Sadie Ross becomes Sister Abigail Eunice. Her life and career are on track
until a chance meeting with a handsome stranger in a place no nun should ever
Ryder Carsen’s sister is missing, and he doesn’t
have time for distractions. But when a pretty nun walks into his bar, he can’t
ignore his attraction to her, even though she’s not the “sister” he’s looking
for. He’s relieved when she walks out of his life for what he believes is
Sadie’s life takes a surprising detour when she
finds her path crossed with Ryder’s once again. When they are brought back
together, Ryder knows he’s found the only woman he’ll ever love, but time is
running out for his sister.
Will Ryder save his sister from the men who took
her?When a source far too close to home threatens
Sadie, will she trust Ryder enough to let him save her too?
I look like Mila Kunis, and you’d think this was a good thing, but in my line
of work, it’s more of a hindrance. You see, I’m a nun. Admittedly, I’m not a
very good one, but nonetheless, I am, in fact, a nun.
roundabout way) led me to a tiny, hole-in-the wall bar at the edge of the Pearl
District in Portland, Oregon, on a quiet Wednesday night.
meeting my friend, Laura, for dinner, but as I stepped off the MAX, I realized
I’d gotten off at the wrong stop and, as was my luck, the small wet sprinkle
coming from the sky quickly turned into a downpour.
slapped a hand over my mouth and mumbled, “Sorry, Lord.”
worst nun ever.
street I was on, I took shelter under an awning next to a building with a frog
motif, but no other identifying information. Frustrated, I fished my phone out
of my purse and tried to figure out where I was. I had a missed call from
Laura, and a new voicemail, which I could only guess meant she wouldn’t be able
to make it.
sorry, I’m stuck at work and I can’t get down to the Pearl for another hour. Do
you still want me to try or do you want to resched?” Yes, she said, “resched.”
“Anyhoo, text me and let me know what you want to do. Love ya, ’bye.”
oldest friend. She was actually the only one who knew me before the nunnery,
and therefore knew me as Sadie Ross, not Sister Abigail Eunice. Laura’s parents
had moved from China, and into the house next door, the summer before second
grade. She’d spoken very little English, but we still managed to communicate
and we roamed the neighborhood, inseparable until my parents’ death. I adored
her, even though she wasn’t always reliable. Ever hopeful, however, I always
gave people the benefit of the doubt, so here I stood, only slightly protected
from the pouring rain. And it was pouring. I fired off a quick text to
Laura, pressing send… just as my phone died.
I pulled my sweater closer around me and stepped toward the building’s entrance
so I could warm up and perhaps borrow a phone, but just as I moved away from
the wall, something came loose from above, dropping a bucket’s worth of
collected water on my head. I let out a quiet squeak and pulled off my now
soaked veil, yanking open the heavy wooden door and slipping inside.
I couldn’t see anything in the dark space, reaching into my purse and pulling
out my Oregon ID.
it from me then handed it back. “Sister Abigail, you look lost.”
“You have no idea. I’m stranded and my phone died.”
toward the back of the building. “He’s at the bar.”
go to the bar?” I asked.
number for the only cab company he trusts and if I let you leave in one from a
company he doesn’t trust, he’ll be pissed.”
mock concern. “That sounds serious.”
chuckled. “Yeah, he’s got this weird thing about sweet women being protected.”
aren’t sweet?” I challenged.
bouncer laughed. “But the sweet ones always seem to get special treatment.”
head to the bar.”
pool tables, dartboards, and a jukebox playing something with a heavy drumbeat
next to the bar, the counter of which ran the length of the building. There
weren’t a whole lot of patrons, just a few who looked as though they paid
weekly rent for their stools. However, I was surprised by the heart motifs
hanging and taped up in a few key places. I guess it made sense… Valentine’s
Day was tomorrow, so the bar was probably getting ready.
back to me turned and I felt sucker punched. Like, as in, the breath left my
met mine and seemed to peer into my soul. I froze, unable to take one more step
under the weight of his scrutiny. He crossed his arms, keeping eye contact, and
I was drawn into his tractor beam-like pull. I inched forward, one baby step at
a time, taking in his light-blond hair, a full beard—not quite Portland hipster
full, but still sexy-as-heck full. When my gaze landed on his lips he gave me
this incredibly delicious sideways smirk, and Lord help me, I wanted him to
a nun?” Without my veil, most people just threw pitiful glances at my clothes
as though I didn’t know how to dress in anything fashionable. I wore a sturdy
black wool dress, black tights, and a gray button-up cardigan.
Catholic school. ’Course, I never saw a nun who looked like you, but it’s your
shoes that give you away. It’s always the shoes.”
glancing at my feet. “Well, you got that right. They call them sensible… I
call them ugly.”
one.” Ryder smiled. “You need directions?”
that tale of woe, I’m afraid. My friend couldn’t make our dinner date and my
if I just warm up for a minute?”
huge smile of relief as I sat on one of the stools. “I would love some
and I’ll charge it for you.”
waved my hand dismissively. “I doubt you’ll have a charger that works.”
six-year-old flip phone and slid it to him.
retorted with a giggle.
I can?” He pulled open a drawer next to the cash register. After testing
several cords against my phone, he let out a, “Gotcha!” and faced me again,
plugging my phone into the wall. “Found one.”
throw anything away and people leave shi—ah, stuff here all the time.”
gave him quiet applause. “Well done, sir. Well done.”
me a cup of hot water and a couple of tea bags. I was pleasantly surprised to
see he had my favorite licorice flavor and steeped it in the water while Ryder
went about his business.
gearing up for Valentine’s Day,” I said, and sipped my tea.
“Not my choice.”
mean I’m not ruled by my patrons.”
should show their women they love ’em every day… not wait for one day out of
the year. The whole holiday is a farce, in my opinion.”
hot water, I wondered what my fellow sisters would think about the predicament
I’d gotten myself into. Granted, they rarely left the abbey, but they also
didn’t have jobs like I did.
teacher and working for the Catholic school next to our living quarters was a
perfect setup for me. Lately, however, I’d been feeling restless and I know
Reverend Mother noticed. In fact, I had a meeting with her in the morning and
it sounded serious, so being late or tired would not be an option. Perhaps my
ill-fated evening was cut short for a very good reason. Mother always says God
works in mysterious ways.
pulled me from my thoughts and I smiled, shaking my head. “Is it okay if I
stick around for a little bit?”
He glanced at his watch. “But you’re outta here within the hour. It gets a
little rowdy at night.”
me about you.”
around the cup, warming them. “He said you’re very protective of women.”
and then met my eyes again. “Bennie talks too much.”
shrugged and then sipped my tea again.
you other than ‘Sister’?”
Abigail Eunice. Although my parents named me Sadie.”
that? I hadn’t used my real name in years.
parents thought so,” I said once I could speak again.
I guess I don’t really think about my name much.” I shrugged. “My students call
me Sister and I don’t have many friends outside of… well, outside.” I shook
my head. “Gosh, that sounds so narrow.”
“Never been called gracious before.”
settled my chin in my palm. “That surprises me.”
You’re a nun.”
everyone, so you assume others will be gracious as well.”
I’m a nun, not perfect.”
idea.” He grabbed his cell phone and put it to his ear. “Hey. Got time to drop
someone home?” He faced me. “Where do you live?”
Yeah, five minutes works. Thanks.” Ryder hung up and slid his phone back in his
friendly with the cab company, huh?” I took the last swig of tea and set the
taking you home.”
calling me a cab.”
the cab fare all the way to Beaverton.”
think I can pay for cab fare?”
this whole I-am-man-hear-me-roar stuff, to a whole ’nother level, huh?”
something (or someone) behind me and he nodded. “Ride’s here.”
argue; probably because it would do absolutely no good, and slid off my stool.
“Thanks for the tea.”
me “Sister” felt lacking. I took a deep breath. Lordy, I was ridiculous… and
I probably needed to confess, but I knew I wouldn’t.
award goes to…
phone and stepped out from behind the bar. “My number’s in there if you need
I asked, and took the phone from him.
never know, Sister. It’s a resource. Feel free to use it.”
everything, Ryder,” I said, leaving my internal thoughts in my head.
nodded toward his friend. “This is Reese. He’s gonna take you home.”
and handsome as they say, but he had an edge about him that made me a little
nervous. His hair was longer than Ryder’s and kind of shaggy, and he was quite
muscular. I was fairly confident he wouldn’t hurt me, but had I met him under
different circumstances, I might have declined a ride.
on my back and I felt a shiver steal down my spine.
him, yeah? You have any issues, you call me.”
away from his touch and forced a smile. “Reese, it’s lovely to meet you. Thank
you for the ride.”
waved his hand toward the door. “This way.”
glance and smile to Ryder, I followed Reese out to the car, grateful he wasn’t
a big talker. Our conversation consisted of him asking me for my address and me
giving it to him. The rest of the ride strictly featured me gripping the door handle
(as was my habit). I hated cars and avoided them whenever I could.
to arrive at the rectory and I thanked Reese and climbed out of the car, a
little taken aback when he followed. “I’m fine from here.”
a—rear if I didn’t make sure you made it inside safely.”
brick walkway and to the back of the building where I unlocked the door and
stepped inside. “Thanks again for the ride.”
Have a good night.”
closed and locked the door.
Tracey Jane Jackson, was born and raised in New Zealand, and that’s where her
love of horses was formed. Her grandfather taught her to ride at four years
old, and she couldn’t get enough.Her love and passion for Abraham Lincoln and the
entire Civil War era might have come from her American father, however, he lays
no claim to influencing her. Tracey’s mother used to tell her she was simply
born in the wrong place in the wrong time.Tracey hasn’t always wanted to write. It took
her a long time to get started, but now she doesn’t seem to be able to stop,
the joy of escaping to the 1860s is too much fun.
She’s been happily married and gooey in love
with her husband for more than twenty years. They live in the Pacific Northwest
with their two sons.
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