Comes the Winter by Samantha St. Claire Avalanches, isolation and snow blindness were stark realities for those daring to remain in Idaho’s Sawtooth Range through the harsh winter months. For city dweller, Lena Sommer, the warnings seemed exaggerated. In the fall of 1886, Lena leaves behind a life fraught with disappointments and loss only to arrive in Sawtooth City and find the man she’d pledged to marry has been killed. To return east is unthinkable; to stay is ill-advised, but she resolves to remain and manage the man’s lodging house despite the warnings. More than her stubborn nature influences her decision. From her first glimpse of this mountain valley, she falls captive to its wild beauty. Feeling she has at last found a hearth to call her own, she eagerly puts down roots. Sharing her love of literature with her lodgers before a warming fire, she builds a family of lonesome souls, where dreams awaken. However, one man stands apart, disturbing her peace with ominous warnings to leave before winter comes. Evan Hartmann knows from personal loss that winter snows bring to these mountains both unimaginable beauty and death. He is also a man conflicted, because as much as he’d like for Lena to leave the mountains, his heart longs for her to stay.
Praise for Comes the Winter "This story has a surprise ending which will delight fans of romance/adventure novels who have read too many scripted endings. This is a terrific read, a great novel!" ~Readers' Favorite five-star review "St. Claire has a wonderful ability to make the characters, the history and the scenery come alive. She is an enchanting writer! Romances normally would not be my genre of choice, and yet I find myself totally engrossed in her stories. I have actually found it difficult to put the book down. Wonderful job! I look forward to more of her writing." ~Amazon customer "A most emphatic 5 stars. I've already bought the first two now that I finished this one, and will bookmark this author as one to follow. I will recommend this book to anyone - wonderful!" ~Amazon customer
She recalled the small photo Mr. Nash had sent her, so little to explain the man who’d penned the letters. How strange, apprehending the essence of the man without ever having really known him. She wouldn’t even be haunted by his ghost because nothing bound them in this world aside from an agreement to marry. This was a grief of sorts, she supposed, not for herself, but for a future that might have been. Perhaps their relationship might have become more than one of business. The unlikely event that love might grow from such a relationship had not even tempted her. She was a realist, honestly born to it by two very pragmatic parents.
A sudden rise in men’s voices from the room below was followed by a whispered hush, as though someone had remembered the women were asleep in the room above them. That act of consideration she found endearing. Strangers can be kind. Somehow the kindness of these strangers touched her as the news of Mr. Nash’s passing had not. A single tear rolled from her eye to drop upon the pile of papers atop the desk. She brought her hand to her cheek and wiped it away. No more need fall. One was enough.
For a long while she sat in the oversized chair, his chair, with her feet tucked up beneath her. From here she had a view of the shadowy form of the mountains. The voice of her father whispered in her memory. Beware the dangers of making decisions after the sun sets. Best to tuck your worries under your pillow and sleep on them till morning. Sometimes in the night the worries will be ironed out by your sleeping head. So, she resolved not to decide what to do tonight. That decision would wait until the clear light of day.
But sleep refused to come. When all sounds in the room below had ceased, she wrapped a quilt around her shoulders, slid her feet into her slippers and tiptoed down the stairs. Opening the front door, a cacophony of night music met her. Gently closing the door behind her, she padded to the west end of the porch, settling herself in a generous chair with a view of the western sky where the ragged edge of the mountains made a darker shade of night. Stars danced above the distant peaks, and the moon cast a pale light upon the mountain’s craggy face.
A calm that should not have been her companion after a day of upheaval took a seat beside her. She had no idea when her weary body succumbed to its need for rest and her eyes closed in sleep.
Author Samantha St. Claire
Samantha St. Claire was born in 2016, the alter-ego and pen name of an author of historical fiction born a few decades earlier. She may have found her niche in western historical fiction, served up sweet. Never faint of heart, her signature female protagonists face the hazards of the frontier with courage, wit, and a healthy pinch of humor. The road from college graduation led due west where teaching in a small Arizona town fulfilled childhood fantasies on multiple levels. Hiking and backpacking the canyons and desert fed her imagination with the landscapes she would use later in life as an author. A few years passed before a change in jobs took her to California where her love of western history was further fed and her first novel of Russia's Fort Ross Colony came to life. But Idaho sparked her interest in the history of the magnificent central mountain ranges and Samantha St.Claire began her first series, The Sawtooth Range. Follow www.samanthastclaire.net to read more about the research that has helped develop the characters, towns and stories of the Sawtooth Range Series and now Whitcomb Creek, Montana.
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