Massive Christmas Sale on ALL eBooks!

All books either FREE or $.99  from now until Christmas!

About The Tenafly Road Series:

“Characters so deep you follow them into the abyss, hoping to come out unscathed, but never returning the same. They will haunt me forever.”

“Rich and colorful page turners. Morris has a fine sense of time and place and brings her memorable characters to life. She also tells a captivating story. You won’t find it easy to put her books down, and her characters will stay with you when you do. We can only hope she keeps writing and gives us more episodes in this fascinating chronicle.”

*Books available in paperback and in eBook form for most electronic devices.

BUY THE SERIES TODAY TO BINGE READ OVER THE HOLIDAYS!!!

 

$.99 SALE!

Buy the fourth book of THE TENAFLY ROAD SERIES today for less than a dollar!

“I love this series of books. You never know what’s going to happen next. It’s sad at times, but then it turns around and you see the love of family.” ***** Amazon Review

 

“You always think the next phase is going to provide answers and while it does often do that, it then brings a whole new set of catastrophes to worry about. I love that this series has a subtle humor to it, similar to that of a private joke you have with yourself. I’ve cared for each character almost equally, kind of the the way I would love those in my family. They each provide a different perspective that I can find myself relating to in some way, even if I completely disagree. Definitely my favorite in the series so far.” ***** Amazon Review

 

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The Dew Series

READ THE SERIES TODAY!

The Gilded Age saga of the tumultuous Crenshaw and Weldon families continues!

Unwed and pregnant, Thankful Crenshaw comes home and makes a tragic and life-changing decision. She misses the close relationship she once had with her newly religious brother, Buck, who spends his days in the Arizona desert converting drunks and Indians. One drunk, William Weldon, is Buck’s special case and Thankful’s true love.

Little does Thankful know that Buck’s religious fervor is fading. A violent encounter in the sandy wilderness brings her brother and William back to Englewood, New Jersey to mourn their lost innocence and lack of personal integrity in the third book of The Tenafly Road Series.

The Tenafly Road Series

“Characters so deep you follow them into the abyss, hoping to come out unscathed, but never returning the same. They will haunt me forever.”

$.99 Sale Today!

Weary of running series

Captivating saga of betrayal, revenge and redemption in Gilded Age America!

Cadet Buck Crenshaw’s integrity is tested when West Point Military Academy opens its doors to black cadets. Will Buck keep his place in the yearling pecking order or throw it away taking a stand for Cadet Milford Streeter?

Escaping west to Fort Grant, Arizona, Buck confronts his demons while witnessing the downward spiral of his sister Thankful’s romance with a dashing army lieutenant.

Weary of Running, the second book in The Tenafly Road Series, highlights the dangers of moral ambivalence and the redeeming power of love and friendship in an imperfect world of mixed emotions and foolish decisions.

Fall in love with the members of the Crenshaw and Weldon families and buy The Tenafly Road Series today!

Books in the historical family saga:

The House on Tenafly Road

Weary of Running

The Dew That Goes Early Away

Forget Me Not

The One My Heart Loves

The Grand Union

 

The Tenafly Road Series

“Characters so deep you follow them into the abyss, hoping to come out unscathed, but never returning the same. They will haunt me forever.”

What Do You Do When You Finish a Series?

We’ve all been there as readers, writers and viewers. We spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over worlds created by other humans and then suddenly the series is over.

It’s over and you’ve lost your best friends. A wave of sadness envelops you as you walk the dog. You realize it’s because you’ve finished that damned series.

Talk of possibly more books or a revival on Netflix give you only momentary relief because you just know the new stuff just won’t be the same …

I seriously hate endings no matter how happy. It’s especially true when it’s YOUR own characters you have to say farewell to.

I suppose all creators feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of things — but with such a mix of sadness too!

I’m happy to release the final book of THE TENAFLY ROAD SERIES so readers get to see how Buck, William, Thankful and Lucy finally work things out, but forgive me the tiny bit of depression I feel at leaving them all behind.

Empty nest syndrome for writers is kind of awful (yet a weird privilege).

So … how do you deal with getting to the end of a series? Let me know in the comments!

And remember to check out THE GRAND UNION today!

Here’s a sample.

(Buck has foolishly taken his new wife to Saratoga Springs, New York for a honeymoon/business trip):

“We keep having to worry about everyone’s opinions, but why, Buck? We have each other.”

“Everything is so simple for you. But I have to make sure everyone’s boats stay afloat.”

“Boats float on water, not on you,” Lucy said with a little laugh.

He didn’t laugh, though her smile was so damned cute. “The water boy Corny or whatever his name is—he looks to be about your age—about my brother Nathan’s age. Thankful said you should have married Nathan. Did you like him better? I’d understand. He can be amusing at times.”

“Can he? I never noticed,” she said. “I don’t know why I ever thought you were mature, Buck, because you’re worse than the boys when I was ten.”

“How many were there?”

“Buck!”

He could never sit still for long, his nervous energy prompting him to stand and sit and then feel uncomfortable sitting on the steps. “All day today Preston let his eyes wander,” he said, waiting for her reaction. “I don’t believe in wandering eyes, Lucy … at least I mean that once I’m set on someone—I mean you—well, this isn’t the same thing as Alma, whom I never liked—or loved. You do understand that she was more of an insurance, just in case.”

Lucy stared in astonishment at the way Buck’s mind worked.

“I’m no romantic, but I liked to picture Preston and Lottie and you and me successfully working and recreating together,” Buck said with his usual stiffness.

Lucy laughed. “You don’t know how to recreate!”

He laughed a little too.

“So where is Preston, tonight?”

He stood again, running his hand along the banister. “With a poet girl—an awful feathery, flighty socialite who forces everyone to endure her poems about acorns,” he said. “The Trasks seem sincere about everything. I don’t trust that. They’re far too fond of beauty for beauty’s sake and symbolism and—emotional in their affections for everyone. It makes my skin crawl a little, but I guess all of that flattery and the lovey-dovey manner they have with each other—I guess it’s nice in a way. It’s better than how I’ve been treating you.”

Lucy looked into his guarded eyes. “What do you want me to say?”

He looked away. His little confession of admiration for things lovey-dovey embarrassed him.

Lucy played with the torn lace on her skirt. “But I’ll say this for myself. I don’t believe in divorce.”

Buck turned back to face her with the eagerness of his younger brother Nathan. “Never, under any circumstances?”

“Except if you ever keep a girl for insurance again, or even make eyes with a girl. If you aren’t interested in just me, then we can quietly divorce, and I’ll move to New London.”

Buck regretted giving her so much time to think of moving to New London and was surprised at her strength. “I’m interested in you. Very much so. And you really mean to stay even through the worst mishaps?”

“Buck, if I ever find that you speak to this Alma or befriend another girl or lady … I won’t have it.”

Buck sat close now and took Lucy’s hand in his. “Lucy, I’ve been such a fool. I’ve spoiled our time. I promise not even once did Alma hold a flame compared to you.”

“I should like it if we never mention her name again.”

“Yes, yes, I understand, and from now on I won’t even talk to another lady unless it’s my mother or one of my sisters.”

“This must include Lottie—who you’ve apparently told all of your secrets to.”

Buck looked off again, much like a young colt bristling a little after a long bit of training. “Yes, I did do that. She made me feel like one of them, and I’m not much of a drinker—I don’t know—she easily got things out of me.”

Lucy smiled, shaking her head. “You may be embarrassed of me being so young and all, but Buck, I want to be the one who takes care to know every detail about you. I never want to find out things through another.”

The Tenafly Road Series

“Characters so deep you follow them into the abyss, hoping to come out unscathed, but never returning the same. They will haunt me forever.”

 

BUY THE SERIES TODAY!

An Encouraging Note to Mistake Makers

“Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.” ― Oscar Wilde

Some people come to the table with all of their research done. They’ve outlined every subplot of their future novel, they’ve studied the market, they’ve researched every aspect of publishing, and they’ve networked the hell out of their blogs.

I love those people. I’m impressed by them … but I’m not one of them. Even when I really, really try.

Instead I seem to learn best by making mistakes and having adventures.

Some mistakes I’ve made in life: marrying with doubts, wasting my time at NYU and

not having my book professionally edited.

Yes, most people are forgiven (and sometimes celebrated) for marrying and divorcing multiple times. Many of us think little of wasted nights at university, but everyone despises those writers who don’t pay to have their books professionally edited.

For a while (until I could afford to have my growing library of book titles edited) I kind of despised myself now and then.

But this is where the encouragement comes in:

Publishing mistakes can be fixed and sometimes in the fixing we learn a lot.

I consider myself lucky that I wrote my first book before I knew anything about publishing or else I wouldn’t have started. If I was told that I’d have to figure out how to blog or format documents I would have curled up in a ball despising myself all the more.

I published when a trusted friend dared me.

I published so that my children would have something to remember me by (they think I’m ridiculous for thinking of death all the time, but it’s in my blood).

A Historical Novel Society Surprise

When I started getting random good reviews I was pretty shocked (though I loved my book). When I got a really good review from the HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY I hoped and prayed that my self-editing had been enough —  yet knew deep down that no one catches every typo or weird writing habit for themselves. I gave it a good try — and with each re-edit I learned a lot about editing.

The First Negative Review!

When the first negative review came in and mentioned that I randomly always used the verb “pat” when I meant “patted” the worries flooded in. This was just a weird glitch in my brain, but how many other glitches were hidden from me???

Honestly, I was thrilled that my self-edited early versions of THE HOUSE ON TENAFLY ROAD still managed to get mostly good reviews yet I knew I was selling myself  and my readers short and leaving myself open for the occasional vicious review about little typos and the word pat. I even felt some satisfaction when I found typos in traditionally published books. 🙂

Every writer comes to the point were they have to decide how devoted they are to their stories. After writing a six book series I knew — I  really, enthusiastically believed in my work (that’s fifteen years of my life right there!).

Having my series polished up by the great KEVIN BRENNAN at INDIE-SCRIBABLE EDITORIAL SERVICES this past year has been such an amazing experience and one that I’m not sure I would have appreciated as much had I handed over the books earlier because I was too insecure back then. Kevin is great at getting a feel for a writer’s work and stepped in with wonderful suggestions, comments and encouragement.

I won’t lie, I was incredibly relieved each time I opened one of his emails and read that he was enjoying the series and that the typos and occasional wonky wording were just that — occasional. On a professional level, the fixes were super important to me because I wanted all of my hard work to shine and flow. Fifteen years ago I didn’t even think I could write a short story and certainly didn’t believe  in myself enough to hire a REAL editor.

The point is, all those years ago I didn’t have the money, but more importantly I didn’t have the guts to consider myself a professional at anything. I did everything exactly how you’re not supposed to do it, but I’m still here. I’m more a writer now than ever. I’m more willing to defend my work and my life than ever.

I feel like things are working out just as they are supposed to.

I wrote a book.

I edited it myself and designed the first cover (more to come on that disaster).

My sister told me that writers had to blog. I didn’t even know what that was.

Through blogging I met Kevin and never even thought about his editing services — until the right time and then I knew without hesitation that it had to be him. It was all meant to be, in my humble opinion.  The thrill of sharing the series with a writer I admire who happens to be an excellent editor has been one of the highlights of my life.

How often are you afraid to begin things?

I get it. I really do. How often have you turned back after making painful mistakes? I get that too. But if you have a dream, don’t give up on yourself too early (and it’s probably always too early to give up). Your path is your path. Winding roads aren’t always a bad thing.

Just the other day I got the following review for THE HOUSE ON TENAFLY ROAD:

“I saw that this book was close to 600 pages. That didn’t daunt me, but I wondered if I would be engaged in such a long book? I was. For 3 full days. I really enjoyed The House on Tenafly Road. It is an interesting story with well written characters I came to care about. The Civil War history is well researched and accurate. There were many eye opening and fascinating facets of the Civil War, and the military in general, that I found interesting. I liked how the character of Katherine became a major one, and following her domestic life as a military wife in a then-remote outpost (Arizona) was excellent. I commiserated with her in the awful heat; pregnant, lonely and struggling in a barely livable hut. The all too real issues of war crimes, Native American relations, pain, family stress and addiction were woven seamlessly throughout this enjoyable read. One thing I will say; unlike almost all Kindle books I have read, this one had hardly ANY typos. There are some books that are so badly transcribed that they are almost unreadable…thoroughly frustrating and annoying. Not this book. Flawless and that made reading it truly enjoyable.”

So it took a while but I did it and you can too. No matter how off track you get. No matter what you don’t know yet. Just love what you do. Love yourself too –even when you make mistakes. They are often hidden gifts.

P.S. I obviously HIGHLY recommend INDIE-SCRIBABLE EDITORIAL SERVICES

 

Adrienne Morris is the author of

The Tenafly Road Series

The Tenafly Road Series

“Characters so deep you follow them into the abyss, hoping to come out unscathed, but never returning the same. They will haunt me forever.”

The One My Heart Loves

A SNEAK PEEK: Second Thoughts …

Buck coughed. “Father, I don’t think—well—I believe Lucy wants no part of me any longer, and really … it’s so soon after Meg to be parading a girl on my arm.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s for the best. Everyone says so. Lucy wouldn’t fit in.” Buck cast his eyes down.

“Fit in?” Graham asked, incredulously. “With whom? Lucy fits in with me just fine.”

“Do you think so?” Buck asked, eager for approval. “I thought so too. I thought it might be nice to have someone to take care of and fuss over.”

Graham laughed. “Lucy’s not a doll, son.”

“Of course, Father. Why is it that everyone believes I’ve no sense about girls?”

Graham smiled but said nothing. The doctor sifted through gone-off oranges left in a bowl by the new housekeeper but grabbed a few Christmas cookies instead and sat at the cook’s tall stool.

Buck leaned with elbows on the counter. “Here’s what concerns me: What if Lucy doesn’t like my friends? I’m a good banker, but there’s a social element and …”

Graham stopped mid-cookie. “Are you saying you want to see other young ladies?”

“My friends have been trying to force a certain girl upon me.”

Graham shook his head.

“Father, I haven’t done a thing. I would never hurt Lucy that way, but this girl is much sought after and her father has friends in banking and government, and for some reason she has taken to me—though I haven’t given her any reason to assume I might care for her in any way other than as a friend.”

Graham shook his head with more emphasis now, dropping the cookie to his plate. “No. You’re going off on the wrong road—again. It’s impossible to have female friends. And I strongly advise you not to marry for banking. Don’t sell your soul for appearances.”

Buck adjusted his prosthetic as he spoke. “The thing is, I don’t really care for this girl in the city.”

“I don’t understand you, son.”

Buck rolled an orange under his hand on the counter. “I wondered if it might be easier.”

“For whom?”

“For me, of course,” Buck said. “I don’t have a good track record—at anything. If things go sour for Lucy and me … the idea of it seems very hard.”

Graham laughed again. “Dear boy, you give me hope yet that one of my sons has a heart. That’s exactly the feeling you should have about Lucy. What would be the point if you didn’t fear losing her?”

PRE-ORDER:

THE ONE MY HEART LOVES & THE GRAND UNION

About The Tenafly Road Series:

“Characters so deep you follow them into the abyss, hoping to come out unscathed, but never returning the same. They will haunt me forever.”

“Rich and colorful page turners. Morris has a fine sense of time and place and brings her memorable characters to life. She also tells a captivating story. You won’t find it easy to put her books down, and her characters will stay with you when you do. We can only hope she keeps writing and gives us more episodes in this fascinating chronicle.”

 

Available Now for Pre-Order!

The Weldon and Crenshaw families are back and in rare form!

Pre-order your copy of the fifth book in the historical family saga today!

THE ONE MY HEART LOVES

Buck Crenshaw falls in love, but will he have the courage to marry when everyone is opposed to the match?  Buck must choose between happiness and security while navigating the ever-shifting alliances of his siblings and co-workers. His sister Thankful’s jealousy and his brother Fred’s scheming make for a wedding full of secret maneuvering and betrayal, but will love conquer all?

A SNEAK PEEK (Buck surprises Lucy McCullough):

“I did a few foolish things this fall,” Buck said. “I see the way Thankful leads Willy by the nose, and I’ve been worried lately about the impulsive Crenshaw habit of control. I shouldn’t have picked the fabrics for your dress even though Mama insisted. I can’t stand living in that house much longer. Will you come for a walk with me?”

“It’s cold out and dark.”

“I’ll guide you, Luce. I want you to see something.”

“If you’ve been drinking this fall or anything …”

Buck laughed. “What?”

“Your mother said …”

His eyes clouded with resentment. “I do hope you don’t trust my mother.”

“I’m not sure who to trust right now.”

Buck’s hand sweated through his glove as he took Lucy’s hand. “I want to confess to you the thing I did that shows that I don’t have the faintest idea about girls. Fred has always warned me that I’m too fast about things or at least foolish …”

“Do you have a child somewhere?”

“No. Please just come with me.”

Lucy hesitated but Buck’s expression intrigued her. Besides, she must get all of this  childish romance over with before going back to New London. By now William and Thankful had settled their differences and were dancing only two days into mourning Meg. Buck left a note with the young lady managing coats near the door for William before taking Lucy into the frosty air. Walking in the dark always troubled Lucy, who secretly dreaded when all days would be just this way. Tonight she held tightly to Buck’s warm arm bracing herself for terrible news. His breathing always sounded so forced in the chill air, but they said nothing for a long while as he led her along Hillside Avenue.

“Lucy. I was given a generous bonus this holiday.”

“That’s nice, but Buck, my toes are frozen, and I don’t like how dark this road is. Couldn’t you tell me your secret right here?”

“Just wait a minute, Luce. Here. Follow me close,” Buck said, guiding her off the road and up a lane.

They came against a short stone fence with an iron gate that creaked as Buck pushed it open against the snow. He led her beneath arches glistening in the moonlight to the door of a small cottage. Buck fumbled for keys with an expression of seriousness. He opened the door and lit a candle, pulling a wary Lucy within the dark house.

“Remember I told you about this place? My father’s old cottage—the one my mother hated and made him give up? It was reckless of me, but I imagined us here—just the two of us. I’ve been pressuring the old man for months. Finally he relented, but I see by your face you don’t like it.”

“I don’t understand …”

“I know how to buy and sell things. I don’t know what makes a girl like you happy.”

Lucy stood speechless in the little circle of light made by the candle.

“I told Mr. Fischer that we’d keep the wild roses along the fence because his wife had loved them. I hope you like roses. I also said we’d visit him and your grandmother at the old folks’ home on Sundays since he has no family to speak of—if you don’t mind. You should see the place in daylight—it’s homey, but possibly not as big and new as you might like. We can change it all if you want to.”

“Buck, I’m astonished. I hadn’t really considered anything past an engagement and walks in town and things like that.”

“I did do one thing more that might anger you. There was an outing with the cousins from the bank, and I drank too much and was sick afterwards. I’m ashamed of myself for that.”

“When was that?”

“The third Saturday of October.”

Lucy laughed that it stood out so clearly in Buck’s memory and was relieved that it had happened only once months ago. “The only disappointment I feel right now is that you imagine me such a harsh critic. I love dear old Englewood so much and this charming house but you especially.”

PRE-ORDER:

THE ONE MY HEART LOVES & THE GRAND UNION

About The Tenafly Road Series:

“Characters so deep you follow them into the abyss, hoping to come out unscathed, but never returning the same. They will haunt me forever.”

“Rich and colorful page turners. Morris has a fine sense of time and place and brings her memorable characters to life. She also tells a captivating story. You won’t find it easy to put her books down, and her characters will stay with you when you do. We can only hope she keeps writing and gives us more episodes in this fascinating chronicle.”

 

Why Did Native Americans Turn Scout?

Apache Scouts

“For tribes subject to Sioux pressure for decades, the combination of revenge and self-defense would constitute a powerful motivation, even without the other possible motives of individual warriors. The suggestion that they were betraying ‘the Indians’ would have been meaningless to them. They knew too well who their enemy was.” (Dunlay)

And here we have an uncomfortable truth: history is not as simple as we would hope. As convenient as it may be to imagine,  not all the members of certain gene pools are evil and others good. Life isn’t set up that way. So often in our need for certainty we invent fairy tales and one-dimensional villains.

Just as it was a disaster for Hitler (and many others in the eugenics movement) to declare some people pure and others not, it is foolish (and demeaning) to classify the Native Americans who fought the age-old fight for land and power (like the rest of humanity) into noble or savage stereotypes.

“Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome and some are delightful.”
Margaret Mead

Whether it is to admire or exterminate, defining people solely by their group affiliation is dangerous and, if nothing else, gives us a very distorted version of history. Not all Indians were peaceful shamans. Not all white people were slaveholders (or even supported slavery). Not all Germans hated the Jews (see DIETRICH BONHOEFFER). And certainly not all generations are responsible for the sins of their great-great grandfathers and mothers. Not all humans are Mother Theresa either. Not all Trump supporters are racist. Not all liberals are Antifa. The list goes on.

But so often this is how we act. Some Irish still talk about the BATTLE OF THE BOYNE (1690) as if it were yesterday.  I understand the temptation. Hate is so easy to rationalize. Hate is lazy.  It’s why Christ’s command to love one’s enemies is so revolutionary — and such an impossible standard of behavior to achieve without supernatural help. 

Native Americans fought on both sides in the Civil War (and some owned slaves). When I wrote about a Civil War veteran and his struggles with addiction in THE HOUSE ON TENAFLY ROAD, I decided it would be interesting to make him part Delaware. It’s only a tiny part of the story but I wanted to play with the fluid nature of identity in nineteenth century America. This does not mean there weren’t prejudices and hatreds among all people — including Native Americans.

“Competent scholars have concluded that far more Indians perished in intertribal warfare in the nineteenth century than in wars with the whites … Intertribal warfare was exploited by the whites, but it had been endemic on the Great Plains for centuries.”(Dunlay)

As a warrior, John Weldon sees himself as his father’s son — his father having been an English-blooded dragoon with an illustrious past. He carries the wounds he received as a child from his Delaware mother close to his vest and with shame. Even more so after his son is born with his mother’s features.

Yet when Weldon fights with General Crook against the Apache Indians in Arizona he looks upon the Apache scouts with disdain for turning against their own.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:3

It makes me think of friends who despise their whiteness (or more accurately other people’s whiteness). It makes me think of other friends who still despise their Indian mothers. It makes me think of friends who despise all of humanity for the  wanton destruction of animal habitats — the ones who suggest that some people should commit suicide to save the environment but don’t offer their own body as first sacrifice.

“Historical emphasis on Indian-white conflict tends to obscure the fact that Indians interacted long before white contact became significant. Intertribal conflicts and alliances had an importance often more immediate  than any problems or pressures created by whites. For many Indians an alliance with the army (U.S.) offered hope of turning the tables on a powerful enemy who represented an immediate and obvious menace. In some cases the army represented survival itself.” (Dunlay)

But what about the Apache Indians who turned scout against their own tribe?

The word tribe should be held loosely here. While it is true that the Apache as a people were of the Athapaskan language family they were hardly a monolithic group. Within this loose “family” were many subgroups. For an example of the disdain some groups had for each other we only have to look to the  most northwesterly branch of the Western Apaches called by the others “the brainless people” or as the Spanish translated the term “Tontos.” (Dunlay)

 This was a language family who disagreed often and sometimes quite violently. For a young man to go out against a feuding subgroup is not that difficult to understand. An Apache who refused to join the army as scout, James Kaywaykla, still acknowledged a simple fact of young manhood that crosses ethnic boundaries and keeps the human tradition of warfare alive:

“Ours was a race of fighting men — war was our occupation. A rifle was our most cherished possession … there was not a man who did not envy the scout his rifle.” (Dunlay)

Excerpts taken from WOLVES FOR BLUE SOLDIERS by THOMAS W. DUNLAY

 

 

Fiction: Sleeping Arrangements

“Mrs. Crenshaw, I want to apologize for my acid tongue earlier on,” Mrs. Markham said. “I was worried over Buck, as I’m sure you were, but that was no excuse.”

Margaret surveyed the plump, plain, little woman. “I accept your apology. We Easterners have high standards as far as manners go. I couldn’t possibly hold you to them.”

“I am from the East,” Mrs. Markham said, holding her chin a little higher.

“Oh. From where?”

“North Carolina.”

“Well, that’s not really east is it? It’s practically southern.”

“It is southern—where manners were born!” Mrs. Markham said.

“On the backs of the darkies,” Fred quipped.

Again there was a long silence. Thankful could smell Fahy’s perspiration and urine. She wondered if anyone else noticed.

Mrs. Markham took a deep breath. “Thankful and I have a few ideas for the wedding, Mrs. Crenshaw. I hope you don’t mind I’ve gone ahead and reserved the dance hall.”

Dance hall? Is my daughter to be married in a saloon? I know the lieutenant is Irish, but this is ridiculous! I’d prefer a Catholic church to that.”

“Mama, the dance hall is just here at the fort—for military celebrations,” Thankful explained. “It’s easily decorated—we thought some desert flowers and special lanterns from a friend of ours in town …”

“Desert flowers? Is that what I smell because, honestly, I’ll be sick if I don’t get air soon,” Margaret said.

Graham figured what the smell was and sympathized with the bitter, young lieutenant. “Margaret, we should walk the grounds and get our things.”

“Our things won’t fit in this tiny house, Graham,” she half whispered.

“Mother, Meg will sleep up with me, and Fred will share a tent with Buck. You and Father will stay in a nice wall tent.”

“A wall tent? Me? I’ve always told you that I’m afraid of tents—they fall down—and there are dragons and bugs creeping and crawling—oh no. I can’t! I won’t!” Margaret cried. “I thought at least after all the other disappointments Thankful might find us a proper roof to sleep under!”

“Mama, the tent is very nicely done up.”

Graham laughed. “It’ll be like old times in the army, Maggie. It’ll be fun.”

“I guess you forget that I was never in the army like the nurse you slept with last summer! Sleeping under canvas will only serve to remind me of how much you’ve hurt me!” Margaret sobbed, mopped her eyes, and stopped. “I will sleep with my girls.”

“But Mama, there’s no space.”

“We’ll make space,” Mrs. Markham said.

“Perfect then,” Margaret replied. “Tonight we can discuss my plans for my daughter’s wedding.”

“Of course,” Mrs. Markham said.

They stood for another moment.

“I’ll go get your things then, Margaret,” Graham said.

Fred and Buck followed him out.

“Well, this is some disaster, Father. I don’t like that Fahy a bit—seems angry.” Fred lit a cigar.

“Of course he’s angry—he can’t walk!”

Fred changed the subject. “So I guess you and Mama aren’t sleeping in the same room anymore.”

“That’s none of your damned business, Fred. Now just take these bags to your mother and leave me be.”

Fred shrugged and did as he was told.

Graham sat heavily upon one of their trunks.

“Father, are you all right?” Buck asked, suffering the same queasiness he had often experienced as a child when he worried about his father’s tenuous health.

Graham took out a cigar and offered one to his son.

“No, it irritates my throat now,” Buck said. “Father, are you sure you’re feeling well?”

Graham looked at him differently now, almost as a friend. “No, son. I’m not all right. When have I ever been? I married a woman I never loved and in avoiding her I neglected the needs of my children.”

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