Book Title: The Captain’s Woman
Series: The Thompsons of Locust Street
Author: Holly Bush
Publication Date: 1/10/23
Publisher: Holly Bush Books
Page Length: 218
Genre: Historical Romance
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Book Title and Author Name:
The Captain’s Woman
by Holly Bush
Meet the Thompsons of Locust Street, an unconventional family taking Philadelphia high society by storm…
1870 ~ Muireall Thompson has taken her duties seriously since her parents died on the family’s crossing from Scotland to America in 1854. As the eldest sibling, their death made her responsible for her family and left little time for a life of her own. But now her brothers and sisters are adults; even the youngest is nearly ready to face the world on his own. What will she do when she is alone, other than care for an elderly aunt and volunteer at the Sisters of Charity orphanage? Has the chance for a husband and children of her own passed her by?
Widower Anthony Marcus, formerly a captain in the Union Army, is a man scraping the bottom of his dignity and hanging on to his honor by the barest thread. Reduced to doing odd jobs to keep a roof over his dear daughter Ann’s head, he often leaves her with the Sisters of Charity while he is out seeking steady work with a decent salary that will allow him to move from their single-room living quarters.
After an initial meeting that finds Muireall and Anthony at odds, a tentative friendship forms as they bond over their mutual affection for Ann. As friendship leads to passion, can a wealthy spinster and a poor soldier overcome their differences in station to forge a future together? Just as Muireall finds the courage to reach for her own happiness, Anthony’s past rises up between them and an old enemy reemerges to bring the Thompson family down once and for all. Will the divide between them be insurmountable, or can they put aside pride and doubt for a love worth fighting for?
The Captain’s Woman – Excerpt 4
Later that week, Mr. Bauer picked Muireall up at eight in the morning. She was carrying scarves and mittens for the sisters to give out to the orphans and had a special set of mittens in her coat pocket to match Ann Marcus’s scarf. They had been painstakingly lined with flannel by Aunt Murdoch for “that precious girl.”
She spent her morning helping some very young children with their letters and was pleased with their progress and how they’d kept her mind occupied instead of dwelling on her coming conversation with Mr. Marcus. She had no idea why she was dreading it. She would merely offer the invitation, and he could choose to accept or decline. That was all there was to it. She stood up from leaning over a small child’s shoulder and stretched her back when she heard Ann’s lilting voice.
“Miss Thompson! There you are! I have not seen you for days now,” she said cheerfully.
“It is very good to see you too, Ann.”
Mr. Marcus walked up behind his daughter. “She’s going to stay here for a few hours with the sisters while I tend to a job.”
“Of course. Would you like to join the history lesson Father Thomas has just begun?”
“Oh yes. I like to hear him tell the stories,” Ann said and turned the hallway corner to the makeshift classrooms, waving at her father as she did.
She stared at Mr. Marcus, who was staring just as intently as she.
“It is good to see you, Miss Thompson. You are looking well.”
“Thank you, Mr. Marcus. It is good to see you and Ann both.”
He hesitated, squeezing a wool cap in his hands, nodded, and then began to turn. “I’ll be back in an hour or so for Ann.” Muireall reached out her hand, nearly touching his arm. He glanced down and then turned back. “What is it, Miss Thompson?”
Muireall tried to smile casually, but she feared it looked more like a grimace. “I wanted to speak to you of an invitation for you and Ann.”
“My brother James’s wife, Lucinda, is having a casual meal and was hoping you and Ann would join us.” He was looking at her strangely. “You see, Lucinda’s mother died when she was an infant, and she was raised by her father’s sister, her Aunt Louisa. Louisa recently married a man who has several children, and Lucinda told them all about Ann, and the youngest girl, Susannah, is looking forward to meeting her.”
He shook his head. “You would like to take Ann to meet your sister-in-law’s cousins?”
“Well, you’re certainly invited too. We’ll have something to eat, and the young people can play some games or sing at the piano. It is this Saturday, the seventeenth.”
“I’m not much into social outings, Miss Thompson, but do thank your sister-in-law. It was very gracious of her to remember Ann and me.”
“I wish you would reconsider. Ann would enjoy herself, and I think you would as well. Unrelieved burdens can weigh us down. Please come, bring Ann, enjoy a meal, and allow your daughter to meet some new friends.”
“Where will I meet new friends, Miss Thompson?” Ann said as she hurried around the corner of the hallway, smiling up at Muireall. “At Locust Street?”
“No. My brother and his wife are having some relatives and guests over for a meal and Mrs. Thompson thought you and your father would enjoy yourselves. There’s a young lady a few years older than you who is interested in meeting you.”
“Oh yes!” Ann said and looked at her father. “Please do say we can go.”
He glared at Muireall. “That was hardly fair, Miss Thompson.”
“It was not fair at all.” She was tempted to look away from his glower but did not retreat.
He huffed a breath. “Fine,” he said and caught Ann as she launched herself at him. “Please tell Mr. and Mrs. Thompson we would be happy to join them.”
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Holly Bush writes historical romance set in the U.S.in the late 1800’s, in Victorian England, and an occasional Women’s Fiction title. Her books are described as emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance. She makes her home with her husband in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Connect with Holly at www.hollybushbooks.com and on Twitter @hollybushbooks and on Facebook at Holly Bush.
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Thank you so much for hosting Holly Bush today! xx
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