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Authors: Miralee Ferrell

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Love Finds You in Last Chance, California

BOOK: Love Finds You in Last Chance, California
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BY MIRALEE FERRELL

S
umme
RSI
de
PRESS

Love Finds You in Last Chance, California
© 2008 by Miralee Ferrell

ISBN 978-1-934770-39-9

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without written permission of the publisher.

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the H
OLY
B
IBLE
, N
EW
I
NTERNATIONAL
V
ERSION
®
.
NIV
®
. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations are also taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

The town depicted in this book is a real place, but all characters are fictional. Any resemblances to actual people or events are purely coincidental.

Cover and Interior Design by Müllerhaus Publishing Group |
www.mullerhaus.net

Published by Summerside Press, Inc., 11024 Quebec Circle, Bloomington, Minnesota 55438 |
www.summersidepress.com

Fall in love with Summerside.

Printed in the USA.

Dedication

This book is dedicated to Kim Vogel Sawyer.
My heartfelt thanks for your friendship,
your confidence in my writing,
and your prayer support.
I’m truly humbled and blessed.

Acknowledgments

This story, and the opportunity to share it, was placed in my path by the Lord. The idea of a strong young woman trying to succeed in a man’s world in the Old West rumbled in my heart for months. The story of Kittie Wilkins, a woman who lived in the 1800s and ran one of the largest horse ranches in her area and time period, fascinated me, but I had no idea how it might be born. One day I got a note from my friend and fellow author Kim Vogel Sawyer, saying she’d recommended my work to a new publishing house that was starting a romance line. She offered the information a bit apologetically, half afraid I might not be pleased. Not so. I felt honored that someone of Kim’s caliber would endorse me. Thank you, my friend; I’ll forever be in your debt.

A huge thank-you to Rachel Meisel and Jason Rovenstine from Summerside Press, along with the rest of the staff who helped make this book a reality. You gave me an opportunity to be part of this awesome new line, and I’m grateful for your encouragement and support. You guys are the best!

Tamela Hancock Murray, my wonderful agent, has watched over my career and championed my work from the very beginning. She’s stood beside me when prospects looked dim, prayed for me when we were unsure of an outcome, and cheered when prayers were answered. I so appreciate not only the professionalism she brings to her job, but the friendship and personal touch she offers, as well.

My husband and I journeyed to Last Chance, now just a wide spot in the road with a few tombstones, foundations, and hundred-year-old fence posts rotting in the woods. We discovered two wonderful sources of help in the Foresthill area. Nolan Smith, District Archaeologist for Tahoe National Forest, drove with us over three hours round trip from our B and B up to the high mountain site of Last Chance. He was invaluable, showing us the area and providing wonderful bits of insight into the local history. While we were there, we spent three nights at the Christmas Tree Vineyard Lodge, a wonderful B and B owned and run by Claudia Raco. Her hospitality, knowledge of the area, books she lent me, and suggestions of whom to consult were a tremendous help. The great people who volunteer at the Foresthill museum also have my thanks.

I couldn’t write an acknowledgment page without touting the praises of my family, especially my wonderful husband, Allen. He listens patiently when I’m stressed, puts up with scanty meals when I’m pushing a deadline, and celebrates with me when each book is contracted and released. My grown kids, Marnee and Steven, along with their spouses, Brian and Hannah, have been staunch supporters, as has my sister, Jenny, and brother, Tim. Sylvia Gould, my mother, gets a special word of thanks for taking the time to be a proofreader for me and for being a constant source of encouragement.

Some of the inspiration for my character of Alexia came from my strong, independent daughter, Marnee. She’s my best friend as well as my riding partner; the girl was practically born on a horse. And don’t worry, Steven—one of these days I’ll weave a story around your personality, as well. God has blessed me with such an incredible family network. No author can succeed alone. I have some of the best critique partners and knowledgeable advance readers. A huge thanks goes to my crit partners who labored and brainstormed with me: Kimberly Johnson, Sherri Sand, and Teresa Morgan. You gals rock! Blessings on my three faithful advance readers who gave me honest feedback. Tammy, Kristy, and Amanda, you’re awesome and I hope you’ll stick with me for a few more books.

And finally, my heartfelt thanks to the rest of my family, church body, and friends who so unfailingly cheer me on in this exciting and challenging journey called writing. I’d never make it without your prayers and love surrounding me. My greatest source of inspiration is from the Lord, and all praise, honor, and glory go to Him. I’m nothing without Jesus, and my writing would be hollow words without His touch. May He always receive the glory for every word that I write.

L
AST
C
HANCE
, C
ALIFORNIA LIES ABOUT TWO AND A HALF
hours northeast of Auburn, California, deep in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s now a ghost town with only one small shack and a cemetery attesting to the thriving mining town that once existed. The town is almost totally obscured, and the encroaching forest hides the remnants of several hand-dug cellars. In the late 1800s, the main street contained a hotel, a candy store, a butcher shop, a dry goods store, and possibly more. Visitors can still see the spring and nearby glade that once boasted a small apple orchard, all tucked behind the scattering of homes that backed main street. The mule team routes into the town were steep, dropping nearly 5,000 feet in elevation from the top of the ridges to the bottom of the canyons, making for treacherous travel. It took a hardy miner or pioneer to traverse the rugged mountains and make his home in Last Chance.

Miralee Ferrell

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BOOK: Love Finds You in Last Chance, California
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