Gruene, Texas and The Most Unsuitable Courtship by Caroline Clemmons

Thank you, Sylvia, for having me as your guest.

One of the things that inspired the heroine of my latest release, THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP, Kincaid book three, is a magazine story of Gruene,Texas, which is pronounced by its residents as if it were spelled Green. That area of the Texas Hill Country has numerous communities settled by German immigrants. Many families still speak German at home. It’s a lovely part of Texas that my family enjoys visiting over and over.

When thinking of a heroine for Storm Kincaid, I wanted one unlike any I had written about in previous books. That’s a problem for authors who have multiple books already released. Each hero and heroine must be strong and independent, but at the same time be different from any other couple. Everything must be new and fresh, yet fit within the genre and in the voice and story style the author’s readers expect. You’re correct—that is hard!

Because I like a particular type of strong hero and a particular type of strong heroine, I struggle to make each couple unique. For me that’s one of the hardest parts of writing. Storm Kincaid’s personality was formed in the first two Kincaid books, so I could only make him stronger yet true to the ideals instilled in him by the older sister who raised him.

I had free rein with the heroine, as she is a newcomer to my books. She has endured many hardships, including witnessing her father’s murder by a mob in Germany and the brutal torture and murder of the grandfather-like man to whom she was married. She doesn’t realize how strong she is until confronted with being alone. She’s reached her limit with evil men and is determined to retaliate this time—even if it results in her own death.

As mentioned above, THE MOST UNSUITABLE C OURTSHIP is book three in my Kincaid series. Storm’s eldest half-sister, Pearl, was the heroine in THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE, Kincaids book one. His younger half-sister, Sarah, was the heroine of  THE MOST UNSUITABLE HUSBAND, Kincaids book two. Storm continues the story. In April, the fourth book, GABE KINCAID, will be released.


Storm Kincaid wants justice; Rena Dmitriev wants vengeance.

When Storm’s best friend and the friend’s wife are murdered, Storm secures a temporary appointment as Federal Marshal so he can capture the killers. He follows them to twenty one year old Rena’s home, which is in flames when he arrives. She has survived by following her elderly husband’s strict instructions and watched in hiding while the men murdered him.  Storm intends to take her to the nearest town where she will be safe. She can identify the men who killed the person who had been her husband in name only and like a grandfather to her, and she vows to kill at least one of them. Whether or not Storm allows her to accompany him, she assures him she will go after the murderers.  She is the only person alive who can identify the evil foursome whose policy has been to leave no witnesses. Storm agrees to take her with him. She’ll be safer with him to protect her than she would riding alone.

As a powerful and passionate love blossoms, they unite to rescue three orphaned children, fight the elements, and encounter the killers. Will their love be enough to protect them? 


She emerged from the brush straightening her trousers and shoving her pistol back into her waistband. “Where do you think those men are going?”

“Indian Territory. They’ll steal all they can before they reach the Red River and leave no survivors to identify them. They’re selling off the stolen stock along the way, so that will slow them.” He wondered if she knew how to use the gun.

“But I saw their faces.”

He sent her what he hoped was a frightening stare. “If they knew that, you’d be dead for sure.”

She shivered, but glared at him. “Do not think to frighten me. I will do everything I can to kill these men and reclaim my gold and my mother’s locket. It is not that I care about the jewellery that once belonged to Abram’s wife. But to him, it meant a great deal, and I want it because he gave it to me.”

Storm wanted to shake her. Not that he hadn’t lived all his life with stubborn women. At least his oldest sister Pearl made sense. He’d worried about shy Sarah, especially when she’d appeared head over heels with a con man. Now that Sarah and Nate were married, she had life figured out. Nate had surprised everyone, even himself. Storm suppressed a smile and worked up his anger again at his traveling companion.

“We can be in Llano by nightfall. We’ll get a couple of rooms there and you can rest.”

She shot him a suspicious glare. “You think to abandon me in that town. If we stay somewhere, we will be in the same room so I can watch you.”

Shocked, Storm wondered what he could do with this woman. “We wouldn’t be allowed to stay in a decent hotel. You want to sleep over a saloon? Besides that, folks will be surprised when they see you in those trousers. You want people to think you’re a fallen woman?”

With her chin raised, she placed her hands on her hips. “I am a good woman. You can tell them we are married and I wear britches to ride more easily.” She held up her hand and wiggled her fingers. “I have a wedding band, see?”

He raised his hands and backed up a step. “Oh, no. I’m not even pretending to be married. If I were ready to marry, which I’m not, I’d pick a woman who knew when to let a man do his job.”

“Ha, and when I recover my dowry, I will marry a man who knows a woman can do as much as a man.”

He swept a formal bow. “And when you marry, will you be wearing the lovely gown you now wear?”

She appeared angry enough to use that Colt on him. “You are wrong to…to talk so. I do not have the English words to tell you what I think, but do not try to leave me behind. If you do, I will go after the men alone.”

Disgusted, Storm stomped over and retrieved the horses. “Then let’s go.”

They rode into Llano in late afternoon. Since they arrived mid week, the town appeared peaceful and quiet. Storm spotted a hotel by the livery he remembered.

“If you’re determined to stick to me like glue, let’s stable the horses.”

At the stable, she staggered when she dismounted and he thought she might fall. He grabbed her arms. “Steady. You’re not used to riding so long.”

“Ja, my legs do not work so well. Do not worry, I will be fine in a minute.”

She remained quiet while he dealt with the hostler and insured his rifle and saddle would be safe. He threw his saddlebags over his shoulder and retrieved the two pillowcases and box he’d tied to the saddle pommel. They ambled the block toward the hotel.

He indicated a mercantile. “Just what we need. After we get our room, let’s head for that store before it closes. You probably need to replace a few things that burned.” When she glared at him. “I’ll give you the money, all right? I don’t want folks thinking my wife runs around in men’s clothes. If anyone gets nosy, tell them you lost your bag crossing a river.”

She sniffed and sashayed as if she wore a ball gown instead of ill-fitting men’s trousers. “I will keep track and repay you when I kill those men.”



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Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling author of historical and contemporary western romances whose books have garnered numerous awards. Her most recent novel, THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP, is a poignant tale of tender redemption. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, she has taught workshops on characterization, point of view, and layering a novel.

Caroline is a member of Romance Writers of America, Dallas Area Romance Authors, Yellow Rose Romance Writers, and Hearts Through History Romance Writers. Her latest publications include the acclaimed historical Men of Stone Mountain series: BRAZOS BRIDE, HIGH STAKES BRIDE, and BLUEBONNET BRIDE.

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  1. Caroline,
    An interesting interview, and thank you for the help with pronouncing Gruene, pronounced like, “Green,” which is appropriate on St. Patrick’s Day. 🙂 I love how you plot out your characters, and, “The Most Unsuitable Courtship” sounds like an exciting read. Withing you the very best!

  2. Thanks for being here Carolyn. I love Gruene, Texas. We had a great time visiting there and it’s such a neat little town with a very interesting history. Can’t wait to read the Most Unsuitable Courtship. I’ve already downloaded my copy.

    If you like Western Historical romances, you should be reading Caroline Clemmons.

  3. Great article, Caroline! I love the beautiful Texas Hill Country too, but don’t go there this time of year. There’s so much mountain cedar, and I’m terribly allergic to the pollen.

    You make a good point about featuring heroes and heroines who are strong yet different in each book. That is a real challenge. I’ve found that giving each a very different back story helps.

  4. Yes, I am stalking you today, Caroline, but you have no one to blame but yourself. You’re everywhere! How do you do that? 😀

    I’ve always been enchanted by the “German belt” in Texas, too. Everything about it is charming: the people, the food, the architecture, the festivals… Some of the German communities in Texas have a sad history (persecution and mass murder before and during the Civil War), but they’ve made — and continue to make — such a vibrant contribution to the state’s culture.

    I’m so behind on your Kincaids series. Need to catch up! Your WHRs are must-reads, not only for the wonderful stories, but also for the historical research you put into them. 🙂

  5. You touched on something vital when you talked about authors needing to change things up with their heroes and heroines in subsequent books. I have had the experience of reading books by the same author and found the couple’s seemed to be the same in many of their books. When you’ve written a lot of stories, especially in the same genre, it does become a challenge to make the characters fresh and unique.
    Great blog, Caroline.

  6. I loved the post! The book sounds great and I think Gruene, Texas is a fascinating place. My husband and I have visited numerous times and just love it. To me, the Hill Country is the most beautiful part of Texas.
    Thank you for what you do.

    melback at cebridge dot net

  7. Oh, I traveled through Gruene last year and saw Gruene Hall. It was built in 1878, and is Texas’ oldest continually operating and most famous dance hall. Can’t wait to see what you’ve done with your latest book.

  8. I would not possibly understand how My partner and i appeared in this article, even so thought this placed has been good. I can’t recognise whom you are but definitely you are likely to some sort of famed blog writer in case you may not be previously. Cheers!

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