Courtships and Carriages Excerpt

Below is a scene from chapter 1 in my work in progress, Courtships and Carriages: Hope you enjoy it. God bless.

Chapter 1

Winter 1903

Omaha, Nebraska

“Be careful,” Gwen yelled to her mother through the snowflakes falling around them. The wet drops just had to come as they headed for this boring inaugural. She shrugged and stepped forward, planting her feet firmly on the wooden planks dusted with snow before pressing forward. The biting air stung her face and hands. She thrust her cold-gloved hands further inside the fox muff. Glancing at her mother wearing a blue coat trimmed with fur sleeves, she asked, “Am I going too fast?”

Her mother took a deep breath. “No. I’m able to keep up. I’m more concerned about being late.”

Gwen gazed ahead of her. “I don’t know why the mayor decided to have his ceremony at the train station.”

“Pa said it’s because it’s the city hub of business activity, and he wants to highlight that.”

“I suppose,” Gwen said with disgust. She pulled her hand from her muff to brush the

flakes off her shoulders. She shivered. Horse hoofs pounded the brick pavement. Gwen turned and stared at the yellow-wheeled carriage approaching. What a beauty. She sighed, wishing her father owned a carriage like that. 

“Whoa!” shouted the man to his horse as he stopped the carriage beside the women. Peeking his head from outside the covered carriage, he yelled to the duo, “May I offer you a ride?”

“Is it proper to accept a ride from someone we don’t know?” Gwen whispered to her mother.

“We’re not going to make it in time if we don’t, and Pa won’t like that,” Ma said in a hushed voice.

Gwen turned to the man and waved at the him as they proceeded toward the carriage.

He stepped down.

Ma adjusted her hat and smiled at the young man. “I’ll sit in the back.”

“You sure, Mrs.?”


“Not the newspaper publisher’s wife?”

“Why yes.”

“Well, glad to make your acquaintance. I’m the mayor’s son, Nolan Bradford.” He settled  the mother in the seat beside him.

Gwen glimpsed up at the handsome face and grinned. “You’re the mayor’s son? Shouldn’t you already be up there with your pa?”

“No, he’ll do fine without me.” His gaze met hers and he extended his hand. “May I help you in, my lady?”

She nodded. My lady. Her heart warmed at his gentlemanly manners.

Grasping her gloved hand, he assisted her into the passenger seat and raced to the driver’s side to grab the reins. He shifted his head to her. His twinkling-blue eyes met her gaze. “Now, let’s go watch this-this – ”

“Boring speech.”

He laughed. “Yes, you’re right.”

She liked this man. Her hands trembled, but not from the cold air since the carriage’s top prevented her from the biting flakes but from his alluring personality. She had never been around someone so elegant and refined. Gwen wished the ride would never end, but soon they pulled up to the train station.

Nolan parked his vehicle and assisted the women down. “Would you mind if I joined you? I don’t know if your husband would approve, though. He doesn’t like us much.”

Gwen swallowed the lump in her throat. “I-I think he’ll be fine with it,” she said, glancing over at her mother for agreement.

Her mother nodded. “He’ll be too busy to care having to cover the inaugural and all.”

Thank God for that. Gwen knew her pa detested the mayor and anything to do with him. He believed the family corrupt. For her, though, political matters did not interest her although her mother was involved in the women’s suffrage movement. Releasing a long breath, Gwen glanced up at Nolan. Her heart fluttered. She smiled, no longer dreading her earlier qualms about today’s pomp and circumstance. Instead, she relished standing in the frozen tundra as long as she stood beside such a gallant gentleman.


About janetsyasnitsick

Visit blog for writing, marketing tidbits to dazzle your creative endeavors. New book: Courtships and Carriages, a sweet Christian romance, (two proposals but who wins Gwen's heart?). Other works: Ruth Ann Nordin's and Janet Syas Nitsick's anthology, Bride by Arrangement; Janet's five-star, inspiring-historical romance, Lockets and Lanterns; 10th place story, "The Silver Lining;" and Best of Year book, Seasons of the Soul. Background: former journalist and language-arts teacher.
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One Response to Courtships and Carriages Excerpt

  1. Pingback: Blog Hop | Author Janet Syas Nitsick

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