The winter had been particularly harsh on the small town of Oldstone, a corner of Texas that many merely traveled through.
It wasn’t the kind of place that people ended up in, just the kind of place where people born there would stay. Oldstone offered a comfortable monotony, requiring no change or improvement.
That was how Samantha saw it, while working on the family farm and tending to the house. She had never thought too hard about having to leave such a place, not when there was so much security for her in the comfort of her father’s home. Even through the winters, Oldstone was a luxury compared to the stark reality of the rest of the world, or so she had been told.
Samantha smiled to herself as she prepared dinner that evening, blonde hair tucked out of the way as she focused on making sure that she didn’t spice up the dish too much. She knew how her father hated to be surprised by her small touches of adventure in her cooking. He liked it the way that her mother had prepared it, and could only wish that Samantha would soon learn that there was a right way and a wrong way.
She concentrated on making sure that the beef joint wasn’t overpowered by the herbs that she had precariously scattered over it. It was a tough challenge to always get cooking consistently right without tasting it. She could never understand those who claimed to be good at cooking. Even with all the practice in the world, Samantha was sure that she would continue to have days where she simply couldn’t get it right.
But still, for Samantha, the kitchen acted as a cushion of sorts, a place where she could work in peace and not have to worry much about the outside world. Her father worked tirelessly with the few ranch hands that they employed, and it seemed to her that he had been working like this for his entire life.
She found herself squinting in concentration, trying to get everything just right. Samantha had always taken her role around the house rather seriously, especially after her brother had left the two of them.
He was a couple of years older, and it showed in his progress through life. Michael Jones had always filled every room that he entered on the farm, he lived with a smile on his face and purity in his heart that made everything seem so simple. It wasn’t surprising when he had met the woman that he was still with to this day.
Sally had slotted into life on the farm as though she were part of the fencing that practically held the place together. However, none of them had expected the couple to stay for long. They had her father’s blessing and, as soon as the wedding was in the works, there was no stopping Michael from flying the nest.
Samantha had always known that it was a possibility he would leave the farm before she did, that as the older brother he was more likely to move on first. That hadn’t made it any easier to bear though.
Samantha had thought that they would simply be moving into a dwelling of their own in Oldstone—one not too far away, but still far enough for them to feel as though they had some kind of independence.
The reality had been much harsher, almost too much for Samantha to come to terms with. It wasn’t something that she liked to think about much, it wrenched at her gut and, on particularly bad days, sprung tears from her eyes.
Michael and Sally had bought some land with a farm, and while this was something to celebrate, the location of said farm was not. They now resided on the other side of Texas, a long and treacherous journey.
It always felt slightly longer for Samantha, though—for someone who favored the comfort of the house to the great outdoors, the journey was simply too much. Thus, she had only visited a handful of times in the past—but was looking forward to visiting again soon.
She sighed and looked around at the mess she had made of preparing dinner. Samantha knew it would take a while to clean it all up later, but she didn’t care. Being busy meant that she was occupied, which in turn meant that she wasn’t going to be thinking about how much she missed her brother.
It was coming up to the three-year anniversary since Michael and his wife had moved out, and Samantha could tell that her father was missing him, as well. It was in his face that morning, aching pain for his son.
But there had been another source to this discomfort too, one that Samantha was quickly reminded of upon hearing her father’s chesty cough from somewhere upstairs. It was a blunt reminder that over the past few days, his health had been in decline.
“Dinner’s ready!” she called up to him, hearing in response the shuffling sound of her father rising from bed. He had tried to work hard that day but had only succeeded in wearing himself out quicker than usual and requiring a rest before dinner.
Samantha could feel her worry growing like a small fire, burning away at her resolve. He was slow to move down the stairs, and when she saw him, Samantha couldn’t believe how much his condition had worsened.
“How are you feeling?” She was unable to keep her voice from wavering at the sight of him.
“A little better.” He managed a weak smile.
Samantha wasn’t convinced by his words, and she was sure that he hadn’t managed to convince himself, either.
“That’s good to hear. Hopefully, a good meal will help, too.”
Her father sat down slowly, and Samantha placed the plate in front of him with slight anxiety that he wasn’t going to like it. However, in his state, she was sure that he would eat anything she prepared. Samantha was sure that he looked slightly more pale than usual, as though he was losing weight. She bit her bottom lip and sat down next to him.
That evening, Samantha cried. She was simply overwhelmed at the thought of how ill her father had become. She knew there was no way she would be able to go and visit her brother while her father was in this condition. Michael would understand, but it still hurt to accept this as fact.
The journey had been something that she was willing to overlook, simply because the amount she missed her brother outweighed her fear of traveling. She’d thought about taking her father with her to go and see Michael, but Samantha had quickly realized that Leo Jones was going nowhere but back to bed. Her father had always been strong, but these illnesses were becoming ever more frequent.
She tried not to think about it, vowing to fetch the doctor in town first thing in the morning. After cleaning up the kitchen, Samantha was beyond tired. She made her way up to bed and was completely exhausted by the time her head touched the pillow. Samantha could only hope that the new day would give her more strength and allow her father the mercy of recovering once more.
The morning was crisp and quiet, as though it were holding its breath as Samantha stirred from an uncomfortable but necessary sleep. It was the kind of silence that normally settled over the small town of Oldstone, one that Samantha usually enjoyed thoroughly. She’d heard about the larger towns in the state, the ones that were bustling with people and continuing to give way to even more.
She was sure that she wouldn’t like to reside in one of those places, there would be too much noise. Samantha preferred the tranquility, as though they lived in a land of their own with nobody to disturb them.
After getting ready for the day, Samantha thought about the various errands that she was going to have to run. Ones that specifically involved going into the town. She didn’t want to leave her father on his own, though, even with the ranch hands. Samantha couldn’t say that she trusted his life in their rough hands.
She shuddered at the thought, understanding the problem in front of her as clear as day. She needed to go into town to tell the doctor about her father, but at the same time, she didn’t want to leave him.
After a lot of consideration and with a heavy heart, Samantha pulled over Gregory, one of the workers she trusted the most.
“My father’s health isn’t doing so well. I’m going to need you to keep an eye on him while I go and get a doctor.” Samantha tried to press the urgency of this onto Gregory. There was no warmth in her face, only chilling concern for the man who had previously been the one to hold everything together.
“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure he’s all right while you’re gone.”
It was a reassurance that she hadn’t expected to hear, but Gregory had always been good to her family, and this was proving to be no exception.
“Thank you.” She nodded to him with a muted smile of relief. It made her feel better to know that there was someone else on the farm who could look out for her father. “I won’t be too long. I had other errands to run, but they can wait.”
“I’ll keep everything here in check, don’t you worry.”
Samantha smiled at him again. Gregory was a larger man, built up with muscle. He wore his rugged blonde hair as though it was always a nuisance, but still refused to have it cut. Piercing blue eyes squinted as he smiled sympathetically at her, and Samantha nodded once more to him before bidding him a farewell.
She turned on her heel and began to walk over to the gate of the farm. The town center was only just around the corner, but with so much at stake, the walk seemed to stretch on for miles.
Samantha pounded at the ground, walking with a purpose that she couldn’t say she had ever previously possessed. Her feet were kicking up dust, a small reminder of the summer that lay just over the horizon.
The difference in footfall compared to their plot on the outskirts of town was rather remarkable. For a place so sleepy, Samantha was always surprised by just how many people would be milling around in the center of the town.
She wasn’t like the others; she didn’t want to spend time talking to them in the center. Samantha had always been different in that sense. She didn’t know why she couldn’t get on with the gossipers of the town, it had just always been that way. She continued on with her head down, not making a scene and passing unnoticed by many.
She continued walking until she reached the residence of the local doctor, a man who seemed to find the majority of his work peaking in the winter months.
“Ah, Samantha, it’s very good to see you. How’s everything?”
Doctor Hawthorne was always such a calm man, something that Samantha thought strange since he was in a line of work that tended to become stressful in emergencies. His eyes were soft and he knew exactly how to reassure people. Samantha was hoping that he would be able to help calm her, at least.
“Well… actually, that’s why I’m here…” She bit her lip and took a deep breath before beginning with her explanation of her father’s condition.
Doctor Hawthorne listened intently, his brow creased and eyes narrowed, nodding along as she spoke.
“I see,” he breathed out and stood back a bit. He seemed to straighten in his posture, and his new expression was doing nothing to ease Samantha’s anxiety. This wasn’t what she had anticipated, and instantly she felt her hope beginning to dwindle. “Will you take me to him?”
“Do you think he’s that bad?”
“From what you’ve said, it sounds as though I need to see him in person before I can prescribe anything.”
Samantha nodded and swallowed thickly, watching as the doctor grabbed his jacket and then headed for the door. She followed, hot on his tail.
“And you say he’s having trouble breathing?” Doctor Hawthorne asked as they walked.
“Yes, and he keeps coughing all of the time, too. Although he keeps saying that the cough sounds worse than it actually is.”
“I’ll be the judge of that,” the doctor muttered almost under his breath. Samantha heard him, and she bit her lip in worry.
The walk back felt like an eternity of apprehension, one that stretched on almost to spite Samantha. Her expression grew grim as the beginnings of the farm came into view. What waited inside were answers she wasn’t sure she wanted.
“This way.” Samantha opened the gate for the doctor and led him through the grounds. They both greeted Gregory on their way over, although he seemed unable to reciprocate their smile. Samantha caught the look in his eyes and knew that he wanted to say something, and she knew that this couldn’t be good.
“How is he?” she asked Gregory as they moved toward the old house.
“I don’t know how it’s possible, but I think he’s gotten worse since this morning.”
Samantha felt her heart plunge.
Suddenly, there was a new urgency in Hawthorne’s step. He was quick to enter the house, as though it were his own residence. Samantha followed behind him, pushing her blonde hair out of the way so that she could focus properly.
Fear tightened her throat as she tried to work out how her father’s condition could have gotten even worse. Samantha was sure that the image of Gregory’s worried face would be burned into her mind forever—it had not been a comforting look at all.
Samantha found herself holding her breath as the sound of the door to her father’s room opening jolted her back to reality. She had managed to carry herself up the stairs, deep in thought, terrified of a worst-case scenario coming true.
There were so many thoughts whirling around her head that Samantha almost didn’t register the sight in front of her.
Leo Jones was beyond pale as he lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling. Nothing about him seemed to support the claim that he’d made the day before about beginning to feel better. Samantha felt as though there was a large rock in her gut that was slowly expanding.
The doctor was quickly by her father’s side and checking his symptoms. She watched in silence, but it all eventually became too much.
“I’ll be downstairs,” she muttered, and quickly left the room. Samantha decided to get some fresh air and stepped into the yard.
“How is he?” asked Gregory, who was standing by the door.
“I don’t know, Hawthorne’s with him.” Samantha was shocked by the somber tone that laced her voice. She hadn’t realized just how much the current situation was weighing her down.
“Have you written to your brother?”
“No, I don’t want to worry him. There’s nothing that he can do from so far away.”
Samantha had thought about it, but she knew it would only make the situation worse. However, as her father’s condition had continued to deteriorate, she was beginning to regret not writing to Michael earlier. If things were going to get worse, it might already be too late for him to get to the farm in time.
Samantha hated to think like that, she never wanted to face the truth. In fact, she would have much rather just block out everything, to pretend as though everything was all right.
“Look, I’m going to be honest with you Miss Jones—”
“Gregory, how many times do I have to tell you that you don’t have to do everything that my father says?” Samantha chuckled and shook her head. She knew her father liked to keep a sense of authority around the place, a reminder that their family was still in charge.
“I know, I know, but as I was saying.” He took a deep breath before continuing. “I know this isn’t the kind of conversation that you were necessarily expecting to have today, but I think it’s time that we start thinking about what’s going to happen after…”
It took her a moment to realize what he was talking about. It wasn’t an idea that Samantha even wanted to entertain.
“Oh,” was all she could manage in response.
“I just mean that we don’t want to be in a position where we don’t know what’s going on. Do you know if he’s got everything sorted?”
“You mean, legally? In terms of accounts and things?” she asked, and Gregory nodded. “I-I’m not sure, to be honest, that’s never really been my concern.”
For the first time in her life, Samantha was beginning to regret not taking more of an interest in money management and the accounting side of running the farm. She had no idea what their financial situation was really like, or even how to properly access that information.
“It’s understandable that this is going to be hard on you.”
“On top of that, I’ve never needed to know about the legal things… that’s a man’s job, isn’t it?”
“You’re right, I just wanted to inquire as to whether Mr. Jones had discussed these things with you.” Gregory nodded to her and stood back a little. A silence settled over them as they both looked around the farm.
“It’s not looking good, is it?” Samantha asked with a sigh.
It took a while before Gregory could respond, although she didn’t blame him for being hesitant for speaking about his employer in this way. “I can only hope he recovers from this.”
“Me too,” she breathed out shakily. The silence resumed, settling with terrifying ease like a blanket of snow in the winter. Its cold breath caused Samantha to cringe as she realized that she had nothing more to say to Gregory.
However, their silence was swiftly shattered, the blanket pushed to one side, as Doctor Hawthorne came pounding down the stairs.
As soon as he located where Samantha was, he burst outside and began to speak at a speed that she couldn’t follow. She did, however, manage to pick out a couple of keywords.
“This sickness…too unstable…I can’t stop it…sorry…I’m so sorry.”
It was enough, it was all she needed to hear and all she could do to keep her knees from giving way beneath her. Samantha didn’t listen to the rest, she didn’t need to. All she knew was that she needed to see him, to hear it from him that this was all serious and happening.
After rushing through the house, she stopped outside of his door and took a deep breath. What lay on the other side was her entire life ahead of her. One that she would be facing without her father.
Samantha blocked the thoughts from her head and moved inside the room. It felt cooler in there, the only sound being that of her father’s labored breath as it made its way down his textured throat.
“Father,” she breathed out and kneeled at his side. He looked so weak, so frail. Samantha still found it utterly terrifying that an illness could hold such a strong vise on one person and deteriorate their condition within a matter of days.
“Samantha,” he croaked.
“How are you feeling?”
“I think I’m almost over it.”
Samantha might have laughed, if she weren’t gazing at such a gaunt face. She knew he would have hope until his last breath; however, it was this stubbornness that she was sure would have been long gone by that point.
“Are you sure? You don’t look like you’re recovering well.”
“I-I don’t know, in all honesty.” His sudden admittance was just as alarming. “I just want to be out there and working, I’m sure the jobs are beginning to pile up in my absence?”
“You’ve got nothing to worry about, you know that Gregory is helping to manage the place while you get better. That’s all I want you to concern yourself with at the moment—getting better.”
“I know, but someone’s got to think about the farm.”
“I am, and so is—”
“I should have taught you like I taught Michael,” Leo confessed with a sigh. “I’m sorry I never did. You were always so content working in the house, but now, I don’t know if you’re going to be okay.”
“What are you talking about? I thought you said you were feeling better?”
He pulled a face that looked like a grimace filled with defeat. “I’m not so sure, on second thought, I’m just trying to think about you and—”
“But I want you to focus on getting better. Don’t worry about me, just, please… get better.”
Samantha was aware of the desperation in her voice, but she was past caring. She was simply fixed on willing her father to recover and not leave her—the thought was as devastating as the sight in front of her.
“I know, I know. I’m just trying to plan for a scenario that nobody wants to face. If not today, it will happen one day.”
His speech was interrupted by a string of coughs that elevated in their vigor to the point where Samantha almost rushed to get Doctor Hawthorne. She could feel the urge in her legs, wanting to push away from the bed and turn to get help. However, she couldn’t pull herself away from her father, she could only hold his hand and squeeze tightly.
Eventually, she heard footsteps on the stairs and knew that the doctor was coming to her father’s aid. She wished that there was more that she was able to do, something that would help him to recover faster.
“You’re going to be okay,” she reassured him, although Samantha wasn’t sure whether she was trying to convince him or herself.
The doctor was suddenly in complete focus mode; Samantha hadn’t even noticed the bag that he had brought with him. He was mixing a couple of items together, but she wasn’t paying attention anymore.
“I will try my hardest to see if this works,” he reassured her. “But I can’t make any promises.”
Samantha could feel herself beginning to panic as reality was sinking in. The doctor was doing all he could, but it still didn’t seem to be affecting her father’s state. The time passed quickly, almost as though it was skipping over to the inevitable—a place that she wasn’t ready to go to just yet. She shuddered and then continued to try and think positive thoughts.
It had been at least two hours since Doctor Hawthorne had tried to reassure her that he would do everything in his power to help her father. In the end, Samantha had left the room again, allowing the doctor to focus more on his work and less on comforting her. She wasn’t sure how long it was that she sat there for, but the next thing she knew, the sun was setting and the door opened.
Doctor Hawthorne walked out and knelt by her side. He looked haggard and disheveled—a rather unnerving look on someone that she had always seen as calm and composed. It upset her almost as much as the defeated, hopeless look in his eye.
“I’m sorry,” he said with a small crack in his voice. “I’ve tried, but nothing seems to work against his illness. I fear that it is too late.”
Samantha allowed the tears to fall then. To be told so plainly, to confirm exactly what her mind had been avoiding—it hurt more than anything, and it made her feel as though there was no hope in the world anymore.
The doctor nodded grimly, lowering his head out of respect. “I think it’s time you spoke to him, I thought you would like to say goodbye?”
A strange numbing sensation fell over her body as she walked upstairs, her body helping to prepare her for the reality that was about to occur. She sighed as she pushed the door open, the action accompanying her exhale of breath. Her father was wheezing, his eyes closed and his breath shallow. Samantha held her breath and knelt down by his bed, taking his clammy hand in her own.
“Father?” Her voice was a mere whisper.
“Samantha,” he managed to breathe out. “Is that you?”
“I’m right here, Father, I’m not going anywhere, don’t worry.”
The tears were rolling freely down her cheeks, she was helpless against the onslaught of waves of emotion.
“I want you to know that I love you very dearly.”
“I love you, too,” she sighed and pressed a kiss to his hand.
“I’m sorry that I have to go so soon. I really am.” His breath was even shallower, and his voice sounded so weak that it could crack at the slightest tremor.
“I know, but I don’t want you to suffer anymore.” Samantha winced at her own words.
It was clear now that this was it—he was going to die and there was nothing she could do but be there for him when he went. Her heart wrenched.
“I want you to tell Michael how much I love him and how proud I am of him,” he sighed as he spoke. “I want you to tell him that he needs to make sure you’ll be okay, that he won’t abandon you.”
“You know that I’ll be okay, and he would never abandon me.”
Still, Samantha knew what her father meant—he didn’t want her to be left alone in the world.
“I know, but this is no place for a woman to live on her own. I have not trained you to be able to run this place in the way that I should have.”
“I know but there are people here like Gregory that could—”
“He’s a ranch hand, he can’t take this place over. I won’t allow it.”
Her father had always known what he wanted—and if no one would follow whatever it was that he wanted, he would fight until they did.
“What am I going to do, then? Where am I going to go?” The desperation in her voice was alarming, even to Samantha herself. She didn’t know what to do in the face of this, or even how to process what was going on. She knew she wasn’t going to be able to look after herself on the farm. Sure, she would be fine inside the house, but the farm itself would only support her for so long without proper management. She was positive that the funds would dry up in no time.
Samantha shuddered at the thought. She gripped onto her father’s hand tighter and didn’t tear her gaze away for a second. “You want me to go and see Michael?”
“I think it would be good for you to go and stay with him and Sally for a while. It would just help you to be together.”
“I don’t want you to go.” She knew her voice sounded feeble, that no higher entity would listen or consider it.
“I know, but there comes a time when we all must. Besides, I’m sure I’ll see you again.”
“One day.” She nodded through her tears, managing a weak smile.
“Don’t worry about sorting things out, everything will be fine. But, please, look after yourself, I don’t want you to be the one that suffers as a result of this.”
“But I’m going to lose you. Of course, I’m going to suffer.”
“You know what I mean, I don’t want you to be the one to come out of this worse off. Go and see your brother, find your feet again. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet someone over there, a man to call your husband one day.”
It was a nice future that he was painting for her, an image that she was sure could be lovely. But Samantha couldn’t ignore the fact that it was all going to happen without him there to see it.
“I love you, Father,” she cried, listening to his breathing getting worse.
“I love you, too.”
They remained in a sad silence for a while, and Samantha found she was simply terrified of looking up. Her father’s breathing was so quiet that she wasn’t sure if she could hear it anymore.
Finally, after a long wait, she willed her eyes to look up. She immediately wished she hadn’t.
His body was still, eyes closed as though he had simply fallen into a perpetual slumber. There was no indication in his body language that it was anything other than sleep. Nothing other than the pale color of his skin, and the way his mouth remained slightly open.
The silence was thunderous, it sunk around her and Samantha became suddenly aware of just how alone she was. The shock of it all quickly wore off as she finally let go of his hand.
She fell back against the hard floor, unable to contain the sobs that left her lips. Her cheeks were already aching from the emotion that twisted her expression; she didn’t know what to do or where to look.
Footsteps charged up the steps once more, the doctor and Gregory entered the room in a frenzy. It was clear that they were concerned for her. Gregory was by her side in an instant, trying to comfort her and telling her not to look. Doctor Hawthorne’s natural instinct was to attend to the patient on the bed. He was trying to talk to her father, confirming that he had, in fact, gone.
Samantha felt as though someone had submerged her head in cold water; her eyes weren’t focusing and she couldn’t hear right. It was a strange sensation, one she hoped she would never encounter again. Gregory was helping her get to her feet and guiding her down the stairs to rest in the kitchen and Doctor Hawthorne stayed with her father.
Even though he was gone, Samantha still didn’t want him to be left completely alone upstairs.
The rest of the day passed in a blur, a mixture of employees wishing their condolences and people fussing over her. Gregory was already trying to get things in order, but Samantha remembered what her father had said. He didn’t want Gregory to be the one to take over the farm, he would have much preferred to have the place closed altogether.
“I know it’s not what you want to talk about at the moment, but these next few weeks are going to be crucial if we want to keep this place going.”
“I’m sure we’ll be fine for the moment,” Samantha managed to say. Her eyelids were heavy, bruised from a lack of sleep and drained of all emotion. She felt like a river that had burst its banks, but now the flood was over and things were beginning to dry up again.
“I know, let me know when you’re ready to talk about it.” Gregory’s voice was softer than normal.
“What’s there to talk about?” she asked with a defeated sigh. “There’s nothing to talk about, not until the will reading I guess.”
Gregory appeared shocked by her sudden outburst of opinion. It was as though he had expected her to simply follow his lead during this time, instead of making her own decisions.
“I know this must be hard for you, but if we don’t do anything now, things could get worse around here. People are looking for a leader, their employer has just passed away.”
“And my father has just passed away. They can let me have a couple of days before any big decisions are made around here.” Samantha was firm with her tone, wanting to mourn her father and not to think about such trivial things like the farm.
At that moment, nothing seemed as important as remembering the man who had been there for them all. She could already feel the way that her heart yearned to see him again, how much she wanted to talk to him. She was missing him already, and she knew that it was only going to get worse.
Gregory slowly backed off, clearly understanding that he wasn’t going to get anywhere with talking to her that day. Samantha sat in a comfortable silence, reflecting. Occasionally she would cry, then she would remember the good times she’d had with her father, and then she would cry again.
Eventually, Doctor Hawthorne entered and sat down at the kitchen table beside her. He sighed deeply and was clearly trying to come to terms with everything, too.
“Your father was a good man,” he said eventually.
“I know. Is it bad to miss him so much already?”
“Not at all, it’s natural. Nobody expects someone like you to remain strong at a time like this.”
Samantha frowned slightly at his remark, beginning to realize that nobody thought she was capable of doing things by herself. “What am I expected to do, then?”
“You’re expected to mourn for your father and let someone like Gregory sort out the advanced legal things. I don’t want you worrying about any of it.”
Samantha wasn’t sure whether to feel like she was being given an advantage in the situation, or whether it was still furthering on from his previous comment about her being incapable.
She sighed in defeat, no longer caring about what to do or say. She was too drained to acknowledge decorum anymore.
She felt completely helpless, knowing that there was so much that needed to be done in the wake of her father’s passing. Samantha didn’t know the first thing when it came to sorting out the legalities of things; she didn’t understand how the system would work or how things were done at all.
The funeral would also have to be planned, a bleak affair that would match the overcast weather. Samantha dreaded to think about having to pick flowers and hymns and all of the trimmings that made up the ceremony.
She hadn’t thought her father would have wanted anything big. A small gathering with the few lives he’d made a positive difference to would suffice. If there was one thing that she was sure of, it was that.
“A Challenging Journey to Love” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
Samantha Jones has experienced adventure only through the safety of her books. However, after her parents’ sudden death, she has no choice but to travel to her brother’s ranch; a dangerous journey that she has underestimated in every way. Unlike her books, things are incredibly real when faced head-on, especially when an outlaw gang attacks her train and makes her follow a stranger to the open road. Jasper is her only hope if she ever wants to arrive safe and sound to her brother’s ranch. Is she truly safe, though, traveling with a complete stranger? When her feelings for him overwhelm her, will she stay sane and choose the path to happiness?
Jasper Sherman is a mysterious man, full of dark secrets. Being at the right place at the wrong time, Jasper becomes Samantha’s guardian angel and guides her down the perilous country roads. Throughout his whole life, he has been hiding his true emotions and intentions, but now, for the first time, he seems to have second thoughts about his actions. Is it too late to change his route? When this challenging journey is over, will he manage to free himself from what has been keeping him captive and miserable all these years?
Jasper and Samantha meet each other under the most adverse circumstances possible. Their romance starts to bloom and before they even realize it, they can’t imagine being apart. How will Samantha react when she finds out Jasper’s true identity? How will this eventful ride test their endurance, emotions and trust?
“A Challenging Journey to Love” is a historical western romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.