By Linda Carroll-Bradd
Book 6 in Lockets & Lace series
Tending Troubles is the sixth book in the Lockets & Lace multi-author series of sweet historical romances. The story description is:
Traveling west to become a mail-order bride is the most adventurous act Bostonian Imogene Franklin ever did. Unfortunately, the groom chose another so she must tables in the Dorado café.
Guilt hangs heavy over Reggie Othmann, who thinks his childhood illness caused both his parents’ lives. His goal of becoming a doctor is met, but he’s unsure of his abilities with patients. When illness descends on the town, Reggie and Imogene tend the townspeople, but is their emotional tie born of the closeness of the ordeal or perhaps something more?
Here’s an excerpt:
Reginald took another sip of coffee and wondered if his own mother would have been as proud of his chosen profession. Or would she have wanted him to become a lawyer, like his father? What he hoped was she somehow knew him becoming a doctor had been to assuage his guilt over being the one who brought home scarlet fever—the disease that took both his parents’ lives. A lump rose in his throat, and he swallowed it down.
Better to focus on what he could control. He turned the page then rested his right forearm on the table. If some of the elixirs or oils had lost their potency, they’d need to be replenished. The most likely location would be—
The book inched upward.
He grabbed for the text at the same time he noticed a small plate with two slices of bread and a smear of butter sitting on its opposite side.
“Beg your pardon, sir, but I thought you could still read if the book was moved to the middle of the table. Where you had it, the shadow of the outside overhang dimmed the print. But in this position, it is lit from above by the lanterns.”
He jerked back his head and shot her a frown. “Are you quite in the habit of bossing around your customers?”
Her eyes widened, and she glanced over her shoulder toward the kitchen doorway with a gasp. “I apologize.” She set down the plate laden with his supper and slid closer the napkin and utensils from where he’d shoved them out of the way. “Please lower your voice, sir. I can’t afford to have Millie hear I disrupted you. Truly, I meant only to help.”
Rich, meaty scents carried by the rising steam teased his nose. His stomach rumbled in response, informing him he was hungrier than he’d imagined. Then the waitress’s words sank in. The brass redhead was essentially shushing him. He cast another dark look her way then caught movement at the edge of the kitchen doorway. The frowning cook focused only on his table so he forced a brief smile and nodded. “Thank you. The food looks good.”
“Can I bring you a refill of coffee?”
He cut into the thick pink ham steak and poised the bite in front of his mouth. “Yes, when you have a moment.” Savory and salty tantalized his tongue as he tasted the meat. After sprinkling salt and pepper over his vegetables, he scooped up chunks of summer squash so tender he barely had to chew. A few bites later, he’d recovered his place in the medical book and continued reading about examination room supplies.
The list was imposing, and he wondered how he could possibly stretch his remaining funds. He refused to ask his aunt and uncle for a loan. The small inheritance left by his parents had barely covered his education. By working a few hours a week for an undertaker, he’d earned enough to keep his wardrobe looking respectable. Now that he was no longer in college, he had to make his own way in the world.
“That drawing looks like a doctor’s office.” The waitress pointed to a sketch in the book. “Are you a doctor? I’m only asking because I haven’t seen you around before. I would have noticed a man who dresses in fabrics other than denim and broadcloth.” Her wave encompassed him from head to toe. “But the way you’re sitting alone and reading without looking all around makes me think that you belong right here in Dorado.” She glanced at the other customers, and a wrinkle appeared at the bridge of her nose. “Although, no one greeted you when you walked in.”
Bossy and nosy? Two annoying traits he really couldn’t abide. “I’ve been away at college for several years and just returned today.” Interesting. I didn’t proclaim myself to be a doctor when the opportunity arose.
Tending Troubles is available on Amazon through tonight for the pre-order discounted price of 99cents and is free through Kindle Unlimited. Starting tomorrow, the regular $2.99 price will be charged.
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