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Authors: Ali Spooner

Tags: #romance historical, #lesbian erotica, #lesbian adventure, #romance adult fiction, #pioneer woman

Finding Home

BOOK: Finding Home
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Finding Home

Published by Ali Spooner at Smashwords

Copyright 2011 Ali Spooner

This ebook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to
other people. If you would like to share this book with another
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of this author.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The following is a complete
work of fiction. All people, places and events are products of the
author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual people, places or
events is entirely coincidental.

 

 

 

PART ONE

 

Nat rode through the pouring rain
toward the cave that she had been using for shelter for the past
few weeks. The rain drops slid down the brim of her hat only to
bounce off the leather of her saddle. Hardy, her buckskin stallion
exhaled sharply and shook his body violently to free his body of
the soaking raindrops. Each day he and his master grew more
intolerant of the dreary weather, yearning for a less miserable
clime.

 

Nat and Hardy reached the clearing that
opened to a large cave, one she, Hardy and Quincy her pack mule had
called home for several weeks and she was welcomed by the smoke of
her smoldering campfire. Quincy, who was tethered at the rear of
the cave, welcomed them home with a loud grunt. Hardy shook his
body one last time in an attempt to rid his body of the cold rain
before stepping under the protective lip of the caves
entrance.

 

Nat dismounted and hung her full length
range coat on an oak limb that had conveniently grown into the
mouth of the cave. She hung the pelts she had recovered that day
beside her coat and began removing the saddle and tack from Hardy.
Fully grown now at four years old, Hardy had grown into quite a
loyal companion who had served Nat well. Stretching the tack out on
the rocks near the fire pit to dry, Nat picked up an old blanket
and wiped the soaking wetness from Hardy’s body.

 

Gyp, Nat’s faithful blue coated
companion trotted up to her master and licked her face as she bent
down to dry Hardy’s legs. “Hello Gyp,” she said to the dog that
provided protection for Quincy and Nat’s belongings while she was
out during the day. Nat buried her hands in the deep blue fur of
the animal as Gyp continued to lick her face.

 

Nat hung up the blanket to allow it to
dry and then attached feed sacks to Hardy and Quincy. “Ready for
some left over stew,” Nat asked Gyp? Gyp’s ears perked as she sat
and watched with loving eyes as her master added dry wood to the
fire. Nat settled the stew pot on the spit above the flames and sat
back beside Gyp as they waited for their dinner to warm.

 

Nat reached inside a saddle bag and
pulled out a chunk of dried jerky, tearing off a piece for Gyp and
tossing it to the patiently waiting dog. “Good catch girl,” Nat
praised her canine companion and then she tore a piece of the dried
meat off with her teeth. Nat chewed slowly allowing the saliva to
mix with the meat to soften it enough for her to chew the spicy
meat.

 

Nat removed her hat and let her
shoulder length black hair tumble down her neck. She laid her head
back against her bed roll as she watched the flames dance to life
in the fire pit. Shadows licked the walls of the cave as Nat slowly
surveyed the culmination of her last month’s efforts. Mounds of
pelts were stored near the rear of the cave to remain dry and to
remain secluded from anyone who might wander into the cave with
thoughts of looting her bounty. It certainly wouldn’t be the first
time a fellow trapper took advantage of another to profit from
their hard work.

 

After another day to obtain a final
days trapping and to retrieve traps, Nat would break camp to head
to Seattle to sell her pelts, restock her supplies and to choose
her next destination. This site had been very profitable, but Nat
grew weary of the endless rainy days and cool
temperatures.

 

Nat smiled to herself. Some time spent
closer to the ocean would do her and her companions good she
thought, as she watched the contents of her stew pot start to boil.
Nat scooped up a portion each for her and Gyp who waited patiently
for her meal to cool. Nat slowly stirred the thick stew allowing it
to cool as her mind wandered.

 

Nat, born eighteen years ago in British
Columbia as Nathalie St. Croix was the sole child of Nathan St.
Croix a Canadian trapper and his wife, Nanya a full blooded Mohican
woman. The family traveled the Canadian/US border together
trapping, hunting and trading until Nanya died six years earlier
during an outbreak of influenza. Motherless at twelve years old,
Nat clung more tightly to the father she adored as he struggled to
teach her the ways of the world. Trapping, hunting and fishing came
as easy as breathing to Nat, but teaching Nat to be a woman was an
impossible task for Nathan. He had always treated Nat as a son, her
slim, six foot tall frame with androgynous features allowed her to
pass as a young man in most settings which proved a benefit to Nat
during most of her young life.

 

For five more years after her mother’s
death Nat and her father trapped the Northern US and Lower Canada.
Nathan taught her everything he knew about fur trading and Nat was
an adept student, learning quickly the skills she would need to
survive her rapidly changing world.

 

War had broken out in the eastern half
of the country so Nathan decided they would push further west away
from the brewing turmoil that caused many families to head further
west as well. Many times in their travels Nat and her father had
come upon a solitary wagon of “Green Horns” who had fled west to
escape only to find themselves lost, starving or besieged by
illness. Other travelers had ravaged the supplies and possessions
of the deceased leaving little evidence of those who had
perished.

 

Nat’s emotions grew hard in the
vigorous environment she was raised, but she could not hold back
the tears which flowed freely down her cheeks after she and her
father discovered a small group of wagons that had been razed.
There were several burnt skeletons, mostly of adults, but also
several small children. Nat and her father buried the remains to
prevent further devastation by predators.

 

Nat sat on a rock next to Nathan as
they rested after covering the bodies and listened to the
whispering of the wind as a cool breeze picked up. A weak sound
made it to Nat’s ears and she struggled to make out the sound. She
stood and moved slowly back through the debris changing direction
with each new sound emitted. Nat discovered that the sounds she
heard were the whimpering of a small animal and she followed the
source until it became stronger.

 

Tracing the sound to a pile of
discarded clothing, Nat crept closer to the sound and raised a
partially burned shirt to find a tiny bundle of blue fur. In this
harsh environment, the mother must have abandoned this pup as the
runt of the litter, left to perish on its own while increasing the
chance of survival for its stronger siblings.

 

The pup’s eyes barely open peered up at
Nat pleading for her help. Nat bent down, cradling the small
creature in one of her large hands as her fingers stroked the soft
fur. She walked back to her father to show him her
discovery.

 

Nathan looked at the small pup in his
daughters hand and knew its chances for survival was very slim, but
the glow in his daughter’s eyes told him she would do everything in
her power to see the pup survived.

 


Looks like we have another
mouth to feed, he said with a smile. Bundle her up and let’s see if
we can teach her to eat, he added. ”

 

Nathan set up camp away from the burnt
out wagons and started a fire. Nat warmed up some of the stew she
and her father had eaten the night before and dipped her fingers in
the rich gravy. Holding the pup in one hand, she smeared the gravy
across the pup’s lips and spoke softly to the tiny animal
encouraging it to eat. Slowly the pup began to lick its lips,
tasting human food for the first time in its short life and Nat
felt that the pup would survive. Nathan, more of a pessimist than
his daughter, worried that the pup would die, helped his daughter
by dipping a small rag in cool water and pressing it to the pup’s
mouth. The puppy instinctively chewed on the rag, forcing out the
water as her small knobbed tail wagged in Nat’s hand.

 

Nathan finished setting up camp that
night while he watched his daughter nurse the young pup. As he
toiled, he offered a silent prayer for the pup to survive and
become a much needed companion for his daughter.

 

After their meal, Nathan watched as Nat
and her small friend curled up next to the fire and drifted off to
sleep.

 

The next morning Nat awoke to a soft
warm tongue lapping at her chin and shiny brown eyes gazing up to
her. She warmed up more gravy and a small chunk of otter meat which
she mashed into tiny fragments that she finger fed to the small
pup.

 

After breaking camp, they mounted their
horses and headed north to a cabin tucked away in the dense woods.
During the ride, the pup snuggled under Nat’s coat reveling in her
warmth and protection.

 

Near nightfall, they reached the cabin
and cautiously entered the abode. Many a stray traveler or vagrant
animal had been known to take up residence in trappers cabins, so
the first entry was always deemed dangerous.

 

Nat and Nathan were fortunate to find
that the last human inhabitant had left dry wood on the hearth and
Nat quickly had a fire burning to light and warm the cabin. Nathan
found several small lanterns and filled them with oil they had
obtained from the creatures they trapped and soon the cabin was
ablaze with light.

 

Comfortable that the cabin was secure
and safe, Nathan returned outside to begin to unload the packs and
tend to the animals while Nat set up shop inside the cabin. She
stored the pelts in a small room off the kitchen and unpacked their
food and cooking supplies.

Nat portioned out flour and patted out
biscuits to accompany the last of their trail stew. Tomorrow they
would hunt and with good fortune they would have fresh meat for
dinner. Nat hummed with excitement as she prepared their meal, the
puppy bouncing along behind her every step.

 

Nathan brought in fresh water and
watched as Nat cleaned up the sleeping areas and prepared the
rustic cots for slumber. Nat returned to the hearth and found the
biscuits browning nicely. She dipped out a small bowl of gravy and
another small chunk of the meat and prepared it for the
puppy.

 

Nathan dished up stew for he and his
daughter and added biscuits to each of their plates as Nat placed
the bowl down in front of the puppy. Nat then sat down with her
father to begin her meal.

 


Have you given thought to a
name he asked?”

 


I was thinking Gyp, short
for Gypsy,” Nat replied.

 


Well we are a group of
nomads, he said so Gyp would fit right in,” he
concluded.

 


Do you really think she is
going to make it Dad,” Nat asked?

 


From the way she is
attacking that food bowl I would say yes. I think I may have
finally found someone who appreciates my cooking,” he added with a
grin.

 

Gyp growled her appreciation of the
meal and then drank fresh water from the bowl Nathan had placed by
her food.

 


Instinct is kicking in,” he
said as he watched the puppy lap at the water.

 

Nat watched with pride as Gyp finished
her meal and she broke off a portion of biscuit and dipped it into
the gravy on her plate before dropping it in the pups
bowl.

 


I want you to go hunting
for some fresh meat in the morning Nat while I start setting the
traps, her father requested. I don’t know about you but I am sick
of otter stew he said with a grin. ”

BOOK: Finding Home
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