It’s Wednesday! You know what that means. It means it’s time for an excerpt. Here’s a little bit that I just love from Trail of Dreams
He nodded to the ferryman. “Tell the fine lady here that she needs to be careful of dragons in the prairie grass.”
The ferryman laughed as he poled the raft along. “Can’t rightly say I ever saw me a dragon out here.”
“There you have it,” Katie said, crossing her arms where she sat. “Idjeet.”
The ferryman working the rope on the Boyle’s raft tripped and staggered, tipping the raft slightly to the side. Katie gripped the edges of her wagon seat and lost the color in her face. Even yards away, Aiden could see the fear back in her eyes.
“Just because this gentleman has never seen a prairie dragon doesn’t mean they don’t exist or that you shouldn’t be careful of them,” he argued on, his tone as mocking as he could make it. “Why, there could be one just around the river bend, waiting to snatch you.”
With a quick, wary gesture, Katie snapped her head up to meet his eyes. “Are you out of your mind? Has all that fiddle playing filled your head with fuzz?”
She was fighting it. The color came back to her face in splotches, but at least it was coming. His chest swelled with pride in her.
“You scoff now, but I’ve seen photographs of prairie dragons,” he said, resting his weight on one hip and crossing his arms in challenge.
“You have?” She sat straighter, curiosity replacing the mask of false scorn she’d put on. “Where?”
“Back in Ireland,” he said, both to her and to the ferryman with the pole, who had stopped his work and stared at Aiden with open mouth.
“You never,” Katie called him out. Her color was almost back to normal and she’d let go of the wagon seat.
“You saw the same photograph that I did, remember?”
“How could I remember something that never happened.” She tipped her chin up, almost as if they were on dry ground.
Two of Aiden’s younger brothers had poked their heads out of the back of their family’s wagon and were giggling, bright-eyed, at his story. He winked at them, then peeked past the wagon to the river’s opposite shore. It would take a few more minutes to reach it, but they were more than halfway across now.
“They’re small for dragons,” he went on, facing Katie once more. “But fat and brown. And they have fur instead of scales. They have horns, though, and great, large humps.”
The ferryman snorted with laughter beside him.
Across the stretch of river separating their rafts, Katie huffed in frustration. “Idjeet I said and idjeet I meant. Those are buffalo, not dragons.”
“Aye,” he called back to her. “The Great American Buffalo Dragon. Vicious beasties, they are. They’ll breathe fire at you and charge all at once.”
The ferryman working the rope on his wagon was laughing at the exchange now, along with both of the men on the Boyle’s raft. Behind Katie, a little sister and a brother had popped their heads up and were chuckling along as well.
“Saints be praised, Aiden Murphy. How you intend to find your way in this country is a mystery to me,” Katie said. She shifted position on the driver’s seat, relaxing even more.
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