The Ballad of Jack O’Dair
February 2016 (01-25-15)
originally published October 2000
Amazon ASIN: B018T6ZF8I
Third Place Winner
Rising Star Contest
Orange Rose Contest
Best Paranormal/Time Travel
A brawny bear was Jack O'Dair…
Present day folk singer Jessie Jerome is haunted by the beginning of The Ballad of Jack O’Dair, about an Alaskan lawman in Gold Rush days. Determined to learn the ending—and whether Jack died in an avalanche—she travels to Alaska, and is shocked not only to hear more of the ballad but to be transported back in time to the Gold Rush. She’s even more shocked to actually meet the real Jack O’Dair—and falls for the strong, sexy man who will stop at nothing to enforce the law and protect people, as well as ensure supplies can reach those searching for gold. But if she finally hears the end of his ballad, will she be transported back to her own time? More importantly, will Jack survive? And can she live without him?
Readers of favorite new and classic time travel romances such as those of Diana Gabaldon, Sarah Woodbury, Karen Marie Moning and most especially Gwyn Cready will love The Ballad of Jack O’Dair!
Originally published October 2000 in mass market paperback by Love Spell.
"...readers [will] be
immediate caught up in the action, colorful backdrop, and the cleverness
of the plotline. Enjoy suspending your disbelief and relish this
delightful tale." --Romantic
"...a clever tale that
showcases the story telling talents of Linda O. Johnston. With
this astute tale, romance readers will sing the Ballad of Linda O.
--Harriet Klausner for Painted Rock Reviews
"Linda O. Johnston has
created a fine folk myth in The Ballad of Jack O'Dair.
Imaginative and clever, this book is a true page turner." --Affaire
"Ms. Johnston brings the
ghost town of Dyea alive with colorful characters and descriptive
words... This book will add spice to a boring day." --Rendezvous
"Linda O Johnston's writing style always
reminds me of a Suzanne Vega song. Her prose...is always compelling enough
to keep me reading. I find the entire premise compelling, and Jack
O'Dair... what's his hotline?" --
"Linda O'Johnston brings a legend of a
hero to life by opening the doors to the past. You'll want to wrap yourself
up with a cozy blanket and sip steaming hot tea every time Jessie and Jack
walk through town." -- Denise Fletcher,
Gotta Write Network
THE BALLAD OF JACK O’DAIR
He kept the peace without surcease
Did mighty Jack O’Dair.
Through Dyea-town fights, and dread Klondike nights,
None other could compare.
A brawny bear was Jack O’Dair,
His voice deep, mellow brass,
Bright red hair had Jack O’Dair
And eyes green as Ireland grass.
Lawman Jack was bold in the Northland’s cold.
Jack struck the scoundrels down.
With his wolf-dog Taku and his ulu, too,
Jack tended Dyea town.
And it continues....
Jack had returned. "Looks like everyone’s in bed,
including Eldon. I wanted to make sure he got home all right after that
Little difficulty. That was all the fight, the menace
from six drunken men, had been to him.
And he was kind enough to check to make sure that
Eldon had returned with no further problem.
Jessie shook her head slowly, as though hoping to
clear it of years of brainwashing from hearing the ballad--to no avail.
Jack was everything she had imagined he would be.
"Are you all right, Jessie?" Jack had draped his heavy
jacket over a hook on the wall, and he drew a chair toward her. His ecru
sweater did nothing to hide the breadth of his shoulders, the expanse of
"I’m fine," she said, though she knew the tremor in
her voice belied her words. "Fine," she repeated more strongly. She
glared at Jack as though daring him to contradict her. If he did, she’d
really get angry.
She had to.
She had never before met the hero of one of her pet
ballads. She had half fallen in love with the idea of Jack O’Dair, even
without knowing how his song ended. Now that she was faced with the
reality of the man, her heart had not reached a sensible equilibrium. Of
course she found him attractive. What woman wouldn’t? But she was going
home, as soon as she could--wasn’t she? She didn’t care for Jack in any
case, just the idea of him.
Then why, when she looked sidelong into his concerned
face, did she want to kiss him?
"You don’t look fine," he contradicted.
"I... I’m just not used to all this cold. And
"I don’t know about that." Jack pulled his chair a
little closer to the fire--and a lot nearer to her. "You seemed to be
right at home in all that excitement at Helen’s. You had those
stampeders bawling like babies at your song."
She had, hadn’t she? She grinned. It wasn’t every day
that her ballads struck such emotional chords in her audience.
But then she realized that Jack’s tone had not
contained solely admiration; there had been another message--jealousy?
She nearly laughed aloud. He had no reason to be
jealous. He hadn’t any more interest in her than he had in one of
Helen’s girls--did he?
"Did you like my singing?"
She’d meant to ask if he minded that the other men had
been so affected. She hadn’t intended such a plaintive question.
But now that it had been asked....
"I liked it, Jessie Jerome." He stood beside her
chair. "I liked it a lot."
She wasn’t sure if he had urged her to her feet with
his touch, or whether she had simply stood of her own volition, but
suddenly, she was facing him.
In his arms. His strong, heroic arms were tightly
around her, and she felt right at home. She rested her cheek on his
chest, feeling the coarseness of the hand-knit material of his shirt
against her skin.
But not for long. His fingers lifted her chin.
She stood on tiptoe, for that was the only way she
could reach him. But he bent down to her, too. He touched her lips with
his--very, very gently.
His mouth was warmer than the fire, and it stoked some
long-banked conflagration deep within her. When he began to pull away,
she reached up and held his head down to her.
She ran her fingers through the silky inferno of his
bright red hair. Her eyes were closed, the better to concentrate on her
all-consuming sense of touch. She felt his hands at her back, kneading
her skin--her skin! His hands were beneath her shirt, and the sensation
of his flesh on hers made her even more crazy.
"Jack O’Dair," she whispered against his lips.