Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

A LOVE MOST WORTHY
Saturday, February 16, 2019 by SANDRA ARDOIN

 

PLEASE WELCOME

SANDRA ARDOIN

TO

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY

 

EXCERPT FROM A LOVE MOST WORTHY

 

Hallie did her best to check her appearance in the hand mirror while wishing it was the full-length glass from her Seattle bedroom. Her storekeeper husband could easily order one, but she doubted her need would ever occur to him, and if it did, after losing Davie, he probably considered her unworthy of anything but food and shelter.

How foolish she had been to get caught up in conversation and risk the children ’s safety. Rance had every right to his anger. So, why should his lack of consideration bother her when she’d lived with that attitude most of her life?

She stared at the reflection of the rose engraved on the locket adorning her shirtwaist. Last summer, she had found it among her father’s possessions. Her aunt had identified it as belonging to Hallie’s mother, but her father had never given it to her.

Though she might have deserved to receive her mother’s locket, she deserved no special gifts from Rance. But what hurt more than her husband’s words was his decision to spend more time at home during the past week. Undoubtedly, his trust in her was no keener than his interest.

She pinned her hat to her head, snatched her gloves from the bureau, and walked into the sitting room. Despite the strain of the past days, she looked forward to her first July Fourth celebration in Nome.

“Are you ready, Aunt Hallie?”

She smiled at Robbie. “I am. Where are Davie and your uncle?”

The boy lost his grin, and it broke Hallie’s heart. He felt a responsibility for protecting her yet was too young to realize how little he could do to change what happened.

Hallie was beginning to care a great deal for all the Prestons and didn’t want to cause continued strife between the six-year-old and Rance. She bent over and cupped his chin. “Will you do something for me?”

His eyes lit and his head bobbed. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Will you be extra nice to your Uncle Rance today?”

She waited while he tilted his head and narrowed his eyes, considering her request. “I guess so, but he better not make you cry again.”

“I won’t, Robbie.” At the sound of Rance’s voice, Hallie bolted upright and spun around. He stood in the hallway near the boys’ bedroom, a paper-wrapped package clutched in his hand and Davie at his side. “At least, I’ll try not to.”

Enraptured by his steady gaze with its hint of sheepishness, Hallie’s pulse frolicked. She could blame the cavorting on his sudden appearance but feared the credit belonged to the husky drawl and gentle voice.

Really, Hallie?

Her inner heels kicked up as she fell victim to his chiseled features, those wide shoulders, and the sturdy chest on which she could lean while his arms enfolded…

She gasped. Get hold of yourself, Hallie Rus…Preston. For heaven’s sake, this isn’t the first time you’ve seen your husband, and he has no interest in your attraction anyway.

Besides, his more-or-less apology had been to his nephew, not her.

“What’s in your hand, Uncle Rance?” Robbie pointed to the package.

Rance studied at it as if he’d forgotten about it. “I brought Aunt Hallie something.”

Her breath stuttered. He’d brought her a present?

He stepped closer and held it out for her to grasp. When she took the package, the paper crinkled and yielded to her touch. Whatever it enclosed was soft and pliable. She presented him with her most generous smile. “Thank you.”

Hallie tore the paper, impatient to see the gift. She pulled out a wide ribbon…a wide, crimson hair ribbon. Her pleasure collapsed like a deflated balloon.

“I thought it appropriate for today.”

Appropriate for the Fourth of July? Perhaps. But had he not listened when she mentioned she despised the color red. It reminded her too much of her father’s death. Why hadn’t he brought her a blue or white ribbon?

Robbie wrinkled his nose. “But it’s red, Uncle Rance. She doesn’t like red.”

She balled the ribbon in her hand and swallowed her disappointment. “It’s fine, Robbie. In fact, it’s lovely.” It would be lovely…to someone else.

Hallie couldn’t deny Rance was a good man. However, she wouldn’t fool herself. Like her father, he considered her feelings irrelevant. He hadn’t bothered to remember her name. Why should she expect him to remember a tiny detail such as her disdain of the color red? To him, she was of no more interest than the cook stove. Stuff kindling in her when she grew cold, then ignore her until the next time she was needed.

She had hoped life with him would be different, but so far, her marriage felt like the same tired refrain sung over and over.

*****

 

ABOUT SANDRA ARDOIN

Author of heartwarming and award-winning historical romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she's also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and BookBub.

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ABOUT A LOVE MOST WORTHY

She didn’t know which was colder,

an Arctic winter or her new husband’s heart.

 

Hallie Russell believes life should be lived to the fullest. For that reason, she sails to the gold rush town of Nome, Alaska to take her cousin’s place as the mail-order bride of a respected shopkeeper. But when her aloof husband’s wedding-night announcement rocks her plans for their marriage, Hallie sees her desire for a family to call her own vanish as quickly as the dreams of hopeful miners.

Tragedy led Rance Preston to repent of his rowdy ways and open a general store for the miners in Nome. He’s content in his bachelorhood, but his two orphaned nephews deserve a proper and serious-minded mother. Duped once by a vivacious female, he’s determined to never again let his heart overrule his head…until the high spirits of his new bride threaten his resolve.

When a misunderstanding comes to light, will they allow the gale force winds of insecurity to destroy what they each need most?

 

Available in e-book on Amazon

(Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MDXHH2M)

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Comments

Sandra Ardoin From At 2/16/2019 11:22:13 AM

Thanks so much for sharing this excerpt with your readers, Linda!

Reply by: Linda Wood Rondeau

My pleasure

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