On Outlaws

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Highlighting Historical Romance with Patricia Preston on that outlaw Frank James.

I did a lot of research on the James-Younger gang for Almost an Outlaw and for this blog post I’m sharing the real-life romance of Frank James, Jesse’s older brother, and the love of his life, Ann Ralston.

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She was a schoolteacher.  A pretty brunette, she graduated from college in 1872 with a degree in literature and science.  She came from a well-respected family and she could have married well.  Yet, Ann Ralston eloped with one of the most-wanted outlaws in America.

He was not a handsome man and he shunned the publicity showered on him. Bookish, he was an avid reader and he could quote Shakespeare at will.  It was said he always had novels with him.  Even when he was busy outrunning a posse, his saddlebags contained books.   Is it any wonder Alexander Franklin James fell for a girl with a degree in literature?

The details of how Frank and Annie met and secretly courted remain elusive.  In June of 1874, Annie convinced her parents to let her go visit a relative in Kansas City.   She actually met Frank in Kansas City and went to Omaha with him where they were married.  She sent a note home to her worried parents:  Dear Mother, I am married and going West.  AnnieReynolds.  Her parents had no idea she had married the outlaw, Frank James, until much later.  When her father found out, he disowned her. 

The unlikely marriage would last for 41 years and, according to most accounts, it was a happy marriage.  Frank and Annie got along well. They lived under aliases in Texas, Nashville, and Baltimore.  Their only child, Robert, was born in 1878 while they were living in the Nashville area.  After Jesse’s assassination in 1882, Frank turned himself in to the governor of Missouri and Annie wrote her husband a poem called Surrendered.   Frank’s trial earned more publicity than that of the man who killed President McKinley.  He was found not guilty of the charges against him, and he spent the rest of this life as a law-abiding citizen and loving spouse.  “No better husband ever lived,” Ann said of him.

In their later year, Annie and Frank lived on the James farm where Frank sold tours for twenty-five cents.  When he died, he wishes were to be cremated and his ashes stored in a vault until he could be buried with Annie.  She would continue to live on James farm until her death in 1944.  She was 91 when she died. 

About the Book: Almost an Outlaw

Star-crossed lovers are reunited at an outlaw’s wedding.

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Rancher Austin Cade rides into Liberty looking for his old comrades, the James-Younger gang. He needs their help tracking down the horse thief who’s stolen his prized mare. In town, the former gunfighter is reunited with Darcy, the first girl he ever kissed—and never forgot.

Young widow Darcy Branson owns a shop full of fashionable ladies’ attire, but continues to wear mourning black so she won’t forget her role in her husband’s death. Austin stirs a passion inside her that has long been dormant, but can Darcy learn to believe in Austin—and love—enough to let go of her tragic past?

Time is rapidly running out… As a cousin to Jesse James, Darcy has attracted unwanted attention, thanks to her rumored association with the gang. Soon Austin and Darcy are faced with confronting not only their growing desire, but danger in the form of a deadly bounty hunter…

Buy Link:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004GB1T40/

About the Author

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Award-winning author Patricia Preston writes single title contemporary and historical romance and Southern humor.  She is represented by the Seymour Agency and currently has several titles available online. Her writing awards include the Lone Star Writing Competition for Historical Romance, Harlequin’s World’s Best Romances Short Story Competition, and William Faulkner Award for Short Fiction. Besides writing, she also enjoys photography, graphic design, movies and trips to historical sites.

She is currently working on a series of historical romantic adventures set in the French Quarter in 1814-1815. She also writes contemporary romance and humorous short stories.

Please check out her website at www.patricia-preston.com where you can find out more about her available titles, sign up for her newsletter, follow her on social media, and check out her blog. She appreciates all her readers and she is always grateful for reviews.

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