Rylee Shepherd’s secret desire is tethered to a thirteen-year-old letter and the promise it holds. Penniless yet hopeful, she keeps that letter close to her heart and takes a nanny position on the lush island of Kauai. She’s soon charmed by her employer’s estranged son who walks her through doors she never intended to open.
Noah Logun has a shameful past, and his wealthy drama-queen mother orders him to stay away from their property and their nanny. Trapped in the crossfire, Rylee must choose between Noah and his generous mother.
Entrenched wickedness is preventing reconciliation and blocking love. Only in surrendering to the Spirit can Rylee overcome the prevailing darkness.
Copyright 2016 J.A. Marx
Behind her, a hollering child descended the stairs. She closed the French door and turned around.
“Miss Rylee?” Eight-year-old Theodore skipped out of the hallway and across the white-tiled living area. He had his pointer finger cocooned in the opposite hand. “I need a Band-Aid.” He unfolded his digits and blood dripped.
Catching her breath, Rylee guided him toward the kitchen, holding her hand beneath his to net the droplets. The crimson fluid matched the ribbons of red etched into the tile, and she would have to mop the whole area to not miss a spot. “What happened?”
“Jonathan tried to cut a window in the fort with the X-Acto knife.”
Hiding that knife in the cabinet above the fridge should have been sufficient, but Jonathan proved too precocious for his own good. Even so, the combined energy of these sheltered twins couldn’t hold a candle to the kids Rylee had left behind. She lifted Theo onto the counter.
His velvet brown eyes matched those of his twin brother, the only trait they had in common. He smiled. “I like your curls.” His bloodstained hand reached for her blonde hair.
“Heavens to Murgatroyd.” Catching his wrist, she rerouted his mucky paw toward the sink. “And I like your freckles, Theo.”
His nose crinkled. “Who’s Murgatroyd?”
“It’s part of a phrase from an ancient cartoon.” She didn’t bother trying to explain Snagglepuss and Yogi Bear to a boy who only knew Disney characters. Those Hanna Barbera ’toons lived before her time anyway.
“Ancient?” Theo frowned. “How old are you again?”
“Eighteen.” She turned the water on to a gentle stream.
“You’re older than my sisters.” The boy washed off the blood then rubbed his nose with his uninjured wet hand, leaving dribbles. “They’re in England. Have you been there?”
“Nope.” Holding Theo’s cut finger under the water, she handed him a dishtowel with which to dry his face. “I never crossed the Colorado border until I came here.”
Despite the presently nagging doubts, she had no desire to return to her former predictable and dull existence. Before this yearlong commitment to the Loguns ended, she aimed to send out her college applications. Nothing but death could stop her from becoming a schoolteacher.
She finished rinsing the wound and then wrapped a paper towel around the boy’s pointer and squeezed to stop the flow. Her ample experience at dealing with minor emergencies had earned her the status of First Responder back home. She could distinguish the serious injuries, and this cut did not require stitches.
“I bet Noah would like you.” Theo’s bare feet kicked against the egg-yolk yellow cabinets.
Rylee quieted them with her leg before his heels left grime marks. “Who’s Noah?”
“Our big brother.”
Her stomach tightened. They have a brother?
Why had the Loguns never mentioned another son? They bragged about their two teenage daughters who attended a private equestrian school in England. They’d boasted about their show dogs, two Afghan hounds that won blue ribbons six years in a row before someone stole the canines.
Wondering if the boy was making this up, she narrowed her gaze. “Where is Noah?”
"Don’t know.” Theo snorted and spit in the sink. “He’s tall like you are. He always hits his head in the toy room.”
Rylee giggled. She still had a bruise on her skull from bumping into the angled ceiling above the Lego table. “Why do you think Noah would like me?” Keeping the boy’s mouth moving calmed his bouncy legs.
“’Cuz he’s a sheep.”
Baffled, she stared at Theo’s pretty face, which would never qualify as handsome. If this kid had long hair, he could pass as a girl. “What do you mean?”
“You’re a shepherd. And sheeps like shepherds.”
Beginning to make funny sense out of the boy’s statement, she rinsed his finger again and examined it. Her surname was Shepherd. But the other half of his reasoning had her guessing. “Do you mean Noah is a…black sheep?”