About the Book1915 – Winslow, Georgia thought shame would keep her from speaking out against lynching–they were wrong. Town troublemaker Ruby Bledsoe resolves never be quiet, loving her baby, no matter how he had come into the world. However, when she seeks help for her sick son, she doesn’t anticipate meeting a handsome stranger who offers Ruby a way to help her son and a brand new life.
Dr. Adam Morson had always felt shame as a mixed-race child–shame enough to masquerade as something that he wasn’t. However, something powerful draws him to protect the beautiful and fiery activist who shows him how to be true to himself. Some unknown force unknown compels him to offer Ruby a job in his practice up north and Ruby has to decide if she should stay and fight for the soul of her hometown, or if she should seek her own happiness with the handsome stranger.
Meet Piper Huguley
Piper G Huguley, named 2015 Debut Author of the Year by Romance Slam Jam and Breakout Author of the Year by AAMBC, is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. On release, the prequel novella to the “Home to Milford College” series, The Lawyer’s Luck, reached #1 Amazon Bestseller status on the African American Christian Fiction charts. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins.
Huguley is also the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a five-book series of inspirational historical romances set in the early 20th century featuring African American characters. Book one in the series, A Virtuous Rubywon the Golden Rose contest in Historical Romance in 2013 and was a Golden Heart® finalist in 2014. Book four, A Champion’s Heart, was a Golden Heart® finalist in 2013. She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.
Read an Excerpt
Ruby arranged her own features into calm, not reflecting the fear on her sister’s face. People spilled out of the small buildings and stood around on the wooden sidewalks. No one seemed to know what to do. With a quick glance, she could see Dr. Morgan, the white doctor, was not in his office next to the general store.
“I’m going to go to see if I can help.” She started toward the mill.
“What can you do? You just help with baby birthing.” Mags shouted after
“I’ve seen blood before.” She put more certainty in her voice than was in her heart as she yelled over her shoulder. “I can help. You stay here.”
No need to reinforce the warning with Mags. She did not like blood and she never moved.
The whistle of the afternoon train sounded as Ruby rushed on to the mill. Normally, the arrival of the train was something to note in little Winslow, but the screams of a man coming from the edges of the mill yard, distracted her. Four men, including Mags’s suitor Travis, carried out another Negro man. Jacob.
Blood trickled from his hand. Thank God, Travis wasn’t the injured one.
“What happened?” She asked him.
Travis showed no surprise at her question. Apparently a midwife, even a disgraced one, was better than nothing. Even one who hadn’t left her house in a long time. They were clearly going to try to take this man to Dr. Morgan, but it didn’t mean he would treat him.
“Hand got caught in the machine.”
She swallowed. The flesh had been cut deeply across his palm, but luckily, all of his fingers were there. Moving. Underneath his dark brown skin, the man had colored to an unhealthy gray. “Set him down on the sidewalk.”
The men did as she directed and almost immediately, Jacob’s co-workers stepped away from him in fright. “No Dr. Morgan?” He managed to grit out in pain.
“He’s not there. You’ll have to do with me, I’m afraid.” She tried to ignore the alarm on his face. Jacob had a family of four young girls and a baby boy. She struggled to keep her hands steady. She prayed for guidance.
Inhaling the familiar metal-rich tang of blood, Ruby touched the stripped-apart flesh. “Does anyone have a clean cloth?”
The men stared. They had just come from the machines and they were dirty. One by one, they peeled away. All of the onlookers who had been there moments before had also vanished. “I go find something, Ruby,” Travis said, and he left Jacob to her, rushing off.
No time to lose. Looking quickly from side to side, she reached up under her white dress and, with a sharp quick tug, pulled at her slip and ripped way some of the white cotton. Tearing the slip into strips, she startled.
A man had pushed her to the side and began to probe at Jacob’s hand.
“What are you doing?” An unfamiliar deep male voice spoke sharply to her and with the push to the side, red scuffs marred her best high-topped shoes.
Back before her shame, she would have been completely humiliated in front of a strange man. Now, pushed aside, she stopped. The man had large, beautiful grey eyes edged with long, black fringe lashes, which would have looked female if his cream-colored features were not so chiseled.
“I’m trying to fix his hand.”
She fixed him with a hard glance, and spoke again, demanding, “Who are
His angular, handsome face reflected scorn and disapproval.
Then, she immediately regretted her quick words.
Was this man white or a Negro?
His color sure gave her pause. Even now, as she took her glance away from
his disapproving gaze and to his lips, there was a hint of fullness to them.
She blew out a sigh of relief. She had not been wrong. He was a Negro, just as light as her. They were the same.
“Don’t use those dirty bandages on his hand. What’s wrong with you?” The man sat next to Jacob and probed Jacob’s hand with sure fingers. Jacob calmed. Her pride prickled and she clenched her teeth at the stranger yelling at her now. Everyone was after her today.
“And who are you?” Ruby repeated the question. Her mother always told her she was too forward, but she couldn’t help it.
“I’m a doctor.”
“Praise God,” Jacob said with clear relief. “See Ruby. This man here a doctor. He can fix me up good.”
“How do we know he’s a doctor?” Ruby pursed her lips together and applied pressure to keep them shut.
“Fetch my bag over there on the train platform, there are sanitary bandages in it. Hurry.”
Who was he to tell her what to do? Directing her! Ruby tossed him a quick look of distain, but she raced back on fast feet. Jacob’s situation required speed, even if this strange man treated him. When he got the bag, as if he were a magic man, he began to take out bandages and other things from it.
He handed her a needle and a spool of thread. “Please thread this. Try not to get it dirty.”
The nerve! She knew how to thread a needle! Well, enough she supposed. Sometimes after a delivery, a woman needed to be sewn up some, but sewing wasn’t her strong point. Did this man know about her poor sewing skills just by looking at her? Maybe he did, just as she knew his secret by looking at him.
Jacob’s voice was too polite even as he enthused. No, he didn’t suspect the man was as much Negro as them. “Wait ’til May hear about this. God was sure looking out. I got some real doctoring.”
“I’m glad for you.” Ruby handed the threaded needle to the doctor. “This sewing up part can’t be no fun now. Calm down, Jacob.”
“It’s all right. Long as my hand can get fixed.”
“It will take some time.” The doctor splashed some smelly stuff on the
gash. Jacob jumped but the doctor held him firm. He applied neat stitches to the gash in Jacob’s hand, which had stopped bleeding, “But it will be as good as new in a few weeks time. You will need to keep it clean so infection does not set in.” “Infection?” Ruby asked.What did I just say? She knew what infection was. This stranger moved her and made her act like she knew nothing.
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