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Free Love Story by Sharen Taylor Griffin: Strawberry Moon, Page 1

Set in the Old West


March had come in like a lamb and went out like a lion. It was early April and with spring crops requiring his concentration, John Daniels had taken aggressive measures in securing a mother for his two small children in the form of a mail order bride.

The stage was due any minute now and John glanced once again at his grandfather’s pocket watch, his young children Bree and Jake patiently waiting on the weathered bench in front of the stagecoach portal.

This mail order bride went against every fiber of his being. After Janice had seduced the part-time carpenter who John had hired to build a dream home to please her, she had abruptly announced that she couldn’t stand living in this godforsaken area.

The kids were in their infancy – Bree only a few months old and Jake barely two when Janice had abandoned them.

Thankfully, his dear Aunt Bella had arrived to take charge of the house and the children. Then very suddenly, she had peacefully passed shortly following the Christmas holidays.


John felt the knife to his heart; Aunt Bella had been his last living relative and he had loved her dearly. He’d been totally lost without her – oblivious to anything cooking or kitchen related.

As to the kids, he’d always been a good father.

However, with crops to plant and a farm to manage he couldn’t oversee both at once. Jake was only six – Bree only four. And they could be a handful.

John withdrew his grandfather’s pocket watch again, feeling lost and helpless.

When he’d married Janice he had given it considerable thought. He hadn’t considered her beautiful – or even pretty, rather plain.

In hindsight, he realized he’d married her out of pity. She’d been all alone, her parents victims of a cholera epidemic.

But to be fair there were benefits for him in the marriage agreement too. The family that he’d always wanted – little Bree and Jake. At twenty-five, and with the very limited availability of females in the area, he’d asked for Janice’s hand in marriage.


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