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1871 - Born to privilege and duty in Virginia, Olivia Gentry comes of age as women begin to find their social and political independence. She has been raised and educated to carry on the Gentry family’s successful horse breeding stables with her brothers at Paradise, their family home. Having been deceived in love as a young woman and unsure of her instincts, she is wary to commit to a marriage, but she cannot deny her long-buried feelings for a family friend.
Jim Somerset has been in love with Olivia Gentry from the moment she gazed up at him as a young girl. A farrier by trade like his father before him, he and his business’s future are inexorably entwined with the Gentry family. He has watched her be courted by statesmen, and considers her and her goals out of the reach of a common workman, like himself. But he is fearful that he will never rid Olivia from his mind and from his heart. Has the moment come for him to reveal his passions for her? Find out in the third installment of the Gentrys of Paradise.
Enjoy an Excerpt:
Twilight had descended, though, and she wasn’t walking into the woods, where tree cover had already made it dark. But Olivia was heading toward the woods, where she could skirt the cool edges, away from the crowds until her breathing and sense were restored. She noticed two things as she walked. The sound of human voices had dimmed, and Jim Somerset was standing directly ahead of her.
“Of all people,” she said softly.
He pushed off the tree he was leaning against and walked toward her. He didn’t stop until he was standing close to her.
“Are you engaged to him?”
She shook her head. “No.”
“What did that kiss mean?” he blurted out.
“I didn’t kiss him,” she said and looked so forlorn, so lost, that he wanted to gather her in his arms like he would a sister or brother who’d skinned a knee. But that wasn’t quite true, or even true a small amount, because he wanted to ease her to the ground and cover her body with his. He wanted to touch her face and hair. He wanted to put his lips on hers.
“At the creek when you kissed me,” he clarified.
She was silent for so long he wondered if she’d heard him or was ever going to answer if she had heard him. He was staring at her, waiting, when the tears began to roll down her cheeks and drop off her chin. The muscles in his chest contorted and twisted as he watched each tear fall. He had to force himself to breathe. Her hurt, her pain, was constricting his heart’s ability to beat and his lungs’ capacity to draw air and he understood at that moment with some clarity what poets meant by heartbreak.
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