If you read the novel, you knew I was going to bring Vivian Lawson and Rob Hudson together eventually. Life—and love—is all about timing. Their separate stories follow individual journeys of loss and hardship until at last their paths cross when they are both ready to leave the past behind and open their hearts to what God has in store for them.
An Excerpt from Through Every Valley:
Rob Hudson looked like he had forgotten to bring along a razor on his journey west as his scraggly beard reached almost to his chest. His hair hung past his shoulders in limp strands and his worn clothes still carried the dust of the trail.
Vivian eyed him suspiciously. She would have to rely on Frank’s judgment, of course, but she wasn’t sure he was the sort of character she wished to buy the little cabin and the few head of cattle she owned. Not only was she concerned that he wouldn’t be willing to pay the price she needed, but if he could, he would be their closest neighbor.
“Pleased to meet you, ma’am,” he said, tipping his hat.
Vivian nodded in response, patting Lily on the back as she wiggled and squirmed to be put down.
“Mr. Gibson is handling my affairs,” she informed him, preventing any unnecessary conversation, “and I’m sure he can answer any questions you might have.”
With another polite nod, she returned to the cabin to let Lily down and to finish preparations for supper. A minute later, Sarah followed.
“I hope you don’t mind,” she said, “but I invited Mr. Hudson to stay for supper.”
Vivian sighed in exasperation. “Of course you did.”
“Why shouldn’t I? He seems like a very nice gentleman.”
“He looks a little wild to me,” Vivian replied.
“I bet there’s a very handsome man under there,” Sarah chuckled. “Haven’t you heard not to judge a book by its cover?”
Vivian sighed again as she answered, “I’ll stoke the fire.”
The men rode off in the direction of Vivian’s cabin, and she wondered what Claude Montgomery would think of the fellow. She had asked Frank to convince any prospective buyers to hire Claude to help manage the ranch. She hadn’t been able to buy more than a few head to expand the herd, but it was a good start for someone new to the territory.
When they returned, Vivian waited anxiously to hear if any agreement had resulted from the excursion. Had Rob Hudson expressed interest in buying her cattle and claim, and had Frank agreed to sell?
The men seemed oblivious of her raised eyebrows and curious expression, and she didn’t feel brave enough to ask. She waited throughout the meal for the announcement. If the sale was made, she would have enough money to secure passage home the following spring.
She watched Rob closely. His manners didn’t match his rough appearance, and he was soft spoken with a warm, deep voice that was pleasant to hear. It was difficult to judge his age under all that facial hair, but his
voice sounded younger than Vivian would have pegged him based on his appearance. He seemed like a decent fellow, she decided. Just desperately in need of a bath and shave.