Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The Starling is out!!


By Kristy McCaffrey

I'm pleased to share that The Starling is out. Don't miss this new, full-length novel in my Wings of the West series.

Colorado 1899

Kate Ryan has always had a streak of justice in her. When she decides to apply to the Pinkerton Detective Agency, nothing will stand in her way. Initially hired in a clerical position, she quickly works her way up to field agent with the help of her mentor, Louise Foster. When Louise is injured, Kate gets her first assignment and the opportunity of a lifetime.

Henry Maguire has been undercover in the household of wealthy entrepreneur Arthur Wingate. Employed as a ghostwriter to pen the man’s memoir, Henry is also searching for clues to a lucrative counterfeiting scheme. When Henry’s “wife” shows up, he’s taken aback by the attractive woman who isn’t Louise. Now he must work with a female agent he doesn’t know and doesn’t necessarily trust. And because he has another reason for coming into Wingate’s world, Kate Ryan is unavoidably in his way.

Kate Ryan is the daughter of Matt and Molly from THE WREN, and THE STARLING is the first of five novels featuring the second generation of Ryans in the Wings of the West series.

The Wings of the West Series Reading Order
Book One: The Wren
Book Two: The Dove
Book Three: The Sparrow
Book Four: The Blackbird
Book Five: The Bluebird
Book Six: The Songbird (Novella)
Book Seven: Echo of the Plains (Short Story)
Book Eight:  The Starling

Click here to order a digital copy (available for Kindle, Nook, Apple Books, Kobo, and Google Play). Or grab a paperback copy.


Kate used the glass of sherry as a shield. It was obvious undercover agent Henry Maguire was stunned to see her and less than happy with her presence. Luckily, she had known who to look for from a photograph Mr. Jones had given her, although it hardly did justice to the man before her.

Henry Maguire had presence. There was simply no other word for it.

His intense blue eyes accented the hard line of his jaw like the frozen slopes of Colorado where her cousin Molly Rose had lived. Kate couldn’t help but notice his clean-shaven face and the citrusy smell coming from him. It was pleasant in a way that unsettled her, and she was entirely uncertain why.

But she had been warned … Henry was expecting Louise Foster, and he would have no idea who Kate was. It was unfortunate that Mrs. Wingate had caught Kate right at the door and had started speaking with her, because it had made contacting her “husband” fraught with danger.

But it was over. Henry had accepted the charade, and they were now working together. He had said he wanted to speak privately, but as yet he hadn’t, so Kate could only conclude it wasn’t safe to do so while at the party. She vowed she wouldn’t break protocol. She wouldn’t say anything to Henry that his loving wife, who had been separated from him for nearly two months, wouldn’t say.

“When did you arrive?” Henry asked.

“Earlier this evening.”

“How did you get here?”

“A man named Francis O’Malley brought me. I hired him.” The Pinkertons had hired him, but she couldn’t say that aloud. “I believe he’s a blacksmith in town, and he runs a livery too. He offered to stay, but I assured him that you would be here and see me home.” Her lips stretched into a smile, but she couldn’t hold Henry’s gaze as he watched her rather intently, so she took in the room.

It was quite festive. The Wingate wealth was on grand display with sparkling crystal chandeliers hanging from tin ceilings, a tiled floor covered in ornate rugs, and stuffed chairs likely imported from Europe.

As she brought her attention back to her “husband” she caught him still staring at her, those ice-blue eyes holding her briefly spellbound. He must have been watching her the entire time she had scanned the room. She shifted, feeling a bit uncomfortable, wanting to clear the air more than anything.

Had she done something wrong? Was she dressed inappropriately?

But a second glance around the room revealed that while her gown might not be quite as fancy as the many ladies in attendance, it was good enough. It had been Louise’s dress, after all, and Kate had to believe her mentor had been very prepared to enter this operation as Henry’s wife.

That was it. Henry was upset about Louise.

She turned to him. “I’m sure you’re worried about my dear sister, Louise.”

He regarded her with interest. “I am,” he replied in a measured tone. “Is she well?”

“Unfortunately, no. She’s indisposed at the moment, but she should be better soon.”

Henry accepted the news with a nod, his gaze conveying a glimmer of concern. Suddenly, Kate felt terrible. It had been clear from Louise that she valued Henry’s expertise, as well as his friendship, but Kate hadn’t thought any further than that.

The additional assignment that Louise had given Kate—privately and outside the dictates of the job—now seemed to take a different tone. Louise had asked Kate to keep an eye on Henry because eight years ago his father had died in an accident in Trinidad, apparently falling to his death down a mine shaft. Kate had inferred that Louise considered Henry compromised, and that it could place him at odds with the job the Pinkertons had been sent to do.

But now the worry in Henry’s eyes, however brief, said something else. Did he and Louise have a relationship that extended beyond business associates? Is that what his irritation was about? Did Henry love her? And why did that thought cause another ripple of unease in Kate?

Ignoring it, she added, “She’ll be all right. You’ve no need to worry. The bullet missed all vital organs.”

His eyes flicked back to her, reflecting shock.

Oh, no. He did love her.

Copyright © 2022 K. McCaffrey LLC


Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Pre-Order The Starling


A brand new Wings of the West novel is coming August 2nd!!

Pinkerton Henry Maguire is about to gain an unwanted “wife” in the form of new agent Kate Ryan.

Kate is the daughter of Matt and Molly from THE WREN, and THE STARLING is the first of five novels featuring the second generation of Ryans in the Wings of the West series.

* * *

Colorado 1899

Kate Ryan has always had a streak of justice in her. When she decides to apply to the Pinkerton Detective Agency, nothing will stand in her way. Initially hired in a clerical position, she quickly works her way up to field agent with the help of her mentor, Louise Foster. When Louise is injured, Kate gets her first assignment and the opportunity of a lifetime.

Henry Maguire has been undercover in the household of wealthy entrepreneur Arthur Wingate. Employed as a ghostwriter to pen the man’s memoir, Henry is also searching for clues to a lucrative counterfeiting scheme. When Henry’s “wife” shows up, he’s taken aback by the attractive woman who isn’t Louise. Now he must work with a female agent he doesn’t know and doesn’t necessarily trust. And because he has another reason for coming into Wingate’s world, Kate Ryan is unavoidably in his way.

* * *
Excerpt from The Starling

Kate slid a sidelong glance at him. “Did you learn anything this evening?”

Only that you’re an enigma, and I can’t fathom my reaction to you.

“I did.” Henry hoped he wasn’t slurring his words.

When he didn’t elaborate, Kate said, “Well?” Her tone was tinged with annoyance.

“You sound upset,” he said.

“When I told you to watch the brandy, I didn’t tell you to go and drink the brandy.”

“I’m not happy about this either,” he muttered under his breath. He never let his guard down while working. Until now. Until Kate Ryan.

It was easier to blame her than the fact that he was unsettled about spending time with Wingate more than he had anticipated.

Her eyes lingered on him, and he held her gaze, drinking in the fierce intelligence reflected at him. He’d never had much use for meek women. Kate Ryan’s ambition, dedication, and obvious independence matched his own.

But she was so young. What could she possibly bring to the table? Except that she was beautiful and confident and capable. In that moment, he knew she would go far in the Pinkertons.

The hunger for her ignited in a flash, far more intense than earlier. He turned away before she sensed it, before he did something stupid like try to kiss her. Not that she’d given any indication of reciprocating the attraction.

He clamped down on his very male reaction, knowing it would ruin whatever working relationship the two of them might have. He needed to concentrate on that, because if she was as intelligent as he suspected, he would have a hard time keeping her away from his true mission of ferreting out what had happened to his father.

* * *
Pre-Order your digital copy now.
Print will be available in August.

(Google Play and Kobo links are coming)

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Wings of the West Epic Sale


By Kristy McCaffrey

It's an epic sale for digital copies of Kristy's Wings of the West series. From March 1 – 15, 2022, grab one or all of them. While the characters overlap, each book can be read as a standalone.


Experience the grit, the hope, and the romance of the Old West with honorable men and courageous women.

The Wren – When Molly Hart returns from the dead, no one is more shocked than Texas Ranger Matt Ryan.

The Dove – Reunited with Logan Ryan on the steps of the White Dove Saloon, Claire Waters hides under the guise of a fancy girl … and lets the ex-deputy believe the worst.

The Sparrow – Within Grand Canyon, raging rapids and ancient spirits sweep Texas Ranger Nathan Blackmore and Emma Hart into a wild adventure.

The Blackbird – Haunted by a deadly attack, Tess Carlisle turns to bounty hunter Cale Walker to find her missing padre. But in the land of the Apache, can he free her heart?

The Bluebird – Molly Rose Simms arrives in Colorado to meet her brother, but instead finds herself searching for the mythical Bluebird mining claim with a man known as The Jackal.

Available on Kindle, Nook, Apple Books, Google Play, and Kobo.

Find all the details here

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Valentine's Anthology Release Day is Here!!

By Kristy McCaffrey

 It's release day!!

With Every Beat Of My Heart is out. Woohoo!

And just in time for Valentine's Day.

Grab a cup of hot chocolate, your favorite fuzzy blanket, and settle in for some romantic and fun reads.

Digital copies are only 99 cents, and it's also available in paperback for those of you who prefer to read that way.

The collection will be available wide for one month and then will enter Kindle Unlimited.

Read SHARK REEF, set in my Pathway world.

A Contemporary Adventure Romance Short Story
Dr. Gabe O’Grady has had it bad for Jen Fairfield since the moment they were introduced, but she had a boyfriend at the time, so Gabe stayed in the friend zone. When he learns she’s about to spend three weeks in the remote Chatham Islands off New Zealand tagging great white sharks with a notoriously sketchy filmmaker, Gabe inserts himself into the project to protect her. But her indifference confounds him.
After ending her previous stalled relationship, Dr. Jen Fairfield is blindsided by her true feelings for Gabe O’Grady. After a night out with girlfriends and buoyed by their support, she makes her move with a very forward voicemail after a few drinks. But when O’Grady ghosts her for two months, Jen buries her hurt, certain she’ll never see him again. Then he shows up on her expedition …
When Gabe learns Jen is single, he knows he can’t let a chance with her slide by. But first he must rekindle the friendship that she seems determined to walk away from. He also needs to keep her safe from one of the most dangerous predators on earth.

Review it on BookBub (Thank you!!)


Monday, February 7, 2022

Sneak Peek of The Starling

By Kristy McCaffrey

A brand new Wings of the West novel will be coming August 2, 2022.

Colorado 1899

Kate Ryan has always had a streak of justice in her. When she decides to apply to the Pinkerton Detective Agency, nothing will stand in her way. Initially hired in a clerical position, she quickly works her way up to field agent with the help of her mentor, Louise Foster. When Louise is injured, Kate gets her first assignment and the opportunity of a lifetime.

Henry Maguire has been undercover in the household of wealthy cattleman Arthur Wingate. Employed as a ghostwriter to pen the man’s memoir, Henry is also searching for clues to a lucrative counterfeiting scheme. When Henry’s “wife” shows up, he’s taken aback by the attractive woman who isn’t Louise. Now he must work with a female agent he doesn’t know and doesn’t necessarily trust. And because he has another reason for coming into Wingate’s world, Kate Ryan is unavoidably in his way.

Kate Ryan is the daughter of Matt and Molly from THE WREN, and THE STARLING is the first of five novels featuring the second generation of Ryans in the Wings of the West series.

The Wings of the West Series Reading Order

Book One: The Wren
Book Two: The Dove
Book Three: The Sparrow
Book Four: The Blackbird
Book Five: The Bluebird
Book Six: The Songbird (Novella)
Book Seven: Echo of the Plains (Short Story)
Book Eight:  The Starling (Coming Soon)

Pre-order The Starling today!!

Here's a sneak peek of Chapter One

Trinidad, Colorado
April 1899

Kate Ryan shifted on the hard seat of the buckboard as it rattled along the road. The setting sun cast rays of light from its western position, blossoming like a flower.

“Why didn’t your husband pick you up and take you to this party?” The question broke the spell of her anxious anticipation. The driver, an older burly man the Pinkerton agency had hired at the last minute, glanced at her.

“I’ve arrived a day early and didn’t have the opportunity to send word to Hen—” She caught herself at the last second. “To Gilbert.” My husband’s name is Gilbert. She repeated the mantra a few more times, trying to drill it into her brain. Henry Maguire was the man playing her husband. She was getting the break of a lifetime—the ability to work as a full agent on a case at only nineteen years old—and she didn’t want to spoil it by ruining the other agent’s cover.

“It’s a surprise,” she added in a rush.


Kate frowned, uncertainty fluttering in her chest. “You don’t think this is a good idea?” Her heart sped along with a steady rat-a-tat-tat, her palms clammy, and her mouth tasting like cotton balls, offering little help in wetting her dry lips.

Her nerves were stretched to the brink.

“He don’t know you’re coming, and he’s at the Wingate’s party without you? It’s just ….” He pulled on the reins, guiding the team around a bend in the road, and cast a sympathetic look her way. “You seem like a nice young woman. I just don’t want you to be disappointed … or have your feelings hurt.”

For a moment, Kate was at a loss as to what he meant, and then it walloped her over the head like her brother Eli sometimes did when the two of them argued. Not an actual wallop but a verbal harangue. Kate, however, had always held her ground with her older sibling. And she would need to do so now.

The man was implying her husband was a philanderer. Of all the circumstances she had anticipated dealing with, this one had honestly never crossed her mind. Mostly, she supposed, because this wasn’t a real marriage. It probably was true that Henry had a woman somewhere, although she knew from the Pinkerton office that he wasn’t married. Well, this driver wouldn’t rattle her. She had a job to do. And part of that job was to be Henry’s loving wife as well as his partner on the job. She could do it. She would do it.

“I’m sure it will be fine. I know my Gilbert, and he would never be anything but a gentleman. He was expecting me tomorrow. I’m just a day early. He left me a note at the house as to where he would be this evening,” she added, warming to the prevarications spilling from her mouth.

“So he knew you were coming? But you said he didn’t.”

“Well, I, ah.” She cleared her throat. “He wasn’t certain when I was to arrive. I was visiting my mother. She’s very ill, you see. I had told him I might arrive tonight, or tomorrow. I told him to go to the party and not to wait for me.” Stop talking, Kate. She folded her gloved hands onto her lap and glanced to the countryside, still visible in the fading light. This lying was going to prove a challenge to her.

Her mentor at the agency, Louise Foster, who had single-handedly gotten Kate this assignment, had told her during her training to keep the mistruths to a minimum. It would make it easier to remember them.

“Well, then,” the driver said. “I’m sure it will be fine. Your Gilbert will be mighty happy to see you.”

They crossed beneath a large wrought iron arch and entered a massive ranch. It had been a long journey from town and Kate’s bottom was sore from the buckboard. She would have been much happier on her own horse, but Edgar Jones, her boss, had insisted she not enter the fray alone. He embraced working with female agents on his payroll, but he was careful with their safety as well.

Mr. Jones had sent word to Henry via a courier that she was arriving, but it was never clear if the message had been received. It had contained Louise’s suggestion that Kate attend the party. Louise had argued with Jones from her hospital bed that Henry was sometimes too stubborn in wanting to work alone and that if they didn’t force Kate upon him, he might keep her away from the investigation. Kate had been uncomfortably present for that exchange, leading her to wonder if Henry was a good agent after all, but underlying the discussion was a genuine tone of concern in both Jones and Louise’s voices.

However, now that Kate was here, a bigger problem was presenting itself—Henry was expecting Louise as his “wife” partner, not Kate. In fact, Kate had never met Henry, so of course he wouldn’t know who she was when she arrived.

Hence her anxiety.

In the distance, the lights of the main house blazed, growing brighter as they neared. The front area was crowded with buggies, horses, and carriages. Her driver was forced to stop some distance from the front porch.

He set the brake, climbed down, and came to Kate’s side. She gathered the full folds of her royal blue gown, quite the fanciest thing she had ever worn. The Rocking Wren, her folks’ ranch, rarely required this level of decorum. She clasped the driver’s hand and stepped down.

She confirmed she had her reticule looped around a wrist and patted her hair, pinned into a fancy upsweep.

She turned to the driver. “I’m so sorry, but I didn’t get your name.”

“Francis, ma’am. It was a pleasure, Mrs. Gilbert ….” He raised a busy brow in question.

“Holmes. And please, call me Sallie.” She was immensely proud that she got her alias correct, although she had no doubt that this was the smallest of tests she was about to endure. Still, she must take every victory she could get.

“Shall I wait for you, Sallie?” Francis asked, his gaze filled with genuine concern.

“No, of course not. My husband will see me home.” She hoped.

Francis donned his hat, giving a nod and a tug on the brim. “It was a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

“Perhaps I’ll see you again, Mr. Francis ….” She leaned forward and raised a brow.

He chuckled. “O’Malley. I run the livery in town. I’m also the blacksmith. If you need a horse shod, you give me a holler. I’ll do it for free. It’s the least I can do.”

As she started to turn to leave, he added, “And watch yourself in there.”

She looked over her shoulder at him.

“Mrs. Wingate, she can be a little … too much. Don’t let her scare you. People like her sense fear and they pounce. Someone like you don’t deserve that. If you ever have any trouble and your husband isn’t doing his job, you come see me, you hear?”

Kate relaxed her shoulders, feeling the genuine concern emanating from Francis. “Thank you. I appreciate it. I truly do.”

She left him and made her way to the entrance of the grand home, feeling as if every step were taking her into the lion’s den. But she wouldn’t be afraid. She had wanted to have a career in law enforcement since she had turned sixteen. It was why she had pursued employment with the Pinkerton Detective Agency, one of the only places that allowed women—and especially young women—to have a chance to do important work.

The front entrance was open and attended by a butler. Kate took a deep breath and crossed the threshold.

* * *

Henry scanned the bustling ballroom, filled with partygoers chattering away—men in suits and women in gowns awash with color. Everyone loved a good Wingate extravaganza, or at least that’s what Henry had learned in the past week of undercover work.

His gaze rested briefly on Arthur Wingate, his target in this investigation. The man was tall, making it easy to find him in a crowd, his gray-streaked black hair slicked back. He was holding court with three men. While he didn’t recognize the man on the left, Henry knew the other two were involved with a company that imported steel products into Mexico.

It could certainly be a connection in the official case to which the Pinkertons had been contracted. First National Bank out of Trinidad had hired the agency to investigate possible money counterfeiting and insurance fraud. Henry was certain that Wingate was at the center. All he had to do was prove it. But Henry also had a secondary reason for being here, one he hadn’t shared with his boss, Edgar Jones, despite that he and Jonesy were more than employer and employee. They were friends, too. But Henry didn’t want Jonesy and the agency implicated if things went south, and truth be told, Henry wasn’t certain what he would uncover. His father, Hugh Maguire, had gone missing in Trinidad nine years ago. The official story—he was killed in a coal mine explosion, but Henry had reason to believe that hadn’t been the case.

And at the center of it all was Arthur Wingate.

Henry was here to prove that Wingate was a criminal, and maybe a murderer.

Ian’s voice echoed in Henry’s head. “There was an investigation, Henry, and no foul play was found.” He and his older brother often failed to see eye-to-eye, hence why Henry had told no one his true reason for being here, least of all Ian.

He took a sip of his brandy … barely. He had no intention of clouding his judgment with alcohol this evening.

“Sir.” A valet drew his attention.

Henry nodded his acknowledgement.

“Your wife has arrived, sir.”

My wife ….

What the hell? Louise was here? Now?

Jonesy had agreed that Louise Foster would be summoned when Henry sent word. And he hadn’t sent word. Dammit.

“Of course,” Henry replied. “Thank you.”

“Please follow me, sir.”

Henry thought of abandoning the drink he’d been nursing for the last hour, but instead kept it as he followed the valet through clusters of people and the low din of talking and laughing. In fact, he took a large gulp as he walked, to soothe his nerves. Sometimes his own rules needed to be amended. This wasn’t a disaster, he reminded himself. Louise was a good field agent, one he’d worked with more than once, and he respected her abilities. She was also his friend, one of the very few along with Jonesy. If she were here now, there must be a good reason. While his cover had included a wife, Henry rather liked working alone, and he’d told Jonesy that Louise could join him when it seemed absolutely necessary. And it hadn’t been necessary … yet. But apparently Edgar Jones had pulled rank, thinking differently.

As Henry entered the foyer, his gaze landed on a young woman in a stunning blue gown, her dark brown hair swept away from her face. She was conversing with Arthur’s wife, Lottie, near the front entrance. Her poise drew his eye and for a moment, Henry considered what it would be like if he weren’t working, if he could simply pursue a conversation with an attractive woman. He had purposely not set down roots. His work made it impossible. Well, not impossible. He had simply not met a woman who could turn his attention from his job.

Reluctantly, he peeled his eyes from the alluring distraction and searched the foyer for Louise, but she was nowhere to be seen.

“She must have stepped into another room,” Henry said to the valet.

“No, sir.” The young man stopped and gave a nod toward Mrs. Wingate and the striking woman beside her.

Henry endured a brief state of confusion, an unnatural occurrence since he kept everything in his life compartmentalized and in order.

Recovering quickly, he said, “Of course, thank you. I must need my spectacles this evening.” He left the valet before he was forced to converse further, giving even more opportunities for a slip up. He walked slowly to the two women, since he wasn’t certain what he should say. Clearly, the valet had been misinformed.

Henry glanced over his shoulder, confirming the man had left the foyer. With the all-clear, Henry shifted his path to miss the two conversing women, although a twinge of regret flared. A small part of him wondered what would happen if he struck up a conversation with the woman in blue. But now wasn’t the time for personal interests. Just as he passed within three feet of the women, a voice rang out, “Gilbert! Darling!”

Henry stopped and faced the woman who had in a brief span sparked such an intense interest in him. She had used his alias. It all became clear in an instant.

She was his wife.


He plastered the biggest smile he could on his face. “Sallie, there you are.” He went to her and planted a kiss on her cheek.

His Sallie blushed, her cheeks a bright crimson. Her skin was smooth as porcelain, leaving a lingering impression upon his lips, and it only added to his frustration.

He kept his expression amiable and besotted, playing the part of a happy and surprised husband, and said, “I had no idea you were coming.” But beneath it all, anger threatened to uncoil in his chest.

He took some measure of pleasure when his new wife flinched ever so slightly, no doubt catching the flash of censure he allowed to escape his gaze. He could accept her as his wife, but it didn’t mean he had to like it, whether she was compelling or not.

But still, where the hell was Louise? Why had Jonesy sent this much too young of a woman with whom he had no acquaintance and could therefore not assess her skills as an agent? To make it all worse, his pulse had quickened as soon as he’d looked into her clear green eyes. She might be young, but a spark of intelligence snapped the distance between them.

“It was last minute, darling,” she replied, her voice tinged with excitement.

It was too late to turn back now. They had an audience with Lottie Wingate, who watched them intently. And Henry had been struggling with Mrs. Wingate ever since he’d gotten here. He’d managed to ingratiate himself with the woman’s husband, Arthur, posing as a writer hired to pen the man’s life story, but Lottie Wingate had been surprisingly suspicious.

“I’m thrilled you’re here,” he said, taking Sallie’s hand. He turned his attention to the older woman. “If you’ll excuse us, I’d like to have a word in private with my beautiful bride.”

“Certainly,” Lottie said, her gaze cool. She was a striking woman with fair skin and red hair that had yet to succumb to graying. “It was lovely to meet you, Sallie. I hope we’ll have a chance to speak more. And you’ll have to accompany Gilbert the next time he comes here.” Henry didn’t miss the hard flash in her gaze. She hadn’t liked Henry from the moment he had arrived. “We could have tea while the men discuss business.”

“I’d like that,” Sallie said.

Having abandoned his drink on a side table, Henry tucked Sallie’s gloved hand into the crook of his elbow and led her into the next room. He wanted to speak privately but in a flash knew this would be impossible. It was too risky to engage in any kind of conversation beyond the benign while they were at this party.

“Would you like a drink?” he asked quietly. He could use another one.

Sallie smiled and nodded, sliding a quick glance at him, and then letting her eyes roam the room.

They found a waiter and his wife’s gloved hand soon held a sherry and Henry’s a whiskey, straight up. He drank it in one swallow. His wife narrowed her eyes, the first sign of some backbone in the woman.

“I know my arrival is unexpected, Gilbert,” she murmured over the rim of her sherry glass, taking a sip. “But rest assured, I’m here to stay. You’re not alone any longer.”

Copyright © 2022 K. McCaffrey LLC

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Writing Cold Horizon

By Kristy McCaffrey

I’m not a climber, but I’ve always been fascinated by mountain climbing and have followed the careers of many mountaineers. I've always wanted to write a book about it. When I decided to get serious about COLD HORIZON, I read dozens of memoirs by climbers, as well as educating myself about how these types of expeditions were organized. Another great resource were blogs where climbers posted real-time as they tackled K2. While Mt. Everest is the tallest mountain in the world, I was more interested in K2, number two. It’s not located in the Himalaya but in the Karakoram. Climbers must enter through Pakistan, and the trek to base camp is a perilous ten-day hike with little infrastructure. K2 is a technically more difficult mountain than Everest, and it’s more dangerous.

I watched a lot of documentaries too, but one of my favorite films is Vertical Limit (released in 2000) starring Chris O’Donnell, Robyn Tunney, the late Bill Paxton, and Scott Glenn. It gets a lot about K2 wrong, but it’s highly entertaining and perfect popcorn fare.

My Characters

The heroine, Lindsey Coulson, grew up with a mountaineering father. Unfortunately, he dies while on an expedition when she’s young, but she and her older sister, Alison, become climbers in their teens nevertheless. Together they tackle some of the biggest mountains in the world and begin to make a name for themselves. Then Alison dies at K2—the first expedition that Lindsey had skipped—and in her grief, Lindsey stops climbing. But now she’s ready to get back at it, and she knows she must go to K2, so she approaches Tyler Galloway and asks if she can join his team.

Tyler Galloway has grown up with adventurous parents who instilled a love of the outdoors and extreme sports in all three of their children. (His siblings star in the other two Pathway books, DEEP BLUE and ANCIENT WINDS.) He has an appreciation for the natural world and supplements his income by writing about it, but he is also restless at heart and likes pushing himself. He admires Lindsey, even has a bit of a crush on her, but he’s a strong leader who considers the needs of the team over the individual.

The other members of the team are David Shaw, who was Alison’s fiancé and was with her two years ago on K2 when she died. There’s friction between David and Lindsey that plays out in the story. Ed Dittrich, known as Ditch, is older and Tyler’s mentor. He’s a very careful and methodical climber and keeps the team on course. The final member of the team is Billy Packer, an irreverent soul who says the most inappropriate things at the wrong time (he’s the comic relief). Tyler’s sister Brynn also joins them. She doesn’t climb but remains in base camp and acts as the trip manager, relaying messages on the radio and watching the weather forecasts.

What’s it like to climb K2?

K2 is located on the border between China and Pakistan in the Karakoram Mountains. The name K2 is derived from the notation used by the Great Trigonometrical Survey of British India, given because it was the second peak measured in the Karakoram Range. Locally, the mountain is called Chogori. Its icy sides are steep and exposed, and it’s prone to heavy storms and avalanches.

Most climbers approach from the Pakistan side, starting in Islamabad, then take a bus ride to the town of Skardu. From there, it’s a 10-day treacherous hike to get to base camp, situated at 18,000 feet. Climbers usually employ anywhere from 50-100 porters to haul in everything they need.

Each team is embedded with a Pakistani Liaison Officer who makes sure they abide by the rules of the permit (no climbing other mountains, no team jumping, no spying, etc.) Over the next 4-5 weeks, climbers haul gear and fix ropes to successive camps up the mountain. To acclimate their bodies to the altitude, this must be done slowly to avoid life-threatening illnesses such as pulmonary or cerebral edema. The climbing season in the Karakorams is from June to August, with most summits occurring in early August.

The difficulty in climbing K2 lies in the fact that it’s prone to frequent and severe storms that make treacherous climbing conditions even more challenging. The number of climbers who have reached the summit is only a small fraction compared to successful summits of Mt. Everest, and proportionally K2 has the second highest fatality rate of all 8000-meter peaks (Annapurna, the 10th highest mountain, has the most.)

Wanda Rutkiewicz

Women who have climbed K2

Polish climber Wanda Rutkiewicz was the first woman to climb K2 in 1986, which she accomplished without the use of supplemental oxygen. Unfortunately, that same summer, thirteen climbers died on the mountain, including two other women who had also summited – Liliane Barrard (France) and Julie Tullis (Britain). In 1992, Wanda later disappeared and was presumed dead while climbing Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain.

Edurne Pasabán

There are fourteen mountains that stand above 8000 meters and many climbers have sought to join the Fourteeners Club by summiting each one. Only three women have accomplished it. Edurne Pasabán from Spain was the first in 2010, but she only climbed 13 out of 14 without supplemental oxygen. (The summits of these mountains are at the same altitude at which commercial airlines fly.) Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner from Austria completed her quest of climbing all 14 peaks without supplemental oxygen in 2011 when she finally reached the top of K2 after several failed attempts. Italian Nives Meroi joined the club in 2017.


Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner

The first American woman to summit K2 was Vanessa O’Brien in 2017 (she holds dual American-British citizenship).

Obscure Facts I Found While Researching This Book

There’s no perfect food to eat while climbing, and climbers consume all sorts of strange things: butter in bags, lard, but also chocolate, pop tarts, hard liquor and beer.

Mostly the appetite is suppressed at high altitudes and climbers routinely shed up to 25 lbs. on these expeditions.

Climbers melt snow to drink but glacier water is devoid of any nutrients and some female climbers experience problems with menstruation and hair falling out, so it’s recommended to take supplements to avoid this.

Goraks are large birds that resemble ravens and are present at base camp. They also eat the bodies of dead climbers.

Bodies of dead climbers are rarely recovered (it’s far too dangerous) but are eventually pushed down the mountain via avalanches and ground apart from glacier movement. Body parts will frequently turn up between base camp and advanced base camp.

Climbers can die suddenly from the high altitude. Pulmonary edema will fill the lungs with fluid and cerebral edema causes the brain to swell. If symptoms appear to either of these conditions, the affected climber must descend quickly or risk death.

My entire Pathway series, which currently includes 3 novels and several short stories, combines extreme adventure, exotic locations, and steamy, slow-burn romance. I hope you’ll check out COLD HORIZON. I poured my heart and soul into Ty and Lindsey’s story.

Digital copies of COLD HORIZON are only 99 cents until January 26, 2022.

Grab a copy today!!

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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

The Songbird Is Now Available

 By Kristy McCaffrey

It's release day!! I had such fun revisiting Matt and Molly from THE WREN along with writing my first western in a good long while. I hope you'll join me in seeing what they've been up to.

This novella finds Matt and Molly 15 years after THE WREN, and Molly's past with the Comanche is about to catch up with her. This story includes other couples from the Wings of the West series, and you'll meet the daughters of the second generation. (Soon to star in their own novels.)

"It was so great to come back ... to read more of this series … can't wait for more." ~ Goodreads Reviewer

“Love, adventure, mystery and thriller all rolled into one.” ~ Goodreads Reviewer

"The themes of past trauma, hope, redemption, and teamwork were prevalent throughout ... I highly recommend this!" ~ Amazon Reviewer


Matt entered the restaurant and hung his hat on a peg, Nathan and Bill Harner behind him. When he spotted Molly sitting with Emma, he made his way to the table and leaned down to kiss Molly’s cheek.

“I want you to meet someone.” Stepping aside, he said, “This is Bill Harner.”

Surprise crossed Molly’s face. “You were at the corral today with the horse with the colorful noseband.”

Bill nodded. “That was me. It’s a pleasure to meet you, ma’am.”

“Bill was a Texas Ranger,” Matt said, taking a chair beside his wife. “We ran into him this morning and invited him to supper. I hope you don’t mind.”

“No, not at all.”

Once the men were seated, a waitress took everyone’s orders.

“Were you all in the same company together?” Emma asked Bill, indicating her husband, Nathan, and Matt.

“Yes, ma’am.”

Matt almost smiled at Harner’s formality, since he wasn’t much older than either Molly or Emma. “You were the youngster the year Nathan and I left,” he said.

“It’s really nice to see you again, sir,” Bill said. “I’d heard that you’d been rescued after Cerillo captured you. I guess I wasn’t surprised you didn’t return to duty after that.”

“It was Nathan who got me out,” Matt said, trying to gloss over that memory.

“I’m glad you survived, sir.”

“You can call me Matt.” He’d said as much earlier, but it had apparently not taken.

The waitress brought drinks for everyone. Bill nodded and smiled and took a large gulp of water.

Matt glanced at his wife, taking in her peaked appearance. It was subtle, but he knew Molly better than anyone. Leaning close, he said in a low voice, “Are you all right?” He worried she might be coming down with something. She hadn’t been sleeping well since they’d arrived in Denton two days ago, and even before that she’d been plagued with bad dreams of her Comanche family for the last few months.

Just as he didn’t much care to discuss his capture and incarceration of several months by Augusto Cerillo, a Mexican outlaw, Molly generally didn’t speak of the trauma of her childhood, which had included the murder of her folks. He still had the occasional bad dream. Is that what Molly was dealing with? Was she having flashbacks to what had happened to her when she was young? Did it have anything to do with their own children? Eli was fourteen now, Katie twelve, and Josie was eleven. Molly had been nine when she’d been taken, so their children were a bit older, but still, it was hard to fathom how she had coped.

But she surprised him with a broad smile that instantly transformed her into the beauty he’d been blessed to share his life with these past fifteen years. There was no doubt he would be lost without her.

“I’m fine,” she replied, and clasped his hand in a reassuring squeeze. She turned her attention to Bill. “Mister Harner, how did you come by that noseband on the horse you were showing?”

“My wife made it.”

“Who was that boy with you?”

Bill seemed a bit taken back. “Well, that was my son.”

“Is he ….” Molly’s voice trailed off.

“Is he what?” Matt asked, his brows furrowing. Molly’s behavior was confusing him.

She appeared a bit chagrined and took a sip of her lemonade before saying, “When I was a child, I lived with the Comanche for many years. Your son … he has the look of them. Is your wife also of the People?”

Bill had gone silent, his face pinched and shuttered. Matt didn’t know what to say. Molly rarely confronted others in such a way.

Her eyes widened, and she quickly added, “My apologies. It’s just … when I saw your horse, it took me back to that time.”

Bill cleared his throat. “Mrs. Ryan, I had no idea you were taken as a child. That must’ve been a trying experience.”


Available in eBook and paperback.

Amazon US: https://kmccaffrey.com/SongbirdAmazonUS

Amazon UK: https://kmccaffrey.com/SongbirdAmazonUK

Amazon CA: https://kmccaffrey.com/SongbirdAmazonCA

Amazon AU: https://kmccaffrey.com/SongbirdAmazonAU

Amazon DE (English version): https://kmccaffrey.com/SongbirdDEenglishversion

Nook: https://kmccaffrey.com/SongbirdNook

Apple Books: https://kmccaffrey.com/SongbirdAppleBooks

Kobo: https://kmccaffrey.com/SongbirdKobo

Google Play: https://kmccaffrey.com/SongbirdGooglePlay

Print: https://www.amazon.com/Songbird-Wings-West-Kristy-McCaffrey/dp/1952801176/