Cover & Excerpt Reveal
Men of Stone Mountain Book Three
He’s a by-the-book Texas sheriff; she’s on the run from a murder conviction...
When a tornado provides Rosalyn with the opportunity to escape the gallows, she collects her daughter Lucy and flees. They travel far enough West that Rosalyn believes she’s gone to the ends of the earth. She hopes she and Lucy will be safe in this remote North Texas town where she embarks on a new life as a dressmaker. If only she could avoid contact with people, especially the handsome sheriff who pops up every time she turns around. She fears either she or her chatterbox daughter may slip and reveal too much.
Joel Stone has been content with his life, even if it’s not the one he’d dreamed. His younger brothers are married and living nearby, his aunts have moved to Radford Springs, and he is respected for the efficient job he does as sheriff. When he meets the new widow in town, his instant attraction staggers him. She appears uninterested, but he is determined to win her hand in marriage.
But life doesn’t turn out the way either Rosalyn or Joel plan. They overcome temporary obstacles, but what of the secret she protects? Can he save her from the gallows?
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Rosalyn has been convicted of poisoning her wealthy, influential husband. She is innocent, but has no way to prove it. She has been sentenced to hang the next day on the gallows she watched built outside her cell window.
Rosalyn looked at Lucy’s drawing. Her daughter’s simplistic art showed a woman and little girl holding hands in a garden. How many times had she and Lucy walked among her plants, admiring the blooms and the butterflies attracted to the flowers? Rosalyn sank to her cot and sobbed.
The wind picked up and a gust fluttered the paper in her hands. Lightning flashed and rain blew through the open window. Rosalyn moved to the other cot across the narrow cell. At least the rain didn’t hit her there.
The sky grew darker and clouds developed a greenish cast. Fine hairs on Rosalyn’s arms prickled and raised. A peculiar sulphurous odor surrounded her.
“Sheriff, the sky looks ominous, like a tornado is coming.”
Sheriff Boudreau glanced up but didn’t rise from his chair. “Naw, too early in the year for a cyclone.” He went back to reading his newspaper, which is what he did most of the time as far as Rosalyn could tell. Either the man memorized the stories or he was the slowest reader ever born.
Dust and debris blew through the window and swirled around the cell. A horrific sound reached Rosalyn’s ears, like a freight train roaring toward town. She’d never been in a tornado, but she recognized the vibration from descriptions she’d heard. Instead of just dust and paper, now debris flew from between the bars. A tin can hit her forehead with such force she fell back against the wall.
“Take cover,” yelled the sheriff and he hit the floor in an attempt to crawl into his desk’s kneehole.
Her cot was bolted to the concrete floor, so she crawled underneath. The rumble grew louder, shaking everything. Rosalyn clung to the cot’s legs with white knuckles. Air whooshed from her lungs and she fought to breathe.
Winds sucked at her skirt so hard she thought her clothes would be ripped from her body. Holding on to the metal bed legs required all her strength. Swirling debris pummeled her and she closed her eyes against the sting. With a powerful crash, the roof flew away and the wooden jail walls collapsed inward. The noise nearly deafened her and her ears popped. At last, the only sound was thunder.
Cautiously, Rosalyn clawed her way out from her hiding place. Clouds of dust rose through the rain and she coughed. Her mouth tasted like mud. Only rubble surrounded her. In addition to jail’s cell bars, the storm had deposited debris from who knew where. No telling where her shawl was. A roof beam lay across her bed’s frame.
If not for the sturdy metal skeleton, she surely would have been crushed or blown away. Rain drenched the town and she heard cries as people called for loved ones and friends. Darkness hung heavy, broken only by flashes of lightning. She inched her way across the littered floor in a crouch, climbing cautiously over obstacles.
Lucy, she had to make certain Lucy was all right.
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Be on the lookout for Caroline Clemmons's upcoming books: Tabitha’s Journey coming June 2013,The Most Unsuitable Courtship coming Summer 2013, and Wonders of a Texas Christmas coming November 2013
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