Thursday, May 30, 2019

Next on Writer's Sanctuary – Introducing Poplar Mountain – An Historical Romantic Suspense



Though I have some historical romance novels, this is the only story I ever set in this time period, 1939. I've wanted to share this story for several years, but this is the first time that it felt right.
Lucius Henry is a dirt farmer in the mountains of Kentucky. He works hard with his father, but also works at the local boarding school in the valley of Poplar Mountain. Dorothea Belloit is from the big city. She and her sister, Patty, work at the school. Lucius has taken a shine to Dorothea (Dollie to her friends and family), but is too shy to say so. That is, until Fate lends a helping hand.
His courtship seems to be going fairly well, until a dead body is found in the nearby creek. The discovery throws their lives into a tailspin from which they may not recover. Something dark and insidious lurks in the shadow of Poplar Mountain.
I'll share this story in segments, every Tuesday and Thursday, staring on June 4th.


Below is a Short Teaser from Chapter One

Dorothea Belloit, commonly known as Dollie, walked up the grassy path to the log cabin. Holding her hat in hand, she swung her arms freely, enjoying the sun on her dark brown hair. Her light cotton spring dress blew in the stout breeze that whipped around the curve of the mountain. Smiling, she admired the view. From here, the valley spread out below her, the creek wound along looking more like a snail trail than the rapidly moving mountain stream.
"Lo, Miss Dollie!" Rachel Henry called from the front porch of her split log cabin.
"Lo, Rachel! Is Lucius home?"
"He's up the holler, Miss Dollie. Kin I fotch him for ya?"
"Yes, please. I need his help down at the school."
"Sit down, rest a spell. I'll send one the young'uns for him." She stood, calling into the house. "Sally, go git Lucius!"
"Yes, Mama!" A barefoot, girl with sand colored braids darted out of the house and ran up the hill as nimbly as a mountain goat.
The women watched her go. Dollie smiled at her companion. Rachel Henry was a slight built woman with golden blonde hair and dancing green eyes.
"She'll be old enough for school next year, won't she?"
"Day school, m'bee," Rachel replied. "Her daddy and me ain't sure we want her overnight."
"Oh, she'd do fine in day school. And six is a little young for boarding. Besides, with you so close, there's no real need for her to board."
"Reckon Lucius could fotch her most days."
"Of course he could. They hope to get a bus up here soon."
Rachel Henry made a rude noise of disgust. "Them new fangled inventions! Don't trust 'em. Gimme a mule any day."
"Rachel, cars are hardly new fangled. And they're such fun. In fact, I just bought a new Studebaker Champion. I named her Bonnie Blue."
Rachel's eyes widened and she bit her lip. "A real car, Miss Dollie? Why, that'd be a sight for sure!" Used to trucks, she still puzzled over cars a little.
"When you get a chance, come down with Lucius and I'll give you both a ride."
"Not sure Big Earl would like that much."
Big Earl was Rachel's husband. True to his name, he was a large man—brutish and slow witted. Dollie often wondered what had attracted the pretty, vivacious, intelligent Rachel to a man as boring and dull witted as Earl Henry. Love could be blind, but this bordered on insane.
"We don't have to tell him," Dollie replied.
"Oh, shucks, no. Someone'd see us and tell him for sure," Rachel replied, fear obvious in her eyes.
"We'll talk about it another time then," Dollie said, ending the uncomfortable subject.
"Hey-o, Miss Dollie!" a pleasant male voice called.
Dollie looked up, smiling. Sally was back with her older brother, Lucius, in tow. He was a taller version of his mother, lean and sandy haired with eyes as green as mountain hemlock. He brushed his palms on the seat of his dungarees. Grinning, he stepped forward to shake her hand.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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