by Katherine McDermott
November 30, 2016
The Wild Rose Press
ebook; 161 pages
An immigrant from Ireland, Jeremy McKetcheon took the place of a wealthy New Englander drafted into the Union Army during the Civil War. Jeremy, terribly scarred by a shell that set fire to his tent, is now a reclusive lighthouse keeper on an island off the coast of Maine. He is haunted by flashbacks of the war, and never expects to find love, understanding, or acceptance.
Beautiful but blind from birth, Abigail Morrison sees the world through the intricate carvings her father brings back from Lighthouse Island when he takes supplies there. She wonders about the artistic carver and why he hides from the world. But when the opportunity arises for her to visit the island, she and her father are tossed overboard in a raging storm. Having seen their distress from the lighthouse, Jeremy attempts a rescue in the frigid waters, and all their lives are changed forever.
Abigail gasped and sucked cold salt water into her nose and sinuses. It stung and made her eyes tear as she choked it back up. She flailed at the water, trying to remember what her father had taught her about swimming as a child, but the lessons had taken place in a calm inlet not a tempest.
“Papa!” she screamed. “Papa!”
Could he hear her above the roar of the sea and the pouring rain? She felt something churning the surface of the water.
My God, a shark?!
Thunder cracked overhead. Teeth closed around her upper right arm. She screamed and reached out with her left hand, but the head she touched had hair, short hair, and she felt a long, floppy ear—a dog.
The heavy wool cape dragged her down. She tried to clutch the dog, but it let go its grip. I’m pulling it under too. She untied the cape at her throat and let it disappear into the surf. Her teeth chattered in her head, and she felt cold, as cold as death. So this is how it feels to die.
No longer able to struggle, she slipped beneath the surface.
Jeremy dove down into the depths; his fingers grasped lank seaweed. No, he realized, it was her hair, silky and wet. He gripped a handful and brought her up to the surface, then managed to heave her limp body into the lifeboat. He dove again near the rocks where Marion had gone down and disappeared in the foaming surf. Five times he went under, but he did not find him. Dizzy and disoriented, he knew that one could die from hypothermia in such cold water. He resurfaced and gulped in the cold air. Pain seared his lungs.
Bailey dog-paddled to him and grasped his upper arm in his mouth. The persistent dog urgently pulled him back to the dinghy. Jeremy summoned his last bit of strength and heaved himself aboard and then helped the soaked dog inside. He checked the girl in the bottom of the boat and compressed her chest several times with locked hands. He turned her head sideways; water gurgled from her throat. She took in a breath. Then tugging against the oars with all his might, he headed back to shore.
There he lifted the woman from the battered dinghy and stumbled to the lighthouse. The stove had kept the building warm, but Jeremy could not get his teeth to stop chattering. Bailey shook himself all over sending a small shower of salt water to form a puddle on the pine board floor.
Completely unconscious, the girl lay limp on the rag rug before the stove. She drew in a breath, then let out a low moan. Her eyes did not open as he removed her outer garments leaving only a thin slip clinging to her slender body and rounded breasts. He retrieved a heavy wool blanket from the bedroom and wrapped her up tightly.
Only then did he take care of himself. Returning to the bedroom and stripping to his skin, he toweled off and pulled on dry breeches and a thick cable knit sweater. His own body continued to shake. He went back to the iron potbellied stove and lay down on the hard floor next to it panting and trying to catch his breath. Gradually, his trembling subsided. His teeth quit chattering; he stood on shaky legs. Retrieving the kettle with trembling hands, he filled it with water and put it atop the stove to boil.
When it simmered and steam arose, he fixed himself a cup of strong coffee and having drunk it, refilled the cup, and knelt next to the girl on the floor. Her eyes fluttered slightly, as he got her to take a few sips.
“I—I just want to sleep,” she murmured. He let her lie back down and then went to fetch a pillow from the bed to place under her head.
He gave Bailey a bowl of water, but Jeremy knew that he had to make sure the light in the tower stayed afire.
“You stay and watch her,” he commanded Bailey. In the bedroom, yet again, he put on heavy wool socks, a jacket, and long scarf before making his long trek up the stairs.
The night seemed endless. Rain and sleet pelted the windows of the lantern room. And from time to time, he could not help dropping off into restless slumber. He was in deep sleep when dawn peeked above the horizon turning the storm clouds orange and magenta, and he was startled awake by Bailey’s wet tongue licking his cheeks. The dog bounded down the stairs before Jeremy could gather his wits.
For a moment, he couldn’t remember what had happened, and then the horror of the previous night crept over him. He realized he had to tell the woman, who he assumed was Marion’s daughter, that her father had drowned. My God, Marion is gone.
a Rafflecopter giveaway About the Author:
Katherine McDermott has worked as an English teacher, guidance counselor, and Adjunct English professor. She loves reading. She is married with two children and two adorable grandchildren. In her spare time, like Teresa in Hiding in Plain View, she likes to paint with acrylics. She received the Excellence in Christian Writing Award from the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference, the Daphne du Maurier award for an unpublished suspense novel, and honorable mention in the SOLA Romance Writers Conference. She has written both fiction and non-fiction for magazines and newspapers. She is the author of two children's books The Underwear Tree and Les Petits Gardes. She co-authored The Lighthouses of S.C., published by Arcadia, wrote All Work, All Play by Marco Publishing, and has authored two plays.