Fiction: The Trouble with Women

A summer night of trouble for  Buck Crenshaw and Milford Streeter . . .

Buck reported for duty early, waiting for a chance to sneak off as the military band with its brass and drums lit the evening with hope. Girls in an array of flashy colors strolled along the wooded path known as Flirtation Row picking wildflowers, but there was only one girl that mattered. Buck spotted Rose Turner strolling towards the stone walls by the path. No one could ever compare to Rose Turner with her bold suits and small mouth. Buck dreamt all year about those lips and other things, too. He had only viewed Rose from afar as a plebe, but now things would be different.

Buck took a moment to admire her full round face and her slim waist and then with pounding heart, he slipped away from his post in the chilly and darkening air. Buck tapped Miss Turner’s shoulder, and she jumped.

“Miss Turner, so glad you’ve come,” he said, touching his cap.

“Oh, dear!” Miss Turner gasped, turning her face from him.

“Not to worry, miss. It’s only a small injury,” Buck laughed. “I know it’s a fright now, but the doctors say it will improve.” He shifted his weight. “So glad you’ve come.”

Rose looked again for a second with her big eyes fluttering. “Mr. Crenshaw, oh, did I say that we would meet? Well, you see, well this is awful awkward . . . Fred said you wouldn’t come and I’m here and all and dressed up. Mr. Van Haste from Fred’s crew has agreed to walk me down the lane. Fred said you were punished or some such thing.”

“Fred is a bastard!”

“Your language, sir! You’re embarrassing me!”

“Please, Miss Turner, won’t you accept my apologies? I’ve had a few very trying weeks and my head . . .”

Rose glanced up at the mess on his face, barely hiding her repulsion. “I do accept your apology, but, well, here comes Mr. Van Haste just now.”

Cadet Van Haste strode up. “Mr. Crenshaw, why are you not at your post?”

Buck sighed. “Miss Turner, all I ask is a moment to speak to you and I’ll go.”

Van Haste shrugged his shoulders and walked back to Fred and his chums, smoking and sharing clandestine drinks. Buck took Miss Turner’s arm gently, but she looked as though a panther grabbed hold.

“Miss Turner, I won’t be at the 28th hop, but I wanted to speak to you about us.”

Rose shook her head and her curls fell over her eyes. She wiped them back and looked past Buck to the other cadets. “Us? Well, Mr. Crenshaw, I hardly know you and—“

“I know—I wanted us to have this summer, but things have gone badly for me. I just thought, well, all last year, you noticed me and I certainly noticed you. You are the loveliest girl I have ever seen and I would be honored if . . .”

“Oh, poor Mr. Crenshaw, please don’t go any further. Don’t be foolish. I admit that you were once attractive to me. I don’t know . . . I mean, well, I haven’t seen you in weeks.”

“Only three weeks.”

“Yes, three weeks and that’s a lot for a girl in summer, you know. I thought that you were a gentleman and quiet, but it seems that you cause trouble. I’m sorry for you, but I think that I want someone more mature—from the first year or maybe Fred’s class. You see, I’m awful ready to marry and I can’t be with someone who’s all scraped up from fights.”

“I’m not one for fighting! I’d marry you in the morning if I could. It’s all I think about. I even have money for a ring!” Buck held her tighter. “Please, Miss Turner, don’t let yourself be swayed by rumors.”

“Your own brother believes that you’re suffering under a nervous prostration. I can’t very well enjoy myself with a nervously prostrated fellow, can I? I’m terribly, terribly sorry, but please let go of me, sir. You’re beginning to hurt me.”

Buck immediately let go and stepped away.

Van Haste hurried up. “Is everything all right?”

“Yes, please just take me from here!” Miss Turner pleaded.

Buck tore back to his post, but too late. The officer of the guard stood waiting for him.

“Crenshaw! What’s the meaning of this?”

“I’m sick, sir. Terrible sick.” His emotions were in his throat. “Miss Turner, I thought . . .”

“She’s not a good girl, you know. Well, you shouldn’t have left your post.” The officer came closer. “Buck, listen, you’ve had it rough. Go to bed and I’ll cover. Go on.”

“Is this a trick?” Buck asked, barely getting the words out.


Buck walked and then ran to his dark, hot tent. With his boots and clothes on, he threw himself onto his cot and struggled to keep his tears back. How could it be that he was hated? Buck punched the cot before throwing himself on it, taking big breaths until the idea of crying was gone. He began to drift asleep . . .

“Cadet Crenshaw!” came an insistent whisper hours later.

Buck turned to the wall in the pitch of night, but Streeter pulled Buck to face him.

“Sir! I’m ruined for sure! What should I do?” Streeter whispered, his breath moist against Buck’s face.

Excerpted from WEARY OF RUNNING. Read more about Buck Crenshaw and his misadventures when you buy the book today!

“The second installment in The Tenafly Road Series definitely did not disappoint. With the introduction of new characters and the return of familiar ones, Weary of Running made for an exciting read. The protagonist, Thankful, is the real highlight of the novel. She consistently makes very poor decisions but in the end, you can understand why she has made every last one of them. The story ranges from love and romance to questions of faith and morality. It does all this without being preachy and explores many angles of different aspects of life. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time.” Amazon Review

“Buck Crenshaw is my favorite dysfunctional lovable character.”









17 responses to “Fiction: The Trouble with Women”

  1. How did I miss that you write fiction? Or have I forgotten? Anyway I don’t know what to do now…start from 1 or read from here…start from 1 or read from here…..start from 1 or read from here…??!!!


    • You’re so funny–and opinionated. The perfect combination.

      Yes, only started blogging to sell more books–but then enjoyed blogging so for me the question is always: finish the next novel or blog…finish the next novel or blog! I’m almost done editing my third book and still working on the ending of the fifth so I’ve been less active in the blog world of late.

      I always enjoy your thought-provoking questions (one of my favorite blogs) so I’m delighted you stopped by. Now back to my fantasy world with Buck Crenshaw and friends…
      Happy summer!



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