Hailed as "one of the best writers in the business" by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Maggie Osborne delivers heartrending tales of resilient women full of grit and dignity. Now meet the irresistible Low Down, who never had anything good happen to her until she asked for the one thing only a man could give her....As scruffy and rootless as the other prospectors searching for gold in the Rockies, Low Down wanted nothing in return for nursing a raggedy bunch through the pox. But when pressed to reveal her heart's wish, she admits, "I want a baby". Not a husband, not a forced marriage to the proud man who drew the scratched marble and became honor bound to marry her. To be sure, Max McCord was easy on the eyes, but he loved another woman and dreamed of a different life. Yet they agreed to a temporary marriage that could end only in disaster. But can this strange twist of fate lead to the silver lining that both have been searching for?
When a group of grateful prospectors offers to give fellow prospector Low Down her "fondest wish" in return for her nursing them through a smallpox epidemic, they are stunned when she says she wants a baby. What she gets, however, is a husband she doesn't want, a husband who doesn't want her, and a family--and eventually a love--she never even dreamed of. Funny and touching, this riveting romance, in classic Osborne fashion, takes an outwardly independent but inwardly fragile heroine, pairs her with a hero smart enough to realize her worth, and lets them find each other despite a host of almost insurmountable obstacles. This rewarding read will not disappoint the author's many fans. Osborne, the reigning queen of this type of Western romance, lives in Colorado. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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January 03, 2000
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Excerpt from Silver Lining by Maggie Osborne
"Hip hip, hooray! Hip hip, hooray!"
Blushing furiously, Low Down scowled at the men saluting her and waving tin mugs of beer that Olaf had brewed for the occasion. As she'd never before been a guest of honor or been cheered, she didn't know how to respond or where to look or if she should raise her beer mug, too.
Feeling flustered, she turned her gaze down the mountainside toward the haze of smoke hanging above the ashes of the schoolhouse. Burning the school had been the first order of business; then everyone had climbed up to Olaf's cabin for a celebration dinner of fried trout and elk steaks, followed by spirited talk about rebuilding.
It was a gorgeous day to consider new beginnings. Blue gentian and thick clumps of purple aster spilled down the mountainside like jewels strewn among the boulders. Daisies danced along the valley bottom, chasing the creek, and the rabbit brush had spiked into golden bloom. High overhead an eagle circled against a bottomless sky, so graceful and wild and free that Low Down's chest ached to watch. Right now she wished that she, too, could fly so she could escape the speech it appeared that Billy Brown, Piney Creek's self-appointed mayor, was preparing to deliver.
Stepping up on Olaf's sagging porch, Billy pulled back his shoulders, thrust out his belly, and led the enthusiastic salute in Low Down's honor. If she'd known she would be cheered, if she had even suspected this would turn into the proudest day of her life, she would have bathed in the creek this morning and washed her hair and donned some clean duds for the occasion. Instead, the guest of honor wore an oversized men's shirt and denim trousers, neither of which were too clean, and mud-caked gum-rubber boots. While self-consciously stuffing a hank of hair up under her old hat, she noticed that everyone else had spiffed up.
Billy Brown wore an almost-new red flannel shirt under the bib of his overalls, and he'd combed his hair and trimmed his beard. In fact, all of her former patients were nearly as tidy as they had been before the women left camp at the beginning of the epidemic. It touched her that the men had done some laundry and combed some hair in her honor.
"First we need to thank Olaf Gurner for today's fine repast and for stepping up to the stove and feeding our sick after Jacob Jansen drowned," Billy Brown said, beginning his speechifying. A chorus of good-natured insults erupted, directed at Olaf's fish broth, followed by a round of hearty applause.
"There are sixty-four of us here today," Billy Brown continued, his expression turning sober. "Six weeks ago Piney Creek had a population approaching four hundred souls. Men were finding nuggets; this place was thriving. Then the scourge hit."
Along with the others, Low Down shifted to gaze down at the camp. The empty storefronts made her think of a ghost town. No music tinkled from the saloon doors. Even the assay office was boarded up. A light breeze chased a paper scrap across a trampled section of yellowing grass where campfires had burned before rows and rows of tents. Already wild roses had sprouted where the tents had been. Low Down turned back to Billy Brown with the sad conviction that Piney Creek would never fully recover from the epidemic.