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Authors: When Love Blooms

Robin Lee Hatcher

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ALSO BY ROBIN LEE
HATCHER

The Perfect Life

Wagered Heart

Return to Me

A Carol for Christmas

Loving Libby

The Victory Club

Beyond the Shadows

Catching Katie

Speak to Me of Love

Firstborn

Ribbon of Years

Promised to Me

In His Arms

Patterns of Love

Dear Lady

The Shepherd’s Voice

The fig trees are budding, and the grapevines are in blossom.

How delicious they smell!

Yes, spring is here!

Arise, my beloved, my fair one, and come away.

Song of Songs 2:13, NLT

ZONDERVAN

When Love Blooms
Copyright © 2009 by RobinSong, Inc.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of Zondervan.

ePub Edition January 2009 ISBN: 978-0-310-56510-9

Requests for information should be addressed to:

Zondervan,
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Hatcher, Robin Lee.
When love blooms / Robin Lee Hatcher.
p. cm.
ISBN 978-0-310-25928-2
1. Governesses--Fiction. 2. Idaho--Fiction. I. Title.
PS3558.A73574W47 2008
813’.54--dc22

2008037347

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the
Holy Bible
,
New Living Translation
, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189 USA. All rights reserved.

Internet addresses (websites, blogs, etc.) and telephone numbers printed in this book are offered as a resource to you. These are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement on the part of Zondervan, nor do we vouch for the content of these sites and numbers for the life of this book.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means — electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other — except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.

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Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Prologue

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Nineteen

Twenty

Twenty-One

Twenty-Two

Twenty-Three

Twenty-Four

Twenty-Five

Twenty-Six

Twenty-Seven

Twenty-Eight

Twenty-Nine

Thirty

Thirty-One

Thirty-Two

Thirty-Three

Epilogue

Author’s Note

About the Publisher

Share Your Thoughts

Prologue

WASHINGTON, D.C., FEBRUARY 1883

Emily Harris pressed the telegram from her brother-in-law against her chest and felt the rapid beating of her heart beneath her palm. Maggie and little Sheridan. She couldn’t bear it if anything were to happen to her sister and her youngest nephew.

Please, God. Please don’t let them die.

She looked again at the brief message.

MAGGIE AND SHERIDAN SICK. DOCTOR SAYS
PNEUMONIA. MAGGIE ASKING FOR YOU. PLEASE
COME HOME. TUCKER.

Emily couldn’t imagine not having Maggie to turn to when she needed help or advice. Her sister had raised her, loved her, protected her, been as much a mother as a sister to her.

Please, God. Please don’t let her die.

She must find Professor Abraham at once. Arrangements must be made to return to Idaho as quickly as possible. If Maggie was asking for her, it had to be serious. She hadn’t a moment to waste.

One

BOISE CITY, SEPTEMBER 1883

It was mid-afternoon when Gavin Blake drove the wagon down Boise City’s Main Street. The territorial capital had grown in the years since his last visit. There had to be several good physicians living here these days. One of them would be able to help Drucilla. If he didn’t believe that, he never would have agreed to undertake this trip.

He turned toward his wife. A tall and plain woman, her kind and giving spirit more than made up for whatever outward beauty she lacked. Everyone who knew Dru loved her. Which only made it harder on Gavin, seeing her as she was now — too thin, too frail, exhaustion from a week of travel written in her hazel eyes.

I shouldn’t have let her come.

Not that she’d given him much choice. Dru’s will hadn’t weakened along with her body. It was still hard as flint.

At least the weather had been warm for their trip. He’d made her a comfortable bed in the back of the wagon so she could rest whenever she wanted, and at night they’d lain beneath the blankets, staring at the stars and talking about what Dru wanted for Sabrina and Petula. Sometimes listening to her — hearing the calm acceptance in her voice — made him angry. He wanted to rail against her illness — and against God for letting her get sick in the first place. Hadn’t she suffered enough?

Gavin stopped the wagon in front of the Overland Hotel. After setting the brake, he hopped to the ground.

“Come on.” He held his arms toward her. “Let’s get you into a nice, soft bed.”

“Shouldn’t we go to the newspaper office first?”

“I’ll take care of that later.”

“Gavin, I — ”

“You heard me. Come on.”

Dru acquiesced with a nod. “I suppose you’re right, but we came all this way to — ”

“I know why we came.” His tone was gruff, though he didn’t mean for it to be. He wasn’t angry at her.

It never failed to alarm him when he lifted her down from the wagon and his fingers overlapped around her waist. He remembered when she was pregnant, her body ripe and round like a pumpkin, her face rosy, her eyes shining with happiness. That seemed a lifetime ago. Look at what had happened in the few years since then. First her son was stillborn, then Charlie died, and now this. If only he could take her back East to one of those fine hospitals. If only he were wealthy. If only there was more he could do for her.

“Gavin?” Her cool fingers touched his cheek. “Let’s go inside.”

Without a word, he placed a solicitous arm around her back and guided her into the lobby of the hotel.

Wanted: Governess and teacher for two young girls on
mountain ranch. Separate living quarters. Apply Mrs.
Blake, Overland Hotel, after 2:00 PM Friday.

Emily set down the newspaper and stared out the window at the tall poplars, cottonwoods, and willows growing alongside the river. A warm breeze lifted wisps of hair across her forehead and caressed her skin with the last breath of summer. A large blowfly buzzed beneath the porch awning, bumping into the window, then flying away before returning to try again.

Perhaps the insect seemed noisy because the house was so silent. Kevin, Colleen, Tara Maureen, and Colin — Maggie’s four oldest children — were all in school. Sheridan, at four the baby of the family, had gone into town with his mother for some shopping. And Emily was here alone with time weighing heavy on her mind.

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