The sound of rolling thunder and drumming rain pulled Kezia from a deep sleep. She groaned and pulled the covers up over her head for a few extra seconds of peace.
She sat up reluctantly and stared out the window. A flash of lightning made her jump a little. She hated thunderstorms. They were scary and unpredictable. But she loved the way the earth smelled afterward.
One of her favorite things to do after a storm was going on a long ride on her horse. She stared out of her window at the barn for a moment, worry tugging at her heart. Lucky hated storms as much as she did. Kezia was sure that if she were able to hear over the storm, she would hear the horse whinnying and pacing in her stall.
She turned from the window and got dressed. She settled on a thick wool dress with a long coat over the top. There were some perks to her father being rich. She never wanted for anything.
She stepped outside the room and looked up and down the hall. No one was in sight. She wasn’t sure what time it was exactly, but it was early. The sun wasn’t even up yet. Usually, the people her father hired to help around the ranch were up pretty early. She wondered what was different about today.
The wooden floors creaked under her feet, her boots making soft sounds as she made her way down the winding staircase.
When she got to the kitchen, she realized that people were indeed busy. The cooks were scurrying around. The maid was sweeping the dining room floor furiously and the stable boy was filling the wood box.
“What’s going on?” Kezia asked as she leaned up against the counter. Candace, one of the cooks, was stirring a big pot.
The woman was like a mother to her, the mother she had never had before. Candace had graying hair that she always kept tucked up in a bun on top of her head.
Her skin was wrinkled and showed her age, but Kezia cared for her immensely, despite her outward signs of age.
“Your father didn’t tell you yet?” Candace looked surprised.
“The sun isn’t even up. You know how much my father speaks to me.”
“Oh, well, your father is having guests this afternoon. Important guests.”
“Who?” Candace hadn’t heard about any guests.
“Apparently Mr. Blakely wants to meet him to speak about the land. You know how long your father has been trying to get that land.”
“I know, I know. It’s all he’s talked about for years, when he does talk anyway.” Kezia couldn’t hide her bitterness. It was no secret that her father didn’t spend a lot of time with her, no matter what was going on.
Sometimes, Kezia thought that her father might even forget that she existed. If it wasn’t for Candace, the other help in the house, and her horse, she would feel as if she were all alone.
Even with as much company as she had, she still felt alone a lot of the time.
“So, is Mr. Blakely going to sell the land then?”
“I don’t know. But I heard your father talking with Lars this morning, he is hoping that Mr. Blakely will sell the land. It would finally reunite the two sides of your father’s ranch.”
Kezia shook her head. “I don’t know why he is so obsessed with it. I think he should just forget about it and be happy with what we have.”
Candace gave her a gentle smile. “You will probably understand when you are an adult, my dear.”
“I’m twenty-one. It’s not like I am a child anymore.” Kezia hated it that everyone still saw her as a child. She was plenty capable of thinking for herself and responsible for her own actions. Whenever she had a different opinion it was assumed that it was because of her age.
“I know. Just try to be patient with your father.”
Kezia nodded and pulled a piece of freshly baked bread from a tray nearby. Golden rolls sat in rows, too inviting to resist. Candace handed her a large slice of cheese and a glace of milk to go with the bread.
“You should have a proper breakfast,” Candace said with care in her voice.
“This is fine. I need to get out there to Lucky. I am sure she is frightened.”
Candace had a twinkle in her eyes. “Lucky is really lucky to have you.”
Kezia giggled. “I’ll see you later, Candace.”
She turned and rushed out of the kitchen, running directly into her father and falling to the floor.
She looked up to find her father standing over her, a hand outstretched and a stern look on his face.
“Kezia, I’ve talked to you about running in the house.”
She refused his hand and stood up on her own. She brushed the non-existent dust off her dress and took a step back. She did her best to put on a collected mask over her face.
“Sorry, father,” she mumbled.
“Speak up, girl. It’s not ladylike to mumble. Did Candace tell you about the luncheon we are having with Mr. Blakely today?”
“She mentioned it. Do I have to be here?”
Her father narrowed his eyes. “Yes, I expect you to be here, my dear. Please dress nicely and be on time.”
Kezia bit her tongue to keep from talking back. She didn’t want to start the day off by angering her father, but sometimes it was hard not to speak her mind.
“Do I really have to be there? What does it have to do with me?”
“A lot, young lady. You are my daughter and you need to be a part of this family’s business.”
“I’ll be there,” Kezia forced herself to speak normally. She hated that she didn’t have a good relationship with her father. She had seen Leo, the groundskeeper with his daughter. He was so kind and doting.
Leo’s daughter was half of her age, yet she was always so excited to see her father. Kezia would often watch the two of them walking around the grounds, envying the relationship they seemed to share.
“Are you listening to me?” Her father’s harsh voice drew her back.
“Yes. I will be on time.”
“Very well. I’ll see you this afternoon then. You may go.”
Kezia watched as her father walked away through the dining room. The rain was starting to clear up a little, and the weak sunlight was streaming in through the large picture windows.
She shook her head and hurried out to the stables. The other horses made little noises to welcome her. The stables were a place where she spent a lot of her time and all the horses liked it when she visited. She usually brought them lumps of sugar or carrots but today she was empty-handed.
Lucky was the only horse who seemed overly upset, but when she spotted Kezia, she calmed almost instantly. She had broken into a light sweat and had dark patches on her chest and belly.
“Yeah, it was a scary storm, wasn’t it?” Kezia hugged Lucky’s head to her chest, “It’s okay girl. I’m here now.”
Her horse bobbed her head up and down and nickered as if she understood.
“You know, my father is having some stuffy dinner this afternoon and I am supposed to be there.”
Kezia loved talking to her horse. She felt like Lucky understood everything she said, and as if she could share all of her secrets with the horse and no one would ever know about them.
“I can’t stand the stuffy parties my father has. It always feels so fake.”
Lucky was almost as calm as the other horses now.
“Do you want to go for a ride?”
Lucky’s ears perked up as if she understood.
“Okay then. Let’s get out of here for a few hours before my father’s event. It’s still early.”
Kezia got the saddle and the bridle and prepared Lucky. Most people didn’t like the stables because of the smell of horse manure and old straw. But Kezia didn’t mind it. It was the one place she felt as if she could be herself.
She led Lucky out of the barn and mounted her. The fresh smell of washed earth reached her nose. It was a new world, soaked in rainwater. She touched her heels to Lucky’s sides, awaiting the rush of excitement that riding brought her.
The faster that Lucky went, the more excited Kezia got and the more she urged her on. They thundered across the rolling hills and the plains. This was where her heart was free.
Sometimes she thought it would be the closest she ever got to knowing what it would like to be to travel over the lands. Maybe that was why she loved riding so much.
For now, the further she could get from her father’s house and the event that would take place that afternoon, the better.
“Where is that girl?” Kezia heard her father’s frustrated voice through the door to the dining room. She had taken a little longer on her ride than she had intended and now she was late.
She was tempted to burst through the door and declare she was there. But she could hear voices that didn’t belong. Chances were the Blakelys were already there and if they saw her in her current state, her father would be horrified.
Her dress was smudged, and the hem was caked with dirt and mud spatters. Her hair was all over the place and she hadn’t even seen her face in the mirror.
“What are you doing looking like that?” Candace whispered, appearing from beside the kitchen.
“I’m sorry. Time somehow got away from me.” Kezia put on her best apologetic face.
“I’ll say it got away from you. I will distract your father. You hurry upstairs the back way and get changed. Your father has been looking for you for the last hour and is not happy.”
Kezia nodded. She knew that her father wasn’t happy. She hurried toward the back entrance to the main hall where the stairs were. As soon as she heard Candace conversing with the guests, she slipped through the back hallway and hurried up the steps, two at a time only stopping when she was safely in her room.
She did her best to get ready in a timely manner. By the time she walked down the steps, she could see that Candace was helping the other cook serve the meal.
She sat down in her seat, silently, hoping not to attract attention to herself.
“There she is. Always a bit late… an interesting quality,” her father said. He gave her a pointed look which made it clear he thought it was also a very undesirable quality.
“I apologize. Time got away from me.” Kezia offered a polite nod in the direction of each of the Blakelys. She didn’t particularly care for any of them. She’d seen them around town a time or two.
Mr. Blakely was a short man. He had a round belly that often bounced up and down when he walked and was always stuffed into a shirt that appeared as if it were about to burst.
Mrs. Blakely was tall and thin. She reminded Kezia of a fence post. Her pointy nose was always turned up in someone’s direction. She always looked snooty and disapproving.
Their son, Earnest Blakely was probably the most normal of all of them. He looked to be a few years older than her, and he had a mix of his parents in him. He had his mother’s pointy nose, eyes that were too interested in everyone else’s business, and an attitude that was the type to turn Kezia away.
The three of them were all staring at her as if they had forgotten what they had been discussing before her arrival.
“So, the land… I know that is why we are all here, so I will get to the point.” Her father redirected their attention toward him with an eager look on his face.
Kezia also turned her eyes to her father, out of respect more than being interested in what he had to say.
“Yes, well, the reason that we arranged this little meeting is that we had a very interesting proposition to offer regarding this land that you have been so insistent about for the last several years.” Mr. Blakely spoke in a jolly voice as if he had just discovered something wonderful that everyone would like just as much as he did.
“And what is that?” Kezia’s father asked.
“My son, Earnest, has expressed a certain interest in your daughter. I know this isn’t the most ideal way to discuss this, but if you would be willing, I think that our families could be quite good together.”
There was silence as Kezia’s father looked thoughtful and Kezia felt as if she were going to lose what little breakfast that she’d had that morning.
“I see. Hmmm, that is a very interesting proposition indeed.”
“I am glad you think so.” Mr. Blakely was bobbing his head up and down with a rapt a smile on his face. If our children were to get married, well, seeing as your daughter is your only child, we would have no problem selling you the land at a very agreeable price.”
Kezia swallowed hard. She knew what they were talking about. It was assumed that since Kezia was an only child, her father’s fortune would be left to her and her husband.
The Blakelys did own the land separating her father’s ranch, but they were not as rich as her father.
But if she were to marry their son, her father would eventually leave his entire ranch to her, and in turn, to their son. It was a good plan, and while it would take a good fifteen years to come to fruition, Kezia had to admire Earnest’s parents for their ingenuity to set him up with such a prosperous future.
“I think that there is a lot of potential to that plan. Of course, I would need to discuss things at length with my daughter, but for now, there is no reason that they can’t get to know each other.” Kezia’s father gave her a warm smile.
As wrong as it felt and as revolting as marrying Earnest sounded, Kezia couldn’t stop the warmth that filled her heart when she saw the proud look from her father. There were so many things she had done to try to make him proud. It was something that she strived for, and yet, he never looked at her that way.
She hated that now something that she did not want to do was something that made him proud.
She no longer tasted the food that she put into her mouth. She felt as if the life had been drained out of her. How was she going to tell her father that she couldn’t marry Earnest and destroy the dream he had strived for during the last several years? She could already see the disappointment in his eyes.
“Kezia, why don’t you take Earnest on a little walk around outside and show him the ranch?” Her father asked once the meal was over.
Kezia forced a tight smile and nodded obediently. She was going to save her protests and pleadings for her father until after their guests were gone. She might dislike them with everything she had and not want to marry Earnest, but she wasn’t about to destroy her father’s reputation outright.
She led Earnest out the front door and down the side of the property toward the gardens. She liked the gardens, but she wasn’t sure if Earnest would.
“Your father has quite a ranch already. It’s surprising to me that he cares so much for that strip of land,” Earnest said, forcing her to focus on their conversation.
“Yes. He does have a large ranch. However, he wants it to be one ranch on one piece of land and that hasn’t been possible until now.”
“I suppose one day it will be ours,” Earnest said. He looked wistful and Kezia forced herself to take a moment before responding.
“I- I mean, yes, if we were married, it would be ours one day.”
“You don’t sound happy about us being married.” Earnest looked at her with a puzzled expression as if he’d expected her to be overjoyed that he’d expressed an interest in her.
“I can’t say whether we will marry or not, since my father and I have not discussed it. And I…” Kezia paused, not sure she should share any more with this man she barely knew and suspected she had little in common with.
“You what? Feel perfectly free to be candid with me.” Earnest was prompting her to go on, but she still felt uncomfortable doing so.
“I am not sure I am ready to be married yet.”
“Why wouldn’t you be? That is what you are supposed to do at your age. If you wait much longer, you will be an old maid.”
Kezia made sure that her perfect smile stayed in place, hiding her true emotions.
“I wanted to travel, to know the world before I started a family.”
Earnest threw his head back and laughed. “Know the world? You are not a man, my dear. You are a woman, and women are to marry and be good wives, don’t you think?” The end of his statement was pointed, and she knew that he wanted her to agree to trap her in her words later. But instead, Kezia simply kept walking.
“What do you think of these?” she asked, motioning to a patch of white flowers that Leo had planted a few weeks earlier.
“They are okay, I suppose. Your father has quite the selection of plants.”
“He does.” Kezia liked that at least. She loved the gardens, the beauty of the flowers in the early mornings. The sounds of the birds fluttering as they made their nests. She didn’t tell Earnest this though. She was sure he would laugh at her again.
“So, tell me, what is it that you do with your free time?”
“Why?” Kezia asked.
“Do I not have a right to know about my future wife?”
“I enjoy reading, and riding my horse.”
Earnest stopped walking and stared at her. “Is there nothing ladylike that you enjoy?”
Kezia bit the inside of her lip. “If you mean, do I like making samplers or cooking in the kitchen, then no. I do not.”
“There is no need to be hostile about it. But you should learn some of those skills. You will need them as my wife.”
It was Kezia’s turn to look at him this time. “I still have not agreed to marry you. I believe that you have forgotten that. You sound as if the deal has been made.”
“I am sure you will soon see that parents have more influence on our decisions that one might like to admit.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Kezia narrowed her eyes. She was not controlled by her father, was she? She still had a decision to make, and right now she knew the answer.
“It means that no matter how independent or self-secured someone might be, their parents still have some influence over them and their choices is all. I would wait until you’ve talked to your father before rejecting me.”
Kezia forced herself to take a few deep breaths. This man was insufferable, and she couldn’t stand him. Every strand of her being was begging her to turn on her heel and rush to the stables to take Lucky out for another ride.
But instead, she made herself keep walking along the garden path. “I haven’t rejected you. And I will speak with my father before making any further decisions. Why don’t you tell me about yourself?”
“Of course. It’s easy really. There are so many interesting things about me. What would you like to know about?”
Kezia wanted to know nothing about him. She already felt like she knew too much and could go her entire life without hearing another word about Earnest.
“What do you do for work?” It was the simplest question that Kezia could think of. For a moment, she thought Earnest wouldn’t consider it important enough. But she shouldn’t have worried. It seemed that Earnest was happy talking about himself concerning any topic.
She tried her best to look mildly interested even though her mind was miles away. By the time they had given a full circle to her father’s property and made it back to the house, she was so tired of Earnest’s company that she quickly excused herself to her room, earning her a look of disapproval from her father.
She knew that her father wanted her to like Earnest, or maybe he didn’t care whether she liked him or not and just wanted her to agree to marry him. Either way, Kezia couldn’t stand the man.
She sat down on her bed for a while until she heard the sound of their carriage leaving and then walked downstairs hesitantly. She knew that her father was going to talk to her about the visit, and she wished she could avoid that conversation.
Just as she expected, he was waiting for her at the bottom of the stairs.
“What was that about?” he asked, a stern note to his voice.
“I- I’m sorry, I figured that you would want to talk to them alone for a bit.” Kezia looked at him with what she considered was an innocent face.
Her father sighed. “Sometimes I wish you were a bit better in social situations.”
“You know I always try my best.” Kezia did try her best, at least most of the time. But the fact was, she thought dressing up and putting on a show for others was a waste of time and the Blakelys were no exception, no matter what her father wanted from them.
“So, I did have a lengthy talk with Mr. Blakely, and we are quite confident that your marriage to Earnest will be well accepted and work out quite nicely.”
“I never said I wanted to marry him,” Kezia said cautiously.
“Well, you will marry him. He is a nice young man and besides, he is from a good family and is bound to have a lot to offer you. Not to mention he will have the experience necessary to care for your assets once you are married.”
“Do you even care about what I want?” Kezia asked sharply.
“Mind your tongue, young lady! That is no way to talk to your father.”
“I just don’t like how my entire life seems to have been planned without my input.” Kezia knew that her input probably wouldn’t matter now either, but she had to try to convince her father that this was not the right match for her. “Is the land that important to you?”
“How can you even ask that? For my entire life, I have worked on building this ranch, for your future. It is nothing if it is split down the middle by another family. Their piece also has a natural spring on it. It is very much necessary and they are being very generous in their offer.”
“Their offer is for me to marry a man I can barely stand for twenty minutes in exchange for a piece of land. How is that generous?” Kezia knew that she had lost all sorts of inhibitions now and was letting her tongue fly loosely.
“Earnest is a good man. He will provide for you and he will make sure that you have everything you want. In a marriage, the woman does not always have to be with her husband. If you do not like him, I am sure you will find other things to occupy your time with.”
“How is that a marriage? That is a prison! Didn’t you love my mother?” Kezia asked boldly. Her father never spoke of her mother.
“Of course, I loved your mother. I don’t want to talk about this anymore, Kezia. You will marry Earnest. I know what is best for you and you need to trust me.”
Kezia fought her tears, but took a step back. She knew when to stop arguing with her father and now was one of those times. She was not going to change his mind, no matter how much she argued.
Zack pulled the ax back over his shoulder and brought it down with a loud thud against the log, splitting it in two.
He pulled up another log, and then another. He kept going until there was a large pile of wood to be taken inside.
He gathered up the bits of wood and headed back to the kitchen. The recent rainstorms had left everything soggy and mud squished beneath his boots.
The sound of the chickens bickering about a morsel of food and a cow mooing filled the air.
When he pushed through the door of the cabin into the kitchen, he was bombarded by the sounds of his family.
“Zack, is that you? I’ve been waiting for that wood for nearly half an hour. How do you expect a person to cook?” his mother called out from the other room.
“Mama, Willow’s taken the butter from me again.” Robby’s young voice chimed in.
“That’s only because you are eating enough for three people and there won’t be any left,” Willow shrieked.
“That’s enough, both of you. Share the butter and stop bickering,” his father’s stern voice boomed.
Zack smiled and shook his head. His family was loud and obnoxious, but he loved them. Being somewhere silent would never do.
He dumped the freshly chopped wood into the wood box and then hurried into the dining area. “I am about to go into town. Are you ready, Willow?” Zack asked.
“Do I have to go? The other girl doesn’t like me there,” Willow protested.
“Nonsense, of course you have to go. Learning how to be a seamstress may feed your family one day.”
“That is if I have one,” Willow mumbled.
Despite the fact that Willow didn’t seem excited about learning to become a seamstress, Zack knew that it would be good for her future. She would need something to support her, to feed her and her potential family one day. The seamstress in town made a good amount of money, and if Willow could have that type of skill one day, it would be a benefit to her.
“Robby and I are off too. Some of the cows in the east pasture have been sold. They need to be taken to their new homes.” Zack’s father stood and patted Robby on the shoulder. He rose up another inch with pride.
Zack knew that Robby enjoyed a bit of responsibility and trust on the ranch. It made him feel special.
“Are you going to be all right here alone, ma?” Zack asked.
“Of course. You know I have a lot of washing to do.” His mother washed clothes for two of the wealthier families in town.
Even though it seemed like they all did a lot of work, Zack and his mother were the only ones bringing in money.
It seemed like every time a few coins were earned, double was paid out. Besides the normal expenses that every family had, they were being crushed under the debt they owed for medical bills. When his father had fallen ill the year before, they had gotten quite the bill from the doctor in town and had paid plenty for his medication.
Zack shook his head as he went out the door. He didn’t like it that his mother had to work so hard. Besides his work at the wood mill in town, he often made furniture for people at home and sold it on the side.
But even though he worked every extra moment he could, money was still more than tight.
“What are you so serious for?” Willow asked beside him as the wagon slowly pulled away from the cabin.
“I’m not any more serious than I normally am,” Zack protested.
“Yes, you are. You know that I only make a big deal about going to town because I am supposed to, right? I appreciate that you care.”
“You’re supposed to?” Zack rose his eyebrows in curiosity.
“Yeah, you know. I mean, I don’t always mean it when I complain.”
“You shouldn’t complain if you don’t mean it.” Zack chuckled. “You should try to become friends with the other girl who works at the dress shop.”
“That’s not going to happen. She just doesn’t like me. I don’t think I will ever have any friends.”
“That is not true. You’ll find a friend one day.” Zack didn’t tell her that he himself had never found a particularly good friend and didn’t expect to either.
The ride to town was quite a long one. They had to go through the woods and down a steep hill to get there. When they arrived, Zack pulled the wagon up in front of the dress shop. “I’ll be back for you this evening.”
Willow nodded and hopped down.
Zack waited until she’d disappeared into the shop before he touched the reins to the horses and had them off again toward the wood mill. The wood mill was nearly at the edge of town.
It was a small operation with only about eight men including him. But there were enough of them that they managed to get things done quickly.
“Zack! Just the man I wanted to see.” Dan was Zack’s boss. He was in charge of the wood mill and everything that Zack did while he was there.
“What is it?” Zack asked.
“There was a couple here a bit earlier, looking for someone to make them a set of chairs. I told them that you would be perfect for the job. They are staying at the hotel for now.”
“Thank you. I appreciate the extra work.” Most of Zack’s customers came from recommendations from the men he worked with at the wood mill.
“No problem.” Dan gave him a slap on the back. “You know that none of us have the skill you do when it comes to furniture. Now let’s get to work. We have a big order of lumber to fill for a man who is building his cabin. I can’t believe how much this town has grown already.”
Zack nodded and followed Dan to the back where the saws were. He liked his time at the wood mill. The smell of sawdust and the noise of trees being turned into planks of wood was calming to him.
Even though he did enjoy his work, he always looked forward to the end of the day, when he could go back to his family.
The day seemed to stretch on forever, and when it was time to go home, Zack was near exhausted. He was dripping with sweat and itched everywhere from the tiny bits of sawdust that seemed to make their way under his clothes.
He glanced up at the sky. Unlike the recent evenings where it would pour and the sky sounded as if it was about to fall, today the sky had been clear and sunny. The sun was sinking already, making him sure that it was already quite late.
He made the small trip back to the dress shop and stopped outside to wait for Willow. His sister was of marrying age at nineteen, but Zack wasn’t sure that he wanted her to be married off.
He was glad that she agreed. He had seen too many young women fall into a bad relationship just because they wanted to be out of their house and needed somewhere to go.
He hated to see women like that. He wanted Willow to have a life that she would be happy with. Even if it was a life without a husband or children. If she could make a living being a seamstress and didn’t have to depend on a man to live, then he would be happy for her.
The door to the seamstress shop swung open with a loud creaking sound. Willow pushed her way out, she was holding a large paper bag in front of her and she paused before setting it in the back of the wagon and climbing up beside Zack.
“Sorry I am late. We had a lot to do today. Miss Lyla says my stitches are getting better.” Willow was clenching and opening her fists.
“Do you hate sewing?” Zack asked suddenly. While being a seamstress was what he considered was best for his sister, he wanted to make sure he wasn’t pushing her into something she hated.
“No, not really. At first, I thought it was a bit slow and that I would never learn. But now that I am getting better at it, I am looking forward to the moment when I can actually do something impressive. It’s only been three months. I am sure I will see more progress with more time.”
“I’m glad that you see it that way. So, did anything happen with your enemies today?”
Willow giggled. “I don’t have enemies, just a girl who doesn’t like me.”
“I see.” Zack shook his head and glanced over at his sister who looked as if she were in deep thought.
He wanted to protect her, make her life better than what his was. He only wished that he had been able to do it when she was younger. Then she wouldn’t need to know the struggles and frustrations their family was going through now.
“You know, Miss Lyla says that if I keep working, in less than a year I will start making some money of my own. Maybe then Ma won’t have to work so hard.”
Zack nodded, giving her an encouraging smile. “Maybe so. That would be nice.”
He didn’t want to tell her how helpful that would be. He didn’t Willow to be pushing herself hard to help their family. She needed to worry about her own future. Zack set his jaw in a determination. He was going to get his family out of poverty somehow, no matter what he had to do.
“A Path of Forgiveness and Love” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
Kezia Waylon was raised with everything she could possibly ask for, except for a good relationship with her father. When he forces her to marry a rich man that she despises, her world turns upside down, but she reluctantly accepts in hopes of finally winning his approval. Still, she’s eager to enjoy her last days of freedom by doing things she loves. While out riding, Kezia gets swept away by a flash flood, but luckily for her, a mysterious woman comes out of nowhere to her rescue. Kezia is immediately smitten with Zack, the woman’s appealing brother, but as soon as she introduces herself, they both become cold and unwelcoming. Will she manage to discover why the mere sound of her name could deprive her of a beautiful friendship and perhaps a chance at love?
Zack Vanir always felt that loyalty to his family was his most precious attribute. He’s been hearing about his father’s feud his entire life but when he meets Kezia, the daughter of his father’s rival, he doesn’t expect her to be so beautiful and charismatic. He knows that he needs to stay away from her and keep his sister at a distance too, but something inside him tells him otherwise. To his misfortune, staying away from Kezia isn’t as easy as he thought it would be, as he becomes completely and utterly enamored with her. Will Zack decide to follow his heart even if that means going against his own values?
Secrets from the past will soon surface while Kezia and Zack search for the true culprit of the crimes that started the bitter feud. A strong connection between them is about to flourish as they work together to reconcile their families…Will their fathers’ deep-seated hatred keep them apart forever or will they find what their heart truly desires after all?
“A Path of Forgiveness and Love” is a historical western romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.