If Isabel Bennet were given the choice to remain with her parents in the carnival life or hop on a train full of orphaned girls into the vast unknown, she would have gladly remained with the two people she loved most in the world. She cherished her family and embraced the gypsy lifestyle, but her parents desired a brighter future for her. And the wealthy Mr. Robert Winston had promised the beautiful Isabel all that and so much more.
She was lucky, not like the other young girls she’d met on the orphan train. Mr. Winston would love the fifteen-year-old sharpshooter like a daughter, and teach her that life held more than a quick shot in front of amazed crowds. So her parents placed the reluctant Isabel on an orphan train headed for Kansas, and the one man who promised her a future.
But Isabel would soon discover that men don’t always keep their promises.
“This is my room?” Isabel asked, reminding herself to breathe as she attempted to view every inch of the glorious expanse before her. “It’s bigger than the tent my whole family lives in.”
“Well, it’s all yours,” Mr. Winston said, dropping her bag at her feet. “I’ll let you get acquainted with it and rest before dinner. Be downstairs promptly at six. We’re having a dinner guest this evening, okay?”
Isabel nodded as he left, still stunned by the size of the room. Every muscle in her stomach tightened. She’d never lived in an actual house before, much less one of this size. In fact, she’d never stepped foot in any home of this quality and wealth. But her parents had done a fine job raising her in the tents that the carnival used for shelter, and she was happy, so a real home seldom entered her thoughts--‘til now. And it was overwhelming.
She sat her bag on the huge four-poster bed in front of her and ran a hand over the smooth fabric. She’d never even slept in a real bed before, and this one was large enough to get lost in. She opened her bag to unpack, trying to focus on anything to calm her churning stomach. The two nice dresses and two housedresses she’d packed wouldn’t nearly fill the huge closet and several dresser drawers, but that was fine. She had more than she needed anyway. And within a few days, she’d be attending school and making new friends--ones who didn’t refer to her as “carni girl”. Her stomach did a few more flips. Yes, this would be a sweet life--the happiness her parents had always desired for her.
Isabel smiled. “It’s perfect.”