to do is survive her four-month trial period. The clause forbidding her to ever marry really isn’t a problem. She’s been abandoned by men all her life. She’s not about to start trusting one now. Kate has to decide if she wants to put her faith in the land that can never leave her, or in God and in the man who loves her. This was such a fun book to read. There were a few serious moments, and I did feel sad for Kate, and for Eleanor, too. But most of the story is one humorous scene after another. The message of God’s faithfulness was in the background of the whole book, but I didn’t find it preachy at all, even though Kate’s ranching mentor, Ruckus was constantly talking about God and quoting scripture. Brownley wrote Ruckus so that was just part of who he was and it came across completely natural and fit right into the story. I was a little sad to see it end so I’m thrilled that we haven’t seen the last of the Cactus Patch residents. The second book, Waiting for Morning, will be out in January 2013. I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
JaneyD1 More than 1 year ago
What makes a beautiful and talented young girl want to forgo the chance of being married to become a ranch owner? And what happens when she meets the kind of man she never dreamed could exist? Will she stick to her guns or yield to love’s temptation? Dawn Comes Early by Margaret Brownley is a good old-fashioned western romance laced with plenty of surprises and humor. Kate Tenney is a writer who finds herself in straights when her novel is banned. Needing security and purpose, she answers an ad seeking an heiress for The Last Chance Ranch in Arizona. Only there’s a catch. If she passes the grueling trial period and is accepted, the contract mandates that she remain single. Not a problem for Kate since she doesn’t trust men anyway. Her real problem is whether she can master ranch life enough to be chosen as heiress—or so she thinks. Then along comes Luke Adams . . . and Kate finds herself with a man-sized problem. Not only is Brownley’s storyline tender, suspenseful and humorous, but her characters are masterfully crafted with their own individual personalities and idiosyncrasies. A delightful read. I received this book as a Thomas Nelson Booksneeze blogger.
tmurrell2 More than 1 year ago
Kate is a dime novelist and has written something too racy for the the Boston community to handle. So she flees her hometown in disgrace. She sees an ad advertising for a young unmarried woman to become an heiress to a cattle ranch. She sees this as the perfect opportunity and heads to Arizona. The small catch is that she has no ranch experience and she must remain unmarried for the rest of her life in order to inherit the ranch. The book started out a bit slow in the beginning, but picked up towards the middle. I really enjoyed the ranch hands that Kate worked with each day. They, and the aunts, were my favorite characters. I had to laugh several times at the predicaments that Luke's aunts kept getting themselves into. The story flowed well for the most part and was a sweet romance. It did seem a little light on the Christian aspect and the romance seemed a bit sparse. But the descriptions of the country and character depth of most of the characters made up for this. I look forward to seeing what the author does with the series. I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.
Evie4 More than 1 year ago
"Heiress Wanted Looking for hardworking , professional woman of good character and pleasant disposition willing to learn the ranching business in Arizona Territory. Must be single and prepared to remain so now and forevermore." So read a notice placed in a newspaper by Eleanor Walker, the owner of the Last Chance Ranch. Dime novelist Kate Tenney's latest book was banned in Boston. She needed to start a new life and she applies for the position. She has no intention of ever marrying so the requirement of staying single is not a problem. Kate arrives in the town of Cactus Patch in the Arizona Territory in 1895. Shortly after leaving the train she is taken hostage by the local criminal, Cactus Joe. Her escape leads to her meet Luke Adams who becomes a person of interest in her life. He could become an obstacle to her achieving her goal of being chosen as the heir. The novel tells the story of many people. Eleanor Walker is an accomplished and strong woman. She is a person to be admired. Luke Adam's aunt, Bessie manages to get hold of Kate's banned novel and what transpires after she reads it is memorable. Even Cactus Joe turns out to be different than what meets the eye. All the characters are beautifully developed and for the most part, charismatic. Kate's life on the ranch is full of trials and tribulations and are described in such a way that the reader is drawn into the story. Humor is not lacking in this book. I enjoyed this book very much. It deals with love, trust,honor and sensitivity. The book can lead one to look inward and to perhaps re-examine what you find. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Courtney21 More than 1 year ago
No man has ever proven to be trust worthy to Kate Tenney so she is bound and determined to make a name for herself on her own! She is a talented author in Boston but when one of her novels gets banned she decides moving west is the life for her! She is convinced ranching is what she wants to do with her life! Little does she know how tough ranching can be! But that doesn't stop Kate one bit! When she shows up on Eleanor's ranch she will not give up despite everyone saying she'll be lucky to last 2 days! I loved Kate! She is a strong and determined young lady who knows what she wants in life and isn't afraid to reach for the stars! She also is a bit stubborn and sort of stuck-up but that doesn't take away from her dynamic qualities! Besides Kate the author characters are just as wonderful! I really enjoyed Luke as well. He struggles with his own self doubt and direction but that just makes him more charming! I love reading historicals written by Margaret Brownley. She has a knack for creating characters that are unique and charming! She also weaves in some inspiration and spiritual messages throughout and I just loved how Kate grew and matured in her faith as the story progressed. I felt Margaret weaved just the right amount of spiritual threads in the book without making it overly preachy! There is so much to love in Dawn Comes Early; there are dynamic characters and a unique story line. There is a spiritual message, a little bit of romance, some hilarious comedic moments and a weirdly awkward villain!! All of which I loved!! If you are looking for a fun western check out Margaret Brownley's Dawn Comes Early! I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my personal and honest opinion. All opinions are my own!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eleanor Walker is looking for an heiress. Eleanor is the tough, sometimes bitter, divorced owner of the Last Chance Ranch. Getting up in years, she wants to find a young woman who will remain single and love the ranch as much as Eleanor does. Kate is just one of the many applicants. Kate was a successful novelist until her most recent book was banned in Boston and her publisher dropped her. Kate's has a very creative mind by stating she has "ranch experience" because she'd listened to many tales of the west. And she has ridden a horse before. But Kate never thought she would have to work on the ranch. From the moment she's offered a choice of Western or Mexican saddle, Kate found that she had no idea what she'd committed to. But Kate is tough and tenacious herself, and has no family or anyone else to turn to. This book reeled me in deeper as each chapter went by. Eleanor and Kate are both strong-willed women, who don't always see eye to eye. I wish the ending could have been different; I see the reason for it, but it did not completely satisfy me. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
Kellie4 More than 1 year ago
Dawn Comes Early by Margaret Brownley was a fun story set in the West on a Cattle Ranch. Kate Tenney, from Boston, is a writer, but not just any writer. She writes dime novels and when she chose to write a scene that some thought was too “riskay” her book was banned, and frankly, so was she. So, she applied for a job in Cactus Patch Arizona to be a heiress to a cattle ranch. When Kate first arrived she meets up with Cactus Joe, an outlaw, trying to be like the famous Jessie James. Kate finally gets to the ranch with the help of Luke Adams, a handsome blacksmith. Notice the word handsome, yes, this is a love story! At the ranch, Kate learns from the cowhands what needs to be done and how to do it, but her learning comes with spills and dumps, from her horse that is. Kate finally begins to feel comfortable at the ranch, but also keeps bumping into Luke Adams. She knows that in order to own the ranch she must never marry and she tries to keep her eyes set on her prize. But, the Lord, always the Lord, has different plans for her. Read this fun romance, and you will not be dissapointed. One underlying message that is always a joy to read is this: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” says the Lord. I received a copy of this book from Booksneeze for my honest thoughts and opinions.
JeanetteSc More than 1 year ago
Down and out dime novelist, Kate Tenney leaves her life in Boston to answer an advertisement for a cattle ranch heiress in the desert plains of Arizona. The trials and tribulations of ranch life in the late 1890s teach Kate more than she could ever have known about herself and her heart's longings. This is a wonderfully sweet love story. The characters were well developed and I felt that I knew them and could easily identify with them. The love story that develops leaves the reader believing in true love! For anyone who enjoys historical fiction, I would definitely recommend reading Dawn Comes Early. I personally am looking forward to more instalments in this series by Margaret Brownley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the story. It was so funny to experience all the accidents and mishapa Kate experiences as she learns how to run the ranch. So glad she and Luke got together in the end. And Cactus Joe! I just loved that misfit outlaw. I also loved meeting all the ranchhands. I would love to read more about Lukes rother Matt and Ruckus's son that is supposed to return to Cactus Patch to be a preacher one day.... Loved the ranch owner but i really think in the end that she should just give the ranch to Ruckus or one of the other ranchhands. They are more like family to her than she realizes...