A Kiss and a Dream by Linda Andrews
She escapes with a dead woman’s name and finds sanctuary with a widower reeling from his wife’s betrayal. Can a love built on lies survive the truth?
Gretchen Foltz honors her late father’s request and ends up locked in the workhouse by her greedy brother. Dreaming of a home and freedom, she embarks on a dangerous winter journey. She awakes in a stranger’s home. Hiding behind a lie, she discovers a man worthy of her trust.
Kian Bryne is struggling to feed his four children. The last thing he needs is to rescue a woman stranded on the ice and running from her own demons. With his rich in-laws threatening to take custody his children, he’ll make a desperate alliance to keep his family together. When a simple kiss shatters their agreement, he’s left yearning for more.
Can they untangle the lies before someone separates them forever?
In this scene, Gretchen learns that Kian has a secret dream to be a carriage driver on the island. She has a dream of her own and knows the power of them, so she is determined to help him achieve his goal.
“It was a stupid dream. I should sell it, ta pay ya.” Kian jerked the covering into place and turned away.
“Nein. No.” She followed him. “Dream is not stupid. Dream is good.”
She slowed down to hit the correct sound at the end. Just so he understood.
He yanked pieces of oak from the pile near the door and dropped them into her pail.
“I help you vith your dream.” She pulled out the bigger pieces and returned them to the stack before tugging the handle from his grip. Selecting the right size for the cook stove, she filled her bucket. “You see.”
“Why?” He stared at the wood pile and huddled in his jacket.
She didn’t want to think too hard about the why. Instead, she clasped the pail to her chest and hustled for the door.
He beat her there and pushed back the snow, so she could squeeze through the opening. Before she exited, he stayed her with a hand on her arm. “Why?”
“Because I have the dreams, too. And you are helping to make them true.” She ducked under his arm and walked into the cold. More than he knew. Maybe more than was safe for her heart.
In this scene, the hero has to make a choice. My heroine is German-America and war has just erupted in Europe. Given his island home is in the Great Lakes along the Canadian border, her presence invokes the villagers wrath. What else is my hero Kian to do but defend the woman whose life he saved?
In the foyer behind him, the townspeople hissed like riled asps. “Germans! On our island?”
“The nerve!” Abigail sneered at the unconscious woman. “Call the sheriff. Have her arrested.”
“We don’t want their kind here.”
Kian stiffened at the older Coast Guardsman’s voice. Turning, he faced the crowd.
Under the banner calling for good Christians to donate to the Relief of the Belgians, the townspeople gathered. Anger colored their faces in broad strokes. Some of the women turned away, taking with them their blankets and baskets of food.
The Coast Guardsman slammed his fist into his palm. “Let’s treat her like them Huns have treated them poor Belgians. Let’s put that Jezebel and her spawn back on the ice.”
“No.” Kian planted himself between the tiny family and the townspeople.
In this scene, Gretchen has learned that her tickets to freedom are fakes and fears the sheriff might send her back to the poorhouse. Kian invites Gretchen to stay with him.
Gretchen scrubbed at her face. “Vill he take me to another vorkhouse?”
A lock of mahogany hair trailed down her back. The silken lock brushed against his finger. He’d forgotten how soft women were.
“No. Ya’ll stay here. With me.” He could take care of her just as well as any workhouse. And she’d have more to eat. Most days, anyway.
Her eyebrows arched and she held her breath. She leaned forward in her seat. “Vith you? In this fine house?”
He blinked. She obviously thought he meant for some time. He’d meant until the weather cleared. Or did he?
“Yea.” The money collected for her fare burned a hole in his pocket. But she had family out there, waiting. Then why hadn’t they picked her up? She obviously wasn’t accustomed to looking after herself.
Kian could look after her.
And in return, she could cook and clean and tend the children. Yes. He mentally snapped his fingers. His children liked her. If Gretchen stayed, his late wife’s parents would stop harassing him about custody. Once things settled down into a routine, he could send her to her family.
It was a perfect plan.
Gretchen and Kian have finally shared a kiss—a kiss to build a dream on. But Gretchen’s presence has caused problems. Kian’s son got into a fight at school and broke a window defending Gretchen, now Kian must make a dangerous trek onto frozen Lake Michigan to retrieve wood to pay for the damages.
Kian pushed the plate aside, held the bun in one hand, and rose. “Gotta get that wood ta pay for the window.”
“Is safe this journey?” She left her half-eaten plate and hustled to the pantry. Pushing aside the curtain, she retrieved a basket from the shelf. A towel covered the contents. “I pack a lunch for you.”
Gabe cleared his throat. “I’ll be outside.”
Kian waited until he heard the door shut.
“Safe enough.” Although it had been warm for the last couple days, the ice would hold. It had to.
“Kian.” Gretchen set the basket on the table. Her attention flit from the table, to the canisters on the counter, before landing on him. “I must speak.”
He set his finger over her lips, hushing her. Her mouth was soft, giving. He fought the urge to kiss her again. Once she said yes to his proposal, he’d kiss her every day. “We’ll speak.”
Her brow wrinkled, and her nose scrunched up.
She was so very beautiful. He couldn’t help himself. Despite his noble intentions, he leaned forward and kissed her forehead. She smelled of dreams he never dared imagine. And he wanted to share them all with her. “Don’t worry. Once I return, ya will understand.”
He tore himself away before he could say more. He grabbed the basket and raced outside. When she said yes, they would have all their tomorrows.
Linda Andrews lives with her husband and three children in Phoenix, Arizona. When she announced to her family that her paranormal romance was to be published, her sister pronounce: “What else would she write? She’s never been normal.”
All kidding aside, writing has become a surprising passion and she’s followed that passion into history, the future, and beyond. Sometimes, she incorporates her science background and other times, she allows the magic of love to take center stage in sweet historicals.
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Blog Tour Schedule
The Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass – Spotlight
KarenRoguski – Spotlight
Mythical Books – Spotlight
Cassandra M’s Place – Spotlight
Tifferz and Her Sisterz Book Reviewz – Review
Heather and Horses – Spotlight
Christy’s Cozy Corners – Review