When I come down the darkened hallway from the living room toward my bedroom, I am a little down and ready to call it a night but I pull my phone out of my pocket and can see the pulsing light signaling I have a message and suddenly I am completely revived.
I flip on my bedroom light and Mark yells from behind me, “Brian, I’m making a frozen pizza. You want some,” he asks coming after me to stand at my door.
“A…yeah,” I say distracted. “I’ll be there in a minute.
I glance around to see him nodding, but he doesn’t make a move to leave. He just stands at the threshold watching me. I use my foot to push my door closed on him, but he sticks out a hand, stopping it. “You didn’t,” he groans. “Tell me you didn’t.”
“I did,” I answer shortly.
“You’re asking for trouble,” he predicts but grins at me and is shaking his head.
“Totally worth it,” I reply with a smile just before I close the door in his face.
I can hear him hooting with laughter and then he starts belting out some unrecognizable tune, (he’s completely tone deaf), as he heads back toward the kitchen. I can hear our roommate Adam come barreling into the front door of the house and it sounds as though he has brought company. At least one female voice echoes down the hallway.
I open the new message screen, anticipating and it is, it's from her.
Claire White of Cedar County Iowa, snippet
Cedar County Iowa
Nathan LaRue fears that the breakneck pace on the rough road is sorely testing the strength and wind of his chestnut gelding, because it is neither a pace nor a trek that the old plow horse has ever been asked to make before. Nearly dusk now and after half a day of toiling in the fields, old Buck, bless him, was giving him his all. Nate has no choice but to ask it of him, as Lizzie’s very life lay in the balance. He digs his heels into the horse’s sides again and lays the strop of his reins into Buck’s rump.
“Yah! Get up there!”
Leaving Lizzie alone in the house for even these few minutes could become her eternity, Nate knows, but if he can’t find help for her, he will lose her for sure. Plain bad luck that Doc Harper happens to be away at West Branch just now helping out with a new group of poor souls, but Doc always tries to be there to give medical care to any of those in need before they continue their escape along the underground railroad, hoping for a chance at freedom up North in Canada. Doc Harper wasn’t expected back for two more days and in the midst of a life and death struggle, Lizzie didn’t have two more days. Her only chance was for him to get to the neighbor's place and Claire White. If any other person could possibly save his young wife and their unborn child, it would be Missus White. He just prays that he will find her at home.
Love's Endurance, the sequel to Love's Vengeance, snippet
Somerset Bermuda 1689
Timothy had his back turned as he tied Sebastian to a hitching post and smiled to himself, hearing the titter of giggles coming from behind him and just inside the house near the front door. It was, no doubt, Lizzie’s constant irritations and little sisters, eleven-year-old Clara, nine-year-old Esther and little five-year-old Ruth, jockeying for a spot to have a better view out of the window.
“Esther, go tell Lizzie that Tim is here!” Clara ordered.
“No you go! I want to see Tim!”
He watched the three, positioned at the window that edged the front door and waved at them with an amused smile, causing them to titter with excitement.
The door opened abruptly and all three girls spilled out onto the front porch to meet him and he was immediately hit with a gush of excited questions.
“Tim, is it true that you are here to speak with father?” Clara exclaimed, hugging his hand to her cheek. “We overheard father talking with Lizzie. You are going to be married? Yes?”
“Are you going to be our new uncle?” Ruthie piped up, tugging at his coattail with chubby little hands and gazing up at him, all wide-blue eyes and bouncing-brown curls.
“Not uncle Ruthie, brother in law. He will be our new brother,” Clara corrected her little sister patiently.
“Should I go find Lizzie?” Esther offered. “She was out in the backyard last I saw her.”
“No Esther, let's just let Lizzie be, for the time being. Could you announce me to your father though?” he asked, laughing as he disentangled himself from Clara and Ruthie’s grips and then he lifted Ruthie into his arms, “And please girls, let me speak with him alone for a moment, will you? Can you find him and then run along for just a bit? You will be the first I speak with—after Lizzie, of course. Can you do that for me?”
They all entered the house en masse and just within Tim placed Ruth upon her own two feet.
“Of course Tim,” Clara assured him. “Come along girls, let’s go and call father. Tim you wait in the parlor.” She gestured to the room off the front hall and then with a blur of matching blue gingham and bouncy brown curls, the three scampered off in search of their father.