She pines for her long-lost brother. He yearns for a family and home of his own. Will the dangerous new frontier end their dreams of family and love?
Megan Floyd needs resolution before she can think about moving on with her life. Needing answers regarding the fate of her brother after her parent’s murder, she joins an eastbound wagon train, but nothing goes as planned when they are attacked by marauding Comanche.
Retired U.S. Cavalry officer Bryan MacConnell just wants a family of his own. When his home is destroyed, he decides to start fresh by heading west. With his grandfather in tow, they stumble upon what is left of an Indian attack and the remaining survivors.
Will the harsh frontier and wild weather tear them apart or will the hope of love and family keep Bryan and Megan together?
Southeastern Colorado Territory, April 1856
“I am going on that wagon train whether you like it or not.” Megan folded her arms over her chest, her stance wide and defiant as she faced her adopted family.
Pa Floyd growled. “Megan Susanne Floyd, we understand you need to find out what happened to yer brother, but our concerns lie with the train. It’s too early in the year fer travelin’. You were too young to remember the trip gettin’ here. Injun attacks are bad enough, but it’s spring. Winter ain’t quite over yet, and it usually has a few late surprises. Just when we think it’s over, a snowstorm hits. You’re takin’ a risk, goin’ back through Injun country.” He pulled on his beard as his anxiety increased. “Don’ understand why they’re not takin’ the Santa Fe Trail.”READ MORE
Megan gave her father a tight smile. “We’re traveling southeast to avoid the Kiowa and Comanche war at Sandy Creek. According to Mr. Peabody at the General Store, there should be plenty of water on the southern route. Besides, we’ve got no choice in the matter. If the train’s going south, so are we.”
Pa swiped his hand over his mustache and down his grey beard, pulling on it again. “Don’t rightly trust that Jones feller none. But Paul’s goin’ with you. Keep your eyes open wide, Megan girl.”
She nodded. “I will, Pa.” She glanced at Paul then turned her gaze back to her father, who scratched at his whiskered face. The familiar motion pulled her lips upward. “We will.”
“Yer smart enough to know five wagons ain’t safe against an Injun attack.” Pa stressed his objections in his usual quiet voice. Seeing her knowing grin, he forced his hand down to his side. He nodded toward the small group of people climbing into their wagons at the far end of the wheel-rutted street. “Them folks ain’t made from the same stock as most of us out here. They’re city folk an’ don’t belong where every day is a struggle. The law is who draws a gun the fastest. The train leader—that Jones feller—ain’t impressed me none at all. He’s a mite shifty.”
Pa glanced around their small group: his wife, who nodded in agreement with his last statement, and their two oldest sons. His watery gaze rested on the two younger children. “Guess, I shouldn’t be callin’ either of you children anymore, but,” he pulled his wife to his side. “You know your ma and I always thought of you as our own, and we’re right proud of how the two of you have grown up.” He stood a little straighter and gave Megan and Paul a quick nod. “Right proud.”
Megan fidgeted with the small satchel in her hands. She knew she was different from most women and didn’t fit in with proper folks. Her long, black braid, honey-colored skin, and dark brown eyes let everyone know she was Indian, although from what tribe remained a mystery. She also knew her adopted father was worried about how the people in Arkansas and Tennessee would react to her asking questions about her murdered parents. It was her older brother, Clay, she wanted to learn about. What had happened to him? Why had he never tried to find her?
She caught Paul’s gaze and gave him a tiny smile. His sun-bleached brown hair curled against the short collar of his off-white shirt, and his fingers worried the brim of his worn, brown slouch hat. Pa was right. Paul had grown into a respectable young man. His story was so like hers but worse. Her parents had been taken from her while his father and brother had left him behind to die. Because they shared such a similar past, they had bonded almost immediately. One night when she’d caught him crying, he confided to her that his mother had also been killed—like hers had.
In an unaccustomed move, Paul grabbed hold of Megan’s hand, his pale green eyes staring down at her. “If this is what you need to do…”
“It is.” Megan wanted to cry. These people had taken her in when she was a ten-year-old child and raised her as their own. They were good people—but this trip was too important to her. Searching for her brother at the Mississippi River landing in Eastern Arkansas was vital. Before she could move on with her life, she had to know what had happened to him…uncertainty about his fate had followed her for seventeen years. Still, a part of her felt guilty, as if she were betraying the Floyds and all they’d done for her.
Boots clapped on the boarded sidewalk and stopped behind her. Whoever it was cleared his throat. “Miss Floyd, the wagon train’s ready to head out. If’n we want to make the pass by night, we can’t tarry any longer.”
Megan turned and offered the scruffy mountain man a smile. “Thank you, Mr. Jones. Mr. Daniels and I won’t be long.” He hobbled back down the sidewalk and stepped off into the muddy street, heading toward the small cluster of wagons next to the livery stable.
She followed the line of storefronts with her gaze. Shopkeepers and customers bustled in and out of the buildings as they went about their daily lives. She’d worked in her father’s trading post for years and knew most of these people. They were her friends.
With a sigh, she turned back to her family, their faces pinched with worry. She pressed a fist over the ache in her chest. “I’m sorry…”
Ma Floyd threw her arms around Megan’s neck and held on tight for a few moments then dropped her arms and stepped away. “Okay, now. I’m a mite worried ’bout you agoin’ with them city folk—don’t even know how t’ properly shoot a gun. But you’re a good girl. Smart and steady goin’. And you’ll have Paul travelin’ along to protect you as well. Go. Find your brother, then come on back home. Both o’ you.”
“You keep yer eyes and ears open, li’l sis.” Seth’s deep voice rumbled. “There’s Injun trouble everywhere.”
“Mind your rifles, and make sure you have plenty of ammunition. Stock up at Fort Gibson, even if you don’t run into any trouble. You can never have enough,” Tom added, his voice a bit more gravelly than usual.
Through her tears, Megan offered a shaky smile. Turning, she walked toward the wagon train and an unknown future.COLLAPSE
Kathy Brickert on GoodReads wrote:
Another well-researched and well-written book by Heidi V.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, second I have read by this author- I luckily stumbled upon it offered for free when looking to see what all she has written. I will have to see if she writes as well in other genres. I saw very few typos, and she writes well, knows the proper terminology and settings for her subjects. I like the characters, would love to see more about them. Does brother Paul find the answer to his search in another book? This is not a cliff hanger, and it has a very good ending, but there is clearly room for other stories branching from this one. So I am sure I will be reading more by this author. She earned her 5 stars.
Lori Haney on GoodReads wrote:
Such a heartwarming story! I laughed, I cried, I read it really fast because I couldn't put it down! So glad to see Bryan's story! Good read!
Read this in 2 days, once I got started on it, it was hard to put down. Enjoyed the descriptions on the caves and country where the story took place. Makes me want to visit Oklahoma. The story was intriguing and the characters well developed.