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Intersection Column | Love in Disguise

by Mary Connealy


My current series, A Western Light, was inspired by a true story: The Woman They Could Not Silence, by Kate Moore. In that book, Elizabeth Packard’s husband locked her up in an insane asylum. (The practice was legal back then—women could be locked away strictly on a husband’s say-so.) Elizabeth had to prove herself sane in a court of law. In reverse of what is practiced today, she was considered insane until proven sane.


When Elizabeth won, she went home expecting to find the five children she had had with this man. Instead, she found her husband and children vanished, her home sold, and all of her possessions gone. She was penniless.


Her husband had moved to a state with even more ferocious asylum laws. If she went after her children, she could be locked up again because her court decision wouldn’t reach across state lines.


She spoke to legislators and governors. She also went on a speaking tour and wrote books and  articles for newspapers. Nothing in her life had prepared her for that horrible situation, but through her activism, she changed the world.


That true story is the historical foundation for A Western Light. The first book, Chasing the Horizon, released in February 2024 and book two, Toward the Dawn, is the story of Kat and Sebastian.


The era was the Industrial Revolution of the 1860s-1890s, an explosion of innovation—Trains. Iron. Oil. Cars were coming. The internal combustion engine was coming. Everything was about power, how to harness it and how to use it. The inventions were all created in tiny steps. Over 100,000 patents were involved in the invention of the car. My hero is one of those inventors.


Meet Kat:


Hi, I’m running away from my uncle-in-law, who murdered my husband, had me committed when I tried to bring him to justice. He’ll throw me back in the asylum if he catches me.


If you think I've been secretive? That's why.


Meet Sebastian:


Hi, I’m an inventor. When you found me with a fresh gunshot wound in the alley and took me with you, I had no idea who tried to kill me. I suspect their motive was to steal my invention and whoever they are, they’ll probably try again.


So, Kat and Sebastian—my heroine and hero—are both running away from trouble. She from the asylum, he from whoever shot him. When a nice pair of women, including one Kat met in the asylum, take them in, it becomes vital that they keep their true identities and a secret.


Then they go into hiding. However, they find out they can’t stand being hidden away in a canyon in the middle of nowhere. Feeling lonely and isolated so far away from society, Kat and Sebastian agree to leave the canyon. But in order to travel together—a man and woman—a marriage of convenience might be their only option.


They just want a quiet life, free of danger. And what do you know, trouble comes for them in the form of a hired killer who promises that more are coming if he fails.


They aren't sure if the killer is after Kat or Sebastian, but they know they've either got to run and hide again or go east and face their troubles head on.


They decide to head toward the dawn and fall in love along the way. Now, if they can survive long enough to enjoy their life together . . .


About the Author

Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has sold more than 1.5 million books and is the author of the popular series Wyoming Sunrise, The Lumber Baron’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero. Learn more at


About the Book

Kat Wadsworth and Sebastian Jones never imagined their lives would entwine so closely. Forced to flee on a wagon train from a vengeful uncle and an unknown gunman, they live in a hidden canyon with the family that rescued them. As the days turn into months, they each have separate reasons for wanting to move back to society, and the best way to do that might be through a marriage of convenience. Together, they must confront the perils from their pasts to forge a future with hope and the prospect of love.


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