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"DIED IN AN ACCIDENT."
"DIED IN AN ACCIDENT."
The terse words were scrawled on a returned letter that Jessica Winsor had sent to her father. Aghast, she journeyed to Virginia City to investigate, and was stunned to learn that she was suddenly very wealthy. Her father had willed her his majority share of a silver mine.
But the mine had two other shareholders---Derek and Brett Bonner, cousins now faced with losing what they'd thought was theirs alone.
Jessica found herself inexorably drawn to the enigmatic Derek, but when she experienced several "accidents" she knew it was a deadly attraction...
On impact every fiber in my body was jarred excruciatingly. As I rolled and tumbled, dirt got in my mouth and eyes, and I couldn’t breathe or see. There was just the pain, then a few seconds of merciful darkness when, thank God, I struck something that broke my fall and kept me from going all the way down to the bottom of the canyon. For what seemed an eternity I lay sprawled across what felt like a hump of earth, unable to think or even move, for the slightest movement produced tortured pain. Even trying to open my eyes hurt, so I kept them closed. There wasn’t a bone in my body that didn’t feel as if it were broken, and I was being roasted alive on the hot ground, with the relentless sun beating down on me. I endeavored to swallow and almost choked on the dirt in my mouth. Where was help? Surely someone would stop. But all I heard from above was the steady rumble of conveyances and pack animals. Didn’t anything ever stem the flow?
Gritting my teeth, I forced open my eyes. The blinding sun brought on another wave of dizziness, and I fought the kaleidoscope of colors that threatened to render me unconscious. I had to stay awake and somehow, if aid didn’t come soon, get back up on the road myself. If injuries didn’t do me in, the scorching sun would. Where was help? The words screamed in my head again, and I thought about shouting at the top of my lungs. But I knew I’d never be heard above the racket of this place.
With a groan, I lifted my head and looked at myself, trying to assess the damage. My skirts were a twisted mass about my body, and I whimpered in relief when I saw that I wasn’t saturated with blood and there were no protruding bones. All about me the sterile landscape pressed in, and from the corner of my eye I spotted a horned toad. If only I could kiss him and turn him into a handsome prince, I thought on a surge of near-hysteria. Even an ugly one would do as long as he was strong enough to rescue me!
With another groan, I lifted my head higher, but trying to look up the mountain to the road produced unbearable pain in my neck. As I lay back down, I became aware of a hard object pressing against my left shoulder--the object that had broken my fall.
With perspiration dampening my knotted clothes, I loosened the strangling ribbons holding my crushed bonnet in place and slowly turned my head toward the object. My eyes widened. This couldn’t be what it seemed. I rose up a fraction on the mound of earth, blinked and stared again. My heart skipped a beat. I was lying on a grave against a crude wooden marker, and there was another just beyond atop another mound of earth. I shuddered, and as chills prickled my wet flesh, I heard someone sliding in the parched dirt nearby, and before I could move or cry out, a man asked, "Lady, are you... alive?"
If I wasn’t, then I’d died and gone to hell, for no other place compared to this. "Yes," I moaned in relief, choking on dirt again.
The man, a stranger, knelt at my side, and I saw that he was sandy-haired and a little younger than I. But most of all I noticed he was the robust rescuer I’d been praying would suddenly appear. I don’t remember much after that, other than whispering the Bonner name to indicate where I was staying. Then I was lifted, and agonizing pain darkened my brain.
Irene Pascoe lives near Seattle, Washington with her husband. She has three grown children and two grandsons. She enjoys the outdoors, tending her flower gardens, figuring out new computer programs, and having fun with family and friends.
Irene and her husband love to travel and have had the good fortune to see much of America as well as many distant countries. The majority of her books are set in places she and her husband have visited. Their next journey is a transatlantic cruise to Lisbon, Portugal.
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 204
Paper Weight (lb): 8.8