Abigail Breckenridge is studying to become Ann Arbor’s second female attorney, but a scandal interrupts her studies and sends her off to Europe to avoid the town gossips.
Charles Van Aker, a 6′ 5″ poet, is the oldest of eight and at the age of 18 helps run his father’s furniture company. Charles and Abigail have been friends since grade school, so when the scandal surrounding Abigail violently erupts, Charles and his large family of brothers and sisters stand by Abigail.
Through scandal, distance and lost faith, the love between Abigail and Charles grows steadily, but can it survive the tragedies that a typhoid epidemic buries them under?
The Book Excerpt
Charles preferred to follow his poetic temperament. He didn’t often take advantage of his muscular frame, one of the benefits of building furniture in his father’s factory. But once on the plank walk in front of the Breckenridge home, with Grandpa’s sanction, Charles marched George down to the end of Wright Street. Neither of them had retrieved his hat. The rain left George’s black locks a stringy, sodden mess. Formidable at six-foot-five, Charles shook his head of blond curls. More water splashed onto George’s face.
To make it perfectly clear, without rhyme, Charles said, “No further contact with any of the Breckenridges can be healthy for you.”
George sneered up at Charles. “If you want to stay single for a year or two, you should avoid the Breckenridge house, too.”
“What is your insinuation, Sirrah?” Charles found George’s collar in his fist. The smaller man’s face was running with rain and getting paler. No doubt about it, George wore paint like an actor and smelled like a woman. Charles let go, and George wiped at his forehead with a darkening handkerchief. Charles used his finger to wipe at a streak coming from George’s hair. He shoved his blackened finger in George’s face. “How old are you?”
“Old enough. That imp of a child stared at me just as you are. I kissed her to back her off. She almost fainted and asked if I loved her.”
Charles wanted to run, but he felt hypnotized by the talkative snake.
“I told her everyone surely loved her. Then with her arms wrapped around my neck, she asked me if I wanted to marry her.” George spread his arms as if beyond blame. “Of course I said I did, and off she ran to crow to Grandpa.” George tried to adjust his tie, but only smeared dirt on his shirt. “Abigail is a trap ready to spring!”
Charles hit George so hard he rose in the air before falling a foot away from where he originally stood. Charles helped him up and lent his handkerchief for George’s bloody, no doubt broken nose. As Abigail’s immediate champion, Charles warned, “The sheriff might provide permanent lodgings if you don’t relocate on your own volition.”
“Sheriff Leonard’s lodgings on Main and Williams are my favorite stomping grounds.” George’s taunt was muffled by his bloodying handkerchief. “Why don’t you send that hellion detective, Dolly Colt, over there?”
Dirtied by even listening to the scoundrel, Charles’s supper churned in his stomach with a threatening taste of bile at the back of his throat.
About Rohn Federbush
Rohn Federbush retired as an administrator from the University of Michigan in 1999. She received a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing in 1995 from Eastern Michigan University. Frederick Busch of Colgate granted a 1997 summer stipend for her ghost-story collection. Michael Joyce of Vassar encouraged earlier writing at Jackson Community College, Jackson, Michigan in 1981.
Rohn has completed fourteen novels, with an additional mystery nearly finished, 120 short stories and 150 poems to date.