Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Her Healing Ways by Lyn Cote

Unconventional. Unafraid. Unwelcome. A female physician with an
adopted black daughter? The townsfolk of Idaho Bend will never accept
Dr. Mercy Gabriel—even when faced with a deadly cholera epidemic. But
all Mercy needs is one man willing to listen…and to trust.
Four years of war command turned Lon Mackey into a footloose gambler
who can't abide attachments. Yet he can't help getting riled by the
threats Mercy keeps receiving. Her trailblazing courage could reignite
his faith and humanity. And his loyalty could make her dream—for the
first time—of a family of her own….

"Her Healing Ways (Four Stars)is a wonderful love story between two people with different outlooks on life, who together bring out the best in each other. Cote knows
what will keep readers interested in the story and uses this knowledge throughout her story. Don't miss this wonderful book." Romantic Times Book Reviews

When Lyn Cote became a mother, she gave up teaching, and while raising a son and a daughter, she began working on her first novel. Long years of rejection followed. Finally in 1997, Lyn got "the call." Her first book, Never Alone, was chosen by Steeple Hill for the new Love Inspired romance line. Since then, Lyn has had over twenty-five novels published. In 2006 Lyn's book, Chloe, was a finalist for the RITA, one of the highest awards in the romance genre. Lyn’s brand “Strong Women, Brave Stories,” always includes three elements: a strong heroine who is a passionate participant in her times, authentic historical detail and a multicultural cast of characters. Lyn also features stories of strong women both from real life and true to life fiction on her blog http://strongwomenbravestories.blogspot.com. Lyn also can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Drop by and "friend or follow" her. Now living her dream of writing books at her lake cottage in northern Wisconsin, Lyn hopes her books show the power of divine as well as human love.

Excerpt Chapter One
Idaho Territory, September 1868

High on the board seat, Mercy Gabriel sat beside the wagon master on the lead Conestoga wagon. As the line of supply wagons slowed, pulling into the mining town, panicky-looking people began running toward it, with bags and valises in hand. What was happening here? Fear slid up Mercy's spine like a cold wet finger.

Mercy reached down and pulled Indigo up onto the seat beside her away from the onrushing people. Indigo shrank against Mercy, her darker face tight with worry. Mercy whispered as confidently as she could, “Don’t worry.”

She looked down at a forceful man who had pushed his way to the front. He was without a coat, his shirt sleeves rolled up and his colorfully embroidered vest buttoned askew. What did he want? From the flamboyant vest, she guessed he must be a gambler. What would he want with her?

With one sweeping glance, he quelled the people shoving each other to get closer to the wagons. A commanding gambler. In her opinion and unusual combination.

“Are there any medical supplies on this train?" he asked in a calm tone so at odds with the mood of the people crowding around. "Two days ago, we telegraphed to Boise, asking for a doctor to come. But no one has. We've got cholera.”

The dread word drenched the brave, brawny wagoners; they visibly shrank back from the man. It set off the crowd clamoring again.

Mercy’s pulse raced. No, not cholera. Yet she hesitated only a few seconds before revealing the truth about herself. Until this moment, she’d just been another traveler, not an object of mirth, puzzlement or derision. She braced herself for those inevitable reactions and rose. “I am a qualified physician.”

Startled, the frantic crowd stopped pushing. As usual, every head swiveled; every face gawked at her.

“You?” the gambler challenged, “You’re a woman.”

Mercy swallowed a number of sardonic responses to this silly comment. She merely said, “I am a recent graduate of the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania. I also worked alongside Clara Barton as a nurse throughout the Civil War.”

“You nursed in the war?” The gambler studied her, a quizzical expression on his face.

“Yes.” Leaning forward, she held out her gloved hand. “I am Dr. Mercy Gabriel. And this is my assistant, Nurse Indigo.”

He hesitated only a moment. Then reaching up, he grasped her hand for a firm brief handshake. “Beggars can't be choosers. I’m Lon Mackey. Will you come and help us?”

She wondered fleetingly why a gambler was taking charge here. She would have expected a mayor—-

Renewed commotion from the crowd, almost a mob now, grabbed her attention. People were trying to climb aboard the supply wagons. "Get us out of this town!" one of them shouted.

No! “Stop them!” Mercy ordered, flinging up a hand. “No one from this town should be allowed to leave. They could infect everyone on the supply train and spread the disease to other towns.”

At this, the wagoners rose and shouted, “Keep back! Quarantine! Quarantine!”
This only spurred the people to try harder.

The head wagoner put out an arm, keeping Mercy and Indigo from getting down. "Wagoners, use your whips!"

The drivers raised their whips and snapped them expertly toward the mob. Mercy was horrified. However, this worked. Though still muttering mutinously, the crowd fell back till safely out of range. Mercy swallowed down her fear, her heart jumping.

“We will unload the shipment of supplies," the wagon master barked, "then we're leaving for the next town right off. And we're not taking on any new passengers."

People looked ready to make another charge toward the train. Their expressions looked frantic. Desperate.

"Thee must not give into fear,” Mercy declared. "There is hope. I am a qualified physician and my nurse is also trained." Mercy stood very straight, knowing that her petite height of just over five feet didn’t add much to her presence.

“You have nothing to fear, Dr. Gabriel,” Lon Mackey announced, pulling a pistol from his vest pocket. “I came to see if anyone could send us assistance. I didn't expect a doctor to be on the supply train. Please come. Lives are at stake.”

Mercy moved to descend from the high buckboard. The wagon master let her go, but shook his head. Again he raised his whip in one hand as if ready to defend her.

Barely able to breathe, Mercy descended, with Indigo in her wake. She addressed Lon Mackey. "I have medical supplies with me. Someone will need to get my trunk from the wagon.”

“Get her trunk!” Lon ordered. “We need help. Thirteen people have already died in only three days.”

The wagon master roared names, and another two wagoners got down and started to unload Mercy's trunk, one still cracking his whip to keep people back. The sullen mob still appeared ready to rush the wagons.

“No new passengers at the stop! Now back off or I start shooting!” The wagon master waved his pistol at the people about to surge forward.

The sight of the gun caused a collective gasp. Mercy heard her own. The mob fell back. Lon Mackey, also brandishing his pistol, led Mercy and Indigo through the crowd.

Indigo hovered closer to Mercy. They both knew what damage a bullet could do to flesh. And how a crowd could turn hostile. Mercy held tight to her slipping composure. Father, no violence, please.

To purchase, Her Healing Ways, drop by http://www.LynCote.net and click Buy Books.

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