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Dear Rayna,

Forgive me for running away.

Is that what you want to hear? Our last telephone conversation didn’t go well, but I have to admit I don’t know how to talk with you. You’re demanding too many answers. You have way too many questions. Why can’t we start fresh? Become friends.

I imagine you rolling your eyes. Or maybe that’s what I would do. I was an insolent teen, one who wanted her way all the time. That’s how I ended up married to Raymond Mudwing. My parents hated him, as well they should have.

Okay. I’ll try to give you a few answers, but remember, I’m looking back after the fact, therefore, my answers may not be accurate.

You asked how I could have married such an evil man. Don’t you think I’ve wondered that myself? I guess I was too taken with his thick, black hair, his dark eyes, the attractive macho behavior that disguised his wickedness. He was a rugged man, handsome in a craggy way. I liked the way everyone catered to him. I didn’t realize they were scared of him, and had good reason to be, and I was too young to care. I knew nothing about the reputation of his family. I was visiting my cousins for the summer, met Raymond at a local hang-out.  I was hooked immediately. There was no turning away from him. I never went home to Kansas. I had just turned fifteen and he was twenty two. I was so in love with him, I didn’t think I’d survive without him.

Of course, once we married, I didn’t think I’d survive with him. I got pregnant immediately with Louis. He was such a precious child. It scared me how rough Raymond was with him, but of course, he explained it away. “Teach a child the way you want him to be and he won’t depart from it.” I know now Raymond was misquoting the Bible. Poor Louis. I was so surprised to learn he’d survived. You too, for that matter.

You asked about Davis and why I chose him over you and Louis. I didn’t choose, Rayna, it just happened. Davis was my salvation. He and Raymond had been friends all their lives. Raymond trusted Davis. That worked to our advantage, but it worked against us too. Raymond knew everything Davis had done and could send him to jail forever—or worse. That’s what he threatened when he found out about us. He said he’d make sure everything Davis had done would come to light.  He threatened to kill both of us. There’s no way we can come back to Oklahoma while Raymond is still alive. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if he could reach his violent hand from the grave!

You have too many questions, Rayna. I was married to Raymond Mudwing for almost nine years. There’s just too much to tell. Yes, I do hope you’ll let me know the results of the DNA test. I’d like to know if you’re Raymond’s daughter or Davis’s child. But really, when you think about it … isn’t it too late for me to be your mother?

Sincerely,

Rosalie (Mudwing) Whiddon

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Watch for THE LAST DAUGHTER by Jessica R. Ferguson

Coming from The Wild Rose Press in 2013.

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