Trace wiped his forehead with the back of his hand and hefted another bundle of shingles onto his shoulder. The sweat dripped off him and he knew he smelled like an old goat. He wondered if Annie had noticed, or if he were the only one suffering from this itch. His mouth was parched and he made a note to purchase more mints when he visited town. A blister burned on his heel. And work shoes. His high-heeled boots weren’t designed for doing farm chores.
He planned on taking a quick dip in the creek later to wash away his ripe odor. The scent of lavender, light and delicate as the woman herself, filled his head. Annie stood behind him. He turned. She smiled and held out a dripping glass of water. Nodding his thanks, he swallowed the drink with pleasure. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and her blue eyes flicked from his fingers to his mouth.
“When do you expect to be done?”
A longing to touch her seared him like a hot poker. Trace jerked his gaze from her mouth to eye the rising sun and gathering clouds. He gauged the daylight hours left.
“Maybe by tonight. It looks like rain, and I hope to have it completed so you won’t be inconvenienced again.”
Her fingers trembled slightly when she held out her hand for the empty glass. His gaze darted to her face. She blushed at his bold stare and stepped back.
“I’m sure I never implied–“
“No, you didn’t, but I have eyes in my head. You need your privacy. I intend to get Digger’s bunk ready as well as my own.”
She blushed a color reminiscent of the climbing roses in his mother’s garden. He realized she was embarrassed by his reference to sleeping arrangements. He was enchanted by her sweet reaction. A woman so innocent shouldn’t be the mother of two children.
Her gaze dropped to the ground as she hugged the glass to her breasts. The dripping condensation soaked into the fabric. She didn’t notice the wet material clinging to her soft outline, but he did. Heat pulsed low in his groin. He longed to trace the outline of dampness with his mouth.
“I need to go into town. Would you like to come?” Trace didn’t know where the suggestion sprang from, but Annie’s eyes sparkled with anticipation, then dimmed.
“But we have chores to…”
“Let Digger do them,” he interrupted.
She hesitated. Cackling laughter followed by a whoop of excitement broke the silence stretching between them. Annie gave him a shaky nod before heading back toward the house.
Trace cursed under his breath as he watched the sweet sway of her hips when she climbed the shallow steps to the porch. Annie was soft and curvy in all the right places. She cast him a quick glance before darting inside.
”… Barbara Edwards creates a romance that proves life is about surviving disaster. Growing back stronger, and most of all, the courage to love.” **** (four stars), Gerry Benninger, Romantic Times Magazine
Only two coins and a gold pendant heart separate widowed ANNIE MOSS from disaster. The fields need to be plowed, the barn repaired and food stored for the winter, but she is alone and afraid. Her dream of a home for her children hangs from the promise of a wandering man to keep moving on, a man she has no reason to trust.
TRACE RANDOLPH has lost everything except his honor, so when a desperate ANNIE saves his life he knows he must pay his debt, even if it means marrying her. The only promise he makes is to leave before the winter snows. A promise he finds impossible to keep.
I’m Barbara Edwards and a native New Englander. I’m a graduate of the University of Hartford with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. I write poetry for myself and novels when I need to tell a longer tale. I’m fascinated by the past so naturally turned to writing historical romance. The dark paranormal stories evolve from nightmares. The romance comes from my belief in people’s basic goodness and longing for love.
I lived in Florida for several years and am past president of the Central Florida Romance Writers and a member of Romance Writers of America.
When I returned to Connecticut, I founded the Charter Oak Romance Writers, a Chapter of Romance Writers of America, along with several close friends
My husband is a retired Police Sergeant. We share an interest Civil War re-enacting and travel the Eastern states to participate in events. I love visiting museums, galleries and battle sites, gathering information for my stories.
I taught Romance Writing at Manchester Community college for three years.
I’m fond of gardening and growing antique roses with limited success.
Most of my exercise is when my Belgian Shepherd, Keeno, demands a walk.