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An old prospector, Sour Dough, makes possible Laura Rutherford’s escape from a Colorado mining town in 1880 to accept a scholarship to Eton College in Denver. With her teaching degree comes heartbreak. Back in Placer she teaches the miners’ children and helps Jennie, a dance hall girl, learn to read. Jennie’s shocking death resolves Laura to work to get the mine owners to help the miners’ families. She enlists the help of Prescott, the handsome manager of the Caribou mine whom she has come to love even though his help might costs him his job and be lost to her.
How Laura and Prescott work together to achieve their goals and Sour Dough again helps them makes an exciting story of love, loss and final success.
Again the horses lined up. The pistol shot rang out and the race was on. Immediately the cowboy led the group with a wild surge. He no longer appeared to be drunk. He positioned his horse in front of Champion. On either side of her, Laura became aware that the two thoroughbreds were boxing her in. Champion pulled on the bit, chaffing at being restricted by the three horses. Suddenly he lunged at the cowboy’s horse and bit him on the flank. The horse went wild. He careened off the course and ran into the crowd, creating a wide swath among the onlookers.
No longer restricted by having a horse in front of him, Champion hit his stride. They raced down the muddy track. The horse on her right crowded against Champion’s flank. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the rider unsheathe a small knife. Holding the reins in her left hand, she slashed down hard on the rider’s arm with her crop and knocked the knife from his hand. For a moment the rider lost control of the horse which stumbled and dropped behind. The miner on his plow horse dropped far to the rear despite the cheers from his supporters.
It became a two horse race, Laura’s and the other Ravannel thoroughbred. They rounded the far corner of the track. The night’s rain created a morass of mud and few people stood to watch at that point. The two horses raced abreast when the rider on the thoroughbred reached out and pushed Laura violently. The attack caught her off guard. Franticly she grabbed Champion’s mane to right herself. She hung on.
The crowd roared. Laura heard the shouting. She leaned against Champion’s withers and talked gently and soothingly to him, urging him on. Little by little they pulled ahead. Laura let him have his head and hoped he would out run the competition. The other rider beat his horse cruelly, but to no avail. Champion’s heart made the difference. They crossed the finish line first.
Pandemonium reigned. Laura jumped down landing in the squishy mud. She looked down at her shirt and pants, for the first time aware that she was covered with mud. Mud clung to her hair and smeared her face. She tried to brush it off her face, but her gloves were also muddy. Despite her messy appearance, she laughed, red cheeked and happy with her triumph.
Immediately Prescott rushed over to congratulate her. He spoke to her but it didn’t register. She was transfixed by the trio with him. Behind Prescott were his uncle, Lowell and a small woman with an oval face and a porcelain complexion, her hair was a mass of golden curls.
Corn flower blue eyes matched her fashionable blue suit. She carried a parasol to shade the delicate complexion. With one small hand, she daintily raised her skirt in a futile effort to avoid the mud. She stepped forward and laid her hand on Prescott’s arm in a manner that conveyed possession. A gaggle of men stood a short distance away admiring this beautiful doll.
Finally aware Prescott stood near her, Laura turned to listen to him.
She became mildly aware he was congratulating her, but it hardly registered. The petite woman clinging to Prescott’s arm blotted out everything else from her mind.
“You met my uncle and his partner, Mr. Lowell.” Prescott yelled above the noisy crowd. This is Mr. Lowell’s daughter, Miss Abigail Lowell.” Miss Lowell nodded and murmured something Laura couldn’t hear. The lovely doll stared at Laura with contempt; at the same time possessively holding on to Prescott’s arm.
Laura stood mute with embarrassment. In her mud spattered pants and shirt she realized the impression she made. Ravannel’s words came back to her, “Remember those eastern aristocrats always marry their own kind.” Mrs. Van Gelder had tried to warn her as well. Standing before her was the reason Prescott treated her as a friend only. The triumph of the race turned to ashes.
Seeing Dolly tethered close by, she ran to her horse. Ravannel stood holding the reins to the horse.
As an “army brat” I had periods in my life where I was “that new kid” and went through a period of having no friends. Books became my constant friends until I found the human kind. I particularly loved history. As an army dependent I met my husband in the Philippines. We have four children, eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 238
Paper Weight (lb): 10.0
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