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Excerpt - THE DESIRES OF HER HEART by Lyn Cote

This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Desires Of Her Heart


Avon Inspire (February 10, 2009)


by


Lyn Cote



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lyn Cote married her real-life hero and was blessed with a son and daughter. She loves game shows, knitting, cooking, and eating! She and her husband live on a beautiful lake in the northwoods of Wisconsin. Now that the children have moved out, she indulges three cats: V-8 (for the engine, not the juice), Sadie, and Tricksey. In the summer, she writes using her laptop on her porch overlooking the lake. And in the winter, she sits by the fireplace her husband installed with the help of a good neighbor during their first winter at the lake.

Lyn's inspirational novels feature American women who step up to the challenges of their times and succeed in remaining true to the values of liberty and justice for all. The story of America is one of many nationalities and races coming together to forge our one nation under God, and Lyn's novels reflect this with accurate historical detail, always providing the ring of authenticity. Strong Women, Brave Stories.


ABOUT THE BOOK

A New Orleans lady and a half-breed frontiersman become unlikely allies as they travel the wilds of texas.

In 1821, when circumstances make it impossible for her to remain in New Orleans, Dorritt and her family head west to join Stephen Austin's settlement and recoup their fortune in Texas.

Quinn is a man of the frontier who has made a name for himself as a peerless scout. But as he and Dorritt's party begin a grueling trek across untamed Texas, the success of their journey is in grave doubt. Mexico has broken with the Spanish Crown, and armies from both countries—plus marauding Comanches—roam the pine forests and prairies. And one of the party is plotting destruction.

Now, with their lives joined in a virgin land fraught with peril, can Dorritt and Quinn put all their trust in God and receive the desires of their hearts?

Excerpt of chapter one:

New Orleans, early August 1821

With tiny sharp teeth, worry ripped and gnawed at Dorritt Mott's peace of mind. Her stepfatheq, Mr. Kilbride, had been up to something for months. But what exactly? And how would it affect Dorritt's private plan? Today the colorful and chaotic gathering of the crdme de la creme of New Orleans society buffeted Dorritt like the whirlwinds of a hurricane. But she'd come because attending the amateur race at the horse track outside the city would give her a chance to pick up a few more clues, to see what Mr. Kilbride was doing away from their plantation.

Scanning the elegant assembly for her stepfather, Dorritt saw that the race had drawn more than just the gentry. Westerners in buckskin with long rifles slung over their backs and sailors who might be pirates in Jean Laffite's crew dotted the crowd. Then she glimpsed a knot of beaver-hatted gentlemen-some jovial and all excited-gathered around a bookmaker who was taking bets near the horse stable. Of course, Mr. Kilbride was in the midst of them. The man never learned.

She began moving through the crowd, nodding and smiling when addressed. Present but apart. Ever since she had debuted, she had watched New Orleans society in a detached manner, as if watching an absurd, sometimes aggravating, play.

Two overly perfumed ladies in feathered bonnets-one gray and one brown-stepped in front of Dorritt, blocking her. Behind their fans, they were of course gossiping. Gray bonnet said, "Did you hear about the Dorsey chit marrying the Hampton heir?"

"Didn't her father forbld him to court herT" the brown bonnet objected.

Dorritt didn't blame the father. The Hampton heir was a rake. But of course, to some, wealth covered a multitude of sins.

"Hampton lured the girl away and took her driving in a closed carriage-" Gray bonnet lowered her voice. "-and they didn't come home until well into the night."

"Well into the night? Didn't her mother warn her about such indiscreet behaviorT" Brown bonnet sounded aghast.

Dorritt started to move away. Some women embraced the calculated destruction of reputations as their lifework. Dorritt had no doubt the Hampton heir had ensnared a green girl who would put up with his dubious behavior. All to give him an heir. Men must have their sons at all costs. And people wonder why I've chosen to remain a spinster

Pushing ahead, Dorritt managed to navigate within hearing distance of the men around her stepfather. They were discussing the merits of the horses scheduled to run today. From the corner of her eye, she noted that a few of the Westerners were coming up to put down bets too. Mr. Kilbride was touting the merits of his entry in today's race and placing a bet on it to win. TheStaggering amount he'd just wagered with a smile made Dorritt blanch. She kept the books for the plantation. If their horse lost, which of their people would he have to sell to recoup this bet?
Feeling panicky, Dorritt turned blindly and nearly walked into her half-sister's admiring all-male court. Fifteen-year-old Jewell, with her curly black hair, large brown eyes, plae complexion, and graceful figure knew exactly how to enthrall men. Her most favored and fervent admirer at the moment was sole heir of a wealthy family.

Dorritt edged away as her sister purred, "I do hope no one will be hurt today. Horse races can be so perilous." Jewell was fluttering her white egret feather fan against the heavy air already smothering them, the reason that the races were held early in the morning.

"Will you favor me with one of your ribbons to wear?" the wealthy young heir named André asked Jewell. "I'm sure I will win if you bestow your favor on me."

Dorritt felt the urge to gag. Most of the conversations she overheard were romantically exaggerated, devoid of any content. But she had a sudden insight. While most girls didn't debut until sixteen, Mr. Kilbride had insisted Jewell debut this year. Why? Was this part of his scheming?

Hastily, Dorritt turned, came face-to-face with the man she should have been watching out for. A recent widower with two children still in leading strings, he thought Dorritt was the answer to his need for a wife and stepmother. But she didn't want to get tangled up in those long ribbons on the toddlers' dresses. She tried to smile, repressing the urge to pick up her skirts and run.

Before he'd lost his wife, Dorritt had hoped she could persuade him to back her financially in her secret plan for independence. But now he viewed her as the quick solution to his problem of raising children alone. After all, Dorritt, at twentyfive,
was on the shelf a spinster. How could she afford to refuse an honest man's proposal?

She was saved by the horn announcing the start of the first race. She turned toward the track and hoped she could drift away from the widower before she was forced again to discourage him.

The persistent worry over what her stepfather was up tg the worry that had begun waking her up nights, tried to catch her, clench her again within its sharp teeth. She hurried forward, her pulse racing.I can't think of that now.

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