Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Quietest Woman in the South by Nancy Radke Excerpt

The Quietest Woman in the South by Nancy Radke
  • He's got him a mule and he's headed back to Tennessee.
  • He's picking up strays along the way.
  • Evil men follow for one reason or the other.

I looked back down at Eden, and she reached up and kissed me. I kissed her back.
You’re a bold thing,” I said, liking the taste of her lips. She had stopped crying and now wiped her eyes dry.
She had a big heart and lots of courage. I kissed her, this time. She snuggled up against me. “Quiet, too,” I added.
Are you always this agreeable?” I asked.
No. Only when I want to be.”
I don’t have a ring.”
I do. My grandmother’s. I brought it from the inn. I want to wear it.”
You had this all planned, didn’t you?”
Yes. I watched you work for Grandpa. I saw you take care of Paralee, and then all of us. I just needed to keep you alive.”
You’re rich enough now, you could be an independent woman,” I said. “Choose any man you like.”
I’m choosing.”
I don’t have two cents to rub together.”
You’re rich.”
How?” It was the first time I’d heard of it.
You have you, and me, your friends and kin, and Toby. You have a mule. What more do you need?”
Do I need to give mine away?”
No. That would be foolish. We can buy some land with it.”
Yes, we can. Grandpa was a good judge of men. He wouldn’t have hooked up with you, if he hadn’t thought you were worthwhile. He told me, when we were leaving the inn, to stick to you. I’m sticking.”
I want a woman who’ll stick.”
She pressed up against me. “Like glue,” she said. “No room for anyone else.”
She sent my senses shootin’ off in all directions.
Exceptin’ me,” said Toby.
Go to sleep,” I told him, brought back to earth right sudden-like. “You’ll be included. In the family, just not in our marriage.”
I took Eden’s hand and led her away from the wagon, over to where the General was a’grazing. “That boy has ears nigh as big as the General’s. We’ll do well to remember that,” I said, getting another kiss. They could be habit forming.
We spent a few moments just kissing. Quiet women are very capable of making their feelings known.

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