Laura Drewry

Copyright 2005

Smashwords Edition

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portion thereof, in any form. This ebook may not be resold or uploaded for distribution to others.

This is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


Porter Creek, Montana Territory, 1885

Tess Kinley wanted to die. Six days on the stage, driven by the devil himself, was more than a body could be expected to endure. There wasn’t a single pothole or creek bed between Butte and Porter Creek she had not been jolted through; not a single filthy station missed; not a single decent meal eaten. She had not bathed in a week, nor had she washed or changed her clothes. Her weakened stomach had long since revolted against the onslaught of such offenses and although she had not disgraced herself in front of anyone else yet, she would not have cared one little bit if she had.

The stage turned over on two separate occasions and one of the poor old horses shot when its left hind leg snapped after becoming entwined in the wreckage. They’d been stuck up to the axles in mud after a three-day downpour and during this time Tess’s vocabulary became significantly extended through the teachings of Mr. Forbes, the stage driver.

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