Monday, December 5, 2011

Jannine Corti Petska: Love's Sweet Wager

Love's Sweet Wager
by Jannine Corti Petska

RTW: Welcome to Romancing The West, Jannine. Start out by telling us a little about Love's Sweet Wager, please.

JCP: Her gambler father murdered, Rachel Garrett joins a wagon train west to be with her aunt and the fiancé she's never met. Her dream is to forget the life she led performing on stage to earn the money her father gambled away and settle down in one place. But along the trail, she is helplessly drawn to a priest--forbidden fruit--and her hopes are shattered.

Professional gambler Reno Hunter is wanted for the murder of James Garrett. His disguise as a priest on a wagon train is foolproof, until he discovers the woman the old gambler wagered in that fatal card game and Rachel Garrett are one and the same. Can he protect his identity and his heart, or will he surrender to his desire for Rachel and risk being apprehended by the law?

RTW: What aspect of life in the Old West intrigues you the most? Did you work that into Love's Sweet Wager?

JCP: I've always loved cowboys and horses. The combination, to me, exudes strength and committment during a harsh time in history. The men in the Old West were real, uncomplicated. It was the start of "modern" conveniences, yet there was a raw, open slate for improvement and new-found technology. While the hero in Love's Sweet Wager is a gambler and not a cowboy, his travel by wagon train along the California Trail accentuated the diffiulty of an era where people had to be resourceful.

RTW: If you lived in 1852, what modern convenience would you miss the most?

JCP: Indoor plumbing. :-) I'm not a "roughing it" type of person. My idea of camping is staying in a hotel near a campsite.

RTW: Same here. Are there any common errors in western historical romances that bug you?

JCP: When I read a novel, I suspend belief for the sake of the story. However, the storyline must be believable. I can't point out any one error that bothered me in any of the western books I've read, but what I dislike in any book is poor reference of time. If the heroine conceives in July, two months later she has the baby. I've seen this type of error many times. I'm a stickler for keeping track of days, weeks and months that pass.

RTW: Why is Reno Hunter perfect for Rachel Garrett?

JCP: They are at odds throughout the entire book, and neither is willing to bend. They are two people who shouldn't be together just because their physical attraction is hot. But they motivate each other to move beyond their difficult circumstance. While their relationship may never be smooth sailing (each is stubborn in their own beliefs), their relationship will always be interesting and loving.

RTW: You have an excerpt for us to day, so please set the scene.

JDP: In this scene, Reno is jealous that his brother Alex accompanied Rachel into the fort to shop. Because of his disguise as a priest, Reno couldn't do anything about it. Neither could he suppress his strong attraction to her.

Reno shrewdly watched Rachel ride into camp alongside his brother. His gut twisted every time he saw the two together.

He was still irked at Alex for accompanying Rachel into the fort on the premise that Mrs. Larson called for the priest. The lie battered his mind, and he’d conjured up many reasons for Alex’s duplicity. The moment his brother left Rachel alone, Reno walked up to her before she had the chance to dismount.

“A new hat?”

She touched the hat, seemingly guilty for wearing it. “Yes, it is. Alex bought it for me—I mean…he—” She
pressed her lips together in displeasure then stated bluntly, “I didn’t ask him to buy it.”

Her familiarity with Alex’s name raised Reno’s suspicions. It slipped off her tongue as if she’d spoken it a hundred times before. He doubted the gift didn’t mean anything. Knowing his brother lavished gifts on the women who had succumbed to his charms turned Reno’s gut inside out. He scowled while thinking up ways to make Alex suffer for his indiscretions. Reno inhaled deeply to collect his unhealthy thoughts and control his precarious temper.

“I see you have your own gloves.”

She bunched her hands into her skirt and indignant fire flared in her eyes. When she sat up taller with a look of challenge, his gut twisted tighter.

“I cannot lie to you, Father. Alex bought the gloves, too.” She pulled blue material out of her saddlebag. “And the reticule.”

Apparently, guilt rode her to tell the truth.

She swung her leg over the horse’s neck to dismount. Reno curved his fingers around her small waist, forcing her hands to his shoulders as he set her to the ground. Remembering his place, he dropped his arms like felled trees.

“Apparently you and Alex are on friendly terms now.”

Her sunny smile stole his breath. “Yes, he and I are on friendly terms now.”

A tick worked along Reno’s jaw, and he couldn’t do a damn thing to stop it. He felt a burning need to ask how friendly.

Instead, he chomped his teeth together and pried his lips apart with a reserved smile.

“May I help you unsaddle your horse?”

“Don’t trouble yourself, Father.”

“Believe me, it’s no trouble at all.” He clenched his jaw.

Better me than Alex.

Watch the book video!

RTW: What are you writing now?

JCP: I am currently working on book four of my Italian medieval series. Then I'll write book three of my medieval psychic sisters trilogy. After that, I plan to pull out several westerns I wrote years ago and re-write/edit them. I'm itchin' to get my hands on a cowboy again, lol.

RTW: Anything else you’d like to add?

JCP: I have one other historical western romance available. Rebel Heart is set in 1872, Santa Fe, at the beginning of the range wars. My hero, Beau Hamilton, is the most frustrating and fractured hero I've ever written. But I am absolutely in love with him. This book can be bought in print or ebook.

Buy links for Love's Sweet Wager: Amazon, The Wild Rose Press, B&N

To learn more about Jannine, check out her bio on her website.

Thanks for visiting Romancing The West, Jannine!


  1. Great post and the book sounds like something I would really enjoy reading! Much luck with sales.

  2. As always here a great interview! Janine, your book sounds like a great read! You sound like me jumping from series to series! LOL

  3. P.L., thank you for commenting. Love's Sweet Wager was a fun book to write.

  4. Paty, it can get confusing going between two different eras. I can't work on both at the same time. I tried once, and I had my heroes speaking in each other's time period, lol.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Janine, love those cowboys! Your post reminded me of something my daughter told me. She was at an entymology seminar and heard a beekeeper speak. The beekeeper said that bees all over the country are shipped to California to help polinate the almond crop each year, then shipped back home. Amazing to me! I loved in California's San Joaquin Valley as a child, and remember it fondly.


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