After Ma died, Pa took to his bed. Sick in his heart, he was. As the oldest, I reckoned I needed to take care of my younger brothers and sisters. “Eva Knowles,” I said to myself, “everyone is depending on you now. You need a job.” So I put my next sister in charge of running the household—two other sisters and two brothers—took what money Ma had kept hidden in her flour pot, and bought a train ticket to the first city it stopped at. Pa told me to go all the way to Austin, but I’ve never been to a big city before and the city where the trained stopped first was big enough.
Still, being on that train, watching the Texas landscape go by, made me realize one thing: I want to travel. And not just here in my home state, but every state. And maybe every country too. Why, I saw a travel magazine on the train that talked of truly wonderful places across the ocean. Castles in England, ruins in Rome, pyramids in Egypt—even places in Palestine where Jesus walked. I want to see it all, but I have to take care of my family first.
When I first stepped on the train, I just knew I’d find a marvelous job in a town this size. Why, they have two hotels here, and two saloons and even a library. But after carrying my bag all over town and getting turned down time after time for even the most menial labor—laundry! Who doesn’t need a laundress?—I decided to seek employment in one of the saloons. I was just about to enter the establishment when the handsomest man I’ve ever seen stepped out. Said his name was Cal Stephens. Best thing that ever happened to me, running into Cal Stephens . . .
First time I saw Miss Eva Knowles, her blond hair was already slippin’ from her bonnet, and she held on to her carpetbag like it were the onliest thing givin’ her life. I’d just come to town from the cattle drive and looked rougher’n a old hound dog, and prob’ly smelled just as bad when she barged right into me. I knew then she was special, but nobody’d look at a cattlebum fresh from the trial.
Lucky me, I got to run into her again soon after my Saturday bath. Silly girl was tryin’ to get a job at the saloon. Long story short, I bought her a meal at the Harvey House Restaurant and told her she oughta get a job with there. Them Harvey Girls get a good deal, you ask me. Room ’n’ board and wages to boot. Great howlin’ coyotes. Can’t pass up a job like that.
Eatin’ with her at a nice restaurant got me to thinkin’ I need a good woman in my life. I ain’t been much for sparkin’. Too busy tryin’ to earn enough money to go see the world. Ma and Pa left me and my two sisters a little money—enough to give us a stake in just ’bout anythin’ we’d want to do. But for me to do it all in style took a bit more. I been scrimpin’ and savin’ my wages from the Rolling Oak Ranch so long, I never thought how good it would be to have a wife at my side.
Miss Eva’s purtier’n any woman I ever seen, and she’s really sweet. But I reckon with her needin’ to take care of her family back home, she ain’t too interested in sparkin’ right now. That’s right fine, though. I can wait . . .
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Our Story Title: Loving a Harvey Girl
A novella included in the Smitten Historical Romance collection The Cowboys, with Jennifer Uhlarik, Cindy Ervin Huff, and Sandra Merville Hart
Our Story Genre: Historical Romance
Our Story Releases: August 15, 2019
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Linda W. Yezak lives with her husband and their funky feline, PB, in a forest in deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She has a deep and abiding love for her Lord, her family, and salted caramel. And coffee—with a caramel creamer. Author of award-winning books and short stories, she didn’t begin writing professionally until she turned fifty. Taking on a new career every half century is a good thing.
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- Website: http://lindawyezak.com
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- Goodreads: Linda W Yezak
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WHERE can the book be purchased?
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Loving a Harvey Girl ~ The Cowboys Collection
They’ve just been ordered!