Keara Fagan is falsely accused of insurrection against the British and sentenced to indentured servitude in Australia. The Irish native escapes on a ship bound for America with no money and the clothes on her back. Now, she must stay on the run while trying to survive in a strange land.
As Dr. Elliot James travels by train from Philadelphia to York, a young woman faints at his feet. He’s sworn, as a physician, to aid the sick and injured, but fears this woman needs more than medical help. Enchanted by her beauty and touched by her dignity, he buys her a meal and offers her a place to stay in his small Pennsylvania town.
But a mysterious Irishman pursues her to the idyllic town surrounded by scenic farmland.Is he the abusive husband come to claim his runaway wife, or someone more sinister?
The doctor led Keara into the dining car. Small tables with bench seats were set in rows by the windows with an aisle between. He seated her on one side of a table and took the bench opposite.
A waiter approached. “What might I get for you, sir?”
The doctor glanced at Keara and winked. “The lady and I would like a bowl of soup and whatever cut of meat you’re serving today.”
The waiter nodded. “The soup for today is potato and beans, and I’ll bring a plate of roasted beef.” He glanced toward Keara.
She nodded not sure what she should say. Her gaze drifted over the other diners, and her stomach grumbled at the aromas of soup and cooked meats the passengers had set before them.
The waiter returned with a tray and placed bowls of soup and spoons on the table. “I’ll return with your plate of meat and other delicacies in a moment.”
Keara glanced at the doctor and wrinkled her nose. “Other delicacies? You shouldn’t be spending so much on me.”
“You need food,” he emphasized. “I can’t have you fainting in the aisle again, now can I?”
She sucked on her lower lip, suddenly ashamed in the presence of so refined a gentleman.
He motioned toward her spoon. “Now, eat. Doctor’s orders.”
She grinned and lifted the soup spoon. Taking care to delicately sip and not gulp her soup, Keara ate slowly and studied her companion. His gaze barely left her, causing a tightening in her stomach not caused by hunger. His sculpted lips tilted pleasantly into a smile as he gazed at her. His hands appeared strong, but fine, not work-roughened, like the men she’d known.
“I suppose, since we’re dining together and sharing a seat on the ride, I should introduce myself. Doctor Elliot James.” He studied her as if expecting her name in return.
She swallowed. “I’m Miss Keara Fagan, and I’m very grateful you came to me aid, Doctor.”
“My pleasure, Miss Fagan.” He grinned, and her stomach fluttered with pleasure. “So, your relatives live in York, you say?” He lifted a spoonful of soup to his lips.
She had trouble concentrating.
“Ah—yes, in York.” She hoped he didn’t see through her lie. She planned to find any hovel she could for a night’s stay, then continue her travel by foot, if she had to. She’d disappear into the countryside so Rogan would have no chance of finding her.
“I’ll be getting off at the York station but live farther out amid farm country. The town is called Fairfield.”
Keara nodded as the waiter approached with the tray of meat. The aroma nearly caused her to grab the plate from him. “Sounds like a nice place to live, it does. You’re the town physician?”
“And I also treat the nearby farmers.” He nodded. “I travel a lot and have a small carriage. I left it in York, to provide transportation home.”
Keara’s stomach tightened again. He’d see her off the train, then be leaving. Relief flooded her, knowing he wouldn’t discover her shameful secret, but her heart sank with regret. She’d never met so fine a man and would have liked to know him better. But sadly, a gentleman doctor wasn’t meant for the likes of her.
Once they’d finished their meal, the doctor escorted Keara back to their seats for the remainder of the trip.
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About the Author
Susan Macatee writes American Civil War romance, some with a paranormal twist. From time travels to vampire tales, her stories are always full of love and adventure.
She’s spent many years as a Civil War civilian reenactor with the 28th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment. She’s a wife, mother of three grown sons, and has recently become a grandmother. She spends her free time inhaling books, watching baseball games and favorite old movies.
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