Secrets of the Stream
ISBN: (13): 9781484964163 / (10): 1484964160
ASIN: B00B6GA7RS
Published: 2013 Innovative Writing Works
Category: Fiction/Romance/Western/Family Life
Pages: 272
Prior to the summer of 1880, Jane Randolph would never have guessed how many secrets were hidden
in Copper Creek; secrets of greed, secrets of revenge, and secrets of forbidden love. But the most
dangerous secret surrounded rumors of a rich copper deposit in the area. Like most residents, Jane
had dismissed the legend as gossip. Yet, it was that foolish disregard which threatened to destroy the
entire community.

Orphaned as a child, Jane had come to love everything about Copper Creek and had settled
contentedly into the role of assistant clerk at her uncle's store. Her quiet, well-ordered mind was
ideally suited to her simple, routine existence; an existence both suddenly and irrevocably complicated
by two strangers.

Thomas Mason's unwelcome arrival sparked the first whisper of trouble. Shrouded in mystery, his true
purpose in coming to Copper Creek seemed just as inscrutable as his personality. Likewise, Jane's
encounters with the town's new minister, Henry Kohl, raised questions in her mind about his past and
his palpable animosity toward her uncle.
Confused by both men's intentions toward her, Jane's life becomes a morass of complicated emotions
and startling revelations. In order to save her home and her heart, Jane must unravel the mystery of the
town's hidden fortune and stop the carefully crafted crime to seize it, before it's too late.
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Before Jane realized it, she was in the heart of the woods. She hurried past shrubs and familiar
trees, moving on to her favorite spot near the creek. When she finally emerged from the trees, the
sultry sounds of evensong were flooding the canopy above. Warm from her exertions, Jane sat on
a large, smooth rock embedded along the bank of the stream and dipped her hand beneath the
ripples running past. It felt cool and wonderfully soft. She drew out her handkerchief and
dampened it to wipe her face. Then she sat very still, reveling in the serenity of her placid
surroundings.
A smile tugged at Jane's lips at the sight of a dragonfly as it skimmed the glassy surface of the water
only to speed off into the dazzling crimson sunset. She closed her eyes to quiet the noise inside
her head, but she was soon jarred out of her peaceful contemplation by the sound of rustling in the
willows. Jane watched as concentric rings of water spread out towards her from the opposite
bank. Expecting to see a deer emerge, she was disturbed to see a man instead.
His face was difficult to discern in the fading light, but he appeared to be in his mid-thirties. He
wore a white shirt that was open at the throat. His shirtsleeves were cuffed to the elbow and his
feet were bare. In one hand, he held his boots and in the other, a fishing pole. Jane noted how
smooth and well-defined his hands were. The sort of hands a doctor or an artist might have. He
stopped short at the sight of Jane and she stood up, uncertain what to do next.
"Pardon me," he said. "I didn't mean to startle you."
Jane nodded in acceptance of his apology.
He moved a little closer and said, "I wasn't expecting to see anyone. I thought the whole town
would be at that party tonight."
"I was," Jane confessed. "But I left."
"So I see. Whose shindig is it anyhow?"
"The Randolph's," Jane replied.
"You know them?"
"I should. I'm a Randolph."
The stranger turned sharply and gaped at her.
"Sorry," he said. "I didn't…"
"You needn't be sorry. It isn't my party anyway. My Uncle Michael is the host."
"Michael Randolph?"
Jane nodded. "Yes. Do you know him?"
The stranger grimaced. "The name does sound familiar. How is it you said you were related?"
"He's my father's brother."
"I see…" His words seemed to trail away as he studied her for a moment and then retreated into
his own thoughts.
"And you are?"
"Tired," he replied, resting his fishing pole against a nearby tree. "Now, if you don't mind. I'd like
to sit down. My feet hurt."
"That's no answer," Jane persisted.
"Well, it will have to do."
"I don't understand you at all."
"Why should you? We're strangers aren't we? So let's keep it that way."
The stranger lowered himself to the ground and began to brush the grit off the bottom of his left
foot.
"It might help your feet more if you actually wore your shoes," Jane observed.
He looked over his shoulder at her. "I was. I only took them off so they wouldn't get wet when I
crossed the creek."
"Oh."
He busied himself pulling on his left boot and reached for the right one when Jane added, "Do you
live around here?"
"I haven't decided."
"Then where do you come from?"
He finished pulling on his right boot and turned to face her.
"Are you always this nosy?"
Jane bristled. "Are you always this rude?"
The stranger smirked and got to his feet.
"Aren't you going to answer me?" Jane persisted.
"No," he said. Then he smiled.
Jane crossed her arms in frustration and watched as the stranger walked away to collect his pole.
"Now don't be irritable," he added, turning to face her again. "Just run along home to your uncle
now, before it starts to rain."
"You're condescending too," Jane replied.
"Am I?"
"Yes. Who are you to order me about like I'm a child?"
"I am the voice of experience telling you that nice young girls shouldn't be out alone in the woods
at night."
"And why not?"
In her anger, Jane had unwittingly narrowed the gap between them. She stood close enough to the
stranger now to be captivated by his clever, green eyes. In an instant, his expression changed from
amusement to frustration and then to something far more disconcerting that Jane could not
identify. The way he gazed into her eyes made her feel quite vulnerable, as if he could read her
thoughts. Finally, he spoke.
"The fact you don't know why is precisely the reason."
Jane took a step back. The stranger took one last look. "I think I'd better be going now. You'd
better get going too. That storm is coming fast." He started to walk away.
"Wait. Won't you tell me who you are?"
He paused to consider her request and shook his head.
He moved on again and Jane shouted after him. "Stubborn!"
He continued to walk away.
"And it isn't going to rain," Jane added.
The stranger spun around momentarily and smiled at her. "Good night, Miss Randolph." With that,
he vanished among the darkening trees.
Jane mumbled under her breath. "I can stay here as long as I like. Doesn't the fool know we're in a
drought?" Satisfied she had put the stranger in his place, she reclaimed her seat upon the rock. She
looked around and reaffirmed, "It isn't going to rain," as if repeating it would confirm its veracity.
However, the words had barely escaped her lips when she heard the low rumble of thunder. Her
chest tightened as the rumble grew louder. The moon was beginning to be obscured by fast
moving clouds.
"It won't rain," Jane asserted.
She settled back upon the rock, determined to remain, when a flash of lightning tore across the
horizon.
Rain began to speckle the dry ground. Jane cursed under her breath and scrambled to her feet to
take cover beneath the trees. She waited briefly for the storm to break, but was forced to run for
town. By the time she reached home, she was soaked through and her spirits were just as damp.
The party had been forced to an abrupt ending by the storm and those who wished to continue
celebrating had moved down the street to the hotel. So there was no one around to question Jane
as she went up to her room and changed into her night dress. It was a little past quarter to nine as
she fell into bed and doused her lamp, determined to forget the whole miserable day.
Lying in the darkness, Jane listened to the sound of rain dripping from the gutter outside her
window. It seemed to be tapping out "I told you so" with such irritating persistence she wasn't able
to relax. She couldn't get her mind off the vexing stranger she'd met in the woods. When she
finally succumbed to sleep, her dreams were fraught with rainstorms, fishing poles, and the
melodious laughter of a man she could never quite see.

Crossroads at the Stream
Copper Creek Series - Book 4
A Pink Lady
Pinkerton Detecive Series- Book 1
Amanda Brown had
been in love with
Reverend Henry
Kohl as long as she
could remember.
But one woman
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Continue the Copper Creek
story with the exciting
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Book Buzz....
©2017 Innovative Writing Works
See what other readers are saying
about
Secrets of the Stream
CreateSpace Paperback: $10.95
"Loved the story and period
setting. A good clean read."
"Fabulous. Just wanted
to keep reading to find
out what happens next."
"Can't wait to find out
what happens with
Thomas and Jane."
"Been searching for a good
series I could get into and
this seems like a promising
start."
"Enjoyed 'Secrets" so much.
I was a fun read."
"So good! Liked the
hometown feel and rurual
setting. Compelling ensemble
of characters."
Patricia Z.
A routine op
quickly turns into a
dangerous game of
espionage for a new
Pinkerton agent
pitting one woman
against an assassin's
bullet... Read More
Barbara E.
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