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Rivers of Gold

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Rivers of Gold

Copyright © 2002

Tracie Peterson

Cover design by Jenny Parker

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

Published by Bethany House Publishers

11400 Hampshire Avenue South

Bloomington, Minnesota 55438

Bethany House Publishers is a division of
Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN 978-0-7642-2380-8

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Peterson, Tracie.

Rivers of gold / by Tracie Peterson.

    p. cm. — (Yukon quest ; 3)

ISBN 0-7642-2380-1 (pbk.)

1. Survival after airplane accidents, shipwrecks, etc.—Fiction. 2. Women pioneers—Fiction. 3. Botanists—Fiction. 4. Alaska—Fiction I. Title.

PS3566.E7717 R58              2002

813’.54—dc21                                                                2001005674

With special thanks to

Cheryl Thompson,

Administrative Assistant,

Dawson City Museum.

BOOKS
by
TRACIE PETERSON

www.traciepeterson.com

A Slender Thread

I Can’t Do It All!
**

What She Left for Me

Where My Heart Belongs

A
LASKAN
Q
UEST

Summer of the Midnight Sun

Under the Northern Lights

Whispers of Winter

T
HE
B
RIDES OF
G
ALLATIN
C
OUNTY

A Promise to Believe In

T
HE
B
ROADMOOR
L
EGACY
*

A Daughter’s Inheritance

An Unexpected Love

B
ELLS OF
L
OWELL
*

Daughter of the Loom

A Fragile Design

These Tangled Threads

Bells of Lowell
(3 in 1)

L
IGHTS OF
L
OWELL
*

A Tapestry of Hope

A Love Woven True

The Pattern of Her Heart

D
ESERT
R
OSES

Shadows of the Canyon

Across the Years

Beneath a Harvest Sky

H
EIRS OF
M
ONTANA

Land of My Heart

The Coming Storm

To Dream Anew

The Hope Within

L
ADIES OF
L
IBERTY

A Lady of High Regard

A Lady of Hidden Intent

A Lady of Secret Devotion

W
ESTWARD
C
HRONICLES

A Shelter of Hope

Hidden in a Whisper

A Veiled Reflection

Y
UKON
Q
UEST

Treasures of the North

Ashes and Ice

Rivers of Gold

*with Judith Miller **with Allison Bottke and Dianne O’Brian

TRACIE PETERSON is a popular speaker and bestselling author who has written over fifty books, both historical and contemporary fiction. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana.

Visit Tracie’s Web site at:
www.traciepeterson.com
.

Contents

PART ONE

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

PART TWO

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

CHAPTER NINETEEN

CHAPTER TWENTY

CHAPTER TWENTY ONE

CHAPTER TWENTY TWO

PART THREE

CHAPTER TWENTY THREE

CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR

CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE

CHAPTER TWENTY SIX

CHAPTER TWENTY SEVEN

CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT

CHAPTER TWENTY NINE

CHAPTER THIRTY

CHAPTER THIRTY ONE

CHAPTER THIRTY TWO

CHAPTER THIRTY THREE

Part One

OCTOBER 1898

It is of the Lord’s mercies
that we are not consumed, because his
compassions fail not.

L
AMENTATIONS
3:22

—[CHAPTER ONE]—

MIRANDA COLTON floated in a sea of warmth, the sensation unlike any she had ever known.
Maybe I’ve died
, she thought.
Maybe I’ve died and this is heaven
. She attempted to open her eyes to confirm her thoughts, but her eyelids were too heavy.

Drifting in and out of a hazy sleep, Miranda knew nothing but the comfort and assurance that all was well. There was no sense of panic. No fear of the unknown. Her spirit rested in complete peace.

In her dreams, she saw herself as a young child, happily playing in fields of flowers, the mist of the ocean upon her skin, the salty taste upon her lips. She lifted her face to the sun and felt the delicious warmth engulf her. She would like to stay here forever. Safe and warm. Happily contented among the green grasses and colorful flowers. At times, a delicate aroma wafted through the air, delighting her further with the luscious scent of roses, honeysuckle, and lilacs.

Then voices called to her. Miranda didn’t recognize the language, but somehow she knew the words were being spoken to her. She struggled to listen—to understand. With great difficulty she opened her eyes and stared into the brown, well-worn face of an old woman.

Miranda felt no sense of recollection at the sight of the serious countenance before her. The woman was clearly a stranger, yet she seemed so concerned, so gentle. A momentary tremble of fear seized Miranda’s heart, but the woman’s tender touch made her realize the old woman was no threat to her well-being.

“You wake up now,” the woman said in a thick, almost guttural tongue.

Miranda opened her mouth to reply, but no words came out. Her mouth felt as if it were stuffed with cotton. Closing her eyes, she heard the woman call to her again.

“No sleep. You make too much sleep.

You wake up now.” The command did little good. Miranda had no energy for the task.

She felt the woman swab her face with a cool cloth. The woman gently urged, “You wake up. You no die.”

Die?
Miranda wondered at the word as she listened to the woman chatter on. Wasn’t she already dead? She couldn’t remember what had happened to her, but she was certain that it had been a very difficult journey. It didn’t startle her to think of dying or even of being dead. She merely wondered why she couldn’t wake up. Weren’t you supposed to see pearly gates and hosts of angels after death? Nowhere in her church upbringing could she remember anything about brown-faced women escorting a person to their reward.

The woman forced water into Miranda’s mouth. The cold liquid felt marvelous as it trickled down her throat, dissolving the cotton taste.
How very pleasant
, Miranda thought.

“How is she?” a masculine voice questioned in a decidedly English accent.

Miranda started to open her eyes, certain that she was about to meet God. Funny, she had never thought of him as an Englishman. She hesitated a moment. Didn’t the Bible say that you would die if you saw God’s face?

Then it came to her.
If this is God, then I’m already dead and it won’t matter
. She opened her eyes, prepared to meet her maker. Instead, she met the compassionate gaze of dark brown eyes. The man had a gentleness about him as he leaned over her to touch her forehead.

“I say, seems the fever is gone. You’ll soon be right as rain.” His dark brown mustache twitched ever so slightly as he offered her a smile.

“What?” Miranda barely croaked the word out.

The man patted her on the head as if she were a small child. “Nellie will fix you right up. You’ll see. She’s quite gifted in the ways of healing.”

Miranda wanted to question the man but had no energy to do so. She watched in silence as he turned to the woman. His alabaster skin was quite the contrast to the older woman’s native complexion. His dark hair had a haphazard lay to it. Perhaps he had just awakened, or perhaps he wasn’t given to worrying over appearances.

“I’ve prepared the herbs you asked for, Nellie. That should help considerably. Shall I put a pot of water on to boil?”

The old woman nodded and followed the man. Miranda wanted to call out to them and beg them not to leave her, but again her voice failed her. She tried to remember what had happened to her.
How did I get here?
But even as she worked at the foggy memories, Miranda knew only one thing for certain. This wasn’t heaven—she wasn’t dead.

BOOK: Rivers of Gold
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