Book Excerpt from Dreams Rekindled

BNR Dreams Rekindled


Mesquite Springs, Book 2


Categories: Christian Historical Fiction/ Romance/ Stand-Alone

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: March 2, 2021

Pages: 352

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He’s bound and determined to find peace . . . but she’s about to stir things up. 
Dorothy Clark dreams of writing something that will challenge people as much as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin seems to have. But in 1850s Mesquite Springs, there are few opportunities for writers–until newspaperman Brandon Holloway arrives, that is. 
Brandon Holloway has seen firsthand the disastrous effects of challenging others. He has no intention of repeating that mistake. Instead of following his dreams, he’s committed to making a new–and completely uncontroversial–start in the Hill Country. 
As Dorothy’s involvement in the fledgling newspaper grows from convenient to essential, the same change seems to be happening in Brandon’s heart. But before romance can bloom, Dorothy and Brandon must work together to discover who’s determined to divide the town and destroy Brandon’s livelihood. 


Baker Books (Revell) | Amazon | BN |





Click to read Chapter One, Part One on That’s What She’s Reading


November 10, 1856

Brandon Holloway nodded solemnly as he guided the wagon down the main street of what he hoped would become his home. The article he’d read hadn’t exaggerated. Mesquite Springs was both attractive and apparently prospering.

The stone buildings gave it a sense of permanence, even though he knew the town couldn’t be much more than twenty years old. Before he’d headed toward the Hill Country, Brandon had learned what he could about it, including the fact that German immigrants had established many of the communities starting in the thirties. While he saw none of the half-­timbered houses that proclaimed other towns’ European influence, he doubted Mesquite Springs had been here longer than the more overtly Germanic settle­ments.

And, if what he’d read was accurate, there were no slaves. Since the rocky soil and the hilly terrain weren’t conducive to growing cotton, Brandon hadn’t expected any, but he needed to be certain. If there was one thing he’d resolved when he left Xavier, it was that he would never again live in a county where men enslaved

As his eyes lit on a small sign, Brandon tugged on the reins. This would be his first stop. Ten minutes later, he emerged from the mayor’s office, relieved that there had been no obstacles. Mr. McBride, who explained that he’d been mayor for decades and was now acting mayor until Wyatt Clark returned from his wedding trip, had confirmed that Mesquite Springs had no newspaper and—­even more importantly—­no barriers to starting one. He’d given Brandon a suggestion for a possible location, pointed him toward the town’s only eating establishment, and told him that Widow Bayles had a vacancy at her boardinghouse.

As beginnings went, they didn’t get much better. The only awkward moment had come when the mayor asked why Brandon had left Xavier.

“It was time for a change.” That much was true. There was no reason to tell Mr. McBride that Brandon had lost everyone and everything he loved—­first Ma, then Pa, finally his livelihood and his dreams. There had been no choice other than to leave. Even if he could have ignored what had happened to Pa—­and he couldn’t when he was responsible—­Brandon had lost almost all his subscribers and every one of his advertisers. A man couldn’t run a paper without them.

Life would be different here. Not only was the Hill Country different from East Texas, but Brandon himself was different. He would never again put others in danger.

In less than an hour, he had reached the boardinghouse, secured a room, and unpacked the things he’d need for a few days’ stay. By the time he’d finished, his stomach had begun to rumble, reminding him that breakfast had been less filling than normal. It was time to see what the town’s restaurant had to offer.

Brandon strode briskly down Spring Street, studying the well-­cared-­for buildings and the empty one on the corner of River that Mr. McBride had indicated might be a good location for the paper. It was large enough to accommodate the newspaper office and provide a temporary living space, and since it was on a double lot, he could build a home on the other half when the time came. The mayor was right. This building looked promising.

So did the rest of the town. The mercantile he passed on his way to Polly’s Place had attractive displays in its windows, while the unexpectedly bright blue door of the restaurant not only caught his eye but seemed to welcome him. As he pushed the door open, the savory aromas made his mouth water.

“Welcome to Polly’s Place.”

Brandon had no sooner entered the dining room than a dark-­haired woman of medium height greeted him. She wasn’t the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, but the warmth of the smile that extended to her caramel brown eyes made him feel as if he were a long-­lost friend who’d suddenly returned.

“If you don’t mind sharing a table, I can seat you right away. Otherwise, there’ll be a fifteen-­minute wait.”

Her voice was low and clear, as welcoming as her smile and as difficult to resist. Though Brandon had wanted his own table, he found himself agreeing to her suggestion. “That would be fine, Miss . . .” He let his voice trail off as he waited for her to identify herself. There was no reason to be so curious about her; after all, this was a small town. Within a week, he’d know many of the residents’ names. And yet, he didn’t want to wait that long.


“Any relation to the mayor?”

“He’s my brother.” She started to lead the way to a table. “Please call me Dorothy. Almost everyone who eats here does.”

“Thank you, Dorothy. I’m Brandon Holloway.”

She smiled again, and once again, he felt the warmth of that smile. “Are you just passing through, or are you planning to stay in Mesquite Springs?”

“Staying. I’m a newspaper publisher.” He shook his head when he saw the glint of interest and possibly admiration in her eyes. “That sounds pretentious, doesn’t it? Actually, I’m the writer, editor, typesetter, and delivery man.”

“A factotum.”

“Exactly. If it needs to be done, I do it.” And most of the time, Brandon enjoyed the work, even the mundane tasks. Most of the time, he found fulfillment in the knowledge that words were powerful. Most of the time.

Dorothy stopped at a table for four, currently occupied by three men whom Brandon guessed to be twice his age, all eating pieces of pie that, if their large bites were any indication, they found delicious.

“Mr. Holloway is planning to start a newspaper in Mesquite Springs,” she said when she’d completed the introductions. “I’m certain you gentlemen have some suggestions for him.” She glanced at their now-­empty plates. “Shall I bring you more pie? You wouldn’t want him to eat alone, would you?”

The man she’d introduced as Mr. Wilkins nodded. “Miss Dorothy, that raisin pie of yours is the best I’ve ever eaten.” He smacked his lips as if to confirm his praise.

“You can thank Evelyn when she returns. All I did was follow her recipe.” She continued addressing Mr. Wilkins. “Laura made the piecrusts. She has a light hand with them, doesn’t she?”

As he nodded, the other two men placed their orders for a second slice of pie. “Can’t let Chet and our newspaperman eat alone,” one said solemnly.

Brandon matched the man’s sober expression, though inwardly he was smiling. Miss Dorothy Clark was one impressive woman. Not only was she modest, refusing to take credit for the pie, but she was also the most persuasive person he’d met in a long time. She’d convinced him to share a table, and his companions now thought it was their idea to order more pie. All that in a pretty package. Amazing!

Click to finish reading Chapter One

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of Out of the Embers, as well as the Cimarron Creek Trilogy and the Texas Crossroads, Texas Dreams, and Westward Winds series. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more:



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