A Brave Journey for Revenge (Preview)

Eddie Campbelllooked up at the nearly cloudless sky, the his attention on the one and only thin, carrot-shaped puffs that reflected the sun, making them look pink instead of white. The temperature was comfortable, the men were all in good moods and were being productive – he really couldn’t have asked for a better day. 

Eddie felt like he had a lot to be thankful for. He’d been through his fair share of hardships, but he was grateful to have taken lessons from those hard difficult times and applied them to future events. He owned the family ranch and ran it with efficiency and precision. Sometimes it required the help of his trusted foreman, Henry, and he made sure to let the man know he was grateful for the help. Lord knew he wasn’t going to get any from his father.

Whenever Eddie thought about his father, he didn’t know whether to laugh or grumble with frustration. After Eddie’s mother died of tuberculosis, the man seemed to lose all his senses. He didn’t act erratically or in a way that made Eddie question his mental state. He lost his senses in a different way.

Before Mrs. HendersonCampbelldied, Mr. HendersonCampbell was a logical, work-hard-every-day kind of man. After she was gone, he had taken Eddie aside and told him he was leaving. It took a minute for Eddie to understand what he meant, and he had asked for clarification. 

“I’m sailing to the Orient in three days,” Mr. HendersonCampbell had stated, matter-of-factly. 

Eddie still remembered the shock that had made his skin tingle. 

“What?” he hads asked when he’d gotten his wits back. “The Orient? I don’t understand.”

His father had looked at him with an odd expression and replied, “The Orient, you know, another continent. I’m getting away from here, son. You can have the ranch. I’ve been to the business offices today and signed everything over to you. The only thing I’ve kept for myself is the savings in the bank, which I have withdrawn in its entirety today.”

Eddie had been slightly afraid for his father. He’d questioned his sanity. He’d thought for a moment it was the worst idea in the world. 

“You’re twenty-one, Eddie,” Mr. HendersonCampbell had continued. “It’s time for you to be the man I know you can be. You’ve already shown yourself to be a capable and willing worker. I’m proud to have you as a son. Knowing you can take care of this ranch, with the help of a foreman, mind you, is just a benefit I hoped for from the day you were born.”

Eddie remembered wondering if Mr. HendersonCampbell had really been planning his escape since the day of his birth. It was fifteen years later, and Eddie had long ago satisfied himself that it really didn’t make much difference. His father had traveled the world in that timee last 15 yearsand was still alive in London, England, where he was apparently very popular with the locals on the east side. Eddie enjoyed the letters he received. 

Because of all this, Eddie knew he couldn’t rely on his father for any help with the ranch. And right now, he was short-staffed, and things were getting harder and harder on his men. He had reduced his staff in the field down to four men, including Henry. He owned nearly a hundred head of cattle and they were all currently in good health. He wanted to keep it that way.

He was sitting in his saddle, looking out over the land, thinking about his current troubles, trying to count his blessings at the same time. That was his usual way. He found it easier to deal with trouble when he countered all the negative with positives.

Eddie narrowed his eyes, looking out over the land and, spotting two of his ranch hands in the distance, Nick and Juan. They were moving their horses slowly among the cows, weaving through them. He was glad to have found the three four men he had working for him. It was just another benefit that kept him going. 

The only thing missing in Eddie’s life was a woman. A good woman to go home to after a hard day’s work on the ranch. He was thirty-six and longed to have a family before he got too old. He wanted to enjoy having little ones running around and holding a baby while his wife got the other rambunctious toddlers under control. He could picture it in his mind. His heart yearned for it. 

But the only woman Eddie had ever loved was killed in a horse accident when her horse threw her in a panic and she landed head first on a large rock. He’d never found love since then. It had happened shortly after his father left and he had yet to recover from it. He’d been behind her and watched when it happened. The image of the tragedy still drifted through his mind every now and then.

He’d come to terms with the fact that there was no way he could have saved Abigail. And it was time… had been time to move on.

Sugar Creek, the town he called home, was nearest to his Colorado land in Boulder County. He owned quite a hundred acres not including Sugar Creek Mmountain on the East side of his property. There were plenty of lovely ladies living there but most were married or spoken for. Those who weren’t were so familiar to him, they were more like sisters. The majority of them knew about Abigail, too. Some had been her friend. 

It had frustrated Eddie for some time. What did he expect? That a woman would just show up in Sugar Creek and fall in love with him? 

Eddie knew exactly what he was going to do. As always, he was going to be patient and pray that God would send him a good woman to love that would love him in return.

Chapter One

Dr. Sarah Patterson lifted her skirt with one hand and grabbed the handle of her fabric luggage bag with the other. It was a little heavy, but she was used to it so it wasn’t much of a burden. Nevertheless, a young attendant who looked to be no more than sixteen rushed to her aide, taking it from her with a big smile on his narrow face. 

“Oh, let me help you with this, mMiss!” He grabbed the bag and waited for her to go up the steps onto the train. She only let him have the bag because he was dressed in a smart blue uniform with a matching bellhop-type hat and was obviously anxious to make a mark for himself at his job. She gave him a smile and, as she boarded the train, she fished through a small velvet coin purse, pulling out a half dollar. 

Once she was in the aisle, looking down the rows on either side of the car, she felt the first pangs of anxiety. She didn’t see her companion and colleague anywhere in the seats. Finally, her anxiety subsided a bit when she saw him turn and look at her from the end of the car. He’d had his back to her, and she hadn’t recognized the hat he was wearing. He waved and she smiled, turning to the young man.

“Thank you. I can take it from here.”

“You’re welcome, mMiss.”

Sarah held out the coinsto the boy and was shocked when his grin widened, and he shook his head. “No need. It was my pleasure. You are Dr. Patterson, aren’t you?”

Sarah felt a bit of shock pulse through her. “I am,” she replied softly.

The boy nodded and held out his hand to shake hers. “I’m Conway Channing. My sister was Barbara Channing. You nursed her back to health after she had trouble giving birth last year. My family is forever grateful to you for saving both her and my niece. I’m so glad I could help you out today.”

A tingle lit up Sarah’s skin as pride filled her. She remembered the difficult case and how much stress it had caused the entire Channing family. She’d stayed with them whilethrough nursing Barbara, who had hemorrhaged quite badly after the birth of her daughter.and Iit had takenwas a miracle from God that the woman hadidn’t loste too much blood. Weakened, she had caught a virus, which she’d battled to near death. 

Sarah had barely left the woman’s side for nearly six months. She didn’t leave until Barbara was up and holding her daughter with a smile on her face.

“Ah, I didn’t recognize you at first, but now I do. Please accept my apology for that.”

Conway laughed pleasantly, making Sarah smile. “No need to apologize. You have a wonderful and safe trip, Dr. Patterson. It was wonderful great to see you again.”

The boy saluted her with two fingers from his forehead and turned on his heel, heading back down the steps, which he’d been blocking from several other passengers who’d wanted to board. 

There was still time before the train would leave the station. Sarah hadn’t heard the “all aboard” call or “last call to board” from the attendants yet. She hurried down the aisle to where William Carter was waiting for her.

“Will!” she said. When she reached him, he had stood up and leaned forward so they could give each other kisses on both cheeks. “It’s so good to see you. I thought for a moment I was going to Sugar Creek alone!”

“Well, as you know, I’m not going all the way with you,” Will reminded her, dropping back down on the bench and gesturing to the one across from him. “Sit there and put your stuff on the bench next to you so no one else will sit here.”

Sarah did what as he suggested, knowing he was not fond of trains and didn’t want anyone looking at him when they were on the move, just in case he started to get woozy or nauseous. She’d been on several train trips with him in the past to go to conferences where she was either the only female doctor or one of a handful of women in attendance. 

“I’m just glad I’m not alone for most of the trip. I’m nervous about going back to Sugar Creek.”

“That’s where you’re originally from, right?”

Sarah nodded, flashes of the little town going through her memory. “Yes, my father raised me there when my mother was still alive. He always encouraged me to be headstrong. I wasn’t supposed to be an only child, you know. Papa wanted a son. When Mama died, he had no choice but to raise me himself and…” Sarah smiled, pausing for a moment., “I guess maybe he should have had a son because he didn’t know a lot about feminine things.”

Will pressed his lips together, a sympathetic look on his face. “He’s gone now, isn’t he?” He asked the question with the compassion necessary, his voice gentle. 

Again, Sarah gave him an affirmative nod. “Yes, he is. He’s been gone two years now.”

“What’s making you go back there now? Do you have fond memories of the place?”

Sarah hesitated before answering. “I don’t know. Yes and no, I guess.”

“No friends there?”

“Not really, no.” She thought about it for a moment, trying to recall if she’d left anyone in Sugar Creek that she’d missed while she was at college. She couldn’t think of even one. “I guess I spent too much time with my father in the doctor’s office. I was always learning. If I wasn’t there, I was out on the farm, working, or riding my horse for relaxation. That’s what I miss the most. I hope to be able to get in plenty of rides through the countryside. I’ll be going back to my papa’s house. I don’t know what state it’s in right now. It was being rented out.”

“So, what has you worried, then?” She could tell Will had the reason on his mind but didn’t say it. 

She pulled in a soft breath. “I know you’re thinking it. I’ll go ahead and say it. I might have grown up there, but I don’t know how the current residents are going to feel about a female doctor taking over for the one that’s been there all this time. My papa was the assistant for a long time. He died, but as far as I know, Dr. Myers is still there.”

“The good doctor’s got to know you’re coming to take over. You’ve communicated that fact with him, haven’t you?”

Sarah laughed quietly. “Of course. He’s the one who gave the okay for me to come back. I mean, I could have anyway, but he is willing to hand over the practice to me and he wants to go traveling.”

“And when is he planning that?” Will asked, curiously.

“I believe he said in about six months. He said he had a friend who left his ranch behind some years back and has been traveling the world for over a decade. He wants to do that, too. Apparently, the thought of risking your life on a huge boat trip over the ocean appeals to him.”

They both laughed softly. 

“I don’t see why it wouldn’t, if I’m honest,” Will said. “Some people can handle swift motion like that. I know you’ll never catch me on a ship of any kind. I’ll go swimming, mind you. But no boats. I can barely handle this.”

Sarah felt sorry for Will, but she was grateful he was traveling on the same train for most of the way. She and Will had been friends for most of the eight years she’d been studying and practicing in Louisburg, Virginia, working her way up to a distinguished position among her male colleagues in the Regional State Hospital where she’d worked for the last three years. 

At 27, Sarah was a highly respected doctor of general medicine. She was also skilled in wound repair and knew quite a lot about the modern medicines being used for pain and infections. Her main goal was to keep as many people alive as she could for the rest of her life. 

Other, normal things that women her age would be concerned about – like becoming a spinster with no children and no husband – weren’t at the top of her priority importance list. She wasn’t opposed to the idea of having her own family. But if it wasn’t in the cards for her, it simply wasn’t. She was a practical woman and wasn’t about to waste her valuable time worrying about such things. She had a job to do and that was her main priority every day. 

Chapter Two

Eddie was guiding his horse back to the main compound when he saw movement through the trees. There were Sseveral paths that came from the main road to his property, but he rarely saw anyone taking anything other than the main road. 

He turned his horse in the direction of the movement and weaved around the trees until the horse and rider came into full view. His shoulders relaxed a bit when he recognized Adam Walton, one of his good friends. Adam and his wife Margret lived in Sugar Creek with their two daughters. Adam was a handyman, working around town for various people, looking to get on as a ranch hand with Eddie and some of the other ranches around Sugar Creek whenever he could. 

Eddie had no qualms about hiring Adam on and if that was the reason Adam was there, he counted it as another blessing. He could use one more hand and Adam was good at his job. 

“Adam! Over here!” he called out to the man.

Adam whipped around in his saddle, one hand resting on the gun at his side. He saw Eddie and lifted that same hand in a friendly wave. He turned the horse around. “Eddie! Good to see you, my friend. Wondering if you’ve got time to talk?”

“I sure do. Just going back to the house now. You want a cup of coffee?”

Adam nodded. “That sounds pretty good right about now. It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?”

Eddie glanced up at the blue sky. “Yeah, it sure is. A good day to be alive.”

“I’m glad to hear you say that,” Adam said with a grin. “I’ve got a favor to ask of ya.”

“Well, come on back and we’ll discuss it.”

Eddie had a good feeling about what Adam was there for. He thought about the repair work that was needed to the back upper deck on the second floor, the barn wall that was ready to fall in, and the shelter they’d been planning to build for more storage space since last June. He could really use the help right then. He’d been hesitant to hire anyone on that came through townfor several reasons, one of them being he had a Mexican working for him and some men weren’t so kind to the Mexicans. Eddie wasn’t going to tolerate any harm coming to Juan, who was a hard worker and a good-hearted man, too. 

Adam had worked with Juan many times in the past and there had never been a moment of tension between the two men. That was a benefit for Adam, making him one of the first men Eddie would hire whenever he was available for work. It was only because Adam was offered a higher paying position at a different ranch that he’d left Eddie’s employ in the first place. At the time and up to the present, there had never been any animosity on Eddie’s part because Adam left for more money. He’d encouraged him. His family needed him to make as much as he could if they wanted to live a comfortable life. 

They dismounted, leaving the horses untethered in front of the house, and went up to the porch. 

Eddie opened the screen door and then the front door and stuck his head in. 

“Linda!” he shrieked at the top of his lungs. He heard commotion in the kitchen and pressed his lips together so he wouldn’t burst out laughing.

A very startled housekeeper burst through the door from the kitchen, her eyes wide and alarmed. 

“Mr. Campbell!” she said breathlessly. “What’s wrong?”

“Please bring two cups of coffee to the porch, please. I’ll be out here with Adam, waiting.”

Linda’s face went from startled to ridiculing, glaring at him. “Yes, Mr. Campbell.”

He pulled his head back and closed the screen door, leaving the front door half open. It was the perfect day to let some of the outside in. He thought about the windows. They should be open, he decided.

When he turned to Adam, who had taken a seat on one of the porch chairs, he was amused by the look on his friend’s face. 

“What?” he asked, taking the seat on the other side of the round iron table between the two men. 

“Why do you do that to her?”

Eddie laughed. “The better question is, why is she still reacting that way? I must do that to her at least twice a week for, maybe a year now? And it still scares her.” 

Adam’s grin was affectionate. “She’s a good woman to put up with your nonsense.”

“Yes, she is,” Eddie said, nodding. “She’s a treasure, really. I only get away with doing that because she’s been here since I was nine years old. She watched me grow up. I don’t think she’s going to ever see me as anything but a rascally little boy.”

Adam joined Eddie, laughing. “I’ll just bet you’re right about that.”

“So, what did you want to talk about?” Eddie asked, sitting forward and resting one elbow up on the table, lacing his fingers together so his hands were hanging in front of him. 

“I’m looking for work, Eddie,” Adam said, bluntly, moving his head forcefully from one side to the other. “It’s that time again where I’ve found myself left out in the cold. I know it happens but… well, me and my family can’t afford it, now can we?”

Eddie shook his head. “No, I’m sure you can’t afford that. And I’ll be just as forward with you, Adam, I could really use your help. I’ve got a bit of a cash flow coming in from the sale of some of the livestock. I’m needing some repairs around here and gotta build a new shelter for storage. Not to mention I had the idea of building a cabin out there for hunting. Make it easier for my men to feed their families and still be comfortable when they’re hunting.”

Adam grinned. “You’re a mighty nice boss. I’m glad you need help and you’re willing to take me on.”

Eddie reached across the table, holding his hand out. Adam took it and they both shook, both of their grips firm. Eddie returned Adam’s grin. At that moment, Linda came out carrying two cups of coffee.

Eddie stood up and Adam followed his lead.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Walton,” Linda said, holding one of the cups out to him.

Eddie took the other one from the housekeeper and took a few sips. “Thanks, Linda. Turns out we’re gonna get back to work. I just hired Adam here and I’m gonna show him around, show him what everybody is working on right now.”

Adam gave the stunned woman a sheepish look as he lifted one hand to deny the cup offered to him. He flipped his hat around in his other hand to put in on and hurried away from her. 

“You oughta stop teasing that woman like that,” Adam said as they mounted their horses.

“I know,” Eddie replied. “I’m terrible. I’ll-”

His words were cut off by the sound of a blood-curdling scream coming from near the barn. 

Eddie’s heart raced and he brought himself back to his senses quickly, turning his horse and racing toward the sound.

“A Brave Journey for Revenge” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

Eddie Campbell is still mourning the unexpected loss of his fiancée and hasn’t been able to find love ever since. He wants nothing more than a quiet, invisible life but everything is about to change when he meets Sarah, the new doctor in town. Eddie seeks help for his injured friend, and Sarah is more than willing to step in. When he realizes Sarah grew up in his town, they quickly bond over long talks while she cares for his friend. Even though Eddie has guarded his heart against any emotion, he will fall in love with her without even realizing it. But just when he thinks he has a chance at happiness, he never could have guessed the adventure he would soon embark on… Will he find the courage to break all the barriers he needs, or will internal battles and outside forces overpower him?

Sarah’s beauty and kindness open Eddie’s heart in a way he never expected. Just as Eddie is discovering Sarah is the woman for him, she is kidnapped by a vicious gang… Eddie must leave the comfort and familiarity of his family ranch to go on an adventure, unlike anything he has ever experienced before. His investigation leads him down a dark, dangerous road though, where he must find the mettle to face his fears. As the danger spirals out of his control, there’s only one thing that gives him strength… Can he prove he is brave enough to risk his life for the woman he loves?

With their own worries shadowing their actions, both Sarah and Eddie begin to navigate the treacherous waters of doubt and hope, while they learn how to trust each other completely. As they grow closer, will they be up to a challenge they’ve never faced before?

“A Brave Journey for Revenge” is a historical adventure novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cliffhangers, only pure unadulterated action.

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