Voices from the Past


I hear voices. They keep me awake at night, telling me stories, or telling me what I got wrong when I wrote their stories earlier that day. Occasionally they don’t wait for me to go to bed.

When I started writing Texas Tangle I had no plans to write a historical about Dillon’s great-great grandparents. But then I wrote a scene where Dillon’s grandmother planted the idea for Nikki, Dillon and Brett to consider turning their relationship into a permanent one. Grandma Barnett was a hoot to write. Strong willed, outspoken, she’s not exactly subtle, especially when she picks up on the vibes between Nikki, Dillon and Brett:

She leaned toward Nikki as if she was going to whisper a secret, but didn’t lower her voice. “My grandparents had a permanent threesome all their adult lives. Betcha Dillon never told you that before.”

Um, gee, Grandma, way to spring another Texas-sized plot bunny on me (have you seen the size of the rabbits in Texas? They’re HUGE compared to the ones we have up here in Canada.) Sure enough, that line stuck with me and soon the voices of Dillon’s great-great-grandparents, Jackson, Nate and Sarah started bugging me to write their story.

“But it’s a historical,”  I whined to them. “Texas Tangle is a contemporary; my reader’s won’t want to jump back 130 years into the past.”

Turned out the three of them were as stubborn as their granddaughter and didn’t stop nagging me until I gave in:

“Danged devil’s rope.” Jackson Kellar checked the stallion’s withers where the barbed wire had nicked it. “It ain’t too bad though, Nate. Shouldn’t be a problem for the trip back home, less it festers.”

“Good. McLeod was right about this fellow being high-spirited. It should be a treat to ride him.” Nate ran a hand down the horse’s neck and crooned softly until it gentled. Nate had mighty talented hands when it came to soothing the beasts. Or any other animals he came across.

Jackson included himself on that list.

As soon as I wrote those first three paragraphs,  I realized Grandma Barnett didn’t know the whole story about her grandparents’ relationship. Sure enough, a couple pages later that suspicion was confirmed when Jackson had the following thought:

Ah, well, he knew it was too good to last. Besides, it was probably better if Nate did take a wife. Their relationship was downright dangerous. A woman in the house would put any rumors to rest. Of course, he’d have to find somewhere else to live if Nate wedded.

Oh boy, yes, this was a story I had to tell. Of course that meant researching 1880s Texas as well as tackling how a woman back in those days would view finding herself legally married to a man in love with another man.

“Come on, Nate. You gotta fight this.” The tenderness in his voice brought tears to Sarah’s eyes. Especially when he leaned over the still figure on the bed, putting his mouth next to Nate’s ear. “You can’t leave me. Don’t die on me, you hear?”

She could barely hear Nate’s rasped response. “You’ve got Sarah now. You won’t be alone.”

“Damn it, you can’t die. I love you.” Jackson gathered Nate into his arms, cradling him like a child.

Sarah had to step back and rest her head against the hall wall, fighting the tears burning tracks down her cheeks. How she’d long to hear him say those words to her. If he could love Nate, maybe one day he’d come to love her too. Or was it even possible for a man who loved his friend that way to love a woman?

I fleshed out the first couple chapters of Tangled Past and submitted a proposal to my Carina Press editor Rhonda Stapleton. Normally you’re supposed to wait until the publisher comes back with a thumbs up or thumbs down before you write any more. (That’s because it’s no use wasting weeks or months writing something that’s going to be rejected.) But Jackson, Sarah and Nate demanded I not wait for a contract, that I tell the whole story of their tangled relationship.  So I continued to write, torturing them and teasing them, sometimes chuckling and sometimes crying as I wrote each scene. By the time my editor emailed me to say that Carina would be acquiring Tangled Past, I’d fallen in love with them as they fell in love with each other.  Now it’s finally out for you to read, I hope you’ll fall in love with them too. Now if all their descendents would just stop shouting at me to tell their stories too…danged voices…

Married to her college sweetheart and the mother of two sons, Leah Braemel is the only woman in a houseful of men—even their cat Spike is male. Shoving her writing in the closet while she raised her family, she gained some varied and interesting insights while working with former military alpha males in the security industry  and later teaching computers to women escaping abusive relationships. Now a full-time writer, Leah loves tormenting her heroes and heroines before rewarding them with a happy-ever-after. If you want to know more about Leah or her other books, visit her website. You can also find Leah on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

By the way, because it takes place 130 years prior to Texas Tangle, you don’t have to have read one to understand the other but so you can read Grandma Barnett and the infamous dinner scene that inspired Tangled Past, I’m giving away a copy of Texas Tangle to a random commenter today. Just let me know if you normally read strictly historicals or contempories or if it depends upon the story…


Tangled Past CoverForced to marry a man she just met, Sarah McLeod clings to the hope that she’ll finally find the love and acceptance she’s always craved. But her tenuous dreams of a happy life on the frontier are in danger of being dashed by the one thing she can’t change—her husband’s love for another man.

Jackson Kellar’s determined to do right by his bride, yet he’s torn between his newfound love for Sarah and his still-burning desire for Nate.

Ranch owner Nate Campbell loves them both. He hates to see Jackson’s loyalties so divided, and doesn’t want Sarah hurt either. But how can they fix the tangled mess they find themselves in? Nate suggests a possible solution – a permanent threesome.

With the open frontier closing in around them, is Nate’s solution their path to happiness? Or will others destroy what they’ve found together?

Tangled Past – now available from Carina Press

27 thoughts on “Voices from the Past”

  1. I read more contemporary than historical but it always boils down to the story and characters. I’ve had more than one historical grab my interest-like Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series and Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody books.

  2. Shadow says:

    I love all stories. Im not picky. I tend to pick up more contemporary stories just because there blurbs catch my interest more. Thank you!

  3. Ju Dimello says:

    For me, it purely depends on the story! And I tend to pick both contemporary and historical equally after reading the first few pages/blurb/cover…

    I loved the snippets :) shows a lot of emotion in a few lines…

    judimello AT gmail DOT com

  4. Kathy Ivan says:

    Congratulations, Leah! I’ve been waiting to read this story for sooo long now (whine–I’m so not patient when I’m waiting for a book).

    I read whatever catches my fancy, be it historical, contemporary, erotic, paranormal, suspense–you name it I’ll read it. :-)

  5. Leagh C says:

    I read more contemporary then historical but I still enjoy a good historical, usually western or regency, every now and again. It depends on what mood I am.

    Congrats on the new release! It sounds amazing!!!

  6. Joan Leacott says:

    Hey Leah, Both books sound awesome. Gotta go get me some! Congrats on your release.

  7. Willa says:

    Congratulations on your release . .

    As for reading, my tastes vacillate between contemporary, paranormal and time travel with some historical thrown in . . but it all comes down to the story and that ‘hook’ that piques my interest and won’t let go.

    Happened last week with a review of Tangled Past – which I have got on my Kindle :D

  8. sheri s says:

    I have been dying wsiting for this story to be released and finally it did!!! I am so freaking excited!

    As to what I read. there was a time when I read NOTHING but historical, but my choics became somewhat limited and I finally gave in and now years later read everything from historical,to erotic, to GLBT. I must read!!

  9. Dawn Roberto says:

    I love both genres and I loved how Tangled Past was inspired. Sounds like two great reads. COngrats on the release.

  10. Nikki Levek says:

    I read both, but find myself going through phases where I read a lot of historical for weeks at a time and then jumping to contemporary for a stretch.

  11. Leah Braemel says:

    *waves to everyone* Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment. It sounds like many of you are like you — that it’s more about the story than the genre. I tend to lean toward the contemporary nowadays but if I find the right historical or paranormal or … whatever, it’s all about the writing and the characters for me now.

    Thanks again for all your good wishes, and good luck!

  12. Fedora says:

    I started out as a contemporaries only kind of reader (many many MANY moons ago ;)) but now I read it all–I do find it fun when an author finds a way to tie stories together along a timeline! I love connected stories, whether ones that all take place in the same time or different ones… Maybe we can see what happens with Dillon’s descendants, Leah!

  13. Danielle West says:

    I’ve been sticking with contemporaries lately with a few rereads of my fav paranormals and historicals… but this story sounds so good!

  14. Melissa says:

    I’m exclusively historical…and the steamier the better ;)

  15. Marika Weber says:

    I like both but I lean towards historicals. There is something about them. No phones, no televisions, no cars…characters actually have to talk to one another and interact with other people. I know, old fashioned.


  16. infinitieh says:

    I started with contemps but now I hop around among historicals, contemps, and paranormals although I suppose I do favor historicals the most.

  17. Pam B says:


    I like both. I tend to go through stages, for a time it will be historicals and then I will switch to contemporary stories.

    Thanks for the chance!

  18. Lisa B says:

    i love contemporary and historical. Tangled Past sounds really good. I’d love to read it. I don’t think i’ve read a historical with a 3 way before so i should be interesting. lol

    Thanks for sharing.

    Lisa B
    modokker at yahoo dot com

  19. Congratulations, Leah!! I read the first one and now I’ve got this one on my TBR pile. Lifting my glass of virtual champagne to you. :)

  20. Holly wright says:

    Awesome post. Would love to read them all

    Hollybwright at comcast dotnet

  21. Zee Lemke says:

    I’ve now read TT something like five times and TP twice.

    You COULD just keep going back in time–but I guess the potential hooked story wouldn’t have a very happy ending :(. I’d read it anyway, though. Cry straight through the end and love every word.

  22. Terri H says:

    I think both books sound great. I normally read contemporary, but I do branch out occasionally. :) Congrats on the terrific stories!

  23. It’s a terrific tale. I loved it!
    ~ Gina

  24. Chele Blades says:

    really enjoyed both books read Tangled Past last night…congrats on the release

    if my name is drawn please pass it on…i already have (& enjoyed) both on my Kindle

    a fan

  25. JenM says:

    I read both contemporaries and historicals equally, although the historicals are usually Regencies. Sometimes I enjoy American historicals, but they often involve brutality towards women and that tends to turn me off. This one sounds pretty interesting though. I really enjoyed Texas Tangle and I think it would be fun to read about the characters’ ancestors.

  26. Leah Braemel says:

    **The winner of an e-copy of Texas Tangle is Pam B**

    Congratulations, Pam! Please email me at contest @ leahbraemel DOT com with your choice of digital format.

  27. Thanks for sharing your story and the behind the scenes of Tangled Past Leah! I have to admit that my reaction was exactly like your fears: after the wild and hot romp of Texas Tangle as soon as I saw there was a sequel I wanted to jump on it but seeing it was a historical and how the woman came between two men friends being in love I was hesitant. A threesome in a historical? Two best friends in love? How could they come to love a third wheel woman?

    But I’ll shut up the hesitant doubting voices and trust you Leah, I LOVED Texas Tangle and can’t wait to see what you’ll do with Tangled Past! :-)

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