The Gift by Rocco Marinelli

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The Gift

by Rocco Marinelli

 

The gift had traveled a long way to get to its final destination. Wrapped tightly within its package, it had flown for hours through the cold December air before it finally landed on the rooftop. The building didn’t have a chimney, so the large man carefully carried it down the elevator.

10-year-old Tommy had been waiting for this present long before Christmas. He no longer believed in Santa, it would truly be a miracle if he received the item he wished for this year. But he still had faith that such a miracle could happen.

His mother desperately hoped his package would arrive on time as well. She knew the busy Christmas season often delayed the arrival of presents for many and she prayed it wouldn’t get lost in the holiday madness.

Before Tommy went to sleep that night, he asked his mom, “Do you really think it will come?”

With tears in her eyes, she hugged him and answered, “Yes Tommy, I do believe it, and you should too.” He smiled as he drifted off to sleep.

The gift was going to need some careful assembly before it ran, but at least it didn’t need batteries. The most important thing was that Tommy had to truly like it in order for it to work.

There was a strange mixture of excitement combined with an air of calmness in the room as the gift was removed from its wrapping. Everyone marveled at the complexity of such a rare and wondrous present.

After several hours of meticulous construction, the group of people huddled around Tommy anxiously waited to see if it was the right gift for him. Fingers were crossed and prayers were said.

Tommy awoke, a little groggy and asked, “Did it come, Mom? Does it work?”

Everyone in the room had smiles on their faces and tears of joy in their eyes. “Yes Tommy,” his mother said clutching his hand, “It’s a perfect match.”

 

What do you think the “gift” is? Comment below

 

About Rocco-

Rocco resides in the Adirondacks of Upstate, NY, working primarily as a content writer, but he likes to explore his creative side as well. Rocco has had some of his creative works published by “NY Literary Magazine” and he’s the featured writer in an upcoming anthology by “RumbleFish Press”. Rocco has many other short stories and poems patiently waiting in the shadows for someone to bring them to light. Find him on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/people/Rocco-Marinelli/100009725134221

Rocco also blogs at https://www.flashfictionwriting.com/ 

 

 

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Charlie’s Christmas Carol

Another fun Christmas book kiddos of all ages will love!

Charlie’s Christmas Carol

Twelve-year-old Charlie is having a difficult time getting into the Christmas spirit as he’s facing his first Christmas since his mother’s passing. His father and sister buy a Christmas tree and try, unsuccessfully, to get him to trim it with them. Charlie seems destined to miss out on the Christmas spirit altogether until his scout troop spends an evening at a nursing home singing to the residents and playing board games with them. When Charlie meets old Mr. Henry and a young girl named Carol his perspective changes, as comes face to face with the needs of others.

CCC Cover Front

 

What you’ll find inside:

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Pick up a copy for all the munchkins on your Christmas list

Need to buy in bulk (12 copies or more, tax & shipping may apply), contact books@littlecabpress.com

 

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Miki the Reindeer Learns About Love

Looking for a great kids book to give to all your favorite munchkins for Christmas? We’ve got it!

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Filled with fun critters living on a farm in Alaska, Miki the Reindeer learns about Love is a heartwarming tale of a young reindeer who learns the vast and varied meanings of love!

Miki is fun at Christmas time when the world is white with snow, on Valentine’s day when everyone is thinking about love, on Mother’s day when the world is celebrating the love our Mothers give and any other day throughout the year when you need to remember what love is all about!

Grab a copy for each of your little critters- $9.95 each at Amazon

Need to buy bulk quantities? (More than 12, shipping & taxes may apply) Contact books@littlecabpress.com

 

About the Author

Taia Joy Flake grew up on a 700-acre ranch in Northern Arizona. Her imagination and creativity were well fed in the fairytale type environment. She moved all around the western United States before finding a home in the city of Mesa, AZ where she currently lives. As a devoted and active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Taia’s goal is to bring joy and happiness through her stories to children of all ages throughout the world.

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Daddy’s Home by Carol Palmer Nugent

A short story to honor our Vets on Veterans Day! Thank you for your service and sacrifice. We salute you!

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Daddy’s Home

Spring, 1968

Momma said my Daddy’s coming home today. He’s been gone a long time and I miss him so much. When he sees me, I know he’s gonna throw me up in the air, catch me in his strong arms, and hold me tight.

I love having Daddy home. We wash the car together. We feed our dog, Max, and go to the barbershop to get our hair cut. Daddy keeps his real short ‘cuz he’s an Army guy.

When I grow up, I want to be an Army guy too. I’ll have ribbons and medals on my uniform and a rifle to practice shooting.

Daddy flies on an airplane with the other Army guys to help people in a place far, far away. Momma always cries when Daddy goes. That makes me sad, and I cry too, but when he comes home, Momma still cries. She says they are happy tears, but when I see him, I’m just gonna smile and hug him ‘cuz I’ll be so glad to have my Daddy home.

We’re going to meet Daddy at the church. Momma says all Daddy’s friends will be there, and Grandma and Grandpa too. Momma dressed me in my nice shirt and pants, ‘cuz she says we have to look our Sunday best.

When we arrive at the church, I run ahead to try and find Daddy, but I can’t see him anywhere. Then Momma takes my hand and we walk to the front of the church. That’s where I finally see my Daddy, lying very still, sleeping, I think, in a long wooden box.

“Daddy,” I shout and run to him, but he doesn’t wake up. Something is wrong with Daddy. Mommy is crying now and holding me tight.

“Wake up, Daddy, please wake up.”

“Your Daddy’s gone to heaven,” she says

“No, no, no,” I reply, but I know Daddy isn’t going to wake up. I start to cry, knowing my Daddy will never again grab me under my arms or throw me in the air. He won’t catch me or hug me tight. My Daddy is really gone.

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Present day

I can still feel the pain in my heart when I remember back. I have missed my Dad every day since his death. Nothing can replace him and the place he holds in my heart. It’s like there’s a hole there, so big, that the wind can blow right through. Nothing can fill the void, but there is something which has replaced the flood of bad memories, and that’s when I come home from work each night and my little boy runs to me, yelling, “Daddy.” I grab him under the arms, throw him into the air, catch him, and hug him tight.

by Carol Palmer Nugent

About the author-  Carol Palmer Nugent is a member of Word Weavers of Northern Arizona and American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two dogs. She enjoys gardening, reading, writing, and learning something new each day. She has had short stories published in Good Old Days and Ruby for Women Magazines, a true story in A Woman of Wort Anthology, and two stories in Little CAB Press’s Christmas Collection Volume II. In addition, Carol received an honorable mention in the 85th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition.   

https://CarolPalmerNugent.wordpress.com

Carol

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Simple Ways to Promote Your Book on Facebook

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  1. Take a pic of you and your book, make that pic the cover photo on your Facebook timeline.
    1. After you’ve changed your cover photo, click on the cover photo and then click on “add a description”.
    2. Put the buy link to your book in the description and add 1 or 2 “blurb” sentences about your book, (give people an exciting reason to click the link and check out your book).
  2. Find something exciting once a week to post about your book and add the buy link into the post.
    1. Post can be as simple as: Awesome lady I met at the hair salon bought my book last week and called me today to say how much she loved it! Made my day!!! (then add buy link)
    2. These should be real experiences, not made up, but make them sound super exciting and cool!
  3. Take your book on a photo tour! Post photos of “Me and my book, making friends at: the library, the park, the theater, the grocery store, the zoo, etc.” The photos can be of you and random strangers, have the stranger smile and hold up your book. (Not dangerous looking strangers obviously!) Have the stranger sign your book, (have a copy for the purpose of collecting others’ signatures, a book signing in reverse where the reader/potential reader gets to sign rather than the author) and give them a sale page or some type of promo item of the book in return, (perhaps they’ll buy your book online).
  4. Ask your local library to let you host a reading or book talk. Take pictures of yourself with the book and the attendees and post (with their permission) to Facebook- say something fun, like, “Had a great time reading my book to these awesome new friends!” Post the pic and the buy link to your book. Give out promo items to attendees, sale sheets, bookmarks, anything to help them find and buy your book.

Have fun with your book, get creative, post frequently, and always, always, always add the buy link for your book in every fun post you make about your book!

What are your fun ideas for promoting your book on Facebook and social media? Comment below.

 

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Samurai by Night—A Halloween Hero

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I originally wrote this short story (previously titled Samurai by Night) for the fall 2017 writing contest at The Write Practice. Though my story did not win, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the other writers and reading their stories. I learned so much from the other writers in the contest that I would encourage all writers, beginner and experienced, to enter such contests and receive the invaluable feedback which serves to improve writing skills. I thank the awesome writers who read my story and offered valuable critiquing for its improvement! I wish each of you happy writing and much future success!

 

Samurai by Night—A Halloween Hero

By  A.P. Maddox

© A.P. Maddox 2017 (YA/NA fiction, Rated PG-13, Word count: 1515)

 

Emily stomped on her brakes, rush hour traffic wasn’t moving on the Phoenix freeway. “Of course,” she complained while sending a quick voice-to-text to her boyfriend. “Brian, I put my costume on at work. On my way to the party. Stuck in traffic. Will be late. Happy Halloween!”

“Oh look, traffic is moving again,” she said, picking up speed as traffic began to clear. “Should I let Brian know I’ll be there soon?” She considered it before answering, “Nah, I’ll surprise him!”

Once off the freeway she made her way down the surface streets and pulled into the dimly lit parking lot of Collins & Thorpe Accounting, where Brian was a junior accountant. The Halloween costume party would be the second office party she’d attend with Brian since the pair began dating five months ago, the first being the Independence Day bash.

The parking lot was full, so she parked near the back, next to an empty lot with some brush and trees on one side. She put the car in park, slipped off her flip-flops and pulled on her boots. She hopped out of the car, punched the lock button and quickly made her way toward the office building, looking swashbuckly in her pirate costume—excited to see Brian all decked out in his pirate gear too.

The main entrance of the building was a large oval foyer with hallways leading to the individual offices. Chairs had been cleared to make way for the party decorations. Cobwebs with plastic spiders were strung about, jack-o’-lanterns with tea lights were placed on countertops and near hallway entrances, and creaky, shrieky music filled the air. Tables were laid out with cauldrons of orange and purple colored punches and ghoulish snacks: treats made to look like bloodshot eyeballs, bat wings, spiders, and ghosts.

Emily’s eyes searched for Brian. She saw an Egyptian queen, a knight in shining armor, superheroes, cartoon characters, and the traditional black cats, Draculas, and Frankensteins. Finally, her sights landed on her handsome pirate. He had let his whiskers grow out a few days to look the scruffy pirate part. A patch covered one eye but there was no mistaking the deep green of the other and the thick black eyebrow it peered out from under.

She smiled thinking of the flirtatious things she might say as she approached him. She started in his direction but froze in her tracks when she saw a French maid come to his side. “Jenny,” she said under her breath in a bit of surprise. She suddenly felt as though she were a peeping Tom, spying where she had no business, yet Brian was her boyfriend. Her stomach wrenched as she watched them tease and giggle at each other and she began to feel sure there were inappropriate flirtations going on.

What was she to do, walk gaily over, pretend she hadn’t seen anything and hope they were engaging in innocent, coworker party behavior? Her gut told her there was more to it. She thought of the Independence Day bash when Jenny acted so coldly when she met Emily as though Emily was an intruder. She remembered how she kept catching Jenny staring at Brian and talking loudly whenever they’d pass near her and then mumbling something about needing another drink.

She tried not to worry about at the time but it had always gnawed at the back of her mind that Jenny might have feelings for Brian. She hadn’t wanted to let herself consider, however, Brian might return those feelings; after all, why would he be dating Emily if he were interested in Jenny.

Emily saw Jenny lean in, whispering in Brian’s ear. What was she saying? Her stomach turned and her chest heaved with panicked breath when she saw Jenny take Brian’s hand and lead him to an empty office. Brian peeked down the hall in both directions as though hoping to go unnoticed before they disappeared behind the door.

Emily was lightheaded as she tried to catch her breath. Her legs felt like jelly underneath her and she thought she might vomit. She wanted to scream and storm into the room, fists flying, but hot tears spilled down her cheeks and she turned and left the building.

“I can’t believe it!” she exclaimed, wiping her tears futilely as others quickly replaced them.

Her feet felt heavy as she walked. She remembered back, before the Independence Day bash and how Brian had told her, “These parties are always so boring. You won’t have anyone to talk to. My coworkers are stupid and would annoy you.” She realized now, Brian hadn’t wanted her to go in the first place. Was Jenny the reason why?

“How did I not see it?” she asked herself.

She continued through the parking lot, wrapped in her anger. As she approached her car, she saw two figures: one thin and short and another taller and thicker. She gasped but reasoned—they were headed to a Halloween party too.

They started at her and her instincts immediately warned—they meant harm… serious harm! She ran to the car, but they caught her; the larger man covering her screams with his hand. They dragged her toward the bushes. She swung and felt her nails scratching away at flesh as she tried fighting her way out. She kneed, kicked, flailed and screamed, but her screams were muffled and soon, still struggling, she was pinned down with a knife to her neck.

She knew she was about to be violated and she begged God in silent prayer to deliver her. The next moment something white, like a shining light appeared behind the man on top of her.

It was another man, dressed in some sort of white costume. He grabbed the man on top, yanking him off and punching him. As the first man stumbled back, the man in white grabbed the smaller man—punching him square in the jaw and sending him unconscious to the ground. The larger man got to his feet and came at the man in white but was quickly kicked in the chest, knocking the wind out of him and sending him to the ground as well.

“Stay down,” he warned, pulling out his cell phone to dial 9-1-1.

He went to Emily and extended his hand to help her up. “Are you okay Miss?”

Emily couldn’t answer—she was shaken and trembling. She came to her feet but stumbled.

“Maybe you better stay seated. I’ve called for help,” he said, gently setting her back on the ground. He inspected her. “There’s blood on your neck. Looks like the knife cut you, but it doesn’t look life-threatening.”

Emily’s eyes grew wide on her tear-stained face. She motioned behind him. The larger man had gotten to his feet and was scrambling away.

“No, you don’t,” the man in white shouted, chasing after. He tackled him, rolled him over and punched him in the face—knocking him out.

“The cops will be here any minute,” he said, coming back over to reassure her.

“Thank you… for coming to my rescue,” she slowly muttered.

“Of course,” he said, smiling.

“Were you here for the party?” she asked.

“Yeah, my sister works here and invited me. I was late though, obviously.”

“Lucky for me,” Emily said with a grateful sigh of relief before adding, “Please tell me your sister’s name isn’t Jenny.”

“Nope, it’s Alyssa.”

“Thank heavens,” Emily said, sighing.

“Do you work here?” he asked.

“No, I was here with my boyfriend.”

“Well, where is he now?”

“With Jenny.”

“Oh, I see,” he said, drawing out his words in understanding.

“Is that some kind of Ninja costume you have on?” she asked.

“Nope, Samurai,” he answered. “By the way, I’m Jared. What’s your name?”

“Emily. How did you learn to fight like that?” she asked.

“I own Liberty MMA downtown. You should come take some classes; learn how to defend yourself against guys like that.”

She nodded. “That’s probably a good idea.”

The sounds of sirens approached. Jared pointed out the men to the cops and told them what happened as they cuffed them.

The EMTs attended to Emily as the cops took statements.

“I don’t need to go to the hospital,” she said.

Jared took her hand and encouraged her. “They’ll need to examine you for evidence, to build a case against your attackers.”

She nodded as the EMTs loaded her into the ambulance.

“Wait,” Jared said, “maybe I should get your number. To check on you and make sure you’re okay.”

Emily hesitated. She didn’t usually give her number to strangers, but this man had been an answer to a prayer—a literal Godsend to save her life. He had a gentle smile; not to mention his boyishly handsome face atop a mountain of muscles and the inherent kindness he had shown after rescuing her, made her feel safe. Besides, if Brian gave her any trouble over the breakup—Jared could kick the trash out of him! The thought made her smile, and she gave him her number before the ambulance doors closed.

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Barton Cottage Chapter 5 Part II

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Barton Cottage  By  A.P. Maddox

© A.P. Maddox 2017

Barton Cottage is an adaptation of one of Jane Austen’s most beautiful and beloved classics—Sense and Sensibility—reimagined and set in the picturesque Piedmont of modern-day North Carolina. Follow Caroline & Ashelynn Hathcock as they leave their family home, lose their hearts and navigate their way through life’s challenges. 

Barton Cottage will be posted on the Little CAB Press blog—one chapter at a time—in 28 parts, from now until December 21, the end of which culminates in the Christmas season!  

(YA/NA fiction/romance, Word count: 1763)

 

Volume 1 Leaving Northland

(Read Chapter 5 Part I here)

Chapter 5 The Drawing

Part II Goodbyes

 

Sarah stood in the kitchen, peering through the glass of the French doors, smiling at the site of Caroline and Conner sitting together in the garden. Dottie walked up next to her—arms crossed—scowling at the same sight.

“Don’t they look cute together?” Sarah remarked.

“No, they don’t!” Dottie snipped. “My mother and I have invested too much into his future. When the time is right, he will marry a woman who will further his career. Any other girl will have to be disappointed.”

Sarah’s eyes widened. “How can you be so cruel?” she asked. “Do you really care more about political power than your own brother’s feelings?”

“He doesn’t have time for feelings! He’s following in my father’s footsteps. Do you not remember my father was a powerful and respected United States Senator well on his way to the White House when he died of a stroke? Conner will finish what Father started! And that girl has already entangled him in deceptions and lies!”

“What lies? What do you mean?” Sarah asked.

“You heard for yourself, Conner said he was going to spend the day with a college friend but he was with her! I saw them together with my own eyes. She made him lie so he could spend time with her.”

Sarah’s mouth gaped open. “There must be some misunderstanding,” she uttered.

“Well, don’t misunderstand this,” Dottie said, “my brother will be president one day and your daughter will not be at his side!”

Sarah stared at her, eyes wide with shock. “I do remember your father Dottie. He was a good and kind man. He would have wanted Conner to make his own decisions.” She shook her head before continuing, “And as for my daughter, she is an amazing young woman who will make a wonderful companion to a worthy young man one day and if Caroline and Conner choose each other, they will have my blessing.”

Dottie was unmoved, she remained cross-armed and glaring out the window.

Sarah sighed and left the room.

 

In the garden, Conner and Caroline sat in silence for several moments before Conner finally said, “Caroline, you must have questions and I…”

Dottie came toward them, walking briskly from the house. “There you two are,” she said with a pretentious grin. “Conner I’ve been looking all over for you, Mother would like you to call her right away.”

“Can it wait?” he asked.

“No,” she stressed, “she’s been waiting all day to speak to you and it’s urgent!”

He looked at Caroline with sorrow in his eyes and stood to walk inside.

Dottie grinned victoriously at Caroline and followed her brother.

Caroline waited until they were out of sight before heading straight to her room.

 

Upstairs, Sarah sat at her computer, searching the web to find a suitable place to move to. While she browsed, an email came in. She opened it to find a message from her cousin. As she read it, her feelings of frustration at Dottie were replaced by feelings of excitement at the news her cousin’s letter bore.

 

Dearest Cousin Sarah,

I’ve heard a rumor from family members you may be looking to move from Northland. We would be thrilled to have you and your lovely daughters come to Winston-Salem and live with us at Barton! We have a delightful four-bedroom cottage just a short distance from the main house and it’s sitting empty waiting for the perfect occupants. I would love to see your family fill it. I’ll take whatever rent you feel you can afford, (we can discuss that later), I know you are on a fixed income for the time being. The cottage is available at the soonest possible moment you’d like to take it. I hope you’ll consider it!

                        With Love,

                        Lloyd Honeycutt

 

Sarah jumped up and clapped her hands. This was a blessing which couldn’t have come at a better time. She hurried down the hall toward Caroline’s room, calling the other girls to follow as she went.

“I have some great news,” their mother said as soon as the girls were gathered. “How would you like to move to Winston-Salem? My cousin has a four-bedroom cottage on his estate and he’s willing to rent it to us for whatever we can afford!”

Maggie gasped and began tearing up. The reality of leaving Northland fell like a thick fog over the room.

Caroline offered the first reply, her voice despondent after the day’s events yet trying to sound cheerful for her sisters’ sakes. “Mom, it sounds like just what we need and with school almost out, it comes at a perfect time.”

Ashelynn followed Caroline’s lead. “I think it sounds adventurous, Mom, and you know I can’t wait to get away from Snotty Dottie!”

“Do we have to go?” Maggie asked.

Sarah gently took Maggie’s face in her hands. “It’s the right thing to do for our family. I know you aren’t happy about it, but everything will be alright, I promise.”

 

The Hathcock ladies were quieter than usual at the dinner table that evening.

“Anything the matter?” Frank asked as everyone was finishing up.

“Well,” Sarah said slowly in a dignified manner, “we have been offered a home in Winston-Salem on my cousin’s estate. I’ve accepted it and we’ll be moving as soon as school is out.”

Dottie perked up with a look of elation but Frank protested. “I don’t understand. Why are you moving?”

Sarah explained, “It’s affordable, sounds comfortable, the timing is right, and it will lessen the congestion in what is now… your home, Frank.”

Frank looked to his wife, who seemed pleased with the news. “Oh,” Frank stammered. “Well, I suppose it’s not too far and you’ll call to let me know how you are doing and if you need anything, won’t you?”

“Of course,” Sarah told him—realizing now no monetary offers of help would be forthcoming—the promise would go unkept.

Frank looked slightly concerned but no encouragements for them to stay were offered.

Caroline glanced at Conner to gauge his reaction. He seemed shocked and saddened but she wondered why it would matter to him now—after today?

Noticing the direction of her oldest daughter’s gaze, Sarah added, “Conner, I hope you will feel welcome to come for a visit anytime you’d like.”

“Thank you,” Conner simply replied.

 

School ended on a Thursday, and the moving truck arrived Friday morning.

“Why such a large truck?” Frank commented while standing out front, watching the moving crew load boxes of the girls’ personal effects. “They don’t have that much stuff, there’ll be room to spare in there.”

Suddenly Dottie came bursting out of the house shouting, “Frank, Frank, did you tell them they could take the grand piano?”

“Of course not,” he replied, as his wife grabbed his arm and hurried him inside.

“Well then tell them they cannot have it!” she insisted.

The Hathcock ladies were in the parlor, watching the piano being prepared for moving. Sarah walked over and calmly explained, “This piano was given to Ashelynn as a birthday gift from Grand Uncle James. He specifically stated in his will that she would retain ownership of it.”

“Frank,” Dottie hotly demanded, “do we have a copy of Uncle James’s will?”

“Yes, we do, but it won’t be necessary to read it,” Frank replied apologetically. “I do remember reading that the piano belongs to Ashelynn.”

“Well, I want to see it myself!” Dottie demanded with a snort.

Conner observed the scene from the doorway and walked over to put his hand on his sister’s shoulder. “Let it go, Dottie. You can get another piano,” he said with a soothing yet authoritative voice.

Dottie gritted her teeth and stormed out of the room.

Conner slipped out the back door to the patio. Caroline noticed and followed.

“Thank you,” she said, “for helping out with Dottie just now. It would have been the last straw if Ashelynn had to leave her beloved piano behind.”

“You’re welcome,” he said. “You’re all going to miss Northland very much aren’t you?”

Caroline nodded. “We came here when I was just seven. It’s been home for a long time.”

“If I know you, though,” Conner said, “you’ll make your new home a happy place for your mother and sisters. You’re the strength of your family, Caroline. That much I can clearly see.”

He looked into her eyes, and she thought for a moment he might confess he was falling in love with her, or at least say he was going to miss seeing her each day.

“I’m actually leaving too,” he said. “My visit here has been wonderful and terribly eye-opening all at the same time.”

He paused and she hung on the quietness, wondering what he was thinking. Was she part of the wonderful or the terrible?

He went on, “There are some things I must work out…”

She let out a breath she didn’t even realize she’d been holding.

Sarah poked her head out the door. “The truck is ready to leave, my dear. We’re following them to Barton. If we don’t go now, they’ll leave without us.”

“They’re done already?” Caroline asked.

“Yes dear,” she said. Looking at Conner she added, “You may have a moment but make it quick.”

She looked into his eyes, so many questions she wanted to ask. Did he think the same as his sister? “No time for silly girls!” She had heard it from Dottie but it was best she didn’t hear it from him. Even if he could put it into kinder words, it still meant the same.

She hugged him. “I’m going to miss seeing your face every day Conner Burroughs,” she whispered as emotion welled in her throat. She let go and studied the details of his handsome face once more before turning to go inside.

Everyone assembled out front; Frank and Dottie were not the hugging types, so none were given. Goodbyes were said and the Hathcock ladies looked over their old Northland home one more time before climbing into the car.

They headed out, down the long driveway, leaving Northland; bound for their new home. Sarah drove slowly, and Ashelynn began to bid Northland farewell as if to memorialize the old place. “Goodbye grand house, goodbye majestic trees! No one will ever love you as much as we did. We will remember you forever.” Maggie sobbed on Caroline’s shoulder while everyone wiped tears away. Leaving Northland was harder than they had imagined and sadness misted their eyes like a soft steady rain for the remainder of the drive.

Up next in Chapter 6: Barton—A new home!

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