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One woman’s desperation to escape will become the greatest journey of her life.
Amanda Warren arrives in Briarwood, Montana, with one satchel and a dream. After death destroyed her happiness, she flees, unwilling to believe it is the end, yet her weary spirit thinks only of survival.
Then she meets the Gallaghers.
They take a chance and give her a home and a family, but is she strong enough to make a new start?
Ben Stuart has seen more of life than he wants to remember, but with the Gallaghers he has found a place where he can forget times gone by and live the life he always wanted. When Amanda arrives at Hawk’s Peak, Ben sees a woman hiding from secrets and running from her past. How will he convince her that the journey is over?
Join us on a journey to Hawk's Peak for a romantic adventure you'll never forget.
“Journey to Hawk's Peak by MK McClintock is one of the most gripping and thrilling western novels that anyone will ever read. This novel is a serious page-turner, and for fans of western fiction, it is a must-read." —Readers' Favorite
Alena Sommer isn’t one to run from adversity. But when the child she’s been governess to dies, she boldly seeks a new life in Idaho Territory by accepting a marriage proposal from a man she’s never met. When she arrives in Sawtooth City she finds the mines are in financial trouble and the man she was to marry is dead. Determined to stay, she ignores the warnings about harsh winters known to plague the Sawtooth Mountains. Will the same man who warns her to leave be the one who gives her the strength to stay? Surviving winter’s threat will take more than courage; it will require mettle forged of two strong wills.
"Reading this wonderful book, Comes the Winter, is like finding yourself in your favorite chair, near a crackling fire, when it’s cold outside. Weather is changeable and so is life, but you are in a warm and happy place." —The Constant Reader
Excerpt from Journey to Hawk's Peak
A HAWK AND ITS mate soared high above their heads. White clouds tipped with gray created a continuous patchwork in the vast, blue sky, casting shadows over the snow-capped mountains. A cool, spring breeze caressed Amanda’s face and whipped her unbound hair over her shoulders. She’d left the house wearing only a shawl, preferring to relish in the warmer air after the long, harsh season.
The winter of ’84 had been one of the coldest in Amanda’s memory. Although it had been her first in Montana, she was no stranger to the hardships of the western frontier. No matter how settled the land became or how many people from the East ventured in search of the same dreams which brought her parents west, she loved the wildness the land fought to retain.
“I’ll never tire of this sight.” Not a soul within one hundred miles could miss the grand mountain ranges that crisscrossed the land and protected their valley.
“I won’t either.” Brenna wore a heavier wool shawl, the edges gathered over her growing belly. Amanda smiled at her friend—one of many she’d made since arriving at Hawk’s Peak—and imagined Brenna as a new mother once again.
Brenna and Ethan Gallagher already had one son, Jacob, named after Ethan’s father and born in Scotland, Brenna’s homeland. The courage to leave behind everything and everyone she knew at Cameron Manor to journey across an ocean and vast continent impressed Amanda. She’d embarked on her own journey when she left home, but it compared nothing to what Brenna must have experienced.
Brenna stopped at a point in the meadow and bent over to pick a few sprigs of wild lupine and add them to the basket she carried over one arm. Calves frolicked in the nearby pastures, another sign that spring had come regardless of winter’s efforts to linger. In her lyrical voice with her refined Scottish accent, Brenna said, “When I first stepped foot off the stage, the sheer enormity of what I’d done paled in comparison to the beauty of these mountains. I abhorred the circumstances that forced me to flee, and yet without those trials, I wouldn’t be here now. I wouldn’t have Ethan or Jacob.” She patted her belly and smiled. “Or this one.”
“I envy you, Brenna.” Amanda continued walking, but it was Brenna who stopped, surprised by the quietly spoken words.
“What a dear thing for you to say, but there are many who could say the same of you.”
Amanda was quick to assure Brenna. “Please, don’t think me ungrateful for what I have. I’ve been blessed many times over in my life. I envy the way you approach life, every day with such hope.”
“It got me into trouble often as a child,” Brenna said with a smile. “Give yourself time. I often feel as though you’ve always been a part of our lives, but it wasn’t so long ago when you arrived.”
Amanda stared across the quiet meadow, fixated on the swaying grass. “Before you met Ethan, did you ever . . .”
“Did I ever what?” Brenna asked. “You may ask me anything, and I’ll answer if I can.”
“Did you ever wonder if you were strong enough to live the life you always wanted?”
End of excerpt. Copyright © MK McClintock
Excerpt from Comes the Winter
LENA awoke with a start. Disoriented, she sat up, blinking back sleep. So cold. She pulled at the heavy quilt, drawing herself into a small ball to conserve body heat. And with the chill on her face came the return of memory: the trip up the mountain, the shock of discovering that Samuel Nash had died, the breathtaking beauty of the mountains surrounding this isolated community. She shivered and knew she'd be warmer inside, but something held her there.
Just beyond the porch a movement caught her eye. Straining to see through the gray light of predawn, she watched the bulky creature lumbering along with obvious lack of concern for her presence. It rose on its back legs, standing quite still, its beady black eyes observing her. She was certain his eyes were more adapted to the dark than hers, likely both seeing and smelling her.
She'd seen one once in captivity when she'd visited the Lincoln Park Zoo with Miranda. It was a bear cub much like this one. If she'd known more, she might have flown back into the house and under her covers. But the moment held so much magic that all she could do was gaze in wonder at the creature. Apparently, finding little amusement in his study of her, the young bear fell back onto all four paws and lumbered along the length of the house before turning to the creek.
Letting out a long-held breath, she settled back into the chair, the quilt tucked beneath her chin. High on the tallest peaks, a faint pink glow heralded a new day. As she held her breath, waiting, the sun spread its light down the face of the mountains, flowing like golden water into the high valleys. Lena listened to the songs of birds unfamiliar to her city trained ears, their songs announcing the morning as surely as the milkman on his daily rounds. But this was so different, quiet, and yet not. The longer she sat there absorbing the growing presence of day, the more she heard.
How unlike the gray skies of Chicago! How lovely! In the east, rays of gold fanned out along the horizon, chasing back the last shadows of night to foreign lands, far beyond the mountains in the west. Her breath caught as the sun emerged from behind the hills, drawing with it a canopy of pale blue. If anyone had witnessed this greeting between them, they would have seen Lena’s face aglow in sunlight. And had Evan seen her, his thoughts of her as an angelic being would have seemed confirmed.
Sounds of waking life drifted from inside the house. Someone had stoked the fire in the wood stove; a kettle, metal on metal. Men's voices drifted from the rooms, reaching to her ears here in her warm cocoon. Reluctant to leave this peace, she pushed her feet from beneath the quilt. Holding it tight to her body she padded across the cold wood floor and slipped inside unobserved.
End of excerpt. Copyright © Samantha St. Claire
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