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Discover the epic, thrilling history of the men and women who made Bruce Patman who he is today!
In 1825, sixteen-year-old Sophie, the Duchess of Edmonton, falls in love with Henry Patman, a dashing stable hand. But Sophie'sister, Melanie, has also fallen for Henry's rugged charm. And Melanie will do anything to keep Sophie and Henry apart.
John Patman loses his heart to London actress Katherine Richmond. He's too poor to ask for her hand in marriage, so he swears he'll strike it rich in the oil fields of Texas. But how long will Katherine wait?
Dr. Cassandra Vanderhorn meets wounded soldier Spencer Light in a World War II veterans' hospital. After he recovers, they marry, and he returns to the front. Then Cassandra receives a telegram bearing terrible news . . . .
Marie Vanderhorn has found her soul mate in Hank Patman. When Marie is stricken with Leukemia, she breaks off the relationship and keeps her suffering a secret. Hank vows that he'll love Marie forever. But then Alice Robertson crosses his path . . . .
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Henry swung himself up the ladder to the loft of the barn, whistling. He couldn't believe the turn his life had taken in the past two months. At first, he'd wondered if Sophie's interest in him was the temporary, childish rebellion of a bored aristocrat. But the sweet, stolen hours he'd spent with her had convinced him differently. Now, Henry knew that the impossible was true. Lady Sophie Edmonton, the beautiful, fair-haired daughter of a duke, was in love with Henry Patman, a common stable hand.Their clandestine meetings couldn't go on forever. Someone was sure to catch them, sooner or later. In fact, he suspected that Old Frankie, the head groom, already knew the truth. No matter. It was Frankie who'd recommended Henry for his position. And Frankie had always been fond of Sophie. Their secret was safe with the old man. A more serious source of apprehension was the duke himself. True, there was little chance of the Duke of Edmonton walking in on them as they kissed behind the stables or held hands by the lake. But he was growing adamant in his demands that Sophie accept a proposal from an acceptable suitor. They both knew that the duke would never accept a poor stable boy as a son-in-law. So tonight, Henry would take decisive action. Together, he and Sophie would decide their fate.
"Henry?" Sophie's sweet whisper filtered up to him like the lantern light through the rough planks. "Henry, are you here?"
"I'm here, my love," he called down in a low voice. Through the opened trap door, he could see her below, her white frock shining in the dimly lit interior of the barn. Henry held out his hand and helped her up the final rung of the ladder.
"Oh, Henry," Sophie murmured, her face against his shoulder as they embraced. She smelled of sunlight and lavender. "I've missed you so much." He laughed lightly.
"It's only been a day since our last meeting."
"I know," she admitted. "But it seems like a week. And papa had Lord Elliot to dinner again yesterday. I'm not sure how much longer I can hold out without giving an answer. What are are we going to do?"
"First," he said gently, "you are going to kiss me." He gazed into her clear blue eyes that were so full of love and mystery. Then he tilted her chin up with his finger until her mouth met his. Sophie's lips opened like a rose, and he kissed her as long as he dared. Then he sank back into the hay and pulled her down beside him. Sophie smiled and rested her head on his shoulder.
"I love you, Henry Patman," she said.
"I'm pleased to hear that," he said in a formal tone, reaching into his coat pocket. "It makes this much easier." He handed her a small bundle, wrapped in a handkerchief. "Open it," he whispered, his voice trembling. Sophie gasped. A simple silver ring shone in her hand like the thinnest crescent moon.
"It's beautiful!" she whispered, her eyes wide.
"I know I'm a commoner, and as poor as a church mouse. And I know your father will never consent to the match. But legally, we don't need his permission. Being with you and making you happy are the only things that matter to me. Will you be my wife?"
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