Blurb: Travel the Oregon Trail in 1845 with independent 18 year-old Rebecca Pierce and her mother Sarah. Meet Zachary Miller who manages to steal Rebecca’s heart despite her personal vow to make her father’s dream of building a successful horse ranch and farm. There is no place for love or distraction. Learn to detest Silas Smith who will stop at nothing, including murder, to make his own selfish goal of becoming “somebody” occur.
Excerpt: Rebecca leapt from Glory’s back when she reached the trees. She bent at the waist, catching her breath while laughing, and peering sideways with a teasing look at Zachary as he rode up. “I figured Red could out run Glory any day with those long legs of his. Guess I was wrong.”
“What makes you think I didn’t let you win? After all, a gentleman would have done just that.” Zachary slid off of the saddle, loosened the cinch, and replaced Red’s bridle with a rope halter.
“And, most women . . . most ladies, would never be caught dead riding astride with skirts flying in a race with a man. But, I am different. Always have been, I suppose.” Rebecca’s usually confident voice dropped to a whisper. “Mother doesn’t like it, that’s for sure.”
Zachary cleared his throat and moved forward taking Rebecca’s hands in his. She looked up to see his blue eyes darken. “You’re right, I guess. But it’s your uniqueness and willingness to bend the rules that draws me to you. Like those fireflies at night.”
Without a conscious thought Rebecca moved closer into the circle of Zachary’s arms. She allowed him to pull her so close she couldn’t tell where her heart began and his ended. She wanted to close every gap between them.
“Have you ever been kissed, Rebecca?”
The touch of Zachary’s fingers on her cheek stung in a pleasant, stunning way. The spot on her face felt special. Different. She opened her mouth to speak, but the words wouldn’t come. Shaking her head she confirmed that she had never been kissed.
A quiet chuckle escaped from Zachary’s parted lips. “Let me fix that.”
When her lips first felt the soft, tentative touch of his lips Rebecca sighed into his mouth. He turned slightly, kissing her cheeks, and her eyelids before returning to her lips.
The kiss deepened yet remained soft. She kissed him back without guilt or shame or worry. Everything about Zachary felt right.
Shyness descended over Rebecca as she turned to spread her shawl on the grass. She glanced up, lowered her lashes, then looked directly into Zachary’s eyes. “Hungry?”
Zachary sat beside Rebecca and bumped her shoulder. “Yes, I am. Starved.”
Rebecca retrieved the knife from her bag and cut thick slices of cheese. She piled the cheese on two pieces of bread and handed one to Zachary. “Enjoy.”
A guttural sound of pleasure escaped from Zachary when he took the first bite of the soft, fresh bread and sharp cheese. “Will you tell me something? It’s a rather delicate question. Personal.”
“Depends on the question, I imagine. What is it?” Rebecca set her meal on the shawl and turned to give him her full attention.
“When we’ve talked about our dreams for the future in the Oregon Territory you’ve often mentioned a vow to your father. Each time you do you become distant. At first, I wondered whether or not I had done something to anger you. What is this vow?”