Hello reader friends! Welcome to my Spring Into Reading Event! Every day this month I’m going to feature a new release (or will be released) book for you to add to your TBR. There will be guest posts, giveaways, book excerpts, and more! So make sure you come back daily and see what book is in the spotlight next! And if you’ve missed any, be sure to click on the “Spring Into Reading” tab and look at the other posts!
Okay, I’m about to use a southern word. Don’t tell my daughter – she thinks it’s weird that a New Yorker would even think of using this word.
Y’all – if you have never read one of Misty Beller’s books, you need to, like right now. They are so good. I mean, first of all the scenery is amazing. But even better, the characters will blow you away. I have loved every book I’ve read by Misty, including today’s spotlight. Hope in the Mountain River is fantastic. The series is fantastic. And I cannot wait to read book three! Today I’ve got an excerpt from Hope in the Mountain River AND Misty is offering to give away a SIGNED copy to one lucky reader. YAY!
ABOUT THE BOOK
This epic journey is not at all what she expected.
Joel Vargas can’t believe he’s lost his older brother in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains after surviving their harrowing voyage across the Atlantic. And he can’t shake the feeling that Adam—his only living relative—is in dire trouble. No matter what the cost, he and his band of friends won’t stop until Adam is found. He’s not sure if two Indian women they meet on the way will be a help or hindrance.
After the devastating loss of her daughter and husband to a grizzly attack, Elan is desperate to find an escape from her grief. As she and her friend journey from their Nez Perce camp, through the mountains and toward the great river, a band of white men is the last thing she expects to find, especially as winter blows in full force.
When the dangers increase, accomplishing Joel’s mission becomes the only hope for all their survival. If the elements don’t consume them, Elan has a feeling life will never be the same for any of them.
Excerpt from Hope in the Mountain River, Chapter One:
Bitterroot Mountains, Future Montana Territory
“Is he friend or enemy?” Elan’s blood pounded through her veins as it did when the warriors from her tribe struck their targets with tomahawks—blow upon blow, louder and louder with each passing moment. She pulled her furs tighter around her shivering shoulders against the bitter wind whipping down the mountainside.
“I can’t tell. They’re…” Her faithful friend Meksem paused, then a tiny gasp slipped from her mouth in an icy cloud. “It’s a white man.” The shock in her voice thrust the words to a dangerously loud whisper.
“A French trapper?” Elan softened her own tone so she didn’t alert the stranger of their presence. The trappers were the only soyapo who ever came to the Bitterroot Mountains. White people, they called themselves, from the northern country. She’d heard them speak of a place called Canada. Enough of these men had visited their camp that she’d become accustomed to their strange manners and learned some of their words.
“I don’t know. There are two of them. No…” Another pause.
If only she had a clear view herself. Elan forced her legs to relax around her horse’s sides. Everything in her wanted to ride the few steps forward beside her friend and peek through the trees to see the outsiders for herself.
But even that small movement could alert the strangers to their presence. Better to keep themselves hidden until they knew better what manner of persons they were up against.
With all her training among the braves, Meksem could likely protect the two of them from any harm these foreigners might plan. But sometimes stealth was a better feat than courage. Especially for two women alone in the mountains, facing white men who surely carried guns.
The emptiness in Elan’s heart had stripped away any caution for herself, but for her friend, she had to be diligent. She couldn’t lose Meksem—not to beast or man. Elan’s eyes lifted to the angry gray sky. The coming weather couldn’t be battled, though.
The clop of horses’ hooves thumped loudly in the icy air as the strangers drew closer. There must be more than two traveling, as much noise as their animals created.
Finally, Meksem drew back from her perch among the cluster of trees and turned to face Elan. Instead of speaking aloud, she used the language of signs to share what she’d seen. Four men and a woman.
A woman? Elan’s breath caught in her chest. These people must be friendly then. Unless the woman was a captive. She made the motions to ask, All of them are white?
Meksem shook her head, and her hands flew as she answered. All but one man. He is not of The People. Not Shoshone either.
Elan’s heart stilled as fear clutched her throat.
Even as she signed the question, her mind revolted against the answer. The Blackfoot were one of her people’s most dangerous enemies. The stories of how they’d taken women and children captive and the awful way they’d treated them as slaves had been shared as warning in every lodge.
I don’t know. Meksem’s answer only stilled a small bit of the churning in Elan’s middle. Maybe the man was Salish or from one of the other friendly tribes. After all, why would a Blackfoot brave be traveling so far south in the winter moons, especially traveling with a band of white people?
Her friend turned back to watch the strangers, and Elan braced herself for her first glimpse as the nose of a horse appeared between the trees. The moment Meksem had first caught the sound of riders approaching, Elan had spotted this perfect place to watch the strangers while keeping the two of them and their horses hidden.
The first sight she caught was of a horse with a long winter coat that had once been black, but long days in the sun had bleached the ends lighter brown. Its rider came into view, and something in Elan’s middle tightened. He wore a fur coat and hat, much like the French trappers did, and she couldn’t see much of his face except a glimpse of paler skin—the color of a white man’s.
Yet something in his manner—maybe in his bearing, the way he sat atop his horse—struck a yearning inside her. He rode like a horseman, one capable of communing with his mount and moving as one. She’d seen this among some of the braves in their camp. After all, her people were known for their skill with horses and the unique spotted animals they raised. But she’d never seen a man who gripped her attention at first glance like this one.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.
She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and children now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.
God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.
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Do you like stories set in the wilderness? What are some of your favorites? Don’t forget to stop back every day this month for more great reads, and if you’ve missed any days, go back and check them out!