She is a woman who has dedicated her life to God’s ways. He’s a man that desperately needs to rediscover his lost faith. How will they bring peace and fall in love along the way?
Olivia is an orphaned young woman who grew up with a Native American tribe but she never forgot her Christian heritage. When her village is raided, she is saved by a lone rider in the desert. She tries to gather her pieces and build her life again when she realizes that both her birth parents and her foster parents were caught in a business plan that killed them. How can she let go of the betrayal and trust Adam with her heart when God’s plan for her seems so challenging?
Adam is the opinionated new marshal in town and he doesn’t agree with the Sheriff’s ways. Finding a young Christian woman dressed in Native American attire intrigues him more than he could ever imagine. He stays by her side in case something else happens to her. Discovering the vicious plan that might have caused harm in Olivia’s tribe kindles a fire of faith in his heart. Olivia has God inside her and he wants nothing more than to protect her. How can he devote his life to her when Light is always so hard to reach?
Adam and Olivia have to move mountains to stay together. God has already planned ahead for them though. How can they listen to His calling when there are men who chase them away?
Groaning slightly, Olivia Foster roused from her slumber and her eyes fluttered open. She blinked at the sharp rays of the sun and closed her eyes again.
It was yet another day that she had to be thankful for the gift of life.
Thank you, Lord, for one more day.
Her entire body ached from sleeping on the bare hard ground. Slowly, she pushed herself into a sitting position and looked around her.
All around her were pickets of thick brushes of grass. In the far distance were black hills surrounded by rolling grassland. Birds sang from trees a few paces ahead.
She had chosen that spot to rest for the night when her weary legs couldn’t go further. She raised her face to the sun, welcoming its warmth.
The night had been very cold, and she had shivered helplessly as she had no covering but her buckskin cloth. Although the Indian dress usually offered comfort, it was no match for the cold.
Olivia wrapped her arms around herself and wondered where she would go from there.
When she had woken up two days ago to find herself in the middle of nowhere, she had had no idea that she would end up walking for those days.
At first, she had been disoriented, questioning where she was and how she got there. Eventually, the events that led up to her losing consciousness had come to her, and she had lamented the loss of her Indian family.
Olivia recounted the events that took place two days ago as if it just happened a few minutes ago.
It had been just like any other day at the Indian reservation. She and her Cheyenne Indian friend, White Bird, had been at the creek watching over the children playing there.
“Eyes Like The Sky,” White Bird quietly called beside her.
“Yes, White Bird,” Olivia answered with a smile on her face as she watched the children chasing each other about.
“I think I’ll accept Talking Lion’s proposal,” her Indian friend said.
Olivia’s eyes widened. “Has he offered for you?”
White Bird’s face reddened. “He said he will meet with my father this evening to discuss with him.”
A bright smile covered Olivia’s face. “That’s wonderful.” But then she frowned. “What about Gray Wolf?”
White Bird sighed. “I would have preferred if Gray Wolf had offered for me first, but he appears not to be serious. He’s more concerned with hunting than with courting me. Perhaps another maiden has caught his eyes.”
Olivia shook her head. She didn’t think so. She believed that Gray Wolf was smitten by White Bird; he was only too shy to make his intentions known, unlike the tenacious Talking Lion.
She took her friend’s hand and offered her a comforting smile. “I don’t think that’s the case. But I’m happy that at least you’ve found a suitor in Talking Lion. I believe he will make a fine husband. I’ll pray incessantly for a successful marriage between you two.”
Her friend didn’t return her smile. Instead, a frown creased her forehead.
Olivia squeezed her hand. “What is the problem, White Bird?”
“I’m so confused, Eyes Like The Sky. I don’t know if I should wait for Gray Wolf to ask for my hand or just accept Talking Lion’s offer.”
Olivia didn’t like seeing her friend so worried. She threw her arm around her shoulder.
“Everything will be fine, I promise. We’ll take it to the Lord in prayer, and I’m definite that He will give you wisdom concerning who to choose to be your husband. You’ll see. Everything will work out for your good.”
The young Indian woman smiled at her. “Sometimes, I find it hard to believe that I’m a year older than you. I’m amazed at the level of your wisdom sometimes. Tomorrow, you’ll be eighteen, yet you talk like our shaman who has seen many moons.”
Olivia smiled in return at the mention of her birthday the following day. “It’s not me, my dear friend. It’s the Lord. Now, bring your hands, let’s commit it to the Lord in prayers.”
White Bird readily took Olivia’s hands. Olivia didn’t think that she would hesitate. Since she came to live with the Indians after her parents’ death, she had spoken to them about God, His love, and His mercies as her parents thought her to.
Olivia bowed her head in prayers, feeling the usual peace that engulfed her whenever she wanted to talk to her Father in Heaven. But all of a sudden, she began to feel very anxious, sensing something was terribly wrong.
The sharp cries from the children had her opening her eyes and wondering what was going on.
And then she heard the sound of what seemed to be like a thousand horses galloping into the Indian camp.
Olivia’s mouth dropped open when she turned around and saw about ten white men on horses, riding into the reservation with deadly intent on their faces. Her mouth ran dry and her heart raced as White Bird let out a piercing scream.
Swiftly, she jumped to her feet from the fallen log she had been sitting on.
“Eyes Like The Sky,” White Bird said in a frightened tone beside her.
Olivia quickly turned to her. She hated the fear she saw in her friend’s eyes.
She gripped the Indian girl’s hands. “Don’t you worry, White Bird. Everything will be fine. I’ll find out what they want. I’m sure it’s nothing serious.” She turned her gaze to scared children. “Please tend to the children.”
She took her bible, dragged in a nervous breath, and released it slowly.
Olivia’s heart was in her throat as she ran from the creek. The white men had encircled the village and were now throwing cuss words at the Indians who had come out of their teepees.
“Dear God, please put in my mouth the right words to speak to these men,” she prayed silently as she hurried towards them.
Her twin braids bounced on her back as she covered the distance between her and the men who were spewing obscenities at the Indians.
Her sky-blue eyes took in the scene before her, and alarm rose in her chest when she saw the guns that some of the men were carrying.
She coughed at the dust that the men had roused from the thundering of their horses. She waved her hands to get attention as the men were still bent on accusing the Cheyenne of the recent cattle attack in the area.
“They don’t even understand what you’re saying,” she shouted at the men who were still circling the camp.
Only a few of the Indians understood and spoke English. She had taught a few of them while some had learned from other white people. The chief and some elders had refused to learn, as they didn’t want to be influenced by the ways of the white man.
“Please listen to me,” Olivia shouted as she ran towards the men, clutching her bible tightly.
Finally, one man, the leader apparently who led the others, noticed her.
His eyes raked in her buckskin dress, blonde hair, blue eyes, and her slim and petite figure with something akin to awe. He rode towards her with a lazy grin on his face.
“What do we have here?” he asked and spat on the ground beside him.
Olivia tried to hide her irritation. “Please, you must listen to me. We had nothing to do with the recent cattle attacks.”
Walking Tree, one of the warriors, had brought news some days ago that there was unrest in the town because of cattle rustlers in the area. He had heard rumors that the Indians around the region were being blamed for it.
The chief had called a meeting and advised that no one should leave the village without permission and no one should go anywhere alone.
“We?” the man questioned, raising his bushy brows.
“Yes.” She darted a nervous tongue across her lips. “My people, the Indians, had nothing to do with the attack. Please, you must believe me.”
The man threw back his head and a burst of ugly laughter rumbled from his chest.
“You call these savages your people? They must have used voodoo on you.”
Olivia shook her head vehemently. Wisps of her hair flew from her braids.
“Cheyenne Indians are peaceful Indians.” Her voice rose a notch from anxiety running through her. “They don’t attack people or cows. Please, you must tell your men to leave them alone.”
The man regarded her with scorn. “I will do no such thing! They will pay for what they did to the ranches in Ruby Rock. Best you get out of the way if you don’t want to get injured in the process.”
Before Olivia could say anything more, the man steered his horse away from her and galloped to join the others.
Undeterred, she ran after him. Her eyes took with horror as the men started setting the teepees on fire while the Indians ran helter-skelter. The men stood their ground while the women and children screamed.
Olivia ran after the leader of the gang, still pleading for mercy. Not conscious of her surroundings, she nearly ran into one of the horses. She turned just in time not to be hit by it. But it gave her so much of fright that she immediately fainted.
Olivia jerked back to the present, to the loud sound of a bird calling its mate at a nearby tree.
Tears pricked her eyes as she remembered her friend, White Bird. The young Indian woman had been one of the good friends she had made at the reservation ever since she was rescued by them when she was ten-years old.
Determined to find her Indian family again, Olivia slowly pushed herself to her feet and winced at the pain that shot through her body.
When she came to from fainting, she had found herself in the middle of nowhere. She had wondered how she got there and surmised that one of the men must have carried her there.
Not knowing the direction that would take her back to the Indian village, she had closed her eyes and prayed for the right path to follow. She had sung hymns, clutched her bible to her chest, and started walking.
And so, she walked for two days without food or water. On the second day, she realized that she was most likely walking in the wrong direction and not back to the village. But then, it had been too late to turn back. Trusting that God was leading her along the right path, she had forged on.
In times of despair, she remembered how Moses led the Israelites across the wilderness to the promised land. Sure, they had faced a lot of obstacles along the way, but they had arrived there in due time. She had held on to that.
But now, she was beginning to get desperate. If she didn’t find the nearest town soon, she feared that she might not be able to make it.
Olivia hastily shook away such negative thoughts. God would never leave nor forsake her. He had promised that in his word.
Her eyes dropped to the bible she held in her hands. It brought back memories of her late parents and their strong faith in God.
She remembered when her late parents presented her with her the bible as her birthday gift when she was seven years old. She had never parted with it ever since, not even when she had to run from their house when it mysteriously caught on fire.
“In times of sorrow and despair, hold on tight to the unfailing Word of God. It will see you through anything that comes your way,” her father had told her and placed a kiss on her forehead.
Olivia couldn’t help the tears that ran down her face. She missed her parents dearly. It had been eight years since their passing, but she still missed them.
And now, she was also missing the only family she had known since she was ten. After watching her house burn down with her parents inside, she had roamed around the bushes until the Cheyenne Indians rescued her.
They had taken one look at her and named her Eyes Like The Sky because of her sky-blue eyes. Some of the Indians had also called her White Bear because of the resilience she showed going about without food or water for days. But she had preferred Eyes Like The Sky over being called a bear, although she knew most of the Cheyenne Indians were named after animals.
She had found herself in the same situation again. She was certain that she would pull through like the last time, but only by the grace of God.
Overcome by her present predicament, she went down on her knees and bowed her head. Tears poured down from her face.
“Father, please I come to you broken, tired, and hungry. I’m so weary I don’t think I can go on for long if I don’t get help soon. Please send me a sign in the form of help to show me I’m going in the right direction. Amen.”
Olivia pushed herself back to her feet and continued walking, hoping that her prayers would be answered soon.
I don’t know how long I can continue like this.
“Good morning, Mrs. Barker.” Adam Lancaster tilted his black hat at the general store owner.
The elderly woman lifted her head from sweeping the front of the store with a corn broom. She bestowed on him a warm smile.
“Adam! It’s so good to see you again.” Her smile widened. “When I heard you were back in town, I was mighty glad. Then when I heard you were now a marshal, I was feezed to high heavens.”
Warmth spread throughout Adam’s body. Mrs. Barker had always acted motherly toward him.
“Thank you, Mrs. Barker,” he returned with heartfelt emotion.
“Now that I have seen you, I’ll bake you your favorite blueberry pie tomorrow. Just come around here tomorrow and I’ll have it ready for you.”
Adam laughed. He had missed the woman’s delicious pies.
“I’ll sure swing by, Mrs. Barker.”
“Be sure you do.”
Adam tilted his hat at her again and continued down the main street of the town. His eyes took in the small town that boasted of two saloons, a grocery store, two dressmaker’s shops, a small bank, a post office, a courthouse, and a dry goods and feeds store. An orphanage was on the outskirts of the town.
In the time that he had been away, a small school and a few houses, and a sweets shop had added to the growth of Ruby Rock. Seeing the place he loved so much brought a bright smile across his face.
Originally a cattle town, the town had grown more commercial. They used to build the shops with roughly hewn woods but things had changed––most of the shops had glass-plated windows with sturdy mahogany woods encasing them. The dressmaker’s shops had wooden hangars displayed outside with dresses on them. Adam even spotted a couple of two-storied buildings.
Swiftly, he shifted his gaze from the saloon balcony, where ladies of the night reclined, smoking thin cigars.
Adam raised his hand and waved at the people across the street that sent greetings his way. Indeed, it felt good to be back home. In all the time he was away, his thoughts had never been far from this place. Now, coming back to Ruby Rock as the new marshal made him feel honored.
He had been surprised when he received the letter of his appointment and saw that it was the town he had grown up in.
“You deserve it, Lancaster,” the mayor of his former county of residence had told him. “You have been exemplary in carrying out your duties as a sheriff. I put in a good word for you. Alas, they sent you somewhere else instead of keeping you here.”
Adam had been sorry to leave Red Hollow in Idaho where he was a sheriff for two years but being here was sure better and he was eager to serve.
He decided he would stop at the courthouse later to see if he had some paperwork to work on there. But he would first go to his office and acquaint himself with the sheriff and the deputies. He would have to look for law-abiding townsfolk to be his deputies. He could only hope that it wouldn’t be an arduous task.
Adam continued his journey down the street to the green building that was the sheriff’s office with a jail attached to it. Beside it was his own office building.
Adam strode into the sheriff’s office and the sight he saw startled him a bit. Three men sat at a table with a bottle of whiskey and three cups.
Wasn’t it too early in the day for the men to be bending an elbow? And how dare they do it in the office?
Adam cleared his throat as he stepped into the office. The three men looked at him lazily. Their eyes widened when they saw the shiny star on his shirt. They rose abruptly.
“Good morning. I’m Adam Lancaster. The new marshal,” Adam said in a clipped tone and stared pointedly at the bottle of liquor.
Reddening, one of the men took the bottle and placed it under the table. They all looked so shamefaced at being caught drinking on duty that Adam decided not to have a talk with them on workplace principles. It was only his first day as marshal. He didn’t want to start it by raising sand.
It couldn’t be easy being a lawman in a relatively peaceful town like Ruby Rock. They had very few cases of crime except for some outlaws who passed through sometimes.
At first, he had wondered why they would send him to peaceful Ruby Rock as marshal until he heard there might be an Indian uprising in the area. It was his duty to carry out investigations and put a stop to such a thing happening.
“Begging your pardon, Marshal,” one of the men finally said and strode forward after staring at him. “Amos Sanders.”
Adam shook hands with him and the other men. They nodded toward the inner office when he asked for the sheriff. Adam was a little surprised that the sheriff was in there, yet the men didn’t mind pouring scamper juice down their throats.
“Well, if it isn’t the new marshal in town,” Sheriff Joe Tate drawled once Adam entered his office.
Adam noted the man didn’t rise from the chair he was sprawled on with his legs crossed at the ankles on the table. He didn’t take it to heart, though. Joe Tate was in his forties and had moved into Ruby Rock to become sheriff just when Adam had left to become the sheriff of Red Hollow. He didn’t know much about the man, but he hoped they could be friends and work well together.
Adam removed his hat and ran a hand through his midnight black hair. He strode forward with his hand outstretched. The potent smell of liquor hit his nostrils. He was taken aback for a moment. His gray eyes fell on the cup on the table, and he recognized the yellow liquid in it.
Disappointed that the sheriff had joined his deputies in drinking in the office, Adam shook the man’s hand and took a step back.
“I came to tell you that I have resumed duties, and I hope that we’ll work well together,” he told the man who was regarding him with an expression he couldn’t quite read.
“Don’t count on it,” the sheriff replied and took a swig from his cup.
Adam’s brows shot up. “What do you mean by that? Do you suppose that we’ll have problems working together?”
The man shook his head and said, “I mean working together in general. Ain’t much work around here. We sit all day doing nothing. All we do is break up fights in saloons, is all.”
Adam’s eyes narrowed. “What about the Indians?”
Joe Tate frowned. “What about them?”
Adam wondered if over the years the sheriff and his men had become so lazy that they didn’t even know what was going on around them.
“I have heard rumors that Indians are looking to stir trouble in the area,” he solemnly said, hoping that the man would at least know something about it and give him some information.
“Injuns raising sand?”
The sheriff shocked Adam by bursting into raucous laughter. Adam held himself from saying anything.
“Ain’t nothing like that happening around here,” the sheriff remarked when he was able to contain his hilarity. “You shouldn’t listen to scuttlebutts, you know.”
“Are you saying it’s only a rumor?”
Joe Tate swung his legs from the table and sat up to stare at Adam with mocking black eyes.
“Listen, boy. Don’t go looking for trouble when there’s none.”
Adam took exception to being called a boy. “Look here, Sheriff. I acknowledge that I’m a greenhorn with affairs around here, but that’s not enough reason for you to insult me.”
The sheriff reclined back in his chair. “My apologies, Marshal. I meant no harm. I was simply telling you the plain truth. But not to worry, you’ll find out soon enough.”
Adam itched to tell the sheriff he didn’t intend to be a coffee boiler like him and was here to do a good job, but he changed the mind. There was no use in exchanging words with a man who was nonchalant about his duties.
Nodding, Adam slammed his hat on his head. “I’ll see you around.”
“You can count on that,” he snickered in return.
Adam ignored the jab and continued with his stride out of the office. He nodded at the deputies who were still lazing around. When he woke up that morning, he had considered recommending one of the sheriff’s deputies to be his. But after the show of shame, he would find his own deputies.
He shook his head as he stepped out of the building into the hot summer air.
Things had obviously changed around there. The former sheriff, Sheriff Benjamin, had been up and doing. Although the town had still been peaceful then, the man never failed to go around Ruby Rock, making sure everything was as it should be.
It was the late sheriff who had first ignited his interest in becoming a lawman. He had admired the way Sheriff Benjamin had gone about making sure everyone felt safe in the town.
Adam headed toward his office but then changed his mind. He was eager to know if the Indian uprising was just a rumor. And he knew just who to ask.
Henry Cage was just the person to meet when one wanted to know what was going on around the town. The man had a leaky mouth, which used to annoy Adam, but in this instance would prove beneficial.
Adam had known him since he moved to Ruby Rock years ago. They had been friends growing up until Adam moved away. Henry worked as a cobbler when he wasn’t drunk.
He had caught sight of him in front of the Broken Arrow saloon. He hoped he was still there. Sure enough, Henry was in front of the double doors of the place, hoping someone would toss him a coin to paint his nose till he wouldn’t be able to stay upright.
“Adam,” Henry called joyously upon sighting Adam.
Grinning, Adam nodded at the men around the saloon and walked up to Henry. He looked down at the man who had been born a cripple and squatted beside him.
“How have you been, Henry?” Adam questioned the smiling man.
With a twinkle in his eyes, he said, “As you can see, I’ve grown more handsome than you.”
Adam laughed with gusto. “I can see that.”
Henry eyed the star on Adam’s black coat. “Congratulations on your appointment as a marshal. I reckon it’s what you’ve always wanted.”
Adam reached into his coat and tossed Henry a coin, which he expertly caught and grinned.
“Thank you, Henry.” Becoming solemn, he asked, “What is this I hear about the Indians starting unrest?”
Henry who had been admiring the coin frowned and said, “Indians? No, no, no. It’s the townsfolk. They went to raid the Indian village about a day’s ride from here.”
Adam’s eyes widened. “What?”
Henry nodded vigorously. “Many people hate Injuns around here. But I don’t mind them. They give me meat and milk anytime I meet them in the forest when I’m having backdoor trots.”
“When did this happen?”
Henry shrugged. “A few days ago, I s’pose.”
Adam’s blood ran cold. And the sheriff was sitting in his office doing nothing about it? Was it that he didn’t know?
Adam realized he spoke his thoughts out loud when Henry said, “Of course the sheriff is aware of it. He doesn’t care none about it. Supposedly, he’s in support of it.”
Rising abruptly, Adam thanked the man everyone knew had a wobblin’ jaw. Henry grinned and hurried into the saloon.
Angered that the sheriff was shirking his job, Adam retraced his steps to the office. He marched straight to Joe Tate’s table where the man was still sprawled
“I just heard that a few days ago, there was a raid in the Indian village close to the town.” He shot straight from the hip.
A frown creased the sheriff’s forehead. “Why are you telling me? What do you want me to do about it?”
Adam was scandalized by the man’s nonchalant attitude. He ought not to, after hearing that the man might even be in support of the raid.
His face tightened. “You’re the sheriff of this town. You’re supposed to keep law and order.”
Snorting, Joe Tate said, “You got that right, Marshal. I’m the sheriff of Ruby Rock and not an Indian reservation. Whatever happened there is none of my business.”
“It’s your business if your townsfolk go there to raise sand at innocent people,” Adam firmly stated.
The sheriff shrugged. “I still can’t see how it’s my job.”
Gritting his teeth, Adam saw that it was a waste of time talking to the older man about the issue when he should have gone to make more inquiries.
“Take my advice, Marshal. Leave it alone. The Indians deserved whatever came to them. The cattle rustlings have increased since they settled close to the town.”
“That doesn’t justify the townsfolk taking the law into their own hands.”
He had seen enough from his previous county to know the Indians were usually at the brunt of hateful crimes for no just cause.
“What proof do they have that the Indians are responsible for the rustling?”
The sheriff remained silent, leaning back in his chair to regard Adam with narrowed eyes.
Angered by the man’s indifference, Adam added, “That’s what I expected you to have looked for instead of sitting back and allowing the townspeople to take the law into their own hands.”
The sheriff stiffened. “Are you trying to teach me my job?”
“Maybe,” Adam returned with a savage bite.
Adam swung on his heels and walked out of the office. He couldn’t believe the gall and hide of the sheriff telling him not to investigate the raid.
With determined strides, Adam walked out of the office. He went straight to the livery stables where he had kept his horse upon arriving in town.
After taking enough supplies for the journey ahead, he asked the stable lad for the directions to the Indian reservation. The young lad’s jaw dropped for a moment before he pointed him in the right direction.
“Come on, Dark Knight, we have a long way to go.” He patted the head of the black as midnight stallion.
Adam had bought the horse about five years ago. One look into the black eyes of the animal, and he knew they were meant for each other. Steadily, he had groomed the horse that had become an important part of his life. Adam didn’t go anywhere without the massive beast. He had had many conversations with the animal, although one-sided, but somehow, he had felt the animal understood every word he said. They had been through a lot together, lost in the forests, chasing outlaws and just relaxing under a shade or under the moon.
With a stony face, Adam steered his horse in the path the lad had described. He wasn’t one to sit and wait for things to happen. He had always taken the bull by the horns, fearing no consequences.
He was prepared to ride until he found the Indians and questioned them about the raid and cattle rustling. He could only hope that he would find someone to talk to him.
Come rain, come shine, I’ll find answers.
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