Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday Snippet: Micah & Mrs. Miller

It's release day for Hels's Gauntlet and the countdown is truly on for the release of Yesterday's Heroes (just a month go folks), but I thought I'd give my Fevered fans a little present. Here's an unedited excerpt of Micah & Mrs. Miller which will be released this October. Micah's in San Antonio to pick up the new school teacher.

***


The watch in his pocket warned him that time ran shorter, so he decided on his hunger. Halfway to his favorite café, he hesitated. The teacher might be hungry after her long haul in the coach and it wouldn't hurt her to get a bit of stretch before they hitched up again and started the long ride back to Dorado.
His stomach growled, but his conscience answered with a snarl. Forty minutes till the coach's arrival. He diverted and headed to the station.  Five minutes later, he was glad he did because the coach arrived early. The team of horses pounded in on a cloud of dust and dug their heels in to stop, the red and yellow coach bouncing on its wheels. The driver tied off the reins and began tossing down the bags before the station master got the steps down and the door open. A small crowd gathered, with shouts of welcome and greeting for a burly looking man with heavy jowls and a bum leg. A wife—at least Micah presumed she was a wife—hurried forward to greet him with a kiss. Three littles flocked around his legs and demanded hugs and presents. He limped away with his family.
The second one off was a diminutive Asian, his slanted eyes housing a cold look and his expression stern. He spoke to no one and caught his bag as it tossed down.  The third one out had a wide brimmed hat and a sweet, rosy complexion.  She glanced up as her foot hovered over the first step.
"Have a care with that trunk, please." Her brisk, exotic voice went straight to his groin and Micah blinked. The accent was beautiful, her dress was the color of melted chocolate, with a high white collar and ruffles at the wrist. Her hair was hidden by the oversized hat, but his heart did a little fist squeezing when she turned. Warm brown eyes skimmed the crowd, and he knew she missed nothing.
He hurried forward as the trunk she chastised the driver about headed for the ground. Legs braced, he caught it and the air whooshed out of his lungs. He managed to set it down, but just barely. Did she travel with bricks?
"Thank you." Her crisp accent cooled from the harried sound she'd used with the driver. "I didn't want it to split open and spill the books."
Books. Bricks.
Same thing really.
"Not a problem, ma'am." Micah gave her a quick smile, and glanced at the coach. No other passengers disembarked. He frowned briefly, where was the teacher?
"I don't have much coin, but I could give you a nickel if you wouldn't mind carrying that for me." Her accent clipped the words, giving deliberate emphasis on the first syllable.
"Certainly don't have to pay me, ma'am. Be happy to deliver this for you, but I need a word with the coach man as it seems we're missing a passenger."
"Oh?" She glanced up at the dusty coach, her expression puzzled. "It has been just the three of us since Kansas."
Micah frowned. "Hmm. That doesn't bode well, my father sent me down to pick up the school teacher."
"Oh?" She turned back, her expression gentling and the warm honey of her eyes seemed to lighten. "Well that would be me, I'm Josephine Miller." She extended a lace gloved hand toward him and Micah stared.
"You're far too pretty to be a school teacher."

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