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Gift of Restitution

My name is Robyn Echols. Zina Abbott is the pen name I use for my American historical romance novels. I’m a member of Women Writing the West and Western Writers of America, and American Night Writers Association. I currently live with my husband in California’s central valley near the “Gateway to Yosemite.”
I love to read, quilt, work with digital images on my photo editing program, and work on my own family history.
I am a blogger. In addition to my own blog, I blog for several group blogs including the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog, which I started and administer.

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The gift of peace of spirit that comes from restitution.

A year after Luke McDaniels broke away from the control of two eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain outlaws and freed Ling Loi from the Chinese brothel in Lundy, one aspect of their escape still plagues his conscience. Even though he made a point to take only what was owed him, and he left sufficient funds to cover the cost of anything he took from others without the owners’ knowledge or consent, there had been one exception. The second horse he planned to “buy” to assure a successful early winter journey was snatched away before his gaze. Another was left in its place. The ten gold half-eagles he allowed was less than the value of the one available to him. He hated short-changing the owner, but Loi, who took on the name of Joy when they married, had been his first priority.
Joy, grateful she has been restored to the way of decency, senses that Luke needs his own restoration. Can she convince him to do what he must to enjoy peace at Christmas? 



Feeling Caldwell grow restless beneath him, Luke slowly exhaled. It was time to return to the livery—a place he hoped to soon leave behind him. By the time he returned home, he would be gone slightly over a month. He hoped, in his absence, Pastor and Mrs. Campbell visited to answer Joy’s questions. He wondered if they or his mother already read to Joy the part of the Christmas story she held so dearly in her heart. If not, after he arrived home, he would read it to her. I need to teach Joy to read in English. Perhaps this winter.

Luke pondered over the extent Joy’s love of the Jesus stories changed how they spent their evenings. His mother had been baptized Catholic, but, as an adult, had not attended church. After she married his father who came from a Presbyterian background, they attended his church—when they went. Once David McDaniels died, and the white community of Duluth slowly turned their backs on her, Odette gathered up her little family and fled to the reservation. There she attached herself to her mother’s band. She became more comfortable with the centuries-old midewikwe beliefs of the Ojibwa than she did with the so-called Christianity of white Americans—a religion so many of them did not practice. Yet, one Chinese woman—someone most Americans considered a heathen—reintroduced a study of the teachings of Jesus to his family.

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