Copyright 2014 Lynn Lovegreen
Elizabeth didn’t see it until it was
One moment she was planning a painting
of the snowy scene, then the dogsled she was riding in careened
around the corner. The play of shadows and light, the glittering
frost on the trees, vanished when a team of dogs slammed into
Papa shouted as he fell off the back of
their sled, “Hang on!”
She held tight to her sister Victoria.
Their sled ran off the trail, rolled onto its side, and the icy
snow surrounded her. Dogs yelped. Victoria cried out.
The stinging cold took Elizabeth’s
breath away. They fell into the thick alders.
Elizabeth untangled herself from a fur
robe and pulled Victoria out of the branches. Her fur hat was
askew, but she looked more frightened than hurt.
“Are you all right, Sis?” Elizabeth
brushed the snow from her sister’s dark curly hair.
Victoria looked up at her, blinking
tears from her eyes. “I think so.”
A young man’s voice rose over the dogs
yelping and barking. “Are you all right?”
“I don’t know yet,” she called over her
shoulder. She turned back to Victoria. “Nothing hurts?”
Victoria shook her head. “No.”
Elizabeth took a shuddering breath. The
barking grew louder, and she turned to see the dogs lunging at
each other. The teams had to be separated before they injured
each other. She ran as quickly as she could through the deep
snow, raising her long wool skirts out of the way. A man in a
fur parka stood in the midst of the flurry of fur and snarls,
trying to untangle the teams by tugging at their lines.
“Why weren’t you on the right side of
the trail?” she called to the man, irritation rough in her
“I’m sorry, Miss.”
Elizabeth grabbed the harness on the
furry husky next to her and pulled him to the side, ignoring his
excited whine. She moved the stocky dogs easily, even with her
petite frame—she guessed it was necessity that gave her such
strength. Mama always said, “You do what you have to do.”
“It’s all right, Blackie,” she said to
calm herself as much as the dog, and grabbed the next one. Three
dogs to go. Good thing she liked dogs. Back home she’d been the
only one who could handle their wolfhound, and here the dogs
responded to her easily.
The young man grabbed the dog nearest
him. “I apologize, miss!” he shouted over the cacophony of
Elizabeth nodded toward him, but didn’t
speak. She wouldn’t know if damage had been done until they
could look at the dogs more carefully, and the temperature was
too far below zero to stand around talking anyway. Blood rushed
in her veins as she grabbed the next dog in line and pulled him
backwards away from the fight that erupted between her lead dog
and one from the other team. This was the first time she’d
jumped in to do something without being told to, and she stood a
little taller when she straightened. Elizabeth turned toward the
“Libby! Vicky!” Papa’s voice called
through the alder thicket.
“Over here!” Elizabeth moved the next
dog back, stepped over, grabbed Comet by his back legs and
hauled him away from the other dog. Comet wiggled in defiance,
but stopped snarling.
“Now, calm down. You need to set an
example here,” Elizabeth said to the lead dog. She pulled on
Comet’s lead until the team was a safe distance away.
“I reckon I was going too fast and
didn’t see your dogs in time. I’m glad you’re not hurt.” For the
first time Elizabeth looked directly at him. His parka hood fell
back as the young man shook his head. True concern shone on his
face. Light brown hair and forget-me-not blue eyes showed above
the wool scarf wrapped around his neck and chin.
Her heartbeat had slowed to a dull
thump until she saw those beautiful eyes.
“Well, the teams are untangled now,”
she said as a sign of forgiveness.
“Are you all right, little one?” he
called to Victoria.
“I’m not little. I’m six!” she called
back over the racket of dogs.
The young man chuckled and pressed his
right hand to Elizabeth’s.
“James Garrett, headed for Fairbanks.”
“Elizabeth Robinson, and this is my
little sister Victoria.” She matched his grip, firm for one who
looked to be only a year or two older than her seventeen. “We’re
headed to Fairbanks, too, with my parents. My father is the new
manager at the NCC store. My mother and his assistant are ahead
of us on the trail.” She pointed.
His brow furrowed. “It seems I headed
in the wrong direction after my last stop.”
Elizabeth started to laugh.
Papa’s large frame burst through the
willows, then he slowed. He swept Victoria up in his arms and
plowed through the snow toward them.
“No, Papa.” Elizabeth indicated her
companion with a tilt of her head. “Mr. James Garrett.”
Mr. Garrett made a slight bow. “I’m so
sorry, Mr. Robinson.”
Papa’s normally smiling face was bright
red. “Do you realize what you just did?”
“Um, well, I accidentally ran my dogs
into yours,” James said as he brushed snow off his fur parka.
“My girls could have been hurt, or even
killed!” Papa bellowed.
Elizabeth had never seen Papa so angry.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lynn Lovegreen was lucky enough to grow up in Alaska. Her family
was stationed there when she was six, and they fell in love with
the place. Alaska’s been home ever since. She’s always felt the
power of words; she taught English for 20 years before retiring
to make more time for writing. When not writing, she loves to
spend time with family and friends, read, travel, and shoot at
targets with her cowboy action shooting club, the Alaska 49ers.
Her young adult historical romances are set in the Alaska Gold
Rush, a great time for drama, romance, and independent
characters who made their own way in the world. See her website
You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.