Welcome- I've started a new story- The Mountain Man Romance has been submitted for publication- It finally has a title Love So Deep. This is a brand new book I'm writing. It's a historical Mail Order Bride Romance and I'm hoping to make it a series. The word for this week is "Speak". Thank you for Stopping by.
Shannon McMurphy jolted awake as the stagecoach came to an abrupt stop.
“This is it, Asherville, Texas,” The brown-toothed man sitting across from her announced. He spit once again on the stagecoach floor and leered at her. “Are ya sure ya want to get hitched to Ole John Hardy? I can be your husband if ya like.” His fetid breath nauseated her. She wished he wouldn’t speak.
Shannon shuddered, trying not to glance at him. He’d been undressing her with his eyes the whole last leg of her trip. Until then there had been other passengers and he behaved himself, but now she never wanted to be in his company again. Opening the shade, she looked out the coach window. The sun was bright and her eyes squinted until they became used to the light.
It didn’t look to be much of a town but beggars couldn’t be choosers and in this situation, she was definitely the beggar
The driver opened the door, and Shannon expected to get off first but the nasty passenger pushed past her and left. Maybe this is what manners were in the West.
The driver extended his hand, she took it and carefully stepped out of the stagecoach. Taking a deep breath, she let go of his hand and glanced around. Where was Mr. Hardy? He promised to meet the stage but there was no one on the wooden sidewalk but her. He was probably delayed at his ranch. Being a successful rancher must be hard work.
The driver put her bag down next to her and she smiled her thanks. “You wouldn’t know-”
“I usually drive straight through Asherville. Never had time to meet the folks.” He stroked his black mustache and shrugged. “Someone will be by to pick you up. A man would have to be crazy to leave a pretty gal like you stranded.” He climbed back on the coach, grabbed the reins and yelled. “Haw!”
Not one to stand around waiting for something to happen, she grabbed her bag and walked down the boardwalk. There wasn’t much in the town to recommend itself. The biggest building was the saloon followed by the mercantile. On the other side of the street was a place called Eats and next to that was a barbershop. Somehow, through Mr. Hardy’s letters she was led to believe that the town was booming and growing but that wasn’t the case.
She walked to the mercantile hoping they’d know where her intended could be. If nothing else, it would get her out of the blazing sun. She stopped before entering and slid her hands down her skirt trying in vain to remove some of the dust and wrinkles but all she created was a big puff of dust around her. What she wouldn’t give for a bath but it would have to wait.
The bell above the door rang as she entered the mercantile, and immediately everyone stopped and stared at her. She always believed that first impressions mattered greatly but there was no help for it now. Smiling she nodded in greeting to the other customers.
A tall, well-dressed woman in her thirties, patted her dark hair in place, came from behind the counter and headed right for Shannon putting forth a big gracious smile. “Welcome. You must be new around here. I’m Edith Mathers, proprietor of this fine establishment. Are you and your husband settling in our town?”
“It’s so nice to make you’re acquaintance. Actually, I’m here to marry John Hardy. Perhaps you could tell me where I may locate him?”
A hush fell over the entire store and as she glanced around there were many with their mouths dropped open.
“Do you think he got tied up at his ranch? If it isn’t far perhaps I could rent a buggy to get out there?” Her heart thumped painfully against her ribs as a shiver went up her spine. “Is something wrong?”
Edith took her bag from her and led her to a fine upholstered chair near the window. “Oh dear, how should I say this?”
“Is he dead?”
Patting Shannon’s hand Edith shook her head. “No, honey, John doesn’t own a ranch. Oh my, what did you say your name was?”
To read more Tuesday Tales --
To visit my Website- Http://www.kathleenballromance.com