A mine owner. An elegant lady.
Seductive voices that scoff at trust.
Loreen Fletcher has suffered heartbreak. She resolves never to trust a man again. She has earned a respected position with no help from anyone, especially not from a man. At thirty-six, Loreen knows loving brings inevitable misery, and she won’t pick at that scab again.
Claude Capshaw’s life has taken another detour. Things that drove him no longer motivate him. Nothing fulfills him anymore—except that elegant lady at West Virginia University. Why won’t she trust him when he tells her he’ll never betray her?
Morgantown, West Virginia
Julie stepped out of the shower, grabbed a towel from the rack, and twisted it around her short, wet hair. As she wrapped a second towel around her body, the telephone rang. She tucked the end of the towel against her skin so it wouldn’t slip and took the few steps to pick up the phone in the living room.
She cleared her throat to speak those first hoarse words of the morning. “Hello.”
“Is this Julia Capshaw?”
Her friends here at the university called her Julie. This caller must be somebody from home. Everyone there called her by her given name, Julia, as her daddy did. “Yes, this is Julia Capshaw Montagna.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Julia. After all this time, I can’t get used to you being married and living up there at West Virginia University. Julia, this is Hank, your daddy’s supervisor at his Coaltown coal mine.”
“What’s wrong, Hank? Why are you calling? Has something happened to Daddy?” Nothing can happen to Daddy! Since he moved her mother into the rest home in Charleston, he’d lived alone in that big house. Had he fallen?
“Well, Julia, a little bad news.”
Why won’t he just tell her? “What is it, Hank? Tell me.”
“It’s Mr. Capshaw, your daddy. He came to the coal mine earlier than usual this morning. I was already in the tipple. Said he didn’t sleep much last night. When we climbed up the slope to the mouth of the mine, he collapsed.”
“Hank, is my daddy okay?”
“Well, Julia, I got the ambulance to come over from the next county. Them boys got him hooked up to oxygen. They took him to Charleston, and I followed in my car. I’m here at the hospital now.”
“Which hospital, Hank?”
“We’re at Charleston General.”
“Are they telling you anything, Hank? What’s wrong with Daddy?”
“They’re doing tests on him now. They think it’s his heart. Won’t know for sure till they finish all the tests.”
“Hank, how long can you stay there at the hospital?”
“I’m staying all day. I’ll have to get back to the family by night.”
“I’ll have to speak to a few people here before I can leave school. I’ll be there before you have to go home. I’ll get there as soon as I can.”
“Okay, Julia. I figured you’d want to be with your daddy. I haven’t talked to him since we got to the hospital. But I’ll be right here when they say I can see him.”
“Thank you, Hank. I’ll see you before long.”
Julie hung up the phone and hurried to finish up after her shower. She’d let her hair dry on its own—no time for the hair dryer. Dressed in a skirt and blouse, Julie pushed her socked feet into her loafers, grabbed her purse, and left the small house.
Robby had the car, so she’d have to walk to Hubert Hall. She might be too early, but she’d be there when the Dean of Women arrived.
About The Author
Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories. Novels in her West Virginia Mountains Series and her Caney Creek Series are sweet Southern historical romances. She is a member of ACFW, the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN), and holds a M.Ed. degree from Mississippi State University. Learn more at www.johuddleston.com where you can sign up for Jo’s mailing list and read her blogs.
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