MADDY ALDRIDGE FROZE as the floorboard beneath her bare foot creaked loudly. In the still dark of the night, it sounded like a gunshot. A warm summer breeze swirled through the open window of her bedroom, but it did nothing to lessen the panic that held her tight. Staring at her reflection in the small mirror over her dresser, her long red hair falling in curls across her shoulders, her green eyes looking black in the darkness, Maddy willed herself to stay still.
The last thing she wanted was for her father to wake up. Silas Aldridge wasn’t the sort of man who would react well to his fifteen-year-old daughter trying to sneak out in the middle of the night. If he were to catch her now, there’d be hell to pay; even if he didn’t take a belt to her, she had no doubt that he’d lock her in her room for weeks.
And that would be far too late ...
On the other side of the bedroom, Maddy’s younger sis-ter, Helen, slept peacefully. Most nights, she was asleep as soon as her head hit her pillow, but this evening she’d prattled for over an hour about some nonsense at school. Maddy had been forced to wait impatiently, gritting her teeth.
Maddy had considered confiding her plans to Helen, had wondered if she could be trusted, but in the end had decided it was far too great a risk to take. So instead Maddy had held her tongue, waiting until she was certain Helen was sleeping before getting out of bed.
But then Maddy had stepped on a loose floorboard and made so much noise she was sure she’d awakened the dead.
Seconds ticked slowly past. Beads of sweat trickled off Maddy’s brow and down the sides of her face; she was so fearful that wiping them away would make more noise that she let them crawl down her skin. Each breath she drew was agonizing.
Finally, after several long, nervous minutes, she was certain that no one had heard her. Cautiously, Maddy crossed the room, swung her leg over the windowsill, ducked under the sash, and headed into the night.
High above, the moon looked down on her, full and bright, illuminating outhouses and wood shelters and throwing shadows onto the ground. Maddy moved carefully yet quickly. Running through the dewy grass with bare feet, she wished that she’d remembered to put on shoes, but in the chaotic moments after the floor creaked she hadn’t been thinking clearly. She’d also forgotten her shawl; the night air was cooler than she’d expected, especially for summer, raising goose bumps on the bare skin of her arms and shoulders. But it was too late to turn back.
Maddy didn’t know what time it was, only that it was late, probably sometime just after midnight. Colton wasn’t a bustling town even in the middle of the day; as she slipped between houses, dashed across a dirt road, and then hurried across the church grounds, she saw no one, set no dogs to barking, and noticed only one lamp burning behind a drawn curtain.
On and on she ran, as fast as she could, fearful she would be late.
Colton had been built into the crook between two narrow rivers that flowed out of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The Lewis River ran to the north, while the Clark River meandered to the south. The town was small, surrounded by thick stands of evergreens, and was located only a few miles south of the Canadian border. It was the only home Maddy had ever known and, in only a few short hours, the part of it she loved most was leaving.
This is an excerpt from BY STARLIGHT by Dorothy Garlock. Copyright © 2012 by Dorothy Garlock.
Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY. All rights reserved.
In By Starlight, Dorothy Garlock takes fans to Colton, Montana, in the year 1931, where the Great Depression has made Maddy Aldridge desperate. To save her family’s store she’s agreed to run an illegal speakeasy, and her dangerous new business partner is continually breathing down her neck. But worse, Jack Rucker is back in town….
Seven years ago Jack broke his promise—and Maddy’s heart—when he left and didn’t return to marry her. Now it seems he’ll do anything to earn her forgiveness…anything except reveal one important truth: that he’s an undercover Prohibition agent. With violence threatening to shatter their world, will Maddy and Jack trust each other enough to rekindle their love and claim the future they once dreamed of?
Hardcover Book : 384 pages
Publisher: Hachette Book Group, USA ( August 21, 2012 )
Item #: 13-605574
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.96inches
Product Weight: 15.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Dorothy Garlock is one of my favorite authors! Although I prefer her earlier Westerns, her Depression era books are all very good too. Jack and Maddy are both lovable and I loved that they had a history together. Will always buy and recommend any of Ms. Garlock's books, including this one!