Excerpt: Charity and the Preacher
Charity and the Preacher
Copyright 2016 ©Patricia Green and Blushing Books
All Rights Reserved
Arms full of donated clothing, and with a handful of coins, Charity made her way into the community room adjacent to the church, and beside the pastor’s residence. She was struggling to open the door, when Paul reached around her and turned the knob. Startled, Charity dropped the coins and fumbled with the clothes, dropping about half of them on the threshold of the door.
“Oh, Lord, look what I’ve done.”
“My fault entirely, Miss Bucknell. Let me help you pick these things up.”
They both bent down to gather up the goods, and nearly bumped heads. Paul laughed, his good nature so appealing to her. She frowned at both the spill and her personal situation. Why couldn’t things be different? A woman of twenty-five should be delighted by the proximity of a pleasant, eligible man, not put off by him. It wasn’t him, personally, though. On a personal level, he was wonderful. A future with Paul Cambridge would be glorious for any woman. Except her. Never for her. Bitterness, an infrequent visitor, made her cross.
“You should have warned me you were behind me, Pastor.”
He was still smiling, though the expression was less sunny. “I apologize. I saw you struggling with your burdens and wanted to help.”
“Look what’s happened. Please let me do this. I do not need help.”
Now a hurt expression crossed his features and he lost his smile. “The least I can do is help pick up the mess we made.” He continued picking up the coins.
Charity snatched some out of his grip. “I said, let me!”
He stood and frowned down at her. “Are you often so difficult, Charity?”
She’d gathered the clothes back up—now in a heap—and juggled them and half the coins as she stood on the threshold of the community room. If he’d just leave her alone… “I didn’t give you permission to use my name. I’ll thank you not to, Pastor Cambridge.”
“Well, Miss, I did give you permission to use my name. Invited you to do so, in fact. What have I done to deserve your ire today? It was an honest act of kindness to open the door for you. Perhaps an error in judgment not to alert you to my presence, but there was no malice in my actions.”
“Fine. So you say. I need to get these into the community room. Now leave me to do my chores.”
“No,” he said, frowning down at her. His expression was a bit intimidating, and Charity thought maybe she’d pushed him too far. “I think we have something to discuss further. Go into the room.”