Ready for a sneak peek of Trapped in Deepwater? Here you are! I'm so excited to share it with you. Want to hear an embarrassing story along with it? It'd written the WHOLE book with a different town name, because I'd looked on a map and just fixated on one town. And then...while going over my proof copy of Mathilda...yep. I'd named it Midway. So, I changed it to Deepwater, both because Deepwater IS a place is Missouri, and also because of the pun. She's about to get herself into some deep water...
1872 Somewhere in Missouri
“Bad luck,” the driver of the stagecoach called. Laura looked up from where she’d just been contemplating a doze to make the journey pass by faster. Of course there was bad luck. It followed her everywhere she went. No matter she’d been traveling for nearly a week nonstop, it still caught up to her.
From the worm in her apple and the mold on her bread, to the hole in her shoe and now whatever this was. She’d never be able to escape the curse that wouldn’t leave her alone. Really, she shouldn’t be surprised. She’d had bad luck for as long as she could remember.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, finally finding her voice. As the only passenger on the stagecoach, it was obvious the driver was talking to her.
“Damaged axle,” he told her through the coach window. “And a lame horse. Never had this happen before.”
Laura pressed her lips together and gave a short nod. A traveling bad luck charm, that’s what she was. The poor horse. She hoped it wasn’t suffering too much. “Can we trade her out and fix the coach to keep going?” she asked.
The driver shook his head. “Don’t think so, miss. Not today, anyway. There’s a town ahead called Deepwater, and I think if we go real slow we’ll make it there before nightfall. But I’m not sure how long it will take to get you headed to your destination.”
Taking a deep breath filled with irritation, Laura nodded. It wasn’t the driver’s fault. She shouldn’t get upset. “Do I need to walk?” she asked.
“No, since it’s just you, sit, but don’t move a lot,” came the reply as the driver vanished. She felt the coach sway slightly as he climbed into the driver’s seat. With a shout to the horses, the coach jerked forward, then settled into a crawl.
If she walked, she’d get there faster. There wasn’t really a reason to hurry, though. What would be waiting for her? More bad luck, that’s likely what.
Laura looked through the small window as the landscape creeped by. It was almost Christmas. She was glad. Not for Christmas, because there wouldn’t be anyone to celebrate it with, but because that meant the end of the year. And perhaps the start of one that wasn’t filled with so many terrible things. One could hope, anyway.
Something seemed to press in Laura’s backside and she shifted, then shifted again. The thin cushion under her slid a little. As she moved to put it back in its place, it slid off. A long crack, revealing a compartment of some sort, stared at her.
Laura ran her finger over it. What is this? Extra access to the boot? Everyone knows that anything valuable is kept with the driver at his feet.
It wasn’t difficult to pry up the wood, and overcome with curiosity, Laura raised the lid of the compartment a crack, then a little more. This was the most interesting thing she’d done in days. What could be inside?
Peering into the hidden compartment, her breath caught. Silver bars shone in a fading ray of sunshine.
Swiftly, her heart pounding in fear, she replaced the lid, returned the cushion, and sat stock still. They were carrying silver. Worse than that, it was in her seat. No wonder the driver wanted to keep going. They were a target for highwaymen!
As the horses plodded forward, at a crawl any sturdy toddler could surpass, the thought of a short nap fled. Instead, tension filled Laura’s shoulders. No longer irritated at the idea of a stopover, she couldn’t wait to get out of the coach.
She’d heard of stagecoach hold-ups in the newspapers back east. It was not something she wanted to have on her list of experiences.
Impatiently, she stared out the window, willing the town to come sooner. She prayed they’d make it. Perhaps there would be a sheriff. Another coach. One without cargo that made them a target. It was Christmas…that was supposed to be a time of miracles, wasn’t it?
So far, this journey had been anything but.
Want to keep reading? Trapped in Deepwater releases July 14th! You can get your copy here: