Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample - September 22, 2012

Welcome back to Sweet Saturday Samples. This scene from Spinster's Folly shows a pivotal moment in the story. I hope you enjoy it.

Marie dished up a plate of food for her mother and then one for herself, and found a seat against a tree. She was just biting into a chicken leg when Mr. Thorne spread a handkerchief on the ground and sat beside her, his face crestfallen. Her brow furrowed. He’d caught her with her mouth full.

“My darling,” he whispered, looking around furtively. “My sweet Marie. I am gratified that you are well. However, I cannot believe what your father said. You are marrying that farm boy?” He gulped convulsively. “I had such hopes of a future with you.”

Marie choked. Thorne gently patted her on the back until she recovered. She drew a deep breath, and finding her voice unimpaired by the passage of the chicken, said, “I won’t marry him. Pa has put me in an impossible situation.” She lowered her voice and hung her head. “I own a mite of fault in the matter. I pressed Pa to think about my need for prospects.”

Thorne screwed up his face in obvious agony. “What will you do, my darling? The wedding has been announced. The farmer’s parents will expect—”

“I don’t know, but I can’t marry him. He’s vile.”

Thorne sat back.

Marie stole a look in his direction. He seemed to be gathering his thoughts. She waited.

“It was he you were fleeing. It was he who caused you grief.” He paused again, then said with some heat, “That simply will not do, my darling. It will not do!”

Marie shivered. No light dawned to brighten her path. Without a doubt Pa would bring pressure on her to fulfill his commitment to the Morgans. Her head began to ache again.

“Oh,” said Mr. Thorne, a long sighing vowel. “I have it, my dear. A plan.”

Marie hardly dared breathe, waiting for him to enlighten her.

“We will go away. We will ride to Denver and be married there. I have a lovely home in the foothills.” He spoke rapidly, breathing hard. “My dear aunt died recently and left me the house. There will be quite a bit of money, by and by. We will be well situated, my love.” He took her hand. “Say you will do it. Say you will come away with me!”

Marie’s breath was shaky as she inhaled. She hardly knew this man, but he seemed to be over the moon in love with her. Surely this was her salvation. She would not need to marry Tom if she went away with Mr. Thorne.

She looked at him closely. He was well groomed. There were no bits of food in his moustache. His clothing was clean and well kept. His fingernails were trimmed and clean. His breath was sweet. His hands were soft and gentle, and not at all sweaty. She remembered that merely being in his presence often caused her bones to melt. Surely that was a sign she loved him.

She let out the breath. “Yes,” she said. “When can we leave?”

Thorne looked around again. Then his gaze returned and he lowered his voice, almost to a whisper. “Tonight. We will make our escape when everyone is asleep.” His face looked pained for an instant, then it cleared as he obviously made an effort to shake off a doubt.

“What’s amiss, dear Mr. Thorne?” Her voice shook as she tried out the endearment.

“I am ashamed to say that I have no money for our expenses. I was foolish and played poker with the Dominguez boys. They are sharper players than I.” He looked down.

“Pa has a bit of money.” She clapped her hand over her mouth, horrified that those words had escaped her lips.

Mr. Thorne gently removed her hand and patted it between his. “That is a fortunate happenstance. You can bring it along tonight.”

“I cannot simply take it.” Marie’s head swam at the thought of stealing the remaining gold dust in Uncle Jonathan’s box.

Mr. Thorne’s chin came up. His eyes narrowed. “Does not your father owe you a dower price?”

The words hung in the air between them for a long moment.

Marie thought of all the grief she’d had to bear in the last year. She thought of her father’s lack of concern for her needs. She thought of the pain of becoming a woman without a future. She thought of Jule’s taunting words and scandalous behavior.

“Yes,” she said in a burst of emotion. “He does, and much more. He owes me respect, and he doesn’t give me any.”

Thorne shook his head. “A dowry doesn’t make up for a father’s lack of affection, but it goes a long way in soothing hurt feelings.”

Marie began to protest, but Thorne shushed her with a lingering kiss, hidden behind his hat.

“We haven’t more time to plan. Put a bundle together, bring food and cooking tools, and get the money. Meet me at that lightning-struck oak on the north side of the clearing at ten o’clock. Bring a good horse.” He finished his instructions and rose easily to his feet, bending down to retrieve his handkerchief. “Until then, my sweet Marie.” He gave her a wistful look, gently squeezed her hand, and left.

When Mr. Thorne had gone, Marie’s head swirled with details, the warmth of his kiss spreading through her body. This is right, she thought. He loves me. He will treat me gently. Yes, this is the right thing to do.

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  1. Why do I get the feeling Marie is going from the frying pan into the fire? There's something about this guy I don't like at all. I only hope Marie's going to land on her feet in this book. Love your writing, Marsha!

  2. Oh, my. I can see why she's tempted, but I hope the girl makes the right choice - or else someone is there to intervene! Great scene.

  3. No! Don't do it! This guy is too slick. I don't trust him, especially since he gambled away his money (assuming he had money to begin with!)

  4. You are all so perceptive! Hee-hee!

  5. Love it Marsha! Yes this leaves us wondering if she's being inspired or if she's being naive. I'm gonna have to buy this book! ~Joyce S.

  6. Anonymous1:55 PM

    I'm not sure I like Mr. Thorne.


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