Thursday, 18 February 2010

Excerpt Day - Lessons of the Heart © Helen Hardt




“I hurried,” he whispered, “so you wouldn’t have time to change.”

The heat of a blush seared Ruth’s cheeks and neck, and her fingers clenched the fabric of her dress tightly.

Garth walked to her slowly, took her hands and unclenched them. The calico dress pooled at her feet.

“I wish I could kiss you.”


“But I won’t. I’m filthy as a pig right now.”

“I suppose it’s too late to have a bath sent up for you,” Ruth said, her voice shaking. She hoped Garth didn’t notice.

“Afraid so.”

“No matter. Go into your room so we don’t wake Mary Alice. I’ll bring the basin of water.” She gripped the porcelain basin and lifted it, but Garth took it from her, his fingers brushing hers. A tremble surged through her. Had he not taken the basin, she would have dropped it.

Though she knew it a bad idea, she followed Garth into his room. She closed the door, but only so they wouldn’t wake Mary Alice.

Garth set the basin on the bureau and lit a table lamp and soon the room was aglow in soft light.

He turned to Ruth and walked toward her. Standing in front of her he fingered a lock of her hair.

“You look pretty like this, with your hair down, falling over your shoulders and down your back.”

Ruth looked away, unable to meet his gaze. “Mr. Mackenzie—”

“Garth. Please.

“I can’t—”

“You did this afternoon. You used my Christian name.”

“It was inappropriate.” Ruth concentrated on a knot in the wood floor under her bare foot. “I shouldn’t have.”

“Are you in love with the doctor, Ruthie?”

“In love?” She looked up, and his bronze eyes burned.

“Did he give you that fancy writin’ paper?”

Ruth furrowed her brow. “You’re talking nonsense. What writing paper?”

“That you used at the schoolhouse. To write down the books for Mary Alice.”

“Oh.” Her linen stationery. “That was a Christmas gift from the children. They all pitched in a few pennies.”

He closed his eyes. Was that relief on his face?

“So you’re not in love with Doc?”

“Gracious, I’ve never been in love. The doctor and I are friends, nothing more.” Discomfort prickled at her. Doc Potter wanted more, she knew. But she didn’t feel that way for him. Her heart didn’t flutter like a bird’s wing, her skin didn’t feel hot and cold at the same time. No, not for Doc Potter. Only for the man whose gaze seared hers at this moment.


Lessons of the Heart

Helen Hardt

Series:  Related to The Outlaw's Angel

Content: Historical (Western)

Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press

Buy Link


Spinster schoolteacher Ruth Blackburn has accepted her fate.  She's not meant for love, especially not with ill-mannered—though excruciatingly handsome—Garth Mackenzie, the widowed father of one of her students.  She'll just have to ignore the fact that he makes her skin heat.

Garth Mackenzie is used to loss. The Civil War cost him his best friend and his ability to sleep through the night, and illness stole his wife and son. To avoid the pain of losing his daughter, he keeps her at arm's length, much to her teacher's dismay.  Ruth Blackburn is independent and opinionated—just what Garth doesn't need.  But her vibrant beauty and energy awaken feelings in him he thought long dead. 

Can he let go of his past and open up to new lessons of the heart?





Related to contribution to Anthology


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