A Love for All Time

A Love for All Time

Elizabeth Sinclair

December 2014 $0.99
ISBN: 978-1-61194-5-737

Available in eBook only!

A short from the Hawks Mountain series.

 
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Synopsis | Reviews | Excerpt

Back Cover Copy

Some memories are as sweet as the love they cherish.

Granny Jo, matron of Hawks Mountain, sits by her beloved husband’s grave and remembers how they met, the troubles they faced, and the love they shared that will never die.

Elizabeth Sinclair is the award-winning, bestselling author of numerous romance novels and two acclaimed instructional books for writers. Her novels have been translated into seven languages and are sold in seventeen countries. She lives in St. Augustine, Florida, with her husband and two dogs. Elizabeth is the mother of three children and "brags constantly” about her grandchildren.


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Excerpt

Memories

GRANNY JO HAWKS applied the last bit of paint to the plain white cross stationed at the head of Earl Hawks’ grave. Though this ritual normally only took place on her husband Earl’s birthday, the cross had been looking poorly of late, and since this was a special day, she’d decided to break her customary routine. In truth, it wasn’t totally because of the need for paint that she found herself here with the man she’d loved beyond all else for most of her life. Yes, the significance of the day had played a large role. But perhaps it was mainly because the loneliness of life without her soul mate sometimes became too much to bear. Maybe she just needed to be near Earl.

A soft, warm breeze blew off Hawks Mountain, caressing her sweat soaked face. Sunlight danced over Earl’s grave with each movement of the oak that had spread its loving arms above him for all the years he’d rested here. Perfume from the blooming white peace rose next to the cross mixed with the acrid smell of paint. But she smelled only the lovely white roses, Earl’s favorite. A familiar pain wrapped around her heart, and a sob clogged her throat.

"Happy anniversary, my love,” she whispered to the grassy mound of earth as she softly caressed it with a loving hand.

The loneliness she seldom gave herself permission to acknowledge came swooping down upon her with all the force and chill of a winter blizzard.

Every minute of every day Josephine Walker Hawks missed the man she’d married fifty one years ago, but none so much as this day, the day they’d stood against all the odds and joined together as man and wife. She laid the paint brush aside, and, with a heavy sigh, leaned back against the big oak tree that sheltered Earl’s final resting place, closed her eyes, and allowed the memories she’d made with Earl to wash over her like a life-giving spring rain.

As clearly as if it had been yesterday, the day she’d first laid eyes on Earl Hawks played through her mind...

EXCITEMENT pumped through Josephine Walker’s young body so hard and fast, she had to fight to contain it. She kept telling herself it was just the Farmer’s Market, but that wasn’t what had given rise to the excitement sending ripples of delight down her spine, or the way her blood thrummed through her veins. It was the freedom.

This was forbidden territory, a place only the common people and the servants of the wealthy came. Certainly not a Walker. By disobeying her parents and coming here, Josephine had taken the first steps toward the unbridled freedom she’d craved for far too long. In a couple of weeks, she would be eighteen and would make her debut into the Charleston, West Virginia society she loathed. On that night, the ties that would bind her to a way of life she hated would tighten forever. But for today, she was free.

How her parents and their friends would frown on what she was doing. After all, the Walkers were at the top of the old city’s A List, and rubbing elbows with the masses was just not something a nice girl did.

Josephine walked slowly between the stalls filled with crafts, baked goods, fruit and vegetables brought to market by farmers and crafts people every Saturday from the surrounding rural communities. How she loved the feel of the market, the smells, the people, and the hum of voices as buyers chose their produce for the week. For someone who relished people, this freedom to enjoy humanity was something she’d never been allowed to experience in the world of Charleston’s elite.

The heady aroma of cantaloupe drifted to her, one of the things Josephine loved for breakfast. Her gaze searched the stalls until she found the one piled high with the fruit. She had to buy one. Making her way toward it, she realized she had no idea how she’d smuggle it into the house without giving away where she’d been. But she stopped in front of the stack of round, beige globes anyway and inhaled the musky scent.

"Can I help you?”

Josephine turned toward the voice. When she found herself looking into the clear blue eyes of one of the handsomest young men she’d ever encountered, her breath caught in her throat. A lock of ebony black hair had slipped over one of his eyebrows and gave him a rakish look that she found very charming.

"Uh... I was just admiring the melons.”

Brilliant, Josephine!

He grinned. Josephine’s heart stopped dead in her chest. "They’re not meant for admiring. They’re meant for eating.” His voice had a country ring to it that oozed over Josephine like hot honey on a warm biscuit. Using a toothpick, he speared a chunk of cut melon from a paper plate and offered it to her. "Try it. I promise you’ll love it.” He smiled again.

Her stomach went bottomless. She had to grip the edge of the stall to keep her knees from giving way.

She opened her mouth and used her lips to slip the piece of melon from the toothpick. The ripe, succulent fruit melted in her mouth. Its sweet, pungent flavor played over her taste buds much the same way the smile of the man holding the empty toothpick and staring at her mouth played over her nerve endings.

"I’m gonna be going for lunch in a few minutes. If you’d like to join me, we can take along one of these for desert.” He patted one of the plump melons.

Josephine glanced around, as if expecting one of her parents to jump out and forbid her. Then he smiled again and everything else vanished from her mind. "Can you do that? Just take one of the melons, I mean.”

"Well, since I’m the boss and these melons are mine, I can do anything I want with them, including stealing one to feed a beautiful girl for lunch.” He motioned for a young man at the back of the stall. "Henry, watch over things until I get back.” Then he stepped from behind the stall, chose a melon, and then took Josephine’s arm and guided her through the din of the market.

"Wait!” She stopped dead. "I don’t even know your name.”

Though she knew she should have removed her arm from his grasp, she found she liked the feel of his calloused skin against her flesh. In fact, there was nothing so far that she didn’t like about this brash young man.

"Earl. Earl Hawks. And yours is... ?”

"Josephine—” She cut herself short. Fearing if she told him her last name was Walker, he’d recognize it as that of one of the most prominent families of Charleston and shy away from her because of their different social standing, she left it at Josephine. For now, they were on an even footing, and she had an impossible desire to keep it that way for as long as she could.

He studied her for a moment, then smiled, a warm twinkle lighting his sky blue eyes that sent shivers of pleasure racing up her spine. "Josephine sounds too formal. From now on, you’ll be my Jo.”

My Jo!

Her heart skipped a beat. No one had ever called her that. It had always been the very formal Josephine. That he did, made the one word special, and she knew from that moment on, she would be Jo. Not for a minute did she have to wonder what was happening to her. She’d never thought about falling in love at first sight, but she’d never thought she’d sneak away to the Farmer’s Market either.

In any case, here she was... at the Farmer’s Market and definitely in love.

Earl led Jo through the market, stopping occasionally to buy other items for their impromptu lunch. He finally halted at a spot far from the busy market and under some shady oaks by the Kanawha River. At a picnic bench overlooking the lazy waters, he spread out the fresh baked bread and pepperoni that he’d bought along their way.

Fascinated, Jo watched closely as he carefully laid out the paper plates and plastic silverware he’d talked a friend out of at one of the stalls. He took a jack knife from his pants pocket, sliced the bread into thick slabs, and then added the pepperoni to it. Then he cut into the melon, removed the seeds, sliced it into wedges, peeled each edge, and cut it into chunks.

"There you go.” He grinned. "A meal fit for a queen.”

Following Earl’s lead, Jo picked up her sandwich and bit into it. Ambrosia. Well, maybe not quite that good, but given the company, the beautiful day, and the pure delight of being out from under the watchful eye of her mother, it sure tasted like it.

They proceeded to eat in silence, but cast smiles in each other’s direction. Once their sandwiches were consumed, Earl slid the plate of melon chunks between them. He picked one up and held it out to her.

"When I harvested these this morning, I never thought they’d lead me to you.” He slipped it into her open mouth, and then ran the tip of his finger over her lower lip to remove the drop of juice left behind.

For a long time, he stared at her, then stood, came around to her side of the picnic table and sat on the bench beside her. The heat from his thigh pressing against hers sent weird shivers up her body.

Earl leaned toward her. His voice lowered to a whisper. "One day, Jo, I plan to make you my wife. But for now, I just want to kiss you.”


 

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