Daughter of Joy

Daughter of Joy by Kathleen Morgan Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Daughter of Joy by Kathleen Morgan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kathleen Morgan
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Historical, Ebook, Christian
sudden awareness of her as an attractive female struck him with a painful intensity. His bare skin began to tingle, flush with heightened awareness. His gut twisted. Startled by his unexpected and surprisingly forceful response, Conor sucked in an angry breath.
    He angled away until he could no longer smell her fresh-washed fragrance. “This main draft regulator … see how easy it is to overor under-compensate?” As he spoke, he pulled the door open bit by bit, then closed it the same way. “It takes practice to develop the right touch.
    “Here”—he scooted aside and pointed to the little door below and to the left of the firebox—“why don’t you practice with it while I go back upstairs to wash and dress? It can’t be that different from the stoves you’re used to. If we’re lucky, maybe you’ll even have the coffee water boiling by the time I get back.”
    Abigail shot him a dubious look. “I’ll give it a try. If I were you, though, I wouldn’t set your hopes on a cup of hot coffee any time soon.”
    Conor gave a hoarse laugh. A fresh cup of coffee wasn’t the only thing he had no intention of setting his hopes on. “Oh, I won’t, Mrs. Stanton, ” he muttered half to himself, climbing to his feet. “I won’t.”

    Abby watched him go, then heaved a sigh of relief. Lord have mercy, she thought, but Conor MacKay was even more attractive with his shirt off than with it on, and that was saying a lot. She knew she shouldn’t let his presence unnerve her. She was a grown woman after all, not some flighty schoolgirl—a recently widowed, married woman and mother, no less.
    Abby pressed a trembling hand to her breast. Why, even her heart was racing, pounding away like some wild, Indian tom-tom!
    What was it about this man that sent her thoughts to spinning? she wondered. Despite their marital difficulties, she still missed and mourned her husband. Despite the fact Thomas had been fifteen years older than her and had most times treated her as if she were some child, she had still loved him. The thought of finding someone else to replace him was the furthest thing from her mind. Indeed, if it ever did enter her mind, Conor MacKay would be the last man she would ever consider.
    Still, like it or not, Mr. Conor MacKay made her very nervous, stirring emotions—yearnings—Abby had never felt before, not even for Thomas. But then, the affection she had had for her husband had been based on respect and duty and a shared love for the Lord. Indeed, that sense of wifely duty had been the sole reason she had ever performed the marital act. No sense of duty, however, beckoned her now toward Conor MacKay, and she knew it.
    After a time of fiddling with the cookstove, Abby finally got the wood in the firebox burning nicely. Deciding it best to leave well enough alone, she turned her efforts to gathering the necessary ingredients for breakfast. Beside her stash of four eggs that she placed in a bowl on the kitchen table, Abby added a bag of flour, some baking powder, a bowl of sugar, and a large tin of what looked like a fancy New England maple syrup.
    For an instant her gaze lingered on the syrup tin. The scene painted thereon of dark, skeletal maple trees, snowy backdrop, and a little, red-jacketed man sitting in a sleigh sent a renewed pang of homesickness shooting through Abby. Oh, for those happy, carefree days of her girlhood, running with her brothers through the snowy woods that surrounded their house outside Fall River, Massachusetts! It had been such an idyllic time, when life seemed so safe, so simple, and so very good.
    Just then Conor MacKay walked back into the kitchen. Cheeks flaming, Abby swung around. This time, in addition to his well-worn blue denims, he had added a gray woolen, long-sleeved shirt and a pair of boots. His tousled black hair was now combed, his face freshly shaved. Abby managed a smile and pointed to the coffee pot. “Would you like a cup? It’ll be ready soon.”
    With a curt shake

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