Fiction

Conchos and Lace Series

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Mike Knecht (Author), Michele Knecht (Illustrator), Marissa Van Uden (Editor)

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Book One ~ Scent of Tears” ~ Charlie Horn, the orphan son of a sea captain, is given a second chance at survival when a wealthy ranch owner in California becomes his benefactor. Don Topo treats him like a son, and Charlie, who dreams of becoming a vaquero, loves working on the Monterey estancia. Life is uncomplicated—except that, he is irrevocably in love with Lucinda, Don Topo’s beautiful black-haired daughter, and has been since childhood.

Proud and vibrant Lucinda has a thirst for life and a dangerous lack of fear, but she has no interest in Charlie, the skinny half-breed orphan except to taunt and make fun of him.

Everything changes when Lucinda’s passion for danger leads her into the arms of Tiburcio Vasquez, an outlaw wanted for the murder of a Monterey constable. Their union results in her pregnancy, but Don Topo refuses to allow such a scandal to mar their family name. Instead, he insists that his daughter marry Charlie, thereby forcing Charlie into a lifelong relationship with a woman who is both a nightmare and a sweet dream to him.

Set in the ever-changing world of the Alta Sierra in the eighteen hundreds, Scent of Tears is a story about an unlikely marriage between a young man still trying to find his way and a young girl whose heart belongs to a charismatic outlaw.

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Mike Knecht (Author), Michele Knecht (Illustrator), Marissa Van Uden (Editor)

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Book Two ~ “Wolves in the Shadows” ~ In the dusty, dangerous pueblo of Los Angeles in 1878, what should have been a simple trip to pick up building supplies turns into a nightmare for Lucinda and Charlie. On their way through a bad section of town, they discover a dirty baby girl wandering alone in the street. Lucinda rescues the girl and refuses to send her back to her negligent prostitute mother, despite Charlie’s objections.

Sterling Hughes, a Los Angeles police captain with ambitions to become sheriff, tracks them down and warns them they must return the girl to her natural mother. When Lucinda refuses, his threats turn to brutality, but this only strengthens her resolve.

Now Lucinda and Charlie must use all their wits to keep the girl safe. Wolves in the Shadow is the story of a couple’s struggle to do the right thing for a little girl, even if it means going up against a corrupt police captain who will try anything—even incarcerating an innocent man in the Los Angeles County Asylum for the insane—to get his way.

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Mike Knecht (Author), Michele Knecht (Illustrator), Marissa Van Uden (Editor)

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Book Three ~ “Five Seconds Too Long” ~ Lucinda is a woman who knows no fear and Charlie is a man who is quite familiar with it. These two reluctant soul mates have moved back to Lucinda’s ancestral hacienda in Monterey to continue their adventures together in a violently changing Early California. 


One bright morning in 1880, pistol shots ring out. Joaquin, the local deputy and friend of Charlie, pursues and kills one of the gunfighters. However, the man he kills is the seventeen-year-old nephew of Adan Contreras, a powerful and mentally disturbed rancher. Now Adan Contrereas and his vigilante friends want to see Joaquin hung from a rope. 

To complicate matters, rumors begin to surface that Joaquin was romantically involved with the saloon girl who caused the gunfight. Lucinda, whose personality has the force of a Pacific storm, tries to manipulate and control the situation, but her plan backfires, landing Joaquin in jail. 

Now it’s up to Charlie to confront the deranged Adan Contreras and try to save his friend, before it’s too late.

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Mike Knecht (Author), Michele Knecht (Illustrator), Marissa Uden (Editor)

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Book Four ~ “Lucinda and the Bandit” ~ Lucinda and Charlie now lead a quiet life in late 1800s Monterey. However, an old flame of Lucinda’s who happens to be a murderous outlaw, shows up looking for gold and wanting to rekindle their romance. Thus, their idyllic existence is violently disrupted. Charlie barely escapes with his life and Lucinda decides it would be a good time to take a family holiday in Hawaii while the Pinkerton Detective Agency seeks to bring the deadly suitor, Procopio Bustamonte to justice.

Nobody takes into account that Procopio has decided Monterey is too dangerous for him and flees to the islands himself. Lucinda, the daughter of a wealthy Spanish Don has always been a challenge for Charlie but her misguided flight to Hawaii almost proves to be his undoing.

Charlie, whose desire is to live the peaceful life of a cattle rancher, is once again caught up in a violent, dangerous adventure brought on by his wife’s strong will and checkered past.

In this historically accurate adventure, discover the colorful characters and fascinating history of 1800s Hawaii as Charlie and Lucinda dodge death in the fourth book of the Early California Series, Conchos and Lace.

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Mike Knecht (Author), Michele Knecht (Illustrator), Marissa Van Uden (Editor)

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Book Five ~ “Quarter Moon”  ~ In the sleepy, bucolic town of old Monterey a conniving preacher comes to town and brings with him a disreputable, handsome young man who captures the imagination of a fourteen year old girl. Charlie and Lucinda fight to preserve their daughter’s future and keep the strong willed Ruth from making a ruinous mistake. To do this, they must face the past scandal of Lucinda’s romantic involvement with the famous California bandit Tiburcio Vasquez. Despite being hung years before, Tiburcio still haunts the couple. Charlie has to face repercussions of his violent past as he desperately fights to keep his determined young daughter from making the mistake of a lifetime. 

Charlie and Lucinda  think they have the problem solved only to find that Ruth is still clinging to the boy. When Ruth runs away with her boyfriend and his outlaw gang, Lucinda and Charlie must employ all of their resources to track Ruth down in a still dangerous California.