By J. Alexandra James
Publisher’s Note: This is part 1 of 6 of an excerpt from A New Beginning. J. Alexandra James is the mother of three boys. The country lifestyle is very important to her family and they live near a small rural town in Oklahoma. They raise cows, horses and pigs along with Great Pyrenees Dogs. Writing Westerns evolved from living in a rural community and enjoying the company of the farmers, ranchers and milk producers who are the heart and soul of America.
“Sounds like you and Jerrod had a lot to talk about,” he said dryly. She thought that from his tone of voice, he sounded jealous. She thought that she had detected that same tone the first day she had met Jerrod in town, but had dismissed it as her imagination. So, he can be envious, she thought wryly to herself. She liked the idea. He was cute when he was jealous; it rather became him in a handsome kind of way. She noticed that his hand twitched slightly when he felt jealousy, and filed it in with all of the other facts about him. Her lists of things about him to remember were growing every day, and she laughed at the thought that her mind would be overrun with him eventually, but to her delight the idea pleased her.
“He only mentioned it because you were not with me when I bumped into him. He thought you were staying here and I at the hotel,” she explained.
“I see -- so my little surprise is ruined,” he said in a disgusted tone.
“I’m so sorry, but there was no use in lying to you; that would have just angered you, and I didn’t want to do that,” she added quickly.
“Thank you, but I’m not angry -- just disappointed, that’s all,” he said, and then added, “I do love honesty from a pretty girl.”
The valley beneath was covered in the same lush green grass they had been passing through. Then, off in the distance, partially hidden by tall, lovely, full-bloomed trees, she saw his childhood home. Meagan could not believe her eyes --it was the house of her dreams.
The first floor was surrounded by a porch with a roof, and the roof was the porch to the second floor. The walls were rock and every room had French doors. She could see furniture dotted along the porch; the whole thing looked cozy and inviting. There were several chimneys reaching up to the blue sky and one had whispers of smoke ascending from it. She was so absorbed in her thoughts that she had not noticed that Rusty had stopped the horse and they were sitting still. He watched her quietly while she took in the view. He was hoping that she loved the place as much as he did, and from the look on her face, he had not been disappointed.
“So that’s what Jerrod meant,” she said, not even glancing at him but continuing to take in everything that she could, “When he said you would be out here all comfy cozy while you left me at the heartless hotel. How can you stand to be away from here? It’s beautiful,” she said.
His reply came so quickly and honestly that his cheeks blushed. “My interests shifted to Jasmine, and I couldn’t stand to be away from there.”
“Oh,” she said, looking at him. “I hope this trip isn’t keeping you away from that,”
“No. Actually, that business followed me here, so I have the opportunity to keep dealing with it,” he said.
“Followed you -- what do you mean?” she began, but he cut her off, saying, “We better get down there -- Rosa will be waiting for us.”
Rusty had servants at every turn -- if anything, she might find herself trying to find ways to be useful to him. What do women do who have nothing to accomplish? This matter was beginning to seriously concern her. Would she enjoy that sort of life or come to regret it? When she moved to Jasmine she believed that it was a decision that would change her life; however, she could not have imagined it would change this much. The thoughts rolled through her mind like a stampeding herd, and she realized that at long last, she had found what she had always wanted: to belong to someone, somewhere. As the thought cleared a path in her mind, she hoped that by thinking that thought she had not, in some way, jinxed her own destiny.
Rusty walked over to the cupboard and rattled some coffee cups. Meagan looked at him curiously and directly Rosa bolted into the room.
“Rusty, you should have sent for me. Let me get this for you,” she said, pouring hot coffee and setting the table with a light but tasty meal. Rusty looked at Meagan with a sly little grin as he sat down at the table. He knew she would do just that if he made noise. Meagan tried not to laugh, and slipped him a smile, then sat down.
In the distance they heard a faint noise -- it sounded like men yelling. Rusty rose to his feet and headed toward the kitchen door. When he opened the door, the noise flooded the room. “Let’s go see what the ruckus is about,” he said, motioning for her to come along. She got up and rushed along behind him; she had to take about two steps to his one to keep up.
To Be Continued in Next Month’s Issue