Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday Sample - March 29, 2014

Welcome back to my Saturday Sample! Today's brief scene from Spinster's Folly takes place after Marie Owen has taken matters into her own hands and run away with a man who seems to love her.

Within an hour, Marie was thirsty, and leaned over the pommel to retrieve her canteen. Not knowing how long Mr. Thorne had it in mind to travel that night, she took only a shallow sip of water. That served to refresh her though, and she continued to follow the man ahead of her on the moonlit road.

Finding herself yawning, Marie closed her eyes for a moment and let Bess follow the other horse. The gentle gait of her mount soon had her fighting to stay awake.

She must have slept, because the next time she opened her eyes, the moon had risen higher in the sky than it had been before. The flat landscape, broken by the occasional stream bed and butte, glistened here and there where minerals lay exposed on the earth. Marie gave herself a little shake as she endeavored to awaken, but soon, she was nodding in concert with the horse’s easy movement.

Bill Henry soon joined her, in a dream so vivid that she might have said his name in her surprise. He talked of her Pa’s heavy-handed ways, and Marie could only nod vigorously, given the recent events that had caused her such grief. He lifted his hat and raked back his hair, and then reseated the head gear. Suddenly, she was rebuking him for calling her foolish. The light in his eyes faded and his expression grew guarded. His grave voice echoed in her mind, “I didn’t mean you, I didn’t mean you, I didn’t mean you.”

The next thing she knew, Marie opened her eyes to find Mr. Thorne standing beside her stirrup, shaking her shoulder and muttering her name.

“Come on, wake up. I don’t have all night to stand here.”

Marie pulled away at the frank irritation in her lover’s voice, straightening her torso from her sleepy crouch. Guilt at dreaming of another man at the very onset of her elopement made her cautious, and she replied tersely, “I’m awake. Are we camping here?” Did I speak his name aloud? Did Mr. Thorne hear? Did I upset him?

“No. We’ll rest the horses for a spell, then travel along for a while longer.” The irritation had left his voice, and he smiled at Marie. “I apologize for being short with you. I fear I’m not at my best tonight. It must be nerves from the anticipation of having trouble getting away.” He helped her dismount, then continued. “I must say, I’m vastly relieved that no one was about to stop us from leaving.”

Marie nodded, feeling a release of her anxiety, and smiled back. “I reckon I’m a bit unsettled myself. It was quite unnerving riding between the camps. I feared a dog would bark and set up an alarm.”

“We’ve had luck on our side tonight. That is sure.” He kissed her on the brow, gently, tenderly, briefly.

Marie yearned for a further expression of affection from the man, but Mr. Thorne took himself away to tend to the horses. She found a suitable place on the ground to sit and rest, a hummock of earth crowned by a sparse grassy growth, and lowered herself onto it. She reminded herself that she must bridle her passions, as the Bible counseled, until she was a married woman. When that moment came, she could enjoy all the expressions of affection with which Mr. Thorne chose to favor her.

Buy Spinster's Folly here:
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Why do you think Marie would elope with a man she had known for only a short time? What kind of marriage relationship is Marie likely to find with Mr. Thorne? When humans feel unloved, what kinds of misadventures might they get themselves into?

I hope you enjoyed this tidbit from Spinster's Folly. Thank you for visiting. I love to read your comments, so if anything in the sample compels you to speak up, rest assured that I eventually read what you write and will reply, if needed. Questions? I'm open to them, too.

Please come back next Saturday for another sample. Thank you!

Marsha Ward is the award-winning author of the acclaimed novel series featuring the Owen family. Her latest book, Spinster's Folly, won the 2013 USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction. A former journalist, Ward has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association aka ANWA.

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