Little did I know that my first published book, Gallagher's Pride, would lead to a fifth Montana Gallagher book and yet Journey to Hawk's Peak was a story always meant to be told.
Amanda Warren entered the Gallaghers' lives in book three, and I immediately knew she would need a story of her own. Her past held many unanswered questions, and I wanted to learn more about her and how she came to be in Briarwood. Ben Stuart, the ranch foreman at Hawk's Peak, has a bit of his own mysterious past, and the more time I spent with him and Amanda, the clearer their stories became.
Did you know that in 1880, a few years before Amanda left the Black Hills region, the area was the most densely populated part of the Dakota Territory? That wasn't saying much since the population compared to today was miniscule.
Journey to Hawk's Peak speaks somewhat to the changing times in the 1880s, but it is primarily a story of hope, second chances, and realizing that at some point you can't run away forever.
Excerpt from Journey to Hawk's Peak
“All your time volunteering in town and working here doesn’t leave you much time for socializing.”
They stopped a few yards away from Isabelle’s front door. Amanda held the basket of cookies and a loaf of fresh bread close to her side. “You know I don’t mind spending time with the children. I like to keep busy. Besides, I’m no longer one for socializing.”
“I heard a rumor the last time I was in town that a young farmer had shown some interest.”
Amanda only offered a shrug. “Mr. Patterson. He arrived with two young children a few months ago. He’s a nice man and I adore teaching his son and daughter, but I don’t share his interest.”
Brenna’s face softened and her eyes revealed a touch of worry. “It’s not my business, but after Christmas I suspected . . . I had hoped, you and Ben . . .”
Amanda turned up her face to the sun and closed her eyes to gain a moment of courage. When she opened them, the pine-covered mountains filled her vision before she faced Brenna. “I’ve discovered the life I’ve always dreamed of right here.”
Brenna hesitated, though Amanda could see she wanted to say something. “I’ve seen the way you look at him, or how your interest in a conversation increases when his name is mentioned. You haven’t spoken of your life before arriving in Briarwood, and I haven’t asked, but is there something stopping you from finding your own happiness?”
“I am happy, Brenna.”
“You know what I mean.”
Amanda nodded and exhaled, buying herself a little time. “I’ve feared this moment.” She soaked in the sounds of geese flying overhead, the gentle rush of the creek as the water bubbled and flowed over rocks, and the breeze as it carried the fresh scents of pine and spring grass.
“Do you still have family somewhere?”
Again, Amanda nodded. “Some of my mother’s family, though they were never close. I haven’t seen them since I was a young girl.”
“If there’s anything we can do to help—”
“Please, no.” Amanda gripped Brenna’s arm. “If they found me, I’d be dead.”
Brenna’s rose-leaf complexion lost all color. “In the name of all good . . . Who wants you dead, Amanda?”
Excerpt from Journey to Hawk's Peak copyright © MK McClintock
I hope you make time every now and then to escape into a good book and relax with a pot of tea, or your beverage of choice, and a tasty treat.
Beverage: Montana Blend coffee from Montana Coffee Traders. I don't drink coffee, but it smells wonderful and it goes great in a couple of recipes. The coffee grounds are also great for the garden, and the brewed coffee can help "brighten" darker black and brown clothing.
The Treat: Lemon Pecan Scones. This is a variation on the Blueberry Lemon Pecan Scones found here. I just took out the blueberries.
The Book: Journey to Hawk's Peak, book 5 of the Montana Gallagher series.