Saturday, August 06, 2011

Sample Saturday: Trail of Storms, Excerpt 2 from Chapter 1

Today's Sample for the Sweet Saturday Samples blog hop follows the scene in last week's sample from Trail of Storms. The setting is Mount Jackson in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley just after the American Civil War, the genre is historical Western fiction, and the rating is PG due to Jessie's attitude.

Jessie looked over her shoulder at Hannah and Heppie, who walked away from her toward the street corner, leaving Jessie to collect payment for a pie. Mrs. Wiggins, however, seemed inclined to chat.

Please just pay me, Jessie thought, looking the other way down the street. I don’t want us running into those Yankees again. She turned back to Mrs. Wiggins, anxious about the distance between her and her sisters. She didn’t want to be alone, even for the few seconds it would take her to catch up.

Mrs. Wiggins looked at Jessie expectantly. She must have asked a question.

Shrugging her shoulders to shake off her reverie, Jessie said, “I’m so sorry, ma’am, I fear I was woolgathering. What’s that you said?”

The stout little woman sighed. “Jessie dear, I was askin’ if your ma could bake me a loaf of sourdough bread for tomorrow morning.”

“I’ll need payment for the pie first, ma’am,” Jessie said, hoping it didn’t sound too rude.

“Can’t y’all wait to the end of the week?” Mrs. Wiggins looked flustered.

“Times are hard, ma’am. Ma needs to buy supplies.” Jessie glanced over her shoulder again. Hannah and Heppie were a half block away. A cold chill ran through her.

“That’s right, Jessie dear. Times are hard indeed, but Mr. Wiggins wanted an apple pie for his birthday.” Mrs. Wiggins sighed. “I’ll get your money.” She turned her back, left the door open, and took the pie into the house.

Jessie tapped her toe as she waited, watching her sisters grow smaller and smaller. Her stomach tightened on her breakfast and made her queasy. Hurry up! she thought, and mentally berated the twins for leaving her here. She was the “little sister.” More often than not, they stuck together and left her to do the more distasteful things like collect money from customers.

After what seemed like forever, Mrs. Wiggins returned with a few coins and counted out the price of the pie.

“Thank you, ma’am. I’ll tell Ma about your bread,” Jessie said as she put the money into her pocket.

Mrs. Wiggins closed the door forcefully, as if to protest Jessie’s insistence on being paid.

Jessie snorted. Silly old bat! Of course she has to pay Ma now. How does she expect— Jessie left the thought alone and went on to her more immediate worry. With one hand she scooped up the basket she’d put on the porch while she waited, and with the other she grabbed her skirt, racing off after her sisters. “Hannah,” she called out. “Heppie! Wait for me.”

Jessie had covered half the distance that separated her from the twins when she tripped on a root and fell, landing on the hard dirt with her forearms straddling the basket.

Pain lanced through her arms but was instantly supplanted by the smart of her embarrassment. Oh, what mortification! You’d think I was twelve years old instead of eighteen, trippin’ over a danged root.

Heppie had looked back in time to see the fall. “Jessie,” she cried out, and started toward her, motioning for her to get up—as if Jessie were perfectly content to lie sprawled across the path as she was. Hannah continued on to the corner, then turned and waited while Jessie scrambled to her feet and Heppie helped her brush off her skirts.

“Jessie! Are you hurt?”

She rubbed her sore arms, getting the dirt off. “I reckon I’ll be—”

Jessie saw the man at that moment, the rider the Yankees called Red. In what seemed only a few seconds, he jumped off his horse, grabbed Hannah around the waist, and was back in his saddle, having thrown Hannah over the front of his horse like a sack of grain. Her basket tumbled through the air, spewing loaves of bread onto the ground. Jessie cried out and pointed, unable to form words to describe what she was seeing. Heppie turned and began to scream. Jessie lifted her skirts and ran toward the corner as fast as she could. He can’t be takin’ her, she thought, her heart pounding in her ears.

Available at Amazon US as a print book:
As a Kindle Edition in the US:
At Amazon UK as a print book:
As a Kindle Edition in the UK:
At in many ebook formats:
Now find another sample to read:


  1. Now that was an unexpected turn of events at the end of this snippet. I could almost smell the heat and the dirt.

  2. Love Jessie's attitude!! LOL

  3. Anonymous8:02 AM

    Oooh! Delicious! Definitely want to read more.

  4. Love this sample again this week. I could feel her embarrasment when she fell and can't wait to read more about 'Red'!

  5. Wow! Exciting sample! Great build of suspense and then the worst happens. Can't wait for more either!

  6. Anonymous2:38 PM

    Love the anxiety of Jessie build then the sudden switch around at the end

  7. I think I'm blushing. Thanks, everyone!

  8. Sorry to be late - I just loved this! Thanks for visiting!

  9. Really good writing in these samples. No wonder you sell so many copies!

  10. Thank you, Jessica! I appreciate your praise.


I welcome your comments.

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