About the book
For she made him risk everything for a future worth dying for...
Laura Edmonds always had her life planned out for her. When she leaves home for the very first time to take care of her injured aunt in Utah, she couldn't have imagined that life could be such a wondrous adventure.
Abe Mavor, a charming young cowboy, lives alone on his ranch. Once he lays his eyes upon his friend’s beautiful niece, he realizes she may be the light to pull him out of the darkness he’s been praying for all along.
But as their love starts to grow, so do the obstacles that threaten to pull them apart...
A rich but obscure businessman suddenly appears claiming to be Laura’s fiancé, and danger lurks wherever he goes. When Laura disappears, Abe realizes the man is not who he says he is. Racing against time, he must find Laura before she is taken away from him forever.
Laura Edmonds stroked a heavy brush across her mare’s, Duchess’, smooth chestnut coat. The barn was completely still except for the click of Duchess’ hooves as she shifted her weight and occasionally snorted. Laura’s straw-blonde hair fell in soft waves around her shoulders as she polished the mare to a gleaming shine.
Laura was an exceptionally beautiful girl, with sharp, hazel eyes and a smooth, milky complexion. She had always stood out among the girls in Tucson whom she had grown up with. The men had taken notice and now that she had just turned twenty, a suitor was not far off on the horizon for her.
But Laura was a dreamer, too caught up in books to notice. She was far happier dreaming of far-off lands with daring adventures, than she was concerned with which boy she may have caught the eye of. Laura shifted a saddle onto Duchess’ back and led her out the back, into the quiet Arizona morning.
In one swift swing, Laura hopped into the saddle, adjusted her skirt, and clicked her tongue, as she gave the mare a gentle squeeze. Duchess responded quickly, her hooves springing to life underneath Laura. “That’s it my girl,” Laura whispered.
She pressed her heels in a little tighter and clicked again, and Duchess stretched into a wide, fast gait. Laura’s hair flew behind her. It seemed like the ground melted away beneath them and the sun rose brightly ahead of them, as the morning came into full view.
In another life, Laura wished she could race. She and Duchess, flying across long stretches of earth leaving others in their dust, or wrapping skillfully around barrels in an intricate dance. But that was not the life of a lady and, with her father, Xavier, running his store in town and being a well-respected man of the community, it seemed Laura’s life was already quite buttoned up for her.
Her father would choose a suitable husband for her and she would bring him children that, hopefully, lived up to their mother’s beauty. She would keep a tidy home wherever her husband saw fit to plant it and that would be that. Not so bad a life, she thought. But in those early hours when no one was around to witness, she and Duchess could glimpse that other future for a few moments.
One quick pass around the pasture was all she had time for. She tightened the reins on Duchess as they neared the barn, until she slowed to a hesitant walk. “I know, my love, I wish for more as well,” she whispered into Duchess’ soft, twitching ear as she patted her neck. Duchess’ sides heaved, as did Laura’s chest, after their quick morning jaunt.
She slid out of the saddle and made quick work of untacking and setting Duchess out to pasture for the day. She then hurried inside the house to collect herself before the other ladies arrived for knitting club.
Their house was situated on a patch of land just outside Tucson. It was clean and bright, thanks to her mother’s fastidious housekeeping, and the windows were dressed in lovely calico fabrics with a delicate flower print, that Laura had picked out when the travelling merchant had brought samples to her father’s store.
She remembered tracing the delicate swatches with her fingers and imagining how they would look against Father’s oiled wooden desk and Mother’s delicate glass figurines, which she polished and arranged along the mantle of the fireplace.
As soon as she stepped inside the door, she heard the sounds of her mother, Mrs. Dorothy Edmonds, shuffling about in the kitchen, muttering to herself.
“That Daisy Thompson, couldn’t tell her nose from her elbow, I do believe. Ask her to pick up the blue yarn, just that simple, lovely blue yarn that Mr. Edmonds got shipped in special, and what does she bring back? Black. I certainly can’t knit a funeral blanket for Linda Edwards new baby, that button-cute little boy. Oh, I hope Maisel has some yards I can borrow. She better at least, after all, I heard it’s been quite the year for Mr….Laura?”
Her mother’s voice hit an inquisitive octave, as she noticed Laura enter the kitchen. She stared at Laura’s windswept hair for a beat, as her lips drew a disapproving line.
“Well, it’s about time. Go straighten yourself up, I need you to run into town and fetch me some blue yarn before the knitting club gets here.”
“Yes, mama,” Laura said obligingly.
She sat in front of her vanity mirror and ran her soft brush across her hair, revealing the same kind of shine she had imparted on Duchess earlier. She smoothed the fabric of her blue dress and admired the delicate lace around the collar that her mother had so lovingly sewn into place.
She gathered her small purse and headed out the door to retrieve Duchess and head into town. Duchess happily snorted when she saw Laura again.
Once in town, she hitched Duchess to the post outside the general store and headed inside. Her father, Xavier, stood behind the counter. His face lit up when he saw Laura.
“My dear, good to see you this morning. What did your mother forget?” he asked with a smile.
“Blue yarn for knitting club. Linda Edwards just had a baby boy,” Laura replied sweetly.
“Well, that’s lovely for the Edwards. I should have some blue yarn still stashed away around here somewhere.” Xavier hunted around in the crates that were strewn haphazardly around the shop.
“Father, you may want to organize around here a bit better.” Laura laughed.
“Well, I’m always happy to accept some help, dear! But you’re always too busy with the knitting club, or reading, or off somewhere that I can’t keep track of. My little vagabond.” Her father chuckled, as he continued to hunt. “Aha, found it.” He smiled, as he retrieved the blue yarn from a crate in a corner.
“Well, I’m here now, let me see. What if we took these crates…” she said, as she pointed to the haphazard pile of crates in the corner, “and stacked them like so.”
She demonstrated by turning one of the crates on its side, creating a neat little shelf. “Then you put each color of yarn in each crate, so the ladies can come in and browse instead of you having to hunt around for them every time.” She created a neat, triangular stack of blue yarn in one of the sideways crates. “Add a touch of fabric draped over the top and it’ll even brighten up the shop a bit.”
Xavier looked at her, beaming. “My daughter, always full of ideas and surprises,” he said.
Laura cradled the spool of yarn as her father kissed her on the cheek.
“Go on now, get back to your mother before she has a heart attack,” he said.
Laura headed back out onto the street. It was late summer, and Tucson was dry and hot. Duchess’ head hung low as Laura tucked the yarn into her saddlebag. The town was bustling. Ladies walked in groups with small children in tow, chatting away as they ran their errands. Men stood around smoking pipes and holding up newspapers.
As much as Laura loved to go into town and watch the people in their intricate ballet, she enjoyed the quiet outside of town more. She felt like Tucson closed her in too much. There was no room to run.
She arrived back home at about a quarter to noon. In the next room, she heard the clamor of the ladies arriving for knitting club.
Wonder what the gossip will be today. I’m sure Mrs. Hammond will have something fresh and juicy. Can’t help but spread around whatever she hears or sees.
As Laura entered the parlor, the ladies were already chirping away. Her mother was in the center of it all, proudly holding court on all the latest gossip.
“Did you hear about Linda Neil?”
“No, whatever should I have heard?”
“Ran off with the butcher’s boy. Nothing but trouble that one, I always said.”
“Such a shame. Such a pretty young thing. Was promised to Ezekiel Brown I do believe. Good lad, but he’ll have to find better.”
Laura picked up her knitting and quietly moved through her stitches, listening to the ladies talk of births, and engagements, and scandalous affairs. Every day the gossip was different, but still the same. It had a certain comfort to it.
A few moments later, the sound of an unexpected set of boots echoed on the front porch. The ladies suddenly paused and fell silent, craning their necks to see whoever it may have been. Through the front door came Laura’s father.
“Xavier, what on earth brings you home so soon? Has something happened at the store?” Laura’s mother, Dorothy asked.
“No, my dear, everything is fine,” he replied. “But I did receive a telegram that we should see to immediately. It’s from your sister in Utah.”
Upon hearing that, Dorothy sprang up from her seat, allowing her knitting to drop to the floor. She crossed the room and Xavier handed her the telegram. As she read, a worried look crossed her face.
“Oh my…oh no…Xavier…she’s all by herself! We must find a way to help.”
“What’s happened, Mama?” Laura asked.
“Your Aunt Ethel, she’s fallen and broken her leg. She’s been all on her own since your Uncle Ernest passed, and there’s no way she can manage her home and keep up with her marmalade orders in her state.” Dorothy handed the telegram back to Xavier and wrung her hands worriedly. She looked back to Xavier. “We should send Laura. She can help her while she heals.”
Laura’s eyes lit up. In her twenty years she had never been out of Tucson, never even met her Aunt Ethel. Her father was skeptical.
“I don’t know, Dorothy, about sending her all that way alone,” he said.
The ladies of the knitting club, who had all been listening intently, clinging to this fantastic new event, began to weigh in.
“Oh, of course Laura should go,” Maisel piped up.
“She’s an absolute dream of a help to all of us,” Mrs. Harrison emphatically agreed.
“Remember the week before last when I had to rush over to help Linda with the new baby? She came right on over to watch my little ones and had them clean as God himself and sleeping like cherubs by the time I got back,” Mrs. Madison proudly exclaimed.
Laura felt a slight flush in her cheeks as she listened to the ladies compliment her. Her mind drifted to Utah.
A new adventure perhaps. I wonder what Aunt Ethel is like.
She pictured Utah, which she imagined as being so dramatically different from Arizona. Father looked at her lovingly as she waited for his response.
“Well I do believe that’s settled then. I’ll make the arrangements for you,” he said.
And with that, he headed back out the door to return to the store. The ladies of the knitting club buzzed with excitement, but Laura hardly heard any of it.
The next day, Laura was up early to help her mother with breakfast. The thought of traveling to Utah swam around in her mind. Her mother was equally excited.
“Oh, Laura dear, I hope you’ll enjoy Utah. I don’t know how I’ll manage without you though,” she said.
“I’ll miss you too, Mama. It’s a strange thing to think of, being that far from home,” Laura said, as she kneaded a loaf of bread.
“Your Aunt Ethel is a spirited one, can’t believe she’s actually reached out for help, she must be in bad shape,” her mother continued. “You remind me of her sometimes.”
“Really?” Laura asked, curious.
“Yes, you’ve got a similar fire and independence in you. Got her into quite a bit of trouble when we were growing up,” her mother said, disapprovingly.
“Are you implying I’ve been trouble mother?” Laura asked, feigning shock.
Her mother just swatted her with a dishrag as Laura put the loaf of bread in the oven. Laura wiped her brow and turned to set the table. As she carefully put down the silverware and the plates, she looked around her at the lovely home she had been raised in.
She vividly remembered stitching the delicate floral patterns that adorned the cushions on the chairs. She thought of the time spent embroidering each delicate green leaf and stem. Her mother never let her get away with sloppy work.
I can’t imagine not waking up here.
“Utah is lovely though. I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve been there.” Laura’s mother chirped, as she breezed around the kitchen. “Once we had you, the trip was just too difficult.”
“Do you think Aunt Ethel will like me?” Laura asked.
“She’s going to love you, dear. Don’t you worry about that,” her mother reassured her.
Her father emerged from the bedroom. He walked over and gave Laura’s mother a kiss on the cheek. As he took his seat at the table, he smiled at Laura.
“Good morning, my dear! I was able to book you a ticket on the next stagecoach, due to leave tomorrow night.”
“Oh, my goodness, so soon?” Laura replied.
“You got lucky, I suppose,” her father said, as he began to drink his coffee.
“Well then, dear! You must start packing immediately then!” her mother began to fuss.
“May I eat breakfast first, Mama?” Laura laughed.
Her mother continued fussing, barely acknowledging Laura’s comment. “Xavier! You must move the trunk into Laura’s room before you go to the store, and I’m going to give you a list of things to bring back tonight!”
Laura shook her head as she took her place at the table.
I’m going to miss this.
Her mother continued to chirp and fuss, as her father responded with the occasional grunt of agreement. Laura quickly finished her eggs and bread, as she watched them banter.
After breakfast, she stepped into her room to begin packing for her journey to Santa Clara.
She carefully folded her dresses into her trunk, and placed her copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on top; it was one of her favorite books.
She then headed back out to the pasture, where Duchess snorted happily at her arrival. She held out her hand and began to stroke Duchess’ soft nose.
“I’ll be gone for quite a while, my girl. You be good for Mother and Father while I am away.”
Duchess snorted again, as if to reassure her that she would be quite good. Laura pet her neck, sides, and back before leading her inside the barn to bed down for the night.
As she gently placed the blanket over Duchess in the stall, she looked around. This had been her sanctuary. Every difficult day, every time she needed to escape her mother, this is where she would go.
I could spend days here in the straw.
She looked back at Duchess, who began to sleepily toss her head.
It’s so strange. Now that I’m staring at all this change, I can’t help but want to cling to my life here.
The next day, Laura was standing at the stagecoach platform, hugging her mother and father goodbye. Mother dabbed a tear from her eye with her kerchief.
“Be good my girl. Give Ethel my love,” she said.
“I will Mama,” Laura replied.
The driver extended his hand and she climbed up inside the stagecoach, settling into her seat across from a very well-dressed woman who looked to be about eighty; her tall lace collar stood starkly up above her fine black dress, brushing against her wrinkled jaw.
The driver snapped the reigns and the team of horses leapt forward with a snort, jerking the coach so violently that Laura had to grab onto the handle of the door to keep from being flung onto the older woman’s lap, who seemed completely unbothered by this violent start to the trip. Laura composed herself and looked out the window, watching the Arizona desert streak past her in a blur of reds and browns.
As the journey continued, the elderly woman took to reading most of the time. Laura’s book was packed away in her trunk on top of the coach, a decision she deeply regretted.
“What is it you’re reading?” She asked the elderly woman.
The woman peered at her over her book and sighed slightly, seemingly annoyed at the question.
“The Bible, my dear,” she replied matter-of-factly.
“Ah, that’s quite nice,” Laura replied.
“Yes, yes, it is. Where are you off to my dear?” the woman asked.
“Visiting my Aunt in Santa Clara. She’s broken her leg and needs assistance to keep the homestead up,” Laura replied
“Such a sweet girl,” the elderly lady replied.
And with that, the lady returned to her scriptures. Laura gazed back out the window at the landscape whizzing by.
After many bumps and jolts, over several days of travel, they finally arrived in Santa Clara. It was a small but bustling town. Ladies went about their shopping along the street and horses swatted flies from their eyes, as they sat at a hitching post outside the general store.
Outside the saloon, several cowboys sat chatting. They were covered in dust from head to toe, their wide-brimmed hats shielding their faces from the harsh sun.
I wonder what kind of adventures they have out here.
The coach continued on past the main street and to a house on the edge of town, where her Aunt Ethel lived. The coach lurched to a stop and the driver opened the door, nearly blinding Laura, as the sun streamed into the coach. She took his hand and stepped out, but her breath caught in her throat as she saw Ethel’s home.
The house was little more than a shack. Shutters hung off their hinges on one window, which was caked with dust. There was a broken step leading up to the porch, which sagged dangerously.
Oh, my goodness, how could it have gotten into such a state?
The elderly woman looked at her sympathetically from the coach.
“I hope your aunt gets well soon child,” she said to her.
“Thank you, ma’am. Have a good rest of your journey,” Laura replied.
The driver stood behind her, with her trunk in tow, as she carefully made her way up to the porch. She took a deep breath and knocked on the door. A lady’s voice from inside the house faintly called “Come in!” and Laura gently pushed the creaking door open and stepped inside.
Goodness, what have I gotten myself into?
Aunt Ethel’s house was no better inside than outside. Worn, faded furniture, what little there was, sat bleakly in the main room. Dust covered everything. The stagecoach driver grunted at Laura “Where’d you like this ma’am?” He motioned to her trunk.
“Oh, you can just set that down and I’ll attend to it. Thank you, sir,” she replied.
He set the trunk down and she passed him a silver coin from her purse. He tipped his wide brimmed hat at her and set back out the door to the coach.
“Aunt Ethel?” Laura called out.
“Laura? In here my dear.” A voice returned from behind a bedroom door.
She opened it and saw the figure of her Aunt lying on the bed, propped up against some pillows. “It’s so good to see you, child. My, you look so much like Dorothy, it’s quite shocking,” Aunt Ethel exclaimed.
Laura examined her aunt. She had the same chin as her mother, but her hair was a light, soft chestnut brown and she had a few more age lines around her brown eyes. She looked thin and frail, even though she was only a few years older than her mother.
“I’m so glad you could make the trip out here,” Aunt Ethel continued. “With this leg I haven’t been able to do much of anything around here and the chores keep piling up. The ladies around town have done what they can, cooking a few meals for me and the like, and there’s a nice man from a ranch nearby that comes by and tries to help with some of the fixing up around here, but there’s still so much needs to get done.”
Her face showed the same kind of worry Laura had seen in her mother’s eyes when she’d read Ethel’s telegram.
“Don’t worry, Aunt Ethel,” Laura reassured her. “I’ll be here to help however I can, as you focus on letting that leg of yours heal.”
Her aunt smiled appreciatively, as Laura squeezed her hand. “Bless you, child,” she replied. “There’s a second bedroom just on the other side of this wall that you can settle into. It’s not much I’m afraid….” Her voice trailed off, but Laura cut in with kind optimism
“I’m sure it’s just lovely. Thank you so much”
Laura stepped out of the bedroom and back into the main room, surveying the sad arrangement.
How can she possibly heal in a place so bleak? Something must be done.
She began to visualize the room, as she had with their home back in Tucson, envisioning soft patterned curtains and warm, oiled furniture. She would have to be resourceful to procure such things though, as she only had a little bit of money from her father and Aunt Ethel was just barely getting by selling her marmalades and jams, her mother had told her.
But the challenge delighted Laura, a chance to test herself in a way she never really had before.
The next morning, Laura set out into town and headed to the general store to re-stock the pitiful pantry and procure some things to set to work on the house. Watching her father haggle with merchants, she felt confident she’d be able to bargain for some supplies with the little money she had in her purse.
The general store was small but well-stocked. The proprietor stood behind the counter, carefully oiling the wood.
“Good morning, ma’am!” He greeted her cheerfully. “Haven’t seen you ‘round here before. How can I help?”
“Good morning sir, I’m Laura Edmonds. I’m in town to help out my Aunt Ethel. I was wondering, do you have any bolts of fabric I could see?” Laura asked sweetly.
“I sure do. Hold on just a tick, ma’am,” he replied, as he shuffled to a cupboard behind the counter. He retrieved several spools of fine fabric and laid them out on the dry portion of the counter for Laura to inspect.
She ran her hands across the different soft fabrics and her eye was drawn to a sunny yellow pattern.
“How much for this one?” she asked, pointing to it.
“Fifteen cents a yard, ma’am,” he replied.
“Hmm, tell me, do the ladies around here tend to favor this color? I don’t recall seeing much of it as I rode through town this morning,” she said kindly.
“Well, no ma’am, not as much as their checks and florals I’d say,” he answered, his tone a bit quizzical.
“Well then, it seems you have some inventory that’s just sitting about and not making you a penny then. I’d certainly be willing to take it off your hands for ten cents a yard,” Laura said, with a sly smile and a commanding tone.
The proprietor seemed taken aback for a moment, then let out a hearty laugh.
“I can’t argue with a lady as striking as you,” he exclaimed, as she stood firm on her price. He wrapped up the fabric for her in tissue paper and handed it over, as she counted out her coins.
Victorious, she headed back to Aunt Ethel’s and went straight to work. All day she swept the floors, pushing columns of dust out the front door. She polished the dust off the windows, allowing a burst of light back into the house that lit up Aunt Ethel’s pale face.
“What a miracle you are, Laura,” Aunt Ethel exclaimed.
Over the next week, she dusted every nook and cranny, scouring and scrubbing until the floors and mantles almost shined as bright as Duchess’ coat. She also found a tin of wood oil in the barn and went to work gently oiling the wooden furniture. As she slowly polished the wood, the grain began to shine in a soft kaleidoscope of rich browns.
The work was rewarding, seeing the house begin to take form under her hands. Then she got to work sewing lovely yellow curtains out of some of the fabric she had procured. To make the most out of every inch of fabric, she made sure to cut carefully, so that she could get even pleats out of every piece of the square. She sewed them with greater delicacy than she had ever paid to her knitting. A soft ruffle at the bottom fanned out nicely.
Mama will be at knitting club right about now. I wonder what the latest gossip will be. Perhaps Susie Simmons finally got married. Maybe Annabelle had her baby.
Thinking about it gave her a pang of homesickness. She thought of sweet Duchess and imagined Mama pattering around the kitchen. Aunt Ethel slept or read most of the day, because of her leg, so the house maintained a quiet stillness. She hung the first set of curtains in the window of Aunt Ethel’s bedroom.
“A little extra sunshine for you, Aunt Ethel. Isn’t the color just lovely?” She stepped back and admired her work. There was still so much to do, but the faintest breath of life was back into the bleak house.
She stepped out of the bedroom and got to work in the kitchen. She had finally organized the pantry, so it had some amount of function, and she was now able to cook with much greater ease.
Aunt Ethel had insisted the marmalades still go out. So Laura, in turn, insisted that Aunt Ethel should rest, and she would faithfully execute the recipe.
Let’s see, fresh oranges, cinnamon, gelatin, sugar.
She carefully arranged the ingredients and got to work, slicing the fruits and heating the boiling pots. It was hot, sweaty, sticky work.
“Aunt Ethel, how much sugar again?” she called out into the bedroom.
“Two cups dear!” Her aunt’s voice rang out clear and bright.
Laura wiped the sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand, as she stirred the hot, thick concoction.
Once it was all finished, she brought a jar into Aunt Ethel’s room for her to taste and approve, along with a loaf of fresh, warm bread. Aunt Ethel took a small teaspoon of the marmalade and tasted it. A smile spread across her face.
“Oh, my dear, you’ve done me proud,” she said with a grin.
“Glad to hear it Aunt Ethel!” Laura said.
She cut a couple thick slices of bread and spread the marmalade over them. The two of them began to eat and talk.
“You know, Aunt Ethel, I really don’t understand why we never came and visited you all this time,” Laura said.
“Oh, your mother never much liked Utah. As soon as she was set to marry your father and move to Tucson, that was the happiest you could have made her,” Aunt Ethel said, between bites, “and it is such a long way to travel with children. Then, I guess, by the time you were grown enough, life just got in the way. It can do that.”
“Well, I am glad to be here now. This is a bit of a new adventure for me, being away from them.” Laura’s eyes drifted to Aunt Ethel’s leg. “Not that I’m pleased you’ve broken your leg of course! But I am pleased to get to know you,” she said, with a slight flush.
“Of course, dear, and I feel the same. Oh, I can’t wait for you to meet the gentleman who has been helping me since the accident; he’s such a sweet man. Takes the time out of his day to help an older widow like me,” Aunt Ethel said, as she finished the last of her bread and marmalade. “Not bad looking either,” she said with a wink.
“Aunt Ethel! Do you fancy this man?” Laura asked, with a laugh.
“Oh dear, he’s far too young for a lady like me. Besides, I’m past all that, Ernest and I had a good life and I see no need to try to start another. But that doesn’t mean I don’t notice a fine young man!” Aunt Ethel chuckled.
Laura liked Aunt Ethel. Despite her leg, she was full of life in a way so few women her age were.
“Aunt Ethel, how do you stay in such good spirits?” Laura asked.
“Oh, my dear, life can be as sweet as the marmalades, if you just let goodness in. We spend too much of our lives fussing over the small things, I try to not let those things bother me all too much,” Aunt Ethel replied. “For example, I would have never gotten to spend such a wonderful time with my niece, had this leg of mine not given way.”
“Well, I would still never wish that on you again, Aunt Ethel,” Laura said.
Aunt Ethel let out a light and melodic laugh. “Yes, I hope this will only be a one-time occurrence. But that doesn’t mean I don’t expect you to visit, time and again.”
“Oh, of course I will,” Laura replied with a smile.
After they finished eating, Laura went back into the kitchen and started working on a stew for dinner. She chopped potatoes and onions, and used the leftover beef tips that she had negotiated from the butcher the day before at just a few cents a pound.
With the stew on the stove to simmer, she then went to work on the rest of the curtains, sitting by Aunt Ethel’s bed while she sewed. Aunt Ethel went to work knitting a matching throw blanket out of some yarn Laura had brought with her as a gift.
“So, are you close with any of the ladies in town?” Laura asked.
“Oh, I socialize with the ladies as I can, but truthfully, with the house in this state I don’t like having them over much,” Aunt Ethel said.
“Well, we will have this place right in no time, don’t you worry. By the time that leg of yours is healed, you’ll have the nicest house in Santa Clara,” Laura said with a smile.
“That’s so sweet of you, dear, but it is so much work. I don’t want you feeling like you need to get in over your head,” Aunt Ethel said, as she patted Laura’s hand.
“I can do this, Aunt Ethel. I know I can,” Laura said with determination.
“Well then, would you mind starting with a cup of coffee? I can feel myself starting to fade dear,” Aunt Ethel said.
“Of course. I’ll be right back,” Laura said.
As she stepped out of the bedroom, a set of heavy boots echoed on the front porch. The front door swung open unexpectedly and before her stood a tall man that made her voice catch in her throat.
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