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Authors: Erin Healy

Tags: #Christian, #Suspense, #Fiction

House of Mercy

BOOK: House of Mercy
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A
CCLAIM FOR
E
RIN
H
EALY’S PREVIOUS WORKS

T
HE
B
AKER’S
W
IFE

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OURNAL OF
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OOKS

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OMANTIC
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IMES
4 ½
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REVIEW

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OURNAL

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“Heart-pounding suspense and unrelenting hope that will steal your breath.”

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EKKER
,
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IMES
BEST-SELLING AUTHOR

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OOKLIST

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EE, AUTHOR OF
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AVAH:
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HE
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TORY OF
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VE

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HE
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ROMISES
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EEPS

“ . . . A smartly written story . . .
The Promises She Keeps
will undoubtedly be enjoyed by established fans of Healy’s writing, and those unfamiliar with her work, or even the genre, should give this captivating novel a read.”


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OOKS.COM

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TORY.COM

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The Promises She Keeps
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T
HE
G
AZETTE
(C
OLORADO
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PRINGS
, CO)

O
THER
N
OVELS BY
E
RIN
H
E
ALY

The Baker’s Wife

The Promises She Keeps

Never Let You Go

N
OVELS
C
OAUTHORED WITH
T
ED
D
EKKER

Kiss

Burn

HOUSE OF
MERCY

E
RIN
H
E
ALY

© 2012 by Erin Healy

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Scripture references are taken from the KING JAMES VERSION and the NEW KING JAMES VERSION. © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Published in Nashville, Tennessee. Thomas Nelson is a trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Published in association with Creative Trust Literary Group, 5141 Virginia Way, Suite 320, Brentwood, TN 37027.

Thomas Nelson, Inc., books may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. For information, please e-mail [email protected]

Publisher’s Note: This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. All characters are fictional, and any similarity to people living or dead is purely coincidental.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Healy, Erin M.

   House of mercy / Erin Healy.

      p. cm.

   ISBN 978-1-4016-8551-5 (pbk.)

1. Young women--Fiction. 2. Ranches--Colorado--Fiction. 3. Domestic fiction. I. Title.

   PS3608.E245H68 2012

   813'.6--dc23

2012014076

Printed in the United States of America

12 13 14 15 16 17 QG 6 5 4 3 2 1

For my son.
May you know the love of the Lord your God your whole life.

“To work miracles in our own lives, we must follow this plan: have only love in our hearts, and proceed with first faith, then works. In order for the door to heaven to open to us, we must trust that God is love, that love is what He intends for us, and love is what He wants from us. Then, through loving-kindness, we will make our way toward Him.”

D
R
. I
SSAM
N
EMEH
IN
M
IRACLES
E
VERY
D
AY
BY
M
AURA
P
OSTON
Z
AGRANS

Contents

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

41

42

Author Note

An Encounter with Mercy’s Kin

About the Author

1

I
t wasn’t every day that an old saddle could improve a horse’s life.

That was what Beth Borzoi was thinking as she stood in the dusty tack room that smelled like her favorite pair of leather boots. In the back corner where the splintering-wood walls met, she tugged the faded leather saddle off the bottommost rung of the heavy-duty rack, where it had sat, unused and forgotten, for years.

Her little brother, Danny, would have said she was stealing the saddle. He might have called her a kleptomaniac. That was too strong a word, but Danny was fifteen and liked to throw bold words around, cocky-like, show-off rodeo ropes aimed at snagging people. She loved that about him. It was a cute phase. Even so, she had formed a mental argument against the characterization of herself as a thief, in case she needed to use it, because Danny was too young to understand the true meaning of even stronger words like sacrifice or situational ethics.

After all, she was working in secret, in the hidden folds of a summer night, so that both she and the saddle could leave the Blazing B unnoticed. In the wrong light, it might look like a theft.

The truth was, it was not her saddle to give away. It was Jacob’s saddle, though in the fifteen years Jacob had lived at the ranch, she had never seen him use it. The bigger truth was that this saddle abandoned to tarnish and sawdust could be put to better use. The fenders were plated with silver, pure metal that could be melted down and converted into money to save a horse from suffering. Decorative silver bordered the round skirt and framed the rear housing. The precious metal had been hammered to conform to the gentle rise of the cantle in the back and the swell in the front. The lovely round conchos were studded with turquoise. Hand-tooled impressions of wild mountain flowers covered the leather everywhere that silver didn’t.

In its day, it must have been a fine show saddle. And if Jacob valued that at all, he wouldn’t have stored it like this.

Under the naked-bulb beams of the tack room, Beth’s body cast a shadow over the pretty piece as she hefted it. She blew the dirt and dander off the horn, swiped off the cracked seat with the flat of her hand, then turned away her head and sneezed. Colorado’s dry climate had not been kind to the leather.

She wasn’t stealing. She was saving an animal’s life.

The latch on the barn door released Beth to the midnight air with a click like a stolen kiss. The saddle weighed about thirty-five pounds, which was easy to manage when snatching it off a rack and tossing it onto a horse’s back. But it would feel much heavier by the time she reached her destination. She’d parked her truck a ways off where the rumbling old clunker wouldn’t raise questions or family members sleeping in the nearby ranch house. She’d left her dog at the foot of Danny’s bed with clear orders to stay. She hoped the animal would mind.

Energized, she crossed the horses’ yard. A few of them nickered greetings at her, including Hastings, who nuzzled her empty pockets for treats. The horses never slept in the barn’s stalls unless they were sick. Even in winter they stayed in the pasture, preferring the outdoor lean-to shelters.

The Blazing B, a 6,500-acre working cattle ranch, lay to the northwest of Colorado’s San Luis Valley. The region was called a valley because this portion of the state was a Rocky Mountain hammock that swung between the San Juans to the west and the Sangre de Cristos to the east. But at more than seven thousand feet, it was no low-lying flatland. It was, in fact, the highest alpine valley in the world. And it was the only place in the world that Beth ever wanted to live. Having graduated from the local community college with honors and saved enough additional money for her continuing education, she planned to leave in the fall to begin her first year of veterinary school. She would be gone as long as it took to earn her license, but her long-term plan was to return as a more valuable person. Her skills would save the family thousands of dollars every year, freeing up funds for their most important task—providing a home and a hard day’s work to discarded men who needed the peace the Blazing B had to offer.

BOOK: House of Mercy
5.89Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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