About the Book:
Love Under the Western Star is Book Three in the Passion Quest Series but can be read as a stand alone book.
The peace of Pleasant Valley has been shattered. The feud between the Tewksbury and Graham families has escalated from a sheep versus cattle dispute to a war over access to the only water in the valley – the Wide Muddy River. Hope Tewksbury and Joseph Graham have found love in the midst of this war, and now they must find peace.
Dr. Amy Toller is an alien anthropologist studying the fourth planet orbiting the star Chi. – the one the locals call Zona. She is searching the Galaxy for clues to humanity’s past, and the mythical planet called Earth. She and her fellow scientists infiltrate Pleasant Valleythe Zona society, which mimics the American West of the 1880's. Their goal is to discover what these distant cousins know of humanity’s birthplace. But first, they must end the bloodshed.
Will Hope and Joseph's love be thwarted by the hatred their families have feel for each other?
The train hissed, then squealed to a stop, its doors sliding open. A porter stepped out and placed a small footstool on the ground; then he reached his hand to help a woman and her three children step off the train and onto the wooden platform.
Readying herself to board the train, Hope grabbed her carpet bag and ticket in one hand, and resolutely gathered her skirt and petticoat in the other.
“Miss,” the porter said, touching her elbow. He guided her up the steps and onto the train.
“Thank you,” she said, entering the car. Surveying the interior, she noted the scarcity of vacant seats. She slowly made her way along the aisle. A tall man with a winsome smile rose. He removed his hat and motioned for her to approach.
“Miss, there is a seat, next to me.” She took in his visage. Even though Caine had often cautioned her against talking to strangers, this man had an authoritative look, and his military uniform added a trustworthy air.
“Thank you, sir.” She noticed the captain’s bars on his shoulder boards. “I am not displacing you? Surely you'd like to sit by the window?” Hope asked.
“Not a problem, miss. A gentleman would never let a lady sit on the aisle.”
Hope shrugged and nodded as she slid into the seat, settling next to the window.
The man waited while she put her bag on the floor at her feet. “My name is Joseph,” he said, replacing his hat, gliding over to sit beside her.
“I'm Hope.” She smiled a greeting.
“Hope. That is a lovely name. May I ask where you are headed?”
At that moment, the conductor made his way down the aisle. “Ticket, ma’am.” She handed hers to him, and he punched it with his hand-forged nippers as the train lurched out of the station.
Hope returned her attention to Joseph. “I'm heading home, to Payson.” She removed her bonnet, and placed it on her lap. She gave her curls a gentle shake and waited for the breeze to cool her. “And you, sir? What is your destination?” She asked, not needing conversation, but not wanting to be impolite.
“I am also headed to Payson.” Seeming to need to explain, he added, “I've been discharged from military service, and am looking to purchase a small farm with my earnings.”
“I see. But, the war is not over, is it?” In school, they had studied about the war. It had been raging for several years, but it seemed so far away in the books and maps her teacher used as she tried to explain it. Now, it was up close and personal, sitting right next to her.
“No, it is not. I was honorably discharged. I was injured; my leg is no longer fully functional.”
“Oh, I'm sorry.” She glanced and saw how he held his leg out straight, then quickly redirected her gaze out the window.
“You don't remember me, do you?” Joseph asked.
Hope turned in her seat to study him. His skin was tanned, indicating many hours spent outdoors. He had a healthy head of long brown hair. His upper lip was capped with a dark bushy mustache. His sturdy chin and neck were covered by a thick bristly beard. Underneath wide and level brows, his silvery eyes were framed by the thickest, longest lashes she had ever seen. Aware she was staring, she flushed slightly.
“No, I'm sorry, should I know you?”
“I remember you. Hope Tewksbury. The little red-haired, freckle-faced girl, with her nose always in the books.” Joseph chuckled. “I was six years ahead of you in Mrs. Greenwood's class. I often got into trouble. Wound up getting paddled at the pillory a time or two.”
“I'm sorry, I don't recall. My mother told me to stay away from boys like you.” She chuckled. “And, in all the commotion, I wouldn't have recognized you.”
Joseph laughed. “No, I suppose not. My backside, more than my face, was visible to most townspeople. Well, not to worry, my dear. My time in the Army has changed me for the better.”
Hope's heart fluttered a bit as she thought, he called me dear. “So, have you been in the Army all this time?”
“Yes, I've been in Bama these last six years. My Pop thought the experience would make a man out of me, so he encouraged me to enlist. Then the war started. I did my duty, and did it well enough to move up to the rank of captain. But, after I was shot, they decided to send me home. Can't say I'm sorry. I've seen enough death to last me a lifetime.” He shuddered.
Hope nodded. And, now he's coming back to Payson—and the feud.
About the Author:
Sahalie Blue was born and raised in the Midwestern US along the shores of Lake Michigan. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest, treasuring the great outdoors of her new home.
Sahalie loves hiking in the region's majestic Cascade Mountains, dense mossy forests and sagebrush-filled deserts. Her revered, special place is Sahalie Falls, a roaring waterfall that pounds the McKenzie River into a rainbowed mist.
She's been married for several years to a computer guy who loves to tell jokes. She appreciates laugh-out-loud moments. She enjoys reading just about anything, but mysteries, romances, and science fiction are her favorites. She is passionate about expressing her thoughts and feelings in her writing.