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Chapter 1 – page 8
“And when he does, how long you think it’ll take him to go blabbin’ the news all over these hills?”
“But…” She wanted to argue that Morgan could be trusted, but Pa was right. Secrets ate Morgan alive. It was only a matter of time before everyone around knew her secret.
“We’ve got to get before that happens.” His gaze darted away. “Get someplace far away.”
Three days later, Eli rubbed her arms as Pa stepped up to the front door of the grand two-story house. She shivered and wiped the rain from her face. “Pa, are you sure this is the right one?”
He grunted and knocked on the elegant wood door.
As they waited, Eli took in the fancy carvings, delicate trim work, and second-story balcony decorating the front. She lifted a brow. Uncle Henry had set out west before her birth, so she’d never met him and Pa almost never spoke of him. What little Pa shared about his brother revealed they had once been close friends. Still…
Nothing Pa shared even hinted at Uncle Henry having the means to afford a home as grand as the one before them.
“Did Uncle Henry strike it rich?”
Pa shrugged without moving his gaze from the door.
Why did Pa never mention that Uncle Henry was in California? And that he lived as close as San Francisco? Three days ago, the slightest breeze could have felled her when Pa suggested they see if his younger brother would put them up for the winter.
Eli shifted from foot to foot. She glanced at Pa, still staring at the door. Come spring, they’d return to the cold, muddy fields in search of a new claim. It would be nice to spend the winter somewhere warm, but she didn’t relish the idea of spending so much time with the kind of people who would own a house like this. When was the last time she held a sliver of soap? The dousing she’d given herself earlier this morning would have to do.
At last, a dark-skinned man in a long black waistcoat answered the door. “Yes?”
Don’t forget to preorder your copy of Waltz in the Wilderness if you haven’t already!