Colorado Promise (A Sample) (Chapter 2, page 2 of 15)


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A lump lodged in her throat as she pictured the life she knew beginning to slip from her hands. She let out a trembling sigh, holding back the tears pushing to the corners of her eyes. At least she'd have Shahayla, her Arabian mare, to ride to counteract the loneliness she was bound to feel.

Emma looked around her bedroom. The pretty blue-striped wallpaper appeared barren without the pictures and drawings hanging upon them. With the furniture already loaded onto the wagons, her room was now an empty, impersonal space that gave little indication anyone had occupied it in the last seventeen years. It hurt her heart to think of walking out the door, never to return.

As much as her father's decision had blighted her dreams, she would find a way to turn this disaster into something worthwhile. She was determined to continue her studies of botany, and to hone her illustrative technique. She knew she had talent as an artist, but that wasn't what mattered to her. She had a longing to understand plants-how they grew and reproduced. And no doubt there were going to be plants in Colorado that she could study and draw.

She got up from the floor and went to her little glass atrium off her room and set the space to memory. She would miss this haven of solitude the most. After she had read a book on the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, England, two years ago, at her pleading her father had had this glass-paneled space added to her room, extended out over the back roof a few feet. Just like the Palm House at Kew, the addition was framed in wrought iron, with hand-blown glass panes to allow light to stream in. The small transom windows could be opened to regulate the temperature and bring in a cool breeze. Here she grew her orchids and violets and other flowers, but her most cherished plant was the crape myrtle she'd ordered from England, which originally came from Asia. She had planned to plant it in front of the brownstone before heading for college, as a way of leaving something of herself behind. But now . . .

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