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Recently orphaned heiress, Serenity Springfield, fled the prospect of a brutal marriage to her brother's best friend for the promise of a new life with widower Collin MacClarron and his four daughters only to find that trouble followed her. Can she protect her new family from her dark past when she doesn’t dare reveal it?
Guilt-ridden widower, Collin MacClarron blames himself for his late wife’s death. Although he knows he needs to remarry for his daughters’ sakes, he isn’t ready to open up his heart or is he? Can he accept this second chance at happiness or will he let Serenity’s past mistakes keep them apart?
Rudgewick was going to kill her this time. A sense of dread chilled her and Serenity Springfield gasped for air as she leaned against a cold brick wall. She could hear Rudgewick’s heavy measured footsteps gaining on her. Oh, why wouldn’t her feet cooperate? She needed to run, but couldn’t move. Her body froze, paralyzed with fear. The alley was too dark. She felt so frightened that even the ground shook. Just then, a bony hand gripped her shoulder.
“No!” Serenity tried to scream, but not a sound emerged. Her heart pounded furiously.
Serenity’s eyes flew open. A waft of lavender-scented perfume tickled her nose. For a brief moment, she was disoriented. Then, the jarring rhythm of the train brought her back to reality.
Serenity rubbed her tired face. She was safe. Thank heavens, it had only been a dream. Instead of running down the streets of New York, she was sitting on a train headed for Dry Gulch, Kansas. Her hand gripped the soft seat cushion in relief, while four wide-eyed children and an older woman hovered over her. She blinked, staring into the concerned faces of the MacClarron girls. They were her new charges, along with their great-grandmother, Rose MacClarron.
Rose let out a sigh of relief. “Blessed saints, child, you frightened the life out of me. I couldna waken you. You just kept screamin’ and screamin’.” Rose patted Serenity’s leg, her Scottish burr deepening with concern.
“Miss Springfield has bad dreams all the time,” twelve-year-old Alisha said with a toss of her red curls. “I have often heard her crying out during the night, since her room is next to mine.”
Eight-year-old Emily put in, “So?” She frowned. “Everyone has bad dreams. Cherise has them all the time.”
“You weren’t supposed to tell that,” ten-year-old Cherise replied in a harsh whisper.
Serenity straightened up in her seat, acutely aware that an odd silence had descended over the other passengers. Merciful heavens, they were listening.
The public car was filled to capacity with a varied assortment of travelers. Everyone from the stodgy, old, bald gentleman in a gray suit to a harried young mother was casting speculative glances at her. What a sight she must make in her travel-stained mourning clothes! Her skin crawled with apprehension. Serenity wished she could vanish. The only possibility left now was to turn the conversation into a less titillating one. She had years of experience changing the flow of a conversation, especially when it had concerned her father’s failing health.
“Emily is right,” Serenity said calmly. “Having bad dreams is nothing to be ashamed of. I’m just sorry my outburst embarrassed you.” She held her head high, trying to ignore the curious stares. “You have been so kind, Mrs. MacClarron, taking me on as a companion and governess to your great-granddaughters. I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t come along when you did.”
Rose covered Serenity’s mouth with a hand, resting her forehead against hers. “I’ll not hear another word of thanks. You were the answer to my prayers.”
“’Sides,” replied little Greta, her springy blonde curls bobbing, “we needed a new nanny.”
Emily flipped an ebony braid over her shoulder. “Miss Ironheart—oops!” She slapped a hand over her mouth. “I mean Miss Heartwell didn’t like us. She thought we were hooligans. Imagine that? How was I supposed to know she didn’t like frogs?” Emily shrugged in an attempt to appear innocent. “You don’t get mad at us all the time. We like you.”
Serenity chuckled, imagining the very proper Miss Heartwell handling these four lively ladies.
“I dinna…uh…do not need a governess. Only babies do.” The fact Alisha was perturbed about slipping into her hated Scottish burr was evident by the scowl marring her pretty face.
"SWEET SERENITY is a befitting title for this beautiful romance that will capture your heart from the very first page. Catherine Stang knows how to capture her readers with charismatic characters wrapped into an intriguing plot that will leave you breathless and fulfilled." 4 1/2 Blue Ribbons! - Billie Jo from Romance Junkies
"Sweet Serenity pulls you in from the first page to the last page. Catherine Stang pens a touching story of finding love for the second time around and also finding first love. Sweet Serenity is a story that I would recommend to anyone who loves heart touching historical story." - Reviewed by Tonni, Night Owl Romance Reviews
“Sweet Serenity is a character driven historical romance full of heartfelt emotion and chilling tension. Collin, Serenity and the girls are a charming little family that will tug at the hardest hearts and provide plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. Rose is a lively and eccentric grandma who provides a few shenanigans to insure she gets her way. The chemistry is palpable between Collin and Serenity and yet the fear that has Serenity in its grip is realistic and deeply emotional; I was glad to have the tissues handy.
Rudgewick is the essence of evil; a lecherous sociopath who feels he rightly owns whatever he covets. He has no qualms about committing the vilest acts with no remorse whatsoever. The edgy tension of his presence in Dry Gulch pulses throughout the story, keeping this reader in its icy grip. Author, Catherine Stang has found a place on my “watch for” list; she has sold me on her ability to capture romance and suspense in a historical novel; Bravo.” - 4½ Books, Reviewed by Wisteria, Long And Short Of It
“Sweet Serenity is an emotionally stirring and uplifting tale. Serenity is beautifully portrayed and you can’t help but become emotionally invested in her story. The brutal loss of her innocence only adds strength to an already strong character and her struggle to overcome all of what happens is a pleasure to read. Gripping in its intensity, Sweet Serenity holds nothing back in engaging not just you mind but you heart as well. The brilliance with which Catherine Stang portrays Collin’s character pulls you in and has you feeling for this grieving widow. You watch with baited breath as he slowly opens to the possibility of love again. Ms. Stang has a way of bringing all her characters to life that has you at times holding your breath and at others cheering them on. Every emotion is engaged as you read this tale of how two wounded hearts find the strength to heal and love again. With the added bonus of some exceptional secondary characters Ms. Stang tells a romance in its truest form. Having previously read one of Ms. Stang’s suspense novels I was curious to see how her style would translate to a historically set novel. I needn’t have worried; Sweet Serenity proves that Ms. Stang’s talent works in any genre.” 5 Angels! Reviewed by: Rachel C. Fallen Angel Reviews
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 358
Paper Weight (lb): 14.8
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