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Born Of Gilded Mountains

Award winning author Amanda Dykes returns with a story set in the beautiful mountains of Colorado!


Please scroll down for an exclusive excerpt from the book!

Thank you to Austen Prose PR, Bethany House Fiction, and author Amanda Dykes for my spot on this tour and stunning gifted copy of Born Of Gilded Mountains by Amanda Dykes

Available Now!

384 pages

I can't wait to read this book! Told in a multi-media format, it sounds fantastic and is getting rave reviews! And the cover is beautiful.


A lost treasure. A riddled quest. The healing power of friendship.

Legends are tucked into every fold of the Colorado mountains surrounding the quaint town of Mercy Peak, where residents are the stuff of tall tales, the peaks are taller still, and a lost treasure has etched mystery into the very terrain.

In 1948, when outsider Mercy Windsor arrives after a scandal shatters her gilded world as Hollywood's beloved leading lady, she is determined to forge a new life in obscurity in this time-forgotten Colorado haven. She purchases Wildwood, an abandoned estate with a haunting history, and begins to restore it to its former glory.

But as she does, her every move tugs at the threads of the mountain's lore, unearthing what became of her long-lost pen pal Rusty  Bright, and the whereabouts of the infamous Galloping Goose Railcar No. 8, which vanished years ago--along with the mailbag it carried, whose contents could change the course of countless lives. Not to mention the fabled treasure that--if found--could right so many wrongs.

Among the towering mountains that stand as silent witnesses, the ghosts of the past entangle with the courage of the present to find a place where healing, friendship, and hope can abide amid a world forever changed.

Born of Gilded Mountains Excerpt

“I—” She cleared her throat, put on a smile, told herself the old lie. I’m ready. “I’ll be fine.”

He didn’t look convinced. “Ain’t a soul stepped inside that place in years. Mr. Gilman was a strange one toward the end. And the house shows it.”

Mercy gulped. “How so?”

“Ever hear of the Winchester House?”

“The place with stairs and doors that lead nowhere?” California lore whose fame could rival the silver screen.

He nodded. “This here’s a bit like that. Mostly it’s just a big house, but Gilman got a little paranoid. He brought in a blacksmith from nobody-­knows-­where, in a private car, even though we got the best blacksmith right here in Mercy Peak. Made this place into something of a puzzle. The man had ghosts in his past, no doubt about it, and people think they finally caught up to him. He had his share of secrets, sure, but most just think he went a little crazy, in the end. Guilt, probably.”


Ralph waved. “You don’t want to know all that your first night here. You’ll get an earful from the town soon enough. And this place’ll clean up right nice.” His smile was unconvincing. “But if you need a place to stay till it’s fit for living, might be Miss Ellen in town has a room open. She poaches a mighty fine egg.”

Mercy faced the man and reached for his name in the place she filed them, carefully, in invisible rows. How many words had she memorized over the years? How many lines, in how many scripts? Too many to count. She’d decided early on that the least she could do was make names the first thing she remembered. People mattered, even if she was verifiably the most alone soul in the universe this evening.

“Thank you for your kindness, Mr. Mosely.” She pinched open her red clutch, pulling out a crisp bill and offering it.

The bearded man scuffed a foot awkwardly in the mud and waved off the gesture. “Aw,” he said, swatting his hand through the air, “no need, ma’am.”

“But you drove me all the way from the depot.”

“Folks around here take care of each other. Have to, or none of us would make it. Life in the Rockies can be . . . well, rocky.”

This, she knew. And hadn’t quite figured out yet how to make a home and stay hidden in a place where people knew things about one another.

“You call me Ralph, and you let me and my Nancy know whenever you need a thing,” he said. “We’re only two or three miles down the mountain.”

“Two or three miles,” she said, a laugh tumbling into her voice. When was the last time she’d been more than twenty feet from another human?

“Close, right?” Ralph grinned. “Once you leave town, folks are usually five or ten miles apart at least, on the old ranches and mining shanties. Tucked all up in these hollows and crannies. Just where you think a man’s never set foot, you’ll find a barn and a cabin and likely a warm fire most nights. There’s more people than you’d think out here. The folds of these mountains, they keep souls well. Done so for us, anyway.”

He stroked a beard as if wondering what to tell. “Listen, you holler if you need us, we’ll hear ya. Or just honk one of the horns in the old truck. Guess it’s yours now, too, eh?” The man seemed to be doing his best to tamp the slightest twinge of envy in his voice. He eyed the rusted green vehicle covered in brown pine needles and tucked against a pine tree outside of the estate’s rock wall, its front end poking forward like a curious onlooker. It was green like the woods, with a faded logo in goldenrod that said Legacy Timber. The logo struck Mercy with an odd familiarity, and she tipped her head, studying it.

“Beauty, isn’t she?” Ralph said. “Mr. Gilman leased some of the timberlands to that company. They stripped the forest, hauled the trees to who-­knows-­where, and left him with that broken-­down truck. Couple of the guys got it running at one point, but it’s been some time. Suppose . . . it’s yours now?” He seemed hopeful.

“I . . . suppose it is,” she said. Whole kit and caboodle, Kurt had said. Everything at Wildwood was hers. Her voice sounded so uncertain and suddenly Wilson P. Wilson’s voice was in her head. “You decide your tone, Mercy. You want to be the Queen of Sheba? Get that quaver out of her voice. You’re not a mouse, Mercy Windsor.” She certainly felt like one now, but she pulled back her shoulders and took a deep breath, her old trick to “get that quaver out.”

“Thank you, Ralph. I really do appreciate it.”

Ralph opened his own cab door, and it creaked so loud it set her teeth to clenching. “I’ll bring some dry firewood in the morning. Gets cold up here nights, ’specially March. Winter hangs onto spring for dear life.”

“That’s very kind. Thank you again for the warm welcome. You do Mercy Peak proud.”

His smile widened, and he doffed an old newsboy cap before ducking in and rumbling down the winding road, forgetting, thankfully, to inquire after her name.

If he’d asked, what would she have said? She had taken a great many roles over the years. Leading lady to Gable, Bogart, Stewart, Crosby.

But underneath all that . . . who was she?

Once, in another life, her name had been Marybeth Spatts.

She needed a place to call home.

But Rusty Bright, who’d promised her one . . . was dead.

Chapter 1, pages 27-29

From Born of Gilded Mountains © 2024, Amanda Dykes, published by Bethany House

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