Welcome to Excerpt Friday! Each Friday we’ll be featuring excerpts from recent releases by our very own Fillies. So grab a cup of coffee and read on. And if you find you’re hooked by what you read (and we know you will be!) just click on the book cover to purchase the entire book.
From Author Karen Witemeyer – A COWBOY UNMATCHED from the A Match Made in Texas collection
Neill took the third turnoff as instructed and guided the rented team over a narrow bridge which spanned one of the waterless gullies that must have inspired the town’s name. Spotting the widow Danvers’s windmill, Neill flicked the reins over the horses’ backs and urged them to a quicker pace. Harness jangled and wheels creaked, adding harmony to the rhythmic clacking of the windmill’s spinning blades as the house came into view.
Shack might be a better term. The weathered building listed to one side like a sapling buffeted by constant wind. The thing didn’t need a new roof. It needed to be torn down and completely rebuilt.
Too bad there weren’t any trees around. He might have been able to the shore the thing up a bit with some chinked logs, but all his wagon carried by way of supplies were shingles, a keg of barbed nails, a few rolls of roofing felt, cement paste, and a handful of tools. Somehow he doubted he’d be able to do much with a hammer, jack knife, and cement brush. Maybe the late Mr. Danvers had some tools or scrap lumber Neill could put to use. He hated to think of some frail, gray-haired lady putting her foot through a rotted step or having part of a wall collapse on her. He wouldn’t mind spending an extra day or two out here making sure the place was habitable before he left.
Neill pulled the wagon to a halt and set the brake. “Hello, in the house!” he called as he climbed down from the bench. “I’m here to fix your roof.”
The door inched open far enough to allow the twin barrels of a shotgun to emerge through the crack.
“I don’t know who you are, stranger,” a feminine voice rang out, “but I made no arrangements for any roofing to be done. I’ll thank you to get back in your wagon and leave the way you came.”
Neill stilled. Mrs. Danvers sure held that gun with a steady grip for a widow lady. And that voice sounded none too frail, either. Neill raised his hands, the leather work gloves itching against his empty palms. He took one step back toward the wagon—and the rifle waiting beneath the driver’s seat.
“I was hired by someone in town, ma’am,” he explained. “They paid up front for the supplies and gave me instructions on how to get to your place. Unless you’re not Widow Danvers.”
The implied question hung in the air for several tense heartbeats. Finally, the shotgun lowered and the door opened wide enough to give the widow room to step through.
“I’m Clara Danvers.”
Three things registered in Neill’s mind simultaneously. The widow Danvers wasn’t old. She wasn’t frail. And she sure as shootin’ hadn’t been a widow very long.