Paradise Pines Series
Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc.
27305 W. Live Oak Rd #424
Castaic, CA 91384
Sierra Mountain Range, California
Rebecca Ryder's knees buckled. She staggered to hold herself upright as she stared at the cabin meant to be her future. You didn't build futures with sagging porches and roofs so patched they looked more like a quilt than something meant to keep rain off your head. Her breath remained trapped in her throat. Rebecca couldn't see the shining ray of hope her grandpa promised her in his letters. All she saw was her desperation reaching a new low. She might never recover from this one.
Her gaze swept the unkempt lot strewn with weeds and rocks. Giant oaks, cedars, and firs bordered the yard. Even their majestic stance couldn't lessen the unsightliness of the unpainted wood barn standing in disrepair.
Rebecca tethered her mare to a broken railing and stepped onto the narrow porch. Several pesky chicks scattered in her wake. As she proceeded across the warped boards, a few creaked and dipped under her boots. She knocked, but no one answered. Her hand paused on the door handle and dread filled her mind of what might be inside. She pressed her shoulder against the rough wooden plank and shoved it open enough to squeeze into the interior.
Oh, no, Grandpa. It was obvious he had been too busy working the mine to worry about such things as creature comforts. The stench of decay in a garbage pail curdled her stomach, but not as much as the thought of her dear grandfather dying alone in this squalor a few days before she arrived from Pennsylvania.
She stared at rows of newspapers standing side by side from the floor to eye level. What was he thinking? The papers nearly filled the room. She stepped further inside the cabin. Lace-like cobwebs hanging from the rafters caught in her hair and brushed against her face. She swiped them away and continued walking along the narrow pathway through the wall of newspapers.
A rusty woodstove with three broken bricks acting as a corner leg, stood in an area she would hardly consider a kitchen. Chipped crockery sat on the bottom shelf of a small, open cupboard.
She brushed her fingers over crumpled bedding covering a platform near the stove. The inside of this rickety shack was even worse than she expected.
Rebecca surveyed the rest of the open space. Her heart lurched at seeing the treasured rocker. It was the only piece of furniture Grandpa took with him when her father ran him off their Texas farm five years ago. The hope she had harbored that she'd turned the wrong way in this remote wilderness faded away. She moved around the edge of the makeshift bed and dropped onto the chair. The mess she found inside the shack made no sense. The grandfather she'd known all of her life was always neat and orderly. There must be a good reason why he lived like this. She moved her hands back and forth along the smooth armrests, wishing her grandpa were still here to explain it all.
After her grandfather's death, Rebecca Ryder finds herself the sole owner of his gold mine.
The inheritance would be a great asset, but her grandfather didn't tell her how to find its entrance. Now, if she cannot find it, a looming property tax bill could take her legacy away from her. The gold mine is her only shot at the independence she's desperately dreamed of her entire life.
Her problem is the infuriating Scots who live on the surrounding property. They are intent on ripping that future and her inheritance away from her.
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