How did “Under Starry Skies” by Judy Ann Davis come about? Since the author had worked in adult education and understood the value of reading and writing for all adults, the story of school teacher Maria O’Donnell teaching Indian Two Bears to read and write in 1875 seemed plausible for a storyline. Two Bears was a minor but favorite and humorous character in her first book, “Red Fox Woman.” She felt she had to bring him back in the sequel because her readers fell in love with him and his humorous and wily disposition. They also fell in love with the youngest Ashmore brother, Tydall, who's the story's hero.
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Hired as the town’s school teacher, Maria O’Donnell and her sister Abigail arrive in the Colorado Territory in 1875, only to find the uncle they were to stay with has been murdered.
Rancher Tye Ashmore is content with life until he meets quiet and beautiful Maria. He falls in love at first sight, but her reluctance to jeopardize her teaching position by accepting his marriage proposal only makes him more determined to make her part of his life.
When their lives are threatened by gunshots and a gunnysack of dangerous wildlife, Tye believes he is the target of an unknown enemy. Not until Maria receives written threats urging her to leave does she realize she might be the target instead of the handsome rancher.
With the help of Tye, Abigail, and a wily Indian called Two Bears, Maria works to uncover her uncle’s killer and put aside her fears. But will she discover happiness and true love under Colorado’s starry skies?
Two Bears reached out and laid a hand on her trembling ones to still her. “Listen closely. You must tell Tye Ashmore and those you trust. You must always carry a weapon with you. Do not take chances. Do not be foolish. Foolish men are the first to die. Take a different path to the school each morning. We need to find your enemy.”
“I don’t know how.” Maria gave a choked, desperate laugh. She watched Two Bears stare with a hawklike gaze at the forest leading to the stable of the manse, then let his eyes encircle the entire wooded area at the edge of the yard.
Finally he spoke in a calm steady voice. “Enemies are not always wise enemies. They get careless. Then we will find him. . .or he will reveal himself.”
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A Word About The Author (Optional)
Judy Ann Davis began her career in writing as a copy and continuity writer for radio and television in Scranton, PA. She holds a degree in Journalism and Communications and has written for industry and education throughout her career.
Over a dozen of her short stories have appeared in various literary and small magazines, and anthologies, and have received numerous awards.
When Judy Ann is not behind a computer, you can find her looking for anything humorous to make her laugh or swinging a golf club where the chuckles are
She is a member of Pennwriters, Inc. and Romance Writers of America, and lives in Central Pennsylvania.