Tracie Peterson

Tracie Peterson by Bridal Blessings

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Authors: Bridal Blessings
wasn’t really new to her. She’d been considering it since speaking with Lady Bird long before departing for America. Lady Bird told Amelia she should do something memorable with her time abroad.
Writing a book and painting dainty watercolor flowers seems very reasonable. Falling in love with a barbaric, American guide does not.
    Closing her book with a loud snap, Amelia got to her feet. “I’m not in love,” she murmured to the empty room. “I will not fall in love with Logan Reed.” But even as she said the words, a part of Amelia knew that it was too late for such a declaration.

    At noon, she made her way to the lodge house, where the hunting party had returned to gather for a large midday meal. Amelia saw the hunt was successful, but for the first time she wondered about the business of cleaning the kill and how the skins of the animals were to be used afterward. She’d never given such matters much though in the past. There was always someone else to do the dirty work.
    “I say, Amelia, you missed quite a hunt. Sir Jeffery bagged a buck first thing out.”
    Amelia glanced at Jeffery and then back to her father. “How nice.” She pulled out a chair and found Jeffery quickly at her side to seat her.
    “It was a clean and easy shot, nothing so very spectacular,” he said in false humility. “I could name a dozen animals that present a greater challenge to hunt.”
    “Perhaps the challenge comes in bagging a wife, what?” Lord Amhurst heartily laughed much to Amelia’s embarrassment and the stunned expressions of the others.
    “Indeed true love is the hardest thing on earth to secure,” Lady Gambett said in a tone that suggested a long story was forthcoming. She was fresh from a day of napping and eager to be companionable.
    “Papa had a good morning as well,” Penelope declared quickly and Margaret joined in so fast that both girls were talking at once. This seemed to be a cue to Josephine and Henrietta, who began a garbled rendition of the hunt for their mother’s benefit.
    Jeffery took a chair at Amelia’s right and engaged her immediately in conversation. “I missed your company on the hunt. Do say you’ll be present tomorrow.”
    “I’m afraid I didn’t come to America to hunt. Not for animals of any kind,” she stated, clearly hoping the implied meaning would not be lost on Jeffery. The sooner he understood her distaste for their proposed matrimony, the better.
    “What will you do with your time?”
    Amelia folded her hands in her lap. “I plan to write a book on the flowers and vegetation of Estes Park.” The words came out at just the exact moment that her sisters and the Gambetts had chosen to take a collective breath. Her words seemed to echo in the silence for several moments. Stunned faces from all around the table looked up to make certain they had heard correctly.
    “You plan to do what?” Margaret asked before anyone else could give voice to their thoughts.
    “You heard me correctly,” Amelia said, taking up a thick slice of bread she’d helped to make that morning. “The flowers here are beautiful and quite extraordinary. Nothing like what we have at home. Lady Bird told me I should use my time abroad to do something meaningful and memorable. I believe a book of this nature would certainly fit that suggestion.”
    The earl nodded. “If Lady Bird believes it to be of value, then I heartily agree.” With Mattersley nowhere in sight, he filled his plate with potatoes and laughed when they dribbled over the rim. “Waiting on yourself takes some practice.” The dinner party chuckled politely and the mood seemed to lighten considerably.
    As everyone seemed intent on eating, Amelia’s declaration passed from importance and escaped further discussion. With a sigh of relief, Amelia helped herself to a thick slice of ham and a hearty portion of potatoes. Jeffery would think her a glutton, but let him. She was tired of worrying about what other people thought. She found it

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