you.” The woman leaned one hip on the corner of the desk. “But I remember you. It caused quite a stir in Hickory Ridge when Wyatt Caldwell and his Boston bride lit out for Texas and took you with them. Jasper Pruitt still marvels at it.” A mental picture of the hard-eyed mercantile owner rose in Sophie’s mind. Had the intervening years softened his opinion of those who were different? Perhaps that was too much to hope for. “I’m sorry. I don’t . . . I didn’t have a chance to make many friends when I lived at Mrs. Lowell’s orphanage.” “I’m Sabrina Gilman. But I much prefer to be called Gillie. My father owns the bank.” She handed Sophie the envelope. “Your deposit receipt. Father said you left it in his office yesterday.” “So I did.” Sophie smiled and dropped the envelope into the top drawer of her desk. “I was so eager to get settled and get over here to take a look at things that I forgot all about it.” She studied her visitor. “I do remember you, though. You and Jacob Hargrove played Mary and Joseph at the Christmas pageant the year Mrs. Lowell brought us to church to sing carols. You aren’t that much older than I am.” “Twenty-eight as of last week.” Gillie sighed. “Well past my prime for marriage, according to Mother and her friends.” “I thought you and Jacob—” “He left Hickory Ridge a couple of years after you and the Caldwells.” Gillie shrugged. “I can’t blame him. There was no work here for years. He finally got a job at a factory up north and married someone else.” “I’m sorry.” Gillie laughed. “Well, I’m not! It was only a childhood flirtation. Though I will admit, for a while I was in such a state that Father sought Dr. Spencer’s help in sorting me out.” She traced a scar on the wood desk with her fingers. “At first I couldn’t imagine any other life than the one I’d dreamed of with Jacob. Watching our children 6
00-01_Every Perfect Gift.indd 6
9/10/12 10:15 AM
Published on Dec 4, 2012
When Sophie interviews Ethan for the paper, he is impressed with her intelligence and astounded by her beauty. She's equally intrigued with...