By Ada Brownell
When I completed The Lady Fugitive some important stories had not been told.
How about Jennifer Louise Parks’ friend Roberta Bellea Peabody, who had been assaulted by her employer’s son and left bruised and the sheriff would do nothing about it? This girl’s plight was mentioned in the first chapter and was one of the reasons Jenny became a fugitive. Jenny feared her physically abusive uncle who stared at her with lust in her eyes and doubted her aunt would believe her. So she ran away in the middle of the night scared of being left alone with him.
She is found in John Parks’ barn about to give birth to the rapist’s son in the first chapter of Peach Blossom Rancher. Bellea becomes a significant character.
John Parks is Jenny’s twin brother and after his uncle is murdered in The Lady Fugitive, in Book Two of The Peaches and Dreams series, he inherits the neglected peach and horse ranch. He doesn’t have much money, but he has spunk and determination.
Polly, the black cook from the first book, is a vital part of Peach Blossom Rancher and her husband, Abe, has returned after going elsewhere in an effort to make enough money for him and wife to get out on their own and away from the judge. But they enjoy working for John, so they stay and bless him and everyone else they meet. Well, except Wellington Davenport, the rapist, who finds Polly a formidable foe when he tries to get his baby for his wealthy mother to raise. But eventually Polly blesses him too.
Stuart, the young orphan who adds humor and fun to The Lady Fugitive when he latches on to Jenny and William is adopted by them and he spends the summer with John, his uncle, on the peach and horse ranch. The kid brightens up almost every scene he barges into.
Valerie MacDougal, the beautiful widow who lived on the homestead near Yucca Blossom and gave it to Jenny, sweeps into John Parks life in the second book. He walked her down the aisle during Jenny’s wedding and he can’t forget her. He’s wanting a wife and there is no one like Valerie, who also is an attorney. Valerie’s doing great things with her life, too. Living now in Boston with her parents, she writes to John, and they have an unspoken understanding. But she hasn’t cast aside her mourning clothes, although she’s joined her father’s law practice and is trying to get a doctor who had one seizure released from the state asylum.
John Parks has another problem in the second book. A neighbor gal, Edwina Jorgenson who is running her crippled father’s ranch, has had a crush on John since grade school and she makes a pest of herself. But John has to help her once in a while. A peeper is looking in her windows at night and he wears boots with a heel identical to those worn by the person who dumped a dead body in John’s barn.
You need to read Peach Blossom Rancher to see what happens.
In contrast to The Lady Fugitive, where the first daft was completed in about six weeks, Peach Blossom Rancher took nearly a year to write. Enjoy!