by Cheryl St.John
Vaughn Donnelly's work as a builder has taken him to many different villages over the years, and he's never regretted having to say goodbye to anyone in them. Until he promises to help Darcy Keegan rescue an orphaned boy from prison and he realizes that with her, he's found the one person he never wants to leave.
But Darcy is not planning on staying in Castleville, either. She wants to start a new life far away from the small townand far away from her father, who makes her feel more like a servant than a person. Only, the more time she spends with Vaughn, the more she dreams of something else entirely a family, a home, a husbandVaughn.
But Vaughn's nomadic lifestyle isn't going to change. How can he stop Darcy from leaving when he's got nothing to offer her?
Click here to view all Cheryl St.John's titles
If you like this online read you'll enjoy Cheryl St.John's books!
By the time the noon bell rang on Monday, Vaughn hadn't yet seen Darcy. He observed the women and children weaving rugs, spotted one who was heavy with child and wondered what crime held her there.
It wasn't until much later that Darcy walked toward the new construction, carrying a pail and ladle. Vaughn admired the curve of her cheek and the golden highlights glinting from her hair. Sometimes just the sight of her took his breath away. He waved a greeting and climbed down to meet her.
"I waited two hours to speak with the Lord Lieutenant," she said. "The law is final. Only a parent may pay a fine and take Rory from Castle Carraig."
"And he has no parent alive." For the lad's sake, as well as Darcy's, he'd hoped for a better outcome.
She studied the nearly erected wall behind him for several minutes. "You were gone from Castleville a long time."
The change of subject puzzled him. "Aye. My trade is in demand."
"Perhaps ten years, would you say?"
"You may't have married and had a child in that time."
He gave her a quizzical look.
"Say, a boy about the age of nine or ten."
"But I didn't."
"The Lord Lieutenant doesn't know that."
Her meaning registered with a start of confusion. She was proposing he say the Gilchrist boy was his own sire. He considered her proposition for a full minute. "Are you suggestin', Miss Keegan, that I lie to the Lord Lieutenant?"
She sighed. "That would be wrong, wouldn't it? I mean, even to save the boy from a life of misery, you couldn't do such a thing."
"We have different names, Rory and I. The lad looks nothin' like me."
She studied her hands, red and chapped. "Shame, it is."
"Darcy, the village would know better."
"Of course you're right. One lie only leads to another. I guess I was feelin' desperate." She took a deep breath and said almost as though to herself, "Seems we'll both be stayin' at Castle Carraig. I can't go until I'm sure he'll be all right."
"Are you planning to leave Castleville?"
"Wha No." She gathered her skirts. "I have work to do." She turned and walked back toward the kitchens with a decided lack of enthusiasm in her step. A short time later he spotted her talking to the Gilchrist lad in the yard. It seemed Darcy understood the boy's hopelessness.
Her desperation made him feel helpless, and he didn't like the feeling.
Vaughn understood her desire to help Rory. He remembered the child he'd seen beaten to death at another prison. He'd been unable to help then, but if he could make a difference for just this one person, he'd feel he'd accomplished something good. He could rest assured he'd made things right.
Everything inside him burned to come up with a solution. Vaughn was going to help Rory if he had to move heaven and earth to do it.
chapter: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20