Message From The Author

Margaret Brownley

Genre: America, Western, Historical Romance

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Touch of Lace

My husband has always been mystified by the female custom of throwing parties to sell plastic bowls to one another.

"You don't see men gather around to peddle tools to their friends," he's pointed out on more than one occasion. He's right, of course, and what's more, you won't find men greeting each other with little samples of shaving cream. This brings us to the subject of Avon ladies or, bowing to political correctness, Avon Representatives.

According to a recent article in The Los Angeles Times, Avon reps are the beauty industry's answer to Indiana Jones. These gallant ladies think nothing of tackling the wilds of Brazil to sell beauty products to Amazon natives. Reps routinely navigate piranha-infested waters, hike through jungles, brave malaria and fight drunken miners to deliver face creams.

I heard that one tribe formed a search party when their Avon lady's boat went over a waterfall. The woman was found clinging to a log, holding her perfume samples over her head. Compared to what these women do to deliver their wares, driving through rush-hour traffic is a picnic...

The first Avon rep was a man who hawked perfume in 1886. By 1897, he had twelve women working for him. It was these early Avon ladies who were the inspiration for Abby Parker, the heroine of my February Topaz release, Touch Of Lace.

Searching for her missing traveling salesman uncle, Abby takes his stock of cosmetic preparations and peddles his wares to bordellos. Abby doesn't go over a waterfall, but she dangles from the side of a mountain and cajoles warpaint recipes from the Indians. She never sees a piranha but she fights off her share of drunken miners. Indeed, she has enough close calls to make Sheriff Gunnar Kincaid shake his head in amazement. "I had no idea selling cosmetics was so dangerous."

It's not the only thing that's dangerous, as you'll find out when you travel with Abby Parker to Dangling Rope, Colorado (population 12, if you don't count the buzzards). Love can offer its own dangers. Hope you enjoy!

I love to hear from readers. For an autographed bookplate for Touch Of Lace and/or Petticoats And Pistols send an SASE to P.O. Box 4528, Simi Valley, CA 93093-4528. E-Mail: M.Brownley@Genie.Geis.Com.

Stagecoach and Train Etiquette for Reading Margaret Brownley's Touch of Lace1. Do not disturb the other passengers by laughing or weeping out loud.

2. Never applaud while reading love scenes.

3. Refrain from making verbal comparisons between male passengers and the hero 4. Provocative book covers must be kept hidden beneath a plain buckskin wrapper.

5. If you must show disapproval, spit only on the leeward side of the coach.

6. In the event of a robbery, do not insist upon finishing the chapter before raising your hands over your head.

7. Don't ask the driver to guard your book while you sleep.

8. In the event of a runaway train or stage, avoid such comments as "Here comes the good part."

9. It's best not to read by the window during an Indian attack.

10. Revealing the end of a book to other passengers is cause for punishment.

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