Within my stories I like to include little references to my other loves, where I live, genealogy, friends and family. A certain person I know and love dearly has had a hard time this past year so I put a tiny acknowledgement on The Outlaw of Cedar Ridge's first page.
Can you guess?
– Spring 1891 Idaho
Her eyes popped open. In the darkness that enveloped her, Evie Rolfe swallowed hard. Sometime during the night, her lamp died and left the young woman alone. Her fingers tightened into a white knuckled grip around the rifle while she listened for anything unusual. She didn’t dare move, waited untold minutes locked in fear until light trickled through the cabin’s only window.
While ebony grayed, shadows faded, she gained a measure of courage. Evie scanned the modest room in search of what had woken her. A simple chair sat beside her in front of the stone fireplace. Cast iron pots and a frying pan were stacked on the hearth by short rounds of pine. Along the walls was a long low bench with towels folded neatly on top, a four-drawer dresser, a metal pail then a bed in the corner. Nothing appeared out of place so far.
Nervous Evie twisted so she could look at the wall behind her. A gap in the window curtains allowed a glimpse of crimson sky. Against the door, a crudely made wood table remained snug with the oil lamp in the center. To the right of that her cloak and a large tan wicker basket hung side by side. A rough broom she’d fashioned stood propped in the corner. Relief seeped through her.
The breath she’d held released. Evie sagged against the chair her grandfather made. Her left hand lifted, rubbed over her face then lowered to slide palm down over a scarred, oak arm. Loneliness, a muted ache, haunted. The worn rocking chair was all she had left from her family. She sighed, soft almost soundless.
A distinct thud carried through the log walls. Her short-lived calm vanished. Blood raced through her veins. Heart in her throat Evie gathered the edges of the quilts close around her. Slow, cautious, rifle cradled to her stomach, she pushed up to her feet then turned to face the window.