Honeysuckle Season by Mary Ellen Taylor
English | 2020| Romance| ePUB | 3.2 MB
From bestselling author Mary Ellen Taylor comes a story about profound loss, hard truths, and an overgrown greenhouse full of old secrets.
Adrift in the wake of her father’s death, a failed marriage, and multiple miscarriages, Libby McKenzie feels truly alone. Though her new life as a wedding photographer provides a semblance of purpose, it’s also a distraction from her profound pain.
When asked to photograph a wedding at the historic Woodmont estate, Libby meets the owner, Elaine Grant. Hoping to open Woodmont to the public, Elaine has employed young widower Colton Reese to help restore the grounds and asks Libby to photograph the process. Libby is immediately drawn to the old greenhouse shrouded in honeysuckle vines.
As Libby forms relationships and explores the overgrown—yet hauntingly beautiful—Woodmont estate, she finds the emotional courage to sort through her father’s office. There she discovers a letter that changes everything she knows about her parents, herself, and the estate. Beneath the vines of the old greenhouse lie generations of secrets, and it’s up to Libby to tend to the fruits born of long-buried seeds.
There were three tricks to hiding. First, it was important to breathe as shallow as possible. If you were doing it right, your nostrils barely flared, and your breathing was as shallow as the James River in drought-hot summer heat. Next, a good rabbit tamed its racing heart and did not allow it to pound and drum against the ribs. Sounds had a tendency to echo beyond the confines of the body.
And the third trick, and not the least by far, was keeping your eyes cast downward. You never looked at whoever was hunting you. A fox might not be able to see a rabbit, but it could feel its stare as surely as if it were being tapped on the shoulder.
Sadie Thompson crouched behind the thick tangle of a honeysuckle bush twisting around the large stump of a fallen oak. Her heart beat fast in her chest, rapping against her ribs so hard she struggled to catch her breath. She was out of shape, and the mile-long run through the woods from her old truck had taken a surprising toll. A year ago, she would have done the run like a deer, twice as fast without breaking a sweat.
Darkness had descended on the Blue Ridge Mountains, tossing an inky blackness over the land. What little moonlight trickled through the thick rain-ripe clouds was caught in the canopy of trees. An owl hooted. Deer, disturbed by her unwelcome intrusion, bolted through the woods.
The poor visibility suited Sadie. She was accustomed to traveling at night and was intimately acquainted with the hills and the valleys of Nelson County. Her father had taught Sadie and her brothers how to negotiate the narrow back roads barely wide enough for a car. It could be rough going, but they were the best routes moonshiners had when avoiding the law. Her pa had made them memorize the sharpest curves in the road, walk the old Indian paths that cut up the side of the mountains, and he’d shown them the secluded caves best suited for cooking mash into moonshine. She and her family knew all the ins and outs of this part of Virginia, and they could stay lost forever. If that was what they wanted.
Sadie pressed her face against the damp leaves and took a moment to shake off the lingering panic that had sent her bolting into the night. Crickets whirred nearby, and a spider crawled over her hand, but she gave neither a second thought. She had a bigger problem facing her now.
Sheriff Kurt Boyd had arrived at her mother’s house an hour ago, most likely bent on arresting Sadie for attempted murder—maybe even murder, if the man did not pull through. Sadie was not a bit sorry for what she had done but now wished she had been smarter about exacting her revenge.