NATURAL ATTRACTION – On sale May 11, 2015
About the book –
To get ahead she’ll have to become a man — and a man, she always thought, never let’s love get in the way…
Clementine dreams of being a naturalist — dreams that leave no time for romance. To sneak on an adventurous prospecting expedition, Clementine will have to convince everyone she’s a man. A mysterious tonic offers her just that disguise.
But “Calvin”, as she calls herself now, had no idea what she was giving up. When Wesley, the expedition’s gentle preacher, catches her eye, she can’t get him out of her head; not his lush lips, wide brown eyes … or broad chest. Dare she reveal her secret to him? Can she keep her career if she does?
Among run-ins with cowboys, natural disasters, and traveling shows, Wesley’s most fascinating adventure is meeting Calvin. Though Wesley’s betrothed, the cute, clever naturalist threatens to make him fall into temptation…
“This is no way for a man to act.” He said the callous words tenderly and wiped my tears with his hand.
The elevation and my bawling were giving me a nosebleed. I dabbed at the blood with my handkerchief. My nose was large, like a man’s.
“I must look a mess,” I said.
“Ah, you’re a fine looking gentleman. But you must gather up your emotions as men do.”
He looked nervously towards the camp, hoping no one had witnessed our tenderness together. “What would the Himalayan hymn writer think?”
At this mention I seized his arm and let my tears fall onto his dark coat.
He shifted away as I kept him in my grasp.
“Another reason not to head back. That arranged marriage. What a disaster.” I was more emotional as a man than I’d ever been as a woman. My expectations for happiness were higher.
He stroked my back, hesitantly. “Ah. I understand. But, my good fellow, straighten up
and tell me something that a proper naturalist would say.”
“I’ll not be cowed. I’ll study nature wherever I go. I’ll prove myself and blaze a trail for others like me. I’ll show them they need not hold back their ambitions.” I was thinking of other women at this point although I wasn’t sure what I would prove to them other than the need to be fake to advance yourself.
“That’s the spirit. You make it sound like a hero’s quest. I’m humbled by you. Just let go of my arm if you please. If you get any closer to this candle, you’ll be singed.”
I sat back. “Wesley, we will both be successful.”
Footsteps crunched across the rocks as figures with a lantern approached. It was Madame Blu and Cyrus.
“What o’clock do you think it is? Don’t be dilatory. Tomorrow the curtain will rise. We’ll be celebrated. Bless my soul, yes.”
About the author –
A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Catherine Haustein is a chemistry and English professor at Central College in Iowa. Her ancestors lived in the famous ghost town of Singapore on the shores of Lake Michigan. Natural Attraction is her first novel.
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