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Katie's Tomorrows

After "diploma doctor" Denver Holt rescues "granny medicine" doctor Katie Shelton from the cellar of her burning shack on the Dakota Territory prairie, he asks her to marry him. Though Denver loves her, Katie thinks he wants merely a "marriage of convenience." Worrying about the dark and difficult "tomorrows" such an arrangement would bring, she struggles over whether or not to accept his proposal. But as soon as Katie realizes that the marriage would benefit her sick widower father, as well as Denver's motherless daughter Ivy whom Katie loves, Katie decides to ignore her fears--at least long enough to marry the doctor. [Cover art Dirk A. Wolf & Mary Z. Wolf]

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release

Eileen Dunn Bertanzetti    During her childhood, Eileen's parents instilled in her a love of reading and writing. Today, Eileen pursues writing--and the researching for it--with a passion which she shares with her readers. Since 1989, Eileen has worked as an instructor for The Institute of Children’s Literature. She's published 5 books including Katie’s Song, and over 150 stories to over 25 publications. With her beloved husband Greg’s help, Eileen raised three "perfect" children who have--so far--given her six "perfect" grandchildren. Her family--especially Greg--allows her freedom to pursue her writing career with zeal--and for that, and for God's abiding presence and help, Eileen is grateful.

4 cups

"Denver and Katie are wonderful characters, vibrant, and sympathetic. The stark conditions of South Dakota winters become vividly real in this emotionally powerful romance. While there are no love scenes, the sexual tension is clearly felt and the external conflicts add to the couple's problems. This sweet, gentle romance is a perfect example of a traditional romantic story and suitable even for teenagers. The inspirational aspects are handled subtly so they enhance the story, suitable to the time period portrayed. Katie's Tomorrows is the sequel to Katie's Song."

Alegria -- Coffeetime Romance

Chapter One

"Pa?" Katie Shelton struggled to open her eyes. "Is that you, Pa?" She squinted at the figure huddled in the chair next to her bed.

"Nein," the figure said. "I am Magda."

"Magda?" Katie coughed up the taste of smoke.

The girl stood up and rushed to Katie's side. "Ja…yes. Magda Braun. Doktor Holt told me to help you, Fraulein Shelton."

"Dr. Holt?" Suddenly the taste of smoke and the name Holt began to make sense. Too much sense. Katie's head ached with memories that now flooded her mind. Fire. Trapped alone inside her flaming shack in the middle of the lonely prairie. The cellar. She had sought shelter in that dirt room beneath the floor of the shack. Fiery wood had struck her, knocking her to the dirt floor. Just before she lost consciousness, Katie had heard a deep voice from above. God?

Now, lying in this strange bed, Katie wondered if she were dead. She sat up, groaning at the sharp pains stabbing her neck, face, and head. No, she definitely was not dead. But what about Pa? Had he died in the fire? Closing her eyes in concentration, Katie sighed her relief when she remembered that hours before the fire, Denver Holt and his daughter Ivy had taken Earl Shelton to their home for a visit.

Glancing at her surroundings, Katie now knew she definitely was not in her shack. Her entire shack could fit into this one room. No cracks split these walls to let the prairie's chill from outside whistle in. Here, two cherry side chairs awaited use instead of the wooden crates she and Pa had sat on in the shack. In this room, warmth crackled from a fireplace at each end, rather than inadequate heat from one old iron stove that had always tried but failed to heat the whole shack. Had the shack burned down while she took refuge in its cellar? She shivered at the thought.

Katie squinted again at Magda who seemed at least four years younger than Katie's own eighteen years. In spite of the fog that insisted on hovering inside her head, Katie noticed Magda's too-tight, low-neckline dress below a heavily made-up face. Only prostitutes looked and dressed like that in Dakota Territory. Why would a fourteen-year-old resort to prostitution? Why would any female? Then Katie noticed the large, softly-rounded bulge under the front of Magda's bodice. The young girl looked pregnant.

For the last five of her eighteen years, Katie had helped her mother Minnie Shelton deliver babies in their home state of Pennsylvania. That was, before Minnie had died out here in Dakota Territory a year ago. From her midwifery experiences, Katie surmised that Magda Braun would give birth within a month. But right now, Katie had her own problems to consider.

"Where am I?" she asked.

"Doktor Holt's haus…house."

Fingering the satin-and-velvet patchwork quilt covering her, a picture of Dr. Denver Holt wavered in Katie's mind, but she couldn't sharpen the image. Had he brought her here?

Magda touched Katie's forehead, interrupting her tense thoughts. "Fraulein, no more fever."

Katie again coughed up a smoky taste.

"Why am I here?"

In broken English with bits of German sprinkled in, Magda explained to Katie the events of the past two days. Fitch Addison had burned down Katie's shack in an attempt to kill her. Now Katie remembered how Addison had told her only three days ago that if he couldn't have her, no one would, including Denver Holt, the only doctor this side of Twin Rivers, Dakota Territory. But now, as then, Katie could not believe Dr. Holt wanted her in any romantic way. He needed her to babysit his seven-year-old daughter Ivy. That was all.

"Doktor Holt said God saved you." Magda smoothed black tendrils of Katie's hair away from her face. "Gott und Doktor Holt. The doktor loves you, Fraulein Shelton."

Trying to blink away the young girl's words, Katie shook her head and felt the pain shoot into her brain.

"Dr. Holt doesn't love me." Katie would have laughed, but her face hurt too much where a piece of flaming wood the size of a silver dollar had struck it. Katie began to remember the fiery and charred pieces of shack lumber that had plummeted into the cellar, striking her on the face and neck as she descended the rickety ladder.

"Ja…yes, he does love you." Magda picked up the bowl of water on the cherry table next to the bed, wrung out the wet rag, and began to carefully drag the coolness across Katie's face, avoiding the bandaged injury.

Magda continued her explanation of the events of the past two days. Fitch Addison, powerful and wealthy businessman in Twin Rivers, had burned down Katie's shack, hoping she would burn right along with it. He wanted revenge because she, the new schoolmarm, would not give herself to him. Two nights ago, while Fitch set fire to Katie's shack, Denver knew nothing about that fire as he rescued Magda, one of Fitch's soiled doves, from her room at Fitch's Twin Rivers hotel.