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Persistent Love, A Novella
by Laura J. Marshall.
Back Cover Blurb:
Christian Romantic Suspense Novella set in 1685, England.
Fear has been Tara's constant companion since age nine when she witnessed her mother's murder. Tara's father moves his family to the ancient castle of Raven's Cliff, far from the ships that could carry her back to India and the answers she believes lie there. Andrew offers her friendship and guides her gently to the One who will give her peace. Will she find hope for something other than revenge?
Andrew nodded, worry clouding his eyes. He looked around the rear courtyard. He opened his jaw several times to speak as he pulled his coat closer. They were at the back door of the castle and suddenly the sky opened with a downpour.
He called to Kate and Roger in a louder, playful tone. “Off we go. The rain is going to pound my feet into this mud puddle soon and I shall never be free.” Kate and Roger laughed at him and all of them made a dash for the door. They stood dripping from head to toe and grinning at each other. At the inviting aroma of Bess’s cooking, Tara’s stomach suddenly let out a long low growl. This made the children and Andrew start laughing all over again.
The small mudroom led to the kitchen and they shook off their outer layers and tip-toed closer to the wondrous smells coming from the room beyond. Bess spied the four of them coming through the doorway and two of the servant girls looked up from their work as Bess gave a chuckle.
“What are ye rapscallions up to?”
“The rain has driven us indoors rather unexpectedly.” Tara introduced both Roger and Andrew Sharpton to Bess as her eyes scanned the stovetop and counter, which were both overflowing with baked goods and steaming pots.
“Sirs,” Bess said, as she gave a deep curtsy, and, seeing Tara’s obvious hunger, added, “Ye all seem awfully wet and chilled. Can I offer the lot of ye a bowl of hot soup and some currant bread fresh from me oven?”
Kate impulsively ran and hugged Bess. “Oh, yes, please.”
They all settled around the round plank table. Bess sent one of the girls to inform the master and his guests that Kate and Roger were safely tucked away in the kitchen with Tara and Andrew enjoying something warm to eat. The four of them had quite a time in the kitchen. The children’s laughter was infectious and they soon had even old Bess grinning to herself as she went about making bread and pastries for the party the following night. Andrew leaned over to Tara, “Your Bess is lovely.”
She smiled, remembering their previous conversation at the dinner party. He looked at her as if they were conspirators planning an adventure. She felt the blood rush to her head. The fact that he was handsome was undeniable and she felt drawn to his kindness and fun-loving nature. There was something else to him, though. It had to do with her heart, like a string tied from his to her own. Tara’s nose suddenly itched. “Ah-choo, ah-choo, ah-choo.”
“Always sneezing about, Tara,” Kate beamed, using Rachel’s standard line. Tara laughed and tweaked Kate’s pert nose.
“God bless you,” Andrew said between the last bites of Bess’ heavily buttered sweet currant bread.With the teapot depleted and only crumbs left on their plates, Bess shooed them from the room with feigned consternation for keeping her from her work. She gave Tara a slight squeeze on her shoulder and a wink as she exited the kitchen. The laughter had done Tara a world of good today. She felt a small part of the wall around her heart come tumbling to the ground.
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