by Barbara Stremikis
When a mudslide destroys her home and kills her parents, fifteen-year-old Cara Talbot is sent to live with a distant cousin, his wife, and five sons on a dairy farm in Indiana. The stink of cattle, a tiny bedroom loft, and two brothers who resent her intrusion make life a bitter struggle. As she copes with her grief, she finds solace caring for an autistic child, who helps her see the softer side of Nicolas March, another family misfit.
“Are you all right?” he asked, coming down the stairs at a clip that told her he was accustomed to them.
“What do you care? You’d be glad if I hurt myself. Then I’d stay out of your way.”
He moved toward her, warmth radiating from his body. She shrank and sucked in a breath as his fingers encircled her upper arms and he lifted her off her feet. Unable to read the gleam in his black eyes, her stomach quivered and an alarm went off in her head.
“Put me down!” she demanded, frightened of him.
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