This month, the Christian Writers Blog Chain is writing on the topic of ‘Nurture’, in commemoration of Mother’s Day. Since I missed my opportunity to post a scene on Spirit Driven Fiction, I thought I would take the time to do it here on Word Obsession. The following excerpt [approx. 700 words] is taken from Broken Angel, one of my favorite romance projects.
Broken Angel is a dramatic romance set in the late 1880s. Rachel was sent away at the age of fourteen to a business school for young ladies. When she returns eight years later she is informed her father has chosen a husband for her, putting further strain on their failing relationship. This is heightened when she accepts an alternative proposal from a recently met stranger, Robert. Through Robert’s determination to court and encourage trust, Rachel is re-introduced to her one-time faith in God and learns to forgive her father.
While at first I thought I would post a parent/child excerpt, the daunting task Robert has of nurturing a relationship with Rachel beckoned for attention. She is a tortured soul who has lost not only her faith, but her belief in love. Children come into play in their relationship, as Robert volunteers at a local orphanage, but they are not the central focus.
“What do you watch so intently, Miss Samson?”
Robert’s motion of hand stirred a surprisingly pleasant aroma of musk. “Nothing in particular.”
His lips twitched upward. “Hm. I find the fact highly unlikely. You do not seem the type interested in nothing. However, I will refrain from nagging.”
Amusement brushed aside a portion of the numbness.
“Speaking of interests….” Robert pulled a small book from his inner coat pocket and thumbed the pages. “I am considering buying several of these for the children.” He looked to her and offered forward the book. “A collection of short stories.”
Instead of the book, Rachel focused on the word “Children?”
“Oh yes. I have scads, didn’t I tell you? At least two for every day of the week.”
Rachel surrendered to a slight smile. “I’m quite certain you do, for I seem to recall a comment of family and their importance. Of course, I also remember a comment regarding a mentor relationship to a small orphanage here in Boston.”
“Someone went and confessed my secret.” Robert retrieved another book from his inner pocket. “Would you like to see them, my ‘previous engagement’? I have pictures.” Halting beside a patch of lush green grass, Robert gestured downward. “Here. Let’s have a look and see what you say.”
Rachel regarded the patch of green with an arched eyebrow. Then she gave a delicate shrug and accepted his steadying hold to kneel. Robert immediately sat close beside her.
He presented the small collection of pictures held within a somewhat functional album roughly the size of his hand. Rachel accepted the offered album and gave a slight twitch of surprise when Robert reached across her to tap a specific picture.
“That’s Bobby. He lost his father to a railroad accident near the base of Mt. Hood in Oregon. His mother, living here in Boston, died soon after of influenza. He’s a joy to be around, though. He makes a point of seeing the positive in each harsh situation.”
Robert turned the page of the album and chuckled, the sound and reaction to the photo not allowing Rachel’s eyes to leave his profile nor the collection of emotions displayed.
“April. She’s a shy little thing, but she certainly loves telling tragic stories.” Robert briefly met Rachel’s gaze. “I’ve given her express orders to begin writing these down.”
As Rachel turned the pages of the album Robert touched another face, and another, and yet another. Rachel found the idea intriguing, a man trained in business-law taking an interest in orphans? Yet something beyond the interest could be seen in his countenance.
Robert shifted closer as he tapped the far picture, chuckling within an amusing tale of one of the children. Rachel drew in a slow breath of his closeness and watched him, examining the… interest and intrigue. The… attraction? An interest beyond the numbness and chill of suspicion.
Robert continued to smile at the last picture within the album. “And that would be everyone, save the new arrivals whom I haven’t had the opportunity to–” He intercepted her intense scrutiny.
Once again Rachel felt the odd warmth within. An actual emotion beyond the protective numbness. She didn’t know– No, she didn’t understand what pressed her. Urging her to… to do something. Yet her years of training pulled her back, ridiculing her weakness and the woman who was forever an obstacle to overcome.
Robert cupped her cheek, caressing the skin with his thumb and ushering something she couldn’t classify a little further and yet closer. There was no panic Only his touch drawing her toward a question her schooling had convinced her didn’t matter. A question whose answer she couldn’t feel herself believing.
Yet neither could she move away. Though her business persona wouldn’t accept his tenderness, her determination wouldn’t allow her to escape it. It forced her to stay and allow an action of tenderness that intensely terrified her, fighting against the emotion until the struggle became a vicious circle.
Robert lowered his hand from its gentle hold of her cheek, but his dark brown eyes wouldn’t release her gaze. “The thought of your father venturing out at just the moment we kiss prevents me.” His gently gruff tone battered at Rachel’s tenacious hold of the calm. “I am willing to wager I would have found a new climax to his temper.”