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Simply Love

By´╝ÜCatherine Anderson

Prologue

Alone inside the church, Cassandra Zerek scooted on her knees…



One

It was the devil’s own afternoon. Black clouds gathered over…



Two

As Luke resumed his walk toward the church, his gaze…



Three

Several nights later, Cassandra was cooking the evening meal and…



Four

When her father and brother didn’t return at a reasonable…



Five

Despite the chill of the September morning, a feeling of…



Six

A picket fence bordered the velvet front lawn of Taggart…



Seven

Luke braced a hand on the newel post’s gleaming finial…



Eight

Games…When Cassandra had made mention of such activities that afternoon,…



Nine

As weary as Cassandra was, she couldn’t sleep. The bed…



Ten

Luke rose from bed the next morning ready to lay…



Eleven

The smell of ammonia was strong enough to bring tears…



Twelve

Lamplight played over the kitchen, bathing the brick walls and…



Thirteen

At precisely eight-fifteen the next morning, Luke descended the long…



Fourteen

For an instant that seemed years long, Luke couldn’t react…



Fifteen

By mid-morning, Lycodomes was showing marked signs of improvement. Not…



Sixteen

Her eyes wide and wary, she set down her wineglass…



Seventeen

It seemed to Luke he’d just closed his eyes when…



Eighteen

A twelve-branched candelabra at the center of the dining-room table…



Nineteen

Pressed against the wall and imprisoned there by Luke’s muscular…



Twenty

As Cassandra opened her eyes the next morning, sunlight dappled…



Twenty-One

Luke jerked awake and searched the gloom-filled room. For a…



Twenty-Two

Shame clung to Cassandra like a sodden cloak as she…



Twenty-Three

The drapes were drawn, and the lamp had long been…



Twenty-Four

Stone-sober from shock, Luke paused for a moment outside Doctor…



Twenty-Five

Cassandra perched woodenly on the waiting room chair between her…



Twenty-Six

When Cassandra and Khristos returned to the doctor’s office the…



Twenty-Seven

With the first ring of steel striking rock from deep…



Twenty-Eight

For two weeks, Luke showed up at the Zerek mine…



Twenty-Nine

After an amazingly informal greeting from Pipps, who grabbed her…



About the Author



Other Books by Catherine Anderson



Copyright



About the Publisher





PROLOGUE





Black Jack, Colorado

August 1887

Alone inside the church, Cassandra Zerek scooted on her knees across the floor, rubbing industriously at the squares of oak within her reach until they shone like polished agate. Anemic afternoon sunlight came through the stained glass windows, casting a rainbow of colors across the empty pews, all of which gleamed with the fresh coat of beeswax she’d just applied. Mingling with the scent of the wax were lingering traces of incense from Mass that morning and the acrid smell of smoke from the flickering votive candles that burned near the altar.

Sitting back on her heels to catch her breath, Cassandra swiped a tendril of curly, sable hair from her eyes and puffed air past her lips to cool her cheeks. Perspiration ran in rivulets from under her breasts and trickled over her ribs, the sensation making her itch under the heavy wool of her blue dress. Dratted dress, anyhow. No matter how many layers of underclothing she wore, the coarse weave always managed to irritate her skin.

Eyeing the distance she still had to cover before she would be finished with the floor, Cassandra nearly groaned. It was another twenty feet up the center aisle to the doors. Considering the fact that the aisle was four tiles across, each a foot square, and she was the only person there to buff each one, that was no short distance. Her arms already felt like aching lumps hanging off her shoulders, and her back hurt. Her eighteen years felt like a hundred.

Waxing the church floor was a big job for one person to tackle, and three-quarters of the way through, she always wondered why she’d ever promised to do it. The answer was simple, of course. Because she couldn’t afford to give money to the church as other people did, she made a gift of her time instead, helping the nuns over at the convent and orphanage every weekday afternoon, laundering Father Tully’s vestments, and cleaning the church from top to bottom twice a month.

Today was her day to clean….

Resuming the task with renewed vigor, Cassandra refolded her buffing cloth to leave a fresh side out, then bent to resume her rubbing. Suffering, she reminded herself, helped to build character, and since she truly wanted to become a nun, she needed all the character she could get.

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