Maggie studied the well-dressed man. She figured him to be near her age. He was rugged with a sturdy build. He was a handsome man, she had to admit, with dark hair and brown eyes. She straightened her shoulders. "I don't fear you," she said sharply.
"And you are?" he asked with the same friendly smile.
"Margaret Quinn, but I answer to Maggie. This is my brother Patrick," she said, nodding toward Paddy, "and our friend Connor. We've just now arrived from Ireland. If you'll pardon us, we'll be on our way."
"It is an unpleasant journey on the ship. Not enough food or water. No proper rest."
"Aye," Maggie replied. "Now please let us pass."
The man did not attempt to unblock their path. "It seems like only yesterday that I was stepping off the ship. I was tired, hungry, and knew not what America offered me." He swept his hands over his fine clothes. "Now look at me. I never lived such a fine life in Ireland."
Maggie's eyes narrowed. "I'm looking, and I see a braggart."
Patrick tugged her arm. "Maggie, this is not the way to start our new life in America." He looked apologetically at Colin Doyle. "Please forgive my sister."
"Paddy, I have a voice," she replied heatedly as she stared coldly at Doyle. "I am not asking forgiveness for my words."
Colin tipped his hat to her. "Well, then, I apologize if my words offended you, Miss Quinn. I am only trying to show you that America is truly the land where dreams can come true. In my case, they did."
Maggie frowned. "Right now we are weak, tired, and hungry from the journey. Can you direct us to where we might find shelter and food? Tomorrow we will seek work after we are rested."
"I know just the place where you can rest. Maybe I can help you seek employment, too. What work would you hope to find?" he asked.
"Patrick and I are farmers," Connor quickly replied. He looked around himself. "I see no fields, but we have strong backs and will work where we are most useful. Can you tell me where we might find a farmer seeking hands?"
"This is New York City. I fear if you intend to settle here in the city, you will be seeking work of a different nature," he replied to Connor.
"No matter," Patrick cut in. "We are not afraid of any kind of work."
"And I assume you are looking as well?" Colin turned to Maggie with a bright smile.
"I am," she replied. Her instincts told her not to trust him, but she didn't want to believe that his offer of help wasn't genuine. He was taking his own time to offer help. And they did need help. None of them had a clue of what to do or where to go.
"I can help all of you in your search. It may not be glorious work, but it will be honest and enough to pay your expenses."
Maggie's instincts still wouldn't allow her to fully give her trust to him. "And why do you offer your help to strangers? It seems a bit strange," she said.
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- I'm Susan K. Droney and I write in several genres: children's books, mainstream fiction, thrillers, mysteries, and sensual/erotic romances. I am published by Torrid Books, World Castle Publishing, and Devine Destinies. Please click on the book covers or visit my website at: http://susandroney.com to read reviews, excerpts or to order my books.