Thomas Lone Wolf has recovered from a brush with death – and from a broken heart. His work of opening a First Nations cultural center at an archaeological site near the town of Marshdale is almost complete. Once his son graduates from high school, he and his daughter will have to move on to the next project. Just when he has resigned himself to being a single dad for the rest of his life, he meets a woman who seems perfect. But can his wounded heart take a chance on love again?
Tracy Krauss is a best-selling and award winning author, artist and playwright. She is a member of 'American Christian Fiction Writers', 'Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship', and ‘The Word Guild’. Originally from a small prairie town, Tracy received her Bachelor’s Degree from the U of S with majors in Art, and minors in History and English. She teaches High School English, Drama and Art – all things she is passionate about. Apart from her many personal creative pursuits, she also leads worship at her local church. She and her husband, an ordained minister, have lived in many remote and unique places in Canada's north. They raised four children and were active advocates of the homeschooling movement for many years. They currently reside in beautiful Tumbler Ridge, BC, known for its many waterfalls. Visit her website for more info: http://www.tracykrauss.com
Thomas Lone Wolf poured himself a cup of coffee, inhaling the heavenly scent as he clattered the pot back into place on its burner. He cradled the mug in his hands and sniffed, enjoying the warmth and the aroma before taking a tentative sip. He winced and touched his cheek, then let out a whispered oath. Good thing the kids were still sleeping. He didn’t usually swear, but he’d had a toothache for days and the hot liquid touched a nerve. He took another sip, bracing himself against the pain. Once the steaming brew was past the tooth and down his throat he expelled a groan. It was a tossup which was worse, the pain in his tooth or going without his morning coffee. The third sip went down much better. Once the initial shock was past, it didn’t hurt so much. He took another larger gulp and stopped to gaze out the kitchen window. He lifted the faded sheer material away from the frame just a bit more so his view wouldn’t be obstructed.
He’d come to love the vastness of the view before him. Wide open prairie. Some people said it was boring. Table flat with nothing to see. Thomas saw it differently. There was subtleness to the land. It wasn’t flashy or brash, yelling to get attention. Instead the grasses rippled like the waves on a calm ocean, just barely discernible, but moving nonetheless. He loved the change in color, too. Muted browns, rich ochers, vibrant greens, each taking their cue as the seasons morphed against a backdrop of sky. Perhaps this was the most impressive of all. The sky was a living thing here, awe-inspiring in its vastness; sometimes clear and blue, sometimes filled with fluffy cumulus clouds, sometimes flashing with powerful forks of lightning. Magnificent.
Thomas let the curtain drop back into place. He downed the rest of his coffee and set the empty cup in the sink. It was time to wake his children. His daughter, Whisper, was in the second grade at Marshdale Elementary School. She’d been in kindergarten when they moved here. His son, Ryder, was in his senior year at the high school, ready to graduate in just a couple months’ time. Then he’d be off to college. Time sure had a way of flying.
Thomas had decided when he first moved to Marshdale that they would stay put, at least until Ryder graduated. His children had been through enough upheaval in the last five years since their mother passed away from cancer. When they moved to Marshdale so that Thomas could oversee the opening of a First Nations cultural center, he decided then and there that it would be their home until the center was complete. As it turned out, it was perfect timing. The grand opening was taking place this summer. He felt a melancholy mix of relief and sadness. He would no longer have an excuse to stay.
Not that life in Marshdale was ideal. Initial resistance to the center and thinly veiled racism had been a hard obstacle to overcome. There weren’t very many other aboriginal families in the small farming community, and he tended to stick out. At well over six feet, with his long, black braid and dark complexion, it was hard to mistake his indigenous heritage for anything else. Still, they had managed, despite some rough spots, and had since settled into the life of the community.
The fact that Thomas had a strong faith was partly what got him through the first few months. Without God on his side, he wasn’t sure he could have weathered the opposition. His biggest adversary turned out to be a lunatic of sorts, who had stabbed him on the steps of the church shortly after Christmas the first year they lived here. Thankfully, he’d recovered fully. The incident might even have swayed public opinion in his favor, since the culprit was also the chair of the heritage committee.
It had been a tough first few months. He’d even thought he was in love at one point, with his daughter’s teacher no less. Just when he thought he was ready to love again, she’d rejected him. In hindsight he saw it was for the best. He wasn’t ready for a relationship at the time and she ended up marrying a local farmer. It had been awkward at times, since he and Con McKinley, the man in question, were also good friends.