Adrella always noticed him
Everyone took notice of the handsome lighthouse keeper when he visited the mainland. Especially shopkeeper's daughter Adrella Murphy. But the enigmatic man never said a word to anyone. When Adrella is stranded with him on an isolated island during a storm, will she give up her dreams of true love and marry him to save her reputation?
As a doctor in the Civil War, Dathan Adams saw too much suffering, and he withdrew from the world to his beloved lighthouse. Now a hurricane forces a spirited Irish lass into his care. To stay alive, he must set aside his solitude and work side by side with Adrella. When her strength and faith erode his defenses, a tragedy might just yield unexpected love.
About the Author
Darlene Mindrup has always had a love of writing and an active imagination. Years of journalism classes and homeschooling her children gave her the tools to make her writing better and more professional (and with fewer errors). She has a love of history that comes through in her novels, especially Bible history and World War II.
Read an Excerpt
Cape St. George Island, Gulf of Mexico, 1868
The skiff's bow lifted high on the crest of the whitecapped waves of the Gulf of Mexico before plunging down to the trough below. The fine, misting spray settled lightly against Adrella Murphy's face. Smiling, she threw her head back to allow her long red curls to blow freely in the warm late-October breeze.
Her father glanced at the darkening horizon worriedly. "I should'na ha' allowed you to come with me on this trip, lass," he told her. "There's more than a mere storm a brewin'."
Adrella smiled at him, her voice soothing. "Oh, Da, you worry too much! We've handled some pretty rough weather in our time."
Snorting, her father tightened his hold on the tiller. Peering out at her from underneath the brim of his battered cap, he told her regretfully, "Aye, and your mother, God rest her soul, would have me hide if she knew the way I was a raisin' ya. 'Tis no life for a lady."
Adrella reached across and squeezed her father's hand reassuringly. They had been through this argument numerous times already. There was nowhere on earth she would rather be than right by her father's side. He had been mother and father to her for the past fifteen years. She could barely remember her mother, having been only five when she died.
A school of dolphins crested near their boat, their lively chatter bringing a smile to Adrella's face. She watched as they quickly dove and disappeared from sight.
"They sense the approaching storm," her father told her, his anxious gaze once again studying the far horizon.
She studied her father's weathered face and could visualize what she would look like in another twenty years. The ruggedness etched with time on his features did nothing toward diminishing Mangus Murphy's good looks. His fiery red hair was salted with grey, but his green eyes still glowed with healthy vitality. But whereas her father was a handsome man, his strong features passed on to his female offspring were less than flattering.
Adrella wrinkled her freckled nose at the idea. Her own green eyes flashed at the thought of the insult she had just received that morning. Jasper Howard had offered his hand in marriage, not because he loved her, but because he wanted someone to help raise his children.
"After all," he had stated rather categorically, "it's not like you're likely to receive any other offers."
Her Irish temper had surfaced quicker than a breaching whale. When Mr. Howard had left her presence, his ears had been red from the lambasting he had received. Still, her own tears hadn't been far from the surface. Didn't she already know that she was a plain woman? She had heard it often enough in her time. Yet her father adamantly claimed that God would send her the man He had destined for her, and she would know what true love could be. Just like Da and Mama.
Her lips curled up at the thought, her eyes gentling. Oh, to be loved like that! Even after all these years Da's green eyes still glowed when he talked about his Mary. Adrella could barely remember how her mother looked, the memories growing dim after all this time, but she still remembered the shared laughter. The love.
She turned her smile on her father. "You know I have to learn to fend for myself. If something happens to you, who's going to take care of me?"
Instead of the snappy response she had expected, her father's frown deepened. "I've been thinkin' about that."
Surprised, Adrella could only stare. What was her father thinking? And why should he be concerned about her now? Thoughts racing through her head for some explanation, her mind focused on the fact that Da had been to see Dr. Taylor only two days ago.
Her face paled considerably leaving her whiter than the sand on the beach, her freckles even more pronounced. "What are you saying? Did Dr. Taylor say something about your health?"
Something serious flashed through his eyes momentarily, but then he gave her one of his heartiest laughs. "Now, Adrella, me darlin'. Don't go giving me to the Great Banshee just yet!"
Frowning, Adrella was unconvinced. She knew her father almost as well as she knew herself, and he was hiding something. That hearty laugh had held just the merest hint of panic in it. As often happened in times of stress, her Irish brogue came out thicker than usual. "Faith, and 'tis not something to joke about!"
Her father's face grew serious. "No, Adrella. 'Tis not." Reaching across the space between them, he cupped her chin in his calloused palm, stroking her trembling bottom lip with his thumb. "But when the time comes, love, I want to know you'll be taken care of. I know the good Lord is lookin' out for you as well as your old da can, but it would sure set me mind at rest if I knew you had someplace to go."
She curled her fingers around his wrist and, turning her lips to his palm, she placed a kiss there. When she returned her gaze to his face, her eyes twinkled mischievously. "You heard Jasper Howard's proposal, didn't you?"
Face coloring hotly, Mangus pulled his hand away and pretended to be adjusting the rudder. "Faith, and it woulda been hard not to." He grinned at her twitching lips. "Could ya not have left the man with some measure of pride?"
Affronted, Adrella rounded on her father. "Pride? Pride? And what about me own pride? If you heard the whole conversation, why didn't you march in and knock the man down?"
"Now, Drell," he teased. "Would that have been the Christian thing to do? Besides, you didn't give me time. I thought you handled the matter rather well yourself without me interfering."
Adrella struggled with her growing irascibility. It rather hurt her that her father hadn't done something, anything, to Mr. Howard for his supercilious proposal. But he was right. She should have responded in a more Christian way. Paul the Apostle had spoken of a thorn in his side. Well, her Irish temper was hers, and one of these days it was going to land her in a whole peck of trouble.
Her father glanced over her shoulder, and smiled.
Adrella turned on her seat and saw Dathan Adams on the parapet surrounding the light at the top of the lighthouse. He was watching their progress as they crossed the water toward the bay side of the island of Cape St. George, his sandy-brown hair blowing about his head in the growing winds. When he judged them close enough, he disappeared from their view and Adrella knew that he was descending the interior of the tall structure. It would take some time for him to cross the mile distance to reach the pier.
She had taken special care with her appearance today knowing that she was making the trip with her father to deliver Dathan's supplies. Although she knew she would never be considered lovely, she rather felt that the emerald green of her princess-style dress brought out the color in her eyes. Not that she thought she had a hope of attracting a man like Dathan. Not that she even wanted to for that matter. Why should she try to impress a man who barely acknowledged her existence? Why, indeed, she asked herself in irritation.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews