Weston Springs, Arizona Territory
Ivy Wallace stared up at the blue sky and sighed. There should be clouds. Heading into winter, the sky should be filled with clouds, brimming with moisture, and spilling the much-needed rain down to the parched, dusty ground.
But there were no rain clouds, only an endless blue sky and a bright sun shining down on them with no pity at all.
“No sense in wishing for things to be other than they are,” her mother said sharply. Martha Wallace didn’t believe in frivolous ideas. It’s good hard work and the sweat from one’s brow that could change things. How she knew what Ivy was thinking, her daughter would never know.
“I wasn’t, Mother,” she said simply. “Just looking up to see the sky.”
Her mother shook her head. “Mark my words…” was all she said.
Ivy religiously wished on every falling star she saw that things would change for the better and didn’t voice her opinion on the matter. Instead, she picked up her buckets of water and began the walk back to the house.
Weston Springs was lucky as far as Arizona towns went. Even though it was far from any major rivers, it was a strong farming community. Some folks said it was sitting on a large underground lake and thanks to that, the wells never went dry. How they knew it was beyond Ivy. Had they gone to look? And if they had, why hadn’t they thought of a better way to get water to homes than forcing people to share wells and lug buckets to their houses?
The well was positioned in the rough middle of the block and was one of many that had been sunk by the town years ago. That meant having to go for a walk with a couple of buckets each time they needed water. It was a waste of time.
Ivy pestered her family for a windmill, and later a hand pump in the kitchen so they could have water on tap. But her parents said that was wasteful, and walking to the well was good for her, and it meant they would always know how their neighbors were doing.
Since they saw their neighbors all the time, Ivy didn’t know what the big deal was, but she knew better than to argue. If there was one thing Edgar nor Martha Wallace wouldn’t put up with from their two children, it was cheek. The fact that both children were in their twenties didn’t seem to make any difference at all.
The buckets were heavy, but Ivy was a strong girl. She worked at her father’s general store, called The Trader some days and helped her mother at home the rest of the time. She supposed it wasn’t a bad life, although she’d always thought she might be meant for more. After all, she had a keen mind and a stubborn will. That should be good for more than scrubbing floors or tallying up flour sacks. Although what that might look like she couldn’t say. She wasn’t allowed to do what she really had a passion for. Just like her brother Chester, Ivy wanted to be a sheriff’s deputy. She wanted to chase down criminals and haul them off to face justice. But that wasn’t a job women were allowed to do, yet. She kept hoping that something would change in the world, and she could finally make her dream come true.
When she reached their backdoor, she kicked it open and stepped inside making her way to the barrel in the scullery where they kept the water. After opening the lid, she lifted the buckets up one at a time to tip them into the barrel. When she’d finished emptying them, she put them away under the sink.
“Hey, Ma!” came a call from the front side of the house.
“Yes!” Ivy heard her mother say. She sounded like she was in the kitchen now. “Is that you, Chester?” Ivy stepped out of the scullery and went to her mother to take the buckets. It was easier than waiting to be called to do it.
Her brother Chester entered the room with his hat in his hands as Ivy took a bucket from their mother.
“Oh, there you are,” Chester said, placing his hat on the table. He was tall with the same brown hair and green eyes Ivy had. His face was covered in a full beard making his smile partially hidden. “Let me take one.”
“No, I got it,” Ivy said, taking both buckets from their mother before her brother could make a move. She turned and headed back into the scullery.
“Are you hungry?” their mother asked Chester. “Why don’t you sit and let me fix you something to eat?”
“Thanks, Ma, but I’m really not hungry. I only came by to tell you that there’s a meeting tonight, at town hall. You’re going to want to be there for it,” he said.
“Why on earth would I want that?” their mother said. Ivy could hear the frown in her voice.
“Because it’s about something that affects you too,” Chester said.
The sound of a chair’s legs scraping across the floor rang in the air.
Ivy listened, pouring the water slowly into the barrel. Why would Mother want to know about a town meeting? She wasn’t one for politics, and she said everything to do with this town was all politics.
“Well, it’s about the drought,” Chester said. “The mayor has called a meeting to talk about what can be done.”
Ivy finished with the buckets, put them away, and lowered the lid back on the barrel. Then she stepped into the kitchen. Mother was at the stove, the kettle on the range and she had the teapot out. Clearly, she intended to rope Chester into a mug of tea at the very least.
She was busily slicing fresh bread and cheese and putting it on a plate. Ivy went to the table and was about to sit down when her mother said, “Oh be a dear and go get me some butter from the cold room, would you?”
Turning on her heel, Ivy headed to the pantry where she opened the trapdoor to the cold cellar and went down the steps. The cold room was the best place in the house during summer. Always cooler than the scorching temperatures of the rooms above; sometimes the whole family would go and sit there just to be able to breathe.
Of course, being in there made the temperature rise, and they couldn’t stay there for too long and risk the food going bad faster. The butter was kept on a stone shelf along the left hand side of the room.
Ivy picked up a pat on its little wooden block and went up the steps again. Chester was still talking.
“…important,” he said.
“I just don’t see what it has to do with me,” their mother said as she poured water into the teapot. “It’s not as though this meeting is going to bring the rains, and that’s what we need. Not some fancy idea to get us through the rough times. We’ve been here before; we’ve always survived. Weston Springs is a tough little town. You don’t give us enough credit.”
“Mother,” Chester said softly. “I wasn’t saying that the meeting would change anything, but you need to be there with Father. The mayor is looking for ideas, and you’re always so full of those.” He smiled, cocking his head to one side.
Ivy put the pat on the table and began to butter the bread. She knew how this would go. Chester would ask again, and their mother would make a big show of finally agreeing just for him. She wanted to go to the town meeting, just like all the women in town, so they could whisper their ideas to their husbands who would stand up and deliver them to the mayor. It was a time-honored tradition in Weston Springs.
Chester accepted the plate of cheese sandwiches when Ivy pushed it towards him. She made some for all of them since it was lunch time and they hadn’t eaten.
Ivy sipped tea from her mug. It was sweet and hot, but refreshing, and it wasn’t a cold day. It had been cold the night before and there had been frost on the ground, but the chill in the air never lasted. Ivy wondered what it was like to live in one of the eastern states where it snowed every winter. It must be magical.
“So, will you come?” Chester asked.
“Sure,” their mother said. “But why do you want me to go so badly?”
“So Father will come,” Chester said. “Mayor Gleeson…” he stopped and licked his lips, frowning. “I heard from Willis in the mayor’s office that Mayor Gleeson is entertaining some crazy ideas. I just want you two there as two upstanding and prominent members of the community to voice your opinions.”
Their mother nodded, regarding Chester over her cup of tea. “Why didn’t you say so from the start?”
Chester shrugged looking every bit the little boy he’d been years ago.
“You didn’t, because you wanted flattery to do honesty’s job,” their mother continued, shaking her head slowly, sadly. “What kind of man have I raised? You know better than to do such a thing.”
“Sorry, Ma,” he said. “Only, this is really important. Father has to be there. He’s the only one who stands up to Mayor Gleeson. The town is in real trouble, Mother. The coffers are running dry and with the drought, the farmers are struggling…every one of them.” Chester sighed. “We’ve been called out to four different farms to settle disputes in the last two weeks. Four! That’s a record number. People are starting to go hungry. It won’t be long before Father feels the pinch, too.”
Their mother nodded. “All you had to do was ask,” she said. “We’ll be there.”
Chester seemed to visibly relax, his shoulders dropping down. He smiled. “I knew I could count on you.” “Well, I’d better get on. Got work to do. Someone’s been stealing Mrs. White’s preserves. At least according to her.”
Their mother sighed. “She’s probably ate ‘em herself and forgot she did.” She didn’t say it with malice; old Mrs. White just forgot things sometimes. “I still say an older lady like her shouldn’t be left on a farm alone. It’s sad how her children up and moved on without her.”
“She refused to go,” Ivy pointed out.
“I know, it’s still sad,” her mother said. “And with you turning twenty-three this year Ivy, I keep thinking soon it’ll be just me and your father here. Maybe we can offer Mrs. White a room. Then at least she’s not alone.”
“You’re too kind Mother,” Chester said. “But ,I have to go.”
Chester stood and placed his hat on his head before kissing his mother’s cheek. On his way out, he stopped and placed a hand on Ivy’s shoulder, making her jump.
“Good to see you, sis,” he said.
Ivy thought his behavior was a little ironic since he’d ignored her the whole time, except right in the beginning of the visit. Both her mother and brother had. But she was used to it. They had a special bond that she couldn’t get in the way of no matter how she might try.
“Good to see you, too,” she said.
“You should come to the meeting too,” Chester said. “You are part of the town.”
Ivy thought it was nice of him to include her, but catching her mother’s eye, she didn’t say anything.
“Out with it,” their mother said, beginning to gather up the lunch things.
Ivy looked around pretending to search for someone else. “Oh? Have I come back to the mortal plane again? How surprising.”
Her mother regarded her with a tired expression. “Did you have anything to add to the conversation?”
Ivy considered this. “No, not really.”
“Well then…?” her mother asked.
“Nothing,” Ivy said. She picked up her plate and took it to the scullery where she washed it along with the other dishes and put them away.
They made dinner early and when Ivy’s father arrived, he and her mother went into the study to talk. Ivy stirred the stew for the ten minutes it took her mother to convince her father to go to the town meeting.
Then they ate their stew around the kitchen table and finally after piling the dishes in the sink for Ivy to do when they got home, they all stepped out into the evening air.
It was starting to cool down now, and Ivy watched her breath plume in front of her as they walked down the street. The sky was dark now and peppered liberally with stars, as though some celestial being tripped on a rug and spilt all the sugar on a dark carpet.
“How was your day, Ivy?” her father asked, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. Bundled in her coat Ivy felt extra warm as her father drew her close.
“Oh, I spent it being invisible and minding my own business,” she said.
“That good, huh?” he asked.
She nodded. “Can I come work at the store tomorrow?” she asked. “Please? Another day of being unnoticed and I might slip away entirely.”
“Hogwash!” her mother said, not unkindly, but her words hurt, nonetheless. Things in Martha’s house were done her way and sometimes they left Ivy feeling battered and bruised even though no one had touched her. Sometimes she just wanted to be seen and heard, like Chester.
“Of course, you can. I was going to ask if you would come in tomorrow anyway,” her father said with a smile. “I need you to help me with all the deliveries due to arrive in the morning.”
Ivy wondered how true that was after what Chester had said, but she kept her mouth shut. The last thing she needed was an argument with her mother in the street.
They joined their neighbors who were also walking toward the town hall; with their coat collars up and their hands shoved into their pockets to keep warm. It wasn’t cold enough that night to don thick gloves and woolen hats, but it would be soon.
Weston Spring’s town hall was a large square building with huge front doors that opened into an entrance hall; far too small to hold all the townspeople. People filed in through the inner door into the meeting hall. It was one room of a whole series of them. The mayor had his office on the upper floor and the council had rooms there too.
Chester said they offered Sheriff Parker an office in the building, and he’d laughed at them. The idea of allowing the law breakers in town to sit right up nice and cozy with the mayor was one of the man’s dumber ideas. According to Chester, there were a lot of folks who didn’t like Mayor Gleeson and wanted to see him removed from office, one way or another.
The sheriff had his office down the street, in the same building his father and grandfather before him had their offices and jail cells. Ivy always wondered if Chester would rather have his office in this much larger building, but she doubted it. As the deputy, Chester got all the horrible jobs, all the riding out to each isolated homestead spread all over the desert. She didn’t envy him for that reason, and she suspected the sheriff didn’t either.
It was warm in the hall with all the chairs set out in neat rows facing the podium where the mayor would stand to speak to them. As Ivy and her parents took their seats, she spotted Agnes Parker sitting near the front. A short, blonde with a permanent smile, Agnes was Ivy’s best friend.
She’d also been in love with Chester for years. Ivy knew for a fact after reading her brother’s journal that he liked Agnes too, but he didn’t seem to be doing anything about it. Ivy suspected he was just chicken.
After all, she would love to have Agnes as a sister-in-law, and their parents liked her too. What was holding him back? She couldn’t even begin to guess.
Catching Agnes’ eye from across the room she waved, smiling. Agnes returned the wave before they both settled down. They could talk when the meeting was over.
The door at the front of the hall opened and Mayor Gleeson and his entourage came filing out of the door and took their seats facing the town. The mayor was a tall man with graying hair and a wide thick mustache. He always wore navy blue suits and a white wide brimmed hat. His boots were always highly polished, and so was his belt buckle.
He smiled entirely too much for Ivy to like him, but she didn’t dislike him either. He was simply one of those people who tended to be long-winded at all town functions. He was real fond of repeating himself, making his speeches unnecessarily long and dull. Still, she tried to listen to each word he said. Chester always told her that a good deputy listened to what people said and what they didn’t say.
Weston Springs, Arizona Territory
Markus Miller sat with his head bowed, the light streaming in through the stained-glass window beside him. It had cost the town a pretty penny to get stained-glass windows for the church, and they were mighty proud of them. He liked the way they turned what could be something harsh and unforgiving into something soft and mesmerizing when the sunlight sparkled through. It was comforting in a way that he wasn’t able to express.
He wasn’t the only one in the church that afternoon, and he was glad to have the comfort of others on this difficult day. He wasn’t the only one thinking about those who wouldn’t be around for Christmas this year, just as they hadn’t been last year either.
It was the shock of it all, the sudden loss. It hadn’t been something anyone could have foreseen, unless they believed in witches and crystal balls. Markus did not dabble in such things. He was a man of faith and thoughtful prayer.
There was movement beside him, and Markus looked up to see Johnny Ward’s friendly face.
“Mind if I join?” Johnny asked in a harsh whisper.
Thin, bordering on painfully so, Markus wondered if his friend was alright. Johnny suffered from a heavy heart too and Markus appreciated his company at times like this. Nodding, he shifted further down the pew allowing his friend to sit.
Johnny smiled and clasped his hands together before lowering his head in his own silent prayer.
Markus was struck by the ease of the gesture. He knew Johnny had been wrestling with his grief a lot longer than him. Three years longer, it turned out. He wondered if that made him an expert in it?
Tragedy had been following Johnny for a while now. First his father died in a mining accident four years ago, and his mother passed away from the flu the year after. With all that pain lingering in the air here, Markus had urged Johnny to leave with his sister, Mary, and go to Phoenix. At least there nothing would remind them of their loss. But, Johnny didn’t heed his advice and only laughed at him.
“It’s not the place that keeps them in my mind,” he said. “It’s the fact that they’re still in my heart.”
At the time, still being without loss himself, Markus hadn’t understood. Not like he did now.
Opening his eyes, Johnny fixed on him with their dark depths. “How you holding up?” he asked. “The first anniversary is always the hardest.”
Markus tried to smile and failed. In the end he just nodded. “Yeah, it’s kind of tough.”
Johnny put his hand on one of Markus’ and patted it. “You’ll get through it. You and all the other folks here who were done in by fate. It’s such a senseless crime, too. Chester any closer to finding out who did it?”
That was a running joke between them. They both knew that the local law had no clue who the bank robbers had been. They’d only known that they came into town shooting up a storm, charged into the bank, easily overpowered the clerks and manager and took all the money in the vault. Then they’d fled on horseback and rode out of town like it was nothing, leaving a string of dead bodies in the street and inside the bank.
Markus’ mother and younger brother by three years, Daniel, had been on their way to the bank that day. It was late afternoon and the sheriff, and his deputy had been called out to a farm to deal with something. No one had suspected a thing. Usually, his mother would keep the money overnight at the house in a strong box, and go to the bank in the morning. But that afternoon she’d decided to go and deposit the day’s takings from the coach yard then and there to get it done, she said.
Having been working on a coach that snapped an axel that afternoon, Markus hadn’t known what was going on until it was too late. The shots were fired, the bank robbed, and his mother and brother lay dead in the street; the money bag gone with the robbers. Not that he or his father had given a rat’s backside about the money, but it went to show the pettiness of the robbers. They shot a middle-aged woman to death for a pittance. Had they asked her for it, she most likely would have handed it over in exchange for her life.
And that didn’t even cover the sadness and injustice Markus felt for his little brother. Daniel had been the apple of his brother’s eye since birth. Markus had been so excited to get a brother he’d pestered his parents to let him, small as he was, help look after the baby. As Daniel had grown, Markus had been there to teach him everything.
Sure, they’d had their fights, but nothing had ever kept them annoyed with each other for long. He’d seen such potential in his brother who was naturally gifted at working out kinks in machines. He was always fiddling with things and trying something new. He’d redesigned the pump in the kitchen, the one they weren’t supposed to have, to pump the water from the barrel into the sink. No more dipping buckets.
This Christmas was going to be tough. Last year, Christmas was so soon after the tragedy it had gone by in a daze. Markus and his father had only realized it was that time of year when carolers came to their door.
It didn’t feel like Christmas last year without them, and it wouldn’t be now. He was sure of it.
“Listen, if you need to talk,” Johnny said. “I know a guy who might understand.” He said with a wry grin that Markus couldn’t help but return.
“Thanks. How are you holding up? I know this is a tough time of year for you too,” he said. “Are you going to visit Mary for the holidays?”
Johnny looked offended. “Why would I? You know how I feel about her husband, Glen. He’s such a log. Really, as thick as they come. Those poor kids will never make it in this world if they take after him.”
“He isn’t that bad,” said Markus, who had only met the man once when he came to see Mary before they married. She was six years older than Johnny, and it had been well established out of town before the disasters that befell the family occurred.
“You go visit them then,” Johnny said, looking around. “Hey, where’s Preacher Boucher? I thought he’d be doing the rounds in the pews today.”
“He’s come and gone,” Markus said. “He can’t stay here all-day watching people cry.”
The church was full of sounds of those stricken with grief , although some more muted than others. Mrs. Thomas, who had lost her son that horrible day, sat three pews from them and was sniffing into her handkerchief. Mr. Jones, a citrus farmer, sat close by with tears streaming down his cheeks making no sound at all. On the far side of the church, sheep farmers, Mr. and Mrs. Horton, who had lost their two boys and her father that day cried noisily. They sat with their hands clasped tightly together as though their grief was as raw and fresh as it had been the day the tragedy occured.
Markus guessed everyone dealt with it in their own way. His was to sit and think about his mother and Daniel here with the light gently dancing through the windows. His mother had loved to come here. She’d found such solace sitting in their little church. She said she could hear the angels singing there.
He’d never heard them himself, but he felt close to his mother here.
“Did you hear about the town meeting tonight?” Johnny asked in a whisper.
Markus nodded. “Heard something about it. Are you going?”
“Might as well,” Johnny said. “It’s the only way to beat the rumor mill to the news.”
Markus smiled. That would be something. The Weston Springs rumor mill was very efficient. Often, they knew things about people that the people didn’t even know yet. It was uncanny.
“I guess I’ll see you there,” Markus said. “I’ve taken more of my break time than my father will be happy about. I’d better get back to work.”
Johnny nodded. “I got the day off from tending my uncle’s sheep. He’s been doing more of that himself lately, like he doesn’t trust me or somethin’. Or maybe he just likes the solitude. Anyway, I’m going to sit here a while still.”
Markus smiled, patted his friend on the shoulder and stood. He made his way to the door and left the church. Outside the day was cool and the sun was shining brightly. As though that ever really changed. He looked up hoping for clouds, but saw none. Just the bright, ever-present wide blue sky and sighed.
“You’re going to have to cloud over eventually,” he said to the sky.
Miss Earl, who was walking by with her basket on her arm, shot him a startled, scared look. She crossed to the far side of the street.
Markus shook his head and with his hat back on his head hiding his blonde hair from view, he walked down the street towards the coach yard. When he got there, he went straight to the office. It was a squat wooden building with a front section and the administration office in the back that his mother had worked inside. His father had moved everything of importance out of that room and had it piled in the front. No one went into Mother’s office, not now, not ever again.
As he pushed the front door open, he found his father yelling at one of the drivers.
“…when you feel it go, STOP!” he yelled.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Miller,” the driver, whose name was Charles, said. He was a tall rake of a man with stooped shoulders and had been working for the Miller Coach Company for more than six years.
“What’s happened?” Markus asked as he walked into the office.
His father turned his icy blue eyes toward Markus and sniffed. “Nice of you to join us.”
“Sorry, I lost track of time,” Markus said. “Is there something I can help with?” He was trying his best to keep his composure, not an easy feat with his father yelling.
“This idiot lost a wheel, and the coach is stuck out of town,” his father yelled. “We’ll have to send George and Pat both to go and pick up the passengers and bring them back and see what can be done for the coach.”
“It’s not a big deal if you only lost one wheel,” Markus said to Charles more than his father.
His father snorted and turned away. “Go on, tell him!” he said.
Charles looked unhappy. “We were running from men on horseback. They were chasing us. I took the coach through a tight ravine, and they followed. But there was a huge explosion, it sounded like dynamite and then the side of the ravine came down. We lost a wheel and they disappeared. But then, I lost control of the horses; they were panicked. I did my best to recover, Markus, I really did. But they ran right down a slope and into a ditch and so I lost a wheel and snapped the axle and tipped the coach.”
“Are the passengers alright?” Markus asked.
Charles nodded. “They are, but one has a broken arm, and another has a bump on her head. I left them with a gun and came right back. I thought it best to come and tell you right away and do this properly.”
Nodding his understanding, Markus patted the man’s arm. “You did the right thing, Charles.”
“Like heck he did!” his father yelled.
“In the circumstances, I doubt any one of us could have done better,” Markus said, shooting a look at his father who grumbled and folded his arms across his chest. “You should go with them if you’re not hurt. Show them where it is.”
Charles nodded and smiled. “Thanks Markus, we’ll go right now.”
He headed for the door.
“Don’t you think this is over!” Markus’s father yelled.
Markus had had enough. Ever since his mother and Daniel’s deaths his father had been a touchy, unreasonable person. He refused to ever set foot in a church again and had simply cut his loved ones out of his life. It was as though not mentioning them, not looking at anything they owned if he could help it, and denying they were ever there he could stop the pain. Markus knew this was never going to work and that his father needed to express the huge, heavy ball of grief he was carrying around, but he didn’t seem to know how.
And so, he lashed out. He was doing it more and more and Markus thought it was only a matter of time before he would have to send his father home to sit in the empty house or risk losing all their drivers.
Instead of letting his father have a piece of his mind, Markus called on the feeling of his mother’s gentleness that always filled him at church and put a consolatory hand on his father’s shoulder.
“It’s going to be fine,” he said. “We’ll get it all fixed up.”
His father’s bottom lip quivered briefly, and he bit it to stop from looking vulnerable. It was times like this when his emotions were so close to the surface that Markus understood and burned to help. But he knew if he said anything, his father would shout, and the wall would go right back up.
Instead, he said, “I’ll make some tea,” and headed for the pot bellied stove in the corner of the room. The kettle sat on a shelf there, and he picked it up, dipping it into the barrel beside it and putting the filled kettle on the stove.
As the kettle began to whistle, Markus heard men riding out with another coach to fetch the stranded passengers. That was good. Things would work out.
He poured the boiling water into the tea pot and made the tea. When he finally handed his father the mug, he could see the older man was a lot calmer. He was sitting at his desk, staring at the schedule as though he’d never seen it before.
As Markus placed the mug down in front of him, he grabbed his son’s hand. “I just miss them,” he said in a soft voice.
“Me too,” Markus said. “Me too.” He squeezed his father’s fingers and didn’t let go until his old man did. Then he took his own mug and went to his desk, which was beside his father’s.
“There’s a town meeting tonight,” Markus said. “Do you want to go with me?”
“What for?” his father asked, sipping his tea. “I’ve heard Mayor Dingbat speak before, and I’ve never been impressed with anything that came outta his mouth.”
Markus had to concede that his father was right about that. The mayor was not known for his bright ideas, but they certainly needed to do something. With this summer monsoon season producing nothing but a couple of small thunderstorms; the town was in trouble. Even Markus could see that. More people were heading out of Weston Springs than into it, and that was never good news.
With the drought and crime on the rise lately, the mayor would have to do something or lose the town entirely. There wasn’t much keeping people in the desert town anyways. It was a hard place to live, hot, dry, and unkind. There were certainly better places, and Markus wondered what he would do if things got really bad. Would he pack up and leave? Where would he go? California sounded nice and seeing the ocean would be a real treat. But would he ever be able to call some other place home? Would he be able to leave his mother and Daniel buried in the cemetery outside the church, in a ghost town, all alone with no one there to mourn their passing? He didn’t think it was possible for him to do that.
“Do you think we really have to go to this meeting?” his father asked, sounding unsure.
“I think we should,” Markus said.
After a moment’s consideration, his father nodded. “Oh, alright then. We’ll go.”
“When their Love Prevails” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
Despite all the hardships that come from living in a town like Weston Springs, Ivy Wallace loves growing up there. When amidst a terrible drought, her brother Chester goes missing, Ivy’s priorities change dramatically. Aspirations of possible romance need to stay behind, but a journey into finding her brother might actually reveal more than what she expects. Thankfully, she is not alone in this dangerous expedition…
Could Chester’s friend and Ivy’s companion in this quest actually be the key to saving the day?
Markus Miller is a level-headed young man who has kept his feelings for Ivy to himself, for fear of risking his friendship with Chester. When urgency unites them though and they are forced to work together, he cannot help but cherish the time spent with her.
Will he be able to focus on the pursuit while her tender gaze enchants him?
Following the trail that Chester and his partners leave, they embark on a great adventure that unexpectedly leads to each other’s hearts. The perils they face side by side awaken repressed fears and emotions. Will the delightful moments of their journey be enough to shine a light on the whole town and their souls?
“When their Love Prevails” is a historical western romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.