I had to give him a book. He deserved a true love. But what would his story be?
I have to say I took some time developing his match. She had to be someone righteous, honest and unafraid. She had to be able to stand next to Deacon and be her own person. Enter Lily Spero…the girl he abandoned in a park in Houston.
Now, before you get confused, he had his reasons for leaving her. So don’t hate him. Read his story and learn how these two triumph over a great evil. If you read it, know that my favorite part is how Lily steals the walking cane from the villain on the white horse and what happens after it.
He would come back soon. He would. He wouldn’t leave her here.
Lily assessed the park with its strong oaks and maples and winding packed dirt paths. She bit her lip and worked hard not to cry. She was a big girl. She was eleven, and he’d asked her to be brave while he was gone.
As she hid in the shade, she sank down to the grass, huddled against a trunk and hoped no one noticed a frightened, stranded, black girl. Where was he? What was taking so long? He only went to find food for them.
Morning turned into noon. People came. Some to eat their lunches on blankets they spread on the ground. Others to walk the picturesque paths. She pulled her knees into her chest and buried her nose in her dirt-caked pinafore. It had been yellow once. A pretty color as bright as the sun.
As she rocked back and forth, she prayed. She repeated over and over the words her mother had taught her. With her eyes clamped shut and her lips moving without ceasing, she implored to Heaven for Deacon to return.
But hours passed. Faces swam before her, asking her questions, giving her food. She couldn’t answer the nice strangers. Just gazed down the path, hoping, waiting, her heart dying.
Where are you? Please come. Please come back.
She silently begged to see his familiar form, dressed in overalls and a threadbare work shirt, coming around the bend to carry her away. But he didn’t come. And the kind people didn’t leave. They took her home with them, and Lily didn’t argue, even though their pale skin struck uncertainty in her heart. She couldn’t think. Deacon, she grieved.
And his name was the pained whisper on her lips every night, the perpetual cold ache in her heart…that could never be filled.
Fate brings his greatest regret back into his life…
Lily Spero is searching for her stolen heritage, for a place in the world that is all her own. Sixteen years ago, she lost her parents and siblings to a villain on a white horse. Since, she's hungered for family, for that love she'd once known. When she visits the Swinging A Ranch, her past collides with her present, opening wounds long buried and shockingly creating hope where none had been before.
Deacon Tolbert is the foreman and a contributing partner to the Swinging A Ranch. He's carved a niche in the world all his own, finally feeling worthy of the goodness he's found for himself. But when Lily Spero arrives, the girl he abandoned years ago, he's forced to face the most gut-wrenching moment of his life.
Despite the pain, love surprises them and blossoms, bringing hope for the future. But the villain from the past comes to haunt them, to steal what they're trying to build. Deacon and Lily must brave vile evil in order to stay together, and fight with all they have to keep the promises they made to each other.