In the Spring of 1881, indigent seamstress Ginny Dahlke arrives in one of the earliest Polish American settlements- Parisville, Michigan.
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Author Guest Post
Michigan Forest Fire
A black bear crashed through a clearing on Klug Road. Two bawling cubs trailed her. Their mother chose the thickest white pine, raised herself on her back feet, and stood barking up the tree, urging her cubs to flee aloft. The sow growled as the cubs balked. Finally, she seized the cinnamon-hued male with her spikey-sharp teeth and flung him at the pine.
He scrabbled up the purple-colored scales. His claws pricked the bark of the veteran pine. With each coordinated clenching and releasing of his fore and back limbs, he inched up the pine, risking falling as scales ripped from the tree’s surface and left no mooring for his reaching toes. He looked below and couldn’t see his mother or sister in the mass of embers and shrieking birds. The cub climbed further and stalled. His little body quaked from tiredness and terror. He cried the lament of a lost child.
If the fire was sated with the shorter, younger, and more combustible pines, the cub had a chance of survival. Indeed there was enough fuel from the mounds of felled needles and the parched honeysuckle vines desiccated from months of dry heat.
A resplendent bald eagle soared to a tree taller than the one chosen by the bear’s mother, her nest wedged just below the crown of an equally resplendent pine, overlooked by the greedy lumbermen. They pillaged the peninsula of white pine to sustain the ongoing thirst of shipbuilders, carpenters, and coopers. Had this stately pine been fashioned as a mast on a lake-traveling clipper, the exact spot where the eagle claimed her nest would have been named for a bird lowlier than she. To reach the crow’s nest, a sailor would have used hands and feet, clenching and releasing fore and back muscles. Climbing in, he would have used the vantage point, high above the body of water, to scrutinize the distance to land: peering off in the distance to safety, home, family, and friends. The eagle looked down her majestic beak at the mewling cub, recognizing the incongruity of their situations. He was not a threat to her. She moved on, intent on reaching the safety of her lofty nest, over a hundred feet above the ground, as the fire whipped higher with greater frenzy and hunger.
The fire suckled on the pine chosen by the frantic mother bear and spared the one protecting the bird whose ancestors buttressed her veneration in the waves of amber grain and the purple mountains’ majesties. The bird that had been appointed the national bird of the United States of America just ninety-nine years prior.
About the Book
Thumb Fire Desire
by Carol Nickles
Published 22 June 2022
Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical Romance
Page Count: 432
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
In the Spring of 1881, indigent seamstress Ginny Dahlke arrives in one of the earliest Polish American settlements-Parisville, Michigan. Deemed charmless and awkward by her mean-spirited sister-in-law, Ginny disparages her chance of securing love. But sought-after widowed farmer Peter Nickles is enamored by Ginny’s perseverance, her pioneer spirit and, her inclusive acceptance of the indigenous peoples of Michigan. The seductiveness of a buxom heiress, a twisted story of an old-country betrothal, and the largest natural disaster in Michigan’s history-The Great Thumb Fire of September 5, 1881, challenge their fledgling attraction and ultimate committal.
Peter sat atop the hay bale. Joseph’s shadow grew deeper and then faded away. For the first time, he and Ginny were alone—if he didn’t count a barn full of bawling sheep, milk cows dunking their heads in feed pails, Buster and Blue lazily flicking their tails, and slinky cats prowling the hay. His breathing came ragged. His chest puffed. He bent at the knees, shoved his hands under the bulk of shorn fleece, slowly aligned his spine, turned toward Ginny, and lost sensation in his arms. He dropped the pile, scattering barn dust and errant wool strands.
She stood idle. The sunshine pouring through the slats on the barn’s east side outlined her silhouette. The soft hollow in her neck swelled and emptied. A clothesline, bare for the warped wooden pins straddling it, swayed between its oak tree moorings behind her. She lifted the tray, set Joseph’s glass on it, and held her hand for his drink.
“I’ll wash your shirt. Sorry I spoiled it.” She leveled her gaze to his.
He turned the glass in his hand. A single mint leaf stuck to the bottom. He fished it out with a finger and rolled the bumpy foliage in his palm, releasing its scent. He rubbed the leaf on his wrist and opened his mouth. He bit into the sprig, savored the fresh prickly taste, and swished it around his gums and teeth. He swallowed.
About the Author
Carol Nickles is the sixth generation of a German textile aficionado family. In 1881, her great-great-great-grandfather founded Yale Woolen Mill—the longest-lasting of Michigan’s once twenty-nine woolen mills. Carol earned a Master’s degree in Historic Clothing & Textiles at Michigan State University. Her thesis is a narrative of the Yale Woolen Mill. She held faculty positions at both Utah and Michigan State universities. She lives in West Michigan and enjoys spinning a tale, weaving a story, and threading a luring hook.
Carol Nickles will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
|June 27||Hope. Dreams. Life… Love||June 28||Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews|
|June 29||Romance Novel Giveaways||June 30||Literary Gold|
|July 1||Fabulous and Brunette||July 11||Joanne Guidoccio|
|July 12||Maggie Blackbird||July 13||Viviana MacKade|
|July 14||Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!||July 15||All the Ups and Downs|
|July 18||The Key Of Love||July 19||Rogue’s Angels|
|July 19||Westveil Publishing||July 20||Gina Rae Mitchell|
|July 21||Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess||July 22||Notes From a Romantic’s Heart|
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