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Authors: DiAnn Mills

A Woman Called Sage

BOOK: A Woman Called Sage
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Praise

Put a female bounty hunter with a huge chip on her shoulder in late-1800s Colorado, add the skilled writing of DiAnn Mills, and you have a winner for sure. High-paced action, tension that twangs on every page, an impossible romance, and Sage, a character who will move into your heart and stay there. DiAnn Mills keeps getting better and better.

Lauraine Snelling, author of the Red River of the North, Return to Red River, and Daughters of Blessing series

DiAnns phenomenal and has a focused heart for God. Her love of story and desire to share biblical application for daily living through her books is a tremendous blessing.

Tracie Peterson, bestselling author of
Dawns Prelude
and the Brides of Gallatin County series

Once again, Mills delivers.
A Woman Called Sage
is a well-blended story of love, trust, and faith that you will remember long after youve read the final page.

Judith Miller, author of the Daughters of Amana series

From the first draw of the pistol to the last turn of the page, the tale of
A Woman Called Sage
left me breathless.

Kathleen YBarbo, author of
Beloved Counterfeit
and
The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper

DiAnn Mills has created an unforgettable heroine in
A Woman Called Sage.
An engaging tale that will keep any reader turning pages until the unexpected ending. Dont pass on this one.

Lyn Cote, author of the Texas Star of Destiny series

A Woman Called Sage
expertly combines the essential elements of storytelling: compelling characters, an intricate plot, and stakes as high as the Rockies themselves.

Nancy Moser, author of
Just Jane
and
Mozarts Siste

Sage is such a well-balanced character of woman and bounty hunter, and the intrigue keeps the pages turning. Still, Gods hand is clearly at work through all the conflict. A good read on every level.

Linda Windsor, award-winning author of the Fires of Gleannmara series

Loss and revenge, love and forgiveness.
A Woman Called Sage
brings it all to light in Colorados rugged and majestic Rocky Mountains. Another riveting story by DiAnn Mills that has me waiting for the next Timmons family tale.

Mona Hodgson, author of
Two Brides Too Many
in the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series

DiAnn Mills once more delivers a winner. In
A Woman Called Sage,
she has woven a historical saga destined to capture readers hearts.

Irene Brand, author of inspirational fiction since 1984

A Woman Called Sage
A Novel
DiAnn Mills

Copyright

ZONDERVAN

A Woman Called Sage

Copyright 2010 by DiAnn Mills

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of Zondervan.

ePub Edition MARCH 2010 ISBN: 978-0-310-56528-4

Requests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan,
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Mills, DiAnn.

A woman called Sage / DiAnn Mills.

p. cm.

ISBN 978-0-310-29329-3 (pbk.)

1. RevengeFiction. 2. Women bounty huntersFiction. 3. ColoradoHistoryFiction I. Title.

PS361.I567W66 2010

813.6-dc22

2010001909

This title is also available in a Zondervan audio edition. Visit
www.zondervan.fm
.

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

Any Internet addresses (websites, blogs, etc.) and telephone numbers printed in this book are offered as a resource. They are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement by Zondervan, nor does Zondervan vouch for the content of these sites and numbers for the life of this book.

To Allison Egert, who is more amazing, more beautiful, and more special every day.

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36:26

O
NE

S
OUTHEASTERN
C
OLORADO
S
UMMER
, 1875

L
ife didnt get any better than having the love of a good man and his baby kicking against her ribs. Add a summer breeze to cool the heat of a southern Colorado sun and a bed of soft green grass tickling her feet, and Sage felt a slice of heaven had come to earth.

Remember the first time I asked if I could come courtin? Charles propped himself on one arm and placed his hand on her mountainous stomach.

Every minute of it. I was ordering sugar and coffee from the general store while Mama looked at yard goods, and you were asking about a rifle. She laughed. You nearly rubbed the finish off that Winchester.

But I bought it. You were wearing a blue bonnet and trying to look like you werent watching me.

Just how did he know she had fought to keep from staring at him? Her childhood friend had grown into a handsome man. Now, Charles, thats not true.
You
were pretending not to look at
me
.

He shook his head as though she were a naughty child. Youre right about me not being able to keep my eyes off you, butOh, I feel her kick. Shes a strong one.

You should feel
him
kick after midnight.

Charles kissed her stomach. I couldnt remember when youd
gotten so pretty, and I vowed I wouldnt leave the store until you let me call on you. He shooed away a honeybee buzzing over them. I turned that rifle over and over in my hands until you and your mama were finished with the storekeep. Sage became the most beautiful name Id ever heard.

No one can say my name like you or make me as happy.

He sat up and stared out at the cottonwoods in the distance; one had seen too many seasons, and its gnarled branches twisted to the sky like a crooked old man. Sages pet wolf chased a rabbit, and the animal scampered away. Birds serenaded them as though they were the only two people in the worldwell, three.

Well give our baby a fine life, Sage. Youll be the perfect mama because youre the perfect wife. He turned, and his brow etched into deep lines. Every day I wake up next to you is a gift from God.

She started to sit up, and he helped her. I will always remember the things you say to me because my heart says them back to you. She touched his face. Here I am the size of a buffalo, and youre making me feel pretty. Oh Placing a hand on her stomach, she grinned. Hes kicking like he knows were anxious for him to get here.

Its a she.

She reached up to run her fingers through his thick, nutcolored hair, and envisioned a son with his papas green eyes, sparkling like the stars. Hell be here in about six weeks.

Boy or a girl, it will be a fine baby. Elizabeth Sage.

Timothy Charles. She smiled, admiring his broad shoulders. Oh, what a lucky woman she was.

There was a long pause before he spoke again. I have something to tell you.

Her pulse raced faster than a hummingbirds wings. Is the news good? she said, hoping he wasnt leaving again. Those times were so hard to bear.

He caressed her face, gently, as he always did, so she wouldnt
feel his calluses. You can tell your father that after two weeks, we wont need him to help with chores anymore.

Sage held her breath. You wont be traveling?

Nope. I head out three days from now, and Ill be back in less than ten days time. Then Im home for you and our baby and all of our babies to come, every day, for the rest of my life. Ive sold the ranch up north, and Im heading there to close the deal. Well have enough money to buy more land here and maybe some cattle too.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him long and hard. He smelled like the outdoors, and she loved it. Loved him. At times her feelings frightened her, as though she didnt deserve Charles and his affections. Tears slipped down her face.

I think youre pleased, he whispered.

Very pleased.

Its about time I ran this ranch myself and became a respectable husband and papa. Your fathers right. I leave you alone much too often and depend on him to oversee the place. He laughed. Who knows? Now he might learn to like me.

Having Charles and Papa enjoy each others company would be next to perfect. Her tears flowed like a rushing streama steady occurrence of late, with the baby growing inside her. You are more than I could ever ask for. Well work this land together and raise a fine family.

His gaze grew intense, as though he had something more he wanted to say but couldnt bring himself to speak.

Had he and Papa argued again? What is it?

He shook his head. A man has no right to be this happy.

Or a woman. She heard his stomach growl. I think we need to head back home so I can finish supper. Cant have my husband starving.

He kissed her nose, each cheek, and her lips. There, I just had dessert first.

Charles whistled for Wolf to join them, then pulled her to
her feet. The gray and white female bounded toward them. Sage patted the animals head, and Charles laughed. Her pet wolf was the talk of neighboring ranches, but Sage had tamed her. Just like Charles had tamed some of Sages wildness but not her spirit.

Hand in hand they walked the mile back to their ranch. While Charles fed the livestock, Sage checked on a fork-tender beef roast that had been simmering most of the afternoon, along with potatoes, onions, and green beans. She rolled out biscuits and added another log to the fire before baking them. For a moment, she stole a whimsical glance at the cradle Papa had built and the tiny quilt Mama had stitched. Baby clothes draped over the side. Soon. Very soon.

Grasping the vegetable basket, she hurried outside for fresh tomatoes. From the shade of a juniper, she squinted into the sun and saw men riding near the west pasture and the creek that wound through the ranch.

We got company, she said to Charles, who was pumping water into the cattle trough.

He caught a glimpse of the men and snatched up his rifle from where it leaned against the trough. Sage, get inside the house. Now! Fetch your rifle and be ready to use it.

As clumsy as she felt with the weight of the baby, Sage raced to the porch, up the three steps, and inside the house. The tone of his voice had shaken her. Hed never used it before.

He knows who they are.

The loaded Winchester rested in the corner nearest the door. The moment she wrapped her fingers around the metal barrel, the gravity of Charless warning sent an icy chill up her spine. Who were those men? Or was Charles simply being cautious?

She glanced out the open door toward the riders. Charles had moved into the shadow of the barn, his rifle resting against his shoulder. She closed the door just enough to see outside and shoot.

The four men were a dirty lot, but that wasnt anything unusual.

Stop right there, Charles said. Wolf growled, and Charles didnt hush her.

Not until we get what we came for, one of the men said. We know its here.

Theres nothing on this ranch that belongs to you. Consider yourself warned. Theres more than one rifle fixed on you.

Liar. Aint no one here but you and your Injun woman. We came to get whats owed to us, and we aint leavin until we have it. We can tear this place apart with or without your say-so.

This is your last chance, Charles said. Get off my land.

When we have our money and youre dead.

Kill me and youll have more trouble than you ever thought.

Sage held her breath, straining to listen to every word. She wanted to shout at Charles to give them whatever they wanted. And why did they want him dead? All she and Charles had of value was livestock. The men could have driven them off and been gone.

Before she could further contemplate the situation, a shot rang out, and Charles fell backward. Sage gasped and rushed onto the porch. Another shot, and Wolf sprawled out beside Charles. Something seized hera mixture of fury and panic. She stumbled down the steps, tripping in her awkwardness.

Charles! He didnt move, no matter how loudly she screamed his name. Blood poured from his chest and spilled onto the ground. The men laughed, and she stared up at them, memorizing each grimy face.

The one who had shot Charles pointed his rifle at her. Tell us where the money is or you can join him.

We dont have any money. Take the cattle and horses.

I wont ask again.

She stared into his face, memorizing the dark, curly hair and hollow, wide-set eyes. With Charless body at her feet, revenge rose in her spirit. She raised the rifle, but too late. He fired.

BOOK: A Woman Called Sage
3.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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