|Along the Oregon Trail|
It’s 1879, and the Oregon Trail is still ferrying emigrants west to California, Oregon, and Washington. Hundreds of covered wagon trains with thousands of people every year, all searching for something better than they left behind.
Kate Benton has run just about as far as she can. After escaping the sordid life of a saloon prostitute the year before, she hid out in a wagon belonging to the younger brother of the Lame Johnny stagecoach robbing gang. All she wants is a fresh start.
Tom McBride, said younger brother, is running from his past, too. Forced to work for Lame Johnny to save his brother’s life, he’s on the run from the gang, the law – and God.
In the first book, Kate, their tale of adventure and love is filled with secrets, threats, and narrow escapes as they head for Oregon City.
|Oregon City, Oregon 1870s|
Now, Kate and Tom have safely put their past behind them. Or have they? Kate realizes her dream of working for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, and her first assignment is to find a local missing woman. When she begins investigating, however, she is threatened and their house is set ablaze. But that won’t stop her.
Until her son is kidnapped.
|Old revolver like the type Kate might have carried|
Tom and Kate must work together to solve this case and find their child. In the process, they discover a God who loves them even more than they love each other and their little family.
The idea for this book came from a book I read about Kate Warne, the first Pink Lady detective. As a young widow in the 1850s, Kate marched into the Pinkterton office and said she wanted a job. Alan Pinkerton thought she meant a clerical job, but no. Kate wanted to be a detective. And she turned out to be one of his best “men”, paving the way for many more female detectives in the coming years.
Kate Warne was a feisty woman with definite ideas of how she wanted her life to go, and so is Kate. While Kate Warne never remarried, I wanted my Kate to balance family and a professional career, a relatively new concept in the 1870s.
Watch for more books featuring Kate and Tom in the future, but for now, check out A Pink Lady Thanksgiving and my other books at https://www.amazon.com/s?k=donna+schlachter&ref=nb_sb_noss
Sitting on the front porch of her rented house, Kate McBride propped aching feet on the footstool her darling husband crafted especially for her. At almost seven months into her pregnancy, she tired quickly, finding she needed to stop and rest more often throughout the day.
She sighed and rubbed at the small of her back. Her first baby. An exciting time, to be sure. But also one with its challenges. Thankfully, living in town meant she needn’t spend as much time tending a garden, pumping water, and hauling firewood compared to residing on a farm or ranch outside town.
Not that Tom would let her do those chores anyway.
No, siree. He hovered more than a mother hen over her chicks.
To watch him, a body would think she was the first woman in history to have a baby.
She leaned her head back and closed her eyes, rocking in the chair he’d also made. She had no right to complain. He was the perfect husband. Loving, caring, tender, patient. Taught her everything she knew about cooking. Which wasn’t much. A year into married life, she managed not to burn their food more than once a week. A marked improvement over her days on the trail.
She smiled and opened her eyes. Their old wagon rested in front of their house on a side street in Oregon City, Oregon. Across the way, one of the Daley children chased down a chicken, almost catching it before the old biddy escaped by fluttering over the fence.
She rubbed her swollen belly, massaging a tiny heel or fist until the baby eased back into a more comfortable position—at least for her. Their son or daughter was an active one, kicking and jumping now for months. She sang to him. She hoped it was a boy for Tom’s sake although he said he had no intention of stopping with one so its gender mattered little to him. Her mama would be tickled pink to welcome this little one.
As usual, when thinking of the woman, her eyes watered. Mama would love to see this little one. Maybe a girl they could name Elsie Something—what was Tom’s mother’s name? She’d have to ask him.
Her feet and back weren’t ready to get back to laundry—maybe she should reconsider Tom’s offer of taking the dirty clothes to the Chinese laundry down on the main street. She’d choose to indulge them for a few more minutes. She picked up the copy of The Saturday Evening Post and skimmed through the pages.
Near the back, her eyes roved the small typeset. Personal ads, missing persons. . . wait, what was that? A correspondence course. Become a private detective. Set your own hours. Be your own boss. Hmm. Interesting concept.
Her mind cast back to the year before when she’d teasingly—but perhaps more in seriousness than she first thought—told Tom of her idea of becoming a Pink Lady. Pinkerton’s Detective Agency, renowned for hiring women agents, needed her nose for solving mysteries and averting crime.
She read through to the end of the advertisement. Two dollars for the correspondence course. She could manage that from her pin money, saved from selling eggs and frugal spending habits. Work at her own speed. She could complete it before the baby’s birth. Then, once back on her feet, Pinkerton’s would be sure to hire her immediately.
She tore out the notice and entered the house for a pen, envelope, and the money. As she completed the information required, her stomach fluttered at the thought of learning something new. Of taking a role in improving their situation. Of solving mysteries. Averting crime.
Yes, indeed. She’d be the Kate Warne of the West.
Wouldn’t Tom be surprised when she told him?
Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick. As a hybrid author, she writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and they have been published more than 30 times in novellas, full-length novels, devotional books, and books on the writing craft. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Sisters In Crime, Pikes Peak Writers, and Christian Authors Network; facilitates a critique group; and teaches writing classes online and in person. Donna also ghostwrites, edits, and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.
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