Endless Chain

Endless Chain by Emilie Richards

Book: Endless Chain by Emilie Richards Read Free Book Online
Authors: Emilie Richards
lonely.”
    “I’m going to try to talk her into letting Elisa stay here while you’re away. Nancy and Tessa are all for it. Elisa’s working at the church now.” He turned to Elisa. “Nancy is Helen’s daughter, Tessa’s mother.”
    “That’s great,” Cissy told Elisa. “Reverend Sam’s the kind of boss everybody wants.”
    “Don’t tell her that. I won’t get a lick of work out of her,” Sam said.
    Cissy sobered quickly. “I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I don’t think Ms. Henry’s going to agree. Doesn’t matter how nice you are, she’s just a stubborn woman. Nancy’s brought half a dozen ladies by in the last two months, and Ms. Henry’s sent every one of them back out the door faster than a jackrabbit.”
    “Well, we’ll give it a try.” Sam put his hand on Elisa’s back to urge her toward the front door. For a moment she was all too aware how long it had been since a man had touched her. She and Sam had not said one personal word to each other since he’d ushered her into his car fifteen minutes ago, but she had been only too aware of him.
    Cissy led them inside. No one was downstairs, but judging from the sound of voices, the second floor was occupied.
    “She’ll cry when I leave to get Ms. Henry,” Cissy warned.
    “I’ll come and find you if it gets too bad,” Elisa promised.
    Cissy took off as if she couldn’t get away fast enough.
    “She’s a good mother,” Sam said in a low voice. “Conscientious, thoughtful, patient. But this is a lot for a young woman her age to handle. I hope she finds friends in Phoenix to make her feel at home. Reese isn’t much for conversation yet.”
    Elisa murmured endearments to the little girl in Spanish. Reese cooed right back. “See?” Elisa said. “No one’s spoken to her in the right language. She just told me she prefers enchiladas to mashed peas.”
    She smiled at Sam when he laughed. His eyes were warm, and he reached out to fluff Reese’s hair.
    “What do you think?” he asked. “Could you live here comfortably?”
    She’d only had a chance to glance around, but she nodded. “It’s a lovely house, filled with character.”
    “At one time it was filled with trash. That’s one of the things you’ll have to watch out for if you move in. Helen has a fondness for collecting. It took Nancy and Tessa a whole summer to get the house in shape.”
    “They did a good job.” The living room where they stood was tastefully decorated in an uncluttered country style. She had not lived anywhere so inviting in many years.
    A woman with short blond hair appeared on the stairs. “Sam?”
    “Come down and meet Elisa.”
    She came down the steps at a fast clip. She was dressed casually, but Elisa recognized good quality clothing. She was moving through middle age, but she was a woman who clearly took care of herself.
    “Nancy Whitlock,” she said, thrusting out her hand in greeting. “Helen’s daughter.” They exchanged the requisite remarks before Nancy turned to Sam and spoke in low tones.
    “I’m sorry we weren’t in church yesterday, but you can see what we’re up against here. I hope you explained to Elisa that Mama probably isn’t going to go for this?”
    “I did.”
    “I’m sorry,” Nancy told Elisa. “They invented ‘stubborn old coot’ to describe my mother.”
    Sam defended Helen. “She just wants a say in her life. I think she might consider Elisa. She practically ordered me to hire her at the church.”
    “Good thing you did, then, or you’d never hear the end of it.”
    Elisa brought them back to the real point. “I like your mother, but if she doesn’t want me here, I don’t want to be here.”
    “That’s a good start. As long as she thinks you’re listening to her, she’ll be a lot more cooperative.”
    A noise on the stairs announced Helen’s arrival. She was not spry, but she managed the steps with little difficulty. “Nobody told me we had company.”
    “I was just coming to get

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