Hi Folks ~ Check out this cover contest by Tugboat Design. I really need to win this since Deborah is already working on the cover for the third book in the Phantom Series! One click voting, no strings attached!
We're still taking snippets from STUTTER CREEK, my romantic suspense novel coming out June 1st.
Last week, Beth talked about how the women in her family were sometimes visited by loved ones who had passed on. This week, I jumped us forward just a bit, to see if Beth had inherited this trait. This scene comes after yet another sleepless night.
Beth was so exhausted she never even
noticed the tiny dots of color that darted here and there around the room.There were dozens of pinpricks of light,
every hue and color of the rainbow.Gradually
coalescing, they swarmed around her gently, like a delicate diaphanous shawl.Maybe she didn’t see them, but perhaps she
sensed them because when she closed her eyes, she finally slipped back into sleep,
woke her the second time.
was lying in the center of her daughter Abby’s soft bed just like she’d done almost every
night since the elopement.Though she was
certain she had retreated to the recliner at one point, it seemed as if it was
growing more and more difficult to tell the dreams from the waking.
She had to get out, go somewhere . . .
All righty, that's all for this week. Now skip on over to the wewriwa.com website and check out a whole bunch of AWESOME authors! Until next week...cheers!
Can a love already
tested to the limit survive on the trail to the wilds of California to their
new home?After bidding farewell to her
despondent family, newly-pregnant Charlotte drops everything to follow Sanderson
to a promised job out west. The journey proves more difficult than any of them
could have ever imagined. Wild animals, natural disasters, and a heavy Indian
presence test not only Sanderson and Charlotte’s strength and endurance, but
their faith in each other as well. Meanwhile, Minerva packs up the little rock
cottage to journey west in the company of infant Jay Jay and Cotton just as
peace Sanderson is trying to bridge between the Army and the Snake River
Indians begins to fall apart.
About Sara Barnard
Sara Barnard is a
mother of four beautiful children and author of the children’s nonfiction book
THE ABC’S OF OKLAHOMA PLANTS and the historical romance series AN EVERLASTING
HEART. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, hiking with her family, or
tackling the ever-growing pile of laundry produced by her family of six! Sara
holds her B.A. in history and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Fish and
Wildlife Management. Along with their four children, Sara’s family consists of
a plethora of rescue animals, each with a story of their own. Sara and her
family currently make their home in the beautiful, historic hills of
“Shall we ride into town and say
goodbye to George and Cotton, Charlotte?” Sanderson’s honey-sweet voice was
thick in the early summer air. The sun had just begun to peek over the eastern
horizon, tinting the sky a soft baby pink.
Morning had always been
Charlotte’s favorite time of day, when everything was new and the pace was slow
and sleepy. It was as if they all had another chance, a fresh start, the gift
of a new day. Back during the War Between the States, when Sanderson was gone
and nothing made sense, she would sit out in front of the little sod-roofed
house she had shared with her father. There she could just be, with her
steaming cup of coffee, one with the night birds in the darkness as the sun
prepared to make its daily climb into the sky. But today was different.
She and Sanderson had taken their
coffee in haste while packing their belongings for the long, overland journey
that lay between them and California Territory. Jerry Thomas was already
outside. It was no secret that he wished Minerva, her sister-in-law, and baby
Jackson Junior, would come with them. Well, with him.
“Yes, I can’t leave without
seeing Pa.” She glanced at Achilles, who Jerry had saddled. The old Gray stood
swishing his tail absent-mindedly as Charlotte shouldered her bedroll. The
adventure that awaited them on the long trail between Arkansas and California,
where the job of Indian Agent was promised to Sanderson, was all consuming.
Well, almost. “And I am sure going to miss Cotton.”
Just the thought of the bright,
gapped-tooth grin of her former-student-turned-adoptive-brother and his sunny
disposition was enough to dampen her resolve to head west. The adventuresome
spark that had flared moments before flickered as the thin, sallow face of her
Pa and the bronzed, shining one belonging to Cotton flashed through her mind.
The bedroll that had seemed so light suddenly felt as though it contained lead
bricks. She eased it to the ground, casting a glance back at her rock house.
The sign Cotton and George had
made in secret, while building the house for them as a wedding present, caught
her eye. S.C. REDDINGQ. “Q
was Cotton’s favorite letter.”
Emotion surged from the depths of
Charlotte’s soul. “Don’t know if I can leave them, Sanderson.”
She didn’t realize she was
trembling until her beloved’s hand fell gently on her shoulder, drawing her
watery gaze from their first home to him. He was still handsome, he always
would be, but in a more aged way since escaping from prison. Sparkles from the
sunrise accented the brown flecks in his hazel eyes. A slow smile spread wide
across his full lips, revealing those dimples that made her knees turn to water
and her stomach turn up in knots. Everything
will be alright, it seemed to promise, cloaking her fears in warmth. As long as we’re together, everything will
be alright. Achilles nickered, breaking Charlotte from her trance.
“It’s not set in stone,
Charlotte. We can stay.” A chilled summer breeze tousled his hair, swirling the
thick, sandy locks this way and that. “I can find work around here…”
Sanderson’s words trailed off as he tried to hide the hopeless note in his
voice. He averted his eyes, focusing on Charlotte’s ear instead of her face.
“I’m sure there’s plenty, what with most of the guys heading west with gold
Charlotte felt her shoulders rise
and fall. Altrose had survived the war only to become little more than a ghost
town as the south struggled to thrive as an integral part of the United States
of America. Apparently, the promise of adventure and riches west of the Rockies
proved more suitable a venture than staying to work in disgrace amongst the
haughty carpetbaggers. Most of the shops along Main Street had closed, their
boarded-up windows all boasting the same selfish farewell on splintery boards:
GONE WEST FOR GOLD. The stage had taken to running only three times a week
instead of everyday. Even then, it seemed to carry more and more of Altrose’s
citizens away and never brought them back.
“Let’s go on and go if we’re
going,” Charlotte whispered. Minerva’s soft sobs tore at her tender heart. “No
use forcing them to keep saying
Her sister-in-law’s face was
pressed on Jerry’s shoulder, his arm draped loosely around her. Tearstains
soaked the fabric of his shirt in a giant halo around Minerva’s face. Charlotte
knew the pain she was feeling. She had felt it at every one of Sanderson’s many
impromptu absences during their courtship and marriage. How odd it was not to
be feeling the old, familiar sadness herself, not to be the woman ripped from
the promise of happiness in her beloved’s arms. I wish she’d come with us, her and Jay Jay. We’re family...
Before Charlotte could utter
those very words, Minerva straightened her back and shrugged Jerry’s arm from
“Perhaps I will—” She wiped her
purple velvet housecoat sleeve across her nose. “Perhaps after.” Charlotte
watched Minerva’s eyes glisten as she searched her English vocabulary for the
very words that wouldn’t hurt Jerry Thomas while, at the same time, would
explain her heart. Words they all wanted to hear.
Jerry held a finger to her lips.
His chestnut eyes gazed into Minerva’s. Neither pain nor suspicion clouded
them. “You don’t have to explain yourself to me, Minerva Dika Glasgus.” His
thumb trailed lightly across her cheek. “I know a thing or two about women, and
I understand that you need that paper from Dr. Jernigan. Life has dealt you
many blows, and none of us are certain of the future. Should we marry—”
Minerva’s cream complexion
deepened until it was scarlet. “Go on.”
Jerry’s lips twisted into a
seductive smile. Charlotte felt her own insides quake at the intensity of the
“Should we marry and tragedy
strike, you need to be able to make it in a white man’s world and provide for
yourself and Jay Jay…and whoever else may have come along at that point.”
Minerva clasped both of her hands
over his, holding them to her lips as the tears—no doubt, welcome ones—ran in
rivulets down her cheeks. “Thank God, you understand.” Her voice was breathy.
“I’ll be in California, Camp
Bidwell. Send word when you have your paper in hand, and I’ll send the funds
for your travel.”
Minerva nodded, her eyes squeezed
shut. Charlotte’s hand tightened around Sanderson’s.
“I love you, Minerva.”
Minerva’s sobs came harder,
faster. She nodded, sending the tendrils of soft, inky hair flouncing about
their hands. “I love you, Jerry.”
He kissed their hands. “Just
promise me one thing.”
With a lone sniffle, Minerva
sobered. Charlotte knew in her soul that Minerva didn’t have any more promises
to give, what with having herself and baby Jay Jay to care for. “A promise?”
“Promise me that you won’t even
consider coming west until you have that paper in your hand.” He kissed their
hands again. “Promise?”
Minerva exhaled. “Promise.”
Jerry mounted his horse with the
special saddle. She laid her hand on his wooden leg. The tears of love, relief,
and understanding shimmered in tiny pools on her pockmarked face.
“No more tears,” Jerry
instructed, cupping Minerva’s chin in a hand. “Now, give me a smile and go on
inside so you don’t have to see us leave.”
After allowing a smile to tease
her lips, Minerva scooped up Jay Jay and turned to comply. As she neared where
Charlotte and Sanderson stood, she turned back to Jerry.
Jerry waved her unspoken words
away with a smile. “Not a moment before.”
Minerva nodded in agreement
before turning back to Charlotte.
Jerry’s voice broke through the
quiet. “Hey, Minerva.”
Ever silent, she turned back to
face him, Jay Jay balanced on her hip in all his three-month-old glory. Her
voice box useless, she could only stare at the man who smiled at her so sweetly
from atop the horse.
A distant roll of thunder sent a
shudder down Charlotte’s spine.
“I love you, Minerva.” With a
mischievous wink, Jerry turned and galloped off towards town.
Minerva sniffled again and
shifted Jay Jay from one hip to the other. “He said if I wanted a rock cottage
like this of my own, then he will make me one out west.”
Charlotte extended an arm to her
sister-in-law. “You can have this one as long as you are of a mind to stay,
Minerva,” she whispered.
“I know,” Minerva said, giving
Charlotte a little squeeze. “I will watch over your home as though it were my
own. When I get my paper, I will come.”
“We—your family—will be there
waiting for you and baby Jay.”
With a smile and quick flick of
her housedress, Minerva disappeared into the house. Charlotte thought she heard
a sob resonate from one of the open windows.
“There, got it,” Sanderson
exclaimed as he heaved the giant board upon his shoulder. He carried it to the
wagon and stuck it over a wheel. S
C REDDINGQ. “Now we can take a
little bit of home with us wherever we go.”