Read The Ride of Her Life Online

Authors: Lorna Seilstad

Tags: #Fiction, #Christian, #Historical, #Romance, #General

The Ride of Her Life

© 2012 by Lorna Seilstad

Published by Revell

a division of Baker Publishing Group

P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287

Ebook edition created 2012

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—for example, electronic, photocopy, recording—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

ISBN 978-1-4412-3789-7

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

Scripture is taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

The internet addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers in this book are accurate at the time of publication. They are provided as a resource. Baker Publishing Group does not endorse them or vouch for their content or permanence.

Published in association with Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency.

“With her expected wit and humor, Lorna Seilstad has penned another winner. You’ll be captivated by the characters and history in
The Ride of Her Life
. Hang on and enjoy—this book is truly a fun ride.”

Judith Miller
, bestselling author of the Daughters of Amana series

“Buckle up, it’s going to be a fun ride! With a sparkle of humor, heart-pumping romance, and a writing style that is fresh, fun, and addictive, Lorna Seilstad takes you on
The Ride of Her Life
—and yours—along the fun-filled shores of 1906 Lake Manawa.”

Julie Lessman
, award-winning author of the Daughters of Boston and the Winds of Change series

Praise for
Making Waves

“Lorna Seilstad pulled me into the world she created around Lake Manawa with the lake breeze, the sailboats, and the leisure of summer days. But the love story and the characters were what made the book great. This needs to be everyone’s first choice for a vacation read, or if you just want to open the pages of a book and be transported from your recliner to the beach.”

Mary Connealy
, author of
Doctor in Petticoats
Wrangler in Petticoats

Praise for
A Great Catch

A Great Catch
weaves humor, history, romance, and spiritual truths into a delicious story that will delight readers’ hearts. What a fun, relaxing read! I’d like to remain at Lake Manawa forever.”

Laura Frantz
, author of
The Frontiersman’s Daughter
Courting Morrow Little

A Great Catch
is a grand slam! In a story as refreshing and invigorating as lemonade, Seilstad raises deep questions about a woman’s relationship with God, her dreams, and the people in her life—while making me laugh so loudly my kids came running to get in on the joke.”

Sarah Sundin
, author of the Wings of Glory series

To my husband, the risk taker.

Thank you for taking me on the ride of my life,
and for being a man of God.





Title Page
Copyright Page
Author’s Note
About the Author
Books by Lorna Seilstad
Back Ads
Back Cover
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:5


May 1906, Lake Manawa, Iowa

“Look, Mama!”

What had Levi dragged in now? Lilly rolled her eyes as she eased a large slice of peach pie onto one of the diner’s plates. She wiped her finger on her starched apron before she turned toward her son.

Swinging his arm in a wide arc, he thrust a monstrous, writhing snake toward her nose.

With a shriek, she leapt backward.

“Isn’t she pretty?” Levi ran his finger over the snake’s scaly head. “You wanna pet her?”

Inching backward until her shoulders lodged against the cold metal pie safe, Lilly fought the fear seizing her voice. The counter between her and that monster dangling from her six-year-old’s chubby fist hardly seemed an adequate barrier. “N-no, I do not want to pet that thing.”

“Shhh. You’ll hurt her feelings.” He lifted the snake’s head to his cheek. “She won’t hurt you, Mama. See? She’s just a gardener snake.”

“Get it away from your face! And, Levi, it’s a garter snake, not a gardener.”

“What’s the difference?”

She swallowed hard, vaguely aware of the roller coaster workers seated in the corner chuckling. She lowered her voice.

“A gardener works in a garden, and a garter—well, uh . . . holds up a lady’s . . .”

“A lady’s what?”

“Stockings,” she whispered, but more chuckles ensued from the men in the corner. She pointed at the front door. “Why don’t you take your friend outside? I think she wants to go home.”

“Silly Mama. Snakes are like you and me. She ain’t got no home.”

“She doesn’t have a home.”

“That’s what I said.”

The snake twisted beneath Levi’s grasp, and Lilly scooted even further away. “Please, put your friend back where you found her.”

“Out front? Under the diner’s front stoop?”

Lilly’s heart squeezed.
Lord, haven’t I been dealing with enough snakes lately? You had to put one where I have to walk every day?

A wooden chair grated against the floorboards, and seconds later one of the workers, the one the others called “Boss,” laid a hand on Levi’s shoulder. Lilly winced. Great. He must think her a simpering female. But when she lifted her gaze to his face, even his cobalt eyes seemed to smile.

“Hey, buddy, your snake’s a beauty. Must be a whole foot long. Why don’t we find a new home for your ‘gardener’ snake?” He grinned at Lilly, and his eyes twinkled. “Ma’am, do you mind if we
take care of this little creature?”

She did mind, because she should be the one helping her son. She was the parent. But given the fear nailing her feet to the floor, she didn’t expect that escorting Levi and the snake to a new home would happen anytime soon. Besides, the man seemed nice enough. She nodded, and Blue Eyes took her son’s hand and led him through the door of Thorton’s Lunch Counter.

She picked up her dishrag and wiped down the counter. What was she going to do with that boy? Six years old, afraid of nothing, and way too much like his father.

God rest his soul.

“Hey, where’s my pie?” one of the workers called, smoothing a hand over his rounded belly.

Like you need more pie.
Lilly snagged the plate and skirted around the end of the counter. “Here you are, sir. Can I get you fine fellows anything else?”

The door banged open, and Lilly spun, expecting the triumphant return of her son. Instead, her breath caught.

“Lilly.” Claude Hart’s silver hair peeked from beneath a stylish bowler, and he leaned heavily on the ivory greyhound topping his cane.

Beside him, her former mother-in-law, Evangeline, stood ramrod straight with her lips turned downward in a nearly permanent frown. “May we speak to you—in private?”

Lilly sighed. Would she ever be free of these people?
Dear Lord, gentle my spirit, ’cause just seeing them makes me feel like a big ol’ grizzly.

She glanced around the almost-empty diner, wishing this was a month later. Once Lake Manawa Park officially opened, there wouldn’t be an empty table in the place, and she’d have a better excuse not to speak to her meddling in-laws.

“I think this corner is about as private as we’re going to get.” With a flick of her wrist, she indicated the empty table.

Claude strode over, pulled out a chair, and held it for his wife. Evangeline scowled at the chipped paint on the chair. Pinching her lace-trimmed handkerchief between her thumb and forefinger, she dusted the sunny yellow seat and finally lowered herself in place. Claude sat down opposite her.

Lilly remained standing. She needed to use every inch of her small stature to her advantage. Claude and Evangeline Hart were used to getting whatever they wanted, but it wasn’t happening this time. Not when the object they sought was her son.

“What can I get you?” Tilting her head toward the chalkboard on the wall, she mustered a smile. “I pulled the peach pie out of the oven less than an hour ago.”

“You know we don’t want the food here.” Evangeline said the word
as if the snake had crawled back in and was lying coiled beneath her chair.

“Please have a seat, Lilly.” Claude laid his hand on the back of the chair beside him.

“I think I’ll stand.”

“You are the most stubborn person I’ve ever known. I don’t know what my Benjamin saw in you.” Evangeline touched her handkerchief to her eye as if the thought of her dearly departed son brought tears to her eyes.

Lilly’s heart softened, although she suspected Evangeline was using her grief to get her way this time. Still, no matter how difficult Evangeline was, Lilly couldn’t discount that the woman hurt over the loss of her son. Lilly understood.

“If you two came to get me to reconsider moving back into your house, you might as well not waste your breath. Levi and I are doing fine.”

Claude scowled. “You’re working in a Midway diner, serving food to common workers. You call that fine? What would Benjamin think if he could see you now?”

Lilly’s heart splintered at the mention of his name. Why did it sound different coming from someone else’s lips? He’d always be her Ben.

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