Mystery of Lulubelle’s Origin – Steel Horse Saviors – 2017 A to Z Challenge – Day 13

M.jpgSteel Horse Saviors is about three Civil War veterans, two Yankees and one Rebel, who take their steam locomotive west to seek their post-war fortune. In the process they encounter Clementine O’Grady a auburn-haired beauty fighting to save the family business.

Lulubelle, the real main character of the story, is a  4-4-0 wood-powered steam engine that will not only rescue Clementine O’Grady’s struggling family business, but power it to new heights as other markets begin to develop. When Clementine enters the story in 1866 Lulubelle is two years out of the manufacturing yards in upper New England. She won’t be nearly as brightly painted as the photo included for informational purposes, but as far as the look, this is it.

loco The mystery of Lulubelle’s origin is totally different each time its told. Between the three men that take care of her operation it is a closely guarded secret. If you ask Finn, he might say it was a reward for his fine service in defense of his nation during the war of Southern stupidity, depending on the geography at the moment. Ask “Brou”, the mechanical whiz that makes Lulubelle purr and you will get any number of fantastical adventures that result in the locomotive being their prized possession. But when it comes to Nolan, the muscle that collects the majority of the wood fuel the stories get much more murky.

Over time Clementine O’Grady begins to press Finn for the real story, not only straining their potential romantic ties, but threatening to drive a wedge between the good friends as they work to keep their mystery just that.

Here is an excerpt:

“Everywhere we have been the ladies ask who is the woman in my life. I always say Lulubelle,” Finn said. “I’m sure I don’t have to tell you once they figure out I mean this piece of modern machinery a few noses get out of joint real quick like.”

“I can’t imagine why,” Clementine said rolling her eyes. “How is it you said you came across her?”

Finn’s eyes darted left and right, just the way they always did when he fielded an unexpected or unwanted question.

“Well, Miss O’Grady I am not sure you are cleared for that kind of information. You know Army of the U.S.A. and all that. What happens in war is not always something to be discussed in polite company such as yourself.”

The way he parsed out Miss O’Grady should have made her as furious as it did when Quentin Rollins or Julius Kenner did it, but Clementine found herself barely affected in the negative, but mildly intrigued. There was so much more to the trio than she had unraveled so far. 

Tomorrow, or Sunday is an off day for the A to Z Challenge, but I am in such a writing mood I have put together my second weekly recap and list of new bloggers I hope you all will visit and support. You can find it on my fiction blog, The Fiction Playground.

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