Be Careful Who You Root For
When a violent, decades-long feud between two powerful men comes to a head in the small settlement of Bladestay, Colorado, cunning resident Theo Creed must use her wits to stay alive. Disguising herself as a young boy, seventeen-year-old Theo bluffs her way into the inner circle of August Gaines, the magnetic leader of the ruthless gang that has descended on her town. But the deeper Theo gets into the con, the more she starts to question her loyalties. Complicating her subterfuge is a mysterious outlaw whose small moments of kindness contradict the blood he has on his hands, making Theo wonder who, exactly, is conning who. To save her town, Theo must parse façade from reality and choose between the barefaced malevolence she’s infiltrated and an evil she didn’t know lurked at home.
Jackie Johnson is a San Diego born poet and novelist. Her background as a journalist, BA in history, and education in armed defense gives her a uniquely authentic voice within the historical genre. She’s been riding horses for over twenty years and had her own real-life cowboy love story when she fell in love with and married a horse trainer. Together, they established a ranch in Southern California where she spends her days writing, riding, and chasing after their dreams, their two children, four horses, six cats, and two dogs. Bladestay is her first novel.
“A scheming female antihero goes undercover as a man to survive the hostile takeover of her small hometown in this raucous 19th-century Western.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Deeply beautiful and tragic, Bladestay brings together dark family secrets, a love story, and one hell of a strong female lead searching for the truth at every cost. Utterly riveting from beginning to end.” —Demetra Brodsky, ITW and Black-Eyed Susan Award-nominated author of Last Girls
“From shootouts to romance, this breathtaking new Western will transport you back in time. An unforgettable adventure.” —Gwen Cole award-winning author of Cold Summer
“Riveting and transporting, Bladestay is a western frontier tale for a new age. With a tough, witty heroine against a villain like no other, this cast of characters is unforgettable from page one—eclipsed only by its breakneck pace.” —Lindsey Duga, author of Roaring