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Released: August 2013
ISBN: 9781301792450
ASIN: B00EK0V2Y4
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HARCOURT'S MOUNTAIN
Author: Elaine Dodge
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Price: $4.99

Spring, 1867

The western frontier of British Columbia hardly seems a likely place for romance. Filthy, terrified and confused, Hope Booker is waiting to be sold off the ‘bride’ ship. Luke Harcourt happens upon the sale. It’s not love at first sight, but he feels compelled to save her from a life of slavery and prostitution. To allay her fears of being raped by him, Luke promises never to touch her. Being a man of his word, this is a pledge he quickly finds almost impossible to keep.

Battling their growing attraction to each other, they must learn to live together in the forests of the wild and almost unexplored mountains. They face white water, Indians, wolves, as well as a dangerous man from Hope’s past.

No longer able to deny their feelings, their ‘happy-ever-after’ is shattered when a corrupt land baron forces Luke’s hand. Enraged at the man’s actions, Luke rides into town—and disappears.

Alone and pregnant, Hope faces the prospect of the worst winter in ten years. The trauma of fighting off a hungry grizzly brings on labor, but the baby is stuck. Luke meanwhile wakes up on a ship bound for South America, captained by a revengeful sadist who plans to murder him. Luke’s chances of survival are slim. Can he stay alive and make it back to Hope in time?

 

Excerpt
The mob had passed on, crowding their way to the harbour. Harcourt crossed the street and made his way down towards the feed depot. He’d already bought the flour, sugar, coffee and beans. He’d splashed out this time and bought some potatoes as well. As soon as he paid for the animal feed he could fetch the wagon from the livery stable, collect his purchases and get out of here. Unfortunately, the feed depot was on the wharf, beyond the bride ship. Because of the crowd, he couldn’t get near it. Even if he could, he’d never get the wagon through to collect his purchases. He realised he’d just have to wait. It had to end sometime.

To get out of the slightly drunken, malodorous press of men, Luke hoisted himself on to a large crate and made himself comfortable.

The mob was growing restless. The ship had docked a while ago and there was no sign of the women. Brogan, the brute from the whorehouse, appeared, roughly elbowing his way through the crowd, clearing a path. James Carter, the constable, followed behind him. The lawman didn’t look happy. He clearly found the matter distasteful, but it wasn’t illegal, as such, so he couldn’t stop it. His presence, theoretically, should instil in the buyers some sense of decency. He wasn’t hopeful.

A smile on his face and a small ledger in one hand, Butler sauntered along in his wake, a piratical swagger in every step. Cheering and applause broke out as he stepped up the gangplank. He turned at the top and took off his hat with a flourish. “Gentlemen! How good of you to come and welcome the new brides to our small town.”

The mob cheered.

“Unfortunately, we cannot supply everyone here today with a new wife. Good women seem to be in short supply everywhere.” The men laughed. “Now, just to be clear, I’m not selling the women. That would be illegal.” There was a roar of delight from the mob. “But the expense of bringing them to you fine gentlemen needs to be repaid. However, as I said, there aren’t enough women to go around. So, this will be an auction. Each woman will go to the man who bids the highest for her. For her expenses I mean.”

There was some cheering, some groans and a few angry shouts. Clearly the gold hadn’t been good to some of the men this year.

“Shall we bring out the women?” Butler shouted.

The roar was deafening. Even the sight of a new woman was enough for men who hadn’t seen one in months and couldn’t always afford the prices charged by Babette, the madam of the Bright Star brothel.

The women were brought out of the hold into the bright sunlight till the deck was crowded with so-called brides blinking in the glare. What it must have been like below deck during the journey Harcourt shuddered to think. He’d captured a few slave ships during his time in the United States Navy and this one had the same lines. He wouldn’t be surprised to learn it had been built as one. It would be perfect for this cargo. What were they after all, but another type of slave? It would also explain the faint smell that emanated from it. The stench soaked its way into the very fibre of the ship. You could never get rid of it completely, unless you burnt it. A fitting end for a foul vessel, as far as he was concerned.

With nothing else to do, he studied the women on deck. He couldn’t believe any right-minded female would willingly put herself into this kind of situation. Their clothing was in various stages of disrepair, their hair bedraggled. They looked dirty, coarse and unkempt—even less attractive than the girls at the Bright Star, if that were possible. It was obvious more than half were already whores by profession. In response to the catcalling and the whistles they pulled down their tops and shaking their shoulders let their breasts wobble and bounce around. The men cheered and pushed to get to the front. The bidding was fast and aggressive.

The first woman off the ship disappeared into the mob. Harcourt doubted very much she’d make it through the day without being raped by at least a dozen men. The whole enterprise sickened him.

The auction took on a predictable rhythm. Harcourt leaned back against the wall, tipped his hat over his eyes, and dozed off. After a few hours, the crowd had thinned somewhat. Most of the women had been sold. There were only a dozen or so left. Harcourt stretched. He was just about to jump from his perch when a tall woman in a predictably dirty, once light grey dress, was brought forward. Perhaps it was the dress that caught his eye. It was silk, well cut and modest. It looked expensive.

Harcourt’s eyes narrowed. This woman was no prostitute. She’d made some attempt to clean herself up and although her hair needed a wash and good brush, she had at least tried to bring some order to it. She looked intelligent and, despite the scared look in her eyes, calm. Her hands were folded in front of her. She was clearly a lady. She made no attempt to catch the eye of any man in the crowd. Instead, she looked over their heads towards the mountains. Perhaps she liked what she saw for she took a deep breath, lifted her chin and squared her shoulders.

Instinctively, Harcourt knew she would be no man’s whore. And, like the doctor had said, with the wrong man that would probably mean a killing. There was laughter from the men. A few coarse jokes.

Harcourt glanced over at Butler. He was talking emphatically to the constable. He called over the big man from the whorehouse, indicated the woman and nodded at something the brute said. Harcourt realised no one had bid for her.

He stood up on his crate. “I’ll take her.”

Everyone turned to look at him, including the woman.

Butler stroked his thin moustache with his finger and thumb. He smiled. “Mr. Harcourt, you know the rules. You must bid for her. How much do you offer?”

“One hundred dollars, in gold.”

There was a gasp from the men on the wharf. Even Harcourt was shocked. He’d spoken without thinking. It was the highest bid of the day, made more spectacular by the fact that it was totally uncontested.

“Sold to Mr. Harcourt!” shouted the constable before Butler, or anyone else could respond.

A flash of annoyance crossed Butler’s face. The lawman waved a hand, calling Harcourt on board.

Standing beside the woman on the greasy deck, Harcourt realised she was almost the same height as him. Slender with dark brown hair. He’d been right, she did have intelligent eyes. Apart from that, it was hard to tell what she’d look like cleaned up. One thing was obvious—she stank.

“Do you agree to this transaction in the full understanding of what it means and entails, and that it’s legally binding as a marriage?” Constable Carter asked Harcourt.

“Yes,” he replied.

Carter asked the woman the same question. She took a deep breath, “Absolutely not. I didn’t ask to be brought here. I don’t wish to marry any man. I do wish to be taken home.”

What the reviewers are saying
Wow, what a hidden gem! A cousin to the Outlander series to me... all in one book! Yes! She is a superb, superb writer and story teller . . . I love historical western romances, so the book had that going for it from the get-go. What I didn't expect was the rich substance to this story or the author's superb quality of writing. It was ABSOLUTELY a delightful surprise. The hero was a REAL MAN who knew how to treat his woman right . . . The type of adventures the characters in this book go on reminded me a lot of the Outlander series. This book could be the cousin of the Outlander series if you ask me. LOVED it! This hero fights for his woman . . . I loved this heroine too . . . she was resilient at heart and didn't let anybody walk on her. This author did such a WONDERFUL job in bringing this couple together and making you fall in love with them . . . I don't think anybody would be disappointed reading this. I say give it a shot. I'm certainly glad I did. Thank you author! I look forward to your next book. ~ JLC, Goodreads

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“Harcourt’s Mountain” offers the harrowing adventures of 1867’s British Columbia with refreshing dual perspectives and engaging descriptions. Dodge remains true to her characters and their “voices” throughout—encouraging the reader to feel emotionally connected to the story. A bit of an awkward transition seems to divide the book in two, giving a feeling of ending and starting again in a different direction but the level of dedication and amount of research devoted to this novel are amazing, especially from an author from another continent! ~ Sofia St. Angeles, InD'Tale Magazine

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I loved Harcourt's Mountain! I found it almost irritating when I had to put down the book and get back to my daily routine. It's been a week since I read the story yet it still captives my mind; a great romance with an exciting touch of drama and adventure. And best of all, a wonderful happy ending where you as a reader finally feel at home with the main heroines. Highly recommend! Love gives us wings :). P.S. This story could be a great movie!!! ~ Albina Hume, Goodreads

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"Harcourt's Mountain" is an intriguing story. The author is new to me but has written a tale that will leave readers turning pages and hoping all will end well for the young couple. The author has a unique writing style, and understanding of 1800 Canada. A wonderful read! ~ My Book Addiction, Goodreads

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Beautifully written, page turning, Harcourt's Mountain by Elaine Dodge,will stay with you long after you have turned the last page. ~ Marian Phair, Goodreads

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This is a very well written and thought out book. I could not foretell what would come next! I enjoyed getting to know the characters and I found the descriptive detail to be creative and fresh. It is an exciting, feel-good read. Highly recommendable! Enjoy! ~ Christy-Joy Webster, Goodreads

• • •

I couldn't put this book down and I read it in one day, If you want to read a beautiful story about two people that are getting to know each other and slowly falling in love I recommend this book. There is some pretty shady characters that really move this story along and some adventures that you just don't see coming. Thank you Kimberly for recommending this book to me. Hope there is more stories to come from this amazing author. ~ Lorie, Goodreads

• • •

Harcourt's Mountain by Elaine Dodge is a brilliant love story set in extreme circumstances. Luke Harcourt is one of the most honorable heroes I have ever read . . . I truly enjoyed Harcourt's Mountain by the very talented Elaine Dodge, and I give kudos to this South African native for writing about a land so far off and doing it so well. I recommend this tale to all and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! ~ Kimberly Rocha, Book Obsessed Chicks

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Beautiful story!
I just loved this book! It's very well written and it makes the book easy to read. The characters are well described, you can almost feel what they were feeling: love, fear, hope... and in certain parts I was as terrified as one of the characters was at that point. I was also very pleased with the ending, a nice finale. I will strongly recommend it!! ~ Federica S, Amazon

• • •

I loved Harcourt's Mountain!
This could be a wonderful movie. I found it almost irritating when I had to put down the book and get back to my daily routine. It's been a week since I read the story yet it still captives my mind; a great romance with an exciting touch of drama and adventure. And best of all, a wonderful happy ending where you as a reader finally feel at home with the main heroines. Highly recommend. Love gives us wings! ~ Albina Hume, Amazon

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An excellent read
I read this book although it is not in one of my favoured genres, and I'm glad I did. The story is well written and well paced. You want to get to know the main characters, Luke and Hope, better and you begin to have feelings for them and go with them on their journey through this stage of their life. Although this is a love story there are darker elements and several back stories and side plots that are expertly weaved together by the author. It's the best book of this genre that I've read and I would recommend it to lovers of the genre and those looking for a break from their normal reading. ~ K. McLeod, Amazon UK

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A highly recommended read
Just finished Elaine Dodge’s Harcourt’s Mountain. Loved everything from the title, to the characters and writing style. Found the story a soft and intimate retreat into the very personal lives of a set of beautiful and believable characters. Just the right amount of conflict in the story to keep interest piqued. My imagination was taken on a colourful journey throughout the book which I found a very relaxing read. Dodge’s use of language makes for a light yet rich and satiating read and she has a lovely turn of phrase. Highly recommend this read to anyone who wants a story to sink and escape into. Many lines of sub-plot within the novel are woven cleverly together often unpredictably and intriguingly. Dodge’s style speaks to real-life experience of what she writes about giving the content a sensitivity unique to the author. Highly recommend. Lovely read. ~ Amalia Christoforou, Amazon US

• • •

“Harcourt’s Mountain” offers the harrowing adventures of 1867’s British Columbia with refreshing dual perspectives and engaging descriptions. Dodge remains true to her characters and their “voices” throughout—encouraging the reader to feel emotionally connected to the story....the level of dedication and amount of research devoted to this novel are amazing, especially from an author from another continent! ~ Sofia St. Angeles, Ind'tale Reviewer

• • •

Captivating
I loved reading Harcourt's Mountain. From the start Elaine Dodge grips the reader with her beautiful use of language. You are drawn into the story and empathise with Hope as she makes her way on the unexpected path her life has taken. I enjoyed the historical aspect and how the characters come alive and how they are not so different to us with their feelings, dreams and desires, despite living in another time. You'll not regret reading this captivating novel! ~ Lorraine, Amazon UK

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Wonderful Story
I loved this book because it was so different from my usual reading and the people seemed so real you felt like you would like to know them. A sequel would be great. I could not put it down and was sad when I finished it only because I was enjoying it so much. ~ Janette Chapman, Amazon UK

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Wild West Romance of Redemption, Forgotten past, and Uncertain Future
Elaine Dodge combines the elements of strong character development, authentic dialog, an optimistic message, and a plot which includes gripping suspense . . . Elaine Dodge weaves a pleasurable and tender tale . . . Hope’s fate is questioned as the life of a new bride or slavery enforced labor in a brothel. The tension of Hope’s future will be further exposed through a cast of well-developed characters, dynamic interpersonal conflict, and anticipation of the novel resolution . . . The author’s use of language is not stilted but very well researched for the time frame of the novel. Word choice such as “abattoir” and “hoyden” are historically accurate and add much zest to the text. Furthermore the author provides the reader with beautiful imagery . . . Elaine Dodge’s plot is driven by her characters. She is skilled at bringing them to life on the page as they grow in character throughout the novel . . . Harcourt’s Mountain is a story of redemption and second chances in the midst of the old Wild West, of a forgotten past, and uncertain future. This book is a quick read and should provide satisfying inspiration to those who are looking for a romantic historical novel. ~ Ginger Dawn, Amazon

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Elaine Dodge's debut
A compelling read - action packed and suspense filled, each chapter carries you along on a journey into the relationship of Hope and Luke- what will become of them in their now shared life on the frontier? From the very beginning I was drawn into the story . . . A page turner that I could not put it down -one hopes there will be a sequel. ~ Cynbot, Amazon UK

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Great frontier romance
This was a great story, I just had to know what would come next. A fantastic hero complete with flaws and a huge sense of determination (a huge help when it takes days to go a few miles and months to cross a continent). ~ Sally, Amazon US

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Fantastically Refreshing
Harcourt's Mountain has been a breath of fresh air coated in humour and fun. Elaine writes in a way that places the reader into the story where you can feel every emotion and drama. It was easy to loose myself in the book and allow myself to be teleported to a world of love, honor, drama, integrity and thrilling suspense. With all the twists and turns in the plot, Elaine succeeded in brining it all together in a thrilling ending. Fantastic and a definite must read. ~ Tasyn, Amazon US

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Love at arms length
Elian Dodge must be a very patient person. Either that or she really likes to torture her readers. I enjoy a roller coaster as much as the next guy but come on give us a chance to catch our breath. Bride ship? Who would have thought such things existed or that you could buy a wife? There's a two for one deal. Had this story been a movie I would have complained about the popcorn salt in my eyes... how else would I explain the tears? I hope there's a follow up soon... I hate to have to read the same book twice... okay for the third time. I had concerns at first but a fun read all in all. Well worth every penny I spent. ~ Tegon Maus, author of the Chronicles of Tucker Littlefield series, Amazon

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I have just finished your captivating novel. I found it to be a story that unfolded as it moved through a journey of trials, tribulations, suspense, humour and above all love and romance. It gripped me from the start, and was like a beautiful flower growing out of a crack in the rock. (Proving that love can flourish in any environment). ~ Mike Barker, Amazon

• • •

Beautiful Story
I couldn't put this book down and I read it in one day, If you want to read a beautiful story about two people that are getting to know each other and slowly falling in love I recommend this book. There is some pretty shady characters that really move this story along and some adventures that you just don't see coming. Thank you Kimberly for recommending this book to me. Hope there is more stories to come from this amazing author. ~ Lorie "Mamawolf", Amazon

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Amazing Saga . . .
Harcourt's Mountain by Elaine Dodge is a brilliant love story set in extreme circumstances. Luke Harcourt is one of the most honorable heroes I have ever read. So honorable in fact that I would have liked to have smacked him upside the head a few times for not sharing his feelings with Hope. These star-crossed not quite lovers keep their distance while the reader bites their fingernails in anticipation. Hope evolves like a budding flower and watching her adapt to her new surroundings with such finesse is part of the draw to this adventure. I truly enjoyed Harcourt's Mountain by the very talented Elaine Dodge, and I give kudos to this South African native for writing about a land so far off and doing it so well. I recommend this tale to all and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! ~ Kimberly Rocha, Amazon

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Adventure on Harcourt's Mountain
I really liked this book. It was a page turner that you wanted to keep reading. Each page had a new event or adventure in their lives. Most of the characters were real that you could feel their emotions, good and bad. I loved the animals that were part of the story. The reading kept moving steadily along to the end. I laughed and cried and it brought out alot of feelings inside of me . . . Looking forward to her next book. ~ Shirl, Amazon

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Adventure and Romance all in one - Just couldn't part with my Kindle
Adventure and Romance all in one! Elaine Dodge sure knows how to keep one captivated in her story of Luke and Hope. As they overcome their challenges their love stands strong and irrevocable. I fear I am now suffering from withdrawal symptoms. This can't be the end, I have to know how their adventure continues. ~ D. Pienaar, Amazon

• • •

My goodness! This story is set within the forested mountains of 19th century British Columbia. A time before airline contrails marred the sky, a time before huge town expansions and cities were a long journey away, a time when one lived off the land. It was a time when one could sit on their porch of an afternoon and hear the hawks screeching overhead, a time when bear were common-sight, a time when one could ride a horse for days and not see another human being. A time forgotten? Perhaps. But it's a time brought back to life through the eyes of Luke and Hope as they life off the land, and find a way through the hardship to find love. A great read! ~ Heart of Fiction

 

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