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Authors: Kadi Dillon

Have a Little Faith

BOOK: Have a Little Faith
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Have a Little Faith

By Kadi Dillon

 

Copyright © 2011 by Kadi Dillon

All Rights Reserved.

 

 

This
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

 

©cover design by angel Art Studio

Couple Silhouette Image © ©Martine
Sansoucy

 

For questions and comments please contact Kadi at
www.kadidillon.com

Find Kadi Dillon on Facebook!

 

—For Mom

 

 

 

Kadi Dillon

 

Chapter One

 

To some
it may have seemed theatrical, but there was nothing Alexandra
Morgan loved more than being awa
ken
ed
by a rooster crowing at sunrise. Like every other morning on the Morgan Ranch, Jerk the rooster made his routine screeching at half past five.

Alex stretched her arms above her head and
yawned
the sleepiness away. Crystal blue eyes opened and focused, readjusting to
the early September sunlight filtering through
her bedroom window. She knew before her bare feet touched the hardwood that it was another beautiful day at her ranch.

She dr
essed in her usual attire—
old denim jeans, a button up
shirt with the sleeves r
olled up to her elbows, and
scuffed b
oots. She left her
long,
black hair down for now
,
but slipped a string in her pocket to tie it back as the day became hotter.

Alex didn’t
bother with cosmetics. Any make
up she
applied
would be sweated off before lunch. And if there was a perfu
me known to man that would over
power the earthy smell of dirt and animal, she didn’t know of it.

Flipping on the radio in the kitchen, Alex poured a cup of steaming coffee that had been set to brew at five o’clock
and
drained it.
“…As for the weather forecast for South West, Oklahoma, prepare to see a dip in temperatures over the next couple of weeks…”

“Finally,” Alex mum
bled pouring a second cup. The s
ummer had been a brutal one with little rain or relief. In turn, the ponds were down, the soil was
dry, and crops were suffering, causing the Morgan’s bank account to be running on fumes.

But that’s nothing new
. Alex sighed as she flipped off the radio and walked out into the day
,
carrying her mug. Morgan Ranch had been in the red for months now. And the blame for their financial dilemma could be laid squarely on the shoulders of Joshua Morgan. Alex’s father had been an obtuse man before he died and had acquired some powerful debts throughout his life

d
ebts that no one except for him
knew of until a week afte
r his funeral and
that at one point had threatened everything precious to Alex.

But that was
long past. Alex and her mother
had sold half of the ranches’ twelve-hundred acres, half their stock in cattle, and
had
reluctantly
auctioned off
every available piece of machinery they had owned to pay off the debts. Morgan Ranch may be half its original size, but it was now the
Morgan’s free and clear,
no longer used for collateral for various loans to feed Joshua Morgan’s gambling and alcohol addictions.

She
made her way to the stables to take care of her favo
rite element of country living—
the horses. “Good morning, Joy,
” Alex greeted
.

Joy had come a long way in the four years Alex had her.
Like
many of the animals on Morgan
, she’d been a cast-off
. Born ugly, her previous owner had claimed. Her head was too big for her body and she would never amount to anything. Alex had seen her beauty right away. Her head may have been a little
larger
, but her sweet temperament called to Alex’s heart and she bought her from Mr. Fuller for pocket change. Now this stunning beauty would sell for four tim
es what Alex had paid for her—a
nd she wouldn’t sell her for all the money in the world.

The beautiful, chestnut mare poked her head out of the stall, perking her ears up tall when she heard her mistress. Her nostrils flared as she huffed a greeting. Alex chuckled as she nuzzled her pet. She would never think to start each day without the familiar smell of horse and leather. With the morning chores finished, Alex headed back to the house.

Her mother was sitting at the table as Alex walked through the kitchen. Her wheat colored
hair was pulled up in its habitual knot at the back of her head. Her eyes were downcast, staring at nothing as she toyed with her toast.
Looking anywhere except at her daughter.
Alex paused at the coffee machine and listened awkwardly to the silence. After filling her coffee cup, she hesitated briefly before leaving the kitchen.

She wasn’t aware that she was rubbing her heart, where it hurt the most, with her free hand until she
closed
her bedroom
door
. Would it always be like this between them?

Her father
—w
ho had been the main cause of detach
ment between her and her mother—
had been gone for six months and they could still barely carry on a conversation about anything except for the ranch
. Alex se
t her cup down on her desk and pulled out a stack of paperwork. Part of the estrangement was her own fault, she knew. It wasn’t that she hadn’t forgiven her mother, for she had.
Technically.

She just didn’t understand. She didn’t understand how a mother could stand aside and watch her husband beat their child. She didn’t understand how a mother could choose a man over an innocent little girl. She had been
so
afraid and her mother never said a word.

Joshua Morgan had been and still was like a god to Linda. To Alex, he was everything she had ever feared and hated.

When Alex was sixteen, she had given up her innocence and conceived a child. Her mother had still said nothing while her father had beaten her and her unborn baby in his rage. The slaps and bruises were nothing compared to the vile names
he’d
called her and the stunning accusations he threw. But Alex remembered the fear in the possibility that she had miscarried due to the violence.

But no, she hadn’t miscarried. She had grown full term and had given birth to a beautiful six pound da
ughter and named her Faith—
because that was al
l she had. Faith in her future, f
aith in
the baby she had made and loved with all her heart.

Alex put her pen down and slid the top drawer open. Her fingers dove under a pile of blank envelopes and pulled out a wallet sized framed picture of her daughter at three months of age. She was a beautiful baby, Alex thought
achingly
. She would have been a beautiful young girl and a beautiful woman one day.

Shaking herself and stowing Faith’s picture back into the drawer, Alex told
herself
not to dwell on it right
now. It hurt—
God it still hurt to think of her little miracle and it got her nowhere except for aching
for
and needing what she couldn’t have. There was a time and a place for memories and a time and a place for living.

When all the
paperwork
was complete, nothing had changed. Morgan was still in the red, supplies would be ordered, and ranch hands would be paid.

Alex went back down to the kitchen to prepare lunch for her mother and her. As was their habit, they would probably make small talk about the ranch. Her mother would suggest that she handle the dishes herself, only to have Alex insis
t
she
go
read or rest. They would part silently and both blend back into their routines.

It was a recurring cycle. It was heartbreaking.

Once, Alex thought as she fried bacon for BLT’s, just once would she like to see her mother smile at her. Once, would she love to hear her mother say,
‘I’m proud of you’
or
‘I love
you.

But she wouldn’t. She would barely even look her own daughter in the eye.

She heard the soft squeaking of the wheels that carried her mother through her life and looked up to see Linda roll herself into the kitchen. Alex glanced first at the contraption that held her mother; then into the same blank expression she saw every day.

“Good morning.” Alex laid the plates down on the table. “I’ve made BLT’s for lunch. Are
you in the mood for tea or water to drink?”

“Tea is fine.” Linda wheeled over to the table.

They ate
quietly as usual. Alex noted her mother was not making any attempt for small talk or even glancing in her direction. It’s so sad, Alex mused as she studied her mother.

She was be
autiful—e
ven with age. Her wheat blond hair was long and always pulled up. All though there were creases on her fac
e, they suited her tired eyes—
dark blue eyes that no longer held laughter or love for anyone except a man
who’d
been dead six months.

“Faith’s birthday is in three weeks,” Alex told her. “I was wondering if you’d like to come with me to her grave. I bought her a flower made from stained glass
.
I’d like to put it on before it rains.”

“We’ll see.”

The short answer was so completely devoid of emotion. Alex struggled not to sigh as she polished off her sandwich.
It’s like she doesn’t even acknowledge Faith was ever here.
And that hurt, too. She had always mourned her
daughter alone except for Sam—
the one shining light in her life that she would also never have. Sam was both her friend and the father of her angel. However brief, their association had resulted in Faith and they had remained friends even after they had lost their child.

When the meal was finished, Alex was surprised when Linda handed her plate and glass over. Without a word, Alex took them to the sink to rinse them.

“There’s something I need to discuss with you.”

Alex lifted a brow. “Go ahead.”

“I guess I’m just going to come out and say it. I’m sel
ling the ranch.” Linda backed
her chair
up
, turned,
then
wheeled her way into the den. The sound of breaking glass filled the kitchen
when Alex dropped the one she was washing.                

On an oath,
she
grabbed the dishcloth from the counter and followed her mother. “What do you mean, selling the ranch?” she demanded.

Linda turned her chair to face her daughter. “Tanner Enterprises called me this morning. They’re interested in purchasing the ranch from us. I’m going to accept.”

“But why?”
Alex ran her hands through her hair and shook her head. “Mother, why would you want to sell our home?”

“I’ve found a nice retirement home I’d like to move to. They call it assisted living. There’s nothing for me here, Alex. It’s time.”

“Where will I go?” Alex
asked
,
all though at the moment she couldn’t care less what happened to her.
The ranch.
Don’t make me lose the ranch.

“You’re a grown woman.”

Alex turned to pace the length of the den and stopped abruptly. She could actually feel the color draining from her face

the heat from fury being replaced with ice from dread.  “Faith!” she cried
thinly
and crouched down in front of her mother. She
had
to make her see. “Mom, Faith is here. I can’t leave my baby here.”

“Graves can be moved.”

Tears were falling and couldn’t be stopped. She let them slide down her face while she to
ssed her pride aside and begged
. “Can’t you see how much this ranch means to me?”

“The money—”

“Isn’t everything!”
Alex interrupted her sharply. “I’m making it work. Give me some time, Mother. I’m begging you.
Please
.”

“Someone is coming next week. They’ll stay here until we make our decision.”

“Who
is

we,

Mother?” Alex demanded through hot tears. “Are you talking about Joshua Morgan?
Because he’s dead
,
too.”

“Don’t you dare speak of your father that way,” Linda snapped. Color heated her cheeks, her eyes were mad with fury. Alex thought dispassionately that this was the most emotion she had seen out of her since her father had died. “You never did have any respect for him.”

“Never had…” Alex narrowed her eyes. “You’re right. I had no respect for
a man
who drank constantly, gambled his life away, and beat his daughter when he was drunk or mad. I have absolutely no respect for a man like that.”

BOOK: Have a Little Faith
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