HOPES & DREAMS IN WHITCOMB SPRINGS by MK McClintock - Excerpt
Escape to Whitcomb Springs with tales of adventure, danger, forgiveness, romance, and hope in this special collection of short fiction.
Hopes & Dreams in Whitcomb Springs
About the Book
High in a mountain valley, a place for those who have loved and lost becomes a home for those who wish to hope and dream.
Set in post-Civil War Montana Territory, in the town of Whitcomb Springs, is a community of strong men and women who have worked to overcome individual struggles faced during and after the war. Amongst the majestic mountains, clear-water lakes, and hand-hewn homes, you will meet widows, heroes, mountain men, and others who seek a place of peace and renewal.
Meet a brave group of settlers whose stories and adventures celebrate the rich life of the American West with their tales of adventure, courage, mercy, tender romance, and hope for a good tomorrow.
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"What a wonderful story of courage and hope. I loved Evelyn Whitcomb’s story and her love for her town and the families in it. How courageous she was. I hope we hear more about Evelyn and Daniel in future stories. I look forward to more short stories from this post-Civil War town." —Kindle Reader on "Whitcomb Springs"
"'Forsaken Trail' is another fabulous read by MK McClintock! I have read just about everything MK has written and I am never disappointed. This one is no different. It is a short story but it is packed full of adventure, suspense, love and inspiration. I loved it! I give 'Forsaken Trail' 5 stars and highly recommend Cooper’s story for all who love a good historical." —Kindle Reader on "Forsaken Trail"
In the author's words . . .
It all began with Daniel and Evelyn Whitcomb, whose dream of a grand adventure in the Rocky Mountains became an unforgettable journey of love and perseverance in the face of loss. The war gave much to some, but for most, defending home, honor, and belief that the country could become a better place came with great sacrifice. Many remained and rebuilt while others were determined to forge a new life far away from the memories.
I hope you enjoy their stories.
Enjoy an Excerpt from
Hopes & Dreams in Whitcomb Springs
Excerpt from "Forsaken Trail"
Whitcomb Springs, Montana Territory
May 30, 1865
She never imagined dying at the hands—or paws—of a bear. Either she’d end up dead like the poor driver she hired in Bozeman or find a way to escape unscathed. Considering the layers of skirts and petticoats she wore, Abigail wasn’t going to bet on her ability to outrun the great animal.
She remained still in the low branches of a tree. Unable to climb higher unless she removed her skirts, Abigail controlled her breathing so as not to alert the animal. The past few years of her life had been in pursuit of an education. Her work in the war relief had kept her busy for four long years, but she found time in the evening hours to consume knowledge. The more she learned, the more she wanted to know.
Abigail read most of the leather-bound volumes of work in her family’s library, from philosophy to geography to history, and everything in between. Unfortunately, not a single text had explained what to do when confronted by five hundred pounds of bear. Magnificent though the animal was, Abigail didn’t want to become dinner.
Poor Mr. Tuttle had fallen from the wagon and broken his neck when the horses spooked and ran off. She’d been unable to drag him away, let alone pull him up a tree. Even now, she watched as the massive brown bear sniffed around the body. She dispelled a deep breath when she realized it wasn’t going to eat Mr. Tuttle. It looked around instead, smelling the air.
Abigail swore it stared directly at her. Too late, she recalled that bears climb trees. Her first thought had been to escape, and unable to outrun the creature, she went up. She calculated if the bear stood on its back legs, it could reach the low-hanging branches where she hid and knock her from the tree with one swipe. She grabbed the nearest branch above her head and pulled herself up. Abigail ignored the loud rip in her skirt and the sudden gush of cool air that hit her legs and climbed higher. Two more branches put her out of swiping distance.
The bear sauntered toward her and stood, staring and studying. She imagined it thinking of all the ways it could rip her apart and savor her like a delicious meal. The stays on her corset would be no match for those great claws, and the teeth . . . Abigail shuddered and reminded herself that most living creatures weren’t vicious by nature.
Abigail knew the animal was aware of her location. It landed back on all fours and approached the base of the tree. The heavy breathing and snorting filled the silence.
“I don’t suppose we can work something out?” she called down to the bear, feeling foolish but not knowing what else to do. “Why don’t you go your way and I’ll go mine?”
Abigail covered her ears and pulled herself as close to the tree trunk as possible. The bear turned its head toward the sound of the gunfire before dropping on all fours. Another bullet hit the tree near the bear's head. The bear snorted again and after the third shot hit the ground a few feet away, the animal turned away from the tree and headed across the clearing to the forest. Abigail kept her tight hold on the branches and didn't look down when she heard the sound of a horse beneath her.
"If you can manage to climb back down, he's gone."
"Yes, but now you're here." Abigail thought she heard a chuckle. She dared a glance but couldn't see much of the man's face, shadowed by his hat.
"I can ride away if you prefer, ma'am, but there isn't another soul likely to come by today." After a minute of silence, she heard a loud sigh. "If you aren't coming down, the least you can do is explain what happened to Tuttle."
"You know—knew—Mr. Tuttle?"
The man below her didn't answer right away. She heard movement and saw he was no longer on his horse.
"I did. Looks like a broken neck."
She squeezed her eyes shut and asked, "Did the bear . . . make it worse?" She dared not ask if the bear tore the poor man apart.
Another chuckle. "No one calls me sir, ma'am. The bear probably figured Tuttle wasn't going anywhere. He was more interested in finding out what crawled up the tree."
"I didn't crawl!" Abigail realized the ridiculousness of her situation and studied the branches beneath her. The climb down wasn't too far. One of her petticoats was caught on a protruding branch. She shifted and the delicate fabric ripped even more. "I don't suppose you'll tell me the truth, but if I come down, will you promise not to harm me?"
"Interesting question seeing as how if I wanted to harm you, I'd've come up after you by now or shot you out of the tree straight away. The bear was more dangerous, and I gallantly, if I may add, chased the bear away."
End of Excerpt. Read extended excerpt >
Excerpt Copyright ©MK McClintock.
Award-winning author MK McClintock writes historical romantic fiction about courageous and honorable men and strong women who appreciate chivalry, like those in her Montana Gallagher, British Agent, and Crooked Creek series. She is also the co-author of the McKenzie Sisters Mystery series. Her stories of adventure, romance, and mystery sweep across the American West to the Victorian British Isles, with places and times between and beyond. She enjoys a quiet life in the northern Rocky Mountains.
MK invites you to join her on her writing journey at mkmcclintock.com, where you can learn more about her many books and series, explore reader extras, subscribe to receive the latest news, and browse the blog.
Genre: Historical Western Romance
Type: Collection of Short Fiction
Publisher: Trappers Peak Publishing
Release Date: August 17, 2021
Series: Whitcomb Springs
Content Rating: 1 Heart/PG
Author's note on genre and content: This book is a clean romance, but also contains some elements of western-style action and violence.
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