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Leather Hinges

Leather Hinges by Maxine Isackson
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Set to spend an idealistic life with her handsome new husband, Hallie McCain finds herself transported off instead in the year 1880 to the wild prairies of the Nebraska, Sandhills. Only seventeen, Hallie makes a brave attempt at facing the harsh reality of homestead life far from the close-knit family and community left behind.
Awe-Struck Publishing; March 2009
202 pages; ISBN 9781587497193
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Title: Leather Hinges
Author: Maxine Isackson
Hallie contributed little to the conversation for she was kept busy hopping up from the table to fetch more potatoes or corn bread--refilling coffee cups. It wasn’t until dinner was over and the men were getting ready to go back outside, that Will came over by the sink where Hallie had taken a tray of dirty dishes. He watched as she set the tray down and donned an apron. "I thanked your mother for the fine dinner, Hallie, but I wanted to thank you, too. She said you baked that tasty apple pie." Flustered, Hallie managed a, "I’m glad you liked it." She stood there at a loss for further words. She was so unsure of herself with Will. He was older, more experienced. He’d courted older girls. There was even a rumor he had been seen a few times with Bertie Regus’ daughter, Dixie. Strangely enough, Will seemed a little uncertain, too, then..."There’s a dance Saturday night at the schoolhouse. I’d like to take you if you’d care to go." "Yes, I’d like that." "Fine! I’ll come by about seven." Will was out the door, hurrying to catch up with the others before Hallie could gather her wits to say it was a mistake. Clifton would undoubtedly expect to take her. She went as far as the door, but she didn’t call Will back. Instead, she listened to the thud of her heart, and watched that lean, rangy form until it disappeared into the dusky shadows of the barn door. * * * That was the beginning. From that very first evening, Hallie knew she loved Will. Loved the tingle of his touch as he handed her into his aged buggy, the feel of his arms when they danced, not wanting the music to stop for fear someone else might ask for a dance. Clifton’s invitations were kindly but firmly refused. Will was taking Hallie somewhere at least once a week. The self-consciousness that had afflicted them in the beginning had disappeared. They had developed an easy companionship with the drives home under the stars the best part of an evening, or so Hallie thought. There would be the homey clump, clump of the horses’ hooves, the whir of the narrow, buggy wheels in the soft dirt of the road. Will would whistle one of the dance tunes from, time to time, between gaps in conversation. They spoke of friends--what had taken place during the evening--plans for the following week--work to be done. Then came the night Will brought Hallie home after the supper Grace Attletree gave for her St. Louis cousin. He reached up like always to lift her down from the buggy, but somehow forgot to put her down. Her eyes were level with his in the moonlight. Then Will gave one of his lazy little grins pulling Hallie even closer until she could feel the warmth of his breath on her lips. He kissed her then, first just a brush of his lips to hers then closer still, wrapping her in his arms, pressing his mouth to hers in a long lingering kiss. Hallie felt her whole body softening, threatening to melt--ooze right through Will’s arms like so much warm butter.
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