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 Sherri Shackleford – The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family
Sherri will be giving away a book or an amazon kindle edition to one person who leaves a comment on today’s post.
The towering double doors behind Jo and five-year-old Cora creaked open, and Reverend Miller cleared his throat. “You can send in the child now.” He held out his hand for Cora. “Marshal Cain has been informed of his sister’s passing.”
Her heart heavy, Jo stood, then hesitated in the dappled sunlight. A soft breeze sent pear blossoms from the trees on either side of the shallow church steps fluttering over them like fragrant snow petals.
Cora rose and snatched Jo’s hand. “Will you go with me?”
A riot of flaxen curls tumbled merrily around the little girl’s face, but her Cupid’s-bow mouth was solemn beneath her enormous, cornflower-blue eyes. Cora clutched a paper funnel filled with lemon drops in her left hand. Her battered rag doll remained anchored to her right side.
Jo met the reverend’s sympathetic gaze, grateful for his almost imperceptible nod of agreement. He was a squat, sturdy man in his middle fifties with thinning gray hair and a kind smile.
The three of them stepped into the church vestibule, and Reverend Miller directed them toward his tiny, cluttered office. Jo paused as her eyes adjusted in the dim light.
Marshal Cain sat on a sturdy wooden chair before the desk, his expression grim. Her heart skittered, but she swallowed back her nerves and forced her steps closer.
His eyes were red, and the tail end of a hastily stowed handkerchief peeked out from his breast pocket. As though embarrassed by his tears, he didn’t meet her gaze. Instead, he focused his attention on the petite fingers clutching Jo’s waist. He didn’t stand or approach them and for that Jo was grateful, especially since Cora cowered behind her.
He caught sight of his niece’s frightened gaze and blinked rapidly. “Hello, Cora. I know we’ve never met, but your mother and I were brother and sister.”
Jo had only seen the marshal a handful of times, but he was an imposing sight sitting down, let alone standing. Well over six feet tall, he wore his dark hair neatly trimmed. Though he didn’t sport a beard, a five-o’clock shadow perpetually darkened his jaw.
His face was all hard lines and tough angles, with a deep cleft dividing his chin. An inch-long scar slashed at an angle from his forehead through one thick, dark eyebrow. Other women might prefer a gentler face, but Jo found his distinctive features fascinating. Not that she looked. A woman simply couldn’t help but notice things once in a while.