My Traveling Man
Slip in Time Series
Alice Hanstrom prefers books to people, facts over feelings, and in her world, “adventure” is just a word in the dictionary. That is until the night she braves shadowed hallways of the Cowboy and Western Museum in pursuit of a long-lost diary. Her search of an antique covered wagon halts abruptly when the museum slips Alice back in time.
Thomas Bristol is an experienced wagon master. On a daily basis he deals with cholera, exhausted oxen, and river rapids on the treacherous journey to Oregon Territory. But he’s completely flummoxed when a mysterious woman appears in Big Blue River.
On the trail, Alice and Thomas strive to balance his love of roaming adventure and her desire for predictable orderliness. As the wagon train reaches Independence Rock, the sparks between them catch fire. But can such different people become equal partners in love…and can their love survive the slip in time?
Alice bent her lanky frame forward to squint at the notation scratched in the corner of the diary—scribbled in a different hand, less confident, childish.
Papa died of the ch—? fever last night. Mama says her heart is near brokin. She tore up one of her diaries, so I’m hiding the last one in the wagon’s secret hidey hole ’til she’s in her right mind. Mama wants to turn ba—
The wagon mentioned was in the museum’s storage basement, two floors down. Alice’s stomach fluttered and hopped. Every part of her yearned to explore the wagon, find the “hidey hole,” be the one to find the diary, not just write about it afterwards. Just today, she and assistant curator Addy Spencer had confirmed the prairie schooner wagon donated to the museum had been previously owned by the Felthoven family. According to this note, the schooner’s secret compartment possibly held part two of Rachel’s diaries, hidden by her child many years ago.
Before she could talk herself out of it, Alice exited the research library to set off down the darkened corridors of the museum. Her footsteps made soft thwacks on the marble floor. Security lights glowed green and amber. She, Alice Hanstrom, intrepid scaredy-cat, was on an adventure. How thrilling, how positively mind-blowing, how… Alice dodged deep shadows from pillars on either side of the hallway crisscrossing her path; she flinched away from a creaking noise to her right.
No way…I can’t do it. I’m way too far out of my comfort zone.
Alice knew herself…she was always more comfortable with books than people, happier to share facts over feelings, and “adventure” was a word in the dictionary, not an experience. Longing filled her, something she’d never felt, to discover, to have an adventure. That feeling was just as real as her doubts, wasn’t it?
Alice’s hand ached as she clutched the marble railing…not a creepy shadow, a solid object. Okay good…what else was real? Alice knew for a fact she loved everything about the museum and had blossomed in her role as an intern. As Idaho snow melted and green buds appeared on cottonwood trees, she’d dedicated herself to creating a research center to preserve and document the heritage of the American West. She’d even started a museum blog to motivate the community to donate historic personal papers, business records, diaries, journals, and photos.