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Authors: A Heart Full of Miracles

Stephanie Mittman

BOOK: Stephanie Mittman
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“You know I can’t love you,” he said as he lowered his head and tasted first her temple, then her cheek

“I know,” she said, tipping her head back farther so that her mouth brushed against his as she waited for him to take possession of those lips.

“And I won’t ever love you,” he murmured against the softness he could taste.

“Of course not,” she agreed, leaving her lips parted slightly so that he had no choice but to kiss her fully, soundly, to take her head in one hand and her back in the other and pull her against him until he could feel her heart beating against his chest, feel the crazy throbbing of her pulse as it matched his own.

“Just so there isn’t any misunderstanding later, Abidance, I am leaving Eden’s Grove,” he warned her, his fingers lost in the waves of hair piled on her head. This was madness. Insanity. If he weren’t a man of medicine, he’d think he’d been bewitched by some magician with a very strange sense of humor. And with every ounce of strength he had, he fought against the urge to just give in to it all—that it was all too big to fight, too strong.

He could think of nothing else to say, no good reason not to go on kissing her all night and all the next day….

High praise for Stephanie Mittman’s previous novels

“A delightful tale … Mittman’s latest effort will appeal to readers of LaVyrle Spencer and Debbie Macomber and everyone who loves upbeat and nurturing romances.”


“Award-winning historical author Stephanie Mittman proves that her storytelling magic translates easily in contemporary tales. Rich with emotion and complexity,
Head Over Heels
is a winner!”

—Romantic Times

“A wonderful, beautiful, heartwarming, magnificent debut …
Head Over Heels
is a love story from the beginning to the end with strong, compelling characters. With this wonderful offering Ms. Mittman has proven herself to be a force to be recognized in contemporary romance.”

—Betty Cox,
Writer’s Club Romance Group

“[This] one demanded I finish it in one sitting.”

—Old Book Barn Gazette


A Kiss to Dream On
is a historical romance that has the typical Mittman Midas magic: a fun-to-read story line filled with two heart-wrenching, wonderful lead characters. Fans of the genre will immensely enjoy this novel even as they dreamily await more magic from the magnificent Ms. Mittman.”

—Affaire de Coeur

“Mittman joins the ranks of the greats in this poignant historical western romance.”

—Oakland Press
(Pontiac, Mich.)

“A VERY POWERFUL BOOK … Ms. Mittman deserves heaps of awards for writing some of the best Americana romance around. Ms. Mittman brings daily life into focus so well that you feel like you are stepping into these people’s lives. The depth of understanding is unbelievable.”
—The Belles and Beaux of Romance


“INSPIRING … WELL-WRITTEN … Stephanie Mittman brilliantly infuses vitality and freshness into the … love triangle between a woman and two brothers.
The Courtship
is a splendid piece of Americana that entertains while teaching a lesson on the pioneering days of women’s rights.”

—Affaire de Coeur

“PASSIONATE, HUMOROUS … this story of star-crossed lovers is bittersweet and poignant.”


“Mittman, who does sweet historical romance to perfection, delivers her finest in this gentle tale. [Her] characters are, as always, endearing and well-developed, but here she enriches her story by giving them seemingly insurmountable obstacles.”
—Publishers Weekly

Also by Stephanie Mittman






This book is dedicated to the following people, who made it possible:

Jennifer Po, dear friend and wonderful nurse, who brought me dusty, antiquated texts on brain surgery from the late 1800s.

John Mangiardi, M.D., neurosurgeon, who spent hours on the phone with me and helped “diagnose” Abidance.

Robert Whitfield, pastor of the Centerport Methodist Church, who spoke with me, lent me his own books, and even invited me to Easter services.

Shelle McKenzie, my sister, who read the manuscript and told me where it needed tweaking.

Alan Mittman, husband, confidant, friend, who listened to every word, rubbed my back, and offered encouragement, advice, and unqualified love.

My friends at LIRW—Roberta Gellis, Pam Burford, Myra Platt, Julie Righter, Happeth Jones, and especially Bernardine Fagan, to name a few, who stroked me and coddled me and forgave me when I was late with articles for the newsletter!

And especially to readers everywhere who wrote or E-mailed and told me to stay at my desk and keep working even though the sun was shining and the trees were calling.

Thank you all.

1898 E
, I

, I
,” A
her head as she stood in the doorway of Seth’s office with yet another steaming pot of soup for his dead sister. “I keep telling myself she’s gone yet I still keep making all her favorites.” She shrugged, or maybe she was just raising her shoulders against the cold. Seth wasn’t sure.

“What is it this time?” If it was anything but her potato-leek soup, he was turning her away, sending her home, or back to the newspaper office where she no doubt caused more trouble than she was worth to her brother, Ansel.

“Potato-leek,” she said, stepping around him. He hated that uncanny ability she had to know what he wanted before he did. Confidently—because Abidance Merganser was always confident—she added, “but if you don’t invite me in out of the cold, it’ll be as freezing as I am.”

He watched her as she took over his office, just the way she’d taken over his sister’s sickroom, just the way she took over
The Weekly Herald
, heck, the way the
girl took over everything. “I have patients to see,” he told her, following on her heels, his mouth watering as the smell of her soup filled the air.

“They must be very small,” she said, looking around his waiting room as she removed her hat and shook her head, letting loose those chestnut curls of hers. “I hope I didn’t step on any of them.”

He wanted to shout at her,
No, don’t take off your hat, don’t stay
, but settled for asking her if that was any way to talk to her elders.

“No. I usually ask them if I can get their canes for them,” she answered, pulling off her fine kid gloves. “Or their teeth.”

A cane. He felt almost old enough for one, surely old enough for a rocker, especially around Abidance Merganser, who never walked but danced her way around the edges of his life.

“You want some butter on your bread, Seth?” she asked him, reaching into her bottomless basket and pulling out a spread they’d be proud to serve at the Eden’s Grove Grand Hotel.

Dr. Hendon
,” he corrected. With Sarrie gone it was only right to return to proprieties. After all, Abby was barely half his age.

She looked at him in utter disbelief, as if he had suddenly grown a second head and had shaved it bald.

Dr. Hendon
, is it?” she asked, not even having the decency to hide her smirk. “Sarah always said you weren’t half as smart as you looked.” And this from the looniest member of the looniest family in Eden’s Grove. Well, not counting her father, the reverend. Years ago Seth had looked in his sister’s bird book and
found that mergansers were the closest relative of loons. The book had understated the case—obviously the author had never met the Mergansers of Eden’s Grove. After an embarrassed glance at him, Abby stumbled on as she held her gloves. “That didn’t come out right. Sarah thought you were the smartest man alive. She just always said that men in general—like it always says in the
‘Dear Miss Winnie’
column in the
, when it comes to matters of the heart—”

“Speaking of the
, don’t you have to get back there?” he asked, wondering if the soup was worth having to listen to Abby quote that awful Winifred Dunbury on the superiority of women, the way she and Sarrie used to do. That was, when Sarrie was well enough to tease him. In the end, it was Abby—and that damned Winifred Dunbury—not he, who could still make his sister smile.

“I’ve hurt your feelings,” Abby said, contritely, her wide eyes suddenly awash with tears. Amazing how she could be so lighthearted one minute and so crushed the next. Just watching her exhausted him. “Worse, I’ve made you think that Sarah—”

“I don’t have any feelings to hurt,” he told her, enjoying her wide-eyed shock. “And you haven’t betrayed Sarah. But you do have work to do, and so do I, young lady.”

“Seth Hendon! I am not a
young lady
. You act like I’m ten years old instead of nearly an old maid.” Lord help him, now she was unbuttoning her coat and settling in for the duration.

“You can just leave the soup, Miss Merganser, and I’ll eat it at lunchtime. Just leave a cover on it, all
right?” He opened his supply cabinet, pretending to check it, praying she’d just leave him alone, let him be miserable, let him grieve for what he had been unable to prevent.

“At lunchtime,” she agreed, cheerful once again as she carefully folded a napkin next to his bowl and—he should have expected it—one beside hers. “That’d be about half an hour ago, Seth.”

BOOK: Stephanie Mittman
11.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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