Old Amarillo by Sara Barnard – Book Tour

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Disillusioned and feeling there is more to life than can be found on her family’s Indiana farm, atypical Amish girl Katie Knepp bucks tradition and leaves everything behind, bound for a supposed Mennonite settlement rumored to be somewhere around Old Amarillo, Texas. But the trail to Texas is a hard one, laced with disease, would-be-could-be bandits, and a drought so severe that turning back isn’t an option. During her epic overland struggle, Katie discovers friendship, even in the ever-present outlaw element, a strength in herself she’d never dreamed she possessed, and those in her past who refuse to become unwilling memories. Katie’s story isn’t Amish, nor is it western . . . it is uniquely Texan. 

Purchase you copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Old-Amarillo-Journeys-Sara-Barnard-ebook/dp/B014PVK9HS/ref

 

Sara Barnard and her family of six make their home deep in the recesses of Native America with a trio of rescue dogs, a trifecta of rescue cats, a flock of Easter Egger chickens, and a “tiny” herd of Dwarf Nigerian pygmy goats.
Some of Sara’s works include The Calling (Prairie Rose Publications), The Saga of Indian Em’ly series (Painted Pony Books), Shootout in Old Amarillo (Prairie Rose Publications), The Everlasting Heart series, Rebekah’s Quilt, and Desperado (all from 5 Prince Publishing). Sara is a certified elementary teacher and a bona fide coffee aficionado. Follow Sara at www.sarabarnardbooks.com or @TheSaraBarnard on Twitter.

 

 

 

Excerpt:
Katie rubbed her neck,
but even that motion did nothing to soothe the raw and burning ache of her
throat. If anything, it made it worse. Actually, just thinking of her dry
throat and the last time they’d had any fresh water to drink was just shy of
torturous. “Didn’t know Texas was quite so hot,” she rasped. “Never got this
hot in Indiana.”
Peter flipped the reins
to urge their thirsty Sookie onward. They had come a long piece since Vinita
and had been so wrapped up in the affairs of Clayton Allison that they had
neglected to pack extra water. “We’re not in Texas yet, Katie.”
She watched a fat pearl
of sweat slide down the side of Peter’s face. “I figured us to be almost there
by now.” Adjusting her seat brought no comfort as the blackness of the buggy
made the inside little more than a rolling oven. “Where are we then?”
“Remember when I said we
were leaving Vinita, just inside Indian Territory?”
Katie thought back and
attempted a swallow. “Yes. Doesn’t Texas come after Indian Territory?”
Peter’s lips tipped into
a half-smile. “Most folks still call this land we’re in now Indian Territory.
Others think it’s part of Oklahoma. Whatever it is, we still haven’t made it
through yet.”
An icy shudder slid down
Katie’s backbone. Leaning, she peered out of the buggy and into the scrub
brushy hills that surrounded them. “You mean, there really are Indians here?
Wild ones, like Mr. Allison, spoke of?”
“Maybe.”
A smile danced across
Katie’s lips at the recollection of Clayton Allison. “Have you noticed that the
closer we get to Texas, the less out of place we both seem?”
Peter coughed a dry
cough. “Full of colorful characters, Texas is. Figure we’ll fit right in.”
Katie sucked in a
lungful of air so hot that it burned her raw throat. “So where do you suppose
the Indians are?”
“Well, since this is
their land we’re traveling across, my guess would be anywhere around here.”
Thank
you, God for having the divine foresight to send Peter to help me, Your
stubborn but faithful servant, on this journey
. She
twined her fingers together tightly to keep them from shaking.
“Why did they all move
here? Because of the fine weather?” Katie’s attempt at a joke fell on deaf ears
as Peter stared straight ahead into the hot, unchanging hills.
“The United States
government moved them all here Katie and most are none too happy about it.” He
flipped the reins again and scanned the horizon. “To most of these Indian
folks, white people are the enemy. Not only to them, but to everything they
love and hold dear, as well.”
Katie dabbed at the
sweat that tickled her forehead. “Oh.” Her heart sank a bit. Even though they
weren’t English, both she and Peter would probably still be considered white
from an Indian’s perspective.
“Katie, look!”
Craning her neck, she
struggled to see what Peter pointed to in the distance. Squinting, her eyes
only saw the same scrubby hills. “What is it?”
“Looks to be a town,” Peter
said, shielding his eyes with one hand. “Where there’s a town, there’s water.”
He licked his lips with his tongue, which was no doubt just as dry, swollen,
and gritty as hers. “As long as it isn’t a ghost town,” he whispered.
“Thank you, God,” Katie rasped,
choosing to ignore the ghost town remark as they passed a roughshod shingle
nailed to a tree. “Thank you for the town of …” Katie squinted to read the
shingle as they passed.  “Badland.” She glanced at Peter. “Badland? Did I
read that right?”
“Badland it is.”
Katie licked her lips
again. The mere thought of water had sent a ravenous surge through her mouth
and throat. Unfortunately, that resulted in nothing more than
a dry ache that encompassed her entire neck and chest. Thinking that there
might not be any more people here was too horrific a thought to bear, so she
didn’t think it. “The well. Let’s find the well of Badland, Peter.”
Sure enough, there in
the center of the dusty and overgrown street sat a dilapidated well house.
Katie perched on the side of the buggy, ready to dive out, the moment it rolled
to a stop. Peter had only just reined in Sookie before Katie dove out, hitting
the ground running in her once-shiny black shoes. Hand over hand, she began
hauling up the bucket.
“I find it strange,”
Peter started, “that we haven’t seen another soul since pulling into Badland.”
A dry breeze swirled
down the street, bringing with it a round and rolling tumbleweed, but no hint
of any nearby moisture. A derelict wooden door hung, squeaking, on a rusty
hinge punctuating the eerie silence. The haunting sounds of the deserted street
echoed ominously as Katie hauled the splintery bucket up over the side of the
broken down well. Before she could get it to her mouth, Sookie stuck her dry
black nose smack dab in the lifesaving liquid. Katie smiled. “I suppose you
ought to get to go first, Sookie.”
Peter’s voice was more
adamant than before, edging on worried. “Katie, don’t you agree? Don’t you find
it odd? Katie?”
Tilting up the sloshing
bucket, Katie ignored Peter as the remaining liquid ran down her throat in
welcome gulps, soothing what was dry and healing what was cracked and aching.
Katie also ignored the slick horse spit that accompanied it.
“Hey, stop!” A woman’s
voice, peppered by a deep and rattling cough, echoed through the empty town.
“Mister, stop that gal!”
Katie watched from the
corner of her eye as Peter approached the woman, whose head poked out of a
nearby ramshackle door. He held his hands out in peace. “I’m sorry for our
intrusion ma’am, but we’re mighty thirsty –”
She thrust a bent and
gnarled finger out the door. “Stop her Mister, can’t you read?”
Turning to search where
she pointed, Peter caught sight of something that made him pale. “Katie, stop!”
Turning on his heel as she wiped her damp lips on her sleeve, Peter dashed full
force to her side. “Put the bucket down, this whole town is quarantined!” 
Katie’s arms went limp
and the bucket fell from her hands into the dirt. A rolling, nauseous feeling
surged in her stomach. Sookie, however, had no qualms about slurping up what
water was left in the misbegotten bucket. “What did you say, Peter?”
Peter pointed to a
pitiful excuse for a sign, also nailed to a tree. Running both hands through
his hair, he brought them down hard against his sides and muttered things under
his breath that she couldn’t rightly understand. One thing for certain, she had
never seen such a wild-eyed look on the face of her sweet Peter.
“I should have checked
closer when I got that bad feeling.” Stomping his foot, Peter swore an oath for
the first time since she had known him.
“Peter,” she admonished.
Sobering, Peter exhaled
a long breath. “Can you read that sign, Katie.”
Katie squinted and tried
to sound out the misspelled word. “Gr … gripe.” She looked to Peter for
confirmation, her hopeful brows arched skyward. “Gripe. Isn’t that what English
people do when they are upset?” She forced an uneasy smile in an attempt to
lighten the heaviness of the moment. At the same time, she willed the emotion
building inside of her not to explode.
Peter’s face had grown
deathly pale. “That’s not gripe, Katie, it’s grippe. As in the grippe.”
Katie tried to remember
where she’d heard the word before, but fear fuzzed her memory. Glancing at her
fingers, she realized she was trembling. Hard.
Picking up his hat,
Peter shoved it back down on his head without bothering to dust it off. “That’s
what most people call the influenza. Shuts down whole towns and has been known
to wipe out a few.”
Katie gulped, but the
knot that had formed in her throat refused to budge. “So it could make me sick
if I catch it?”
 Peter looked at
her, his strong shoulders slumped. “Sick? Yes, I’d say so. At the least.”
“The least?” She
accepted Peter’s hand and clambered back into the buggy. “What do you mean, the
least?”

 

Peter snapped the reins,
but didn’t look at her. Sookie appeared as though leaving the well was the last
thing she wanted to do, but she turned away from it grudgingly. They passed the
last of the tar-paper houses before he answered her question. “It’s deadly
Katie. Mighty deadly.” He snapped the reins again, driving them on out into the
suffocating heat. “And it’s catching.”

 

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