- N. N. Light
Holle, Christmas Quilt Brides by @lcarrollbradd is a Wintertime Reading Event pick #sweetromance
Title: Holle, Christmas Quilt Brides, book 4
Author: Linda Carroll-Bradd
Genre: Sweet historical romance
Holle Berthold thinks love is a curse. Her first fiancé died, and the second one jilted her two days before the wedding. Then the man who funded her train ticket to Montana as a mail-order bride rejected her because of her partial deafness. Abandoned, she must find a job.
Widower Eduard Lambrecht discovers his late wife’s Christmas quilt is damaged. At the seamstress shop, he learns the woman to repair it is also the mail-order bride his cousin rejected. Can their bruised hearts dare to try again?
A brown-haired man stepped close. “Are you Holle Berthold?”
His tan hat had a black band like Kunz mentioned in his last letter. His features were pleasant—hazel eyes that held curiosity, a strong forehead, clean-shaven cheeks—ones that she envisioned seeing every day for years into the future. Jakoba’s worries were unfounded. Kunz appeared to be a nice man. Smiling, she nodded. “I am. And—ˮ
“Why didn’t you answer me the first time I asked?”
“Excuse me, but are you Mister Kunz Lambrecht?”
“Yeah, that’s me.” He leaned over to pick up the carpetbag and set it atop the portmanteau before turning. “—you hear me?”
“I apologize, Mister Lambrecht.” She shifted her feet. Discussing what her father always called her defect was not something she wanted to do out here on a public thoroughfare.
He set his hands on his hips. “I thought we agreed to use our first names.”
“All right…Kunz. If you’re on my left, I have difficulty hearing you clearly. But straightaway”—she moved her pointer in the space between them—“or from the right, I understand you well.”
His eyebrows winged high. “What? You mean you’re deaf?”
An older woman walking past stopped and stared.
She stepped close and tilted up her head to gaze into his eyes that had lost their warmth. “Could we go someplace more private?” His clean-soap scent filled her nostrils. This conversation wasn’t one she’d had often, and every time she did, she quivered inside. No one wanted to admit they were lacking.
Frowning, Kunz clasped her elbow and steered her into the depot’s waiting room. After a look around, he walked to a, empty bench in a far corner. “Now tell me again what you said about your hearing.”
Holle sat, her stomach tight from the tone of his voice. “When I was a girl, I was ill with a bad infection that settled in my left ear. After my fever broke, I could no longer hear from the left side. But the lack has provided me with only minor inconvenience over the years.”
Kunz dragged a hand over his face and slumped against the wooden seat back.
“What is it, Kunz? You’re scaring me.” His face was not the happy one she expected at their first meeting. She’d managed just fine with her handicap. Why was he so upset?
Lips pursed, he shook his head. “How I wish you’d included this information in your letters. Before you traveled here.”
“I’ve found ways to cope. Not catching something that is said occurs only occasionally.” In hopes of catching his gaze, she dipped her head. “Seeing your lips as you speak helps me understand, too.”
Huffing out a breath, he turned. “Not good enough. I’m sorry.” He stood and paced toward the front window, muttering. Working his hands along the brim, the hat spun.
What could he be apologizing for? The longer he paced, the tighter the air in her chest caught.
He dug a hand into his front pocket. “Here’s five dollars. That’s all I’m carrying. I’m so sorry.” After setting the coins on the bench beside her, he straightened. “I wish you the best, Miss Berthold.” Following his statement, he turned, settled the hat on his head, and walked out the depot door. Within seconds, he stepped into the street and disappeared in the wagon and horse traffic.
Sounds wavered. What am I to do? Her vision narrowed to the space right in front of her with blackness circling the edges. I have no money to go elsewhere. She collected the coins into her hands and held tight, hunching her shoulders. Rejected again. The tick-tock of the regulator clock on the wall provided a steady rhythm that she tried to follow and put order to her wild thoughts. Her belongings wouldn’t arrive for several days on the freight wagon. Until that time, she had to secure lodgings. But then what?
Holle’s breaths came too fast, and a trickle of perspiration inched down her spine. She rolled her shoulders and released her gripped fingers, one at a time, and assessed her situation. Abandoned in a strange town hundreds of miles away from anyone she knew.
How had she put herself in this vulnerable position…again?
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
BookBub Holle (Christmas Quilt Brides book 4) by Linda Carroll-Bradd - BookBub
What makes your featured book a must-read?
To Holle Berthold, love is a curse and with her bad luck, she believes she’ll never find love. Baker Eduard Lambrecht knows the value of patience. He sees something special about this tough woman and sets out to woo her. Their relationship builds slowly but is fun and endearing to witness.
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As a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication--a confession story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, award-winning author Linda now writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor and a bit of sass from her home in the southern California mountains.
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