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Banished Saga, Book 1
BY RAMONA FLIGHTNER
I’m suffocating under the weight of others’ expectations. If I have to sit through one more afternoon tea, listening to my simpering stepmother extoll the benefits of traditional roles for women, I fear I’ll scream, “The world is changing. It’s 1900!”
I want more from life than she can imagine.
If she knew of my interest in Gabriel, she’d have a fit of the vapors. She’d bemoan his humble beginnings and lack of wealth rather than recognize his integrity or his loyalty to his brothers. If she saw how he stares at me, as though I’m a puzzle he’s trying to solve, she’d lock me in my room. He fascinates me, as no one has since that awful day.
How can we surmount society’s prejudices and allow our love to grow?
Banished Saga, Book 1
BY RAMONA FLIGHTNER
“It is a rather cold day out. If we could warm up with a cup of tea first, then depart, would that be acceptable?” I asked. I sat down in the rocking chair, noting Savannah’s assessing look at the perfectly dimensioned chair built for me. I began to rock gently, calming my racing heart.
“Yes, of course.” Gabriel turned toward the kettle and gathered the necessary mugs.
“If you don’t mind me saying so, Mr. McLeod, you seem quite domesticated,” Savannah said in a haughty tone.
Gabriel laughed. “Like a favorite pet, Miss Russell?” He glanced toward her with humor. “I always think domestication ruins the better part of the beast.”
“But you wouldn’t want a wild dog in your house,” Savannah protested. “And horses must be tamed.”
Gabriel nodded. “I would hate to think you compared me to a horse or a dog, miss. I hope I have better manners than that?” he asked, raising his eyebrows mockingly toward Savannah. “Though, I agree, horses are most useful for our purpose when tamed, but I wonder if they truly enjoy working for us?” He looked toward me, although he did not push me into the conversation.
He let out a long theatrical sigh. “Domesticated cats, dogs. Domesticated women. Wonderful creatures. Wouldn’t you agree, Miss Sullivan?” He looked toward me wickedly. I had bolted so hard in the rocker at his words I had nearly flown onto the floor. I watched him with wide eyes, wondering why he pushed Savannah so.
Savannah replied, “Now you are offensive, sir.” She vibrated with anger.
“Isn’t that what all young women long to be?” Gabriel asked Savannah, setting down the filled mugs with a clunk. “Domesticated. Demure. Tamed to the needs and ways of their husbands?”
“You know perfectly well you are describing the ideal wife,” Savannah spat out.
“Am I?” he asked, sounding unconvinced. “What do you think, Miss Sullivan?” he turned to me. “Is that what you long to be, a domesticated woman?”
“No!” I blurted out before I could stop myself.
“Rissa!” Savannah scolded me, eyes flashing. She had begun to breathe heavily, and I feared she would faint with her tightly laced corset.
I blushed but met Gabriel’s eyes. “No,” I said. “I have no desire to match that description. Slightly less clumsy, perhaps,” I muttered.
“Yes, I agree,” Gabriel said, causing me to worry he agreed with my assessment about my clumsiness. “Domestication is akin to docility which is an unattractive trait in a woman.” He smiled knowingly at me, and I felt a flash of pleasure.
“Do you speak in earnestness, sir, or are you in jest?” Savannah demanded. When Gabriel merely turned to look at her, she continued. “Men want docile, demure women,” she expounded, as though teaching a rudimentary fact to Gabriel.
“Well, pardon me, ma’am, for not learning my lessons well,” he replied, nodding his head deferentially.
I watched Savannah’s face become flushed red with anger and was worried she would erupt. She generally kept her temper under control, but, when it blew, it was a frightening thing to behold.
“I’d actually like to meet a young woman who can think for herself and doesn’t want only what her father or husband wants.” His quiet statement made my pulse quicken.
Savannah scoffed, “That path leads only to misery.”
“Or tremendous contentment,” Gabriel countered.
Savannah stood, knocking into the table with such force she caused tea to spill out of the mugs. “I will not sit here any longer and listen to your insolent beliefs,” she declared. “Rissa?” She turned toward me expectantly, then headed toward the door.
I looked at Gabriel with remorse, wanting to have spent longer time in his company. “I enjoyed our conversation. Maybe we could continue it one day at the school?” I watched him, hopeful he would agree.
He smiled, releasing a sigh of relief. “I would enjoy that very much, Miss Clarissa.”
I had forgotten how his voice could feel like a caress. I closed my eyes for a moment, having missed hearing his gentle baritone. No matter how much I had enjoyed his letters, I had missed him.
Ramona Flightner is an avid reader, writer, and traveler. By day, she practices the healing arts as a nurse practitioner. Every other moment, she’s researching, reading and writing her next novel. BANISHED LOVE, RECLAIMED LOVE, and UNDAUNTED LOVE are the first novels in her forthcoming Banished Saga.
Ramona is from Missoula, Montana. She currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts. Her favorite pastimes are fly fishing the cool, clear streams of a Montana river, hiking in the mountains, and spending time with family and friends.
Links to Ramona’s website, blog, books, etc.
My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
My website is: http://www.ramonaflightner.com
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Ramona is giving away an e-book copy of BANISHED LOVE to EVERY READER who reads her Karen’s Killer Book Bench Blog. Go to any of the links above to download your FREE copy! Thank you, Ramona, for sharing your story with us.
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!