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Frienemies
by Aleta Kay

When seventeen-year-old Fawn Jackson receives a telegram at the finishing school announcing the death of her mother, she must leave immediately. Upon her arrival at home, she discovers her mother's death was not an accident. Why was she killed? How will she take care of her arthritic grandmother? Who is behind the repeated attacks on their home? Why are her Native American ancestors not answering her prayers? It seems everyone she trusts is a possible suspect. How will she learn the truth? The story is set in post-Civil War West Virginia, the youngest state in the country.

Chapter Twenty-Seven

“What do you mean, she’s missing?” Nana demanded.

Jason approached until he was close enough to take the older woman’s hands in his own. “There were three sets of hoof prints. She’s probably with Joel and Angel. You know wha...





Chapter Twenty-Eight

Joel visited Fawn every day while her house was being rebuilt. Jason, his dad, the men from Pipestem, and a few other men from Lerona gathered together to get the job done. Trees were cut down,logs split and notched. Joel saw none of this. His focus was one Fawn.





Chapter Twenty-Nine

To Sheriff Clyde Bonnell:

There is a dead body buried on Foggy Lane next to the abandoned well. It’s been there a while so it’s liable to stink. Might not be much left of it.



The unsigned note had been tacked to the outside of the door....





Chapter Thirty

Jason arrived and found Fawn still asleep lying on the straw in the barn. He had ridden over with the buckboard which was piled with blankets and pillows to try to keep her comfortable.

He gently lifted

her and carried her to the buckboard, thankful fo...





Chapter Thirty-One

Dewey climbed down from the wagon and pulled the needed tools from its bed. He swiped his forehead with his shirt sleeve and looked up at the sun. It was nearing one-o’-clock he figured. By the time this job was over he might need two baths: one to get the gri...





Chapter Thirty-Two

Dewey arrived back at the sheriff’s office, jerked on the reins to bring the horse to an abrupt halt. He jumped from the wagon and ran into the office. The sheriff wasn’t there. Great. What was he supposed to do with the body? He took off his hat and scr...





Chapter Thirty-Three

Work was progressing steadily on the Jackson property. The trusses were in place and the exterior walls were being built.

Hank showed up on his buckskin gelding, jerking the animal to a sudden halt. Dan Gardner, Jason’s father, laid his hammer down on a ...





Chapter Thirty-Four

Nana hobbled around the room with her cane. The Gardners were nice folks, good friends, but the house seemed to be closing in on her. Was she ever going to be able to go to her own home?

The rain was coming down in drops as big as doe eyes and hard enough to ...





Chapter Thirty-Five

Fawn paced the living room. Deep sighs repeatedly escaped her lips, although she was unaware of them. She crossed and uncrossed her arms across her chest. It had been almost two weeks since her interview and there had been no word since then. Her brow furrowed with ...





Chapter Thirty-Six
A Gloom Reflected

Rain had stopped progress on the Jackson house for three days. The relentless deluge took its toll in a landslide that blocked Route 20 between Lerona and Pipestem. Work on the railroad between Athens and Hinton had come to a screeching halt. Tempers flared and fist...





Chapter Thirty-Eight

Fawn still sat by the river with Arctic Sun drinking from the water’s edge. Memories assaulted her spirit. When she was ten years old the year was 1868. She, her mother, and Nana visited the graves of their fallen men. The journey had been arduous. The roads w...





Chapter Thirty-Seven

Fawn took Arctic Sun out for a ride. It had been three days, or had it been longer? She had lost track of time. They both needed exercise. Melanie and Sarah Beth had wanted to join her but she really needed to be alone. Two weeks crowded in a house with five other p...





Chapter Thirty-Nine

“This has got to stop,” Nana shouted. “She can’t keep running off like this.”

Ellen hugged her friend. “I know you’re worried, but she probably just needs some peace and quiet. Fawn isn’t used to all of this comm...





Chapter Forty

Sheriff Clyde and Deputy Dewey had been busy investigating the events at the Jackson property as well as trying to find the identity of the body Dewey had recovered. The two men sat in the sheriff’s office, a sparse room with no decoration, two solid oak chair...





Chapter Forty-One

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Jason was worried. The Jackson house was nearly finished. Nana was antsy, irritable, and ready to go back to her own house. Watching her fidget was making Jason more edgy. And where had Fawn disappeared to? She had been gone too long and no...





Chapter Forty-Two
The First Skirmish For Fawn's Soul

Fawn awakened to the sound of thunder. She arose and stretched out the kinks in her legs and back. Sleeping on the ground with nothing but pine needles and leaves from the previous autumn did not create a comfortable bed. She brushed the dirt and debris from her clo...





Chapter Forty-Three
Joel's Troubles, Jason's Worry

Joel sat at the bar drinking his sarsaparilla and watching the men at the poker table. Toby, the undertaker, sat next to him.

“Ain’t seen you around much lately.” Toby sipped his beer.

“Nope. Been busy visiting a young lady.&rdquo...





Chapter Forty-Four
An Unseemly Situation

Fawn awakened with a start, momentarily disoriented. Where was she? Where was Midnight Sun? She shook her head to clear the cobwebs. The action made her feel slightly dizzy. Of course, she reminded herself; she had not had much to eat. Her stomach growled at the tho...





Chapter Forty-Five

The morning presented itself with sunshine and water dripping from the leaves and pine needles. Fawn and Jason were soaked from the night before. Jason had sat under the pine tree, sleeping with his back against the tree. Fawn had sat under a tulip tree until sleep ...





Chapter Forty-Six

While Fawn and Nana talked about furnishings for the new house Angel sat in the office section of the barn at the Browning residence. She was not alone.

The oak chair in which she sat creaked as she sat hunched over her father’s ledgers. The entry that c...





Chapter Forty-Seven

The next morning presented itself with a mixture of clouds and sun. Fawn awakened to sunshine streaming through her upstairs window as a light breeze ruffled the curtains. She washed hurriedly as she stood by the washbowl and pitcher. She had washed her hair the nig...





Chapter Forty-Eight

The ride to the Wiley’s was silent. Mr. Forbes was a shy man and Fawn was too nervous to say anything. Her mind whirled with questions: What had happened to make the people in Pipestem change their minds about hiring her? Was she a last resort? Was this going ...





Chapter Forty-Nine

Joel had not slept well in over a week. His hair was uncombed and stood in tufts around his ears; the back was almost past his collar. His bloodshot, bleary eyes combined with the ten-day stubble on his face was evidence of his less than admirable circumstances. Wha...





Chapter Fifty

Dewey sat in a chair opposite Joel in his room at the boarding house. He had brought the soup as he had promised, just broth and noodles, no chicken. There were two pieces of cornbread to go with the soup. For himself Dewey had bought a slice of apple pie, fresh fro...





Chapter Fifty-One

Chester thought he had been discrete. He had to let Angel know that her father was aware of their liaison. But how could he? It seemed the man knew every move he made, every move Angel made. Who had been shadowing her? Was she aware of it? What did he really know of...





Chapter Fifty-Two

Fawn arrived back at the Gardner residence with mixed feelings. The Wileys had agreed to let her board her horse there. She herself would spend the first month at their home. They had enough room for Nana as well, but she knew Nana would not want to stay with them. ...





Chapter Fifty-Three

Joel’s steamer trunk was packed. He didn’t know where he would go, but he had to get away. He had recovered enough from his ill health to be able to travel. But where would he go? How would he escape without notice? No one would even notice or care. ...





Chapter Fifty-Four

Fawn had been at the Wiley’s for two weeks and things seemed to be going well. It was a balmy, fragrant evening, the air heavy with the scent of lilacs and azaleas. The Wileys and Fawn had finished supper when Deanna broke the companionable silence. They had b...





Chapter Fifty-Five

In spite of his best intentions he met Angel again. Due to the rumors that had been brought to his attention, he refused to be seen with her at the Hound’s Ear. They met instead in a clearing in the forest in Sun Valley. What was he doing here? He should alrea...





Chapter Fifty-Eight

Ellen and Nana wore wide-brimmed straw hats as they spent the morning sweltering in the summer sun. Although it was only nine-thirty, the temperature had already reached the eighties mark, they guessed.

Nana sat back on her heels, drew her right arm across her...





Chapter Fifty-Nine

The entire first week of June was filled with sunshine and bird song. Nana and Ellen looked at the garden, now filled with ripening cucumbers, tomatoes, pole beans, lima beans, carrots, celery, and radishes. Ellen leaned on the hoe she had been using to get rid of t...





Chapter Sixty

Angel paced around the dilapidated barn in circles. Where was Chester? A noise. She stopped. Turned around. Saw nothing. Who was following her? Not Hank. She lost him a while back. He was beginning to annoy her. He seemed to have gotten the idea he was in control. A...





Chapter Sixty-One

Fawn was home with Nana for the weekend. It was the first time she had seen the new house after completion. It was still a two-story house, but it was larger than the one previous. The fireplace was wider and deeper, the chimney more solid. There were two large meta...





Chapter Sixty-Two

The Daily Gazette lay open on the desk. It was just a short article on page three that had Dewey chewing, once again, on a toothpick that was moving to and fro in the deputy’s mouth.

“The body of one Robert Sands was found

floating in Deer Creek on the afternoon...





Chapter Sixty-Three

Angel was as hot as he her coffee. How long was this blasted storm going to last? If her plan got slowed down too much it might not work at all. What was she going to do? She was stuck at home, listening to her invalid mother’s keening. She paced in her room, ...





Chapter Sixty-Four

NOTE: I discovered some discrpencies with the rain situation between chapters 61 and 63. They will be corrected in the revision process. Sorry about that.

Nana and Fawn had survived the storm and got everything cleaned up. Jason had ridden over after the storm to see that...





Chapter Sixty-Five

It took two and half days for Dewey to get to Hinton. His first stop was the newspaper office. He walked in the door and asked to see the editor.

“Down that hall and to the left,” the front desk receptionist pointed him to her right. “It&rsqu...










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