In His Eyes (Paperback)
A Christian Historical Romance
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She pretends to be a Yankee officer's widow in order to survive. But what will she do when he returns home to a wife he didn't marry?
Ella Whitaker rescues a newborn from the dying arms of a woman of ill repute and at long last she has someone to love. In need of a wet nurse, she arrives at Belmont Plantation just as Federal soldiers demand to speak to the owner. Thinking quickly, Ella masquerades as a Yankee officer's widow in order to have a roof over her head and a home for the child. But now she must work even harder to hide her Scottish immigrant roots and play the part of a refined Southern lady or risk losing her only hope to keep her new son.
Union Major Westley Remington has dedicated his life to serving his country. The Civil War divided his family, tore his thoughts of glory, and left him with a wound that may never heal. Westley returns home to settle his father’s estate at Belmont Plantation, only to find his house is being run by a fiery and independent woman—one many believe to be his wife. Now he is faced with a conflict he’s never been trained to fight, and one she has yet to conquer.
350 print book pages
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Washington County, Mississippi, 1865
Ella Whitaker braced herself for another of the woman’s screams. Swallowing her fear lest it show in her eyes, she bathed Cynthia’s sweat-soaked brow. “There, now. That one is passing.” Cynthia panted and turned her head to the side, letting out a soft moan. Grasping for any measure of comfort to offer the woman, Ella forced a cheerful smile. “The midwife will be here soon, and she will be able to help ease the pain.”
Cynthia let out another wail as the next contraction gripped her. Ella couldn’t be sure, but she thought the pains were getting closer together. She dipped the cloth again and moved to wipe Cynthia’s rouge-smeared face once more, but the woman seized her wrist.
“Ain’t no midwife coming for me, girl.” She closed her eyes and sucked air through her stained lips. “Not a one wants to be known for helping the likes of me.”
Ella shook her head and crossed the bare floor. She had to take only two steps to cover the cramped quarters before grasping the welcoming cool of the knob. “I’ll go down and check. If she cannot come, then surely one of the wives down below can help. I really shouldn’t be here for a birthing, being unwed and all.”
Cynthia’s next scream sent a shiver down Ella’s spine. “Get it out!”
Her heart beating furiously, Ella snatched open the door and scrambled down the Buckhorn Inn’s creaking stairs. Below, the stale air thick with the smells of travelers—horses, dirt, and unwashed bodies—made her cough. Several coaches had arrived this morning, dumping out scores of volunteer troops for a respite before continuing their journeys to their homes. Men huddled in groups and gathered at the long tables gulping their ale and laughing over cards like they hadn’t just lost a war. It wasn’t even high noon, yet already some of them laughed too loudly and stumbled when they stood. Two weeks now she’d had to work here, but she didn’t think she’d ever grow used to this dank environment.
Ella scrunched her nose. Whether she liked it or not, she must grow accustomed to her new home, for it seemed this was her only future now that she had to face the world alone. Smoothing her frown and resisting the urge to cover her nose, Ella burst into the kitchen. At least it smelled like overcooked meat and burned grease in here.
“Mrs. Hatch, I need your—”
The older woman spun away from the crowded prep space with a loaded tray in her hands and a scowl on her wrinkled face. “There you are! I told you not to disappear on me again. We need more girls servin’ the men. You’re out of the kitchen today. We have a score more of them than we did yesterday.”
A new pang of fear gripped her. Ella bunched her stained apron in her fists. The innkeeper’s wife shoved the tray into her stomach, forcing the air to flee Ella’s lungs.
“No arguing from you, girl,” she said before scooping up a pitcher and scurrying for the door. “Get going.”
Ella found her breath. “Wait!”
Mrs. Hatch turned back to look at her before pushing the kitchen door open. “What? I got men out there that needs more drink to soothe their wounds.”
“This is more important.”
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