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Authors: Cynthia Hickey

Tags: #Fiction, #Christian, #Romance

Cooking Up Love (14 page)

BOOK: Cooking Up Love
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Chapter 24

T
abby sat in a high-backed straight chair and stared at the white boots on the floor in front of her. Walking in the sand would be difficult in shoes with a heel, no matter how modest. She smiled. No, she’d go barefoot and carry the boots. Just as she had done yesterday when finding her love on the beach.

“You look beautiful.” Mrs. Foster dabbed at her eyes. “That’s the dress from the mercantile window. Oh, and the...boots.”

Tabby stood and hugged her future mother-in-law. “This is all your doing, Mrs. Foster. If you hadn’t met me in the mercantile...”

“Pshaw.” She waved a hand. “Please, call me Ma. We’re family. I haven’t seen Adam this happy in such a long time. It does this old heart good.”

“I’ll do everything in my power to make sure he stays that way.”

“Just love him.” Ma cupped her face. “And I can see that you do.”

“With everything in me.” Tears stung Tabby’s eyes. God was so good to her, and all she’d done previously was feel sorry for the life she’d had as a child. A difficult life, but one that prepared her to know, and cherish, happiness when she found it.

“Will you miss your life as a Harvey Girl?” Ma tucked a piece of hair that had fallen loose from her bun back under its pin.

“No. I enjoyed that life, but this is the one God has called me to.” Amazement over the revelation wouldn’t dissipate anytime soon. For a girl who’d always yearned for a steady job and adventure, marriage offered more than she’d dreamed in both areas.

“Okay.” Ma shook out the hem of Tabby’s dress, then handed her a bouquet of daisies. “I’m going to the beach. You and Daphne come along when you can. I’m sure Adam is as jittery as a june bug.” She gave Tabby a kiss, then left the room.

No more so than Tabby. She lifted her trembling hands when Daphne entered the room. “I’ll fall before I get there.”

Daphne shook her head and took Tabby’s hands. “I’ll be with you the whole way. After all, Adam is waiting. I’m sure if you fall, he will break his fool neck rushing to your aid.”

Tabby giggled, picturing the sight of her sitting in the sand in her new dress with Adam sprawled before her in his best clothes. “Yes, I guess he would.” He’d storm hell’s gates if she needed him to.

She peered out the window. The sun was beginning to set. She’d have to hurry to be there on time. Adam wanted the sky pink like her cheeks, he’d said. She flushed at his words, eager to become Mrs. Foster.

With a deep breath, she nodded. “Time to go.” Her heart leaped.

* * *

“Don’t turn around yet, son, she’s got a ways to walk, and you don’t want to ruin the surprise,” Pa said. “But your bride is as lovely as the flowers she carries.”

Adam shook his arms to release the tension in his shoulders. This was it. The day he got married to the love of his life. He cast a glance heavenward. He’d loved Marilyn, no doubt about it, but knew deep in his soul that Tabby was the one God had created as his other half. He knew it as sure as he knew he needed to breathe to live. “Tell me when she’s close enough for me to see her face clearly.”

“Oh.” Ma fanned her hands in front of her face. “I’m going to be all red and puffy by the time she gets here.”

Pa put his arm around her shoulders. “We don’t want you to outshine the bride, now do we?”

“Stop.” She hit his shoulder. “You can turn now, son. The ocean plays a beautiful wedding march, doesn’t it?”

Adam nodded and glanced at a seagull soaring overhead, the stark white of its feathers in direct contrast with an azure sky. He took a deep breath before he turned.

A vision in blue picked her way across the sand, white boots in one hand, white daisies in the other. She’d come barefoot, just as she’d said she would. His grin almost split his face. While Daphne looked lovely in a dress of green, he couldn’t take his eyes off Tabby.

He dug his toes into the sand. Most people might think it improper for them to get married without shoes, but not him. Not when this was the exact spot where she had agreed to be his wife.

Tabby’s eyes glistened as Daphne took her bouquet, then went to stand with Ma and Pa. Tears stung Adam’s eyes.
Thank you, God, for this wonderful gift.

The pastor cleared his throat. “Dearly beloved, we are gathered...”

Adam wasn’t sure what else was said, so engrossed was he with his bride’s face. Their gazes locked. He hardly blinked. He must have said all the right things, made all the right gestures, because the next thing he heard was, “You may now kiss the bride.”

With a squeal, Tabby threw herself into his arms. He grabbed her close, dipped her back and planted one long kiss on her delicious lips while his family cheered. How he looked forward to doing so as often as he pleased.

“I love you, Mrs. Foster.”

“And I love you, Mr. Foster.”

* * * * *

Dear Reader,

The Harvey Girls were an important part of American history, and I hope you enjoyed spending time with them as much as I enjoyed writing their stories. While I read many personal accounts of the Harvey Girls, I took liberties with the people working in the restaurants, and the time frames depicted. Unable to find any information on opening dates except for knowing that new Harvey restaurants were continually opening along the railroad, I also took the liberty of placing restaurants where needed and in the time frames needed to move my story forward.

Harvey Girls were trained in Kansas, and as the railroad moved westward more restaurants opened along the line. The Harvey House in Raton, New Mexico, did not belong to Fred Harvey until 1882.

I have no idea if such persons as Mr. Hastings or Miss O’Connor existed. From the true accounts I’ve read, the Harvey restaurants were known for friendly, exemplary service and were a wonderful place of employment.

I wanted to portray people chasing their dreams, and since women were just beginning to be accepted into the workforce, I thought it timely to have Tabby struggle with the issue some of the historical Harvey Girls struggled with in the very beginning.

Some people in the beginning of the Harvey restaurants frowned upon the women being called to serve, and many women did find their husbands while working in the famous restaurants along the Santa Fe Railroad. I hope I entertained you with a sweet love story and a fictional, behind-the-scenes look at the women who opened the West.

Cynthia Hickey

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ISBN: 9781460316191

Copyright © 2013 by Cynthia M. Hickey

All rights reserved. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical,
now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of publisher, Harlequin Enterprises Limited, 225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada M3B 3K9.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental. This edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher. Trademarks indicated with ® are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Canadian Trade Marks Office and in other countries.

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BOOK: Cooking Up Love
10.74Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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