Left to fend for herself, after the companion hired to escort her abandons her, sixteen-year-old Ivy faces continual hardship and danger. Several men see an unaccompanied Ivy as a flower ripe for the picking, and things only get worse when masked men hold up their stagecoach.
Barely scraping through, Ivy makes it to Montana with her nerves shaken and what little money she has in her boot. Expecting a peaceful if not affectionate welcome, Ivy finds herself in greater hardship than she’s ever known.
Surrounded by a stepfamily that hates her, and flung into a life where hearing is vital, Ivy finds solace in a handsome cowboy named Remy. But things with her new family are not what they seem. And Ivy is about to find out that the danger she faced on the journey west, has followed her to Montana…
Bethany Swafford dazzles with her stunning young adult debut, introducing a strong heroine, the hardships of frontier life, shocking twists, and a slow-burning romance that will leave you wanting more.
Third place winner of the 2018 Rosemary Award
The sun warmed my back as I sat in the grass. I don’t know how long I sat there, feeling sorry for myself. Sniffing, I finally lifted my head and opened my eyes. Immediately, I gave a start. Mr. Prater was sitting a few yards away from me, staring off at the horizon. His hat was tipped back so that the sun would hit his face.
Ashamed he’d caught me sulking, I mopped at my face with the sleeve of my dress, wishing I’d put a handkerchief in my pocket or had an apron to use instead. When I looked up again, he’d turned his head and raised his eyebrow. A blush heated up my cheeks, but I didn’t drop my gaze.
“Are you …ell?” he asked.
Was I Elle? He knew my name was Ivy so that not must have been what he said. Had he asked if I was ill? That was close to what I thought he’d said. Or had he asked if I was well? He seemed to see my hesitation, and he asked, “Are you all right?”
My curiosity piqued as to why he was here and not at church like everyone else, I gave a brief nod. With an answering nod, he pushed himself off the ground. I expected him to leave and get back to whatever it was he had been in the middle of before he thought to check on me. Instead, he came over and offered his hand to me. Cautiously, I put my hand in his, and he pulled me to my feet. As times before, I breathed in the scent of pine and horse.
“…not safe to wander…” He released my hand and stepped back.
I nodded again, glancing over my shoulder. I hadn’t realized I had run quite so far in my desire to escape the house. It was barely visible in the distance. Before I even realized I was doing it, I brought my hand up to my chest and made a circle. Sorry.
A slight frown formed on his face, and he tilted his head. My blush intensified, and I dropped my hand. I’d rushed off without my slate, and I mentally kicked myself for having done so. To my amazement, though, he mimicked the gesture I had made, making a circle with his hand over his chest.
“What does that mean?”
He wanted to know, really know, what the sign meant? I mouthed the word, ‘Sorry’ hoping that it would be enough. A look of confusion was still on his face, though, so I repeated it. This time, he nodded in understanding.
“What do…have to be sorry for?”
It would have been too hard to explain, so I lifted my shoulders in a shrug. He rubbed the back of his neck, sending a glance around. After a moment, he seemed to come to a decision, and he held his hand out to me.
“Come with me.”