Authors: Nancy Herriman
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #General, #Christian, #Historical, #Western, #Religion
“A wonderful historical romance!
Nancy Herriman is a talented author.”
, RT B
“From her stunning 1830s London debut
to her haunting new San Francisco historical
Nancy Herriman is quickly establishing herself as a name to watch—and devour—in Christian fiction.”
ESSMAN, AUTHOR OF
OSTON SERIES AND
“Vividly drawn. . . .
is an engaging and lively tale, populated with layered characters, blossoming romance and a suspenseful air, confirming Herriman’s talent with the written word. Romance readers rejoice!”
“A sweet story about finding love in unlikely places.”
“Vivid characters, tender romance and
enduring themes . . . a perfect read.”
IMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR
“The Irish Healer
is a wonderful debut novel. . . .
I’ll be watching for more books from Herriman.”
BEST-SELLING AND AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR
“Debut author Herriman . . . knows how to
engage readers to win their hearts.”
, RT B
“A lovely period tale of personal transformation and abiding love.”
“The Irish Healer
holds plenty of promise of an enduring
career for the talented Nancy Herriman.”
Copyright © 2013 by Nancy Herriman
Published by Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., 134 Franklin Road, Suite 200, Brentwood, Tennessee 37027.
ELPING PEOPLE EXPERIENCE THE HEART OF
eBook available at
Audio distributed through Brilliance Audio; visit
Library of Congress Control Number: 2012956460
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 quotations marked (
) are taken from the King James Version.
For foreign and subsidiary rights, contact Riggins International Services Inc.;
Published in association with Natasha Kern Literary Agency.
ISBN: 978-1-61795-479-6 (trade paper)
Cover Design: Kent Jenson, Knail, LLC;
Cover Photo of Woman: Steve Gardner, PixelWorks Studios;
Interior Design and Typesetting: Cindy Kiple
Printed in the United States of America
13 14 15 16 17 QGFF 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
To the nurses at COHA–
you were a blessing to me at a time of great need.
This book is dedicated to you all.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
San Francisco, California June 1882
n this town, Sarah Jane, a man’s worth is calculated in dollars and cents. Measured by what he has to show for himself . . .”
Sarah Whittier clasped her hat against the stiff summer wind and stared up at the four-story building on Montgomery Street, the soaring stone facade and row upon row of arched windows impressive, daunting. Worth a great deal of dollars and cents—a concrete manifestation of Josiah Cady’s oft-repeated saying. Sarah refused, however, to be intimidated by the carved limestone and the windows reflecting the fog-laced California sky. Even though, before Josiah left her a house and a chance, she had once been worth not much more than a plugged nickel.
Sarah sucked in a breath, as deep as her corset would allow, and returned her gaze to the real estate agency’s front door, housed smack-dab in the middle of the courses of gleaming stone. This morning marked the third time she’d come by. Mr. Pomroy would be unhappy to see her again, but she had to secure the lease on the Sansome Street storefront. It was the perfect space for her design studio, and she had promised the girls she would get that lease no matter what. For them, she would work until she dropped and defy the most stubborn man she’d
met in California. Opening the shop so each of the girls could have a real chance at a decent future had become her mission. Her sole purpose: to take care of them. They were her family now, after the one she’d been born into had tossed her onto the street.
Mistakes—her terrible mistakes—had proven awfully hard to forgive.
“You goin’ in?” A man from the adjacent business, an insurance agency, had come on to the sidewalk to smirk at her. “Or you just gonna stand there and stare at the front door?"
Sarah gave him a tight-lipped smile. “I am going in.”
Not that it is any of your business what I do.
His smirk broadened. “I’ve found applying your hand to the doorknob helps.”
“Thanks ever so much.”
The glass in the door rattled when she closed it firmly behind her, drawing a scowl from one of the clerks occupying the front office of Pomroy Real Estate Associates.
“Miss Whittier.” He squinted, his long nose crinkling. “Come to see Mr. Pomroy again?”
The low hum of male voices swelled and chair casters squealed as the men turned to stare, abandoning any pretense of working. Cigarettes smoldered forgotten in fingers; fountain pens halted mid-sentence; ledger pages ceased being flipped. The sandy-blond fellow perched on a stool near the tall windows—if she continued to come here daily, she’d probably learn his name and everyone else’s—elbowed the man seated at his left. They guffawed loud enough for Sarah to hear. She ignored them.
“I have an eleven o’clock appointment,” she said.
The clerk with the long nose consulted the logbook atop his desk. “Somehow, you do.”
“Miss Whittier.” Ambrose Pomroy’s voice boomed. He strode through the crowded real estate office, weaving his way between the cluttered desks arrayed like rows of produce wagons
at a country market, jostling for prime space. “Here you are once more.”
He made her arrival sound like a visitation of the plague.
“I’ve secured a loan from Mr. Theodore Samuelson. For five hundred dollars.” She showed him the note from Lottie’s father that had delivered the news. Charlotte Samuelson—excellent business partner, better friend—had come through as promised. “And more importantly, I finally have a buyer interested in the property in Placerville that Josiah left to me. It will provide plenty of cash to cover my business expenses for several months.”
Mr. Pomroy inspected the letter and then folded his arms. He had the air of a man who was used to assessing, and right then he was assessing her. “You have been hard at work.”
“You said you needed me to provide proof that my studio will have a sound footing, and I have.”
“What you should have done, Miss Whittier, is obtain a partner with experience managing a business.” Mr. Pomroy punctuated his statement with an arch of his graying right eyebrow. “That store space is a valuable piece of property. I want the right tenant.”
the right tenant.”
“You are a
tenant. Whether or not you are the
tenant remains to be determined.”
“Mr. Pomroy,” she said, fixing him with the steely gaze she had taught herself after hours practicing in front of a mirror, “you seem to be under the impression I am going to leave this office today without a rental contract. Well, I can tell you this time I—”
He didn’t wait for the rest of Sarah’s sentence. Mr. Pomroy turned on his heel and marched back the way he’d come. Sarah set her chin and chased after him, her half boots tattooing a beat on the polished oak floor.
“Mr. Pomroy,” she called, clutching at the skirts of her striped amber twill dress to keep from tripping on the hem, “you must listen to me.”
He serpentined between stools and trash cans and an errant filing cabinet, the tail of his frock coat flapping against his legs. “I have listened.”
“I am not going to give up today. I promise you.”
A clerk sniggered openly as Sarah passed, affirming that she looked ridiculous, pursuing Mr. Pomroy like a street urchin.
“Turner, back to work,” Mr. Pomroy snapped at the man. “We are trying to make money here, not offer commentary on our clients.”
Sarah’s bustle brushed against the side of a desk, scattering papers and causing another of Mr. Pomroy’s employees to grumble a complaint about women and their proper place. “Might we discuss this matter in private?” she asked.
Might we sit down?
“A private discussion will not reduce my concerns about your business venture.” He paused in an aisle and leaned close to emphasize his point, near enough that she could smell the lemon-clove astringency of mouthwash on his breath. “A custom artwork studio run by immigrant women? What do illiterate seamstresses and coarse factory girls know about operating a lithograph press or coloring photographs, balancing the books?”
“As I explained yesterday, they will know everything they need to know by the time I have finished training them. They all possess the necessary talent or else I wouldn’t have taken them on. I’m satisfied we’ll be successful.”
“Be honest with yourself, Miss Whittier,” he said bluntly. “Your enterprise is more of a charity than a business. If you are so keen to have a job, then teach young ladies—ones able to pay a fee—how to paint. A more genteel and respectable occupation than this folly.”
“Mr. Samuelson and the others”—she wished there were more than one or two “others” but she wouldn’t mention that now—“who have offered to support my shop don’t seem to think my artwork studio is a charity.”
“I would not be so certain about their opinions, if I were you.”
He started walking again, leaving the open floor area to stride down a hallway.
Sarah sprinted after him. “My girls need the good jobs this shop will provide them, Mr. Pomroy,” she persisted as sweat collected beneath her collar. “I can’t let them down.”
“Your girls are street savvy. They will survive. Their kind do.”
Survive? Would they? Would I have survived, if it weren’t for Josiah?
She’d come frighteningly close to paying a terrible price for her misdeeds and had far more in common with her girls than Mr. Pomroy need ever know. If he ever did find out . . . a shudder rolled across Sarah’s shoulders.
“I want those girls to do more than survive. I want them to thrive,” she said to his retreating back. “I don’t know how you can be so indifferent to Josiah’s wishes. You know he wanted this for me. You told him before he died that you would help.”
“Josiah Cady was too sentimental.”
The offhand criticism bit, sharp as a wasp sting. “Is that what you’ve been thinking all along? All these days I’ve been coming here, urging you to lease me that storefront, you’ve been thinking Josiah was simply overly sentimental? I thought you were his friend.”