Get Lost in A.B. Michaels’ ‘The Price of Compassion’ [EXCERPT]

A.B. Michaels THE PRICE OF COMPASSION Blog TourWe love a meaty historical saga that can transport us back in time so we can walk the very streets the characters do. That’s why we love A.B. Michaels’ “The Golden City” series! Thoroughly researched and deftly drawn, these books take us back to the early days of “the city by the bay” that crooner Tony Bennett always sings about, San Francisco. In the fourth volume in the series, The Price of Compassion, Michaels constructs her story around the 1906 earthquake that devastated the city, an event which has always been intriguing to us since our family has a personal connection to the event. (One of my ancestors was reportedly a fireman who risked his life to help put out the fire!) Now you can explore this event yourself. To get you started, read this excerpt from the book. Enjoy! —Jathan & Heather


In the following scene, Dr. Tom Justice is heading home to see his family by train when he meets Mandy Culpepper, a fifteen-year-old girl he knows through his work at the Presbyterian Mission in Chinatown. 

Tom followed the girl through the second-class cars and into the first-class section of the train. When they reached the middle of the second car she slid the door open to a spacious parlor where a young man and woman were seated.

“Look who I found!” Mandy cried.


Red Trumpet Press

The man, wearing a benign but confused expression, glanced at the woman and stood.
He looked well-to-do, and the woman…

The woman was flat-out gorgeous. She was tall and trim but had outstanding curves
beneath her elegant blue outfit. Her face was striking, with clearly defined cheekbones, flawless skin, and full, pink lips. And her hair … her hair was a shimmering color of gold, piled softly on top of her head.

God, I hope they are brother and sister.

Tom continued to stare at her until he felt someone nudge him. It was Mandy. He
looked over to see the man’s hand extended.

“Will Firestone,” he said. “You’re obviously a friend of Mandy’s.”

“Oh. Oh, I’m terribly sorry.” They shook hands. “Tom Justice at your service.” He
immediately turned back to the woman. “And you are?”

“Katherine Firestone. I’m Mandy’s guardian. Will’s sister.”

Thank you, God.

She waited a moment, returning his gaze before holding out her hand. He took it and held it. It felt incredibly silky against his rough palm and he had to force himself not to stroke it. She slowly removed herself from him.

“Silly me,” Mandy said. “I just realized you all don’t know each other. Dr. Tom works
with the mission and helps the girls. He sees patients at the hospital, too. Everybody loves him.”

Tom felt his face heating up. “That’s hardly the case, Mandy, but I thank you for the
complement.” He turned his attention back to Miss Firestone. “I understand you are all traveling to New York to attend a wedding.”

The beauty looked up at him with incredible blue eyes and spoke in a voice he imagined
she reserved for servants—civil, but nowhere near warm. “Yes, on Thanksgiving Day. And what about you, Mr. Justice?”

Odd. She’d either not heard Mandy say he was a doctor, or else she was deliberately
downplaying his title. Which was it?

“Oh, I’m traveling back for the holidays as well. My family has a farm near North Platte.
I’ll have a long buckboard ride once I get off the train.”

“Ah. How … quaint.”

Her tone was dismissive, as though he were a clumsy rube. She may as well have called
him “Farm Boy.” Once again Tom felt his face flush. So, she was one of those society snobs. What a shame. He would have politely excused himself then and there except that Mandy took that moment to boldly call her guardian on her rudeness.

“My teachers at the Weems Academy tell me that the word ‘quaint’ means ‘old-
fashioned’ or ‘out of date.’ It is something you say when you don’t like something but are too polite to tell the truth. You didn’t mean it like that, did you, Miss Kit?”

At that moment, Tom wanted the earth to swallow him whole, and by the look on Miss
Firestone’s face, she did, too. They spoke at the same time, trying to cover up the social blunder, then lapsed into an awkward silence. After gazing at both of them, Mandy announced that she was going back to Tom’s rail car because she’d seen some popcorn for sale or some such nonsense. She picked up a courtesy blanket and said he’d be more comfortable with it.

“That’s not necessary,” Tom said in a tight voice. The last thing he needed was Miss
Firestone thinking he was a charity case.

Her brother waved a hand. “Best to let Mandy do what she’s going to do; otherwise
she’ll find another way.”

Tom couldn’t leave fast enough. He hadn’t felt so out of place since his first year of
college, and he damn well wasn’t going to suffer through that again, no matter how lovely the lady happened to be.

But oh, she was so very lovely.


On April 18, 1906, San Francisco has just been shattered by a massive earthquake and is in the throes of an even more deadly fire.

During the chaos, gifted surgeon Tom Justice makes a life-changing decision that wreaks havoc on his body, mind, and spirit.

Leaving the woman he loves, he embarks on a quest to regain his sanity and self-worth. Yet just when he finds some answers, he’s arrested for murder—a crime he may very well be guilty of. The facts of the case are troubling; they’ll have you asking the question: “Is he guilty?” Or even worse…”What would I have done?”

A.B. Michaels

A.B. Michaels


A native of northern California, A.B. Michaels earned masters’ degrees in history and broadcasting, and worked for many years in public relations and marketing. Now that she’s an empty nester, she has time to write the kinds of stories she loves to read. Her historical series, The Golden City, follows characters who make their way in turn of the twentieth century San Francisco. “I love creating flawed characters I can relate to, who have to make difficult choices, and who long for happiness like the rest of us. So much was happening in the early 1900s that help shape my novels. Once I tear myself away from the underlying research, they are fascinating stories to write.”

Currently Ms. Michaels lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and two furry creatures who are unclear on the concept that they are just dogs. In addition to writing, she loves to read and travel. A dabbler in fabric art, she also plays bocce in a summer league. Her latest stand-alone novel, The Price of Compassion, is book four of the Golden City series. It’s scheduled for release this summer and will be followed by book five, Josephine’s Daughter.

Visit Ms. Michaels at her home on the Web at, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

By A.B. Michaels
468 pgs. Red Trumpet Press. $15.99

HFVBT_Logo_Banner TwitterPurchase The Price of Compassion at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

The Price of Compassion is brought to you in association with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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