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 Margaret Brownley – THE NUTCRACKER BRIDE
Thunderous hoof beats broke the silence on that gray December day. Even the air crackled with urgency.
Lucy Langdon dumped a handful of hulled nuts into her bucket and looked up from beneath the walnut tree. Someone was in a big hurry. Such haste generally meant an emergency: a tornado, prairie fire, or locust invasion—a doctor needed. Or maybe Mr. Jones had been attacked by one of his chickens again.
She craned her neck, but the road curved around the Holbrook orchard, preventing her from seeing much beyond the bend.
Even her sorrel, hitched to the wagon, sensed something amiss. Ears pricked forward, she pawed the ground and whinnied.
“It’s all right, Penny,” Lucy called as she hastened to calm her skittish mare. As the pounding hooves moved closer, Penny tried pulling free from the traces. In the struggle to contain her horse, Lucy’s straw bonnet flew off.
A shiny black steed sprang into view and galloped at full speed toward her. The horseman reined in next to her wagon, his powerful mount rearing back on its hind legs and pawing the air. A flash of blue eyes and a handsome square face greeted her from beneath his wide-brimmed hat.
“Save that for me!” the stranger yelled, spinning his mount around in a tight circle beside the wagon.
Startled, she called back, “Save what?” But her question went unanswered, for already the man had raced away.
No sooner had he vanished than three more horsemen rode into view, their faces half-hidden by scarlet kerchiefs. A shiver of panic raced through her. Outlaws!
Lucy released Penny and grabbed her shotgun from the back of the wagon. Her rapid heartbeats all but drowned out the pounding of hooves as the desperados raced past.
Paying her no heed, the masked men headed in the direction of her house. Her first thought was for her grandfather. God, please don’t let them stop there!
She swooped up her bonnet and reached for the bucket, tossing both into the wagon. She would have to pay old man Holbrook later for the nuts.
Scrambling onto the driver’s seat, she grabbed the reins and released the brake. “Gid-up!” she shouted. Cracking her whip, she drove home helter-skelter, the wheels of her wagon kicking up dust in her wake.