eBook Details

Kincaid's Hope

By: Grace Greene | Other books by Grace Greene
Published By: Turquoise Morning Press
Published: Jan 22, 2012
ISBN # 9781937389826
Word Count: 76,871
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Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Palm DOC/iSolo, Microsoft Reader, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc), Mobipocket (.mobi), Rocket, Epub

Categories: Romance>Contemporary Romance>Romantic Literature Drama

Description
Beth Kincaid left her hot temper and unhappy childhood behind and created a life in the city free from untidy emotionalism, but even a tidy life has danger, especially when it falls apart.
In the midst of her personal disasters, Beth is called back to her hometown of Preston, a small town in southwestern Virginia, to settle her guardian’s estate. There, she runs smack into the mess she’d left behind a decade earlier: her alcoholic father, the long-ago sweetheart, Michael, and the poor opinion of almost everyone in town. As she sorts through her guardian’s possessions, Beth discovers that the woman who saved her and raised her had secrets, and the truths revealed begin to chip away at her self-imposed control.

Michael is warmly attentive and Stephen, her ex-fiancé, follows her to Preston to win her back, but it is the man she doesn’t know who could forever end Beth’s chance to build a better, truer life.
 
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Excerpt:
She’d built her life before; she could do it again.

Beth Kincaid had awakened before dawn, but the memory of yesterday, of being fired, was a dark, gnarly place in her brain. She pulled the goose down pillow over her head hoping to slip back into sweet oblivion.

Not happening.

She kicked off the covers. She was an early riser and always had been. Apparently, that didn’t change with the circumstances.

First, a hot shower, pounding and steaming, a brisk blow-dry of the hair and then a little makeup—a swish of the hand towel to shine up the faucet completed the morning routine.

Beth shook out her folded jeans and held them up to her waist. She hadn’t seen them in a long time. She sorted through the shirts hanging in the closet, bypassing the silk shells and dressier button-downs, opting for a sky blue cotton shirt with pearl buttons.

Next, coffee, but there was no rush. She wouldn’t be among the DC beltway commuters this morning.

On the counter separating the kitchen from the living room, the answering machine splashed its blinking red light onto the wall—the same as it had last night when she came home. She turned her back to it and concentrated on getting the coffee maker working.

Soft strains of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March came from nearby. Beth jumped, startled, and coffee grounds scattered across the countertop. Stephen—she’d called him yesterday, but he’d asked all the wrong questions. She found her purse and dug the cell phone out of the side pocket.

“Hi.”

“Hello, beautiful. How are you? Better today?” His tone dropped. “You scared me, you know, not answering the phone. I was worried.”

“I didn’t feel like talking.” She sniffled and was embarrassed that she couldn’t help it.

“Remember, I’m the guy you’re going to marry.”

“I know. It’s just…”

“Beth, please let me help. Getting laid off is bad news and it’s tough for you now, but Haddin Technology gives generous severance packages. You’ve been there for almost ten years.”

She cringed. Stephen’s mind was always on money these days. His investments had tanked and she sympathized, but….

“I can’t talk about it now. I’ll call you later.”

Her finger hit the End button without consulting her good manners.

Beth clutched the phone. She could see him—almost as if he were right in front of her—his dark eyes, almost black, so concerned, so sincere.
He’d stopped asking her to take a loan against her 401K, but since yesterday it was severance, severance, severance. If he said that word one more time, she’d scream.

When the Wedding March began playing again, she stuffed the phone under the chair cushion. He didn’t understand. No one could.
But that wasn’t true. Maude always encouraged and supported her. Maude Henry, no relation and under no obligation, had rescued Beth and her brother, Daniel. She’d done her best to help them—two troubled children with no one to protect them. Years later, just before Beth left town, Maude had given her a book.

Beth stopped in front of the bookcase and ran her fingers along the spines of the books. There it was—Clarissa’s Folly. She slid it from its spot on the shelf.

The dust jacket was gaudy and melodramatic, an illustration of a young woman in a long, full-skirted dress standing in front of a gray stone house and clutching a red cape about her, against the wind. In the background, a man stood near the corner of the house watching her. Tall and slim, dressed in black, his face was shadowed below the brim of a tall hat.

The jacket branded it a gothic romance, decades out of fashion and a misfit among her other books. Almost an embarrassment. She’d considered discarding it many times, or, at least ripping off the dust jacket. Why hadn’t she? Because of Maude. She didn’t have the heart—or the lack of heart—to throw it away.

The inscription was the important part. She flipped open the cover to the words Maude had written on the title page in her disciplined and perfectly formed handwriting:

To Beth on her eighteenth birthday,
Make your own life. Don’t let it be made for you.
Love, your Maude

Beth appreciated the advice, but had always been bemused by the choice of book.

She whispered, “Maude, I did what you said and look where it’s gotten me.”

A photo stuck out from between the pages. She brushed the edge gently with her fingers, then pulled it out. Michael. Dark hair, blue eyes and a smile that set her tingling from head to toe. Back then, of course. Not now. Not in a long time. They’d been so young then. Only a decade ago? It seemed like another life. And beside him, Daniel, always looking so serious, but as mischievous as his ginger hair suggested.

She reached up and touched her own—more gold than red, but otherwise so much like her brother’s.

One page of the book was bent. Beth smoothed out the rumple and the text caught her attention.


The maidservant conducted her down the stairs and through the tall doorway of the dining room. Madam was already seated at the table to the right of a handsome, well-dressed dark-haired man. Clarissa’s breath caught in her throat. Quickly, she sought to regain her composure.

The footman drew a chair from the table, opposite Madam, and waited. Clarissa approached and with each step she was surer.


It was escapist, nonsense fiction. Nothing to do with real life.
Beth returned the book to the shelf and grabbed her old comfort sweater from the sofa. She slid her arms into the loose sleeves, then pulled the front together to hold the softness closer.

So, what next?

She’d like to see Maude.

There was no employer to notify and her neighbor, Celeste, could get the mail. Why not drive to Preston and visit her?

Kincaid's Hope

By: Grace Greene
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