Country Road Chronicles #4
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From Chapter One
January 3, 1946
Frank set a bag of something in the truck and smiled big in my direction. His smooth dark hair rustled a little in the cold breeze and his eyes shone. “Almost wish I could take you along,” he called.
I couldn’t answer him. I felt as if there was a huge hole in me already. And I wished he’d take somebody with him. Anybody. But he’d even said he liked the idea of going alone.
Maybe he knew how I was feeling about it. He didn’t wait for me to cross the frosty yard to him. He met me by the porch steps faster than I expected. I’d wanted to talk, but now I didn’t know what to say. And he pulled me into his strong arms and kissed my forehead.
“You’re not gonna worry too much, are you, Sarah Jean? I’ve drove a long way before.”
“Not this long! Only to Carbondale to make deliveries. And Dad was with you the first time. You were back the same day. It wasn’t the same at all. It wasn’t even winter!”
“I’ll have tools for the truck and plenty to keep me warm an’ fed,” he assured me. “Two spare tires, plus chains an’ shovels an’ sand. An’ I ain’t no kid. I’ll be fine.”
His silvery eyes were so earnest that I couldn’t argue. I knew this was important to him in ways I didn’t understand. He felt he needed this, but I didn’t know why. I buried my face in the coolness of his coat.
“I’ll miss you,” he said softly. “But I sure wish you wouldn’t worry.”
“Do you really think ---” I struggled with the words. “Are you really sure you can find the place all right?”
“Of course I can find it. Sam gives good directions.”
I saw the tiny spark of sadness in him. He wanted me to believe in him, to be as confident as he was. “I’m looking forward to this. Don’t you know I can manage all right?”
I couldn’t say another word about it. There was no way I could have told him no. But I couldn’t quite bear to encourage him either.
“I hope you understand,” he went on. “Sam needs the help. An’ about that store, I just thought it’d be worth it to us, you know, to find out more. Don’t be upset with me.”
“Do you really think you might like the place?”
“I don’t know.” He lifted my face a little so he could look in my eyes. “I just need to go find out. But if you hate the thought of bein’ that far away, I can come back after Sam’s settled in his new house. I can leave the whole idea alone.”
I could see his eyes pleading with me for a chance to follow his heart in this unhindered. I could read his hope so plain that it scared me all the more. He wanted to like that store up there. He was hoping it would all work out. But why?
“Oh, Franky.” I sighed, calling him the name everybody else used but I hardly ever said. “Don’t you like Dearing or Mcleansboro anymore? This is home.”
He nodded. “Always will be. I know. But home’s where you make it too. And I want us to have something that’s our own.”
“We will! We do.”
“The trip’ll go fine. Just let me look at the place. Please? Don’t be scared. I won’t do nothin’ till I talk to you first. I promise.”
Frank hardly ever asked for anything. He rarely did anything at all for himself. I couldn’t refuse him. I couldn’t dampen the spark in those eyes any further with my fears.
“All right,” I managed to say, my heart doing flip-flops I hoped he couldn’t feel. “I love you,” he whispered.
Excerpted from SARAH'S PROMISE: Country Road Chronicles #4 © Copyright 2017 by Leisha Kelly. Reprinted with permission by Revell. All rights reserved.
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