Today is the first installment of Sunday Sampler here at Dishin' It Out. I've been participating in Six Sentence Sunday, but I received word that they are discontinuing the practice. Rather than wait until the last minute, I decided to use my own blog to share samples of my work and those of my peers who have written books I've read and think are exemplary. Of course, today, I'm going to share a short excerpt from Hattie's Heroes, my latest release... a western historical with a time-travel twist, BUT, I invite each of you to leave your own short blurb or excerpt and buy link in the comments section. If anyone is interested in being the spotlight author on a Sunday or one of our free days, please contact me. In the meantime...enjoy a little about Hattie.
Scene set up: Hattie is an orphan--the oldest in the asylum, and she's made an appointment to meet Mr. Franklin, the man who posted an ad in the local mercantile, seeking someone to help his wife with their three small children when the family embarks on a wagon train bound for California. Here's that scene:
Her palms turned moist the minute she spied a dapper gentleman standing outside Cronin’s. He wore the black Coachman’s hat Mister Cronin had said he would.
Despite her churning innards, she closed the gap between them on leaden legs, and managed a weak smile. His tailored charcoal frock coat, starched white shirt and perfectly pressed trousers showed him to be a man of means. A thick moustache, broad shoulders, and angular jaw made him quite attractive, but clearly impatient if his tapping foot was any indication. A glance down at her tacky apparel brought warmth to her cheeks. If her employment rested on her looks…
She clamped the frayed handle of her valise so tightly, her nails dug into her palms. At least she’d braided her long, mousy hair and washed her face before bedtime last night. Pausing a few feet from the gentleman, she cleared her throat. “Are-are you Mister Franklin?”
“Indeed I am.” One brow lifted as his gaze started at her feet and ended with a curious stare into her eyes. “And you’re Miss Carson?” His uplifted brows showed his shock.
“Yes, sir, but please call me Hattie.” She dipped her chin and took a deep breath.
“May I ask why you carry your luggage when we haven’t even discussed what will be required of you?”
Fueled by determination, Hattie set her valise on the ground then looked up. “I hope I can convince you I’m the right person to help your missus with the children. I’ve had lots of experience dealing with young ones.”
Fishing a watch from his vest pocket, he checked the time, and then cocked his head. “You realize this won’t be an easy venture?” The timepiece’s golden chain dangled between his fingers.
“I don’t expect it will, but I’m not fearful of hard work.” A cloud of dust drifted up from a passing wagon. She sneezed—not once, twice, but three times.
“God bless you.” Mister Franklin offered his handkerchief, but she declined to use the monogrammed square. “Tell me, Miss…uh, Hattie, do you have references?”
The lump in her throat threatened to choke her. “References?” She shook her head. She hadn’t thought of seeking a recommendation, especially in her haste to leave before anyone woke. Besides, who would she ask? To most who worked in the asylum, she was nothing more than a face in the crowd.
“I assume from your dress what Mister Cronin relayed is correct. You’ve been a guest at the orphanage?”
Her heart sank, but she squared her shoulders. “Yes sir, I’ve been there for as long as I can remember. I’m turning seventeen very soon, and an orphan’s asylum is no place for a woman nearly grown. I answered your advertisement with hopes that by traveling with your family, I might make a fresh start in California, as I have no relatives to speak of.”
“That is unfortunate for you, but I hardly think those reasons qualify you for employment.”
She detected a look of pity in his eyes and lifted her chin a tad higher. “I’m not asking you to feel sorry for me, rather judge me on my merits. If you ask Mister Cronin, I’m certain he’ll tell you I’m a hard worker, and if the little ones at the orphanage could speak on my behalf, I’m sure they would tell you how much I’ve helped them. I assure you, sir, you won’t be disappointed if you hire me.”
Returning the watch to his pocket, he rolled his eyes and clicked his tongue against his teeth. “I’m not saying you have the job, but come along home with me and meet Mrs. Franklin and the children. We’ll see how you get on with them.”
You can find another sample of Hattie's Heroes listed with my other work on my Amazon Author's Page. Hope you're enticed by my offering. Make sure to notice my beautiful cover done by Dawne Dominique. Love that girl!