FOR A SISTER'S LOVE

Lorelei and Maggie Holmes make a desperate vow to reunite after an Indian raid on their wagon train leaves them orphans. Eight-year-old Lorelei is taken in by an impoverished family headed to a Colorado mining town and ten-year-old Maggie finds herself on the way to Portland, Oregon to live with a woman widowed during the Indian attack.

Ten years later, Lorelei’s adoptive father gambles away her birth mother’s locket and her only connection to her lost sister. Believing she needs the locket and to find Maggie, she sets out after the gambler and ends up in the company of a citified lawyer searching for the same man.

While cleaning a hotel room, Maggie discovers her mother’s locket in the possession of a gambler. Fear for her sister increases Maggie's determination.  Never one to give up, she dogs the gambler until he agrees to help her find her sister.

Two sisters, two adventures, will they find one another or will the men helping them be their destinies?

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Excerpt

Prologue

 

Western Nebraska, 1864

     “Let me go!” Loralei dug her nails into the hard ground as firm hands tugged her backwards.

     “Hush, child!” Mrs. Baumgartner hoisted her off the ground.

     “Mommy!” Mommy and Daddy weren’t near the wagon, but Maggie was.

     “Maggie! Maggie!” Loralei yelled until the back of her throat burned, but the air was too full of screams for Maggie to hear. Another woman—Mrs. Freeman—pulled Maggie in the other direction. Loralei kicked with all her might, but her sister didn’t turn around and Mrs. Baumgartner didn’t let her loose.

     Mrs. Baumgartner shoved her under another wagon and crawled in behind her. “Hush, now, child,” she said, not unkindly.

     Loralei peered between the spokes of the wheels. Dust and smoke filled the air and the men fired long guns. The loud blasts, along with the yelling and screaming, made the ground tremble. Mrs. Baumgartner pulled her away from the wheel and made cooing noises like Mama did when her stomach hurt. Sobbing, Loralei buried her face into the woman’s dress.

     After the noises died down, Mrs. Baumgartner hoisted Loralei in the back of the wagon, insisting she stay put. The noises were still so loud Loralei covered her ears with both hands.

     When the flap opened, Maggie appeared and Loralei jumped to climb over the tailgate. Maggie held up her hands. “No, Lora Beth, you need to stay there.”

     “Why? Why can’t I get out? Where’s Mama and Papa?”

     Maggie slipped something over Loralei’s head. “You remember where we were headed?”

     Loralei nodded. “Idaho.” She grasped the locket hanging around her neck. It was the one Mama always wore. Tears rolled out of Maggie’s eyes. “Why, Maggie, did you forget where we’re headed? Did Mama and Papa forget?”

     Maggie shook her head. “No, no one forgot. And don’t you forget, either.”

     “I won’t.”

     “Good,” Maggie said, sounding old. She was ten though, and Loralei only eight. “I’ll meet you in Silver City.”

     “What do you mean, Maggie? Aren’t you coming with us? With me and Mama and Papa?”

     “No, Lora Beth. I’m not coming with you and neither are Mama and Papa. There was an Indian attack last night. Mama and Papa are dead. You have to go with the Baumgartners. Mr. Freeman was killed, too, and Mrs. Freeman is in an odd way, I gotta take care of her.” Maggie glanced about before she said, “The Baumgartners are leaving the train, taking the south trail, but don’t fret. I’ll find you.”

     Tears trickled into her mouth, stinging Loralei’s tongue. “No, Maggie. I don’t want to go with the Baumgartners.”

     “You haveta, Lora Beth, we don’t have a choice.” Maggie reached in and wrapped both arms around her. “I promise I’ll be there. I promise.”

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