The Canary is now available

Paleontologist Jack Brenner enters a fake marriage with Sarah Ryan to protect her in the Arizona wilderness …

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Read Chapter One and find buy links here.


Arizona Territory

Sarah Ryan grew up in Texas digging up animal bones and potsherds, but she always dreamed of searching for the extraordinary dinosaur fossils in the American West. When a wealthy benefactress gives her the opportunity to join the team of esteemed paleontologist Dr. Allan Brenner, she eagerly accepts. But when she arrives in the wild and wooly town of Holbrook, Arizona Territory, ready to start digging, she’s faced with the very real obstacle of being a female in a world dominated by men.

Dr. Jack Brenner is looking for his father who disappeared into the Painted Desert two months ago. Mounting an expedition to find him, Jack is suddenly saddled with Sarah Ryan, a young paleontology student hired as an intern to his father. When Jack’s guide refuses to let Sarah accompany them into the wilderness without a chaperone—and a colleague threatens her—he finds himself in a pretend marriage to protect the determined woman whose passion for paleontology was something he once possessed. But he has bigger problems than his beautiful new wife—his father is pursuing a controversial theory about the origin of birds, and it’s attracted the attention of men who would rather destroy evidence than excavate it. 

Sarah is the daughter of Logan and Claire from THE DOVE.

The Wings of the West Series Reading Order

Book One: The Wren
Book Two: The Dove
Book Three: The Sparrow
Book Four: The Blackbird
Book Five: The Bluebird
Book Six: The Songbird (Novella)
Book Seven: Echo of the Plains (Short Story)
Book Eight: The Starling
Book Nine: The Canary
Book Ten: The Nighthawk (Coming Soon)


Read an excerpt

(Jack and Sarah are searching for Jack's father, Dr. Allan Brenner. Isaac Dearborn was Allan's assistant for many years.)

“Allan thinks the birds can be traced back to the theropods,” Isaac said.

Sarah’s mind raced with the possibilities, and Jack’s silence signaled the same.

Finally, she spoke. “Because of Archaeopteryx?”

“Yes,” Isaac said, his face its usual somber self.

She knew that fossils of Archaeopteryx, found over thirty years ago in Germany, were of a primitive bird-like dinosaur with evidence of feathers.

“But not everyone believes that birds were dinosaurs,” she said. “Some say Archaeopteryx is a missing link between the two but that doesn’t mean it’s true.”

Jack said, “Dinosauria is divided into two clades: Ornithischia and Saurischia. And everyone has always believed the birds to have evolved from the first, not the theropods of the second. But if it’s true ….”

Archaeopteryx was a theropod that lived during the Jurassic,” Isaac said, “so Allan kept thinking … what came before? Could he prove a connection to something in the Triassic?”

“Has my father spoken about this?” Jack asked.

“Not publicly, no. He wanted to find proof. But I’m guessing he has in private, which is how Dr. Pierce no doubt heard about it.”

Sarah was a bit stunned, and for the first time since arriving she wondered if she was in the wrong place. She had admired Dr. Allan Brenner and the work he’d done in the quarries in Wyoming and the fossils he’d excavated from this area, but was she now to be associated with a man who might be committing career suicide?

Copyright © 2023 K. McCaffrey LLC

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