Endless Mercy (The Treasures of Nome #2) by Tracie Peterson

Dear Reader


Tracie and I are thrilled to have you join us for the second book in our TREASURES OF NOME Series. We’ve enjoyed getting the reader mail from you about how much you loved Forever Hidden and the Powell sisters.

The namesakes for the characters in this series are beloved to us. These three sisters are precious and, oh, so talented. Another big thanks to Merle and Monica for allowing us to name characters after their daughters. Yes, the real Powell girls all have gorgeous red hair. And yes, they are all very musical. But I wouldn’t want them to have to go through what we put our characters through!

Many people are puzzled about a dairy and poultry farm surviving in Alaska. Believe me, I understand. When my family moved to Alaska from Louisiana it was quite a shock. First, I thought I’d be going to six months of daylight and six months of darkness. Second, I wondered how anything could survive up there. But some of the stereotypes we put on places are wrong. Just like when I tell people I grew up in Louisiana and they ask if I had a pet alligator or lived on a swamp. Go ahead, you can laugh with me. No, I didn’t have an alligator, and no, I didn’t live on a swamp. Same thing for our largest state. Alaska doesn’t have six months of darkness and six months of daylight. Not even up in Barrow, the northernmost point of the state. It is an absolutely gorgeous wonderland, and while winters there can be quite brutal, farms have been thriving there for a long time. To give you some fun, you can search for the Alaska Dairy Co. and Poultry Yard in Nome, Alaska, to see some historic photos of the real dairy farm that was in Nome during this time.

So let’s head back to Nome and the Powell/Bundrant/Roselli family. I know I’m personally wondering what the chickens are up to. . . .

Enjoy the journey,

Kimberley and Tracie





Prologue


Cripple Creek, Colorado—1891

“These are ugly.” Madysen Powell scrunched up her nose and looked down at the rock in her hand. The warm, yellow glow from the lantern didn’t help it look any better. “Let’s look somewhere else.” With a toss, she chucked the stone against the dirt wall.

“They’re rocks, Maddy.” Jeb leaned his head back and let out a groan. “What’d you expect?”

“To find some special ones.” Placing her hands on her hips, she sent him a scowl. “That’s what you promised when we came here.” Boys. They were so dumb.

“I said we could try to find special rocks, but I never promised they wouldn’t be ugly. This is a mine, ya know.”

“You have no imagination.”

“Why ya gotta use those big words all the time? I’m sure I got plenty of . . . magination, or whatever you said.” He crossed his scrawny arms over his chest.

With a roll of her eyes and a tap of her foot, she crossed her arms and mimicked his expression. “I’m sure you do.” She took a long glance down the dark mine shaft and a great idea struck. “Let’s race!”

“In the dark?”

“What? Are you a fraidycat?” She lifted her lantern and shot him a taunting glare. “Or you just don’t wanna lose again . . . to a girl.”

“I ain’t afraid of losing to you, because you can’t beat me.” He lifted his chin and held up his lantern too.

“Catch me if you can!” Madysen giggled as she took off down the narrow corridor of the shaft.

“No fair, Maddy!” Jeb’s voice echoed behind her. “You got a head start—that’s cheating!” The sound of his steps hinted that he was only a few paces off her heels.

“It’s not cheating. You’re just slower than me!” Pumping her legs for all she was worth, she held the lamp in front of her as she ran. She was fast. Faster than any boy or girl her age in Cripple Creek. And that included Jeb Morrison, who was a whole year and a half older. He’d been bragging about his ninth birthday coming up. The same day she’d raced him to the mercantile. And won.

This tunnel was perfect. Long and straight, it gradually sloped down into the belly of the mountain. No one ever found any gold or silver here, so it had been abandoned for a while. Which made it the perfect place for them to run. She should have thought of it before.

“I’ll catch ya, just watch.” Jeb’s huffing and puffing sounded like Mama’s metronome ticking the beats in vivace.

Vivace. The word was fun to say.

V-i-v-a-c-e. A letter with every stride, she repeated it over and over. Mama made her a new spelling list this week, and it was all tempo words. Words like larghissimo and adagietto weren’t as fun as grave and vivace. Probably because they were harder to spell. But Mama insisted. And Maddy didn’t mind. She loved music.