REBEL SERIES BOOK 7 (339 Pages)
Legacy of a Rebel
Laurel Lae, widowed by the Civil War, is a friend of Elizabeth Ann Harris. She struggles through heartache and poverty to raise Timmaly, her three-year-old daughter. She also feels responsible for Lila, her fifteen-year-old sister, who is lured by a man with questionable integrity.
The new Sunny Horizon in the Shenandoah enthralls Laurel as she compares it with the original house. Laurel harbors a secret. What if a Harris discovers what she’s hiding? It could shatter her already burdened life. “I must guard my secret with fervor!”
Lila vanishes. Laurel’s hardships mushroom, but finally, she finds a job to support herself and Timmaly. All seems well-until she meets her boss, tall, blond Seth Barkley. He loves Charlotte Ward. He treats Laurel kindly, but with indifference. It suits her-until she falls in love with him. Should she stay to fulfill her promise or take her child and run?
If she flees, might she sacrifice a possible romantic relationship with Seth? If she remains, will she be doomed to another heartbreak?
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LEGACY OF A REBEL Rebel Series Book 7 (339 Pages)
The late July sun remained high and hot. Laurel kept a rag in her belt to wipe away the perspiration that streamed down her face. The back of her dress grew damp and clung to her shoulders. She’d tied her blond ringlets back with a frayed ribbon, but they’d sprung free and tickled her face. She flipped the curly mass away from her hot neck, plunged her arms into the rinse water and grabbed a sheet.
Lila returned with the laundry soap and a dreamy expression on her face. Had the girl seen Bart after all?
The day wore on. Laurel put Timmaly to bed for a nap and pinned the rinsed towels to the clothesline. After ramming the last pin into place, she glanced over her shoulder. Lila, wearing her best dress, strode out of sight. “What’s to become of her? Where did I go wrong?”
Yanking the rag from her belt gave Laurel little satisfaction. The shade of the maple felt good against her hot skin. Stretching, she released a sigh.
Her eyes widened at a gritting snapping sound. She turned and cried out as the rope snapped and two long lines of wet clothing flopped to earth like dead animals. Weakened to despair, she crumpled to a pile of wet sheets. Sobs shook her thin body. “How much more can I take? God, please help me.”
Seth Barkley grumbled to himself as he drove his team homeward. He’d foolishly taken a shortcut and the rutted lane had stones that made the ride bumpy. His empty wagon creaked and rattled. He’d managed to cut the hay in his south field. It had been perfect growth. He’d expected a good price. Instead, he’d received half of its value. “I’ll have to cut more.” The horses pricked their ears and picked up speed as though his growl had been a command to do so. He continued to grumble, although he rarely did so.
As the team rounded a bend in the road, a dilapidated cabin came into view. What he saw in the yard made him laugh. A girl, her mountain of blond curls flying, sat on a pile of sheets in the middle of the yard, her head on her bent knees. A ton of wet laundry lay strewn in the dirt. When he realized her shoulders shook from crying, he sobered. Halting his team, he climbed down and strode to where the girl sat. Her faded purple dress had patches of varying colors, and her shoes displayed holes. He stood staring.
Finally, he stammered, “You . . . all right?”
Her head jerked up. Eyes the color of emeralds shimmered with tears, but her golden curls had flopped to hide most of her face. She leaped to her feet and swiped at her tears as she turned away. “I’m fine.”
“Doesn’t look like it.” He surveyed the wet laundry. “You have a large family?”
She shook her head, farther disheveling her blizzard of golden curls. “I take in laundry for a living.” She grabbed wet items and flung them into a basket.
“You mean there’s no one to help you with this line?”
“I’ll manage. I was just overcome for a moment.”
“I can imagine.” He shook his head. “I’ll help you pick up this mess and fix your clothesline.”
“Oh. I’ll . . . manage.” Her voice gushed with apprehension.
He tried to put her at ease. “I wouldn’t think much of myself if I didn’t help someone in need, then I have to deliver a load of lumber for Breton Harris.”
She continued to snatch clothes from the dirt. “You know the Harris family?”
“I deliver lumber for Bret.” He glanced at the skinny girl. Hard work had left its mark. Turning, he seized a number of the wet items and tossed them into her basket. They had specks of dirt and would have to be rinsed and rung out again. No wonder this girl had been in tears.
She grappled with a sheet, then dropped it on top of the fourth filled basket. “That’s all.”
She’d kept her back to him, as though to hide her face. Why? Could she be that horrid to look at? “You go ahead with your chores. I’ll repair your line, then be on my way.”
“How much . . .”
“No charge.” His eyes flicked over her boney back and her gorgeous long curls, then he carted the heavy baskets to her porch. As he measured and fastened long strands of rope, he puzzled over the hard life of this mysterious girl.
Seth looked up as a tiny girl came out of the cabin and joined the woman on the porch. The child looked about four, but seemed small for her age. He shook his head. A joy, but probably another complication for the blond woman.
“Nearly finished, again.” Laurel plunged her arms into the rinse water. It would feel good to dunk her head, too. Tonight, she would have Lila watch Timmaly while she took a bath in the stream behind her cabin. That’s one pleasure I haven’t had to forfeit.
She straightened and gazed toward her now taut clothesline. Had a blond man appeared to help her or had the entire event been a figment of her imagination?
“Maybe he’s my guardian angel.”
Lifting the last sheet, she twisted the excess water from it and plopped it into the basket. A smile teased her lips. “He did have kind sapphire eyes.”
Laurel spun to face her sister, water dripping from her elbows. All thoughts of the man who’d come to her aid fled as she noticed Lila’s wrinkled skirt and swollen lips. “You were with Bart?”
A dreamy smile curbed the puffiness and a faraway look came into the girl’s blue eyes. “Bart ask me to marry him.”
Nausea threatened Laurel. “So he could do . . . what?”
“It doesn’t matter, Laurel. We’re going to be married.”
“No! Lila, no.”