Excerpt Wednesday – Trail of Longing

Time for another sneak peek of Trail of Longing, the third book in the Hot on the Trail series! This one is about Emma Sutton and Dr. Dean Meyers. Think they’ll be able to get together with all of the road blocks in their way? Let’s take a peek….

(Shh! Pretend you're not seeing this yet!)

(Shh! Pretend you’re not seeing this yet!)

“What’s the matter?” Kathleen’s sharp question forced Dean to drag his eyes away from the curiosity of Emma and her mother. “Don’t you like lemonade?”

Dean had completely forgotten he was holding the jug and tart. “Oh, yes, of course.” He took another long draught and another bite of the tart.

“Then why aren’t you eating more?” Helen asked.

Across from where Dean sat, Pete was shaking with laughter. “Now ladies, you can’t expect poor Dr. Meyers to devour a feast when so many lovely ladies are serving it up.”

Dean nearly choked on tart. At least he had the lemonade to keep him from coughing. “You’re too kind,” he croaked to Helen and Kathleen.

Across the wagons, Mrs. Sutton thrust a long spoon into Emma’s hand. Emma was still trying to argue, but Mrs. Sutton was having none of it. She turned and pointed directly to Dean… and the girls standing on either side of him. Then she gestured to the simmering pot.

Emma’s shoulders heaved in a sigh. She peeked at him. Their eyes met. Dean couldn’t help but smile, mouth full of raisins and pastry. Emma turned bright pink and snapped away.

“Kathleen, why are you bothering the doctor?” The voice of an older woman interrupted the already ludicrous scene. Dean twisted to see Kathleen’s mother striding toward his camp. “Can’t you see he’s busy with Mr. Evans?”

“Oh, don’t mind me, ma’am,” Pete chuckled. “I’m just enjoying the show.”

Dean sent him a short scowl. He was enjoying it a little too much.

“Oh mother. I couldn’t help myself. I saw Dr. Meyers sitting here looking so parched. I just had to bring him some of our lovely, sweet, homemade lemonade.” The way Kathleen delivered the line was practiced in every way.

So was her mother’s reply. “How kind of you, dear. But that’s my Kathleen for you. She is the soul of kindness, and so thoughtful too. Wouldn’t you agree, Dr. Meyers?”

“I’m kind,” Helen growled. “And thoughtful, and I’m a good cook.”

“Yes, and I can sew and keep house.” Kathleen stepped behind Dean’s back to stand toe-to-toe with Helen.

“I can keep house and I make quilts,” Helen said.

Kathleen’s mother’s proud smile slipped at the unexpected contest. “Oh, well, girls, perhaps we really should leave Dr. Meyers to his lunch.”

“Yes, well you might quilt, but my strawberry jam won the Allegheny County blue ribbon every Fourth of July for the last three years!” Kathleen argued.

“Kathleen.” Her mother laughed and grabbed her daughter’s arm. “Maybe now isn’t such a good time to—”

“I believe you,” Helen cut her off, eyes narrowed at Kathleen. “I can tell by your figure that you enjoy a lot of that strawberry jam.”

Kathleen yelped. Her mother yanked her away. Pete roared outright with laughter.

Dean hardly heard a word of it. What did Emma think she was doing? She couldn’t possibly cook over an open flame in a skirt like that. Every time she attempted to lean closer to the steaming pot, the silk of her dress brushed too close to the embers. She caught it and held it back, but that left her standing at an awkward angle as she stirred whatever was in the pot. Steam curled up into her face, causing the tendrils of hair at her neck to go limp and slip out of their elaborate style almost before his eyes. He couldn’t let her go on like that.

“Excuse me, ladies.” He stood and handed the jug of lemonade to Helen—who had a fist raised and aimed at Kathleen—and the rest of the raisin tart to Kathleen as her mother yanked her away from Helen.

He left the turmoil behind him to stride down the line of wagons to where he was truly needed.

 

Uh oh. Trouble on the trail! Trail of Longing will be available wherever eBooks are sold on January 5th!
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