By Ada Brownell
Weird how characters sometimes almost take over a story and write it themselves.
I’m working on the sequel to The Lady Fugitive, and when I wrote the first book I felt as if I were the reader instead of the writer. Things kept happening and I hated to stop working because I wanted to see what happened next.
I’m having a similar experience with the sequel. The working title is "The Peachville Rancher.". Several of these characters appeared in the first book, too. Jennifer Louise Parks’ brother, John Lincoln Parks is the Peachville rancher. He’s trying to rebuild his parents’ peach and horse ranch in Peachville, Colo., after a wicked uncle nearly ruined it.
But John’s also looking for a wife, and the elegant and beautiful Valerie MacDougal who served as Jenny’s maid of honor nearly a year ago, appears to fill the bill. But since her first husband’s death, she’s spending her mourning with her parents and little son in Boston.
Yet, Valerie visits Peachville, and when she leaves, she promises to write. John gives her a goodbye kiss at the train station she’s sure to remember. But trouble and distractions appear out of nowhere.
A gorgeous redhead, Roberta Bellea Peabody, appeared in John’s barn loft in the process of birthing a baby. Then the mother of the wealthy young man who raped the young woman shows up and wants the foundling—her grandson. The baby’s father also tries to get the newborn because he fears his mother might cut off his gambling money.
When the pasture fence is broken down and John’s new stallion escapes along with about a dozen other horses, the babe’s father, Wellington Davenport, is the first suspect on John’s list.
Further complicating John’s life is Edwina Jorgenson. Jenny believes Edwina has been in love with John since they were in grade school together. But Ed is running her father’s ranch since a rough ride on a wild bronco put him in a wheelchair. Edwina, even in 1909, not only wears pants most of the time, she seldom styles her hair except for the one long braid, and wears a gun on her hip. Add her temper and a nosey personality. Not a picture of what John envisions as wife potential. He knows her well, enjoys her company, but surprises her once in awhile doing things for her, such as washing dishes when she’s had a bad day.
That’s what helped John decide Edwina’s house would be the perfect place for Roberta Bellea Peabody. Bellea could earn some money, help take care of Edwina’s pa, and do the cooking and cleaning while caring for the little tot in the cradle.
Also in the book is Stu, the 12-year-old son of Jenny and William. He’s spending the summer while his adoptive parents go to Iowa with intentions of taking over a farm there. Shortly after he arrived on John’s ranch, the orphan Jenny and William found on the streets of Yucca Blossom caused a runaway with the team harnessed to a wagon. John attempted to show Stu how to drive a team of horses, but then had to take over the reins.
Not long afterward, John finds the dead body in the barn.
Here’s an excerpt:
The horses already galloped too fast for Stu to control them. A dust cloud made it a little difficult to see the road. A bump hit one of the wheels.
“Wow! You got that jack rabbit!” Giggles filled the air.
“Whoa! Whoa!” John pulled the reins to his chest.
“It felt like the wagon took that curve with two wheels!” More giggles.
“I don’t think the horses hear you!” The giggles turned into deeper laughter, but Stu clung to John like a sand burr.
“I forgot about that mare having a colt in the barn,” John mumbled.
“Whoa there Nellie!”
A man and a woman in a buggy approached ahead. John urged the team over to the right long enough for the couple to pass on the left. Fear enlarged their eyes.
“Oooohhhh! That was close!” Stu had sobered some.
Stu was going to get another lesson on how to drive a team—soon.
In The Lady Fugitive, you’ll see lots more of Stuart’s antics, animals that bring smiles, interesting and fascinating characters, suspense galore, and a romance that has a difficult time blooming. But when it does—wow!
Book summary for The Lady Fugitive
The Lady Fugitive
By Ada Brownell
How does a respected elocutionist become a face on a wanted poster?
Jenny Louise Parks escapes from the coal bin, and her abusive uncle offers a handsome reward for her return. Because he is a judge, he will find her or he won’t inherit her parents’ ranch.
Determination to remain free grips Jenny, especially after she meets William and there’s a hint of romance. But while peddling household goods and showing a Passion of the Christ moving picture, he discovers his father’s brutal murder.
Will Jenny avoid the bounty hunters? Can she forgive the person who turns her in?
2015 Laurel Award runner-up.
The Lady Fugitive. You’ll laugh, bite your nails, wish you had a gun to help http://ow.ly/QzlIP