Shannon here: Donna Schlachter shares an excerpt from her latest historical romance novella, Echoes of the Heart, included in The Pony Express Romance Collection. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing for a print (US only) or ebook copy. Deadline: Aug 26th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Donna:
Excerpt from Echoes of the Heart by Donna Schlachter:
Catherine gathered her wilted skirts, straightened her hat, and stepped from the coach. The shotgun rider offered her a hand, which she gratefully accepted. The dry ground felt hard as cobblestones beneath her buttoned-up boots, and the hem of her dress attracted dust like a magnet. . .
Beneath her feet, the ground rumbled, and she hesitated. She’d heard of earthquakes in San Francisco, but surely not here. A stampede of cattle? Buffalo? Heart pounding, throat too dry to utter a sound, she glanced around, frantic to locate the source of the tremors. Should she run? Should she stand her ground?
Uncertain what to do, she remained frozen in place.
And still, to her right, the strange man with the brown felt hat remained rooted in place like a windblown scarecrow in a newly-planted field.
A shout, and she wheeled to her left.
And not just any scream.
Benjamin sensed the incoming Pony Express rider before he saw him. The hooves pounded on the sunbaked trail, heralding the boy’s arrival but his own feet weighed a hundred pounds each, rendering him unable to help the young woman who had alighted from the stage. Who was she? And why was she bringing her luggage with her?
The young woman stepped into the path of the rider, mere feet from those flashing hooves and half-ton of horseflesh, unmindful of the danger.
He stepped forward, dragging his cumbersome appendage behind him. In his mind, he saw himself running across the twenty or so feet separating them. But the reality of his movement jerked him back to the present
He would not reach her in time.
Instead, his stockman dropped her bag, whirled about, and covered the distance in four long strides. Wrapping an arm around her waist, Jake pulled her from the path of the oncoming horse and rider just in time.
The two stood together for what seemed like hours before Jake released his grip on her and resumed his task of taking her luggage into the way station.
Benjamin hurried over as fast as his straight leg would allow as she reached the first step leading into the station. “Ma’am, are you all right?”
Her hazel, tear-filled eyes lifted to meet his, holding his gaze.
He tipped his hat to her. “I’m glad you weren’t injured. The way station yard can be a dangerous place. You mustn’t allow your attention to wander.”
Her mouth tightened into a hard line. “Perhaps you could ask your riders to be more considerate of those who live here.”
Live here? What was she talking about? He cleared his throat. “Nobody lives here, ma’am, except me and Jake my stockman.”
Not exactly true, of course. The Hollenbergs lived here. But she wasn’t going to be here long enough to know about them.
She pulled her shoulders back as though defying him to correct her. “I am Margaret Thomas, Mr. Troudt’s fiancée. And when Mr. Troudt finds the time to show his face, he’ll confirm that fact for you.”
Benjamin’s mind raced. Surely this woman was mentally unbalanced. “I am Mr. Troudt. Benjamin Troudt. Station master. And either you are mistaken or misinformed. No woman lives here. I am not engaged to marry.”
In the above excerpt, we see a prime example of miscommunication. Catherine, traveling under her best friend’s name, believes she’s answering an advertisement for a mail order bride, while Benjamin awaits the arrival of an older housekeeper. They both have secrets which keep them a prisoner to their past, because they both believe a lie spoken over them which won’t allow them to enter into the close relationship God longs to have with them and threatens to keep them from experiencing their happily-ever-after.
We all have secrets that we’d be embarrassed if someone else knew, and we all believe a lie that hinders our relationship with God and with others. Just as with Catherine and Benjamin, we have to recognize the lie for what it is, understand that God already knows everything, and be willing to trust Him as we go forward in our lives.
About Donna: Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick, her first-line editor and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. She is a hybrid publisher who has published a number of books under her pen name and under her own name. Her current release, Echoes of the Heart, a 9-in-1 novella collection titled “Pony Express Romance Collection” released April 1. Donna is also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction, and judges in a number of writing contests. Donna teaches the popular Don’t Let Your Subplots Sink Your Story, an online course for American Christian Fiction Writers.
Donna loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management. Learn more and connect:
Blurb: A mail order bride. A crippled stationmaster. No way out for either of them—except with each other. Can they surrender their hearts and find true love?
Can’t wait for the drawing? Get your copy now:
Question for Readers: For me, the Bible verse I use to counter the lie I believe about myself is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” What is the Bible verse you use (or could use) to deny the lie you believe about yourself?
Come back Aug 22nd for June Foster!