ILONA FRIDL – That Monroe Girl
I want to thank Susan for letting me guest on her blog. This month. I’m celebrating the release of my sixth book, That Monroe Girl. It’s my first historical western and I had a ball writing it. I’ve always been a western junkie since I was a kid.
It takes place in Tombstone, Arizona Territory in 1883. The town had just been rebuilt after a fire took out a lot of the business area a year before. Tombstone is famous for the gun battle between the Earps and the Clantons at the OK Corral, but I chose to set this at a later time. The town was still rough and wild, staying that way for years.
I did visit Tombstone on a family vacation one year. I loved the way they’ve preserved the old part of town. I worked off the tourist map to make sure I got the right streets for the buildings. Also made sure that particular building was there. I purchased two newspapers from the 1880s and looked at the businesses in town. That was a great source to put myself into the time frame.
Blurb: Cat Monroe arrives in Tombstone, Arizona searching for her father and brothers, who left Virginia for the West right after the Civil War. With the help of newspaper reporter Jake Spencer, she finds her family and a whole peck of trouble. She’s falling for the newspaperman, but she discovers his family and hers are feuding over water rights. When her father finally accepts that she is his daughter, he wants to marry her off to a rich neighbor who has a dark past.
After breakfast, Cat finished loading the dirty clothes into a bag the hotel provided. “The man from the laundry is supposed to come and pick it up sometime this morning. I’ll go to the courthouse by myself to look through the records.”
Edna pursed her lips. “Do you think you should go around this town alone?”
Cat shook her head. “Please, I’m a grown woman. And if it’s trouble you’re worried about, I’ve got my derringer in my reticule. Remember, Ben taught me how to use it.” She snapped on her gloves and grabbed her parasol. “I’ll be back before noon, I’m sure.”
“Be careful, Miss Catherine.”
“I will.” And with that assurance, she hurried to the lobby. To the man at the desk, she asked, “How do you get to the courthouse?”
He moved his glasses down. “It’s on the southeast corner of Third and Toughnut Street. Just a block south of here.”
“Thank you, sir.” She left the hotel and opened her parasol. The sun was warming on what had been a cool night. August nights were quite different from those in Virginia. At least the brutal heat of day didn’t continue when the sun went down.
Cat’s shoes made a steady tap-tap on the wooden sidewalks. The hot dust in the street had its own odor blended with equine scents and leather. She raised her perfumed handkerchief to her nose to keep from breathing in dust carried on the warm breeze.
Arriving at Toughnut, she turned west and saw the newly built two-story courthouse with its fancy white brick trim and cupola on top. She went through the covered entrance into the reception area. A clerk sat at a desk on one side. He looked up as she came in. “May I help you, ma’am?”
She closed her parasol and put it in the crook of her arm. “Yes. Could you tell me where the records department is?”
Following the clerk’s directions, she made her way to a door at the far end of the building. She took a deep breath and walked in. A man was busily rifling through a file cabinet, and she cleared her throat.
He turned. “Yes, ma’am?”
Cat smiled. “May I see the tax rolls for Cochise County?”
He paused. “Why do you want to see that?”
“I’m searching for a person.”
Nodding, he pulled a ledger off a shelf. “Here’s last year’s. You may sit at that table.”
Cat thanked him and settled down to peruse the names. She was onto the second page when she felt someone was watching her. Glancing up, she recognized the darkly handsome reporter she’d met last night. He held his hat to his chest and gave her a bow. “Miss Monroe, what a pleasure to see you again.”
“Mr. Spencer, you’re not following me for some reason, are you?”
“Oh, no. I would never do that. I was doing some research on a story for the newspaper.”
“Of course. I apologize. Good day.”
He hesitated. “May I ask you something?”
Cat drummed her fingers on the ledger. “What is it?”
“Do you happen to be related to the Monroes at Sugar Springs?”
Her heart pounded in her chest. “You know a family named Monroe? What’s his Christian name?”
She let out a cry and jumped to her feet. “You know Albert Monroe?” Then she burst into tears. “Oh, my…my prayers have…been answered!”
Ilona Fridl was born in sunny California where she spent the first twenty years of her life. Dreaming up stories took up a lot of her time. She then followed her parents to Wisconsin where she met her husband, Mark. They started a locksmithing business, but there were still stories in her head. Finally, she started putting them on paper―actually, a computer. The rest is history. She has an adult daughter and a granddaughter.
My web site is http://www.ilonafridl.com
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