About the Book
She longed for a new beginning. What she found was a place to call home. Driven by adventure and strengthened by love, one woman will prove that nothing is impossible.
No longer willing to allow society’s opinion to influence her life, Clara Stowe sought a change, and what better place than the frontier. With her young daughter by her side, she embarks on an unexpected undertaking to the Montana Territory. With grit and determination, they arrive in Crooked Creek to shape the life Clara had always dreamed of and honor the memory of the one they lost.
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Award-winning author MK McClintock writes historical romantic fiction about courageous and honorable men and strong women who appreciate chivalry, like those in her Montana Gallagher, British Agent, and Crooked Creek series. Her stories of adventure, romance, and mystery sweep across the American West to the Victorian British Isles, with places and times between and beyond. With her heart deeply rooted in the past, she enjoys a quiet life in the northern Rocky Mountains.
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He looked to Clara. “You’ve come a long way.”
“It is that evident?” With a pleasant smile on her face, Clara smoothed the lines of her gray-and-white striped traveling dress. Gideon had told her it highlighted her smoky blue eyes, though in hindsight, it might be a bit too elegant for their destination. Then again, she had not risked everything and ventured out west to relinquish all holds on her cultured upbringing.
The gentleman’s mouth quirked. “Are you headed to Salt Lake City or Denver? Maybe even San Francisco?”
“We’re going to Montana.”
The man’s eyes traveled the length of her, and his face reddened beneath his gray whiskers. “I don’t reckon Montana’s a place for a lady like yourself. It’s a mite different from what I reckon you’re used to.”
Clara only smiled again and gazed out the window. “I do believe it’s the perfect place.” She turned her attention back to the gentleman, an older man who reminded her of her father, tall, with a stately appearance and military bearing. His clothes, clean if not a little worn, betrayed him as a man of some means.
“Are you from around here, sir?”
“Jesse Pickett’s the name, ma’am. From Missouri, but I’ve spent a few years in these parts with the army. Missed Montana something fierce when my enlistment ended a few months ago, so I’m going back.”
Clara wondered what a man of his age was still doing in the army, unless he served as an officer. “The war has been over for a year, Mr. Pickett.”
“Not the war with the Indians, ma’am, or with the vigilantes.”
Clara glanced at her daughter, but Alice remained oblivious to the conversation as she continued to watch the passing landscape out the stage window. “Vigilantes?”
“Nothing to worry yourself over, ma’am.” The man also glanced at the young girl and lowered his voice. “The army knows what they’re doing.”
Clara did not share the man’s confidence in the army. Although freedoms had been won and a country remained intact, had they not just lost countless lives? To speak so casually of killing men sent a shudder through Clara’s body. She had loved one of those lives taken much too early.
Excerpt © MK McClintock
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