Yellowstone Heart Song

By: Peggy L Henderson

Yellowstone Romance Series Book 1





Acknowledgment





First and foremost, I want to thank my wonderful critique partner and friend, Carol Spradling, for her wealth of comments, insights, and infinite patience with me while working on this book. Without her constant nudging and prodding, this story would not be where it is today, and would be collecting dust in a dark corner of my computer hard drive. Thank you, Carol, for believing in me, and giving me the courage to send my baby out into the world.

My editor, Barbara Ouradnik, for encouraging me each and every day. Thank you for your friendship and support, and for believing in this story.

Also, thanks to my husband, Richard, for introducing me to the Great Outdoor so many years ago. I may not be at the point where I go backpacking, but you’ve got me hiking in the wilderness and actually enjoying it. And thank you for doing the laundry so I could write.

Ramona Lockwood, for designing the beautiful cover for this book. You’re a great friend, and easy to work with, and you’ve stayed true to my original concept for this book. (http://coversbyramona.blogspot.com)





Chapter One





Aimee Donovan raised her head a few inches off the ground and squinted into the bright light. She blinked several times, hoping to bring the blurry images into focus. The world suddenly tilted precariously, and a wave of nausea hit her. Someone must have turned off the heart monitor in the room. Things were way too quiet all of a sudden. Her hands moved, brushing against a carpet of…grass?

She took a deep breath, and tried to clear her head. The smell of clean earth and sweet grass enveloped her senses. She bolted upright, nearly blacking out from the blood leaving her brain. Wide-eyed, she slowly turned her head to scan her surroundings. Two facts jolted her mind. First, she was definitely no longer in Zach’s hospital room. Second, this was Yellowstone! Absolutely no doubt about it! After all, she backpacked in this park every summer. Her parents had instilled a love of camping and the outdoors in her since early childhood.

Fully alert now, she ran her hand over tufts of lush green buffalo grass. The rhythmic sounds of crickets, chirping birds, and the tranquil gurgle of a creek brought a sense of calm. The noisy humming of car engines, or the loud roar of a motorcycle speeding down the highway were sounds distinctly absent. She inhaled deeply. Her lungs filled with crisp, clean mountain air infused with the scent of sage and pine. What a welcome contrast to the hot and pollution-laden air she breathed at home.

“This can’t be possible. There’s no way that crazy old man was telling the truth.”

“I travel through time.”

No. No way. She shook her head wildly. Time travel! Absolutely ridiculous!

But how the heck did I get here? Did she just land in an episode from The Twilight Zone? Any second now, Rod Serling would show up. Perhaps she’d find herself waking from a wonderful dream, one she wasn’t sure she wanted to wake up from. Dreaming of Yellowstone was definitely good. Something she did a lot. Especially since her annual backpacking trip was only a few weeks away. She and Jana had been discussing possible itineraries for months already.

She shook her head again. This was too real. Her hand stroked the fine particles of soil where she sat. She ran her fingers up the long blades of sweet grass. It all felt real enough. She’d never had vivid dreams like this before. How could she have traveled over a thousand miles in the blink of an eye? Did that mean everything else was true as well, and she’d traveled back in time by 200 years? A sudden chill crept down her spine.

Do you have a better explanation? It’s either real, or it’s a dream. Pick one. Zach had told her the only way she’d finally be convinced he wasn’t lying that he came from the nineteenth century would be to experience time travel for herself. A moment ago she’d been standing at his hospital bed, playing along with his claims that he could send her to the Yellowstone of the past, and now she was actually here! Did you have to tell him you could survive a wilderness trip like this, Aimee? Unbelievable! How could this be possible?

She rose tentatively to her feet, anticipating another round of the floating-through-the-air feelings she experienced moments ago. A slow sigh escaped her lips. Her world didn’t tilt, and she stood firmly on the ground. In this endless sea of grass, she felt like an insignificant speck of dust, the only person in the world. The distant mountains stood like silent specters against the blue horizon, lending emphasis to the absolute solitude. She was on her own.

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