Book I. Prologue
Chase the Wind.
"But better to get hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie."—Khaled Hosseini
Laughter and joy drifted from the large house. It was only a few hours till the old year would fade and the new year would float in with the dark hours of the morning. A feeling of new hope hung in the air, the slate would be washed clean and everyone had a chance to try and start a fresh. The talk of the guests at the table was of the different plans and goals everyone had for the new year and of guessing what 1875 would bring them.
Dani took a deep breath as she walked into the house. She was no looking forward to the task she had to do. Quietly making her way to where Clay sat, she put her hand on his shoulder.
"Clay," she whispered, "I need to tell you something, privately."
Clay raised his eyebrows but complied, and rising from the table followed her outside.
"Is something the matter?" Clay asked, rather perplexed at being called away from a very entertaining conversation.
"It's Clark," Dani quietly informed.
Clay drew his breath. "What about him?"
"He's...well...he's gone, Clay."
Clay's eyes widened. "Where too?"
"Back to wherever he came from, I'm not exactly sure; New Mexico I believe he mentioned. He wants to catch some runaway outlaw, called him 'the Judd Brother'."
"Does he, does he plan to come back?"
"No," Dani shook her head. "No, he's not coming back. He asked me to tell you that he couldn't put Addy behind him and because of that he couldn't stay here. He asked me to tell you he's sorry it ends like this, that he wishes you well and that he knows you'll understand."
Clay lowered his head. He'd feared as much, he'd hoped he'd be able to convince Clark to remain but there was too much tied up in their history, too much baggage in their past for Clay to be able to change that man's mind.
"I'm sorry, Clay," Dani whispered.
"It's alright," Clay gave her a weak smile, "I do understand. Excuse me please."
He went back into the house, but didn't bother returning to the room full of happy, festive people. The coming new year suddenly lost some of its shine. He had hoped that this year he would finally be able to connect with his brother, that they could try and start it all over again, pick up where they had left off and do it right this time. Clark, sadly, had other plans.
Clay quietly walked up the stairs and to the bunk where his brother had lived during his short time on the ranch. He noticed a pile of clean shirts and trousers folded neatly on the bed. Having come with just the clothes on his back, Clark had been wearing clothes given to him Clay, since the two men were the same size. Clark hadn't taken them with him, he hadn't taken anything that had been given to him by Clay. He'd never wanted all that 'charity' anyway.
Hanging his head, Clay sat down on the bed. "I should have let you have her, Clark," he spoke in a quiet, defeated voice, "I should have let you marry her. After all, I can live without her, you can't, you never could." Clay lifted his head and gazed out the window. Darkness was already settling in, and the horizon was one big shadow, tinted here and there with the last remaining colors of twilight. Knowing the company downstairs would be wondering what was the matter, Clay pulled himself together and rising from the bed went to the door. He paused before he left to glance back. "Forgive me, my brother," he whispered and departed, shutting the door softly behind him.
So we have embarked on the next book of the series. This book will center mainly around Clark and his adventures. I'll be uploading a chapter once a week on Fridays.
Chase the Wind can be read independently from the rest of the series, or you could go back and read the stories that lead up to it as it will help you sympathize more with Clark and all he has been through.
Either way, I truly hope you will enjoy this new story in the Love Travels West Series.