An abused young wife stranded in the Alleghenies in 1783 is rescued from drowning by a rugged frontiersman who shows her kindness and passion.  But can they ever be together?
May, 1783, the Virginia Frontier, the Allegheny Mountains
“Reuben!” Abby Hasting’s voice was hoarse from shouting.
Searching this far from the cabin was a mistake, but she was alone and her empty belly gnawed at her with the ferocity of a trapped fox. Shivering, she hugged her crimson cloak around her. The raw breeze whipped her striped petticoat about her ankles, its hem muddied from puddles. Her shoes and stockings were wet. Damp cold seeped into her bones.
Where was Reuben? He’d never been away hunting this many days before. Not that they’d been wed long. Still, one week gone—
HawkKree-eee-ar! The piercing cry of a hawk shrilled from overhead.
Glancing up, Abby saw a blur of russet tail feathers. The misty forest canopy spun in leafy circles. Her head throbbed. Chills ran down her aching spine to her weak knees. The basket in her numb fingers slipped to the earth, spilling green poke shoots over the moss. There went all the nourishment she’d gleaned from these harsh ridges. Winter food stores had been depleted; fair spring was the starving time.
A genteel girl from Eastern Virginia never should have wed Captain Reuben Hastings and come this far west into the Alleghenies. Abby’s father wouldn’t have let her if he’d only survived the bloody revolution. Reuben’s knowledge of this Godless place wasn’t a great deal better than hers, but the lure of the land given to him for service in the war had overpowered him. If this was freedom, maybe they would have been better off under King George.
backtothevalleyAbby’s conscience pricked her.  Many good men had fallen in that drawn out conflict and she shouldn’t criticize her husband off Lord only knew where, maybe suffering.  He wasn’t charitable, more like a gruff he-bear, but at least he’d fed her enough to survive.  Until now.
Her shaky legs gave way and she sank onto the forest floor alongside her basket. Hazy branches revolved above her, the damp wood’s scent filling her nose.  She had no idea how far she was from their log home or the nearest neighbor.  She would die out here lost and alone.
Not that easily! Groaning, each breath raspy in her throat, she pushed up on ice-cold hands and bruised knees.  She’d crawl.  No.  Walk.
Using all her strength, she struggled to her feet. Head swimming, she staggered back the way she’d come. At least she thought it was. Fog whitened the ferny undergrowth and clouded the trail. The stream sounded nearer than she’d remembered.
stream2She shrieked as loose ground gave way underfoot. Scrabbling for a toehold, she careened down the muddy bank and into the icy stream. The frigid current caught her in its grip and swept her away. Gasping at the shocking cold, she flailed to keep her head above water. Instinct told her to grab an overhanging limb and cling. She couldn’t hold on long.
“Help me!” She choked out the futile plea.~

NIGHTHAWK and other Free Reads are available at The Wild Rose Press.~


  1. Mona Risk // June 28, 2011 at 10:13 AM  

    What a great excerpt, Beth. I am feeling the cold and shivering with Abby. Is Reuben going to find her soon or is he dead somewhere?

  2. Beth Trissel // June 28, 2011 at 11:06 AM  

    Thanks Mona. Excellent question. :)

  3. Josie // June 28, 2011 at 3:01 PM  

    Wow! Great excerpt, Beth. You have such a wonderful, descriptive gift for writing.

  4. Mary Marvella // June 28, 2011 at 5:13 PM  

    I'll grab that so soon as i get home from New York City!

  5. Nightingale // June 28, 2011 at 5:26 PM  

    I did read it and I loved it.

  6. Beth Trissel // June 28, 2011 at 9:24 PM  

    Thanks much guys. :)

  7. Mary Ricksen // June 30, 2011 at 2:05 PM  

    Love it Beth! I was there!

  8. Judy // July 2, 2011 at 8:01 AM  

    Beth, your writing is so lyrical, so tightly done and with lovely descriptions. Congratulations on another fine piece of work.