His Rainbow After the Rain (Preview)


Sarah flipped the paper in frustration, grumbling to herself. Her friend, Mary, sat near her behind her teacher’s desk, flipping through several magazines and books.

Mary’s green eyes darted up to her friend. Sarah was practically a sister to her, and anyone who saw them walking together would think they were real sisters. They were both blonde and slender, with smooth, pale skin and defined features. Sarah’s eyes were more hazel than green, but both women sported long eyelashes for frames.

“You are frustrated?” she asked, gently. She could see the answer written on Sarah’s face.

Sarah folded the paper and set it on the desk in front of her. She was seated in the first row at the longest table in one of the bigger chairs, which was meant for the teens who attended the schoolhouse. Mary was the teacher of the higher grades while Mrs. Edwards, who was upstairs preparing her own classes, taught the younger children, who were aged 4-11.

Sarah sat back in the chair, crossing her arms over her chest. “Maybe a little. I’m just so bored!”

Mary lifted her eyebrows. Of course Sarah was bored. She was one of the only single, wealthy socialites in their town of Glenwood, South Dakota.She was a beautiful young woman of eighteen, two years younger than Mary, and they had been close since attending that very school themselves, with Mrs. Edwards as their teacher.

Sarah didn’t have any charming young men on her arm, which anyone would have thought she should have, since she was actually a very charming young woman. But she was also headstrong and looking for a specific kind of love, a love that would sweep her off her feet but that still let her have a sensible side. So far, she’d met only – in her words – “spineless or weak, feeble-minded or boring” men. Money was very important to her, as well, so it didn’t look like she would settle down anytime soon. She seemed to prefer spending her time with Mary, anyway, which her friend didn’t mind at all.

It was a warm spring day and as the end of the school year approached, Mary liked to let the young people out early so they could either enjoy their days or help their families around the house or farm.

Mary stood up, pushing the books she was going through away from her, and came around the desk to pick up the paper. When she stood up, so did Sarah.

Mary scanned through the paper, shaking her head. “Of course you can’t find anything interesting in here. There’s nothing but drivel, the same old news about the same old thing.”

She folded it back together and dropped it on the table between them.

“Let’s go get some ice cream at the parlor. I feel like enjoying a walk through the park.”

“I’d like that.” Sarah smiled, showing her white teeth that Mary knew for a fact she tried to keep as clean as possible. “And you can tell me all about your plans for the coming school year. Will you be having summer school?”

Mary raised her eyebrows. “I know some of the students would definitely benefit from that,” she said. “But I don’t know. We need new books. I don’t think we can go another year on the ones we have.” She glanced over her shoulder at the ones she’d been going through, trying to formulate a new curriculum for the remaining semester of school.

Sarah tilted her head to the side. “Would some of the most recent publications in science and geography help? Maybe some mathematics and English books?”

Mary chuckled, wondering where her friend was going with this.

“Of course they would. You know they would.”

Sarah nodded. “Well, then, you’ll get some new books. I think I can even get some student manuals for you.”

Mary tilted her head to the side. “How on earth do you plan to do that?”

“Papa knows I always need books,” Sarah replied with a wave of her hand. “I’ll just tell him the bill from the bookstore is for that. He need never know.”

Mary was surprised Sarah would do that for her. She also wondered if Sarah’s father, Franklin, would be bothered if he knew where the books were really going. But if Sarah said she could get books without burdening the man, then that was just as good. All she knew was that the books were for the children.

“Okay, if you think you can get some books and manuals for the children, please do that. I know they need it.”

“If you can’t use them this year, you can use them next year. I’ll tell you what; you write down whatever books you need and I’ll get them ordered for you. It might take a few weeks to get them, though.”

“That’s fine, dear. Thank you so much! I know the children will benefit greatly from them.”

“It’s my pleasure. I like doing things for you and your little children. Makes me feel like I’m actually accomplishing something, instead of just being here on this planet merely existing.”

Mary laughed, turning away from the desk and picking up her purse. She rounded the desk again and pulled the light blue sweater from the back of the chair. She slung it over her arm.

“You ready yet?” Sarah joked, coming out from behind the table.

As the two women left the schoolhouse, Mary looked back at the folded newspaper on the desk. It was, indeed, filled with boring articles and old news. And it never had anything to read in it that interested her. There were so many things they could have been talking about, things that might interest the women in town. But it all seemed geared toward the men. There were no women’s interest articles, nothing about women’s rights.

It was all boring men stuff.

Mary walked to the parlor with Sarah, and had a cup of ice cream with caramel on top.

Chapter One

It was another bright, sunny day when the books arrived. Sarah gleefully carted a wagon full of them to the schoolhouse to present to Mary.

Mary saw her coming from down the street and went out to her, hurrying down the dirt sidewalk next to the road with her skirts bundled in her hands.

“Oh, they came, oh, Sarah!”

Sarah stopped with the books, looking proud as punch, waiting for Mary to get to her. When she did, the school teacher squatted by the wagon, scanning the books. Her delight was obvious on her face. She would never have imagined having these brand new books, their spines not even cracked yet, the insides clean with no writing in them. Manuals with good printing, recent information, geography books with the newest maps and latest railroad extensions.

She giggled when she saw the books on gardening. Her students would benefit most from those. She would have to start a gardening class and concentrate just on that. Many of her students might be able to teach her a thing or two.

She stood back up after touching nearly all the books, running her fingers lovingly over the covers, the embedded titles in gold and red.

Mary couldn’t help throwing her arms around her friend. “Oh, you are the best! The absolute best! Thank you so much.”

Sarah shrugged as if it was nothing, but Mary could tell how happy her friend was too.

“You’re welcome, Mary. I’m glad I could do it for you. You want the handle?” She presented the wagon handle to Mary as if it were a trophy.

Mary clapped her hands together like a little girl and hopped in place. “Oh, can I?”

They both laughed as she took the handle from Sarah and began to pull it back to the schoolhouse. The wheels were big and round so they went easily over the rocks and dirt. She pulled it all the way to the front doors, and Sarah helped her by taking hold of one of the doors while she pulled open the other.

Mary took the wagon of books into the small foyer/mud room, where the children left their coats, jackets and lunch bags. She maneuvered it around the wall that separated the foyer from the school room, going past the set of stairs that took the smaller children up to their work area.

They were unloading the books when they heard two sets of feet coming down the stairs and they both looked up. They glanced at each other, both wondering who could be with Mrs. Edwards then.

Mary watched as Mrs. Edwards came down. She could first see her legs, which were wrapped in high socks, ending in sensible shoes, her thick brown skirt barely moving as she made her way down. When she got to the bottom, she straightened her matching jacket and looked sternly at Mary.

Her brown eyes slid to Sarah and she seemed to instinctively lift one hand and pat her firm hair, which was pulled back in a tight bun.

“Good morning, ladies. What have you got there?”

“We’ve had a donation of new books, Mrs. Edwards,” Mary replied in a happy voice, hoping the good news would ease some of Mrs. Edwards’ sourness. “They are all recent publications so they have the very latest information in them.”

As she was talking, a man stepped off the steps behind Mrs. Edwards. It was the Mayor of Glenwood, Rory Hanover. He had an equally sour look on his face. Mary’s heart sank. He was probably there to take more funding and resources away from them.

When his eyes dropped to the books, his nose curled in a sneer.

“A donation, eh?” he said. Mary heard him grumble something under his breath that apparently only Mrs. Edwards heard, because without even turning around to look at him, her cheeks flushed with anger.

Mary had a hard time not asking what exactly the man had said. Ever since he had become Mayor, he had alienated nearly everyone in town, not just Mrs. Edwards, and every single parent in Glenwood. He provided limited resources for the school and it now relied mostly on donations and whatever Mary and Mrs. Edwards could afford to provide.

“Mr. Hanover has kindly come by to tell us that we are over our budget for the schooling and will need to look for other ways to heat the room on the cold days because there is no more coal for our stoves.”

Mary’s chest tightened with anger and anxiety. She didn’t have the money to buy coal. She felt bad constantly asking the families of the children to provide but didn’t know what else to do. Mrs. Edwards certainly couldn’t provide anything extra.

She would just have to pray for a lot of warm days. “Don’t fret, Mrs. Edwards,” she said in the calmest voice she could muster. “We will use the fireplaces when it is cold out. They will provide the heat we need. I know that there are-“

“You don’t have money for firewood in the budget, either,” Mr. Hanover said bluntly. “I don’t know what you expect. Are you planning to send out your children to chop wood? Perhaps that would be better for them than sitting in here reading books that will never benefit them in any way?”

Mary narrowed her eyes at the man. A dead silence fell over the room before she said in a cold voice, “As I was going to say, there are plenty of parents who will provide wood for us. And some of our bigger boys would probably be happy to go out and chop some for us.”

The big man snorted, clamping his thick, hair covered hands around the lapels of his long, black jacket. “I suppose that is what you will have to do then,” he said. “I will speak with you again, Mrs. Edwards, if something opens up in the budget for you.”

Mrs. Edwards spun around. Mary was shocked to hear her say, “I will not be holding my breath, Mayor.”

Mayor Hanover gave her a disdainful look before turning on his heel and walking around the wall to the front door. They heard it open and then close behind him.

“What a hateful man,” Sarah said, her voice in a rare disgusted tone. “I don’t understand people like him or how he ever became mayor of our little town. We will need to elect someone new. He is not doing a good job for any of us.”

Mary thought it was kind of Sarah to lump herself in with the rest of the commoners in the city. Her father had a lot of influence and had the courage to stand up to the mayor, which he did on a frequent basis. That’s why she thought he would have given his permission to buy the books for the schoolhouse.

“I think we should look for someone new,” Mary agreed, nodding.

“In the meantime,” Mrs. Edwards said in an angry voice. “I will need you to go through the books that we have upstairs as well, if you’re going to go about replacing things without asking me. You can also write up some new curriculums from the new books you’ve acquired.”

Mary felt resentment slide through her, making her chest tight once again.

“How can you say that?” she asked. “These books aren’t just for my students. They are for the schoolhouse.”

“Well, since you felt we needed them so badly, you can adjust the curriculum accordingly. I already have too much on my mind to be doing that too. And don’t bring any of them up until you have the new lessons written out.”

“But Mrs. Edwards, that would take me all night and probably all of tomorrow, too.”

“If that is what it takes,” Mrs. Edwards responded, firmly.

Shock and anger made Mary ball up her fists but she hid them behind her back so only Sarah could see them. “But tomorrow is Saturday and the beginning of the weekend!”

“Just see that you get it done.” Mrs. Edwards turned and stomped to the steps and then up them, sounding like an elephant.

Mary and Sarah looked at each other, shaking their heads.

“She’s in a terrible mood,” Sarah said, keeping her voice low.

Mary nodded. “I know. But you probably would be, too, if you had that horrible man breathing down your neck before lunch.”

Sarah raised her eyebrows, nodding too. “I concur. Well, let’s go through these books. I’ll help you with your curriculum if I can. Just tell me what to do. It will be good practice if I decide to become a schoolteacher someday.”

Mary laughed with her friend, knowing Sarah would never be a schoolteacher. It wasn’t one of her goals in life. She had no aspirations of becoming one and had put no effort into working toward it.

But she appreciated the offer and got out her pens and paper to write a list of things Sarah could do for her, like sorting through the books by age range and subject.

The two women worked and chatted until noon, when they took a lunch. The sun was bright overhead, beaming down on them cheerfully. As they passed the printing shop where the local newspaper was printed, she glanced in. There were two men inside. They were standing together, facing each other in deep discussion. One of them was much taller, dressed slightly better and had the face and body of a sculpture in an art museum.

Mary knew who he was. He was the son of a hard man with no concern for the female gender, and as far as she knew the apple hadn’t fallen far from the tree.

His name was Philip Jenkins. He was talking to John Hanover, the son of the mayor. It was a little surprising to see Philip was dressed more smartly than the son of the mayor but that’s how it was. Philip didn’t look happy and they were going back and forth, cutting each other off.

She was only in front of the window for about four steps but it was enough to quickly catch Philip’s eye while he was mid-sentence.

She wasn’t surprised when his eyes immediately darted back to the man in front of him and he didn’t miss a word.

They were past the window but the image of him lingered in her mind. Maybe she should stop in and speak with him. She had some ideas to improve the newspaper, add some articles that leaned more toward women’s issues.

Chapter Two

They reached the small restaurant on the corner of the street a few minutes later. Mary had tried to spend the walk talking about pleasant things, but Mrs. Edwards’ bad attitude was on her mind. It wasn’t just today that the older woman was grumpy. She was like that more often than not. Mary had tended to many smaller children that were in Mrs. Edwards’ care over the last few years because the woman seemed to have very little compassion for the small ones.

Mary wasn’t in charge so couldn’t say that perhaps the woman shouldn’t be teaching the small children. So she just kept an eye out to make sure they were treated with the compassion and love they deserved.

Once they were seated in the restaurant and the girl took their lunch order, she sighed and looked at Sarah, shaking her head. “I hate to complain, but Mrs. Edwards is just about to make me pull out my last hair.”

Sarah lifted her eyebrows and leaned forward slightly, her arms crossed on the table between them. “I thought you said she’d eased up a little. Is she still cross with the children?”

“She really hasn’t gotten that much better. But it’s not just that. I feel like when she looks at me, something about me makes her upset. I do my job the way I’m supposed to. I’m just glad to be able to support myself.” She held in a giggle as she looked directly at her friend and said, “Some of us have to work for a living. Don’t have rich parents.”

Sarah scrunched up her face, ending it with a grin, sticking out her tongue. “Oh you. You know I’ll help you out however I can.”

Mary nodded, grinning too and letting out her giggle. “You know I’m teasing you. And yes, I know you’d help me.”

Sarah reached forward with one hand and rested it on the table in front of her, tapping one finger. Her eyes were directly on Mary’s. “You’ve done a lot more than I ever have, honey. You’ve lived a life I can’t understand. After your parents left you early in your life, you’ve really worked your way up. I was so proud of you when you finished all the requirements for your teaching license. You and Mrs. Edwards take care of quite a few children for a town with almost four thousand people.”

“Well, I don’t think the pressure is good for Mrs. Edwards anymore. Maybe she’s getting too old to take care of small children.”

“Do you think she would be any better with the older ones?” Sarah sounded skeptical.

Mary thought about it for a second. Her friend was probably right. The older children demanded respect while the little ones didn’t know any better. She shook her head. “I guess not. It wasn’t easy for me when ma and pa died.”

Sarah looked sympathetic, pulling her hand back and replacing it where it had been. “I know. And so soon after moving here from the East Coast. I’m sure it was a punch in the gut for you.”

Mary watched the serving girl as she came toward them, a large round tray in her hands that supported two plates and two glasses. She sat back in anticipation of their food being placed in front of them. As the girl placed the plates and glasses down, she thought about the term “punch in the gut”. She had never been in a physical fight in her 20 years and never expected to be in one. Regardless, the term still seemed appropriate for the situation. While her parents’ deaths had been devastating enough, there was that extra tragedy, that extra circumstance that made Mary’s life even harder. She was only fifteen when they died, six months after moving to Glenwood.

Sarah was her friend even then but she was thirteen and had little control. Still, Sarah was smart as a whip and asked her father to help Mary, giving her a place to stay, giving her some work in the house to make a little money, feeding her and helping her get the books she needed for her teaching certificate. She’d studied hard and made it where she was on her own, using her own skills and intelligence.

She’d been blessed with a benefactor. Other than that, she’d done it all on her own.

And she was proud that by the time she was seventeen, she was able to make enough money on her own to move out into a big room in a nice boarding house.

Having Sarah as close as a sister had helped her through many depressing times. She watched as Sarah said a quick prayer and then dug into her beef stew. She sopped up some of the juice with a biscuit and looked up at Mary just as she put it in her mouth.

She froze in place for a moment or two before slowly taking a bite. She made a show of chewing with her lips together and a smile growing on her face.

Her friend’s actions made Mary laugh and shake her head. “You are such a card, Sarah.”

She took a bite of the ham and cheese sandwich she’d ordered, enjoying the taste in her mouth, glad that she was able to buy her own lunch. Sarah didn’t often pay for her but it was always embarrassing when she had to ask. It had been a long time since she’d had to do that.

That was a relief.

“I just want to thank you,” Mary said in between bites. “How thankful I am to have you in my life. You are such a blessing to me. You and your father. I’ve never felt worthless or useless. You taught me a lot in my life.”

Sarah tilted her head to the side, her blond hair brushing against her shoulder. “You’ve taught me a lot, too. You’re two years older than me. Like I said before, you’ve done a lot more in your life than I have and going through those things with you opened my eyes to a lot of things a girl like me might not have experienced otherwise.”

Mary was nearly done with her sandwich. She took a few sips of her iced tea. It was a good lunch on a good day. Despite the mayor’s arrival, his surly attitude and Mrs. Edwards’ grumpiness.

“You’re a woman,” she chided her friend, softly. “You should refer to yourself as one.”

Sarah chuckled. “Yes, Miss Teacher.”

Mary blushed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to treat you like one of my students.”

Sarah just laughed. “Now I’m teasing you. I just want you to know how much I appreciate you, too. It was nice for you to say that to me. But I’ve always thought of you as a sister; well, since I was twelve or thirteen I have. I looked up to you and cared for you the same way you cared for me. I’m glad for it. You are the blessing! I was an only child until you came along.”

“And you don’t even have to share your vast fortune with a sibling because I’m not a real sister!” Mary exclaimed jokingly.

“And yet, I would anyway!” Sarah returned.

Mary was satisfied as she finished off her Coca-Cola and sandwich. She sat back and looked through the window, waiting for Sarah to finish.

There were plenty of people walking around the business area of Glenwood. The tailor shop was directly across the street with the barber shop next to it. A few doors down was the printing shop. She decided then and there she was going to stop in there. She wanted to talk to Philip Jenkins in person.

“I think I’m going to stop in at Jenkins Printing and talk to them about the content of their newspaper.”

Sarah looked up at her surprised. “You’re going to do what? Why would he listen to you?”

Mary shrugged. “He might not. He probably won’t. But there’s no reason not to try. If the opportunity is there, I’ll take it. And the opportunity is always there. I might as well try.”

“What are you going to talk to him about?”

“Remember when we were talking about how terrible the newspaper is when it comes to women’s issues? There’s rarely anything that interests me in the newspaper. I’d like to read it, too.”

“You would, you bookworm,” Sarah said, lightly.

Ignoring the teasing, Mary continued, “I think there should be more articles geared toward the females on this planet. I think it’s only fair. We are fighting for many rights in this country that we can’t have. We can’t vote for the president or for anything local. If I had my way, Hanover wouldn’t be the mayor. Someone who’s capable and able to get along with everyone should be. Someone with not just male parts, but a moral compass and a compassionate heart too.”

Sarah was nodding. “I agree with you. But do you really want to put yourself out there for something that seems so impossible to achieve?”

Mary tilted her head, eyeing her friend. “Don’t I seem like the type of woman who would?”

“Oh, most certainly. You will put yourself in the spotlight for the women of this country, I have no doubt. I am just making sure you are sure. Give it some thought before you just run off willy-nilly, stirring the pot with the Jenkins. You know how Old Man Jenkins is.”

Mary thought about Philip’s father and couldn’t help chuckling with amusement. “He’s not a very nice man, is he?”

Sarah shook her head. “The funny thing is, he never has been and we were calling him Old Man Jenkins when he was only about 35 years old.”

Mary let out a soft laugh. “He’s not even fifty yet. But the kids in my class call him Old Man Jenkins. It’s kind of funny if you think about it.”

Sarah chortled, snorting just a little. “It certainly is.”

“His Rainbow After the Rain” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

Mary Ross has just become the new local school teacher and it’s the first time she’s felt truly happy ever since her parents’ loss. Her enthusiasm won’t last for long though as her effort to modernize the town newspaper will fail miserably. Being a rebellious spirit, she wants to give voice to women, going against the mayor’s will. Her visit to the local newspaper editor will prove to be the beginning of a roller coaster of feelings. Will she regret interfering with the town’s authority or will this clash result in a dream coming true?

Philip Jenkins has been running his printing press for years. It’s a job he loves but like everything in his world, it comes with a problem; in this case, it’s the mayor, who controls the whole town. Philip is having a hard time making the right decisions as he can’t risk losing everything. When Mary enters his life, a new, completely different perspective opens before his eyes. Will he collapse under the mayor’s pressure, disappointing Mary in the worst way possible?

Mary and Philip will go through many ups and downs. Making this relationship work is much more difficult than they could ever predict, especially due to the challenges lying ahead. Will they put their strong opinions aside and cooperate for the greater good? Could love thrive when threatening troubles wait around the corner to destroy what has been built with hard work?

“His Rainbow After the Rain” is a historical western romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.

Get your copy from Amazon!

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