The following is an excerpt from Cassandra and the Cowboy, the first book in the inspirational series Texas Treasures, written by Janine Mick Wills and published by Journey Fiction. Janine is a born-again Christian, who is using her writing abilities to honor and glorify God, Who gave them to her.
Excerpt: Cassandra and the Cowboy, Chapter 9
Cassandra fretted the entire ride back to the ranch. Would God answer her prayer and keep Matt from asking her mother about the loan? Afraid she couldn’t trust the Lord or Matt, she prepared her only defense. Confession.
She asked Carlos to take care of Smokey and then sped inside the house to find her mother arranging a vase of roses in the dining room. Cassandra ignored the scent that usually calmed her.
“Oh, Mama. I told Matt what happened to Papa and about the loan. I assumed Carlos had already told him. I tried to cover it up, but now Matt wants to help. I’m sorry…” Her voice trailed off in misery.
To her astonishment, her mother said, “That is wonderful news.”
“Matt’s willingness to help might be the answer to our prayers.”
Before Cassandra could voice a contradiction, Matt entered the room. She bit her knuckle and stared at her feet.
“Mrs. Pickett,” Matt said, “while Cassandra Jane was showing me around, I came up with a couple of ideas that might help the ranch.”
He pulled out a chair for Helen, but before he could do the same for Cassandra, she whipped out a chair from under the table and sat on its edge. Matt shrugged and straddled the chair across from her.
“First,” he said, “you need to cull the lesser cattle from your herd for some immediate cash. The men and I can build a fence on the far side of the creek to hold Old Bull. Then you can breed him to your better cows to build a stronger herd. You can also spread the word he’d make a good cross with the thinner Texas longhorn. Though the Beef Bonanza has died down, some ranches are still gettin’ fifteen dollars a head for good stock, which he could produce.”
“But the loan is due next month,” Helen replied. “Even if we sold the inferior cattle, there would not be enough money to repay the bank.”
“I have another idea. I met two men in Fort Worth who work for the S & R Railroad. They’re plannin’ on layin’ line from Sweetwater almost into Mexico just north of Goose Neck Ridge.”
“How does that affect us?”
Matt laced his fingers behind his head “I noticed all the trees growin’ by Cedar Ridge. Straight as arrows, reachin’ for the sky. Since the railroad’s gonna need timber for ties, you could offer yours. With a contract under your belt, the bank is sure to extend your loan. Tomorrow I’d like to help Rafael and Carlos cull the herd and start buildin’ the fence for Old Bull, but the day after that I can wire Big George and see if he’s interested in your timber.”
“Mr. Thompson?” Helen questioned.
“Cattle’s his main business, but after the Union and Central Pacific met east and west at Promontory, he figured the future held rails runnin’ north and south. He invested in the S and R Railroad. Didn’t take long for him to make a profit. He branched out, bought a couple hotels, a bank, a stop on the stagecoach line, a paper mill, and the Fort Worth Daily Gazette until he sold it a few years ago. Now, he’s one of the richest men in Fort Worth.”
Cassandra tapped her fingers on the table. Life was unfair. Here, she and Mama were struggling to keep their home, and men like George Thompson and Phillip Brigham had more than enough money to spare. “Too bad Papa didn’t invest in the railroad. Huh, Mama?”
“I am sure Mr. Thompson is resourceful, but God is the one who gives certain men wealth.” Helen’s voice quickened in excitement. “But Matt’s ideas are good ones.”
Something akin to guilt swept Matt’s chiseled features. “Don’t get your hopes up yet. These plans may not work.”
“God is in control. We must trust him.” Helen’s eyes shone a crystal gray. “I cannot wait for the others to hear about this.”
If you like what you have read of Cassandra and the Cowboy, sign up for Janine’s newsletter and you’ll be entered in a summer contest to receive a free copy! Details are available on her website and FB author page.
Also, keep an eye out for the Launch Team for Juanita and the Outlaw, the second book in the series.
ABOUT JANINE MICK WILLS
As far back as she can remember, Janine Mick Wills has loved the Lord and the written word. A former pastor’s wife, she now resides in South Carolina, where she heads the ladies’ ministry at her church and fills every spare minute writing for the glory of God. Janine considers a Child of the King to be her most important title, but she also enjoys being called a wife, a mom, and a mamaw to seven grandchildren.
Janine would love to connect with her readers. You can find her at any of these locations: