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I'm most recently a writer.  In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot.  As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades.  An unwilling transplant from the South,  twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US.  Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect.  When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do.  Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Katie Lost and Found--Preview #5

 Two people who never expected to see one another again, whose history can be read from two very different perspectives, suddenly find themselves face to face after sixteen years. Time stands still as reality takes hold. And in the next moment. . .

The spade fell to the ground as Tess took an unconscious step into his outstretched arms. He was warm, his T-shirt damp with sweat against her cheek. He smelled sweet and pungent, like sun-soaked earth. For just a moment, she acknowledged how good he felt, strong and solid and surprisingly familiar. He kept whispering over and over, “Katie,” until she pulled away.
“I go by Tess now.”
“Why?” She almost felt sorry for him. He seemed dazed, confused.
“K.T. was just a nickname.”
“I remember.” Still gripping her arms just above the elbow, he gave her a gentle shake. “I can’t believe it’s really you. I thought I’d lost you forever.”
She wanted to point out that he never had her in the first place. But that would be harsh, and he was a guest. “Small world, as they say.”
“Katie. . .Tess. How are you?” His gaze swept from the top of her head to her chin and back.
“Fine. And you?” How else did one answer that question after sixteen years?
“Good. Better now. We have a lot of catching up to do.”
She shrugged off his hands, unable to bear the contact any longer. “I suppose so.”
Pleasure faded to realization and he frowned. “Weldon. You’re married?”
“Widowed.” He started to offer his sympathy but she cut him off. “What about you? Married, children?”
“In the final stages of divorce. No children.” He continued to scan her face, making her skin tingle. Traitorous tears stung her eyes.
“I’m sorry. That must be hard.”
“It’s been coming for some time.”
They were standing virtually toe to toe. Tess wondered if he could smell her rising panic. Spying the spade, she bent to pick it up, forcing him to take a step back. “I really should get this done. And you have plans, you said.”
“Yes.” A sweet smile, one she remembered from long ago, lit his face as he shook his head slowly. “I think I must be dreaming. You can’t imagine how happy I am to see you.”
“Jan. . .Peter. I don’t quite know how to say this. I have a job to do here, a big job. And so do you. I don’t want you to expect. . .”
Finally, he seemed to see her discomfort. “No, of course not. I’m sorry. I was just so shocked. . .”
“I know. I feel the same way.”
“But while I was shocked in a pleasant way, you were not. Is that it?”
She wanted to scream, demand answers to a dozen angry questions, beat on his chest—the same strong, warm chest that felt so good just minutes ago—and curse him for being here. Instead, because they were standing in broad daylight on the lawn of the Lodge and he was a paying guest, she smiled slightly and nodded. “Shocked, in a shocking way. Give me some time, please, to get used to the idea that you’ll be staying here? Then maybe we can talk again.”
“Fair enough.” He reached up, tracing a fingertip along her cheek, and she realized he was wiping away a tear. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you. Will you be here this evening?”
“I hope to see you then.” His hand dropped to her shoulder, lingering in a light caress. “Tess.”
She couldn’t watch him walk away. He was too real, still as tall and straight, as golden and gentle as he’d been before. To see him leave, even knowing he was only going as far as the carriage house, would undo her completely. She’d end up a sobbing heap there in the dirt, making it obvious to him and the entire world just what a fool she was. He’d probably come running back, gather her in his arms, and call her Katie again. And she’d probably let him.
With a vicious thrust, she plunged the spade into the ground.

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