Entrenched on his father's farm in southern Idaho's Snake River Valley, Abraham Luchner pulls up roots to join the war effort. Joined by his friend Cameron Terry, an impulsive adventure seeker, Abe determines to sever ties at home in order to minimize distractions. His greatest connection with his beloved canyon and farm is in the form of charcoal sketches he works on each night to escape his present conditions, as well as the letters Cameron reads aloud from his beloved.
Maura Laerty has been claimed as Cameron's betrothed in the eyes of the community. Determined not to become a war widow or caregiver of one more soul who needs her ongoing assistance, she refuses his proposal, at least until he returns. Despite her efforts, Maura soon finds herself saddled with responsibilities that tax her resolve and turn the townspeople away. Her greatest ally comes from a twist of fate as winding and unpredictable as the great Snake River itself.
“Good afternoon, Miss Laerty.”
She jumped at Cameron’s voice, amazed she hadn’t noticed his car pull in front of her house as she stood admiring her flowers. Maura shoved the indecent thoughts out of her mind while she faced him. “Oh, good afternoon, Mr. Terry. You aren’t off already, are you?” She couldn’t help but stare at Cameron in his olive green uniform. It made her heart hurt. She didn’t want him to come back like those men at the other end of the home. With his risk-taking and high spirits, she was awfully afraid he would.
“I have nearly two full days yet. Abe and I are in town to get ready is all. Thought I would start getting used to it.” He stepped out and offered his arm. “I hoped to take you for a walk around town.”
“I’m afraid I have plans.”
“You have plans?” He looked alarmed.
“Yes. I was on my way to the home. They’re expecting me today.”
“Oh.” His face relaxed. “Well, I don’t suppose I could change your mind, seeing as I have only two days left and all?”
“For now. Two days left for now, you mean, Mr. Terry. And I expect you to come home walking, by the way. You do know I expect that.”
He bowed. “I will do my best to accommodate you.”
His grin was too charming. She had to pull her eyes away. “I do need to go in to the home for a bit, but I suppose I could leave early. Would you like to come for dinner? Father would enjoy the extra company.”
“I would be honored. Please, allow me to drive you and I’ll pick you up after if you’ll give me a time.”
Maura couldn’t refuse. After all, Cameron was leaving. She might as well enjoy the company, also, while she could. “You are welcome to bring your friend along, if you would like. You say he’s in town with you?”
“Abe? Yes, he’s in town. But he has ‘errands’ to take care of, so he says. Trying to make sure everything is set for his father while he’s away, I believe. I told him I’d have my younger brothers stop by now and then to offer help. He seems to appreciate it, but he still worries.”
“His father is in good health, though, I hear.”
“Oh yes. For a man nearly sixty, he is in good health. They are close, however, and Abe worries he will work too hard there alone. Not like you and your father or me and my own, where we put up with each other only as we are related by circumstance. If anything happens to Abe, the old man will be devastated. His world centers on him.”
“Lord willing he won’t be away long, then. Or you.”
Cameron lifted her hand to kiss her fingers.
She blushed. “We’re in public. What will people think?”
“They’ll think you’re inclined to become my wife. As I’m inclined to think you might, also.”
“Please, Maura. Cameron. At least do me the favor of using my first name and allowing me use of yours.”
“I believe you have already taken that liberty.”
He grinned. “And I believe you are starting to bend to my request. But we’ll talk more of it later, after dinner tonight when we take a stroll.”
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~Literary Romance with an Artsy Twist~