Daisy picked up a basket of eggs in one hand and a pail of milk in the other. Some might hate morning chores, but she loved them. She enjoyed saying hello to all the animals in the early dawn and getting the chores out of the way.
Muff, the family dog, ran around her ankles, trying to catch any spare drop of milk that happened to fall to the ground.
Daisy laughed as he squeezed himself into the house after her. Muff was a smaller dog, no taller than her knees. He was a sweet dog that had shown up one day as a ragged puppy with nowhere to go, starving, and with big sad eyes.
Daisy managed to convince her parents, along with the help of her brother and her little sister, that they most certainly needed a vicious guard dog for the ranch who wasn’t any more harmful than a kitten on a warm summer day.
“Finally, you’re here. It’s getting late. Can you start cracking the eggs?” her mother greeted her with a tired smile. “Your sister will be up soon, and Muff needs to be outside.”
Daisy laughed. “He likes it in here. I think he’s lonely.”
Her mother wavered. “Fine, he can stay for a few moments, but when we’re eating breakfast, he goes back outside.”
Daisy set her basket of eggs and the milk on the table where Muff couldn’t reach it and got down on her knees, petting the dog around his ears.
“There you go, you’ve convinced her. You can stay.” Even though her mother often acted as if the animals were a nuisance, Daisy knew she loved them. She’d spotted her mother sneaking a couple of extra table scraps in Muff’s direction. She’d even seen her mother sit down and pet Muff once.
Daisy’s suspicion was her mother had to pretend that she didn’t like animals just so that they wouldn’t be overrun by them. Dallas, Texas, was a large city, and there were more animals than could go around on farms on the outskirts.
“He can stay as long as you start those eggs. Your father and sister are going to be in here expecting breakfast any moment. Your father has been in the fields for almost two hours, and I am sure he’s starving.”
“Okay, Ma.” Daisy pulled out a bowl and started cracking the eggs. The sun rising on the horizon was streaming in the window, casting a soft glow over the counter. She was close with her mother, most likely closer than most young ladies were. They worked together in the home and outside of the home too. Her mother was a midwife and in high demand. For the past four years, she’d been teaching Daisy the tricks of the trade.
Being a midwife was not for the faint of heart. Some moments were terrifying and made Daisy think she wasn’t cut out for the work, but then she would help welcome a new baby into the world, and nothing else compared to that feeling.
Her father came walking in, his heavy boots stomping on the floor, and was quickly followed by the pitter-patter of her eight-year-old sister’s feet. Emily went to their mother first, wrapping her little arms around her waist.
“Good morning, Mama,” she said, looking up at her mother with a bright smile and disheveled hair.
“Good morning, dear.” Their mother hugged her, kissing her on the forehead.
Daisy missed being so young. She remembered how it felt to have loving adults around her all the time who seemed to know exactly what they were doing, no matter what was going on before she had become aware that they didn’t always know what to do.
After saying hello to both of their parents, Emily came over to her.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“Fixing the eggs. Do you want to help me?”
“Yes, please.” Emily grabbed a chair and tugged it over to where Daisy was working. She climbed up, took the spoon from Daisy, and began stirring the eggs. Daisy watched her with pride. She looked as if she knew how to cook anything, and it was heartwarming to see.
“The skillet is ready, Daisy. What about the eggs?”
“They’re ready,” Emily said. Daisy took the large bowl over to the stove and poured it into the sizzling skillet. She moved them around with the spoon, cooking them until they were perfect. Breakfast with her family was something she enjoyed a lot. It was the one thing she could always count on to start the day with.
“Daisy, grab your things. I just got word that Mrs. Temway is having some labor pains. We need to go check on her.” Daisy’s mother came rushing into the kitchen.
Daisy had just returned from taking Emily to school. She wasn’t disappointed by the news. They’d been waiting to hear from Mrs. Temway for a while now. Her baby was due to be born any day.
“Do you think she’ll have the baby today?” Daisy asked. She gathered the bag they always took to any midwife-related situations and added some teas. She never knew what her mother would need on one of these visits. Sometimes it was something simple, and other times it was something much more complicated.
“Okay, I’m ready to go.” Mrs. Temway lived on a ranch about forty-five minutes by wagon from where they lived. When they went outside, the wagon was already prepared and waiting for them. A wave of sadness hit Daisy. She remembered when her older brother, Mark, would prepare the wagon. Now her father did it because Mark wasn’t around anymore.
She missed him every day.
“Are you okay?” her mother asked as Daisy took the reins, and they left the ranch.
“I’m fine.” Daisy clutched the reins a little bit tighter. Mark had also taught her how to manage horses and drive the wagon so that he wouldn’t have to go with her and their mother whenever they were called out to deal with a baby. “I was just thinking about Mark.”
Daisy took a chance and glanced over at her mother. Neither of her parents talked about Mark much. It was sad because Emily would never know about him. She would never know what her older brother looked like or how fun and kind he was.
“We all miss him. Life will never be the same, but we can’t just stop everything because we are grieving.” Her mother shook her head sadly.
“Sometimes I feel as if you and Papa have forgotten about him. You never talk about him or mention him at all. Why?” It was a question Daisy had wanted to ask for a long time, but she never got the chance or had the nerve to bring it up. She wouldn’t want to risk it with her father, but perhaps it was safe to ask her mother.
“Of course, we still remember him. Mark was our first baby. He will always be my baby. Sometimes, it’s just too painful to talk about him. It brings up all of those memories, good and bad. I remember him learning how to walk, and how he would hug me in the morning and tell me he loved me.” Her mother wiped away a tear. “A mother should never have to bury her child.”
Daisy nodded, unable to speak around the lump in her throat. She had no idea how hard it must be to lose a baby you’d raised. She mourned Mark daily, and he had been her brother. She had been callous to assume the worst about why her parents didn’t talk much about Mark.
She pulled the wagon to the right, turning down the street and heading toward the Temways’ ranch. It was more of a path than a road. It was barely traveled, with weeds and flowers growing on the sides of where the wagon wheels reached and also down the middle where no wheels passed over the growth.
They traveled in silence until they reached the Temways’ ranch and Daisy pulled the wagon to a stop in front of the house.
She grabbed her mother’s things, and they hurried inside the cabin. Mr. Temway was standing there with the door open, a concerned expression on his face.
“I’m so glad you could come. She’s been having pains, and she doesn’t look good. Is this normal?”
Daisy’s mother maintained her calm, passive look. “We’re going to check on that right now, Mr. Temway. Don’t worry. We’ll take good care of your wife.”
Being calm was one thing that Daisy struggled with when it came to helping her mother with patients. She was shy and hated confrontation. She always became nervous when family members were worried. She started to ask herself what would happen if things didn’t work out or if they couldn’t solve problems that arose or help the patient.
Her mother hurried down the hall to Mrs. Temway’s bedroom, leading Daisy along with her. Daisy kept her eyes averted from Mr. Temway, not wanting to be asked any questions.
When they stepped into the room, Daisy could see that Mrs. Temway was not well. Her skin was pale and clammy. She was shaking, and her head went back and forth as she struggled to find relief from the pain.
Her mother placed her hands on the woman’s stomach. “See if her face is warm while I grab a couple of things and tell Mr. Temway what we will be needing. There will be a baby today.”
Daisy nodded silently. She didn’t know how her mother did it, but she knew. She could tell if a woman was going into labor just by looking at her. She always knew what tea to make, what to do in these situations, and how to calm the mother, as well as the whole family.
Daisy laid her hand gently against Mrs. Temway’s forehead. It was no warmer than it should be. That meant the birth might go easier than they’d first anticipated. Hopefully, nothing was wrong.
Her mother came back, and they set to work. Daisy enjoyed this part, helping the patient deliver a healthy baby to the world. If everything went well, there would be a new member of the Temway family by the end of the day.
“The Outlaw’s Forbidden Love” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
Amidst the unforgiving terrain of the Wild West, midwife Daisy Benton’s mission to help women takes a terrifying turn when she gets kidnapped by a notorious criminal in order to tend to his pregnant wife. As she struggles to stay safe in a world of corruption and violence, she crosses paths with a mysterious stranger who offers her hope and protection. Little does she know that this charming man is no one but the son of her own captor…
Daisy knows she should stay away, but there is something about him that makes her heart race.
Robert Fowler was raised by criminals and forced to be one for as long as he can remember. Drawn into a dark past and a dangerous present, Daisy’s arrival into his life is a reminder that there’s more to life than the violence he’s always known. As he struggles to protect her from the perils that could harm them both, he realizes that he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice to keep her safe…
Will he risk everything to protect the woman he now loves?
Their fates are bound together in a way they could never have imagined, yet danger lurks around threatening their chance at happiness. Can Daisy and Robert find a way to forge a new future or will their pasts catch up with them and destroy everything they’ve worked for?
“The Outlaw’s Forbidden Love” is a historical western romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.