Thanks Kathryn for starting up this blog hop, it looks like such fun! This is my first week participating in this hop and I have some exciting news - my western is (hopefully) due for release next weekend!! Yay!!!!
Here are the first 6 paragraphs of my upcoming book:
“Noooooo!” The agonised cry echoed all across the frontier plains and Johnny’s heart broke for the girl. He watched as Jessica, hitching up her skirts, ran as fast as she could towards the smouldering remains of the wagon train and crumpled in a desperate heap in the dust next to the bloodied body of her mother. She kept screaming, a heart-broken, forlorn keening wail that went on and on as she scrabbled across the ground first to her little brother then her father. All were dead.
Johnny had stumbled across the wagon train only a fortnight ago and had his eye on Jessica since the first moment he saw her – she was truly beautiful, with a mass of dark red curls, a few wild tendrils always escaping the pins holding it up, to frame her delicate face. Her slim, yet curvaceous figure was accentuated by the height-of-fashion gowns she wore on the trail; despite the fact that plain pinafores would have been more practical, and were what the other women all seemed to prefer, Jessica always took pains to keep up her appearance. He’d thought of her as ‘his girl’ since first laying eyes on her, even though they’d barely spoken, beyond introductions and a few short, polite conversations here and there. She clearly thought herself above a dusty cowboy such as him, but that didn’t matter; she would be a challenge, and he liked challenges.
He wondered about her though - she was clearly so unhappy on the trail - what she had left behind? Why had she come out here, to the frontier, if she was so against it? And she was against it, that much was clear. Her general demeanour during their journey had indicated that, and the argument he’d overheard earlier that day had confirmed it.
As they’d circled the wagons and stopped for the midday meal, Johnny had edged closer to the Walsh’s wagon, hoping for the opportunity to talk to Jessica. But he hadn’t been able to – Jessica had complained to her mother of not feeling well; sick, sore and exhausted, and she’d gone to rest in the wagon. Her father had followed her in, and he’d overheard him accusing her of idleness, of shaming him before the other men, the only woman who wasn’t out there working. Did she think she was the only tired one? The only sick one? The only sore one? She wasn’t – they all were – yet they all kept working. “Now you get out there and get to work, before I take a strap to you!” he’d ordered gruffly.
“Do you think I wanted to come out here? I didn’t! I wanted to stay in Boston, where I was happy!” she’d yelled back, before she stormed out of the wagon angrily, stomping away from camp.
“We couldn’t stay there, you know that!” her father had yelled, but she had ignored him, scurrying away from camp at as fast a walk as she could manage. It would have been the perfect opportunity for him to go off after her, but then the wagon master had asked him if he would be willing to hunt for fresh meat – there were families to feed, and their fresh meat had run out. So he’d gone. As soon as he’d heard the shooting he’d turned his horse and galloped back, without any meat, but he’d gotten back too late to do anything. The Indians were driving the horses away triumphantly as he crested the hill above the trail, the wagons were all ablaze and bloodied bodies were littered all around. There was nothing he could do.
Don't forget to check out the other participants in "Six of the Best" this week!