I’ve been sharing about the upcoming release of The Christmas Heirloom. It’s a novella collection with four generations of stories from Kristi Ann Hunter, Karen Witemeyer, me, and Becky Wade. We each wrote stand-alone stories tied together by a Luckenbooth brooch that’s passed from mother to daughter down through the decades.
It was SO much fun to finally get to read all the stories together. Reading the first two stories was like discovering a genealogical goldmine for my heroine, Fleeta Brady, and reading the final story gave me a peek into Fleeta’s future. Fun!
Now, to hopefully whet your appetite for this collection, I thought I’d share the opening pages of A Shot at Love–my contribution. Fleeta was orphaned at a very young age and was taken in by an aunt and uncle in West Virginia. Her gift is a knack for shooting. Enjoy!
Fleeta hunkered low, careful not to rattle the crisp, fallen leaves all around her. She didn’t want to be seen or heard.
Albert was meant to be coming around the crest of the hill, pushing deer toward the spot where she waited. Fleeta wished her oldest cousin would still hunt with her, but he was too interested in girls these days. Had his eye on that prissy little Rebecca Howard. Fleeta sighed and flexed her right hand, keeping alert and ready. The family needed the meat. Especially if she was going to take Bud Lyons up on his offer to buy out his business. She needed to make sure her family was taken care of, so she could focus on making her dream come true.
She heard leaves crunching off to her right. If it was a deer, it was coming slow and easy. That was good. Best if Albert didn’t scare the deer and send it running. She examined the terrain and the scattering of hardwood trees. The forest was more mature here, offering plenty of room between trunks, another blessing.
Movement caught her eye and she saw a stout buck step out of the shadows. Her breath caught. He was pale, almost white with a spray of brown across his rump and his rack was immense. Could this be the ghost deer the men spoke about in reverent tones every fall? The one that seemed to escape even the best hunters? He was coming easy, browsing on the nearly leafless branches of sassafras and maple trees, one ear cocked in the direction Albert was surely coming.
Fleeta exhaled and lifted her rifle, careful not to attract his attention. She took aim, breathed a prayer of thanksgiving, and applied pressure to the trigger.
“Fleeta, Albert—come quick.” The shrill voice pierced the perfection of the moment.
Both the deer and Fleeta froze, then the buck bounded away, his white tail flashing.