Copyright 2012 Peggy Webb
Cover design copyright 2012 Kim Van Meter
Publishing history/Bantam Loveswept/Copyright by Peggy Webb, 1985 All rights reserved
The four-wheel-drive pickup truck skidded on a patch of ice as it barreled along Highway 30 toward the Tallahatchie River. Maggie fought with the wheel, swearing under her breath, brought the truck back under control, and glanced at her watch. If she didn’t hurry she’d be too late. It was already five A.M., and thirty minutes before sunrise the hunters would emerge from their blinds, blasting ducks from the shy, ducks just like Donald and Baby Huey, her two pets.
She stepped on the gas and prayed as the truck careened off the highway and onto a winding dirt road. The bumpy road jarred her teeth as she bounced through the Holly Springs National Forest on her way to the river. In the predawn gloom, the trees looked like giant, silent ghosts. Maggie ignored the primeval beauty of the forest as she squinted for her first glimpse of the river. There it was, just ahead, its waters dim and murky.
Maggie squealed to a halt and jumped out. The twenty-degree weather blasted her, turning her nose a bright pink.
“Oops,” she muttered. “Forgot my hat.” She immediately scrambled back inside the warm cab of her truck and felt along the seat for her wool toboggan cap. Pulling it down over her wild tangle of honey-colored hair, she stepped back out into the wintry chill.