Bright sun filled the tiny room of the cabin that Eve Adamson called home. She stretched her toes out beneath the blanket for a few seconds before leaping out of bed. It was rare for her to be in bed after the sun came up; there was too much to do before heading to town. She hurriedly pulled her blanket up over the top of the bed and did her best to smooth any wrinkles. She had laid out her clothes the night before, so it didn’t take her long to get ready. Her biggest struggle was with her hair. Her mother said that it was a trait of redheads to struggle so much with unruly hair. It felt like it went every which way and it always poked out no matter how hard she tried to get it into an orderly bun.
At last, Eve closed the door to her bedroom and hurried down the hall to the kitchen. Her mother was at the stove, stirring a large pot while humming a soft tune.
She turned toward Eve as she walked in. “There you are. I was wondering what time you’d be waking up.”
Eve shook her head. “I don’t know how I overslept so late. I suppose I was tired.” Eve started pulling out bowls and looked for the bread from the day before. Her mother kept up her soft humming. It was comforting and Eve enjoyed it. It reminded her of when she was young, and her mother would sing her lullabies to get her to go to sleep. Her mother had the same red hair as she did. It was a borderline auburn color that sometimes looked more on the orange side.
Her father had dark brown hair, but he liked to joke that no one must have liked that color because not even one of her siblings had his hair color.
“Are you working today?” her mother asked, pulling Eve from her thoughts.
“Yes. They need someone to come in for the day. I have to be there by noon. I’m sorry.” Eve usually stayed home on Saturday and helped with extra projects around the house. Today, she couldn’t do that—she worked at a busy little diner in town, a popular place for many people to come and eat. The men who didn’t have families often ate three meals a day there. Farmhands would come in for breakfast or dinner, and many families would come for special occasions or just to do something different, rather than eat at their houses. Then there were the travelers.
That was one of the things that came with their town being so close to Dallas, Texas—there were lots of travelers going to different towns or coming through the area. Since it was the last little town before Dallas, they almost always stopped at West Ridge and when they did, they were hungry. Usually, Eve worked Monday to Friday, but sometimes, she was asked to work on Saturdays and even Sundays if it was a very busy week like this one.
“It’s fine. I know that you do your best to help around here. You work too hard.” Her mother looked sympathetic.
Eve forced a smile. “It’s fine, Mama. Maybe one of these days you can convince Russell to come back from chasing gold and take over.” Eve knew that Russell was not planning on coming back any time soon. Then again, knowing Russell, he could show up any minute and declare that his dreams of chasing gold were gone.
Russell had always been that way. He changed his mind with the wind. He was eight years older than her and had an adventurous streak. Of all her eight siblings, he was considered the most spontaneous. No one knew when he would get a new idea or a new dream that would propel him forward into all kinds of trouble without previous notice.
Eve finished setting the table, then started on the few dishes her mother had used while preparing breakfast.
“I think this porridge is just about ready. Would you mind finding your father? I’m sure he’s starving.” Her mother started dishing up the three bowls and Eve nodded obediently. She enjoyed living with her parents on the farm. They were like a team, building their dream home. However, sometimes it was hard just being the three of them. Her parents were getting older and had a harder and harder time with managing the farm work. Eve did her best to keep up with the extra things that they couldn’t do, but sometimes it was difficult.
At least they had two farmhands who were able to manage a lot of the heavy lifting and the harder jobs around the farm. They took care of the plowing, the planting, the brunt of the harvest, and odd jobs when they could. Their farm was the size that would usually warrant five or six farmhands, but they weren’t making enough money for that sort of labor.
Eve stepped out into the bright morning. It was October already, but even so, there was little sign of colder weather. That was to be expected in lower Texas—Texas didn’t seem to care what month it was when it came to the heat. There had been some winters with some terribly cold days and even some ice and snow in the past; there had also been some winters where every day was scorching hot, and it made her long for the idea of cool days and a rest from the heat. No matter what the weather the work still had to be done.
Eve knew her father was most likely in the barn. When he finished with the milking, he tried to work on little things around the place to improve it. Sure enough, she found him toward the back of the building, fixing one of the broken stall doors.
“Pa, it’s time to eat. Are you hungry?” Eve asked.
Her father looked up, pushing back dark brown hair peppered with white. “There you are! I was wondering when I would see you out and about. Usually, you are the one out here before me.”
He wasn’t wrong there. Eve was typically the one who handled the milking just before sunrise. Today, it seemed her father had done the chores alone.
“Sorry, I overslept. I’m not sure why I was so tired.”
Her father grinned. “It’s no trouble. Everyone needs a little extra rest every once in a while. There is nothing like getting old to remind one of that.”
Eve hated it when her parents mentioned their age, or that they were getting older and might leave her behind one day. It made her sad and afraid about what she would do when she was all alone. She loved Texas and living in the west. She wasn’t sure that she wanted to go back to New York, even though the majority of her siblings still lived there.
“Come on, Pa, you’re not that old yet.”
“Tell that to my knees. Speaking of which, it is going to rain today. I can feel it in my bones. I’m old enough to feel the weather. That’s for sure.”
Eve laughed and motioned for him to come. “The porridge is probably getting cold, and you know how Mama gets when we let her food get cold.”
“I know, I know. Why don’t you take that pitcher there and fill it with fresh milk? I would love some milk with my porridge.” Her father motioned to a tin pitcher sitting nearby. Eve hurried to get the milk. One of the nice things about living on a farm was that they always had fresh milk, and often fresh cream, butter, and cheese.
They took a lot of the milk down to town to sell it. The diner where she worked bought milk, butter, and cheese from them. She took some with her in a little wagon when she went down to work. The wagon was about three feet long by two feet wide and carried several things in it, making it unnecessary to set up the big wagon and take a needless trip to town. Today, the products were already waiting in front of the house. She usually took extra on Friday, but yesterday there hadn’t been as much finished and Mrs. Farvell said she could bring it by today.
“Your mother told me you’d be working today. I take it things have been pretty busy at the diner?”
“Yes. It seems more and more people come every day. Sometimes I feel like we will never finish feeding anyone. Maybe you and Ma should have started a diner instead of a farm. We might have made more money.”
“You might be right.” Her father chuckled. “You will be a businesswoman yet. You do so well with the farm and helping around here. You’d be more than capable of running that diner all on your own.”
Eve blushed under her father’s praise. Her parents never hid the fact that they were proud of her. They were always encouraging her and telling her that she could do anything. Sometimes, Eve felt as if they didn’t know how hard life could be because of their optimism. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it sometimes caused her to bite off more than she could chew.
“Maybe, I’m not sure. I mean, we would have to have a good amount of money to start a business, especially one like a diner. There is quite a bit of equipment necessary to do that right.”
“You’re correct. But we are lucky we have you on our side, here on the farm. This place wouldn’t be the same without you.” Her father opened the door for her and the two of them went into the kitchen. Her mother shook her head and made a disapproving noise.
“The food is already on the table, you two. It’s getting cold. I was starting to worry that you weren’t going to show up at all.”
“Of course we were going to show up—you know how much I love your cooking. Besides, I’m starving.” Eve’s father washed his hands in the basin by the stove, then sat down in his place at the head of the table. Eve gave her own hands a quick wash before she sat down on the other side of her father. Her mother took the last seat in the middle. Anyone looking in would think that it had been the three of them for a long time, but in reality, their family had been so much bigger when she had lived with them and her eight siblings back in New York in a tiny home.
Back then, there were shared beds, arguments over who would sit where, and constant conversation. Eve missed the hustle and bustle that used to surround her. She often wished that she had been closer in age to her siblings so there was more chance of them sticking together. By the time she was older, and her parents decided that they wanted to set off to Texas and make their dreams come true, her siblings were already married, or off doing their own things.
They didn’t want to leave their jobs, their friends, and their communities behind. Of course, Eve understood that. She loved all of them and as the baby of the family, she never had a problem with any of them. However, she still missed them and wished things had happened differently sometimes. She wished they had joined them on their adventure in Texas. It just didn’t feel like their family was complete anymore.
Her father finished saying grace and they all started into breakfast. Her mother had a way of perfectly balancing the cinnamon and the sugar to make a delicious porridge. Eve had never tasted better, and from what she could tell, neither had her father.
“So, Eve, have you met anyone special in town?” her mother asked.
Eve could feel herself blushing. Her parents were always asking if she had met anyone, or had plans to marry anytime soon.
“No, the answer is still no. When would I have time to find anyone special, or spend time with them?” Eve shook her head.
“There is always time for matters of the heart. When I met your mother, it was one of the busiest times in my life, but everything seemed to stand still when I saw her. Love at first sight, really.” He grinned at her mother and laid his hand on hers as he spoke.
Eve smiled. She really enjoyed hearing her parents’ love story and hoped the same would happen for her someday, but she wasn’t sure it was realistic, at least not right now. She had so much work and was always so busy with the farm, that she didn’t really pay attention to men or when they might pay attention to her. Not to mention, so far, she hadn’t met any men who made her feel like she should pay attention to them.
Maybe that right person who made everything stand still just hadn’t crossed her path yet. She took another bite of porridge and listened as her parents started reminiscing about the things that had brought them together. She really did hope that her special someone was out there for her somewhere, but right now, life seemed too overwhelming to worry about it much.
Maybe things would change, and he would show up. Her parents certainly would be happy if he did.
Mrs. Farvell waved hello to Eve as soon as she walked into the diner. Mr. Farvell did all the cooking, making different things for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He made them so well that most of the town preferred to eat there. Mrs. Farvell kept an eye on Eve as well as the other young ladies who worked in the diner. There were three of them total, and between all of them, they managed to keep the place afloat. Eve was the last one who started working because she used to work at the general store—though Eve enjoyed this job much more than her previous one.
“Good afternoon, Eve. I’m glad you could come today.” Mrs. Farvell offered a warm smile of gratitude.
“Of course. I also brought the rest of the cheese and milk from yesterday. It’s right outside on the table”
“Thank you. Mr. Farvell will pay you for it before you leave today. Why don’t you get Linda to help you bring them into the kitchen? We are about all out of cheese and even milk. Breakfast today was quite the rush.” Mrs. Farvell laughed. She was a larger woman with a soft, round stomach that shook when she laughed. She had round cheeks that often carried a touch of red and a big smile, which was what people normally noticed about her. Overall, she was known as a happy person, who people enjoyed talking to and being around.
Eve excused herself and went to find Linda. Linda always worked on Saturdays. She always said she liked being able to contribute to her family and make things easier, but not only that, she was saving for her future. Linda’s parents were a lot younger than Eve’s and it was interesting to see how freely Linda considered her future.
Eve found Linda in the kitchen, dishing up plates to be taken to the dining room.
Linda’s face lit up as Eve stepped into the room. “There you are. I was told you were coming.” Linda’s dark, curly brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and her tan skin was practically glowing with energy. “Here, would you help me take these out?”
“Sure. After that, Mrs. Farvell wants us to bring in the things I brought from the farm.” Eve wished they had more time to talk and stand around, but things needed to be done fast. Even if they kept up perfectly with each batch of customers, there was rarely a spare moment throughout the day. After they’d delivered the plates of food and had gone outside, they finally had a moment to talk.
“Is it just me, or are there fewer customers than there normally would be on a Saturday for lunch?” Eve asked. Usually, almost every single table in the dining area would be full. Right now, it was only a third full. At first, Eve thought that maybe people were just coming later than usual, but now that she saw the reaction on Linda’s face, she knew that she had guessed wrong.
“You haven’t heard? Another diner opened on the other side of town. The Leroy family opened one. That building everyone thought was going to be a house—it’s actually a diner. They hired a cook and everything.”
“What?” Eve’s heart sank. She knew that this must be difficult news for the Farvells. They had put everything they had into their diner and making it a success. To know that someone in town had also started a diner, that had to be hard. The competition would surely take some of their customers.
“I know, it’s a shame. I thought that not many people would be interested, but I suppose after years of always eating in the same place, some people are curious. Hopefully, it will pass. People will go there a few times, and realize the food is better here. I mean, they can’t possibly cook better than Mr. Farvell, right?”
Eve nodded, trying to hide her worry. If the Farvell’s diner didn’t make enough money, that meant that she wouldn’t be able to sell as many products from the farm, and not only that, but days of working extra or working at all might be coming to an end. Eve swallowed hard. Maybe she was worrying too much for nothing. Surely this would pass like Linda thought it would.
Eve and Linda managed to gather up everything she had brought from the farm and take it into the kitchen in one trip. Mr. Farvell smiled and gave them a friendly wave. Eve started on the dishes while Linda kept the customers in the dining area happy. Maybe there weren’t as many people as usual, but there were still quite a few. Eve decided that as soon as she could, she was going to look at Leroy’s diner. She needed to find out what sort of competition they were going up against.
The sun was starting to sink when Eve and Linda finished their day at the diner.
“Do you want to come by the house for a few minutes? I would love your company walking back,” Linda suggested, breaking Eve from her thoughts. Linda’s home was almost on the way to Eve’s house. Eve had to take a minor detour back down a smaller road, but it made little difference in her final time to get home.
“Sure, why not? How has your father’s business been going?” Eve asked. Linda’s father owned the blacksmith shop in town, and her mother did some seamstress work. They were both well-respected citizens of the town and everyone loved them. They were known for being honest, upstanding, and trustworthy.
“It’s been going well. There still isn’t another blacksmith shop in town. Though last week, one of Pa’s workers quit. He said he needed more time with his family, but Pa says that he might try to start a shop of his own, too. I mean, mama says it is good that West Ridge is growing, but I almost think that it is bad with how everyone is starting businesses that we already have.” Linda shook her head and her curls bounced back and forth with the movement.
Eve nodded in agreement. “I don’t want our town to get too big. If it does, then we won’t know everyone in town anymore, and just think of all the strangers.” Eve liked the way that most people knew each other. Even though there was a large number of young men who came and went looking for jobs as ranch hands, or seeking their fortune, there was still a nucleus group of families that cared for one another; it was a tight community.
“I can’t believe how much everything has changed just in the last five years. Remember when we used to go to school together? It was so much smaller back then.”
“You’re right; it was.” Eve frowned. She missed those days. She and Linda had met in school. When Eve’s family moved to West Ridge, she’d been afraid that the other children wouldn’t like her and that she wouldn’t be able to make friends. On her first day at school, Linda had found her and asked her to play.
Eve smiled at the memory.
“What’s funny?” Linda demanded.
“I was just thinking of that first day when we met at school. You must have felt so sorry for me to ask me to play so fast.”
“It wasn’t that.” Linda looked suddenly embarrassed.
“No. I had never seen anyone with red hair before. When I saw you standing there at recess, looking all shy and like you didn’t know where to go, I couldn’t stop thinking about how beautiful and different your hair was. I figured I had to ask you to play before someone else did and you never spoke to me again.”
Eve laughed. “Why didn’t you ever tell me that before?”
“I didn’t want you to think that I was still just interested in being friends because of your hair.” Linda shrugged.
Eve shook her head. “I wouldn’t think that, and I don’t. You are like the sister I never had, but do.” They both laughed together. Linda knew all about her huge family. Even though Eve had lots of siblings, she had never gotten along with any of them the way that she did with Linda. She always figured it was because her siblings were so much older than her. She was seen more as the baby of the family, rather than a friend to her siblings.
“I, on the other hand, don’t know what it is like to have a sister, but I do know that if I did have one, she would be like you.”
Eve blushed. She and Linda didn’t often talk about their friendship like this. The home that Linda shared with her parents, and her little brother came into view. Linda always complained about having a little brother and Eve found their bickers quite entertaining. Juan came running out to meet them.
“Did you bring any bread back from the diner?” Juan asked.
“Nope, not a single bite.” Linda’s eyes twinkled with mischief. Despite her complaints, Eve knew that Linda adored her little brother.
“Really? Not even a single bread roll?” Juan looked disappointed.
Linda pulled out two soft rolls from her apron pocket. They were wrapped in a white handkerchief. “Here you go. Of course, I brought you some bread. If I didn’t you would not have let me hear the end of it for the rest of the day.”
“Thank you, thank you!” Juan took the rolls and ran back up the steps of the house. He was six years Linda’s junior but often acted younger than his thirteen years.
Eve laughed as he went. Linda’s mother appeared in the doorway a couple of seconds later.
“Eve, it’s good to see you. Will you be staying for dinner? Jose is going to be home any minute now.”
Eve shook her head. She loved staying for dinner at Linda’s house. Her mother cooked such a different style of food that it was a treat and a learning experience each time. Linda’s father was originally from Mexico and he had taught his wife how to cook many traditional foods from his childhood.
“I can’t today, though I would love to. My parents need my help back at the farm.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Next time you can, you stop by, okay?”
“I will,” Eve smiled. “I’ll see you Monday then, or maybe tomorrow at church if we come.” Eve gave Linda a quick hug, then tugged her empty wagon along behind her as she headed down the road. She waved to Mrs. Garcia and then continued on her way. She could already smell the beginnings of a delicious dinner and almost regretted not staying, even though she was needed at home. Every once in a while, she would give in to temptation and join Linda’s family for dinner.
When she arrived home, the sun was dipping below the trees on the horizon. Its bright, sunny light was gone and replaced with a dull, gray color that barely managed to illuminate her path. She left the empty wagon cart in the barn and headed up to the cabin to help her mother prepare dinner before she needed to do the milking. It seemed her father had finished repairing the stall door he’d been so intent on fixing.
When she stepped into the house, she heard her parents talking softly in the kitchen. She paused in the parlor a moment to enjoy the peaceful sound. She was in great admiration of her parents for the relationship they still had with each other after such a long life together. They had brought eleven children to the world, suffered loss and joys and so much through their life. She knew that the loss of two of her siblings had been very hard on them. Despite all of the difficulties and the challenges, they still managed to make time for each other and find satisfaction in the little things like conversations while her mother made dinner, or a long walk when they wanted some fresh air.
“Ma, Pa, I’m home,” Eve announced as she walked into the kitchen. Her mother was stirring something on the stove and her father was sitting at the kitchen table with a steaming cup of coffee in front of him.
“There you are. How was your day?” her father asked.
“Not the best, not the worst. Did the two of you know that there was a new diner in town?” Eve took a few minutes to explain about Leroy’s diner and how it had worried her employers.
“Don’t worry, your friend is right,” her father said. “People will get tired of the new thing and want the old place that they can count on. You know what a great cook Mr. Farvell is. You’ll see, things will go back to normal soon enough.” He sounded so sure of himself. Eve hoped that he was right.
She forced a smile and joined her mother by the stove. “What can I help you with?”
Her mother handed her the wooden spoon and instructed her to stir while she went to get some carrots to chop. Eve listened as her father took up telling them about an encounter he’d had with some Indians that day while out in the back pasture. Eve listened intently. They didn’t see a lot of Indians, and when they did, they were usually friendly, but that could always change. Her father’s story continued as they worked together to get dinner on the table. It was moments like these when Eve felt truly lucky to have a family, even if it was just a small one now.
Roger Lockett stared out the train window as it pulled into the station. Dallas, Texas—it felt like forever since he’d been there last. Even so, the train station didn’t feel strange to him. He elbowed his best friend, Harvey, in the ribs, trying to wake him up.
“Hey, we’re here. Take a look.” Roger nodded toward the window.
Harvey slowly pulled himself to a right position, rubbing at his eyes which looked bloodshot.
“We’re here already? I could have used a couple more hours of sleep,” Harvey grumbled.
Roger chuckled. “You always think you could use more sleep. This is where I spent a good portion of my younger years. You always asked about where I grew up—I guess now you get to see one of my childhood homes.” Roger had shared his childhood memories between Chicago and Dallas. Both of those towns held a special place in his heart.
Harvey stretched his arms above his head. “I suppose we better get a move on; everyone else is already standing and getting their bags.”
Roger shook his head. “Everyone is always in such a hurry these days.”
“Is your father going to be waiting for us at the train station?” Harvey asked.
Roger sighed. He was both excited and nervous to see his father again. They hadn’t exactly parted on great terms. It had been six years since he’d seen him last. He wasn’t sure if he would be welcomed back with open arms or turned away worse than he had been before.
“He knows we are coming, but I prefer we show up at his house. I didn’t want our first meeting in six years to be on a loud train platform while everyone else is reuniting with their loved ones. It’s not too far from here anyway. A good walk will do us good after so much time sitting around on the train.” Roger motioned toward the aisle which was now clearing out. A lot of the passengers were already getting off. “Come on then. We don’t have to be the last ones off.”
Harvey chuckled and grabbed his bag. Surprisingly, even though they had uprooted their lives and come out here to the wild west as it was known for the foreseeable future, they hadn’t brought much with them. Roger had brought everything he would need to start his own doctor’s practice—a couple of changes of clothes and a few books—all in his bag. He also had a few crates of books that were in the luggage car. Harvey, on the other hand, managed to store everything he’d brought in the bag he carried with him.
“Will we pick up the books now? Carrying those across town is going to be more than a bother.”
Roger shook his head. “We won’t take them all the way to my father’s house. I know a woman with a store around here. She’ll watch them for me until I can pick them up properly later. Come along.” Roger stepped in front and led the way down the aisle.
The sound of people reuniting with their loved ones and carrying on lively conversations reached them from outside. For a second, he wished that he too had someone out there on the train platform, waiting for him to arrive with open arms and a warm embrace.
“A Western Christmas Miracle” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
With all her siblings having left home, Eve Adamson knows it falls to her to look after her parents. Between taking care of the family farm and working at the diner to make ends meet, she has a lot on her plate. She has neither the time nor the interest to pursue a relationship. When a stranger shows up in town and happens to be around just at the moment she needs help the most, will she break her own rules and let him into her life?
If only tragedy didn’t find a way to sneak into her life at every chance…
After studying for six years in Chicago, Roger Lockett has returned to Texas to be a doctor. He and his father have never seen eye to eye about his future and what he should dedicate himself to. When his father makes him an offer that could put their differences to rest and bring him to a tiny town in need of a doctor, Roger jumps at the chance. What he never expected was to cross paths with the most beautiful and strong-willed woman he has ever met…
Will he manage to break down the walls surrounding her wary heart though?
As Roger and Eve grow closer together, disasters and difficulties seem to pile up for Eve and her family. With Christmas preparations in full swing, she struggles to hold everything together. Then an accident hits close to home and suddenly Eve isn’t sure there will be any Christmas this year… Will Roger and Eve brave these challenges together? Will they open their hearts to love and a Christmas miracle?
“A Western Christmas Miracle” is a historical western romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.