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Tug of War -- EPUB

  • Left orphans by political violence, three children engage in a struggle of heart and conscience in1855 Bleeding Kansas.
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Release Date:
December 11, 2013
Cover Artist:
Taria Reed

Product Description

1855: A lively performance of Uncle Tom's Cabin produced by anti-slavery settlers in the Kansas Territory is attacked by Missouri Border Ruffians resulting in the deaths of Elias and Tabitha Perry.

Now their children, Simon, 13, and Lilibet, 6, must find a way to survive and return home to their beloved Philadelphia. Tensions heighten when Simon finds Reine Sutton, 13, shot and left behind by the raiders.

Will Simon follow his father's teachings of forgiveness and non-violence or succumb to his community's desire for revenge? Surrounded by the history-changing events that would become known as Bleeding Kansas, what will he do to protect Reine and his little sister?


After a time, Lilbet cried herself dry, and Simon coaxed her to eat. "Finish it all and I'll let you sit up front with me. You could help me spot for Indians."

"Freckles too?"

"Yeah," he laughed. "Why not? You can even bring the pup along."

"Freckles is the pup, silly."

"Oh, I thought you meant that other freckle-faced gal."

"Don't tease. I don't think she likes to be teased about her freckles. I like them though. I don't have so many. They're angel kisses, you know. You can never have enough of them. It's good luck."

"Angel kisses?"

"Yes," she nodded solemnly. "Da told me they are marks where an angel kissed you before you were born. He liked to kiss me on every one I got." She pointed her finger at the sprinkle across the bridge of her nose. "That's the way to share in the luck."

"Eat up," he said. "It's getting late." He filled his own mouth with a big bite of the soft sugary dough. "Where is she anyway? Miss Angel Kisses?"

"I don't know."

"Well, she ain't finished her breakfast yet either. Reine?" he shouted. "Come on, Reine, it's getting late."

He waited a bit and shouted again. When she didn't answer, he shoved the last few bites in his mouth and washed it down with the milk still in his bowl. "Drat, we need to get on the road. Reine?"

He stormed up the wagon steps and yanked open the door, not even thinking to knock first. When it struck him suddenly it might have been wiser to do so, he hesitated, clapped his hands over his eyes, and shouted into the interior. "Reine?"

She did not answer. She was not there. "She's gone." He needed to say the words out loud to believe them.

He walked slowly back to the fire and repeated them. "Lilibet she's gone."

"What? Well, probably she just went to... I'll go look." Lili untied the puppy to help her with the search.

Distracted, Simon stomped around breaking camp, kicking dirt on the fire, stowing away their belongings. When Lili and the dog returned alone, as he knew they would, he was ready. He lifted them up to the wagon seat, then climbed up himself. He shinnied up to the roof of the wagon to get a better view of the prairie rolling off in all directions. Just the wide swath of the river to the north broke the endlessness of it.

"Reine!" Lili screamed. "Do you see her?"

"No." He cupped his hands around his mouth and hollered "Reine!"

Nothing, still nothing. He sheltered his eyes to filter out the distraction of the sun. And then he saw a tiny speck moving away from them in the distance. It could be her, or could be anything. He clamored down from his perch. "Hold tight, Lili. Giddy-up."

He snapped the reins and the horses chugged forward, trundling off the road in the direction of the speck. If it was Reine, he'd kill her. If it was not, he did not know what he would do -- if it was not.

It was a wild ride. The wagon bounced up the bumps and down the ruts. Lili held tight to Simon's belt with one hand and the wagon seat with the other, but she jiggled up and down until her screaming of Reine's name came out in a half dozen syllables.

The puppy skittered back and forth on the floor below the seat, scrambling to keep from banging up against the sides. Simon fought to steer the wagon around the worst of the bumps, pushing the horses and holding them back, trying to strike the unknown balance between speed and recklessness

Finally, they were close enough to know that it was Reine. She turned and saw them, but it wasstill too far to see the expression on her face. She simply stopped and waited. She has to know escape is impossible now, Simon figured. He slowed the team to a speed that was almost sanity. And she waited.

"You came after me," she said when he had pulled the wagon to a stop beside her. A smile lit her face so it almost looked as if it might be angel kissed.

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