Shannon here: Inspirational author, Darlene Franklin shares a romantic excerpt from her latest historical romance novella. Comment or answer the question at the end of any post dated Nov 23rd – 27th to enter the drawing for a copy of Tobogganing for Two or her devotional, An Advent Journey Through Matthew. Two winners will receive 1 book each if all three of Darlene’s guest posts receive 5 comments each. Deadline: Dec 5th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Darlene:
Tobogganing for Two ends with the most romantic Thanksgiving dinner ever, but here is the scene where Laura and Jay first meet:
Plymouth, Nebraska, 1875
“Hurry up, ladies. I’ve got a schedule to keep.” The stagecoach driver was eager to get back on schedule. He’d lost time when a dead bull blocked the road on the way from Lincoln. In spite of his complaint, he fell into conversation with the storekeeper where he had parked the carriage.
Laura Evans gritted her teeth but dismounted without saying a word. By now he should know her sister, Eliza, needed extra time getting up and down. He had panicked the first time he’d seen her bath chair. The shotgun rider lifted down their trunks while Laura faced Eliza. She forced a brave smile on her face. “We’re here at last, sister.”
When the shotgun rider grabbed Eliza’s chair, he stumbled a step, and Laura feared it would fall. “Be careful with that!”
He recovered in time and maneuvered it to the ground. “What in the dickens is this thing?” he grumbled.
Laura checked the chair over. Sixteen hundred miles by train and stagecoach had only caused a few scratches. “It’s my sister’s bath chair.” She rolled the wheels, which enabled the chair to move to the carriage. After she scooped her sister’s light form in her arms, she placed her in the adjacent chair.
“We’re in Plymouth.” Eliza spoke when she regained her breath from the transition into the chair. A light wind lifted her brown hair, drawing attention to her sparkling hazel eyes.
“And Aunt Minnie is waiting for us. Her home shouldn’t be very far from here.”
It felt so good to be free of the stagecoach. Laura’d hated being squished between Eliza and a large man. Every time they hit a bump, Eliza quivered. Not surprisingly, none of the men offered to help. She peered up and down the street, but the doctor Aunt Minnie had promised would meet them was nowhere to be seen.
Nebraska. Aunt Minnie had fallen in love with the place in her two short years in Plymouth. So far it surpassed Laura’s expectations. The land was not as flat as she’d expected. The sky seemed a deeper blue than the skies above the ocean at home. Bright yellow flowers dotted meadows she had seen between fields of waiving grain.
Eliza breathed deeply and sighed as Laura tucked a blanket over her lap. “It even smells wonderful.”
Laura wasn’t so sure. So far the dust and other odors of a western town appealed to her less than the salty, fishy air of her home in Maine. The stagecoach driver had finished his discussion with the storekeeper and headed out of town on his route.
The storekeeper saw Laura and Eliza in the middle of the street and smiled. “Welcome to Plymouth, ladies. I’m John Carter, the owner of this fine establishment. How may I assist you?” He tugged at his chin. “Let get you and your things onto the boardwalk and then we’ll figure out what to do next.”
He reached for the bath chair handles but Laura grabbed them first. “I’d appreciate your help with our trunks.”
She’d known that two trunks and a bath chair were a lot to manage during their journey, but they couldn’t do with less, not with the equipment Eliza needed. By the time Laura had tugged Eliza onto the boardwalk, the storekeeper had moved the two trunks. “Thank you, Mr. Carter.”
“My pleasure.” He climbed the steps into the store before he looked back. “You must be Miss Bell’s nieces. I’ll have one of my clerks help you.”
Laura looked up and down the street. Aunt Minnie had promised that Dr. Andrews would pick them at the stage stop. Where was he? In such a small town, Aunt Minnie’s house couldn’t be far away. But Laura couldn’t manage the trunks as well as the chair, and she had no idea where to find the house. She probably should accept Mr. Carter’s offer.
Before she spoke, a long shadow fell across the boardwalk. “Miss Evans? Miss Laura Evans?”
As she was turning around, the man said, “And Miss Eliza Evans?” The shadow bent over the bath chair.
“Dr. . .” Laura completed her turn. The tallest, handsomest man she had ever seen towered over her, even though she was standing a step higher than he. “—Dr. Andrews?” Her voice wobbled. She moved her foot to regain her balance, but instead stumbled forward.
Into his arms.
About Darlene: Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over fifty books and more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont. You can find Darlene online elsewhere at http://darlenefranklinwrites.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/darlene.franklin.3.
About the book – Tobogganing for Two: Laura Evans moves to Plymouth, Nebraska, to take care of her aunt and her paralyzed sister. Dr. Jay Andrews has come to Plymouth to escape his work among those wounded during the Civil War—only to be faced with a paralyzed patient. Laura and Jay clash as they face fears from their past. Will a midnight toboggan ride bring them together, or push them further apart?
About the book – An Advent Journey Through Matthew: Take a step away from the busy days that fill Advent. Begin with the miraculous birth and get caught up in the story which adds layers of understanding of Jesus’s extraordinary life.
Question for readers: Have you ever visited any Civil War battlegrounds or museums? If so, where?
Come back Nov 30th for Carole Brown!