Please Enjoy This Sneak Peek Into FAITH IN THE VALLEY’s Fourth Installment. . .
The baby cried again. Sending a chill through her. Belinda Reynolds held tight to the stair’s railing of the B&B while descending. It was no normal cry. The child sounded terrified.
But what would a baby be doing here? The B&B she inherited has been closed for over a month now. Ever since her great aunt passed away. At first, she’d refused the idea of coming to the small town of Cascade Valley. But after six months of grieving the loss of her husband, she figured it was time to move on. That’s what Andrew would’ve wanted.
The baby wailed again. She shuddered. She had to help the poor child. Had someone abandoned it? Belinda took careful steps. Following the hurtful cries of the infant.
The cries were too young to be her little girl. Besides, her sister took Bella Jean into town to grab some lunch.
Belinda followed the cries until she reached the old slave quarters behind the B&B. This was where she’d planned to make her home with Bella Jean. Saving the entire colonial home for the B&B business.
She made her way to the door, rubbing her hands along the roughened, wooden walls of the cabin. Finally, her hands grasped the cool metal of the doorknob. Turning it, she pushed the door open and listened. The baby’s cry came from the left.
Guiding herself along the walls, she ventured farther into the cabin. The cries grew louder until they were within reach. Her hands reached forward in that direction, bumping into something. The child wailed louder than before.
Her hands followed the object’s shape. A cardboard box. Reaching inside, a tiny hand grasped her fingers. Smiling, Belinda lifted the child into her arms. The baby whimpered. “Shh… it’s okay little one. You’re safe now,” she cooed.
“Hello?” she called, listening for a response.
Belinda bounced the tiny bundle in her arms. Already the child seemed to be in a better state of mind. But where were its parents?
A whisper had her freezing in place.
“My name’s Belinda Reynolds. I just moved in here. I want to help you.”
Silence. So deathly quiet it wrapped an icy blanket around her. Goosebumps raised on her flesh. She could feel someone watching her.
Something shoved her to the floor. A crash filled the silence. Followed closely by the sound of tiny fragments hitting the wooden floor. Her nose and eyes burned from what smelled of smoke. Heat warmed her back while climbing to her feet.
Belinda hugged the crying baby close. Lord, get us out of here!
* * *
Elijah Sawyer scratched his head, ruffling his dark-brown hair in the process. Why Momma wanted him to go welcome the new owner of the B&B was beyond him. The Valley Bed and Breakfast was their guest ranch’s only competition. Shouldn’t Momma be a tad more competitive?
And why did it have to be him who welcomed the competition? She usually sent Isaac to greet newcomers. Sure, Isaac was working, but so was he.
He heaved a sigh. Hopefully, the new owner wasn’t a woman. But be his luck that’s exactly what he’d find when he arrived. Momma trying to play matchmaker sounded like the most logical reason for her choosing him. Especially with two of his siblings married off and another of them engaged.
He pulled his truck down the country road leading to the large colonial house that served as the B&B. Thick, black smoke filled the sky and the air around him. Lord, please don’t let anybody be hurt. He radioed his station alerting them to the fire that was even now consuming the old slave quarters by the house.
Throwing the truck in park, he unclipped his seatbelt and climbed out. He rushed toward the burning building and assessed the situation. There didn’t appear to be anyone here, thank God. But He didn’t understand what had started the fire to begin with.
“Help! Will someone please … help me!”
Dread roiled in his gut. The cry for help had come from inside the burning building. He ran to the entrance, lifting his arm above his face to shield it from the heat. The door was engulfed in flames and his team hadn’t arrived. He couldn’t stand by and allow someone to die when there was a possibility of him saving them.
Lord, give me the strength, guidance, and protection to find her.