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Nancy Minnis Damato
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Taylor Broderick has two things that matter in her life--Momma and the dream they share to find the gold-seeking father Taylor has never known. When an opportunity arises for them to continue their search for him, Taylor can barely climb the mountain fast enough to tell Momma. After announcing their fondest wish can be realized, Taylor learns the father, her hopes, trusting mother--everything she believes--is a lie. Taylorâ€™s quest to find her own "familyâ€ leads her halfway across the continent and into a life of self-destruction.
Mule Gulch Canyon
Bisbee, Arizona 1893
Taylor Broderick stood on the precipice of the dream she had carried for all of her almost thirteen years. Her heart soared above the cliffs of the green streaked mountains surrounding her. She threw her arms around teary-eyed Catherine Pickett. "Donâ€™t feel sad. Momma and I can go with you to California, Cat.â€ Taylorâ€™s voice bubbled with such joy even the rank sulfur clouds from the copper mines dotting the canyon seemed to brighten.
The puzzled look from the bony, blonde "virginnyâ€ did not deter Taylor. "How could you ever think of going to California without me? You and your outrageous brothers are the only family I have--except for Momma,â€ Taylor said.
Taylor had never told anyone, not even her very best friend, about the "familyâ€ she had left behind in St. Louis, or of her life growing up in the ordinary house with Mrs. Costello, Mandy and the numerous guests.
"Your Maâ€™s made a right proper place for herself here,â€ Cat challenged. "The town holds respect, looks up to her. Even Baxter donâ€™t trust nobody with his cash but your Ma and her bank.â€
"You werenâ€™t here when we arrived in Bisbee,â€ Taylor reasoned. "Momma was spent, unable to come around, from a â€™bout of fever and had no will to go on. We had traveled for two years from St. Louis to the territories in an effort to find Poppa. The last people who saw him said Jacob Broderick left Missouri for California. We only stopped here until Momma got better, and we could pay our way to California.â€
Taylorâ€™s smile stretched across her face and stayed, she couldnâ€™t stop the effervescent happiness tingling from her head to toe. Iâ€™m going to find Poppa. The mysterious Jacob Broderick! The father I have never met.
"I have to tell Momma.â€ Taylor darted away in a half-skip and a hop. "Weâ€™ve barely enough time to pack. Iâ€™ll come back later.â€ She sprinted across tufts of wild grass chomped to their roots by a nearby cow, her boots skimming the rocky, brown soil. In seconds, the cramped cabin housing Cat and another six Pickett children and Mr. Pickett, plus his new muleskinner wife and her four offspring, disappeared from sight.
Taylor kicked up dust and pebbles behind her in a most unladylike dash down Main Street. As she neared Hilltop Hotel strains of music created a churchly canopy overhead.
Sunday, thank God. As President of Bisbee Bank and owner of the townâ€™s only assay office, Josie Broderick found few hours to spare, but when she did and the debilitating melancholia kept at bay, Momma played her violin.
Taylor burst through the door of the boarding house and raced up the stairs, three at a time, her gangly legs at ease with the span. "Momma, Momma.â€
On the top landing Taylor threw open the nearest door. Petite Josie Broderick stood at the open window, her hypnotic blue eyes wide in alarm. Platinum curls had broken free of a topknot and hugged an angelic face giving an appearance of softness, submissiveness, obviously a lady of quality. But, Taylor knew the strong will that hid beneath the delicate faÃ§ade.
"Momma, the Pickettâ€™s and four other families are leaving for California in three days. We have to hurry and pack. Get supplies. We can go with them and find Poppa. Oh, Momma, weâ€™ll be a family. Taylor bowed grandly, "May I present Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Broderick and their daughter Taylor?â€ Her words flooded out like the rush of water through a cracked dam. "We have to buy another wagon. Weâ€™ll take our savings in gold. Sew it in our skirts. We donâ€™t want to end up without means like last time.â€
"Stop rambling, child. Whatever are you babbling on about?â€ Josieâ€™s brow puckered, her shoulders stiffened and squared. "We are not going anywhere. I have a position, a responsibility. And, whatever possessed you to romp down Main Street with all the refinement of a bee-stung colt? People will think I raised a savage, not a girl hoping to become a lady of consequence. Settle down, I have news of my own.â€
Born in Illinois and relocated to Arizona, Nancy uses this background as the settings for the Taylor family trilogy. "I live to write,â€ Nancy says. "If I were told the end of the world is near, I would type faster.â€
Her debut novel, THE PAWN, Book I, released by Wings Press in August, 2005, follows the trials of Josefina Taylor when sheâ€™s banished from her family and becomes the pawn in a plot for revenge. The strict society portrayed before Josefina escapes is based on Nancyâ€™s upbringing and stories related by her Grandmother. BELONGING, Book II released by Wings in February, 2006, carries on with the second generation and a young motherâ€™s tested desire to survive and to provide a future for her children. Nancy faced some of the same challenges as a divorcee with two children. SEPARATE WORLDS brings new horizons to Nancyâ€™s storytelling, but still relies on the need for family bonds, no matter how withered or tested, to provide the sustenance of life.
"The intrigue, suspense, and challenges of the characters spice up my life, too. With only the barest outline, normally a timeline, the heroes and heroines of my stories tell me of their heartbreaks and triumphs as we go. Sometimes Iâ€™m as surprised as the reader--what fun.â€
Celebrating thirty years in a second marriage, with a blended family of one husband, six children scattered throughout the states, fifteen grandchildren, one ferret, one iguana and numerous cats and dogs, Nancy tempers her passion to write with Mah Jong, Canasta, casino runs and a passel of great friends. Besides visiting family and friends, she travels between the healing hot sun of the Arizona desert and the cool canyon breezes of the green Utah mountains.
On her website, www.nancydamto.com, Nancy invites you to send an email with your thoughts about the series. Please do, she enjoys hearing from her fans--and the helpful input of those not-so fans.
Her current novel in progress, TEARS OF A WOMAN, tells of a second chance for a woman who lost the only man she could ever love.
Richly written, The Pawn is a compelling story of intrigue, danger and fame. Peggy P. Parsons w/as Evanell--Glimpse of Eternity, Glimpse of Forever, Glimpse of Never-Ending Love
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 408
Paper Weight (lb): 17
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