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Sarah Haskins’ last family member died months ago, and since then she’s put in way too much overtime at her job as a 911 dispatcher. Looking forward to a much-needed vacation and some peace of mind, she has no way of knowing that buying a piece of antique Cherokee Indian jewelry will forever change her life.
When Aaron Kramer wakes on a beautiful August morning in 1890, there is nothing to warn him he is going to be hanged that day—hanged and then saved from death by a very confused woman. Beautiful but not quite right in the head, poor thing, she thinks she’s from the future.
While FBI Agent Frank Kramer investigates Sarah’s disappearance from the present, she must adjust to the farm life of a century earlier—and to the man who makes her skin tingle and her heart beat faster. If she returns to her own time, can she be happy there, longing for the only family she has left?
Page Count: 164
Word Count: 41900
Viking Mountain, Tennessee, August 1890
Sarah was dreaming. Men were arguing. She was cold. She must have kicked the blanket off the bed. She reached out for the blanket, and felt…dirt? The men were louder now. She must have left the television on. All right, all right, I’ll just have to get up and turn it off.
Sarah opened her eyes and found herself looking at treetops…and blue sky! She rolled to her side and could see she was lying on the ground…cold, hard ground. And the arguing men were blocked from her view by a thick stand of mountain laurel. Some were laughing, and one was yelling.
Sarah froze. What the heck was going on? She slowly removed the revolver from her ankle holster. One voice stood out above the others, and what he said made her blood run cold.
“Taggart, you’ll never get away with killing me. You’ll be the prime suspect when I come up missing.”
“Hell, Kramer, they’ll think you finally fell off the deep end and hung yourself. That’s if they ever find your body. I mean, we are a far piece up the mountain, and why would they come lookin’ up here?”
“Folks’ll just say the poor soul couldn’t get over his wife disappearin’ while he was off roundin’ up horses. Add to that how he was stuck with that kid who never spoke. Got the best of him, livin’ in that house…lookin’ at all those pictures he drew.”
There was the laughter again.
“And after a few months, I’ll just ride into Greeneville and lay a claim on the place, pay any back taxes, and it’ll all be mine.”
Sarah crawled closer to the bushes. She could just make out a man on a horse. His back was to her, but she could clearly see the rope around his neck. Oh, Lord! She had no idea how many men there were. Her gun only held five rounds. Without even realizing it, she started to pray. “Please, Lord, help me. Please don’t let them hang this man, Lord.”
Before she could think of more to ask for, there was a slapping sound, a horse screamed, and hooves thundered as the animal fled. Then all was quiet.
After what seemed like a lifetime, she heard other horses leaving. She edged her way around the bushes, and there he was. Dangling.
Thank you, Jesus. She ran to the man. They had obviously not bothered tying his hands, because he was desperately holding on to the rope above his head. He was not dead, but she didn’t know how long that fact would hold if she couldn’t get him down. She took a split second to look after the fleeing horsemen and watched as they rounded a wall of rock and disappeared from view. She immediately grabbed the man’s feet and placed them on her shoulders.
“Stand still,” she shouted up at him. “Don’t panic! I’ve got you.”
Once he got still, Sarah’s height put enough slack on the rope for him to loosen the noose and jerk it over his head. And none too soon, as they both collapsed to the ground a few seconds later. Sarah had dropped her pistol when she grabbed the man’s feet. She picked it up now, dusted it off on her jacket, and returned it to her leg holster.
The man called Kramer was coughing, trying to drag in enough breath to make up for what had seemed like an eternity that he was without air. He was lying on his side, eyes closed, coughing and thanking the Lord, when he felt hands on his head. His survival instincts kicked in, and he lashed out with a fist that made solid contact.
“Hey! It’s okay, mister. I’m just trying to make sure you’re all right.”
Aaron opened his eyes, and they confirmed what his mind had told him but he had refused to believe. It was a woman who had saved him. A woman holding a hand over one eye and scrambling away from him on her backside.
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