Choices 5 Blacksmith’s Heart

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In order to help your choice of book along, I’m including the first typed page of each. I’m not going beyond the first typed page, though. Just the first 500 words or so – even if it stops in the middle of a sentence. It will be fun! Trust me.

Presented in order they are listed in the post.


Enid Parker was an addict who never wanted to admit she had a problem, because all of them were completely legal vices. However, the combination of cigarettes, alcohol and prescription pain medications she took eventually landed her in the hospital with a near fatal stroke. Goaded by her family and doctors, she decided to take a rest cure in New Mexico.

The Lazy J Dude Ranch appealed to her, but she was unable to go alone. Every assistant she’d hired had ended up leaving after a few days. Enid was very demanding. Never having been very even tempered, she was worse than ever. Frustrated by her inability to cope alone, her independent nature made living with her hell. She couldn’t pay anyone enough to stay on with her, so she turned to family.

Hana Sutherland was Enid’s great-niece. At 23, she was fresh out of college and between jobs. When she graduated, she’d had a job with a good computer software company, ground level at $40,000 a year, but it fell through at the last minute. After moving from Houston to Albuquerque, she’d used up what little savings she had and couldn’t afford to move back home. Job hunting wasn’t going well.

Enid’s stroke, though problematic for her, was a blessing in disguise for Hana. She put all her things in storage and flew, at Enid’s expense, back to Houston. From there, they drove to the Lazy J. Enid refused to fly or take a train. Despite her great-aunt’s cranky nature, Hana enjoyed the trip. She was seeing parts of the country that she’d never visited before. She even convinced her aunt to stop at Carlsbad Caverns. Aunt Enid would never admit it, but she enjoyed the tour just as much as Hana.

The trip took about a week, but it wasn’t rushed and Hana wasn’t exhausted when they arrived. In fact, once she had Aunt Enid ensconced in her ranch style cabin, with TV remote, six pack of Fresca and her salt free pretzels, Hana went out for a short walk. The Lazy J was pretty, in a quaint, deliberately rustic way. Everything was carefully planned to remind the guests they were in the Wild West. Each cabin had a hitching post by the front door and geraniums growing in window boxes.

Hana wandered around and she came to a corral near the western side of the compound. She and Aunt Enid were to the southeast. Several guests and ranch hands gathered along the fence, some sitting on the cross beams, others leaning against it. Hana walked over shyly, hands in the

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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