Antonia Valleau cast the first shovelful of dirt onto her husband's fur-shrouded body, lying in the grave she'd dug in their garden plot, the only place where the soil wasn't still rock hard. I won't be breakin' down. For the sake of my children, I must be strong. Pain squeezed her chest like a steel trap. She had to force herself to take a deep breath, inhaling the scent of loam and pine. I must be doing this. She drove the shovel into the soil heaped next to the grave, hefted the laden blade, and dumped the earth over Jean-Claude, trying to block out the thumping sound the soil made as it covered him. Even as Antonia scooped and tossed, her muscles aching from the effort, her heart stayed numb, and her mind kept playing out the last sight of her husband. The memory haunting her, she paused to catch her breath and wipe the sweat off her brow, her face hot from exertion in spite of the cool spring air. Antonia touched the tips of her dirty fingers to her lips. She could still feel the pressure of Jean-Claude's mouth on hers as he'd kissed her before striding out the door for a day of hunting. She'd held up baby Jacques, and Jean-Claude had tapped his son's nose. Jacques had let out a belly laugh that made his father respond in kind. Her heart had filled with so much love and pride in her family that she'd chuckled, too. Stepping outside, she'd watched Jean-Claude ruffle the dark hair of their six-year-old, Henri. Then he strode off, whistling, with his rifle carried over his shoulder. She'd thought it would be a good day-a normal day. She assumed her husband would return to their mountain home in the afternoon before dusk as he always did, unless he had a longer hunt planned. As Antonia filled the grave, she denied she was burying her husband. Jean-Claude be gone a checkin' the trap line, she told herself, flipping the dirt onto his shroud. She moved through the nightmare with leaden limbs, a knotted stomach, burning dry eyes, and a throat that felt as though a log had lodged there. While Antonia shoveled, she kept glancing at her little house, where, inside, Henri watched over the sleeping baby. From the garden, she couldn't see the doorway. She worried about her son-what the glimpse of his father's bloody body had done to the boy. Mon Dieu, she couldn't stop to comfort him. Not yet. Henri had promised to stay inside with the baby, but she didn't know how long she had before Jacques woke up. Once she finished burying Jean-Claude, Antonia would have to put her sons on a mule and trek to where she'd found her husband's body clutched in the great arms of the dead grizzly. She wasn't about to let his last kill lie there for the animals and the elements to claim. Her family needed that meat and the fur. She heard a sleepy wail that meant Jacques had awakened. Just a few more shovelfuls. Antonia forced herself to hurry, despite how her arms, shoulders, and back screamed in pain. When she finished the last shovelful of earth, exhausted, Antonia sank to her knees, facing the cabin, her back to the grave, placing herself between her sons and where their father lay. She should go to them, but she was too depleted to move.
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APADebra Holland Quotes. (n.d.). Jar of Quotes. Retrieved , from JarofQuotes.com Web site: https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=antonia-valleau-cast-first-shovelful-dirt-onto-her-husbands-furshrouded-body-lying-in-grave-shed-dug-in-their-garden-plot-only-place-where-soil-wasnt-still-rock-hard-i-wont-be-br
ChicagoDebra Holland Quotes. Jar of Quotes, 2019. https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=antonia-valleau-cast-first-shovelful-dirt-onto-her-husbands-furshrouded-body-lying-in-grave-shed-dug-in-their-garden-plot-only-place-where-soil-wasnt-still-rock-hard-i-wont-be-br, accessed .
MLA"Debra Holland Quotes." Jar of Quotes, 2019. . https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=antonia-valleau-cast-first-shovelful-dirt-onto-her-husbands-furshrouded-body-lying-in-grave-shed-dug-in-their-garden-plot-only-place-where-soil-wasnt-still-rock-hard-i-wont-be-br
I think Livingston was going to steal a kiss in the moonlight." Lily wrinkled her nose. "Well, I certainly wouldn't have given him one. He made me too uncomfortable, and I just met him!" Tyler cupped her face with his hands, leaning closer. "What about me?" he said, his voice low. "Will you give one to me?" "I shouldn't." The lonely years stretched ahead of her. Her earlier vow to make memories rose and suddenly she was desperate for some kisses of Tyler's to remember. In answer to his question, she tilted her mouth to his.
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Her thoughts drifted to Tyler Dunn... to the feeling of being held in his arms. Wistfulness curled through her heart and she wished for the freedom to enjoy the attention of a man... to indulge in a lady-like flirtation... to fall in love. Although the wishes weren't new, for the first time, she had someone to weave the fantasy around. She could easily paint a romantic dream of living here with Tyler. But, Lily knew that dreaming about such a life would only make it harder to live with her reality. Yet, she couldn't help imagining him in the pool like this, naked as a newborn babe, yet all man.
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Jacques appeared on his hands and knees, peering around the corner of the cabin. His dark eyes lit with pleasure when he saw her. The baby flashed Antonia his wide grin and scooted toward her. Only in the last two days had he gone from pushing himself across the floor to a hands-and-knees crawl. Henri trailed so close behind Jacques that he had to walk wide-legged so he didn't step on his brother. The baby reached her, placed his hands on her legs, and pressed himself up, grabbing at the front of her tunic. 'Maa.' Antonia hugged Jacques. He'd soiled his rabbit skin diaper and smelled, but she held him close, needing to feel the baby in her arms. He wiggled in protest. She dropped a kiss on his forehead and reached up to her shoulder to unlace the leather ties of her tunic, pulling the flap down to free her breast. He began to suckle greedily. Henri dropped to her other side and leaned against her. Antonia put her arm around him. Just holding her sons brought her comfort but also increased her despair. What do I be doin' now? Should I be takin' the boys and leave? Head for Sweetwater Springs? Antonia shook her head. No! I won't be leavin' Jean-Claude. Cain't leave my home. But without her husband to provide for them, she didn't know how long she'd be able to manage on her own. Somehow, I'll be findin' a way, Antonia vowed.
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