More Than a Pretty Face by Karen Witemeyer - Book Excerpt
A Story from Serving Up Love: A Harvey House Brides Collection
Bestselling novelist Tracie Peterson joins Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano in this collection of four novellas, each featuring a Harvey Girl heroine. From Kansas to Texas, the Grand Canyon to New Mexico, the stories cross the country with tales of sweet romance and entertaining history.
In Karen Witemeyer's "More Than a Pretty Face," Rosalind Kemp takes a job as a Harvey Girl in an effort to outrun her past. She clings to the promise of one day transferring to California, someplace her youthful indiscretion won't catch up to her. But when she is transferred to Gainesville, TX, her affections for local attorney Caleb Durrington complicate her plans. When her secret is exposed, will Caleb turn away from her shame, or will his love give her the courage to finally face her greatest folly?
In the author's words . . .
Ever since I watched Judy Garland in The Harvey Girls as a teenager, I've been enamored with the idea of the Harvey Girls and the significant role these women played in civilizing the West. Women worked as Harvey Girls for a myriad of reasons. Good pay, adventure, travel, and some, like my heroine, to escape trouble at home. Yet the past is tenacious. Not even the railroad can ensure escape. It's only when one finds courage in the present to face the mistakes of the past that the future can truly be free.
Enjoy an Excerpt from
More Than a Pretty Face
Callie grabbed the knife from Rosalind’s hand, heedless of the fingerprints she left in her wake, and pushed the empty water pitcher she held toward Rosalind’s chest in exchange.
“Trade with me.”
Rosalind grabbed the pitcher out of reflex. “Why?”
“Because he’s here.” Callie’s eyes danced.
“Listen to you. ‘He, who?’ Who do you think, silly?” Callie circled Rosalind and gave her a little shove from behind. “Only the handsomest lawyer in Gainesville. The one who asks for you every time he comes in.”
Rosalind’s belly clenched, and her pulse quickened. Mr. Durrington. She squashed the urge to smile.
None of that, now. He was a customer, and Fred Harvey had strict policies against romantic activity between employees and customers. Which was a good thing, because she needed to steer clear of anything even hinting of romance. She was a Harvey Girl. Dedicated to the system. Determined to earn her way into a California position. The West equaled freedom. An escape from her past. Once there, she could finally be her true self again, stop looking over her shoulder, and maybe even find love.
Stumbling across love in Texas would be a disaster. For her as well as for anyone who cared for her. Better for all involved to stick to the California plan. Caleb Durrington would tire of her soon enough. Heaven knew she did all she could to discourage his interest while maintaining the gracious demeanor required of all Harvey Girls. He was persistent, though, and she couldn’t deny that his tenacity gave her a secret thrill. But she’d managed to resist his charm this long. She’d manage a bit longer.
A second shove sent Rosalind careening toward the large water barrel stored near the door that led to the restaurant, along the wall farthest from the stove.
Callie's eye twinkled. “Better quit dawdling and get out there.”
For a moment Rosalind considered sloshing the water from the pitcher onto her dress so she’d be forced to go upstairs and change, but such clumsiness would do her no favors in proving to Mr. Ledbetter that she was worthy of promotion.
“I’m sure one of the other girls can take his order,” she tried instead. Not that she expected such a weak ploy to work. Ever since Callie had gotten herself engaged, she’d been on a mission to help her compatriots find husbands as well. Whether or not they wanted one.
Callie grinned mischievously. “Not if I gave them the hands-off signal.”
Harvey Girls were not allowed to chat with each other while in the restaurant, but they found ways to communicate without words. Hands gathered behind the back with fingers displayed to enumerate section and seat numbers, for instance, staked a claim on a particular customer. All other girls would keep their distance.
“Why would you do that?” Rosalind frowned even as her heart thumped a little faster. “I’ve got no interest in him.”
“Ha! And I’ve got no interest in Monsieur Dupont’s petit fours.” Callie ate at least two each evening after the final dinner service. “Either way, Mr. Durrington certainly has an interest in you. He asked for you by name, Rosalind, so the hands-off signal was really his doing, not mine.”
“You’re a meddler of the worst sort, Callie Sanderson.” Rosalind rolled her eyes, but a smile crept onto her face despite her attempt to remain exasperated.
“You’ll thank me someday.”
I doubt it.
Nevertheless, having been given no choice in the matter, Rosalind gripped the water pitcher’s handle in her right hand, straightened her posture, and pushed through the door leading to the lunchroom.
End of Excerpt © Karen Witemeyer
Learn more by visiting the author's website. SERVING UP LOVE released November 4, 2019 from Bethany House.
Meet the Author
For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Recently voted #1 Readers' Favorite Christian Romance Author by Family Fiction Magazine, Karen is a two-time winner of the ACFW Carol Award and three-time RITA® finalist. Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She is an avid cross-stitcher, and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more at www.karenwitemeyer.com.
More Than a Pretty Face (Serving up Love) by Karen Witemeyer
Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance
Type: Novella (part of collection)
Heat Level: 1
Language Level: 1
Violence Level: 2
Click here to learn more about content ratings.