USA Today Bestselling Author
I recall the winter of my first grade year, basking in the
heat from our fireplace in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Dad read aloud Madeline
L'Engle's A WRINKLE IN TIME and Mom peeled orange segments for us to enjoy. That
was the definitive moment I fell in love with fiction.
I write frequent articles (or view recent posts easily
on my Home Page, scroll down) about the nineteenth century
American West–every subject of possible interest to readers, amateur
historians, authors…as all of these tidbits surfaced while researching for my
books. I also blog monthly at Sweet Romance Reads, Sweet Americana
Sweethearts, and Romancing the
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His worst mistake was letting her go.
His second-worst mistake? Bringing her home.
Pleasance is back to reclaim her rightful place at Jacob’s side. One way or another she’ll remind him theirs is a match made in heaven…once the shock wears off. The teensy-weensy problem? Jacob doesn’t know that she—his first love—is his catalog bride..
Who had he been kidding? He couldn’t deny the truth, not to himself, not any longer.
Drawn to her, he wandered toward her voice. He stood on the threshold of the parlor, captivated by the golden-haired woman in plain, serviceable, blue calico, her poise that of the greatest vocalist on the stage in London, Paris, or New York.
He noted, then, she’d been compelled by the heat of the kitchen to reject petticoats. By the limpness of her skirt, she obviously wore not a single one beneath.
She faced the window, her body vibrating with strength and passion, her arms outreached as if to a lover. She sang as if her heart were breaking—but with enough power and control to stun him.
He loved her.
He’d loved her since they were children. He’d been in love with her from the moment he’d first heard her sing. She’d been fifteen, he, nineteen. She’d become a woman in his eyes and nothing had been the same again.
He could not deny the truth; he loved Pleasance Benton and always had.
Where did that leave them?
She belonged in a city, in her finest gowns, before audiences of kings and presidents, millionaires and magistrates.
He belonged here, beneath wide-open skies, working with the creatures who spoke to his soul.
Her final notes faded with complete control. As if she were on that imagined stage, she curtsied, slow and deep. Elegance and training and practice evident in the bend of her arms, the curve of the hands he’d worked until they’d blistered.
She’d become precisely what she’d hoped. Achieving her dream could not have been easy. No easier than his.
Maybe, because of the paths their lives had taken, their love had a chance for success.
Maybe, because his love for Pleasance had been there all along, love would last. Love had survived a four-year separation, spiteful words, anger and malice.
Maybe, with her, family could last.
She slowly came back to herself, that persona of an opera singer before her adoring audience slipped away, thread by thread, until Pleasance Benton stood in his parlor. She brushed the back of her hand over her forehead with the grace of a ballerina.
With a suddenness he didn’t anticipate, she turned toward him—or more accurately, the kitchen, but came face to face with him.
Was that embarrassment in her eyes?
“That was—” He cleared the emotion from his throat. “You are beautiful.”
And I love you.
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