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Trudy Pyburn's father offers Will Hardy, ex-confederate officer, vigilante, and friend, a large tract of land and a generous dowry to marry his problem daughter.
The twenty-eight year old war-weary fugitive has faced much adversity, but nothing could have prepared him for his involvement with Trudy Pyburn.
Learning of the agreement between her father and "that outlaw person", Trudy vows to make Will wish he'd gone to jail for shooting a man, and she teaches him that a good range war would've been less stressful to him than his attempt to put his brand on her.
Pyburn County, Texas 1870
Sunday Afternoon: Late Summer
Trudy Pyburn, sun-treaked hair plastering her face, clothes dripping wet, ran as if a demon chased her. She dashed by the picnic table and up the side steps into the house.
Moments later, she slammed out the door carrying her fatherâ€™s shotgun, and leapt down the steps. She headed toward the thickets of honey locusts growing along the bank of the pond.
Jumping up from the table under the large oak, spilling his tea in his plate, Frank yelled, "What the hell? Tom, catch your sister before she does something weâ€™ll all regret.â€
Tom, already on his feet, dashed past trellises of roses showering the ground in a cloud of faded pink petals, their faint scent lingering in the hot air.
Ignoring the reproachful look his swearing brought to his wifeâ€™s face, Frank Pyburn wiped his mouth on a napkin. His wide shoulders cast a shadow over the table, his eyes burned, and he narrowed them against the glare of the midday sun. "What do you suppose Trudyâ€™s up to now? I tell you, Maria, weâ€™ve lost all control of that girl. Tom never gives us a minuteâ€™s trouble, but Trudy is as wild as a woods colt.â€
His wife sighed, fanning herself with a paper fan sheâ€™d brought from church. Her olive skin glowed damp and appealing, and she turned her soft, dove-gray eyes toward her husband. "Youâ€™re her father, Frank. Youâ€™re the one to discipline her. She pays no attention to anything I say.â€
Mariaâ€™s dark hair, coiled into the severe knot he hated, did not detract from her aristocratic beauty. Her bewitching eyes and gentle smile still caught at his heart.
He averted his gaze from her, slapped his napkin on the table, and opened the neck of his dress shirt in response to the oppressive heat. "The whole confounded town is talking about her. She should get married; thatâ€™s what Reverend Hansen says. Iâ€™ve decided to see to that, Maria. Iâ€™ve sent for Will Hardy.â€
"Will Hardy?â€ A shadow of a smile touched his wifeâ€™s lips.
Frank removed his belt and gun from the chair and buckled it around his waist. He paced while Maria stacked their plates, her eyes reflecting her disappointment at the remains of their mostly uneaten meal.
She touched a limp handkerchief to her damp face. "Consuela sets such a nice table, even when we eat out here,â€ she murmured, reaching to gather up the dishes.
"Leave that, Maria,â€ Frank said. Realizing his impatient tone might offend his wife, he added, his voice calm, "Thatâ€™s what I pay Consuela to do, dearest.â€
Maria looked at the hot cloudless sky and spoke as though she felt she must make polite conversation, "This drought has left everything so dry. Perhaps it will rain soon.â€
Tom, his dark hair curling around his tanned face, came into view carrying his struggling sister over a broad shoulder. Holding the shotgun in one hand, he kept her pinned to him with the other. Trudy screamed and hit him with her fists. Reaching the table, Tom wrestled her to her feet and stepped back to avoid a kick. He blew out his breath and swiped at the damp stain Trudyâ€™s wet clothes left on his shirt.
Frank took hold of his daughterâ€™s shoulders, forcing her to face him. He released her and ordered, "Into the house, Trudy!â€
She flinched and hurried to follow him. Her mother and brother accompanied them to the front parlor.
Margery wrote her first story at age eight, about a little girl who didn't want to go to school and a little frog who did.
Since that time, she's written dozens of short stories, (several have been published here and in England), completed seven novels, (four have been published, and she has received a contract on a fifth, which will be released in Feb. 2007) Margery is currently working on six or seven others in various stages of completion.
She has won many writing contests, and received a number of awards, including the Susannah Nelson Davis Award for Excellence, the 1999 Distinguished Artist Award in Honor of Outstanding Contributions to the Literary Arts in Louisiana, and a 2001 Louisiana Library Award.
She's been a judge for many writing contests, including the Molly, RWA's Golden Heart, and belongs to several writing groups, her local RWA chapter, and the national RWA chapter, and has taught an online class in creative writing. She is a member of several critique groups.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 282
Paper Weight (lb): 12.0