She longed for a new beginning. What she found was a place to call home.
Driven by adventure and strengthened by love, one woman will prove that nothing is impossible. No longer willing to allow society’s opinion to influence her life, Clara Stowe sought a change, and what better place than the frontier. With her young daughter by her side, she embarks on an unexpected undertaking to the Montana Territory. With grit and determination, they arrive in Crooked Creek to shape the life Clara had always dreamed of and honor the memory of the one they lost.
Clara’s story is special in that this short story is only the beginning. Clara will be one of the main characters in the first Crooked Creek novel, and that's when her story truly begins with more adventure and romance than she could have ever imagined. You'll have a chance to meet many characters from this unique Montana town, but for now, I hope you enjoy these glimpses into the people of Crooked Creek.
Be well, be kind, and enjoy!
Available in E-Book and Paperback
western historical fiction, western short story, western fiction, historical western fiction, western historical short story, western series
He looked to Clara. “You’ve come a long way.”
“It is that evident?” With a pleasant smile on her face, Clara smoothed the lines of her gray-and-white striped traveling dress. Gideon had told her it highlighted her smoky blue eyes, though in hindsight, it might be a bit too elegant for their destination. Then again, she had not risked everything and ventured out west to relinquish all holds on her cultured upbringing.
The gentleman’s mouth quirked. “Are you headed to Salt Lake City or Denver? Maybe even San Francisco?”
“We’re going to Montana.”
The man’s eyes traveled the length of her, and his face reddened beneath his gray whiskers. “I don’t reckon Montana’s a place for a lady like yourself. It’s a mite different from what I reckon you’re used to.”
Clara only smiled again and gazed out the window. “I do believe it’s the perfect place.” She turned her attention back to the gentleman, an older man who reminded her of her father, tall, with a stately appearance and military bearing. His clothes, clean if not a little worn, betrayed him as a man of some means.
“Are you from around here, sir?”
“Jesse Pickett’s the name, ma’am. From Missouri, but I’ve spent a few years in these parts with the army. Missed Montana something fierce when my enlistment ended a few months ago, so I’m going back.”
Clara wondered what a man of his age was still doing in the army, unless he served as an officer. “The war has been over for a year, Mr. Pickett.”
“Not the war with the Indians, ma’am, or with the vigilantes.”
Clara glanced at her daughter, but Alice remained oblivious to the conversation as she continued to watch the passing landscape out the stage window. “Vigilantes?”
“Nothing to worry yourself over, ma’am.” The man also glanced at the young girl and lowered his voice. “The army knows what they’re doing.”
Clara did not share the man’s confidence in the army. Although freedoms had been won and a country remained intact, had they not just lost countless lives? To speak so casually of killing men sent a shudder through Clara’s body. She had loved one of those lives taken much too early.
Excerpt © MK McClintock
"I loved this very short story, Clara of Crooked Creek, nicely written by MK McClintock. I love this new series, A Crooked Creek, which follow smart and independent heroines who settle in Montana during the 1800s. I have already followed, Emma, Briley and Hattie, now it's Clara's turn."
"MK McClintock has brought Clara and Crooked Creek to life for me. I’m looking forward to reading more stories about Clara and the friends she has made in Crooked Creek. This is an excellent novella and a wonderful, quick read. I think you will enjoy it."
"The threat of danger was lingering in the background, but the story focused on Clara's goal to open an inn. Me thinks she will fit in with the other Montanan gals quite nicely. I am more than a little antsy to get my hands on the next installment."
"You can see them, hear them and get to know them. The descriptions of that part of Montana are easily visualized." —Amazon review
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