Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sample Saturday - Dec 13, 2014

Welcome to Sample Saturday. This week's sample is from Trail of Storms, where Jessie Bingham accepts Ned's previously unwelcome proposal. (The print edition of this novel is on sale here for $10, personalized and autographed. Hurry. The offer is only good while supplies last!)

Jessie wiped her mouth on her apron. Getting rid of her supper had relieved the pain in her stomach, but the hurt in her heart remained. She was sobbing. Even though the news of James’s betrothal to Ellen Bates had cut into her soul like a hot knife, knowing that he was free and somewhere in this country had given her hope. Jessie shuddered. She couldn’t think of James anymore.

She wiped her eyes and looked around. She’d been lucky when she left the kitchen. No one had been around. Just then, two men came out of the stable, laughing and talking. George and . . . Ned.

Ned! Ned wants me. James doesn’t. Ned does. He’ll take care of me, and I’ll never have to think about James Owen again.

She ran toward Ned, forcing a smile. He’ll be happy. I’ve got to be happy. “Ned,” she called.

“Jessie?” He smiled at her, and left George, taking long strides to meet her. “What is it?”

Jessie halted and let Ned approach. He says he loves me. He’ll never leave me. She grabbed her upper arm with the other hand and waited. He’ll make me happy.

Ned smiled down at her, and she lifted her head. “I’ll marry you,” she said.

Ned’s smile widened to a grin. “You mean it?”

“Yes.” She waited, her fingers gripping her arm. She’d be safe with Ned.

Ned picked her up by the waist and swung her around. She clutched his shoulders to keep her balance.

“Jessie, I’m the happiest man in the world. We can get married at the next town.” He put her on her feet.

Married? So soon? She hadn’t thought beyond her acceptance of Ned’s offer. What if I get pregnant? She thought of Hannah, and the physical discomfort she was going through in carrying her child. “I think we should wait until we get to Albuquerque to wed. We have so far to go. I don’t want to be . . . like Hannah is.” She watched disappointment mask Ned’s eyes. Then he accepted her condition, though his shoulders sank a bit.

“I reckon you’re right, honeybunch. I wouldn’t want you to be burdened by—” He pressed his lips together, sighed, and nodded. “We’ll wait.”

Thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoyed the sample. I appreciate your support of my work.

Author Marsha Ward wrote the novella, Faith and the Foreman, in the best-selling Timeless Romance Anthology Old West Collection. She is the author of an acclaimed novel series featuring the Owen family. Book 4, Spinster's Folly, won the 2013 USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction, and recently was named Finalist in Western Fiction in the 2014 International Book Awards. A former journalist, Ward has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association, a.k.a. ANWA.

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