I know you love strong women and good romance as much as I do. So, here’s a tease from my new novelette that combines both, coming in April 2018. I hope you enjoy meeting Cate & Luna of Savior Hill.
The Virginia mountains, North of the James River, 1916
Sheriff Cate Murphy and Deputy Luna Bell’s love for each other runs as deep as the river valleys and as long as the Appalachian summer days. Best friends since childhood, the two women are true country girls—from the top of their Stetson hats right down to the leather soles of their cowgirl boots. And life is good in their home town of Savior Hill—a town built by former slaves—where Cate and Luna, two queer women of color, are loved and respected.
Yet, a change is happening—a great migration of colored folks away from the nurturing land and to the big cities, in search of a more dignified way of life. Cate sees the change, and her curiosity is piqued. Maybe she could learn to be a city girl. Luna is having no part of it, though. She’s happily tied to small-town living and wouldn’t trade it for the world.
But changing times have a way of teaching new lessons. Come visit Cate and Luna in Savior Hill.
A pale white moth fluttering over the campfire broke Cate’s stare just as Luna turned around.
“I make my appearance before the Lord every Sunday,” Cate said before taking in another spoonful of stew.
“Stickin’ your head in the front doors to say ‘Good mornin’’ to the choir and flickin’ a penny in the collection plate is not ‘makin’ an appearance,’ ” Luna said and wagged her finger. She walked over to her horse, Timber—a quiet, silky gray gelding that was tied up next to Magic. Luna fed Timber a piece of cornbread and patted him on his head before sitting down and facing Cate with her legs crossed also. “Shame on you too,” she added, “for tryin’ to bribe your way out of Ms. Pearl’s Sunday school class by offerin’ to buy one of her pies.”
Cate hung her head in mock guilt. “I confess, Your Honor. But in my defense, I have volunteered to help at the next church picnic.”
“You volunteered?” Luna asked with a raised brow. “To do what?”
“The most important job at a church picnic, of course—official pie taster!”
They both laughed out loud as Timber and Magic gave head bobs. As they sat and ate, Cate gazed up at the night sky and spotted a shooting star.
“Make a wish,” she said and pointed.
“A wish?” Luna looked.
“On a shooting star.”
Luna closed her eyes. “I wish the little devil that made hay fever gets struck by lightning while cleaning his pitchfork.”
Cate laughed and patted Luna on the knee. “I promise this is the last time I let Sheriff Lucas talk me into roundin’ up those Dooley brothers again.”
“Liar. You know you’ve got a soft spot for that old rascal who’s too dang lazy to chase down those drunkards after they raise hell and skip out on their saloon tab. This is the fifth time in a year we’ve tracked and dragged their sorry behinds back to his jail.”
“He did offer us supper when we dropped the brothers off at his jail,” Cate said, “and he always says, ‘Thanks, Catie girl,’ with the biggest smile.”
“He’s got you wrapped round his finger.” Luna leaned forward and pulled Cate closer by the front of her shirt. “And I know you keep doin’ it ‘cause you like us bein’ out here all alone.” She quickly kissed Cate once, then twice.
It was true. Cate cherished the times that she and Luna were by themselves, so they could be themselves—two women who deeply loved and desired each other. Rumor had it that the Sheriff of Savior Hill preferred the company of women, but no one—other than her parents—had dared to ask Cate directly. The Murphys admitted not understanding their daughter “takin’ a shine” to Luna. At first, they thought it was childish infatuation because the two had been inseparable as kids. But the two grew closer and closer as they matured, and it was obvious that Cate had no interest in being courted by any gentlemen callers. Any and all who were encouraged by Abel Murphy to try, had been summarily dismissed by his daughter—and her six-shooter.
When Cate and Luna decided to live together, they did it under the guise of two childhood friends wanting to be “roommates” who were destined to be old spinsters. But they had each other, and having each other meant more than anything else in the world to them.