Here is the promised excerpt from Emma's Wish
You're gonna love this one. You might need a hanky or some tissues.
Still grieving his wife’s death, Sam Jenkins needs a mother for his children. He can't build his ranch and care for three precocious youngsters alone. Emma Witherspoon has accepted the fact that she will never have a husband and children of her own, but that doesn't ease the ache in her heart. When Emma makes Sam an offer he can’t refuse, neither of them can foresee the changes in their lives because of two little words – “I do.”
Beside him, his older brother nodded vigorously, then scrubbed at his tear-stained eyes with his grimy knuckles.
Leaning over, he picked Becky up and settled her on his lap. Her pudgy arms reached up around his neck, and she planted a loud smacking kiss on his cheek.
Swallowing painfully against the grief choking him, he took Nathan's small hand. His gaze rested on the calluses on the little boy's palm. Dammit, his hands shouldn't already show signs of hard labor. Youngsters shouldn't have to work that hard.
This was exactly why he'd made the decision, the decision the children hated him for right now. But they'd thank him later. He had to believe that.
He was doing this for their own good. Sam had to remind himself of that every single day. By sending them back east to live with his wife's parents, he was giving them the life they deserved, a life of privilege and wealth. But even though his reasons made sense, he couldn't shake the uneasy feeling that he was making a huge mistake.
"It's just for a little while." He tried to sound convincing, but the promise rang false even to his own ears. "Right now, I need to work too hard--"
"We can help," Joseph volunteered. "I'm almost a man. You said so yourself when Ma died."
When Ma died. That said it all. Their lives had fallen apart when Catherine died six months before. The children had lost their mother, and he'd lost the only woman he'd ever loved.
"I did say that, didn't I?" he asked, ruffling the boy's hair. "And I meant it, too."
Catherine had always called Joseph her little man, and a melancholy smile twitched at Sam's lips at the recollection. He'd called him that, too, as Joseph had stood beside him at the cemetery when they laid Catherine to rest. Joseph had stood in the rain, his head held high, determined not to cry even though his eyes brimmed with tears and his chin quivered throughout the short service.
"I can work--" Joseph put in.
"Me work--" Becky smiled up at him, the dimples in her cheeks and the clear blue gaze in her eyes bringing back the image of Catherine's angelic face.
God, couldn't they see how badly he wanted to keep them with him? They were all he had left, and sending them away was slowly killing him. But they had no way of knowing that. They only knew they were being sent to live with people they'd never met, in a place they'd never seen.
"Joseph," he said, trying to make his tone as stern as possible. "I can't keep you here right now. Your grandparents are looking forward to seeing you. So I need you to be a man now and promise me you'll take care of the younger ones. That's the way it has to be."
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If you didn't read Friday's post, read it and learn more Margery Scott.