Many of us are faced with difficult family situations during our lifetime. It is how we deal with these problems and the decisions we make that can have a lasting impact on our lives and that of our children. This was particularly true for Kaja Ericsen when she arrived in America to make a new life.
It wasn’t long after Kaja arrived in America that she faced the worst nightmare of her life. She was forced to have sex with her employer and eventually conceived his child. He decided they would marry but his young daughter, Sophia, hated Kaja and made it her goal to rebel whenever possible against her authority. Eventually Hans Berglund sent his daughter away from home because of her actions. Unfortunately for Kaja it was a decision that would pour coals of fire upon her head as she faced life with Sophia’s vengeance always in front of her.
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above Rubies.
Book One – The Beginning Excerpts
Sophia reminded Kaja a little of herself at thirteen and the thought made her smile in spite of the child’s cranky, intolerant behavior.
“I know you must miss your momma a great deal, Sophia, so maybe you and I could make an agreement between ourselves.”
Sophia’s eyes narrowed. “And what would that be, housekeeper?”
Though Kaja was only five feet tall, her confidence far overcame her stature. She raised her chin defiantly.
“First of all, my name is Kaja and you would do well to remember you are still a child.”
“I don’t have to.”
“Sophia!” Hans Berglund’s powerful voice echoed through the room. “Maybe then you will remember that I am your papa, and I tell you what you will do! Right now, you will show respect for Kaja and do as she says!”
Kaja saw tears brimming in the little girl’s eyes, and she put her arm around Sophia’s shoulder. “Why don’t you get the apple bread you baked this morning for your papa?”
Ignoring Kaja’s remark, Sophia wiggled out of her grasp. “Please excuse me, Papa; I did not hear you come in.”
Kaja watched Sophia stomp through the kitchen and out to the porch. Hans took out his pipe and sat down in the rocker. His eyes saddened as he brushed his hand over his full mustache and leaned back in the chair.
“It has not been easy for my Sophia since her momma died.”
Mary’s tear filled eyes flashed in Kaja’s memory.
“I know it is sometimes hard to do right by the children.”
Hans looked into her eyes and was quiet for a moment. Then he spoke softly, “I will see that Sophia gives you no more trouble.”
It was only a few weeks later . . .
The outline of his sturdy frame was faint against the darkness as he stood in the doorway of her room. Kaja closed her eyes, praying to escape her worst nightmare yet knowing it would soon be upon her. His breath smelled of spirits and his body of sweat as he smothered her cries with his mouth. Lifting her gown, he took pleasure in her body; then left without speaking.
The following night he returned his need for fulfillment replaced by his passion as he covered her body with his lips and lingered with his pleasure. He awakened in her the desires she had long forgotten, and she gave herself to him. In the weeks that followed Hans came often to Kaja’s room at night, yet in the daylight he was only her employer and the father of his children.
And — at the birth of Kaja’s daughter . . .
Sophia stood in the doorway of the bedroom. “I hate you, housekeeper!”
It was Christmas and Kaja was happy for the first time since she’d left Norway, and she would not allow a spiteful child to ruin it for her. She cradled her new baby daughter in her arms and stroked the red sprigs of hair nestling on the baby’s head.
“Sophia, come and sit by the bed and meet your new sister. We have named her Martha.”
“I won’t!” Sophia shook her head. “She’ll never be my sister and you will never be my momma. You are nothing but a slut who tricked my papa into marriage.”
Kaja’s eyes widened as she saw Hans appear in the doorway.
Seizing a handful of Sophia’s hair, he pulled her from the room. “You will not talk so to your new momma.”
“Please don’t, Papa, the little girl whimpered. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
Kaja shuddered as she listened to the terrified child’s screaming and gagging. Just remembering the taste of the horrible lye soap made her own tongue tingle and her stomach turn.
Soon it grew quiet and Hans appeared in the doorway of the bedroom. “After the holiday, Sophia will go to stay with her Uncle Christian in Mooreton. He is her mother’s brother and has just come from Norway. He does not have a wife yet, and she will make a good housekeeper for him.”
“Hans please. I don’t want you to send your daughter away.”
“It is already done.” He turned and left the room.
Kaja never thought it possible: his strength of will far surpassed her own.
I hope you’ll tune in next week for another installment of Rubies – Escaping the Curse – The Beginning.
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