Time s Enduring Love
185 pages

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185 pages

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Libby Strammon believed her life was on track. A young woman of the tumultuous 1960's, she worked hard to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor so she could open a practice in the small Kansas farming community where she was raised. But when a perilous storm sweeps her back a hundred years into the past she is forced to rely on her instincts while navigating the changed world that a hundred years difference has wrought. Kansas Volunteer, Lieutenant Matthew Dome's magnetic attraction to the slightly odd woman who appeared out of nowhere wars with past promises made—promises he'd failed to keep. He yearns to have the fascinating spitfire by his side, but can't let go of the past and his guilt long enough to convince himself she belongs in his life. When circumstances send Libby and Matthew into danger, and a buried secret is revealed, Libby races against time to choose between returning to the 20th century she is familiar with or remain with Matthew who loves her but failed her once before?



Publié par
Date de parution 01 janvier 2015
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781772996623
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0032€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Time's Enduring Love
Christine Eaton Jones and Beverly Petrone
Writing as Tia Dani
Digital ISBNs
Amazon Print978-1-77362-064-0

Copyright201 4 by Christine EatonJones and Beverly Petrone
Cover Art by MichelleLee
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rightsunder copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may bereproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, ortransmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical,photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior writtenpermission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher ofthis book.
* * *
We dedicate thisbook
to Christine's maternalgrandmother, Elizabeth, whose
strong pioneeringspirit created the premise for th e book .
Chapter One
Pre-Territorial Kansas
Near The Smoky Hill Trail, 1846
Katherine Meyers stood a few yards away fromthe wagon camp and shaded her eyes against the relentless sun.Where are the children?
Perspiration trickled along the side of herface, over her jaw and neck to seep into the damp collar of herdress. Katherine swallowed to moisten the parched scratchiness inthe back of her throat and inhaled a slow measured breath throughher nose, hoping to help relieve the dryness. Pungent, motionlessair, heavy with the scent of animals and cooking fires blisteredthe inside of her nose.
A stray lock of pale, blonde hair escapedKatherine's coiled braids and plastered against her moist skin. Shebrushed away the lock and scanned the dry prairie once more. Wherewere they? They should have returned by now.
She wished she had gone with her daughter andthe other children to search for wild plums so she could make acobbler. This morning she thought the chore would keep themoccupied while the men spent the day repairing cracked and brokenwheels and tongues. They were close to the homesteads where all thefamilies could begin their new lives. Even the women voted to takea day of light work. The cobbler was her contribution to thecelebration of their success to the long journey.
A breeze fanned her face, and a small bud ofunease crept up her spine. Katherine spun in a circle seeingneither their hats, nor their heads bobbing above the tall grass.She hurried toward the wagons nestled in a stand of cottonwoods tofind her husband. John would know where the children would searchfor plums. He always knew.
* * *
"Let's go. Joseph and Luke already left forcamp with the plums. Your folks are gonna get worried. We'resupposed to be back a long time ago."
Nine-year-old Matthew Domé removed the frayedhat John Meyers had given him and dragged his fingers through hisdark black hair. On her hands and knees next to his feet, John andKatherine Meyers' four-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, watched a pairof caterpillars crawl along a low-growing bush. "Come on. Let's gowatch your mom make her cobbler."
"Ooh, Matthew, look." Elizabeth smiled up athim. "Aren't they funny?" Beside her, lying on the ground, was thecloth doll that went everywhere with her. She gathered up Cleo andclasped her to her chest. "Come see."
Matthew sighed and dropped to his knees. Lukeand Joseph were right. The little girl had him jumping throughhoops. All it took was one look from her green eyes and he'd cavelike old Mr. Jameson did whenever his new wife started simpering athim for whatever she wanted.
Matthew stared at her in bemusement. He knewhis two friends snickered behind his back whenever Elizabeth bossedhim, but he couldn't help himself. She made him feel needed. Shetrusted him, and trailed after him, as if he was the wagon master.Sometimes, when missing his parents hurt too bad, and he fought tokeep the tears inside, Elizabeth seemed to be the one who knew.She'd put her arms around him and whisper, "It's gonna be okay.I'll always be here to love you."
"Matthew, you're not looking."
Matthew dutifully glanced at the fat, wigglyinsects swaying on a branch. "Yeah, they're funny all right." Hereached for Elizabeth's hand and pulled her with him as he stood."We gotta go."
"But, I wanna see a baby rabbit. You promisedyou'd show me one." Elizabeth gave him a brilliant smile, her eyestwinkling in the sunlight. She lifted a small stubby finger infront of her freckled nose. "You told me you never...ever...breakyour promises."
He groaned. "You're worse than MaryEllen."
Elizabeth straightened to her full height andstomped her foot. "I am not like Mary Ellen. Momma says Mary Ellenis spoiled."
At her quick show of temper, he grinned. Shehad spirit and wasn't afraid to let someone know it. "Yeah, I guessyou're not spoiled. I'd say you're just right." He thought aboutwhat he said and quickly amended his sentence. "For a girl, Imean."
If Joseph and Luke got wind of what he'dsaid, his two friends would never let him live it down. "Okay, youwin. We'll go find a baby rabbit. Then we head for the wagons." Hegave her a glare like Joseph's father would do whenever they wereunderfoot. "And, I don't vant any back-a-sass from du, girl."
Elizabeth laughed and clapped her hands."Ooh, you sound like Mr. Basgal."
Without warning, she flung herself againsthim and wrapped her arms around his waist. "I love you, Matthew.Forever and ever."
His chest constricted by her words. He bentand lightly kissed the top of her head. "I'll love you forever andever, too. Now, come on. Let's go find a baby rabbit."
Minutes later, they crouched, side-by-sidebetween two large rocks, half hidden from view. He whispered in herear and pointed. "There's one. See?"
Elizabeth nodded in wide-eyed wonder. Severalfeet away, a grey bunny moved slowly around a small hole. Twolarger rabbits sat beyond. The baby's nose wiggled rapidly as itwatched the older ones move away in slow hops, noses twitchingclose to the ground.
Elizabeth whispered, "Why are the momma andpapa leaving?"
He smiled at her seriousness. "They'reprobably looking for food."
"Why are they leaving their baby behind?"
"'Cause it's safer."
Elizabeth glanced at the doll in her arms."I'd never leave Cleo."
Matthew's smile widened. Her steadfastloyalty was another thing he liked. If she cared so much about adoll, she would undoubtedly care for her own family and never leavethem like his parents did him. Someday, when they were both grownup, he'd marry her.
"Something smells." Elizabeth wrinkled hernose and stood.
Matthew inhaled sharply. The stench of burntgrass irritated his nose. "We'd better get to the wagons."
Before he had a chance to pull her, shetugged on his hand, forcing him to turn around. "Over there. Thesky's red and black!"
Matthew noticed the color of the horizon thesame moment he felt a low rumbling beneath his feet.
Before them, all three rabbits bolted,disappearing into the tall prairie grass.
Panic pierced deep into his chest, nearlycrushing him. He shoved Elizabeth in the direction the rabbits hadsprinted. "Run, Elizabeth, as fast as you can. A fire iscoming."
Without demanding her usual "why", sheran.
Matthew stumbled after her. The wagon masterhad warned them about prairie fires. He insisted everyone,including the children, participate in fire drills. But thepractice sessions had been with adults nearby, not the two of themalone. He and his buddies looked at them as a way to break up themonotony. Now he understood why the adults took every commandseriously. Prairie fires were not games.
Behind him, the fire storm gained speed,heading in the same direction they ran. Frantically, he searchedfor some kind of protection. At that pace no way could they outrunthe blaze.
Several panicked prairie hens burst from thetall grass, taking flight. As he ran, Matthew watched them go. Thewagon master told them birds and animals had an instinct fordanger. If they followed the birds they might find a way toescape.
One bird swooped downward, calling Matthew'sattention to a small dirt cave half buried in the sloping ravine.Barren of any vegetation, the hole looked large enough for both ofthem to crawl into. Matthew grabbed hold of Elizabeth's shoulder,pulling her to a stop. "Over, there, go."
The little girl stumbled to a halt. She shookher head. "No. I want my momma and papa."
Bits of ash floated around them. A few landedon his cheek with stinging heat. "The fire's too fast. We have tohide. Once it's gone, we can go find your parents." He jerked hertoward the cave. "Crawl in."
"Get in." He pushed her ahead of him. "It'ssafer in the back for you."
Hugging Cleo tight, Elizabeth wiggled in andhe scooted behind her. When they could go no farther, he slid hislegs on either side of her body and wrapped his arms around her.Hugging her close, he yelled in her ear, "I'll protect you. Ipromise." Her slight body trembled and he gave her anotherreassuring squeeze. "We're safe. You'll see. Nothing will happen tous."
Black, nauseating smoke reached them first.Coughing, Matthew withdrew his hand

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