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Heart of Stone: A Novel by Jill Marie Landis

Heart of Stone: A Novel by Jill Marie Landis

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Published by Zondervan
Heart of Stone: A Novel by Jill Marie Landis is the first book in the Irish Angel Series.

Laura Foster had the darkest of pasts. And he had everything to lose by loving her. Laura, free from the bondage of an unspeakable childhood, has struggled to make a new life for herself. Now the owner of an elegant boardinghouse in Glory, Texas, she is known as a wealthy, respectable widow. But Laura never forgets that she is always just one step ahead of her past. When Reverend Brand McCormick comes calling, Laura does all she can to discourage him as a suitor. She knows that if her past were discovered, Brand’s reputation would be ruined. But it’s not only Laura’s past that threatens to bring Brand down—it’s also his own. When a stranger in town threatens to reveal too many secrets, Laura is faced with a heartbreaking choice: Should she leave Glory forever and save Brand’s future? Or is it worth risking his name—and her heart—by telling him the truth?
Heart of Stone: A Novel by Jill Marie Landis is the first book in the Irish Angel Series.

Laura Foster had the darkest of pasts. And he had everything to lose by loving her. Laura, free from the bondage of an unspeakable childhood, has struggled to make a new life for herself. Now the owner of an elegant boardinghouse in Glory, Texas, she is known as a wealthy, respectable widow. But Laura never forgets that she is always just one step ahead of her past. When Reverend Brand McCormick comes calling, Laura does all she can to discourage him as a suitor. She knows that if her past were discovered, Brand’s reputation would be ruined. But it’s not only Laura’s past that threatens to bring Brand down—it’s also his own. When a stranger in town threatens to reveal too many secrets, Laura is faced with a heartbreaking choice: Should she leave Glory forever and save Brand’s future? Or is it worth risking his name—and her heart—by telling him the truth?

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Published by: Zondervan on Feb 08, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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12/02/2015

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The man stared back and forth between the two of them,
opened his mouth, thought better of what it was he might have
said, and closed it.

Harrison hurried across the room and quickly began tallying
up the homesteader’s small order of goods. He bagged up a half
pound of sweets and set them atop the order. Laura reached for
the sack and held it out to the child. The little girl looked up at her
father for permission to accept, and he gave a slight nod of his head
in acknowledgment. She reached out and Laura placed the sack in
her hand.

“Thank you, lady,” the little girl whispered.
“You’re welcome.”
There was so much more Laura wanted to say, so much more
she wished she could do for the child, but she already feared she’d
done too much. She could only hope the man wouldn’t take his
shame and embarrassment out on the girl after they had left the
store.

Laura refused to walk away until the man and child left. When
they were finally out of sight, she released a sigh of relief and turned
to Brand McCormick.
“Thank you, Reverend.” She was well aware that he was staring
speculatively. “I really had no idea what I was going to do next.”
Short of shooting the man.
His smile lit up his face. “After what I just saw, there’s not a
doubt in my mind that you could have handled things.”
She bit her bottom lip and glanced toward the door before she
looked at the preacher again.
“I just hope I didn’t make things worse for that child.”
“I doubt things could get much worse for her.”
Laura sighed and said softly, “Oh, yes, they could.”
When the preacher looked at her questioningly, she shook her
head, dismissing her comment.
“Do you know that man?” she asked. “Have you ever seen him

before?”

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Heart of stone 25

“They don’t attend church. I’ve never seen him around.”
Harrison spoke up from behind the counter. “Probably new
to the area. So many folks settling around here, taking advantage
of the land sale. It’s not like the old days when we knew all our
neighbors.”

“Things change, Harrison,” Brand told him. “I imagine new
folks moving in is good for business.”
“That’s true, but we’d be better off if there was a way to let only
upstanding folks in. Scum like that have no place in our town.”
Laura weathered the comment by putting a placid “widow Fos-
ter” smile on her face.
She turned to Brand. “What brings you here this morning,

Reverend?”

He smiled back. “I could say that I was here to fill an order for
my sister, but since I’m not a liar, I have to admit I saw you and
stepped inside to say hello — and suddenly you were flying to that
child’s defense. Impressive, I must say.”
“Impulsive and probably very stupid, but I couldn’t stand
by and watch that man mistreat that child.” Embarrassed by his
perusal, she tried to change the subject. “How have you been,
Reverend?”

“I’ve been busy sanding and refinishing church pews.”
His answer surprised her. Although she knew from observing
him every Sunday that he was physically fit, she hadn’t taken him
for a man who labored much. On closer inspection she noticed the
way his shoulders filled out his suit coat and the fact that his hands
were not the hands of a man who shied away from hard work.
“And you?” He seemed determined to keep chatting.
“Busy as well, but I sorely needed an outing. I came in to see if
Harrison has anything that might tempt me to spend some extra
money this morning.”
Harrison was still behind the counter. With a smile, he reached
up and smoothed down the part in his well-oiled hair. “I was
expecting Rodrigo, as usual,” he said.

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