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Never Too Late (Carolina Cousins Book #3) , livre ebook

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122 pages
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Description

New danger and new love at Rosewood in post-Civil War North Carolina, with strong themes of equality, second chances, and unconditional love. Carolina Cousins #3.

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 01 janvier 2007
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781441211347
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 2 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0202€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

Cover
Title Page
Title Page
© 2007 by Michael Phillips
Published by Bethany House Publishers 11400 Hampshire Avenue South Bloomington, Minnesota 55438 www.bethanyhouse.com
Bethany House Publishers is a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan. www.bakerpublishinggroup.com
Ebook edition created 2012
Ebook corrections 04.16.2016 (VBN), 10.10.26
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher and copyright owners.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
ISBN 978-1-4412-1134-7
Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.
Cover photography by Steve Gardner Cover design by The Design Works Group
Dedication
To those young people I have been privileged to teach and coach in track and cross country through the years, from Winship Junior High to Eureka and Fortuna High Schools. You have enriched my life in many ways, and I thank you for the pleasant memories of wonderful experiences and friendships.
C ONTENTS

Cover
Title Page
Copyright Page
Dedication
Prologue
1. Fire
2. A World Long Before the War
3. Strange New Home
4. Friends
5. One-Eyed Jack
6. A Cup of Sugar and Two Sweet Biscuits
7. Minuet
8. Storm and Fire
9. A New Dream
10. Flight
11. Fugitives
12. Welcome Destination
13. Waystation
14. New Surroundings
15. Sweet Biscuits and What Became of Them
16. More Biscuits and a New Job
17. New Life
18. Terror
19. Unexpected Reunion
20. A Promise Fulfilled
21. The New House
22. Extra Helper
23. Catching Supper
24. Rob’s Letter
25. A Scare
26. Recovery
27. A Bookcase
28. Talk About the Past
29. Mrs. Hammond
30. Shopkeeper Katie
31. A Visit
32. Hard Talk
33. A Coat of All Sizes and Shapes
34. Two Hearts
35. Another Letter
36. Fateful Day
37. Aftermath
38. Three Conversations
39. Henry and Josepha
40. Parting
41. Endings
Epilogue
Author Biography
Other Books by Author
Back Cover
P ROLOGUE


It’s mighty strange how you think you know folks so well, when you really don’t know them as well as you thought .
Everybody’s got more thoughts and feelings going on inside than you realize. People have pasts too, whole lives you don’t know about, and might never find out about either if you don’t take the time to try .
I reckon that’s what makes getting to know people so interesting, almost an adventure you might say. The stories people have to tell—even just about themselves and what has happened to them and where they’ve been and what they’ve seen and what they’ve learned—are some of the most interesting things there are in life. Maybe that’s why they say that everyone’s life is interesting enough to write a book about if you just knew how to go about it .
That’s probably why I’ve enjoyed telling stories ever since I started spinning yarns for my kid brother Samuel. Back then, when we were slaves, I just made them up to pass the time. Or, I’d retell the old tales I’d heard around the fire—the ones about Mr. Rabbit and Mr. Fox were my favorites. But later as I grew, I discovered that the best stories of all were about people—true stories about what happened to them. Maybe they’re not really “stories,” then . . . I’m not exactly sure about that .
But they’re still fascinating, and I still enjoy telling them just the same .
F IRE
1

H ENRY PATTERSON WAS A MAN WHO HAD NO enemies. At least that’s what people thought.
Why danger would stalk such a peace-loving soul was a mystery no one in Greens Crossing ever quite understood except those involved. And they were not the kind of men who talked.
The previous day had not been unusual. There were a couple visits from men Henry did not recognize asking for the owner of the livery stable. When told that he was not there, they had looked about in an odd sort of way before riding off. Henry thought little of it at the time. Yet the peculiar exchanges played on his mind long afterward, and kept him from sleeping soundly that night.
He was awake as usual at daybreak the next morning. Most of the rest of the Rosewood family were talking around the breakfast table about going into town that day too. But as Henry and his son Jeremiah both had to be at their jobs early, they were the first to ride away from the plantation house about half past seven.
The secret men’s vigilante club known as the Ku Klux Klan had spread rapidly throughout the South after the War Between the States, dedicated to the preservation of white supremacy and Southern tradition. Its members viewed it as their sacred duty as loyal Southerners to exact retribution on whites who embraced the new order . . . and on blacks who did not know their place.
The Klan was not the only such vigilante group that roved the counties of the South, tormenting and killing what they called “uppity niggers.” But it was the most powerful and the most feared. The very thought of the silent night riders—clad in white sheets and hoods—awoke dread and terror.
The Klan’s weapons of choice were three: the gun, the torch, and the rope.
In the North Carolina communities of Greens Crossing and Oakwood, some twenty miles from Charlotte, a number of prominent men had been initiated into the mysteries of the Klan. Although there had been one attempted hanging, their mischief in the area had thus far produced no deaths. That seemed, however, about to change.
On this particular day in the fall of the year 1869, the local KKK had decided to modify their tactics. They would strike in broad daylight and in plain sight, in order to teach a lesson none in the community would forget. Their target was a black man every one of them had known for years. If the truth were known, none had any personal quarrel with Henry Patterson. He knew his place, spoke respectfully, and never gave any trouble. But he was also involved with people who didn’t seem to know the difference between blacks and whites.
It was what he represented. He had been the first free black to settle in the region before the war. Now with unsettling changes taking place everywhere, it almost seemed as if he had been the start of it all. The fact that he now lived out at the Daniels place made killing him the easiest way to get back at the whole pack of them—whites and blacks together.
And so as the fifteen or more white-robed riders galloped toward Greens Crossing a little before noon, the burning torches in their hands were not to light their way, as would have been the case had the raid come in the middle of the night.
They intended to put the fire to another use.
Mary Ann, Templeton, and Ward Daniels, Kathleen Clairborne, and Josepha Black had all arrived in Greens Crossing sometime after eleven o’clock, and were now about their own business. The two Daniels brothers had gone to the bank. Josepha was in Mrs. Hammond’s general store picking up Rosewood’s mail and a few supplies. Mayme and Katie had gone to the shoe and boot shop.
The thundering approach of the riders, coming from the far end of Greens Crossing where the livery sat as the last building in town, did not at first attract the attention of any of the townspeople.
Inside the livery, the moment Henry heard the angry shouts, he knew they were meant for him. He started to walk outside. Several gunshots at his feet stopped him in his tracks.
“Get back inside, Patterson,” called one of the hooded riders, “or you’ll be a dead man!”
Several more shots followed rapidly to enforce the threat.
The livery was quickly surrounded by the horsemen. Escape on foot would be impossible. The first torch landed on the roof before the echo of the last shot had died away. It was followed by over a dozen more lighting the wall. Within seconds, the small building was encircled in a ring of fire.
Henry heard the crackle of flames and smelled the smoke the instant the first torch landed. He ran to the stables to free the three or four horses inside. Their wide nostrils had also smelled the smoke and they had begun to whinny and rear in growing fright.
With effort, Henry got them loose, then unlatched the rear door and kicked it wide. A blast of heat from five-foot flames sent him staggering backward. He shouted and kicked and whipped at the terrified horses, until at last, shrieking in panic and confusion, they bolted through the smoke and flame to safety.
“Look out!” cried several of the riders, hurriedly getting their own mounts out of the way.
“Don’t let him through!” shouted another. “Keep the circle tight . . . shoot him if he tries to make a break for it!”
The instant the horses from inside stampeded past them, they closed ranks, guarding every inch of the perimeter so that no human could follow the horses and escape.
The explosions of gunfire, followed so quickly by a plume of smoke rising from the livery—a tinderbox of straw and dried wood—brought everyone running out of stores and homes looking about to find the cause of the commotion. Mr. Watson was one of the first men into the street. Glancing toward the livery, he shouted for the fire brigade. Within seconds a dozen men were running toward the scene.
In the bank, someone shouted, “The livery’s on fire!”
At Watson’s mill, Jeremiah Patterson had been working inside. He too heard the shouts and was only seconds after his boss into the street. Ward and Templeton ran up to join him from the direction of the bank. The instant he saw where the smoke was coming from, Jeremiah sprinted ahead of them toward the livery.
People were running and shouting from everywhere now.
Inside the burning building, the dense, suffocating smoke was so thick that Henry could see nothing. All was blackness about him. He grabbed a bucket half full of water from near

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