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Alone in land as harsh as it is beautiful, Karensa Mateland harbors a secret longing for a man whose face she barely remembers. When a stranger enters her life, will Karensa cling to the past or find happiness with the man who loves her now?
Karensa rose before first light and crawled from her snug cocoon into the chill darkness. Seth had surprised her their first night on the trail by hanging tarpaulins from the bottom of the mess wagon, creating for her a cozy, private place to sleep. Though she had tried to thank him, he had only given a terse nod and strode away without listening. She shook her head at the memory, still unable to understand his actions. For the past two days he had behaved strangely. Several times she had caught him watching her with a worried frown, as if he had concerns about her ability to keep pace. But when she approached him to discuss the matter, he seemed first indifferent and then irritated. After that, she had tried to keep her distance as much as possible.
She looked for him now in the cluster of men still sleeping by the now dead fire, but soon gave up. The violet-gray dawn crept steadily over the horizon, but it was still too dark to see anything more than shadows.
Soundlessly, she circumvented the sleeping men and made her way into a small ravine bordering in the campsite. In the distance she heard Cim, still on last watch, crooning out some lonesome melody. Bear, who had sprawled all night outside her makeshift tent, trotted eagerly ahead, leading her down to a narrow, curving stream. Kneeling, she dipped her hands into the shallow water and splashed her face and neck. Then she set to work on her hair. By the time the sunâ€™s warming rays at last banished the darkness, her hair was neatly braided and she could hear the men rising to clear camp.
Not wanting to let go of the solitude, she wandered upstream. Around the bend she discovered a cluster of wind-ragged cottonwoods fringing a sparse patch of grass. Downstream, the creek bed grew wide and flat, and she knew the cattle would be jostling with one another to quench their thirst, but here all was still and peaceful. Finding a large flat rock under the trees she took a seat.
The solitude and beauty of the place reminded her of a chapel. She allowed her eyes to drift closed and immediately saw the familiar vision. Her gown was white lace. Beside her stood her beloved. His voice was deep and resonate , his hand strong and warm as it clasped hers.
I Karensa, take thee Joss...
She lifted her head at the sound of clattering rocks in the creek bed. More rocks sounded, and the loud rustling of something--someone--pounding through the brush. Bear darted off at once to investigate, and she quickly rose.
"Bear! Come,â€ she commanded. The last thing she needed was him frightening off an already skittish steer and starting a stampede.
Bear skidded to a stop, tail wagging, and a tall figure rounded the bend. It was Seth; and from the look on his face she knew there was trouble.
"What is it?â€ She scrambled down off her rock.
He halted, hands on his hips and legs braced wide. "What were you thinking?â€ he demanded. Even half hidden by the brim of his hat, his amber eyes were flecked with fire.
She frowned. "Thinking? About what?â€
Jo Burman makes her home in Butler, Pennsylvania with her husband, three children, and an ever increasing assortment of pets. Although Jo has always had a way with words, ( her first grade teacher used her stories as examples to the rest of the class) she began writing seriously during one long cold winter when she was very broke, very lonely, and couldn't afford any other hobby. "I thought my brain was going to turn to mush if I didn't find something to keep it active," she says of the time. Soon characters took up permanent residence in her life and she set a goal of having her first book published by the time she was thirty. Although she missed that goal by 5 years, she sees the time she spent waiting as necessary for her development as a writer. Ironically, she is now so involved in so many different activities she struggles to find writing time. When not at her keyboard, she is busy home educating her children, serving as her church's choir director, working in her garden, or engaging in any other creative activity that will help her avoid housework.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 216
Paper Weight (lb): 9.4
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