Today, I have a very short and sweet visit from Eternal Press author, Ginger Simpson. Ginger is a prolific and generous writer who has helped me and numerous others with her experience and support. A lovely lady who will do anything to make anyone's writing journey a little easier.
Over to you, Ginger, looking forward to hearing about your latest offering...
It’s 1886. The wagon carrying Odessa Clay and her father overturns, killing him. Alone and frightened, somewhere in the desert, she faces finding her way to Phoenix and Aunt Susan. Her food and water run out, and Odessa is near death when Zach Johnson finds her. On his way to becoming a reluctant outlaw, he can’t leave such a young beauty to die. She awakens in his arms, thinking she’s already died and gone to heaven, and for him, now not only his father’s land is at stake—he faces losing his heart, too.
Arizona Territory 1880
Odessa Clay struggled to lift the overturned wagon off her father. Her muscles burned and splinters dug into her palms, but Papa’s ashen face and eyes squinting with pain inspired her determination. She bit her bottom lip and struggled to stay calm.
“God, please help me,” she muttered through clenched teeth, as she pushed, shoved, and lifted with every ounce of strength she had left. The veins in the backs of her hands bulged, but the wagon didn’t budge. At one hundred pounds and barely five feet tall, she proved no match for solid wood. Her chest heaved and each breath took effort. She brushed sweat-dampened hair from her brow and knelt. All her struggling had only succeeded in setting the left rear wheel into a slow spin and creating an eerie whirring in the silence.
“Hold on, Papa. I’ll find some way to help you.” Her nails bit into her fisted palms.
His pale features contorted, and fear clutched her heart. She rose and stared up and down the trail. Nothing stirred except the hot wind that whipped her long hair into tangles and sent a dust funnel swirling in the distance.
Turning her attention back to her father, she again attempted to lift the wagon’s cumbersome weight and failed.
“Can anyone hear me?” She screamed the words as she searched the trail again.
The dirt road unfurled like a brown ribbon between the expanse of cactus and sagebrush. Odessa, refusing to let her father see her hopelessness, blinked back tears.
Anger heated her blood. This was all her fault. First her mother died giving birth, and now her father was dying because of her. He wanted her to have a woman’s influence in her life—have more opportunities. Their trip had gone smoothly until Papa failed to see a treacherous spot in the trail in time for the team to avoid it. The same wheel that spun now had been the one that slipped into a ragged rut and tipped the wagon over. She’d jumped clear, but her father remained pinned beneath the sideboard from the waist down. The accident snapped the harness rigging, and the animals ran off. What she wouldn’t give for one to wander back right now.
She rushed to the other side and pulled with all her might on the front wheel. Praying for strength, she gritted her teeth and tugged until splinters from the prickly-wooded spoke tore into her flesh. There was nothing she could do. The wagon wouldn’t shift.
Something stung above her left eye and she swiped her knuckles across the spot. Blood mixed with the dirt on her hand and created rust-colored mud. She wiped the stain on her sleeve and scanned the area for something to use for leverage. Her father had often lifted things by using a piece of wood or a log from a fallen tree. She hitched up her skirt and traipsed through sparse knee-high weeds, praying to find something—anything.
“Stay with me, Papa, I’m looking.” She cast another hopeful glance at the trail. Still no one in sight. Why had they decided to make this wretched trip to Phoenix? Just because Aunt Susan lived there? Odessa’s stomach churned with fear and her mind spun in a hundred directions. What if she couldn’t get Papa out?
Please come and leave any questions and comments for Ginger to answer -she is always more than willing to help out with any writing difficulties or problems. Over to you!!