Stone House Farm
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by Rhobin L. Courtright
Description: Amanda Blanchard's ex-husband caused her present predicament--cash-poor except for her centennial family farm. Property taxes are overdue but she has a good job, and she has a mare pregnant with a foal whose sale will pay those taxes. To sell the last of her father's prize Morgan horses seems unimaginable, but she must secure her home to raise her daughter, Kari. Land developer Wade Preston sends her a letter threatening foreclosure if she doesn't sell him her land. In a face-to-face confrontation she tells Wade she will not sell, but their paths cross again when she finds him in her orchard, shot. A storm has knocked out the old farmhouse's electricity and phone. She needs to save Wade's life, but will whoever shot him try to finish the job? Will whoever wounded him harm her and Kari, too?
eBook Publisher: Champagne Books, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: May 2010
9 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [303 KB]
Reading time: 177-248 min.
"Naughty girl!" she said softly starting to lead the mare back to the barn. She stopped, realizing Buck wasn't with her. "Buck! Here, Buck. Come, Buck!" When only silence answered her, she called and heard a faint bark. Repeated calls brought more barking, but no Buck. "You see where your truancy got us?" Amanda asked the mare. "He's probably caught his collar on some shrub." She tied the lead to the fence, then climbed over the slippery rails into the northern orchard to find what had distracted Buck.
By concentrating on the direction of the now constant barking, she searched. When he fell silent, she would call and the barking would resume. The orchard looked unfamiliar in darkness and falling snow, with tree limbs appearing to loom out of nowhere, and the ground strangely transformed. With frequent calls, answered by Buck's barks, she homed in on the dog. He looked like a dancing shadow in the surrounding whiteness.
Buck wasn't trapped by his collar. An unusual long
mound of snow lay under one of the apple trees. The dog barked and dug around the shape. Approaching with caution, Amanda swept her flashlight's beam over the mound and caught a flash of khaki and fingers. The mound was human. She hurried her steps. Kneeling down she rolled the camouflage-jacketed form over. His face was pale and drawn, his black hair ice-coated, dark, wet strands plastered his forehead. Wade Preston!