Decided to share the first page of The Schoolmarm’s Submission, the third book in Winter Creek, Montana series with Beachwalk Press. Really need to get this book finished. About half-way there now. Set a dateline for May 22, my birthday.
This is a first draft, so beware. (And please respect that this belongs to me.
The early morning June sun didn’t quite reach the inside of the schoolhouse when Rose Wilson opened the unlocked door and stepped into the building. She stood a few inches from the entrance, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the dim light. “Good morning, Mr. Lawrence?”
No greeting sounded back.
A warm breeze blew into the room, sliding the long strings of her white and green bonnet along her cheeks, She pressed them behind her as she wandered toward the large desk near the front. The linen material of her long skirt pressed tight into her long legs, billowing outward and to the side as another gush of wind raced through the room. She caught the cloth and held on tight.
The school’s resident ghost didn’t have an opinion on the weather, either.
She shook her head and unlocked the bottom drawer of the desk and placed her cellphone inside. After locking the drawer and slipping the old-fashioned key into the deep pocket of her floor-length skirt, she pulled off her bonnet and set it on the corner of it. She sat in her seat and gazed over her domain. Twenty student desks sat in front of her, in four evenly spaced rows, except for the first one on the far right side. Many of the small personal chalkboards were a bit out of place too.
Yet none of the desks had ever been disturbed before today. A few of the boards, yes, but never a desk. She didn’t think her ghost had the power to move that big of an object.
“Did you move that, Mr. Lawrence?”
Still no answer from Winter Creek’s ghostly headmaster. She relaxed in her seat. “Children don’t act the same as they used to when you were teaching.”
Sudden footsteps startled her back into her seat, sending her heart deep into her throat. She shook her head at her frightful reaction. Glancing toward the open door, another emotion filled her as she forgot how to breathe.
Mark Craine always had this effect on her.
“Good morning, beautiful.”
Her heart sped up at his simple greeting, mouth going dry, for a much different reason than fear this time. She pushed away her response and breathed in deep at the focused consideration in his dark brown eyes, swallowing hard around her arid mouth.
“Mark,” she said, forcing her heartbeat to a more regular rate. Since she’d first set eyes on this cowboy, she’d had a hard time controlling her reactions. “Good morning.”
Dust rose up into the air as he slammed his cowboy hat against his jean-clad leg, drawing her gaze toward his large, firm fingers. Her heart raced at the thought of what those hands of his could do to her. Why is she thinking about him touching her? Her thoughts went to this closed-up space in her mind more and more when he was near her. She wasn’t sure she liked it. “What are you doing…in Winter Creek…so early?”
“Practicing,” he said simply, placing his hat back on his head. “The new saloon brawl for the weekend visitors, I mean.”