Four Seasons of Romance

Four Seasons of Romance by Rachel Remington Read Free Book Online

Book: Four Seasons of Romance by Rachel Remington Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rachel Remington
with grisly
body counts and dire predictions.
    Catherine read the paper each day at the Woodsville
Drugstore. Often, she ripped an article before finishing it: she had a
premonition of losing Leo and the war having something to do with it.
    Catherine turned out to be right. World War II would change
their relationship and their lives forever.
    It started when Leo’s father lost his job. Acer Lumber was
cutting its staff now that the money was in rubber, tanks, and gunmetal. Ellis
heard jobs were available at a munitions factory in Ohio where one of his
cousins worked. He felt it was his best option—perhaps his only option. So, he
packed a bag and left, nearly overnight.
    There were no tender farewells between father and son. Leo’s
decision to stay in Woodsville with Catherine was easy. He wished his father
well and wondered whether he’d ever see him again. Though both his parents were
alive, Leo felt like an orphan.
    He rented a room from two guys he’d met at the mill,
dreaming about getting his own place, a little apartment just off the main
stretch where he and Catherine could spend hours together. He hated the
gossipy, small-town nature of Woodsville; once word got out about his fight
with the judge, he found it best to lay low.
    But it wasn’t Josiah Woods, but the draft board that ruined
Leo’s plans: Leo Taylor was strong, able-bodied, and courageous. He was also
eighteen and a half—the age of conscription. He was drafted into the military
in weeks of renting his room. He received his letter on the first day of spring
in 1944.
    Leo had plans to meet Catherine at the Bath-Haverhill Bridge
later that afternoon. Leo didn’t know how to break the news to her. Because it
suited him just fine to play it by ear, he tucked the letter into his back
pocket, then, he followed the Connecticut River to where the twain met.
    Catherine could always read Leo like papers at the
Woodsville Drugstore, his eyes telling her everything before he’d even opened
his mouth.
    “No,” she said, not wanting to believe it. “They want you in
uniform. No. No.”
    “You need to consider a career as a psychic,” he said,
trying to diffuse the mood. Then, seeing that she wasn’t amused, he pulled out
the letter.
    Devastated, Catherine opened her mouth to speak, but no
words came out. In her heart of hearts, she was certain he would be killed; the
letter brought the news she’d been dreading, yet the news she knew would surely
come.
    Before she knew what she was doing, she was running—running
back across the bridge and through the woods, back up the hill to her house,
not looking back to see whether Leo was behind her. She ran straight inside and
to her bedroom where she flung herself on the bed and wept.
    When Leo came to the front door a few minutes later, out of
breath, she refused to see him. Josiah was away at the courthouse, so there was
no risk of another fight. Elaine was making almond pastries in the kitchen when
Leo banged on the door.
    “I need to see her,” Leo said. “Please.”
    “I’m sorry,” Elaine said. “She doesn’t want to see you.”
    For once, it wasn’t another case of the Woods family keeping
the two apart: Catherine truly didn’t want to speak to him.
    As he left the Woods house, dejected, he looked over his
shoulder and saw Catherine watching him from her bedroom window, but when he
saw her, she pulled the curtain closed.
    Leo wanted to stay in Woodsville but he had no choice: she
had to understand.
    He waited at their meeting spot in the woods for hours, deep
into the night. Realizing she wouldn’t come, he headed back to his shared room
and snatched a few hours sleep. The next day, he was back at his post,
desperately hoping that she would come to speak with him.
    When she finally did, her face was pale, and her cheeks were
tearstained. It had been a full day since she’d run away from him at the
bridge.
    “I’m sorry,” she began. “I’m sorry I left you. It’s just…
I’ve been

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