Because of Rebecca - By Leanne Tyler Page 0,1

would prevent her from keeping her promise.

Through tear-filled eyes she stared at Baldwin. Her aunt had sent for him from a county over to keep her sister’s delivery silent. From the few visits he’d made to their cottage he’d seemed like a good man. He’d never asked why they didn’t call upon the town doctor. Surely, he’d agree to what she proposed to keep her promise to Mariah. She’d pay him handsomely to ensure it.

She walked to the mantel and removed her money purse from the ornate box.

The doctor’s baritone voice broke the mournful silence. “I’ll notify the Parish of the birth and death records.”

Rebecca nodded. Her real problem wouldn’t be the doctor, but convincing her aunt.

“What shall we name him?” Josephine looked up from her rosary.

Wiping away her tears with the back of her hand, Rebecca turned and looked her aunt squarely in the eye. “Lucas Samuel Davis. That’s what Mariah named him before she…before she…”

“That’s a fine name for him,” her aunt agreed.

“Mother’s full name?” Baldwin sat down at the table.

Swallowing, Rebecca stiffened, prepared for her aunt’s reaction. “Rebecca Kathleen Davis.”

“Rebecca!” Josephine turned pale and crossed herself.

The doctor looked up, their eyes locking for a brief moment and she saw understanding. He’d obviously heard her sister’s last request. He nodded. “Father?”


“Rebecca, no! You can’t take your sister’s sins. You’ll ruin yourself,” her aunt pleaded.

With resolve, Rebecca looked her aunt in the eye again and stated, “It is done. Mariah asked me to take him as my own. If I’m to do this, I must become his mother. There’ll be no record of Mariah giving birth and no shame to her name. Nor will there be a link between Lucas and his father if the man ever comes looking for Mariah.”

Josephine turned away, but Rebecca heard her weeping.

Taking a deep breath, she walked to where the doctor sat and handed him the more-than-generous handful of gold coins for his services. “Can I count on you to keep silent?”

He nodded without examining the gift. “Are you certain you want to do this, Miss Davis? You’ll be changing your life forever.”

She looked down at the baby in her arms. His tiny hand reached up and grasped the lace on her dress and he yawned, closing his eyes. He was hers and nothing would change that. “Yes.”

He repositioned the wire glasses on his nose and cleared his throat. “I need to enter the death record. Her full name?”

“Mariah Kimberlynn Davis.”

Chapter One

Jackson, Mississippi

June 1858

“Surely we can do something about this, Mitchell.” Jared Hollingsworth tossed the missive on his attorney’s mahogany desk and paced across the room. “I won’t turn over Oak Hill to this Delaney fellow. I don’t care how many IOUs Rory signs with my name.

“You know as well as I that my cousin was asked to leave West Point for lack of interest in his coursework. He had little need to study, since he could easily forge any high ranking officer’s signature to get himself promoted.”

“Knowing and proving are two different things when it comes to the law, Jared. The boy was good at his art...or should I say craft.” Mitchell Cooper stood and crossed to the credenza. He poured two fingers of whiskey from a cut crystal decanter into a pair of matching glasses, and offered one to him. “It isn’t right,” he agreed, “but unless you can persuade Mr. Delaney to accept monetary compensation for the markers, he could go to the magistrate and insist ownership of Oak Hill be forfeited to him.”

“I’ll be damned if I’ll allow that.” Jared slammed his fist down on the desk, rattling the contents and causing stacks of papers to slide. “I’ve slaved myself and the few workers I can afford to make Oak Hill what it is today. I don’t have the money to pay Delaney what the plantation is worth. I already owe the bank a small fortune to cover the expenses of the last three years.”

“Then you must find Rory,” his attorney stated.

“I haven’t seen him since his mother died. No doubt he’s used up his inheritance and is off somewhere writing more bad drafts using my name. Isn’t there some way to protect Oak Hill?”

Shaking his head, Mitchell sat in his leather chair and read over the letter again. “Delaney says he’ll be here within the month with the auctioneer to look over the estate. It may be an idle threat, but you have until then to get Rory back here and face the man. I’ll help any way Copyright 2016 - 2024