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Hunter's Gamble


Hunter's Gamble


It's a gamble. With no way to track William Lowe's missing family, Hunter intends to call upon spirit magic by using his pendulum. It's a risk he's never taken, but William's desperate story, and the specter shadowing William, convince him he needs to try.


It comes down to faith. Iris Piler is taken from her fiance's farm by force, much like William had been taken by Confederate Soldiers three years ago. Only Iris doesn't know who these men are, or how William will find her…if he's still alive.


    Iris Piler wiped the perspiration from her forehead with the back of her hand, then slid the wooden clothespin over the corner of the bed-sheet to fasten it to the line. The ache in her arms shot down her back and into her hips from lifting the wet laundry. She wound her dark braid on top of her head, and pressed the other hand into her lower back. She sighed as the cool breeze caressed the moisture on the back of her neck.


   She looked over as William Lowe led one of the breeding mares around the house and down the turn from the corral. Their gazes met and his slow smile sent butterflies coursing through her stomach and curled her toes in her shoes. He tipped his head toward the barn and winked, then brushed the honey-colored hair from his eyes.


   Her breath caught as she grinned back at him. His denim trousers were tucked inside his boots, and his shirt was unbuttoned far enough she could see moisture glisten on his chest.


   His seductive smile changed to alarm as his head came up and he halted in place. Iris turned and followed his line of sight. A dust cloud rose on the east road.


   The porch screen slammed behind her. “Iris, leave that and go inside.” Mrs. Lowe crossed the yard to the clothes line. “Give me those.” She took the pins from Iris's hands. untied the laundry apron and pulled it from Iris, and then fastened it to herself. “Hurry, child—hide under the pantry with Mattie.”


   Iris cast a quick glance at William, but his gaze remained fixed on the approaching dust. She picked up her skirt and ran to the porch, through the door and into the front parlor.


   Mattie, William's sister, stood on the steps to the refuge beneath the pantry. “Iris…hurry.”


   Iris paused near the front window and looked out. Gray uniformed calvarymen had ridden into the yard. William and Mrs. Lowe stepped close to speak with their leader. The Captain waved commands to his men and two horsemen headed toward the barn; two more horsemen rounded the side of the house.


   The discussion between the Captain and William grew heated. When two of the men dismounted and grasped William, Iris felt her stomach drop. “Oh, no…”


   “They're coming in the back, Iris—hurry!” Mattie hissed.


   Mattie's plea reached Iris just as the butt-end of a rifle slammed into William's forehead. Shaken to her core, Iris raced into the kitchen and down the steps in the pantry. She lowered the hinged floorboards above her head as the backdoor flew open with a bang.

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