Love Calling (Heartsong Presents Series #1040)

Overview

Sam is a sight for sore eyes.

It's been years since Emma Chapman has seen Samuel Tucker. Ever since Sam left the orphanage where the two grew up and never looked back. Emma has moved on, too, working as a telephone operator and attending local suffragette meetings. But the happy reunion turns sour when Emma learns that Sam is a policeman. Everyone knows the force is corrupt. Could her old friend have changed so much?

Sam is struck by the ...

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Love Calling

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Overview

Sam is a sight for sore eyes.

It's been years since Emma Chapman has seen Samuel Tucker. Ever since Sam left the orphanage where the two grew up and never looked back. Emma has moved on, too, working as a telephone operator and attending local suffragette meetings. But the happy reunion turns sour when Emma learns that Sam is a policeman. Everyone knows the force is corrupt. Could her old friend have changed so much?

Sam is struck by the beautiful woman Emma has become. But having lost his wife in a tragic accident, he won't give his heart again. And Emma's distrust of his chosen profession is clear. If only he can convince her that he's one policeman the neighborhood can trust.

Then when Emma overhears disturbing calls concerning suffragette meetings, Sam knows he must protect the woman he has grown to love.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373486519
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 3/5/2013
  • Series: Heartsong Presents Series , #1040
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Janet Lee Barton loves researching and writing heartwarming stories about faith, family, friends and love. She and her husband live in Oklahoma and recently downsized to a condo. They've been busy redoing the kitchen and planting their small gardens. Right now it is trial and error to see what will grow, but it's fun! When Janet isn't writing or reading, she loves to cook, work in the garden, travel and sew. You can visit Janet at: www.janetleebarton.com.

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Read an Excerpt

New York City, Fall 1898

Emma Chapman stepped off the trolley and began walking the few blocks home. Home. Not the orphanage, but a real home. She still couldn't believe she lived in this neighborhood filled with beautiful brownstone town houses. Still couldn't believe she had a paying position as a telephone operator at the New York Telephone Company.

She'd applied in July and began training the very next day. It hadn't been easy, not with a supervisor over her shoulder for weeks on end, but finally she'd been assigned her own switchboard with about two hundred lines to care for.

She'd just begun to realize that most of the other girls would have given anything to have her bank of lines. Evidently the girl before her had left to be married, and the telephone company didn't like to switch operators once their customers got used to them. It was too stressful for the customers to get to know someone else, so Emma had wound up serving many of the wealthy families in the city.

It took awhile for her to fully comprehend it, but once she finally recognized that she was actually speaking to the Mrs. Margaret Vanderbilt nearly every day, she was momentarily tongue-tied, causing the woman to ask, "Operator? Operator! Are you there?"

"Yes ma'am. I'm sorry. I'm a bit new, but I'm right here. Whom may I connect you to?"

Mrs. Vanderbilt had been very gracious once she found out Emma was the new operator—evidently the girl Emma replaced had mentioned that she'd be leaving to get married—and she'd insisted on knowing Emma's name. "I like to be on friendly terms with the operators. The two young men who work nights and weekends are quite amicable, but I don't converse with them that much. I'm sure we'll get along just fine, Emma. Now please ring me through to Lord & Taylor department store. They sent out the right order, but I asked for the wrong size, and I must get it all sorted out."

"Yes ma'am," Emma had said, before quickly connecting the Vanderbilt line with Lord & Taylor.

Emma knew the operators weren't to listen in on conversations, but the customers could talk to them anytime they wanted. And many did, wanting to know all manner of things. It turned out that Mrs. Vanderbilt did like to converse from time to time. Emma wasn't sure what would happen if her supervisor found her talking to the woman, but Emma decided she'd let her talk to Mrs. Vanderbilt and tell her not to talk to the operators.

Now as she neared home, Emma counted her blessings, for she had many more now than she'd had a few months ago. She hurried up the steps to Mrs. Holloway's house, and as usual, Jones, the butler, opened the door for her. She never had figured out how he knew the exact minute she reached the top step, but he did.

"Good afternoon, Miss Emma. I hope you had a nice day."

"I did, Jones. Thank you. I hope you did, too?"

"I did. You know with all the wedding preparations going on, there isn't a dull day around here lately."

Emma chuckled. "I suppose not. Is Mrs. Holloway in the parlor?"

"She is. I'll bring tea in shortly."

Mrs. Holloway had a practice of serving tea each afternoon about the time Emma and her cousin, Esther, got home from work. Esther was a pharmacist apprentice who would be getting married to Mrs. Holloway's nephew come Christmas.

Emma was thrilled for them. They made a wonderful couple, even if their relationship had been a bit rocky in the beginning. A physician who thought a woman's place was in the home and a woman who'd gone to college to become a pharmacist were bound to clash at first—especially after he found out she was also interested in the women's suffrage movement.

Emma chuckled remembering back to some of their skirmishes. But love prevailed and Andrew's views changed over time. Now he was as big a supporter of the movement as any man she knew.

She entered the parlor and was greeted by her younger sister, Grace, and Mrs. Holloway.

"Good afternoon, Emma, how was your day?" Mrs. Holloway asked.

"It was a good day. It passed very quickly, as usual." That was one of the things she loved best about her job. She stayed so busy time seemed to fly by.

"And did you speak to any of the Vanderbilts today?" soon-to-be fifteen-year-old Grace asked. "I did. But only for a moment or two."

"Oh, too bad."

Grace loved to hear about her customers.

"What all did you do today? How was school?"

"It was great. You know I love my new high school. Mrs. Holloway said I might ask one of my friends over after school one day soon, if you and Esther don't mind."

"Mrs. Holloway has the final say in those kinds of things around here. You know that."

Her sister grinned. "I do know. But she insists on my asking you two."

"Girls, don't talk about me as if I'm not here. I just believe it's the right thing to do. Although I won't promise not to try to persuade them on occasion if they say no," Mrs. Holloway said in a teasing manner.

The woman had become a mother figure to all of them, even though they'd not known her all that long. She'd been Esther's benefactor, taking her in once she had to leave the orphanage and then sending her to the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. Then, once Esther came back to do her apprenticeship and it was time for Emma to leave the orphanage, she took both Emma and Grace in. The woman was a true blessing.

"I believe we've all decided you have our best interests at heart, Mrs. Holloway. And truly, if you don't mind if Grace has a friend over now and again, then Esther and I aren't going to object."

"Then you might as well telephone your friend and ask her, Grace," Mrs. Holloway said.

"Thank you, I will." Grace hurried out of the room.

"You're sure you don't mind?" Emma turned to the older woman.

"Oh Emma, I don't mind at all. I love having this home filled with young people. I just wish I'd have had you all from earlier ages. I enjoy every minute I have with you now though, and I'm thankful that Grace is young enough that I'll have her for several years before she thinks seriously of marrying. I don't feel I've had Esther here near long enough, and now she's going to be a married woman in only a matter of months!"

"But, she is marrying your nephew," Emma said. "And they'll be living only a few blocks away."

"I know, but that will be two fewer people—"

"Two fewer people for what?" Esther asked as she entered the parlor.

"Mrs. Holloway is going to miss you and Andrew when you move out."

Emma smiled as her cousin hurried over to hug her soon-to-be aunt.

"Oh, you know we'll be over often," Esther said. "You'll probably get tired of us showing up on your doorstep for a meal. I really must learn how to cook, you know."

"You'll be welcome here anytime; you know that."

"Of course we do," Esther said. "We're very thankful for it. And we're here for a few more months, too."

"Only because you helped me talk Andrew into waiting until you both could find a home to suit your needs, and to give us time to plan the wedding you both deserve and that my sister will be happy with."

"Well, we did need to find a place. But I think Andrew's idea for us to turn the upstairs of his office building into a home for us is the right answer for now. It's not far from the pharmacy, and we'll be right there where we both work. It will also give us more time to find a home when we begin to have a family."

They'd all been poring over the plans to turn the top floors of Andrew's office into a home, and Emma thought it was going to be lovely. They actually could stay there for several years, even if they started a family early. With three bedrooms, she even hoped she and Grace would be able to stay over once in a while. It certainly was going to seem strange to visit her cousin as a married woman. Esther was blessed. Dr. Andrew Radcliff was very much in love with her, as Esther was with him. One could almost feel the love arcing between them when they were in the same room.

Emma dreamed of getting married of course, but she never wanted to settle for anything other than the real kind of love her cousin had found. She was certain it would be worth waiting for. And that was good, because she hadn't met anyone who captured her attention in that way at all.

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