Read Rumors and Promises Online

Authors: Kathleen Rouser

Rumors and Promises

RUMORS AND PROMISES BY KATHLEEN ROUSER
Published by Heritage Beacon Fiction
an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
2333 Barton Oaks Dr., Raleigh, NC, 27614

ISBN: 978-1-941103-66-1
Copyright © 2016 by Kathleen Rouser
Cover design by Elaina Lee
Interior design by AtriTeX Technologies P Ltd
Interior graphics by Susan F. Craft

Available in print from your local bookstore, online, or from the publisher at: www.lighthousepublishingofthecarolinas.com

For more information on this book and the author visit: http://www.kathleenrouser.com

All rights reserved. Non-commercial interests may reproduce portions of this book without the express written permission of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, provided the text does not exceed 500 words. When reproducing text from this book, include the following credit line: “
Rumors and Promises
by Kathleen Rouser, published by Heritage Beacon Fiction. Used by permission.”

Commercial interests: No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means—electronic, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—without prior written permission of the publisher, except as provided by the United States of America copyright law.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, and incidents are all products of the author’s imagination or are used for fictional purposes. Any mentioned brand names, places, and trademarks remain the property of their respective owners, bear no association with the author or the publisher, and are used for fictional purposes only.

Scripture quotations from The Authorized (King James) Version. Rights in the Authorized Version in the United Kingdom are vested in the Crown. Reproduced by permission of the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press.

Brought to you by the creative team at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas:
Eddie Jones, Ann Tatlock, Nancy J. Farrier, Brian Cross, Paige Boggs

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Rouser, Kathleen.
Rumors and Promises / Kathleen Rouser 1st ed.

Printed in the United States of America

P
RAISE FOR
R
UMORS AND
P
ROMISES

Kathleen Rouser will entice booklovers with descriptive detail and an engrossing storyline full of drama, hints of humor, and plenty of romance in
Rumors and Promises
. They will also enjoy the Bible verses sprinkled throughout and the message of hope and redemption told in a non-preachy manner. An all-around delightful read that I highly recommend!

~ Sharlene MacLaren
Author of 16 faith-based, bestselling novels
including the Tennessee Dreams series

Set in 1900 in a fictional Michigan town,
Rumors and Promises
is a tender story of two people whose love is tested against difficult and trying circumstances. Author Kathleen Rouser takes the reader on a journey of betrayal and loss and rumors determined to ruin the best of reputations.

~ Jill Eileen Smith
CBA best-selling author of
The Crimson Cord
and The Wives of King David series

Rumors and Promises
is a poignant story of God’s mercy and unconditional love. Kudos to Ms. Rouser for crafting a touching and thought-provoking tale of forgiveness in all its forms.

~ Marianne Evans
Award-winning author of
Devotion

Set in America’s Heartland at the turn of the twentieth century,
Rumors and Promises
is a story of one woman’s journey toward love and learning to trust. Author Kathleen Rouser offers a perennial message of faith and forgiveness that is sure to inspire readers.”

~ Kate Breslin
Award-winning author of
Not By Sight

Rumors and Promises
is a charming story of faith and trust, mistakes and redemption, of learning how not to run away from truth even when it’s nearly too painful to face. Set in 1900 Michigan, the historical setting comes alive under the wonderful imagery penned by Kathleen Rouser. Ultimately this is an unforgettable love story with an exciting finish—a highly enjoyable read that will refresh your faith in God and in others.

~ Maureen Lang
Award-winning author of
Whisper on the Wind

Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

DEDICATIONS

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 7

CHAPTER 8

CHAPTER 9

CHAPTER 10

CHAPTER 11

CHAPTER 12

CHAPTER 13

CHAPTER 14

CHAPTER 15

CHAPTER 16

CHAPTER 17

CHAPTER 18

CHAPTER 19

CHAPTER 20

CHAPTER 21

CHAPTER 22

CHAPTER 23

CHAPTER 24

CHAPTER 25

CHAPTER 26

CHAPTER 27

CHAPTER 28

Acknowledgments

First of all, thank you, Lord Jesus, for putting such a story on my heart and giving me the tenacity to write to the end. And for the mercy and grace that changed my life and made me your child, making this all possible.

For the team at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas: Eddie Jones, Ann Tatlock, Nancy Farrier and Brian Cross, I thank you so much for taking on this story and making it a much better one. You have been wonderful!

So much appreciation goes to my outstanding agent, Linda S. Glaz. She believed in my writing and always gave me such wholehearted support in finding a home for
Rumors and Promises
.

Kathryn Cushman and Susan Patricia Falck, you were there in the infancy stages of
Rumors and Promises
. With your guidance it became a full-fledged romance novel. Rohn Federbush also gave me much helpful input. And Jill Eileen Smith, thank you for your advice on my first few chapters and the encouragement to press on.

My dear friends, Toni Price and Carol Andronaco, you encouraged me to believe the Lord could use my writing to touch people’s hearts. So many other friends have prayed for me and cheered me on in my writing endeavors. Though your name may not be mentioned here, thank you so much!

I also want to remember my mother-in-law, Frances Rouser, who has since passed away. She read the very first version of this manuscript. Her desire to keep turning pages made me believe it could become a story others might want to read. I only wish she could be here to see it in book form.

Most of all, I wish my mother, Lena Hensel, who taught me to love books, was here to see my dream become a reality.

Dedication

For Jack, my dear love and my best friend.
You’ve always believed in me.

&

In memory of my brother, John Hensel,
who early on nurtured my writing aspirations.

I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the
land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
~ Exodus 20:2, KJV

A Gift for You

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CHAPTER 1

Stone Creek, Michigan
1900

S
ophia Bidershem jerked awake as the train whistle blew. Her heart pounded a beat almost in cadence with the wheels upon the track. Prickles traveled up her arm so she wriggled her elbow into a different position around her two-year-old daughter, Caira, who had fallen asleep against her. Outside her passenger window, the pewter sky hung, cold and austere. Snowflakes glided downward, covering any dirt or tracks on the ground and blanketing the leafless trees with a pristine beauty. Could her new identity make her appear as clean?

A figure in a dark coat brushed against Sophia’s seat, the scent of sweet tobacco smoke from a pipe causing her breath to catch. Her eyes swept up toward the tall, masculine figure. His gray derby sat low while the brim hid his eyes. The glove he attempted to put in his pocket fell to the floor. As he bent to pick it up, the train wound around a curve, and he bumped Sophia.

She gasped, covering her mouth and stilling the shivering which threatened to overtake her.

“So sorry, miss.” The stranger tipped his hat, looking apologetic.

Sophia exhaled, leaning as far away as possible from the aisle. No scar slanted across his right cheek. She gave the stranger a slight nod and averted her gaze. Other passengers read, stared out the windows, or spoke to one another in low tones. Her daughter slept, oblivious to her mother’s fear. Sophia sat against the high-backed seat and closed her eyes, trying to reclaim the blissful peace of a catnap.

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