E-Book (available as ePub, Mobi, and PDF files)
Hope Davidson meets the man of her dreams, a man on a quest of his lifelong Paper Dream. In pursuit of his ambition, Winn Prichard wrestles with his feelings for Hope, a strong woman of faith.
Dare he risk falling in love again?
To take another chance at love, Winn loses sight of truth.
His mistakes are too burdensome to reveal to her.
Will his deceptions destroy her love for him?
In 1928, running from failures of the past, Winston Prichard passionately pursues his goal of publishing his own newspaper. Will lack of money, unwise choices, and a weakness for alcohol push his Paper Dreams further from fruition?
His continuing difficulties cast doubt about a relationship with Hope Davidson. Should he make her a part of his odyssey? Hope’s love for Winn is all encompassing, and she shares his vision; however, discoveries of his transgressions plague her. Maybe her Papa was right when he warned, “If he’s a skunk, I hope you see his stripe before it’s too late.”
When each plan crumbles, Hope relies on her faith, yet she questions the wisdom of chasing the aspiration. Hope prays for a secure marriage without secrets. She wonders if desires are personal vanities or if they are placed in our heart by God for His divine purpose.
CHAPTER ONE – Hempstead, Texas - March 1928
The porch step gave way. The wind was knocked out of her as she landed with a plop on the hard packed dirt.
Octavia Jane rushed to the edge of the porch. “Hope, are you alright?”
Gulping to catch her breath, Hope stood and wiped her hands across the freshly ironed dress. “I’m okay, Mama.” She stooped to pick up the shim that had been holding the weathered step in place.
Octavia leaned over the railing as far as her rotund body allowed and realizing the problem, frustration overshadowed concern. With a clouded face, she turned to her husband sitting in his cane chair. “I told you a hundred times to fix that step, Hollis.” Her hands balled into fists, she perched them on ample hips. “Hope could’ve broken her neck.”
Hollis glanced to see his Sugar in one piece and then directed his attention back to whittling. “Now Tave, I said I’d get to it.” His sorghum thick words were unhurried.
Stepping closer to Hollis, Octavia’s eyes were set with anger. “Get to it?” Her voice was loud enough to shake the leaning timbers questionably supporting the tin roof. “When? When are you going to get to it? I swan, you’ve been saying that since Betsy fell off of it and twisted her foot.”
Hope’s wish of starting a day without her parents bickering was splintered. She took out her agitation on the wooden shim and kicked it back in place. “It’s alright, Mama. I should’ve remembered to step over it.”
With a long stride, she returned to the porch and assumed her position as self-appointed referee. She placed a hand on her daddy’s shoulder. “I’ll help you fix it when I get home from work, Papa.”
He glanced at his daughter and then focused downward busying himself with his project. “Aw no Shug, I got some wood in back of the outhouse; I’ll look through it directly.”
Octavia stood to her full four foot, ten inch height. “Just look through the wood pile, Hollis?” Her eyebrows arched over dark squinted eyes. “You’ll likely find a good whittling stick and take to your chair. Then you’ll sit there ‘til time to get on to the funeral home.”
Taller than her mother, Hope easily placed an arm around her shoulders. “I’m sure he’ll see to it.” She gave a meaningful gaze toward Hollis. “Won’t you, Papa?”
He grunted and shifted in his chair.
Studying his large hands, Hope marveled at his skill of forming a unique walking cane from a stick of cedar, but evaded fixing the steps and most other repairs. She resisted the urge to pat his wispy white hair into place and smooth his bushy mustache as she did as a child. At the same time, she was provoked enough to give it a yank, but knew it wouldn’t make a difference in his lackadaisical ways.
Losing her temper would only stoke the smoldering embers between her parents. Hope forced an even tone, “If you could saw a brace to size after supper, I’ll nail it together. We wouldn’t want anyone else to stumble and get hurt if it works its way out again.”
Hollis chuckled. “That shim ain’t likely to wiggle out too soon the way you kicked it in there, Sugar.”
Mama pulled away and threw up her hands. “Oh Lord, he’s come up with another excuse.”
Hope could see there was no changing Papa or Mama this day or any other. Resigned, she brushed a kiss across Hollis’ cheek and met her mother’s eyes with a plea for armistice. “I need to get going.” She rushed off the porch, skipping over the offending step.
“Wait Sister.” A barefoot girl ran out of the house letting the screen door slam. “I wanna give you a kiss.”
Hope’s pink and rose flowered print skirt twirled as she pivoted and ran back to lend puckered lips to her little sister. “How could I ever leave without a smooch from you, Betsy Girl?”
The youngest sister, Pearl, watched from behind the rusted screen door. Hope motioned to her. “Hey there, Pearly Mae, come give me a hug.”
“Okay for you then, but I better get a hug when I get home.” At the hog wire fence, Hope carefully removed the wire loop from the cedar post holding the lean-to gate. She stepped onto the dirt path and hooked the loop back on the post. “I’ll see y’all at noon.”
As she turned to wave, Hope heard her mother. “Hollis, when are you going to get to the broken hinge on that gate?”
“Live in peace with one another.”
Joyce Richards Case was fourteen when she began writing for her family’s weekly newspaper. Her short stories have appeared in inspirational magazines and book publications; Stories Most Precious and Life in America.
Perfect Bound Softcover