From Ireland to the New World — Pioneer Instinct

PioneerInstinctCoverArtEliza O’Malley and brother Allen travel from Ireland to join their father and brothers on an 1890s Wyoming homestead. Allen is almost destroyed during the voyage, but Eliza’s benefactors rescue them both from their father’s foolish carelessness and mounting debt.

When she has worked off her passage and built her own wealth, Eliza completes the journey, knowing that she has been called to fulfill her destiny as a Heartmark woman. She is immediately swept off her feet by the neighboring rancher Frank McGee. His sister Jude, her friend and business partner, harbors a secret that will nearly destroy the love between Eliza and Frank.

Clues from an ancient diary, the fierce intervention of animal helpers, and ancient artifacts play a part in the life of all Heartmark women, including Eliza. Will they be enough to overcome the horrible rumors spread by Jude and restore Frank’s love for her?

Excerpt

Could this man be the answer to her prayers? “Oh, sir, I am looking for someone to help me find my brother.” She turned to the door of the men’s quarters the man had just come out of, then turned back to him. “I haven’t seen him since we left port and I’m worried sick.”

The man blanched and alarm flashed across his face, then he gave her a gentle smile and she wondered if she’d imagined that first reaction.

He cast a quick look to the door of the men’s quarters, then cleared his throat and gave her his complete attention. “Well, tell me more about this brother of yours and we will see what we can do.”

Relief and hope eased the knot in Eliza’s stomach for the first time since her father had taken charge of Allen. “Oh, yes, thank you. His name is Allen O’Malley and he’s ten years old. He has dark hair and green eyes and is about this tall.” She put her hand at about her shoulder level. “He is thin and when I saw him last he was crying his heart out at having to leave home.”

A thin man, pale and looking worse for wear, pushed open the doors from the men’s quarters, heading to the rail of the ship. Eliza peered into the darkness below before the door slammed shut again. If only she could see him…

Her companion’s eyes followed hers.

“Tell you what, Lassie. You stand right here at the opening and call out his name. Tell him I’ll bring him to you. Maybe that will help me find him.”

Hope bloomed in her breast and she nodded eagerly. Mindful of his steps on the thin rope ladder, the stranger backed down into the darkness.

Mustering as much confidence as she could, she called out to her little brother. “Allen, I’m here. Come up on deck please. This nice man will bring you to me. Allen O’Malley, I’m waiting to see you, but I’m getting impatient. Do you want me to come down there after you?”

“Eliza?”

The call was so timid she almost missed it completely. Eliza fisted her hands to her chest to keep her heart from pounding its way outside her body. “Yes, Allen, it’s me. Let this nice man bring you up on deck with me and I’ll make sure you don’t have to go down there again.”

*****

Pale circles of light from the few lanterns which were hooked to the rafters were all James McWhorter had to guide him around the mass of humanity suffering from sea sickness below decks. He found the boy huddled in a corner. There was no lantern in this area, and it was too dark to be sure what he saw, but the smell was even worse in this corner. He put a handkerchief to his nose and tried to take shallow breaths. Feces, urine and – could it be blood? – crowded his nostrils and gagged him.

When James knelt beside the balled up little boy, his pant leg became wet with who knew what. “Son, are you all right?”

There was a sniff, followed by a long silence. “They– they hurt me. I’m scared.” The whispered, broken words tore at James’ heart.

Download now from Desert Breeze Publishing, where you can check out Books 1 and 2, Animal Instinct set in Missouri in the 1970s and Survival Instinct set in 2020 in San Francisco.timeaftertimeseries

The blizzard of 1890 – Wyoming turned deadly

downloadEliza was unprepared for the bone-chilling cold. The snow began to fall and the wind blew it horizontally across her view. The barn, which had been clear to see just moments before, faded into a hulking, indistinct shadow as the snow came between them.

“’Liza, wait.” David O’Malley turned and took a long rope from a hook beside the door. He tied one end of it to a high hook at the roofline of the house. “Let me go first,” he offered as he unwound the rope behind him. “Hold on to me with one hand, and to the rope with the other.”

She did as he said, and closed her eyes against the sting of ice mixed with the snow. The ground underfoot became slippery. Even mostly covered, her face stung. She could no longer feel her toes and fingers, even though she moved them to keep them warm.

It was impossible to talk in the whining wind, so when they reached the fence Papa gestured that she was to go to the barn. He tied the rope to the fence, she realized, so they could find their way back to the house. She groped along the fence line toward the barn. Icicles formed along the top rail.

Fancy called out to her with a loud neigh when she opened the barn door. She would have to leave it open so Papa could drive the animals from the pens into the barn.  She closed it as far as she dared to limit the cold air coming in. She climbed the ladder into the storage above the barn and pitched hay – a lot of hay – down to the floor of the barn. The sheep and goats that were in the pens began to trickle in through the door. In the dim light she piled the hay into a corner and put grain into the feed troughs. When she checked the water there was plenty, but it was already beginning to freeze.  She broke up the shell of ice that skimmed the surface and hoped that the animals could get enough to drink. She opened the stalls for the horses in the barn so that they could press close to each other for warmth. It was all she could do.

The stream of animals had stopped so she gritted her teeth and stepped out the barn door, closing it behind her. She reached out with her hand to find the fence rail. She needed to find her father and they needed to get back into the house before they were too cold to move. She’d never known the cold could penetrate so deep into her bones, that she could move inch by inch down the invisible fence, finding her way by feel, and could not see or feel anything at all. If Papa had gone back to the house without her she would never find her way.

He hadn’t. He was slumped over the fence at the place where the rope connected to it.

She tugged on his arm and for a moment she feared he had frozen as he stood by the fence and waited for her. Then, moving slowly, he straightened and felt for her hand. He put one of her hands on the rope and the other grasping the back of his coat. Then he led her back to the house, step by agonizing step.

And suddenly they were there. She bumped up against her father’s back as they ran into the wall of the cabin. She continued to hold on to his coat as he shuffled along the wall to the left, feeling for the door. At long last a sliver of light penetrated into their dark, cold world and they were able to push through the door then slam it shut on the dark, cold, dangerous storm behind them.

PioneerInstinctCoverArtAllen turned bleak eyes to them from his place at the stove where he fed sticks into the flames.

“I couldn’t see. I couldn’t get any more wood,” he pronounced solemnly. “I was lost for a moment, not two steps from the house.”

“We’ll need to close off the bedroom, bring all the blankets and clothes, everything we can find, into this room. We need to keep each other warm until the storm passes.”

Eliza and Allen did as he asked, and carried everything that could provide warmth into the main room. They piled the mattresses around as well as under them, and each put on several layers of warm, dry clothes. Eliza’s fingers began to thaw as she worked in the relatively warm cabin. She found several pairs of socks and gloves for each of them. Then they lay down on the mattresses, pressed close to each other, and covered up with the blankets they’d gathered.

Then they lay there and listened to the wind continue to blow, and heard the snow mixed with ice crystals as it struck the windows. Snow sifted in through the space under both doors and formed a little drift of snow on the floor.

“What happens to the cattle when they are caught in a storm like this?” Eliza thought of the brown animals scattered across their ranch. She loved riding Fancy to the top of the hill and looking out at all the stock dotting the hillsides. “Will they be smart enough to huddle up and keep each other warm?”

“Probably not.” Her father’s voice was gruff. “We will be lucky if any survive, even the ones in the barn. We weren’t ready for a blizzard this early in the year. I never even thought to put the cattle into the pens this early.”

“Papa, what about Davy and Hugh and Ed?” Allen’s voice was small and scared and squeaked with his nervousness.

Eliza began to calculate in her head. It took at least two hours to get to the road, then another three on the road to get into Cheyenne. There was no way they could have made it all the way into town before the storm hit.

A shudder of fear ran through her and chilled her to the bone.

Buy Pioneer Instinct and other books by Lynette Endicott and Tami Dee at Amazon or Desert Breeze Publishing.