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He’d been homeless and an orphan for three years. He’d fought bullies, snow, prejudice and disease. Axel O’Grady’s life in the 1880’s on the streets of New York City hadn’t been easy, but he had his friend and partner Nate Greenleaf to sustain him. Now he was losing Nate the way he’d lost everyone and everything else in his life.
Eleven-year-old Axel had two choices once he was caught stealing a loaf of bread: go to jail or agree to take the orphan train to Iowa to be placed out with a family there. Either way, Axel would have to leave Nate, but Iowa sounded better than jail. Axel sadly told Nate good-bye and promised he would return to him as soon as he could. Keeping his word would be the hardest thing Axel ever had to do, but A Partner’s Promise can never be broken.
A few minutes later he entered the hospital through another door. He found room two twenty-five easily. Ten beds were in the room. Each bed had a boy in it. It reminded Axel of the dorm back at the Home.
Axel checked five of the beds before he found Nate. He woke his sleeping friend. “Hello, stranger,” he said softly.
“Axel!” Nate released a loud whisper the instant he caught sight of his pal.
“How are you, partner?” Axel had never been happier to see anyone in his life.
Nate shifted in his bed and moaned with pain. “I’m better than I was.”
Axel touched the bandage on Nate’s left eye. “Will your eye be all right?”
Nate shook his head. “I can’t see with it, Axel. Doctor says I never will.” Nate looked at his covers, then at the splint on his arm. “My arm is getting better and so is my ankle. The arm was broke, but the ankle wasn’t.”
“Gosh, I’m sorry about your eye, Nate.” Blind, Axel thought. How could Nate stand it?
Nate shrugged his shoulders. “I’ll be all right. I still have one good eye, don’t I?”
Axel’s stomach churned at the thought of Nate’s suffering. He handed his friend his knapsack. “I brought your things.”
Nate took the knapsack. “Why? You could have left them at home. I’ll be back in a few weeks.”
Axel looked down and shifted from one foot to the other. “We don’t have a home anymore. Stevenson sold the crate yesterday. If I hadn’t gone back there today, he would have put our things in the trash tomorrow.”
“Gone back? Were you away?” Nate tried to sit up straighter. “Where were you?”
Axel explained to Nate about stealing the bread and going to jail. He told Nate what Judge Thomas ordered him to do. Then he looked away so his friend wouldn’t see his eyes filling with tears. “I leave for Iowa tomorrow.”
Fran Shaff is the author of the acclaimed children’s novel A Partner’s Promise and eight published sweet romance novels. Her books are available in hardcover, trade paperback and e-formats. Ms. Shaff’s books have won several reviewers’ choice awards and nominations, the Write Touch Readers award, the More than Magic award, EPPIE nomination, MyShelf.com E-book of the Month honor, Fallen Angel Reviews Recommended Read award and Romance Reader at Heart Top Pick Award. Ms. Shaff also writes short stories which have appeared in places like Woman’s World magazine and at Amazon.com. Ms. Shaff is a former teacher and book reviewer In her spare time she enjoys quilting, reading, knitting and a host of other crafts.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 160
Paper Weight (lb): 7.0
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