Jana closed the journal just as a cold breeze hit her. The front doors of the parlor opened, and a group of jovial hikers led by a ranger walked in. Jana blew her nose and wiped new tears from her eyes.
“Now what would cause such a lovely woman to cry on such a beautiful day here in Yellowstone?”
Jana looked up, startled by the ranger who had sat down next to her on the couch she occupied. A split second passed, and Jana shrunk back in shock.
“Daniel?” she asked, staring incredulously at the man sitting next to her.
“Yeah, my name’s Daniel,” he said, smiling and pointing to the name badge on his uniform. “But most everyone just calls me Dan.”
Jana stared at the name badge, and back at the man’s face. The badge clearly read “Daniel Osborne”.
“How . . . ? What . . . ?” she stammered. She continued to stare at the man’s handsome face. There were some subtle differences from what she remembered of Daniel’s features, but the resemblance was remarkable. The black hair was cropped short in a modern military style, and the intense dark stare that she remembered was absent. This Daniel’s chocolate eyes sparkled brightly.
“You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” the ranger flashed her a radiant smile. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Jana replied slowly. “You remind me of someone.”
“Well, I hope that’s a good thing,” he grinned. “So, you didn’t answer my question.”
“What is a lovely lady doing in this grand park, crying. There is no such thing as a bad day in Yellowstone.”
“I was reading.” Jana shrugged, fingering the leather bound journal in her hands.
“Tell you what.” Dan patted her on the knee. “I just got back from a six hour hike, and I’m real hungry and thirsty. Would you care to join me for dinner and a drink? I’m off duty as of now.”
“Sure, I’d love to.” She was still staring at him, disbelief on her face. “Can I ask you something?” she asked tentatively.
“Has your family lived in this area long?” Jana realized what an odd question that was, but she had to find out if her suspicions were true.
Dan laughed. “My family has roots here since time began. I think my great, great, great, great, something great-grandfather was one of the first fur trappers in this region. I was named after him. Legend has it he fell head over heels in love with a woman who appeared out of nowhere in the Yellowstone wilderness, and they lived happily ever after. What a weird question to ask, though.”
“Well, Dan.” Jana stood up. “It’s about to get a lot weirder.”
I promised in last week's Teaser Tuesday post that I would announce the release date for Book 5 this week:
Yellowstone Deception will release on Amazon on Wednesday, July 11, 2012
|Madison Junior Ranger Station, Madison River and National Park Mountain to the left|
I had an earlier date I was working towards, but since my family and I will be gone from June 15 - July 3rd (yes, we'll be in Yellowstone!), I simply can't get the book out any sooner than the week after we return. I'm sure I'll be sitting in the meadow behind the Madison Junior Ranger Station with my laptop on my knees, working on revisions and edits, while my husband and kids climb Purple Mountain, or hike some other nearby trail.