In 1868, Otto Atwell has a 160 acre homestead near Abilene, Kansas and a limp as a result of a Cheyenne musket ball hitting his low back while he marched with the 16th Kansas Cavalry on the Powder River Expedition in 1865. What he doesn’t have is a wife. Then again, what woman would want to marry a cripple?

Libby Jones comes to Junction City as a mail order bride. Not only does the man who sent for her reject her, he tries to sell her to the local brothel to recoup his fee. Otto offers to marry her, but she rejects him in favor of a job with his relatives.

Will Otto’s offer still stand when trouble from Libby’s past catches up with her?   


Otto’s Offer is a stand-alone book in the Lockets & Lace series sponsored by some authors of the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog. 

While they last, an ebook version of the series prequel, The Bavarian Jeweler, is available from the blog without charge.

My name is Robyn Echols. Zina Abbott is the pen I use for my historical novels. I’m a member of Women Writing the West and I just joined Western Writers of America. I currently live with my husband in California’s central valley near the “Gateway to Yosemite.”

I love to read, quilt, work with digital images on my photo editing program, and work on my own family history.

I am a blogger. In addition to my own blog, I blog for several group blogs including the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog, which I started and administer.

Connect with the Author here: 

          “Put your brother to work plowing and planting the garden for you. He can bend and stoop better than you can.”
          “A truck garden is women’s work, Pa.”
          Both Jefferson and Otto turned to face Henry who had returned downstairs and stood in the doorway to the kitchen with a scowl on his face.

Character Casting
Otto Atwell
Otto is half German and he has blonde hair and blue eyes. I’m different from many authors in that I often seek images of historical people on which to model my characters. Otto is based on a Civil War portrait of Lieutenant Henry C. Jackson of the 48th Pennsylvania. He did not survive the Civil War. For some reason, this portrait really resonated with me. Otto’s Offer includes a couple of chapters telling of Otto’s time as a private in the 16th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry which are based on the history of that Kansas military unit.

Libby Jones
That said, Libby Jones in Otto’s Offer has an Ojibwa (Chippewa) grandmother she strongly favors in appearance. I looked at several historical photos of Ojibwa women, but settled on Carolyn Carter, a Miss Universe contestant from the U.S. Virgin Islands. Her father is from one of the Ojibwa bands in Minnesota.

Henry Atwell
Henry is Otto’s youngest brother and a secondary character. He plays a key role in Otto’s Offer. He’s almost sixteen and a little immature for his age. Unlike his brother whose appearance favors their German mother, Henry has brown hair and eyes like their father. He doesn’t much care to plow, plant and harvest. He loves working with animals as long as they aren’t chickens. He’s anxious to please, but also prove he’s grown up and can handle himself in a crisis. He provides a little comic relief in the story. This historical picture is pretty much Henry, although he doesn’t have the chaps yet.

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