Linda Hoover Books
Linda Hoover Books
“Good morning, Mrs. Anderson.” Her husband’s husky voice made Julia smile.
Yesterday hadn’t been a dream. After several months of frustrating uncertainty and a kidnapping, this handsome man was her husband. She turned toward Jacob. He sat on a chair nearby, dressed and ready for the day. If someone had tried to tell her, she would never have believed her heart could contain this much love and happiness.
He stood and took her hand. “Time to get up. We have a big day ahead.”
Julia allowed him to assist her out of bed, hurried into her dress and then the two of them went down to the hotel dining room. After their food arrived, Julia said, “I forgot to ask you about my trunks, yesterday. I assume they all got to the station?”
Jacob hesitated a moment. “Yes, they’re all there.”
Her brow furrowed. “What’s wrong?”
He avoided her eyes. “Nothing’s wrong. I saw all of them.”
“Oh, no. Did I have too many?” Had she caused him extra trouble already?
He laid down his fork and rested his gaze on her. “Well, I thought you might have two. I didn’t expect six. One of them felt like it was full of bricks.”
“Books,” Julia said, clasping her hands tightly together in her lap. “I wanted to bring some of them with me. I love to read, and I’ll want to teach our children.”
His eyes widened. “You have enough books to fill a trunk?”
“Some are textbooks and some are literature. You don’t mind, do you? I had twelve trunks to begin with and narrowed it down to six.” She twisted her pearl ring and searched his eyes for any sign he might be upset.
He stared at her for a moment then laughed. “It’s fine. I’m sure that’s not the last time I’ll be surprised.”
Julia released a sigh of relief. They came from different worlds, so they were bound to surprise each other from time to time.
After breakfast, they went back to their room to get their things and Julia took one last look in the mirror. “Are you sure I look all right?” She didn’t feel as well put together without her maid’s help. It would be a while before she’d be able to style her hair. She tried to pat a few stray curls into place. It was up, but that’s all she could say for it.
Jacob gave her a hug. “You’re beautiful.”
When they got to the station, Jacob checked to make sure their baggage had been loaded, then they boarded the train. This would be the longest trip Julia had ever taken. She sat on the slightly cushioned leather seat and imagined she’d be glad when the trip ended. Julia perused the schedule again. They’d stop for lunch, then spend the night in a hotel.
As the train left the station, she silently bid Boston farewell. She’d miss her friends and family, and all that was Boston, but had no regret, only excitement.
She watched, fasinated, as they passed small towns and farms with their red barns and white houses. Fields were various shades of green or gold. Would their farm look like these? Turning to Jacob, she asked, “What does Iowa look like?”
“I only know what Henry said in his letters. The Mississippi River runs along the east side of the state, and there are sawmills along the river. So, there must be a lot of trees. But there’s a lot of farm land too, and he said the soil is so rich you can grow anything.”
“And his farm is a success?”
Jacob grinned. “He certainly seems satisfied, which is why I decided to go.”
Her cheeks warmed. “I’m sorry. That was a silly question.”
He clasped her hand. “I understand that you’ll have a lot of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask.”
Good to know. “Okay, here’s another question, then. Will I be able to have flowers?”
A smile lite his face. “You can have as many flowers as you want. You might want to plant a few vegetables too, though, since we can’t eat flowers.”
She twisted her ring while she thought about that bit of news. “Don’t you think there will be a town nearby, where we can buy what we need? I’m not sure I’ll be able to grow food.”
“If you can grow flowers, you can grow vegetables,” he said, laughing. “Davenport is the city on the Iowa side of the Mississippi where the train crosses. Henry’s farm isn’t too far from there. I’m sure he’ll be able to tell us about the area. And we won’t be too far from a town no matter where we live. Towns and farmers depend on each other.”
Her tense muscles relaxed a little, but she had a feeling that growing things they’d depend on for food would be harder than he let on. Thank goodness they’d be close to a town.
After lunch, Julia had a hard time keeping her eyes open. The rhythmic clicking of the train wheels brought on one yawn after another, until she lay her head on Jacob’s shoulder. The next thing she knew they were at their stop for the night.
She straightened when the train whistle blew, and the wheels squealed against the rails. “I can’t believe I slept all that time.” She reached up to make sure her hat hadn’t slid sideways.
“Don’t worry about it.” Jacob assisted her in gathering their things. “You must have needed it. I’m hungry. Let’s go eat.”
After a good meal and a good night’s rest, Julia felt fortified for another day on the rails. They boarded the train, along with some new passengers, and were soon on their way again. All the seats were occupied and it didn't take long for the sun shining in the windows to raise the temperature in the car.
About half way through the morning, children began to complain and a baby cried. Jacob opened the window beside her while the other passengers opened the windows next to their seats. Unfortunately, they didn’t open far enough to give them much relief from the heat and odor of so many bodies confined in one space.
Julia took out her handkerchief and dabbed the perspiration from her face. She could feel a headache on its way, but determined not to say anything. Other than not having her maid, Millie, she considered this her first test of inconvenience. If she couldn’t survive something as minor as a hot, smelly, over-crowded, noisy train ride, she might as well take the next train back. And that would never happen.
She searched for her fan in the bag she’d carried on. Among the items she found Godey’s Lady’s magazine. That would work. It soon became obvious she was only moving the hot air around. Instead, she flipped through the magazine and came to a section with house plans. “Look at these, Jacob. Aren’t they cute little houses?”
He took the magazine and looked over the plans. “You’re right. They’re little. I want you to have a bigger house than that.”
Julia continued turning the pages until she came to something else that caught her attention. “We’ll have a porch on our house, won’t we?”
“We will if you want one. Why do you ask?”
She pointed at the page. “I have to have one of these.”
He gazed at the picture. A swing for two, with a flowered cushion, hung on a porch surrounded by potted plants. “I don’t know if people actually use those things, but if you want one, it’ll be one of the first things we get.” He smiled and kissed her cheek.
"Thank you.” She closed her eyes and smiled. “Can you imagine sitting on a swing in the cool of the evening, with a glass of cold lemonade?”
“Sounds great. I wouldn’t mind some of that cold lemonade right now.”
She turned to Jacob, plans bubbling up inside of her. “I want to have lots of flowers close to the house, so we can see them and smell them whenever we sit outside. As soon as we have an address I’m going to subscribe to several publications. They have lots of useful ideas.”
They passed the rest of their morning talking about what the perfect house would be like.
Fortunately, the family with the crying baby didn’t get back on after the lunch stop and Julia went back to enjoying the scenery outside the window. Farms, fields and cows. She didn’t want to say anything, but the number of towns they passed were getting fewer and farther between. If this pattern continued, there would be only the one city Jacob told her about in the whole state of Iowa. Hopefully, they wouldn’t live too far from there.
To distract herself from her worrisome thoughts, she took a book, A Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, from her bag and read until their supper stop. When they got there, her stiff legs and back made it difficult to stand and walk down the aisle.
As Jacob helped her down onto the platform, he asked, “Everything all right?”
“My body is protesting being in one position so long. Maybe we can take a walk after dinner.”
After supper they strolled arm in arm to a place where they could look out over Lake Erie. A strong, cool, fishy smelling breeze blew in from the lake while noisy seagulls circled overhead, then settled on the shore. Seeing the water brought an ache to Julia’s heart. “This makes me think of the ocean.”
Jacob put his arm around her waist and pulled her close. “Will you miss it?”
She thought a minute. “I don’t know yet. I haven’t been gone long enough.”
“I hope we’ll have a creek or pond on our land. That way we can get wet in the summer and skate in the winter.”
Julia turned to him with a smile. “I hope so, too. I remembered my skates.”
“My guess is, you remembered everything.” He gave her a playful nudge with his elbow.
She frowned. “I had the rest of my life to pack for.”
“I’m teasing you.” He winked at her. “I think it’ll be interesting to see what one person can find to fill six trunks.”
“Excuse me. I don’t mean to bother you, but I overheard some of your conversation. Are you, by any chance, from Boston?”
They both turned to see an elderly woman. Julia’s eyes widened when she took in a small woman with white hair, kind eyes, and rosy cheeks. “Yes, how did you know?”
“I’ve just been there visiting my nephew’s family. I enjoyed seeing the ocean, and Bostonians have a bit of an accent.”
“Are you traveling alone?” Jacob asked.
“My husband passed away a few years ago, so if I want to go, I go alone. I’m never truly by myself, though. God is with me. I take comfort in that.”
“You’re welcome to join us.” Jacob put his hand on his chest then gestured toward Julia. “I’m Jacob Anderson and this is my bride, Julia.”
“I’m Mabel Jones. It’s very nice to meet you. So, you’re newlyweds. How far west do you intend to go?”
Julia linked her arm with her husband’s. “Jacob has heard wonderful things about Iowa. We plan to settle there.”
Mabel shook her head. “Can’t say I know much about it, but I wish you luck. I’m from Chicago, so if the train’s on schedule, I’ll be home tomorrow night.”
“I’m sure you’ll be glad.” Julia couldn’t help thinking, if the ride was uncomfortable for her, it must be even more so for someone of Mrs. Jones’s age.
“The train is a better way to travel than the stage coach, but this old body will be glad when the trip is over. I never regret the time spent, though. I always meet interesting people and something tells me you two have an interesting story.”
Jacob and Julia gazed at each other and smiled. “That would be one way to put it,” Jacob said.
“I’d love to hear it, if you don’t mind telling me. It’ll make the time go faster tomorrow.”
“All right,” Julia said. “We’ll plan on it.”
The next morning, Jacob and Julia sat in a seat that faced Mabel. Julia started their story.
“I met Jacob in February. On my arrival home later that day, Mother informed me my father had made a betrothal agreement with Lucien, a man I’d never choose for myself.” She made a slashing motion with her hand. “Even though Jacob wasn’t in one of Boston’s old families, my heart told me to get to know him. I’d hoped to be able to change Papa’s mind about Lucien and get him to accept Jacob.” Julia put her hand on his arm.
“My oldest sister, Katherine, is a believer. Because of what she shared with us,” Julia slid her arm around Jacob’s, “we made the decision to invite God into our hearts and pray for his will in our lives. Jacob wanted to go to Iowa, but didn’t have the money. I needed to get rid of Lucien and convince Papa that Jacob would be the best choice. We had some discouraging times.”
Jacob jumped in. “Like during the month I had to spend in New York and we didn’t hear from each other, because her mother didn’t give Julia my letters.”
Julia nodded. “And, while he was gone, my parents held the dinner announcing my engagement. That’s when Lucien told me our marriage would protect my family from scandal. Not long after that, I found out it was actually Lucien blackmailing my father.” She shook her head. “A lot of drama happened, but in the end Jacob and I married a few days ago.”
Mabel’s eyes twinkled. “Sounds like you left out a lot of details. I’d like to hear about the drama.”
Julia turned to Jacob and he smiled. “We do have a lot of time ahead of us and there aren't many couples who have a kidnapping as part of their history.
~ 2 ~
Julia took turns with Jacob sharing their experiences with Mable, from beginning to happy ending.
By the time they were done, Mabel had tears in her eyes. “I’m so glad you had a sister who loved you enough to lead you to the Lord. Would you mind if I share something with you?”
Julia smiled. “No, not at all.”
“You’ve told me you don’t know where you’ll live when you get there, and I can tell that bothers you, Julia.”
She started to protest, but Mabel went on. “I know you wouldn’t say anything, but a woman can tell.” Mable reached forward and patted Julia’s hand. “I want to let you know God can provide a home for you just as easily as He provided the means for you to marry and come west. There’s a scripture in Matthew, the sixth chapter that tells us not to worry, because God knows everything we need. He’ll take care of us.
“We need to live by faith and not by sight. Second Corinthians 5:7 tells us that.”
The train stopped for a lunch break, and when they got back on Jacob asked, “Since we’re trusting God to take care of us, does that mean nothing bad will happen?”
Julia held her breath. She had a feeling she knew. Did she want it confirmed?
“No. It means He’ll give you the strength to handle the bad things that come along, as well as provide the good things. I lost two of my children to measles, but I know they’re in heaven. If I didn’t have hope I’d see them and my husband again someday, I wouldn’t want to go on. Things happen that we don’t understand, and that’s when we have to lean on God. This is a scripture I learned early on; Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Jacob’s eyebrows rose. “It sounds as though you have a lot of the Bible memorized.”
She chuckled. “I’ve been reading it for years. It’s full of hope and promise, as well as instruction for everyday life. I hope you’ll take some time each day to read and pray. Prayer is conversation with God, and He wants to hear about everything.”
Julia squeezed Jacob’s hand. “We’re going to teach our children about this as soon as they’re born. I wish I would have had an understanding of God’s love before now.”
Mable said, “It would be a good idea to keep a record of prayer requests and answers. It will be an encouragement to look back and see how God has been with you. It’ll also be good to show your children.”
To Julia it seemed the afternoon flew by, as she and Jacob asked Mabel questions, trying to learn as much as they could before she had to leave them.
Before they got to the Chicago station, Mable wrote down her address and gave it to them. “You be sure to write me about your new home. I have a feeling God has it all worked out.” When they got to the platform, Mabel gave them each a hug, and disappeared into the crowd.
Jacob turned to Julia. “Do you think Katherine was responsible for Mrs. Jones?”
Chill bumps covered Julia’s arms at the thought. “I wouldn’t be surprised. Katherine didn’t have much time to talk to us before we left and Mrs. Jones had so much wisdom to share.”
Julia looped her arm around Jacob’s. “I want to find a shop where I can buy a journal. I’m going to do as she suggested and keep track of how God is working in our lives. I already have a lot to record.”
They found a shop open and when they got to their hotel room, Julia got started. Her excitement would have kept her up all night, if Jacob hadn’t insisted she turn off the gaslight so they could get some sleep.
She got in bed, but couldn’t turn off her thoughts. “I can’t wait to write to Katherine. She’ll be so pleased about our meeting Mrs. Jones. I’ll be sure to tell Lily and Sophia when I write them, too. And of course, I want to tell Margaret.”
“How about if I brush your hair again? Do you think that’ll help you go to sleep?”
Guilt nudged her. “I’m sorry, but I’m so bubbly inside. Aren’t you?”
He yawned. “I’m too tired for bubbles.”
Julia stopped talking to Jacob and started talking to God. Thank you for bringing Mrs. Jones into our lives. Thank you for Jacob. Thank you for Katherine. She went on with her list for a while longer before snuggling closer to Jacob and falling asleep.
When morning came, she awoke with the same sense of excitement. “Today we get to Iowa, meet Henry and find out if God has a home for us. I can’t wait.” Julia hurried Jacob along the platform at the train station. Why was he walking so slowly? “Aren’t you excited?”
“Yes, but don’t be disappointed if we don’t get a place today. Remember what Katherine said, ‘God’s timing is not always the same as ours.’”
She knew he meant well, and caution and practicality were fine traits, but couldn’t he be excited with her? Julia huffed out a breath. “Well, at least we’ll be done with the train ride and on to the next part of the adventure.” Her backside was more than ready to be done with that hard seat.
It took most of the day to get to the bridge spanning the Mississippi river that took them into Iowa. The train car was unbearably hot and stuffy after the rain they’d had all morning and part of the afternoon. When Julia and the other passengers saw the end in sight, she cheered with them.
Jacob assisted her off the train and found a bench. “Wait here while I find Henry and see about getting a wagon for our luggage.”
She eyed the wooden seat and decided she’d rather stand while she waited. Thirty minutes went by before Jacob came back with a peculiar look on his face. “I can’t find Henry anywhere. I thought sure he would meet us.”
“Maybe he didn’t get the telegram.”
Rubbing his chin, he said, “We left before he had time to respond, so I suppose it’s possible.”
Julia took Jacob’s arm. “We’ll just have to start this part of the adventure without him. Do you think you can find Henry’s place?”
He grinned. “I’ll do my best.” Jacob led her out of the station to a wagon piled with their luggage. He’d been able to rent horses to take the wagon to the hotel. They’d have to stay there until he bought horses of their own. After securing a room, they went to the hotel dining room for supper.
Noisy diners filled the room while waitresses hurried from table to table. Julia didn’t have the heart to detain theirs by asking questions about farms for sale. “Maybe the clerk at the front desk will be able to give us some information.”
Jacob nodded. “We’ll ask him. I also saw some newspapers in the lobby. Davenport’s a big town. We shouldn’t have too much trouble finding what we need.”
After supper, they strolled along wide boardwalks, gazing into large windows on the storefronts. Because of the sawmills, stores held furniture, pianos, barrels, churns, ladders and other items made of wood. Other stores joined the crowded business district as well. When they passed a grocery, she breathed a sigh of relief. They should be able to find what they needed there without her having to grow it.
“Look at this.” Jacob stopped in front of a jewelry store. “My uncle would say they must be civilized if they have time to think about jewelry rather than survival.”
She smiled. “You’ll have to let him know. Too bad it’s closed. It’d be interesting to see how it compares to Anderson’s Jewelry.”
As twilight settled around them, Julia noticed the lamp lighters stopping at each gas streetlight. On the rest of the way back to the hotel, they stepped from one pool of illumination to next along the sidewalk.
~ ~ ~
The next morning, Julia stopped at the front desk with Jacob. The hotel clerk gave them names of men with horses for sale, and directions to the telegraph office. She took Jacob’s arm as they stepped out into the sunshine and a stream of people starting their day.
Julia wrinkled her nose at the fishy smell carried on the breeze from the river. She pulled a scented handkerchief from her reticule and held it to her nose, then asked, “What’s the name of the town where Henry lives?”
“Cottontown.” Jacob chuckled. “Henry said they call it that because when the cottonwood trees go to seed it almost looks like snow, but instead of snowdrifts they have cotton ball drifts.”
She smiled, imagining downy drifts of cotton. “It sounds pretty.”
After making a couple of wrong turns, Jacob spotted the telegraph office. They went in and found a man hunched over a table behind the counter, writing furiously as the telegraph tapped out its code. When the message ended, he unfolded his long, thin body from the chair and approached the counter. “What can I do for you folks?”
Jacob stepped forward. “We’d like to send a telegram to Cottontown. A wire runs there, doesn’t it?”
“No sir, I’m afraid it doesn’t.”
Julia wilted a little, but Jacob just asked for directions to the town.
The telegraph operator jerked his thumb to the right. “It’s about a day and half north of here. If you’re traveling light, you might make it sooner.”
The man looked at her as if he doubted traveling light or quick would be a possibility. Julia’s stomach turned over as she pictured her six trunks piled high on their wagon. She’d be responsible for slowing them down right from the beginning.
Jacob thanked him for the information, took her by the elbow and steered her out the door. As soon as their feet hit the boardwalk, she said, “I’m sorry. Maybe we should leave some of my things behind.”
His eyebrows shot upward. “What? Leave some of your things? What are you talking about?”
“I’m going to slow us down. I’m sure I can think of something I don’t need.” Julia looked at the toes of her shoes and twisted her ring. What could she possibly part with? She’d left a lot of her belongings at home as it was.
He lifted her chin with his first two fingers, and gazed into her eyes. “We’re not leaving anything behind. It’s normal to have a lot when you start a new life.”
Relief brought tears to her eyes. “Really? You don’t mind?”
He smiled and squeezed her shoulder. “We’ll be fine. Really.” Tucking her hand in the crook of his elbow, he said, “Let’s go find some horses.”
~ ~ ~
By lunchtime, they were the proud owners of two beautiful quarter horses. They had golden coats with cream-colored manes and tails and a gentle disposition. Jacob led her close and she ran her hand over their velvety noses and sleek necks.
Thankfully, Jacob knew a lot about horses. They’d seen others that looked perfectly fine to her, but with a few questions and a good eye, he’d seen past the fancy talk and purchased animals he felt satisfied with. If it had been left up to her, she might have bought a couple of nags that couldn’t make it more than half way up the road.
As they strolled back to the hotel, she asked, “What shall we name them?”
He smiled. “I’ll let you decide.”
She thought about it for a while. “How about Princess and Duchess?”
“Pretty fancy for farm horses.” He chuckled. “I wouldn’t want them to think they’re too good to pull a plow.”
She widened her eyes. “We have to work, but that doesn’t keep us from being a lady and a gentleman.”
“You’re right. But as long as we’re thinking royalty, we should have the highest status in our kingdom. You’ll be the queen,” Jacob bowed, “and I’ll be the king.”
Julia giggled. “I approve, your highness.”
~ ~ ~
Julia and Jacob ate an early breakfast, and then started for Cottontown. An overcast sky turned into a cool drizzle. Soon Julia heard what sounded like thousands of tiny feet pattering the ground behind them, as if running to catch up. And catch up they did. Julia’s umbrella did little more than keep her head and shoulders dry. Her skirt and petticoat were soon soaked through, molding the fabric to her legs, and dripping from the brim of Jacob’s hat. He turned to see her watching him and smiled. She worked up a smile in return, hoping she didn’t look as miserable as she felt.
By evening the rain had stopped, but she couldn’t get warm. Julia rubbed her hands up and down her arms, but it did little with her wet, clammy clothes stuck to her skin. Jacob hadn’t said much all day, but she thought he must be as uncomfortable as her, not to mention hungry. It seemed like a long time since they’d huddled under some trees to eat a cold lunch.
As if he could read her mind, he turned to her, his eyes sad. “Cold, wet and hungry. Not a good way to start, is it?” Before she could answer, he said, “I’m sorry. We should have waited until tomorrow.”
She clenched her teeth to keep them from chattering. “I’ll admit this isn’t the way I pictured starting our new life, but the rain has only made today inconvenient.”
You’re taking this well.” He put his amazingly warm hand over her cold ones. “I appreciate it.”
Look. Isn’t that a light up ahead?”
He turned. “I think it’s a cabin. Maybe the people who live there will let us come in and dry out.”
They pulled up in front of a small ramshackle cabin, and Jacob jumped down to knock on the door. Julia gasped when the door jerked open, and a burly man who looked as though he hadn’t shaved or bathed in a very long time stood in the opening. The wagon sat close enough to the door for her to get a good whiff of alcohol as well.
“What d’ya want?”
Jacob backed up a step. “We were wondering if you might be able to shelter us tonight? We were caught in the rain earlier and need to dry out.”
The man shot her a look. “You can use the barn. I aint havin no woman in here.” He stepped back and slammed the door.
Jacob turned to her. “Would you like to use the barn or take our chances outside?”
The thought of staying out in the damp, cold night didn’t appeal to her in the least. “Let’s use the barn. Maybe he keeps it in better shape than he keeps himself.”
It didn’t take long to see the barn mirrored the man. The only animal inside was a horse whose stall hadn’t been cleaned in a while. The poor animal didn’t even seem to notice them.
Julia watched as Jacob cleaned up a corner as best he could, then brought in a blanket from his bag in the wagon. She sat down and hugged herself while Jacob went back out to unhitch the horses and bring them in. Once he’d taken care of them, he went out one more time and came back with some biscuits and cheese left from lunch and they had another cold meal.
He bumped her shoulder with his. “You’re not eating much.”
She resisted the urge to hold her nose. “I’m afraid the odor has caused me to lose my appetite.”
Jacob brushed the crumbs off his hands and lay down, pulling her down with him. “If we go to sleep, we won’t know where we are until we wake up.”
“Let’s pray we go to sleep fast.” She snuggled closer, appreciating his warmth. Fatigue claimed her, despite her discomfort, and she slept until dawn.
Jacob shifted and she woke with what she could only describe as a body ache. When she tried to straighten her legs, they were so stiff she couldn’t imagine ever getting to her feet again.
He rolled to a sitting position, and then stood up. “You ready to get out of here?” He held out his hand to help her up.
“More than ready, but I don’t know if I can.”
He chuckled as he helped her stand. “The stiffness will go away in a while.”
She brushed off her clothes. “Why isn’t it bothering you?”
“I’m not as delicate. He winked, then shook out the blanket and folded it.
She frowned at him and he laughed. “It’s not the first time I’ve slept in a barn. My brothers and I did whenever we had more overnight guests than bedrooms.”
He hitched the horses to the wagon and they began another day. The early morning air had a chill, but the sun shining through gauzy clouds soon warmed them up.
Jacob tilted his head to her. “We ought to reach Cottontown by noon. We’ll find Henry and yesterday will be nothing more than a bad memory.” He gave her a confident smile. “Our troubles will soon be over.”
Julia tried to relax, but only two days ago he had cautioned her not to get her hopes up. God had gotten them this far, though. Surely Henry could take it from here. She spent the rest of the trip enjoying the bird song and the colorful prairie flowers on either side of the muddy road. Mixes of blue, purple and bright orange and red, with clusters of miniature daises and black-eyed Susans was a feast for the eyes.
They both heaved a sigh of relief as they rolled into town, but it didn’t last long. The place looked deserted. A livery barn with a smithy next to it stood on the edge of town. A row of stores with false fronts ran along one side of the street with houses facing them on the other side. A church stood at the far edge of town, but not one person could be seen anywhere. The only sound came from the clip-clopping of their horses and a loose shutter banging on one of the buildings.
A chill ran up her spine. “What do you think happened?”
Be the first to know about new book releases, author events, contests and giveaways. Newsletter subscribers will receive Joel & Ella, a free novella. Stop by the BOOKS page to read the blurb. Click the cover to receive your novella.