THE DRAGONS OF ALSACE FARM by Laurie Lewis
SERIES: A Second Chance Romance, Book 1
PUBLISHER: Willowsport Press
PUBLICATION DATE: July 1, 2016
GENRES: Contemporary Romance, Diseases & Physical Ailments, Inspirational Fiction
In need of his own redemption, Noah Carter finally confronts his childhood hero, the once-beloved uncle who betrayed him. Instead of vengeance, he offers forgiveness, also granting Uncle John a most curious request—for Noah to work on the ramshackle farm of Agnes Deveraux Keller, a French WWII survivor with dementia.
Despite all Agnes has lost, she still has much to teach Noah. But the pair’s unique friendship is threatened when Tayte, Agnes’s estranged granddaughter, arrives to claim a woman whose circumstances and abilities are far different from those of the grandmother she once knew.
Items hidden in Agnes’s attic raise painful questions about Tayte’s dead parents, steeling Tayte’s determination to save Agnes, even if it requires her to betray the very woman she came to save, and the secret her proud grandmother has guarded for seventy years.
The issue strains the fragile trust between Tayte and Noah, who now realizes Tayte is fighting her own secrets, her own dragons. Weighed down by past guilt and failures, he feels ill-equipped to help either woman, until he remembers Agnes’s lessons about courage and love. In order to save Agnes, the student must now become the teacher, helping Tayte heal—for Agnes’s sake, and for his.
Then Tayte noticed what his hands were doing. In his left hand he held a pencil and straddled across his lap was . . . what? A sketch pad? But what was he sketching? She moved to the other side of the barn to see what lay in his line of vision, but as she moved, he spoke.
“You must be Tayte.”
Perhaps it was the gentle, drawing hands that made her expect a tenor response, but the voice that resonated from above startled her with its deep melancholy tone and pitch.
“How long have you been watching me?” she asked, a little embarrassed. “You know, you could have said hello or something.”
“I could say the same. Sound travels up as well as down.” He kept his face turned away.
“How did you get here? I don’t see any car but mine and my grandmother’s clunker.”
Keeping his face turned from her, he pointed to the round bale feeder. “Behind the hay.”
“Oh.” She wanted to leave but couldn’t think of a snappy retort that would provide a respectable exit. “I assume you’re Mr. Anderson’s nephew and that there’s a face on the other side of your head.”
The man placed his pencil in his pocket, and as he finally turned to face her, the wind sent the weathervane smack into his cheek. He batted it away and spun from her again.
“Are you all right? You should have chosen a better place to draw.” She knew her effort at sympathy came out less than sympathetic. “Are you bleeding?”
After raising his cuff to blot the wound, Noah faced her and pulled the pencil out of his pocket as if planning to resume his work. “Did you need something?”
Tayte recognized him now as the meek dolt from the gallery. She was surprised to see he had a spine and a quick retort. “You’re the framer who slammed into me at Delacourte’s.”
He glared at her as if she’d slung a curse word his way. “I was in the doorway first, as I recall, and I’m not just a craftsman who builds customs frames. I’m also the person who’s been piecing this farm back together and the person who’s been helping your grandmother enjoy it once again.” He stood and walked to the edge of the roof nearest her, making his points with every step. “As for what I’m doing up here, I’m taking notes about what’s needed to keep this barn standing. Unlike you, I run things by Agnes before making changes to her world. You see, I care about her. We’re friends now. What happens to her matters to me.”
Every muscle in Tayte’s body twitched at the perceived accusation. “Well, I’m the one who’s responsible for her now. I wanted to introduce myself and see if we could work together, but clearly, that’s impossible, so your services will no longer be needed.” She turned and started back for the house then stopped, turned, and added, “And by the way, you might want to get a tetanus shot for that cut,” then under her breath she added, “or maybe a distemper shot.”
Noah hollered at her back from his roof perch. “I don’t take orders from you.”
“You’re fired and now you’re trespassing.”
“My aunt hired me and only she can fire me. She and Agnes both want me here.”
Tayte turned back again. “Then I’ll call Sarah and tell her you’re dismissed.”
Noah tossed his supplies down, then placed his hands on his hips and huffed. “Don’t bother my aunt. She’s got enough on her plate. You want me gone? Fine, I’ll go, but make sure you really want to add sending away the person Agnes has come to trust to the problems you’ve already created with her.”
Agnes burst through the door and stormed over to Tayte. “Why are you fighting with Noah?” She placed her hand across her forehead to shield her eyes from the sun, and called up to the roof. “Noah, what is happening?”
His hands curled into fists and then unclenched as his voice mellowed to a feigned calm. “Everything’s fine, Agnes. I’m just going home a bit early so you and your granddaughter can have some time together.”
Tayte had prepared to counter the expected attack, but while Noah’s kindness completely disarmed her, it did not diffuse Agnes’s fury. She spun around and shook her finger Tayte’s way. “I heard you dismissing Noah. He stays! But I want you to go. I want you to go now!”
From the corner of her eye, Tayte saw Noah drop to the ground, coming her way. She stepped close to her grandmother, placed her hands on Agnes’s arms, and quietly pled with her. “I’m here now Grandma. We’re family. We don’t need him. I want to take care of you.”
Agile as a cat, Agnes threw her arms up, breaking Tayte’s grasp. “I don’t need anyone to take care of me,” she spat, “least of all someone who deceives me, and lies to me, and steals my things. Get off my property, Dragon! Go! Now!”
Laurie (L.C.) Lewis will always be a Marylander at heart—a weather-whining lover of crabs, American history, and the sea. She admits to being craft-challenged, particularly lethal with a glue gun, and a devotee of sappy movies. Her ninth published novel, her first romance novella, Sweet Water, was inspired by a visit to Oregon’s magnificent coastline, and time spent with Mother Eugenie, upon whom the character Mother Thomasine is based.
Laurie’s women’s fiction novels include The Dragons of Alsace Farm (2016), Awakening Avery (2010), and Unspoken (2004), written as Laurie Lewis.
Using the pen name L.C. Lewis, she wrote the five volumes of her award-winning FREE MEN and DREAMERS historical fiction series, set against the backdrop of the War of 1812: Dark Sky at Dawn (2007), Twilight’s Last Gleaming (2008), Dawn’s Early Light (2009), Oh, Say Can You See? (2010), and In God is Our Trust, (2011).
She is currently completing a political suspense novel planned for a summer 2017 release, a re -release of a romantic comedy, and she’s working on another historical fiction novel for a 2018 release. She loves to hear from readers.
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