A Hope Remembered

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Authors: Stacy Henrie
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Historical, Sagas, Christian
blue-green eyes. If anyone, man or woman, could manage the sad-looking cottage and farm, she could. Or at least she’d give it a real try. “I don’t know that she’ll want to leave, Father.”
    “Then you must persuade her.” Sir Edward stood. Colin had always thought of his father as a large man, though he’d long ago surpassed his height by several inches. “There is money to be made with bringing tourists here. I know it. But we must have the Lewis property to do it.”
    He peered down at Colin, his blue eyes dark with intensity. “You’ve been blessed with certain gifts where the ladies are concerned, Colin. I’m certain you can ingratiate yourself with her. Then you will convince her this way of life is too demanding for a single woman to handle by herself.”
    Colin’s gut soured at his father’s request, making him feel ill. Thankfully he hadn’t eaten breakfast. While he liked the thought of getting to know Nora better, he hated doing so under false pretenses. Much about him had changed during the war, but he wasn’t so past feeling that he was in the business of swindling women out of their sheep farms.
    “There must be some other way to save the estate.” If he gave in now, when would the expectations ever cease? His life had stopped being his own the moment Christian’s had ended. And yet a part of him, buried so deep he rarely stopped to consider it, believed he must have been spared for some reason, some purpose. But surely this couldn’t be it. Helping save his home and family through deceit?
    “I’m afraid we’re all out of ideas.” Sir Edward’s hands drooped at his sides. He no longer looked imposing but old and weary. “Please, Colin. We need your help on this. I…need you.”
    The admission was the closest thing to approval Colin had ever heard from his father, and it filled him with childlike optimism he couldn’t completely squelch. Christian had been the favored son, while Colin had continually disappointed Sir Edward with his youthful charisma and a knack for finding trouble. But no matter how long he’d waited for his father’s approval, it still wasn’t worth the defeat of an innocent woman and a loveless marriage.
    Even if they’d only met the day before, Colin knew without a doubt Nora was unlike the other women he’d encountered. She made him believe he was good enough simply by being himself. How could he destroy that trust by deceiving her?
    He rubbed out a smudge on his goggles, his heart heavy and troubled. What would Christian do if he were here? Colin knew the answer at once. His older brother’s life had been focused toward a single goal—the conservation of the estate and the title of baronet. Colin might have hardened himself against disappointing their father, but he couldn’t bear the thought of disappointing Christian. He’d given his brother his word and he wouldn’t go back on that.
    For whatever reason, he hadn’t died that day as Christian had. Now it was up to him to live for the both of them.
    “Very well, Father.” Colin rose to his feet, his shoulders bent in acquiescence of this newest burden. “I will do as you ask.”

Chapter 3
    N ora sat back on her heels to ease the aching in her knees. She felt as though she’d been scrubbing floors for an eternity. Her back was sore and exhaustion pulled at every one of her muscles. She’d been up late the night before cleaning one of the bedrooms so she and Perseus had someplace to sleep, then she’d risen with the sun to start on the rest of the house.
    After tucking a few stray hairs underneath the kerchief she wore on her head, she rinsed her rag in the nearby bucket. Her stomach grumbled with hunger, loud enough to raise Perseus’s head from where he lay by the kitchen table.
    “Did you hear that, boy?” She laughed.
    They’d already consumed the few cans of food Nora had found in the cupboards last night, which meant nothing to eat this morning. She needed to go into the village to

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