Ruined women don’t hope, killers don’t dream, and the dead don’t feel pain.
Rachel Emerson is resigned to live as a spinster. Her parents keep her shameful secret, and her only brother, Seth, vanished mere days after witnessing her rape, taking her dishonor with him and giving them all an alibi for their grief. But none of that matters. Appearances are useless if she can’t bear the touch of a man.
Jacob Evans welcomes pain as much as he seeks to escape it. The graves of his wife and child remind him of his sins every day. When Lawrence Emerson offers him a job and a chance to move west, Jacob permits himself a fresh start. But letting go of his past is only an illusion. Lawrence’s sweet, shy daughter captures Jacob’s heart and provides him a perfect tool for self-torment.
Despite painful lessons of the past, history soon threatens to repeat itself, and as Jacob’s love for Rachel grows, so does his agony. Giving his precious new wife the life she deserves might cost him the very thing he values most—her.
Here is a scene from the novel:
Rachel lifted a damp bed sheet from the basket at her feet and clipped it to the line. Concealed by the growing curtain of laundry, she watched her father’s new hand as cool wet cotton rippled and flapped against the side of her face.
Mr. Evans positioned a round of oak, then swung the ax and split the log in two with a single strike. He righted the halves and swung again. Muscles bulged with exertion. Patches of sweat and dirt stained his shirt. Each sharp blow echoed over the land and galvanized the part of her that registered threat. Jacob Evans was a dangerous man.
At least he could be if he wanted to.
But—and this was the thing that puzzled her without end—for all the hulking, dreadfully strong being he was, this bear of a man had a gentle spirit about him. He spoke ably enough and he worked hard, very hard. Yet in spite of that, he possessed a quiet humility like someone with a simple mind. Maybe he was dull-witted. Perhaps he’d sold his stock and left his fields lying fallow because he didn’t have the necessary faculties to manage a farm.
Mr. Evans wouldn’t be the first man whose wife quietly managed things for a less-than-savvy mate. And she had died.
Rachel turned to find her ma staring, too. At her.
Her ma peeked through a gap in the sheets. “That man easily puts two commandments to test. Three, if he weren’t such a gentleman and I weren’t such a devoted wife.”
Rachel gaped. “Ma.” But she had to bite her lip not to smile. She recognized her mother’s scandalous comment for what it was, an effort to treat her like a daughter—just a daughter—and Rachel loved her for it.
“Oh, come now. Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed those handsome blue eyes and that sturdy physique.”
Rachel feigned shock. “Have you no fear of your maker?”
Her ma bumped shoulders with her and retrieved another sheet. “My maker put beautiful things on this earth to be enjoyed. I plan to feast my eyes on all I can before my mind deserts me and my senses fail.”
The rest of the wash was hung amid shameless talk and stifled, girlish giggles.
Rachel hoisted the empty basket onto her hip and chanced one more look between the flapping panels of cotton.
Genre: Western Historical Romance
Released: July 22, 2015
From Truelove Press
Purchase links: Amazon / Kindle / Barnes & Noble
Cover design by Carrie Butler
Forward Authority Design Services
Native Texan Melissa Maygrove is a wife, mother, nurse, freelance editor, and romance writer. When she's not busy caring for her tiny nursery patients or shuttling teenagers back and forth to after-school activities, she's hunched over her laptop, complicating the lives of her imaginary friends and playing matchmaker. Melissa loves books with unpretentious characters and unforgettable romance, and she strives to create those same kinds of stories for her readers.