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Authors: Tracie Peterson,Judith Miller

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An Unexpected Love

BOOK: An Unexpected Love
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AN UNEXPECTED
LOVE

 

 

 

Books by
Tracie Peterson & Judith Miller

B
ELLS OF
L
OWELL
Daughter of the Loom

A Fragile Design
These Tangled Threads

L
IGHTS OF
L
OWELL
A Tapestry of Hope

A Love Woven True
The Pattern of Her Heart

T
HE
B
ROADMOOR
L
EGACY
A Daughter’s Inheritance
An Unexpected Love
A Surrendered Heart

www.traciepeterson.com

www.judithmccoymiller.com

An Unexpected Love
Copyright © 2008
Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

Cover design by John Hamilton Design
Cover photography of 1000 Islands: Reprinted with permission from Ian Coristine’s
book
1000 Islands
, his fourth book of photography of the region.
www.1000islandsphotoart.com

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

Published by Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55438

Bethany House Publishers is a division of
Baker Pubishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Printed in the United States of America

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available for this title.

ISBN 978-0-7642-0365-7 (Hardcover)
ISBN 978-0-7642-0589-7 (Paperback)

Dedication

To my cousin, Chris Hughes,
a fine man who follows the Lord.

—Judith Miller

 

 

 

 

 

 

T
RACIE
P
ETERSON
is the author of over seventy novels, both historical and contemporary. Her avid research resonates in her stories, as seen in her bestselling Heirs of Montana and Alaskan Quest series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana.

 

 

 

 

J
UDITH
M
ILLER
is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her novels, many of which have appeared on the CBA bestseller lists. Judy and her husband make their home in Topeka, Kansas.

Table of Contents

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31

1

Friday, October 15, 1897
Rochester, New York

Eighteen-year-old Sophie Broadmoor speared her uncle Jonas with an angry glare. He cocked a brow, clearly surprised by her reaction. Nevertheless, he continued to drum his fingers on the walnut side table as though his impatient behavior would somehow cause his brother Quincy, who was also Sophie’s father, to arrive at Broadmoor Mansion’s front door. Sophie considered her uncle’s conduct annoying in the extreme. He appeared to be holding her accountable for her father’s tardy arrival. Well, she had more than enough faults of her own for which she must bear responsibility. She certainly didn’t intend to take the blame for her father’s breach of etiquette. Uncle Jonas might intimidate his own family, especially his daughter, Amanda, but he didn’t frighten her a bit.

Ignoring her uncle’s reprimanding stare, Sophie nonchalantly fluffed the lace on her sleeve and turned toward her aunt Victoria. “If you’re tired of waiting for Father, I suggest we begin without him. He won’t care in the least. You know how he loses all sense of time when he’s helping some wayward soul at the Home for the Friendless.”

Her aunt cast a quizzical look at her husband. “What do you think, Jonas? Shall we proceed without Quincy? The food will undoubtedly be cold if we wait much longer, and I know how you abhor a ruined meal.”

The drumming cadence ceased, and using the chair arms, her uncle pushed himself upright and looked around the room. “Well? Let’s proceed to the dining room.”

Sophie grasped her cousin Fanny by the arm. “He must believe we’re able to read his thoughts,” she whispered.

Fanny giggled and offered her agreement. “Sometimes I wish we could. With Uncle Jonas, there’s no telling what he’s up to from one minute to the next. The ability to read his mind would prove useful, don’t you think?”

“Oh yes! And it would drive him quite mad—not that I don’t already succeed in that regard.”

Amanda tugged on Sophie’s sleeve. “Your behavior is decidedly unbecoming. What are you two whispering about?”

The glow of the chandelier cast golden highlights in Sophie’s chocolate brown hair. “If it’s so unbecoming, why do you want to know, Cousin?” she teased, looping arms with Amanda. “We’re talking about reading your dear father’s thoughts. Wouldn’t that be a treat?”

“I don’t know if I’d want to know everything that passes through Father’s mind, but it certainly would prove beneficial on some occasions.”

The three of them entered the dining room, with Amanda and Fanny flanking Sophie. As usual, both of Amanda’s single brothers, George and Jefferson, had managed to avoid the Friday evening dinner. Sophie wished she knew their secret. None of their married siblings living there in Rochester were required to attend these tiresome Friday evening suppers, but Uncle Jonas expected—rather demanded—that his unmarried children, his nieces and nephews, and his brother Quincy, now a widower, all attend. Unless, of course, Uncle Jonas had other plans for himself that might interfere. Sophie always hoped for an interfering event on Friday nights, but she was disappointed more often than not.

As far as Sophie was concerned, her uncle had devised the plan in order to keep his eye on the single women in the family, lest one of them stray and find a suitor he considered undesirable. However, his Friday evening suppers hadn’t deterred Fanny. Much to Uncle Jonas’s chagrin, she’d fallen in love with Michael Atwell, their former boatswain at Broadmoor Island. But with Michael off in search of gold somewhere in the Yukon and Grandfather’s death last year, poor Fanny had been relegated to living under Uncle Jonas’s roof until she attained her age of majority. Sophie didn’t envy either of her cousins living under this roof. Living in her father’s modest home was less than pleasing, but at least she could come and go as she desired. Her father was never around long enough to inquire into her whereabouts.

Sophie feigned a pout and peered down the dining table. “Where are Jefferson and George this evening, Aunt Victoria? I do miss their company.”

Her uncle snorted. “You miss their company? Or you wish you, too, could be absent?”

“Jonas! Sophie was making a polite inquiry about her cousins. There’s no need to transfer your irritation upon those who are present
and
on time.”

Her uncle grunted but didn’t apologize. Not that Sophie expected such an unlikely occurrence. Uncle Jonas seldom apologized and certainly never asked forgiveness for a breach of etiquette within his own family. Of late, however, Aunt Victoria had begun to take a more assertive stance with her husband—a fact that pleased Sophie very much.

Jonas snapped his napkin and tucked it beneath his rather large paunch. “Where is supper, Victoria?”

Though he likely hadn’t intended to shout, the question was loud enough to bring the servants bustling from the kitchen. They’d obviously been waiting in the wings for Aunt Victoria’s signal. One of the servants placed a large serving dish, bearing two perfectly braised ducks garnished with pieces of turnip and carrot, in front of Uncle Jonas.

Her uncle made great fanfare of slicing the duck and then sat down as though he’d accomplished a feat of great importance. He tugged on his vest and motioned for the servants to pass the side dishes. After offering a brief prayer of thanks, he sipped his water and cleared his throat. “I have an announcement to make regarding your voyage to England, ladies.”

Sophie audibly sighed. “Please don’t tell us you’re planning to extend our trip abroad. We’ve all agreed that England will be the limit of our travels.”

Aunt Victoria closed her eyes and shook her head. “Please don’t interrupt your uncle. I’d like to hear his announcement.” She beamed at her husband. “Do go on, Jonas. What surprise have you planned for us?”

He jabbed a piece of turnip and appeared to be contemplating whether he should speak or eat. Keeping his attention on his food, he said, “I’m afraid it will be impossible for me to escort you ladies to England.”

The girls squealed with delight, but Sophie didn’t fail to note her aunt’s look of dismay. “No need to look so distraught, Aunt Victoria. We’ll have a wonderful time here in Rochester. None of us wanted to go to England anyway—not even you.”

Her uncle clanked his fork on his plate. “I did not say the voyage was canceled, Sophie. I said that I would be unable to travel with you. Your passage has been booked, and I’ve arranged for an escort to take my place. You’ll be pleased to—”

“But, Jonas, you promised,” Victoria interrupted. “The only reason I agreed to the trip was because you promised to make the journey with us. How could you go back on your word?”

“Now, Victoria, there’s no need for histrionics over a small change in plans. A business matter of great importance requires my attention, and it will be impossible for me to be away from Rochester on your departure date. Without my attention to the business, there wouldn’t be sufficient funds for this family to live in the style to which they’ve become accustomed.” His smile failed to reach his eyes. “Isn’t that correct?”

BOOK: An Unexpected Love
12.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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