TITLE: Behind the Hornet's Nest
GENRE: Young Adult
Lewis Stevenson picked up the bone-handled knife just as the back door of the mercantile burst open. He glanced up at the bearded man in the buff-colored duster and brown leather hat who filled the doorway. His cousin, George Roberts.
The smell of horses, sizzling steak and hot iron from the blacksmith shop wafted in on the chilling breeze. George brushed the snow off the brim of his hat and entered. "So this is where you're hiding out."
"I ain't hiding." Lewis cast his eyes down at the crate labeled canned goods. "Can't seem to keep the shelves full, that's all. Every time I turn around, we're out of something."
George stamped the snow off his black boots. "Ha. Any other time we get important visitors here in St. Paul you're out there making sure the platform is sturdy. You're parking wagons for people so-as to keep 'em lined up just right and helping stable their horses. I know you, cousin. You're hiding."
Lewis ripped open the wooden crate, pulled out the packing straw and carried the crate to the front room of the shop. George followed, his boots clumping past the front counter where jars of bright colored candy sticks tempted young merchants. Past the bookshelf full of thick bound books that Lewis hadn't had time to investigate. Past the pickle barrel and the wood stove, snapping with fresh oak. He stopped by the shelf under the front window where Nelson put items he thought would draw people in.