http://www.cantinesanpancrazio.it/components/cojocima/602-controllare-se.php She faltered back, shocked at the thoughts and feelings whirling in her brain. With a rush of adrenaline, she crossed her arms and stared him down, energized by her newfound anger. Am I not pretty enough? Smart enough? Mature enough? The ruddiness in his neck traveled to his ears. He took a commanding stride toward her and latched a hand on her arm. With a firm grip, he pushed her into a chair at the table and squatted beside her. Beth, stop this! She stared at his handsome face, the contrast of gentle eyes and hard-sculpted features making her heart bleed.
Wisps of cinnamon-colored hair curled up at the back of his neck, softening the hard line of his jaw, which was already shadowed by afternoon growth.
She swallowed hard, the taste of dread pasty in her throat. Just not you, she whispered. A muscle flinched in his cheek. He smothered her hands between his large, calloused ones. I love you, you know that—. The sound of that hateful word stiffened her spine. She jerked her hand free and angled her chin. But not as a woman, is that it?
Someone you can take in your arms and kiss and make love to? Blood gorged his cheeks as he stood up. A rare hint of anger sparked in his eyes, and satisfaction flooded her soul. At least she could arouse his temper, if nothing else. She jumped up with tears stinging her eyes. She turned toward the door. He stumbled back, then grabbed her arm. Beth, wait! We need to pray about this. She flung his hand away. Humiliation and anger broiled her cheeks. No, you pray about it. It seems to be the only thing you know how to do. She whirled around, hand fisted on the knob. Pray that I hate you, will you?
You make it so easy. Collin let out a low whistle and arched a brow. Brady exhaled and dropped into his desk chair. He mauled his face with his hand. Collin sighed and shuffled to the rack over the door to snatch his keys. So is Lizzie. Tired of being in love with someone who treats her like a little sister.
She wants more. How long are you going to ignore it? Brady dropped his head in his hand to shield his eyes. You taught me that. I know, he whispered. He sat down on an old proof sheet and crossed his arms. Collin chuckled. Until now. Collin hopped up and followed. Collin hesitated and his smile faded. He cocked his head. Are you attracted to Lizzie?
Brady stared, his heart pounding in his chest like the rotors of the Bullock pounding behind them. His voice was barely a whisper. Brady shocked himself with the vehemence in his tone. I could never— would never —think of Beth that way. Collin blinked. Lizzie is not your sister no matter how much you see it that way. What is it? Why are you holding back? He fought back a shudder. Nothing, Collin. Nothing I care to go into. Collin stared long and hard. He finally sighed and jingled the keys in his pocket.
For now. That means cutting her loose. No more Bible study or private prayer time or lunchtime chats. Every minute you spend with that girl is only leading her on. I love you, John. I know how much Lizzie means to you. Collin stared, his lips poised as if to argue. He released a weighty sigh.
Okay, old buddy, not a word. Have a good night. She bolted down the crowded sidewalk like a madwoman, tears streaming her cheeks and her chest heaving with hurt. Patrons swarmed wooden stands heaped high with oranges and lemons freshly plucked and shipped from Florida groves. Stern-eyed ladies rifled through leaf lettuce while apron-clad vendors hovered and hawked their wares. Lizzie ignored them all, racing past and almost tumbling as she hurdled a crate of potatoes in her path.
It would surely unleash the broken sob that lodged in her throat. Right now all she wanted to do was to crawl into a dark corner of St. She sniffed. The hallowed darkness inside strained her eyes as she adjusted to its dim light. She scanned the pews to make sure she was alone. With a shuddering heave, she made her way to the right alcove at the front and sank into her favorite row in the back corner. She set her clutch purse aside and lay down on her back, stretched out like she used to when she was a child, in search of her own little world where she could read and dream and pray.
But at times, when the pull of a favorite book or a longing for romance would strike, she would steal away, unbeknownst to the nuns. It was here, in this shadowed church, lit only by the soft glow of flickering candles and sunlight shafting through stained-glass windows, that she would finally connect with God. At times, she could almost see his white gown through the marble balustrade as he listened to her.
She always felt close to him there, amidst the lingering scent of incense and lemon oil. As if they were best friends. And they were. Their brief encounters always filled her with peace, often providing a much-needed balm to her young soul. With a weary sigh, she closed her eyes and allowed her thoughts to stray to Brady as they so often did. In her frequent daydreams, she found herself comparing him to heroes she idolized in favorite books. Her lips curved into a sad smile.
Without question, John Brady was her Mr. At least he was when it came to her, she thought with a twist of her lips. Too blinded by his own stubborn perceptions to see what everyone else so clearly saw—that his little buddy was destined to be his very own Lizzie.
She stared now, lost in a faraway look that blurred the flame of the sanctuary light as it glittered in its scarlet holder. Why, God? I know he cares—I can see it in his eyes and feel it in his touch. And I love him too—you know I do. But he gives me nothing. She peeked up at the balcony. She closed her eyes and settled in once again, her focus intent on the prayer at hand. All at once the heavy oak door squealed open, emitting a shaft of light that filtered in from the vestibule.
The sound of hurried footsteps echoed through the cavernous building and then stopped. A broken sob pierced the darkness. What in the world? Pitiful heaves rose to the rafters as Lizzie sat up and scanned the dark church. With a tightening in her chest, she rose and followed the sound of the weeping. Her eyes widened as she discovered its source in the very last pew. Is that you? A sprite of a girl lay collapsed in the pew, her ragged overalls torn and tattered. Wisps of carrot-red hair escaped from stubby braids, lending a halo effect that reminded Lizzie of a fuzzy spider monkey.
She blinked in shock, enormous hazel eyes glossy with tears. I-I thought I was a-alone. She sniffed and swiped at her nose with the sleeve of her blouse. With a lift of her chin, she squinted up, forcing a million tiny freckles to scrunch in a frown. Lizzie folded her arms and arched a brow. And in a church, no less. Betcha God will barely notice.
He notices everything, Ellie, especially when one of his favorite little girls is making such a ruckus in his house. Lizzie nudged her over and sat down.
Ellie glanced up, her face skewed in thought. She took a deep breath and settled back against the pew, expelling a long, heavy sigh. I beat up Brian Kincaid. Lizzie leaned forward in shock. That big, hulking boy from the seventh grade? Sweet Mother of Job, how? Not anymore. I thrashed him down to size just like I do my brothers when they fire me up.
She jutted her lip and folded her arms, squinting hard at the pew in front of her. She looked away, but not before Lizzie caught the quiver of her chin. Her voice wavered the slightest bit before it hardened. She grabbed Ellie in a ferocious hug. Bald-faced lies, all of it! She sniffed several times. Her small frame shivered as she looked away. And even if there was, Pop barely makes enough to feed me and the boys. Lizzie chewed on her lip in deep thought. Ellie flicked the strap of her threadbare overalls. Mind hand-me-downs?
Her jaw leveled up a full inch. Lizzie smiled. You know, story time on Saturdays? Yes, but I could use your help with setting up and cleaning up. And there are one or two little troublemakers who I bet you could keep in line with a withering glance. Least not for me. She squinted up. Her jaw stiffened. Boys can be troublemakers at any age, trust me. Ellie rose to her feet and shoved her hands deep in her pockets. Yeah, especially brothers. She gave Lizzie a curious look. You got a brother that gives you trouble, Lizzie?
Yeah, I do, Ellie, but I have every intention of taking care of it. And then, if you want, I can cut your hair and show you how to fix it. What do you say? And when something is that important, you do whatever it takes. Gosh, Lizzie, you sound just like my momma before she— She pulled away and straightened her shoulders, then swiped her eyes with the back of her hand. Lizzie blinked to clear the moisture from her own eyes.
Ellie nodded and grinned before bolting out the door, once again leaving the sanctuary in a state of peaceful calm. With a heavy sigh, Lizzie made her way back to her pew and lay down. With no effort at all, her thoughts returned to Brady. At the thought of her advice to Ellie, a smiled flitted on her lips.
She smoothed out her skirt and lifted her chin. Resolve kindled in her bones. An air of stubbornness settled in, shivering her spine like the cool air currents that whistled through the domed ceiling of the drafty church. Okay, God, I plan to take my own advice and do whatever it takes. Lizzie plucked her clutch purse from the pew and marched to the door with renewed purpose.
Her lips clamped into a tight line. Just wait till he sees a woman ignored. Brady buried his fists in his pockets and hung his head, barreling toward his apartment on Rumpole Street with one driving purpose: to be alone. Any other night, he would have enjoyed taking his time, stopping to chat with a neighbor, or been easily coerced into a game of stickball with a rowdy group of kids. He would have enjoyed the faint haze of green in the trees as new buds burgeoned forth, washing the landscape with a soft watercolor effect.
But for once, the rich scent of freshly hewn mulch as neighbors readied their gardens, and the shrieks of children at play and birds in song, failed to coax a smile to his lips. No, not tonight. Tonight his thoughts were elsewhere. Mired in a place where the innocent laughter of children and the peace of a wholesome neighborhood were as foreign as an ice storm on a balmy spring day.
Brady shivered inside in spite of the sixty-degree temperatures. He quickened his pace when he neared his three-story brick brownstone. Flanked by graceful federal pillars and forsythia heavy with yellow blooms, it welcomed him home, tonight more than usual. He hurried up steps lined with crocus and littered with the occasional pressed-steel toy truck and cap-gun cannon. He sucked in a deep breath and grasped the steel knob of the glass-paned door with rigid purpose, seeking nothing but solitude. Brady hunched his shoulders and moaned inwardly. He turned slowly, a poor attempt at a smile on his lips.
Hi ya, Cluny. Enjoying the weather? Fourteen-year-old Cluny McGee looked all of ten years old as he grinned, a spray of wild freckles lost in a layer of dirt on his delicate face. The cuffs of his pants were still several inches too short, and his ill-fitting shirt strained at the buttons despite a spindly chest.
He slapped a strand of white-blond thatch out of his twinkling blue eyes. Yeah, gives me spring fever for all the pretty girls. Brady forced a grimace into a smile. This time of year will do that. Well, enjoy.
He yanked the door open, desperate to escape to the haven of his home. I thought maybe we could box a match or two. Cluny flexed his muscles. Gotta shape up for the ladies, you know. Brady hesitated. He glanced at Cluny, not missing the hopefulness in his eyes. He managed a smile. Too tired, Cluny. The boy grinned, exposing a smile that could melt stone. Sure thing, Brady. Same time as usual? Brady nodded and waved, exhaling as the door closed behind him. He mounted the steps with trepidation, hoping to make it to the next landing as quietly as possible.
This was one night he needed to be alone, to fall on his knees before God and seek his peace. He stopped on the steps and smiled at his eleven-year-old neighbor. She giggled and ducked her head, then flipped a long, thick braid the color of molasses over her shoulder.
Because I baked cookies. Your favorite kind—gingerbread. Wait here. She darted off, leaving the door ajar, then returned with a plate of cookies, still warm. The delicious smell filled the tiny foyer, evoking noises from his stomach. She giggled and held them up. Her proud look warmed his heart. He tweaked her braid and smiled, then hoisted the cookies with one hand.
She scrunched her nose in thought. Do you have any more? He chucked a finger under her chin. And thanks for the cookies, Ess. The door closed and Brady sighed. Forgive me, Lord, for being so grumpy. And thank you for small blessings like Esther and Cluny. He trudged the last few steps to his door and fished the key from his pocket. He caught a whiff of gingerbread and smiled, unlocking the door and prodding it closed with his shoe. He put the plate of cookies on the table and sampled one as he made his way to the kitchen cupboard. He reached for a glass, then opened the icebox to pull out the milk.
He poured it and frowned, suddenly remembering the scene with Beth.
His gut curdled like the two-week-old milk in the glass. Brady sighed and leaned against the counter. Why, Lord? She was the only good and decent thing in his life. His love for her was deep and genuine and, yes—through the grace of God—pure. He wanted to protect her and nurture her and always be there for her. Why did he have to give her up? Brady poured the sour milk into the sink and rinsed it out. He absently washed the glass as he struggled with his thoughts.
He traipsed to the sofa and collapsed, dropping his head back and closing his eyes. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. A bitter smile twisted his lips. If only he could forget as easily as God. Remove his own shame as far as the east is from the west.
Instead, it burned inside him like an eternal fire, singeing any hope of beauty and innocence. Any hope of Beth. Brady hunched on the couch and put his head in his hands. Help me, Lord. I love Beth more than my own life. Help me to give her up, to let her go. Give me the grace to do it. To see it through. I pray that you will help her understand. Unfortunately, Lizzie won't let him go anywhere else--until she discovers he is not all that he seems. Can true love survive such revelations? Full of the romance and relationships Lessman readers have come to love, A Passion Denied is the final book in the popular Daughters of Boston series.
Even as a debut novelist, Lessman garnered writing awards, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She lives in High Ridge, Missouri. Reviews Review Policy. Published on. Flowing text, Original pages. Best For. Web, Tablet, Phone, eReader. Content Protection. Read Aloud. Learn More. Flag as inappropriate.
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Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders. Continue the series. See more. Book 1. Refusing to settle for anything less than a romantic relationship that pleases God, Faith O'Connor steels her heart against her desire for the roguish Collin McGuire. But when Collin tries to win her sister Charity's hand, Faith isn't sure she can handle the jealousy she feels.
To further complicate matters, Faith finds herself the object of Collin's affections, even as he is courting her sister. The Great War is raging overseas, and a smaller war is brewing in the O'Connor household. Full of passion, romance, rivalry, and betrayal, A Passion Most Pure will captivate readers from the first page. Book 1 of the Daughters of Boston series. Book 2. Graced with physical beauty, though shallow of heart, Charity O'Connor is a woman who knows what she wants. She sets her sights on the cantankerous Mitch Dennehy, editor at the Irish Times, who has unwittingly stolen her heart.
But Charity has a plan to turn up the heat and she always gets what she wants--one way or another. Is revenge so sweet after all? Or will Charity get burned?
Start by marking “A Passion Denied (The Daughters of Boston, #3)” as Want to Read: Young Elizabeth O'Connor is the little sister John Brady always longed for. Overview of Novel: Lizzie is sick of being viewed as John Brady's little sister. A Passion Denied (The Daughters of Boston Book #3) and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle. A Passion Denied (The Daughters of Boston, Book 3) Paperback – May 1, Elizabeth O'Connor has been like the little sister John Brady always wanted, sharing his love.