<smiling sweetly as she twirls a strand of reddish-blonde hair around her finger>
Hello, everyone. My name’s Leah Guthrie. I’m a laundress in Elverton, California. I’m also standing in as Ma and Pa to my two younger sisters—Mae and Hope—and my younger brother, Ethan. Our ma passed away in childbirth eight years ago, and Pa died of a snakebite five years back. So that left me to raise my younger family members by myself.
Things were going well enough until we all took sick with some strange illness. Ethan, Hope, and I recovered soon enough, but poor Mae…the sickness did its damage. She nearly died, and when she finally recovered, she’d lost the use of both legs. Doc Bates says her affliction is “a debility of the lower extremities” and that she won’t get better. So I’m working especially hard to be sure they’re all taken care of. It’s not easy on a laundress’s pay, particularly when I have to compete with the Chinese laundries in town. So to get more business, I started picking up my customers’ dirty clothing and returning it, cleaned and pressed, later in the week. The problem is my wagon wheel just broke, forcing me to visit Bowdrie Allen, Elverton’s only blacksmith and wheelwright, and an ornery recluse of a man.
<folding his arms and glaring at Leah>
Ahem. I am standin’ right here, you know. I heard every word you said about me, Miss Guthrie.
Is anything I said about you incorrect, sir? Untruthful?
You are the only blacksmith, you almost flaunt your cantankerous nature, and you keep to yourself most times. Isn’t that so?
Well…yeah. But when you say it all out loud like that, it don’t sound so good.
<offers a slight bow, then turns away, mumbling under her breath>
Though perhaps you should give that some thought.
<shakes head in frustration and turns to the reader>
Never mind her.
I’m Bowdrie Allen, or Bo if you find that easier. And yes, as that meddlesome woman just said, I am ornery and reclusive cuss. Betcha you would be too if you’d experienced what I have. When those that are supposed to love you most hurt you as deep as I have been, it’s just easier to keep to yourself.
You see, I never knew my pa, and Ma—God rest her soul—passed on when I was all of six years old. That just left me and my older brother, Reese. I was scared, feelin’ like my whole world caved in on me. Only it got worse. A few months later, Reese dumped me.
No, not dumped. Sold. Reese sold me to a cruel and wicked man, Paul Cooper, a blacksmith, who put me to work in his shop. Fourteen years of my life now belonged to Coop. Sure, I learned smithing in that time, but I also got my hide tanned often—and a whole lot worse. The only bright spot in my life was Coop’s wife, Anna—a sweet woman who was like a ma to me. But then, one day Anna was dead and Coop and I moved to California. Things grew worse from there.
I ain’t one to talk about my past much—or anything else for that matter. So I think I’ll stop there and get back to work before the rough memories spoil my day. After all, you’d probably rather see how our story unfolds for yourself, rather than having us tell you about it. So go on…get your copy and read, and leave me to fix meddlesome Miss Guthrie’s wagon wheel in peace.
<turns back to his anvil and picks up a hammer>
~ ~ ~ ~
My Story Title: The Malleable Heart
from: The BLACKSMITH Brides
My Story Genre: Historical Romance
My Story Releases: May 1, 2020
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Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has finaled and won in numerous writing competitions, and been on the ECPA best-seller list several times. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers, Women Writing the West, and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, college-aged son, and four fur children.
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- Website: www.jenniferuhlarik.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferUhlarikAuthor/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenniferUhlarik
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jenuhlarik/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jenniferuhlarik/
- Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jennifer-uhlarik
- Newsletter Sign-up: https://www.subscribepage.com/Jen's_Newsletter
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Where can the book be purchased?
- Purchase your copy of The Blacksmith Brides at https://www.amazon.com/Blacksmith-Brides-4-Historical-Stories/dp/1643524224
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The author will be honored to gift a winner a signed copy of
The BLACKSMITH Brides
The BLACKSMITH Brides
Be sure to leave a comment with an email address where you can be reached should you win.
DRAWING TO BE HELD WEDNESDAY EVENING ~ May 6, 2019.