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Carolina Built

Carolina Built By Kianna Alexander Summary

Carolina Built: A Novel, Josephine N. Leary is determined to build a life of her own and a future for her family. When she moves to Edenton, North Carolina from the plantation where she was born, she is free, newly married, and ready to follow her dreams.

As the demands of life pull Josephine’s attention away, it becomes increasingly difficult for her to pursue her real estate aspirations. She finds herself immersed in deepening her marriage, mothering her daughters, and being a dutiful daughter and granddaughter. Still, she manages to teach herself to be a businesswoman, to manage her finances, and to make smart investments in the local real estate market. But with each passing year, it grows more and more difficult to focus on building her legacy from the ground up.

“Filled with passion and perseverance, Josephine Leary is frankly a woman that everyone should know” (Sadeqa Johnson, author of Yellow Wife) and her story speaks to the part of us that dares to dream bigger, tear down whatever stands in our way, and build something better for the loved ones we leave behind.

About the Author

Kianna Alexander wears many hats: doting mama, advice-dispensing sister, fun aunt, and gabbing girlfriend. She’s a voracious reader, an amateur seamstress, and occasional painter in oils. Chocolate, American history, sweet tea, and Idris Elba are a few of her favorite things. A native of the Tarheel state, Kianna still lives there while maintaining her collection of well-loved vintage 80s Barbie dolls.

Carolina Built By Kianna Alexander Introduction

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

January 1873
Elizabeth City, North Carolina

I take in the view, looking at the way the sun sparkles on the surface of the Pasquotank River. It looks like ribbons of light dancing over the water. Walking hand in hand with my Archer, I let out a happy sigh. We stroll toward the waterfront, and he gives my hand a squeeze.

“So what do you think, Mrs. Leary?” Archer smiles down at me. “Do you approve of your honeymoon so far?

I melt, just as I do every time he looks at me this way. “As I said to you a few days ago, Archer… I do.” I lean up, place a soft peck against his jaw. The two days’ worth of stubble there make him look rugged, daring.

I’m glad to hear it. Only the best for my bride.” He cups my cheek, affection shining in his eyes.

His touch is familiar, soothing. I suck in my bottom lip and release it before speaking again. “Come now, Archer. We’ve been locked in the room for two days. If you really want to get this fresh air, keep your hands to yourself.

“You accusing me of tempting you?”

I give him a sidelong glance. “You know full well what you’re doing, Archer Leary.

His answering grin is broad. “Heavens, Jo. What can I do to get you to call me Sweety, as everyone else does?

I shrug. I never cared for that nickname. “Nothing. Besides, I’m not everyone else. I’m your wife.” I circle my arms around his waist. “I love the way that word sounds. Wife.” I never would have guessed I’d be fortunate enough to get married at a prime age to give my new husband all the babies he—and I—might desire. Mama and Grandma Milly were pleased when I met Archer on the Folly plantation, where I was sent to train in barbering.

We turn left toward the center of town, headed away from the water. An assortment of one- and two-story buildings line the road on either side of us. Some are fashioned of planks, while the older, more established ones are built from brick and stone. We pass a bakery, with its pink-and-white-painted exterior resembling a fancy wedding cake, a tailor shop with several fine suits on display in the glass-paned window, and a small general store advertising a sale on collards.

Do you smell that?” Archer asks.

I sniff the air, and the scent of leather being worked sparks instant recognition. “There must be a tanner nearby.” I inhale again, more deeply, and let the memory wash over me.

I reported to the Folly barbershop at seven sharp, ferried there by Glasgow, Mr. Stutts’s ornery older brother and right hand. “Get on in there and learn something, gal,” Glasgow admonished as he pulled the buggy away from the walk.

Inside the shop, old man Folly stood by the door, wearing a fine black suit beneath a muslin apron. “You Josephine?

I nodded shyly. “Yes, sir.”

He foisted a heavy bucket into my hand.

The acrid scent of lye hit my nostrils immediately. But I detected something else in the water, something fruity. Lemon oil, maybe?

Before I could pinpoint the other scent, the old man started barking orders. “First thing you need to learn: how to clean your implements. There’s four pair of shears and six combs in there. Take that bucket on the table over there and scrub ’em all clean. And be quick about it, gal.

Yes, sir.” I did as he instructed. Rolling up the sleeves of my worn shirt, I used the tattered cloth I dug out of the water to cleanse the tools.

I was still elbow-deep in the bucket of warm suds when he entered the shop. He was tall and well-built, his skin the color of Mama’s coffee after she added a good dose of milk. His hair surrounded his handsome, angular face in a silken mass of dark curls.

I stopped, stared. For a moment, his golden eyes met mine, and my heart pounded in my chest like the sounds rising from a Sunday drumming circle.

Our gazes met, and time seemed to fall away.

Folly croaked, “State your name, boy, instead of standing there like a damn statue.

He snatched away his piercing eyes, leaving me both relieved and bereft.

“Sorry. I’m Archer, sir. From the Leary spread.”

Archer. What a strong name for a sturdy young man. My tongue darted out to dampen my lower lip as I resumed my cleaning duties.

“Well, boy, go over there and get the clean shears from that gal, and I’ll show you how to sharpen them on the strap.”

He strode toward me, and I dropped the cloth into the bucket, trying to keep my composure. As he reached for the shears, I moved the clean pile closer to him.

For a moment, our fingertips touched.

Something shot through me, like a bolt of lightning firing across a storm-darkened sky. If his widening eyes were any indication, he felt something similar.

We stared at each other again, for another long moment, until Folly’s angry shouts pulled him away from me. I moved across the shop to hastily grab a whisk broom, staying busy to avoid Folly’s wrath. As I swept the floors, I watched Archer work a straight razor over the leather honing strap, the smell of warm leather permeating the air.

Old man Folly wasn’t pleased about us sparking, but nothing could stop what fate had already begun. In three months’ time, when our training as barbers ended, our love story began in earnest. I was only thirteen, but old enough to know that he made my heart skip a beat. I was immediately smitten, but it wasn’t until two years later, during my fifteenth summer, when Archer had shown up at our cabin at the Stutts place, intent on calling on me. I was so red in the face at his arrival, I must have resembled a large tomato. Still, I couldn’t resist his charm, his sharp wit, and his wavy-haired handsomeness.

My mother and grandmother indulged my budding feelings for Archer. They listened with knowing smiles as I chattered on about him and encouraged us to spend time together under their watchful eyes. They were elated when Archer asked for my hand; he’d always been charming, considerate, and respectful during his visits, but their approval of the union went even deeper. Both older women were afraid I might be destined for spinsterhood. They say I’ve got a fierce independent streak.

But Archer’s different. I can’t count the number of afternoons we spent happily sitting in companionable silence, me lost in my books, him lost in his thoughts. When we daydream together about the places I’ve read about—striking out, traveling, and trying something new—he always has something to add that I’d never considered. Daydreaming together feels like more than just dreaming; it feels like planning a life.

Standing next to him, I admire his handsomeness. The tone of his skin allows him to pass for white, but no matter his race, no one with decent sight could deny his attractiveness. He has a head full of luxurious dark waves, framing a perfectly symmetrical face. His eyes are hazel, flecked with green, and easy to get lost in. And his mustache frames lips that are soft, smooth, and just full enough to cover mine when we kiss.

As easy as he is on the eyes, his looks alone wouldn’t have been enough for me. After every indignity I suffered under the hand of old Master Williams, I could never have settled for less than true love. And I do love Archer. I love him as flowers love the sun, as fields love the rain.

“Let’s go, Jo.” He takes my hand again. “I don’t want to be late for my appointment.

I chuckle. “I’m never going to let you forget what a reasonable wife I am, Archer. Not many wives would agree to allow a business meeting during a honeymoon trip.

I know. And you have my endless gratitude.” He bows with a flourish. “If I wait, though, this prime piece of land is going to sell… to someone else.”

I sigh as we walk away from the water, not quite ready to leave the beautiful scenery behind. But Archer has his heart set on this property. He is more than handsome and affectionate; he’s ambitious. He’s been talking about this plot of land on Road Street for several weeks now. According to him, the location and size of the plot make it ideal for commercial development that has great potential to be leased for a good profit. And when the seller contacted him with a meeting date that happened to fall within three days of the date we were to be married, he’d agreed anyway.

I’ve got to admit, his excitement is a little bit contagious. I love the way his eyes light up when he talks about business, because I know the root of his ambition. To make something of himself, to prove to anyone that he can be successful in life. I want that too.

You know this meeting is really about you, my dear. I’m looking at every opportunity to take care of you, to make sure you have a good life.” Archer squeezes my hand again. “Remember that. My goal is for you, and our future babies, to enjoy all the fruits of freedom.

I appreciate that, Archer.” Easing closer to him as we walk, I rest my cheek against his strong upper arm.

Soon, we arrive at the intersection of Road and Main Streets. The intersection is busy with both foot and buggy traffic, and it takes some maneuvering to get around everyone else. Finally, we come to the lot, the only vacant land in the near vicinity.

“So where’s this Mr. Charles?”

He’ll be here.” Archer checks his pocket watch before tucking it back into the inner pocket of his coat. “There are lots of folks out today. Let’s just give him a few minutes.”

I stand with him on the edge of the lot, doing my best to stay out of the way of passersby. I shift my weight back and forth, growing somewhat impatient with the situation. This business meeting is putting a damper on our romantic getaway. Still, I know better than to try to persuade Archer to leave once he has his mind set on something.

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Carolina Built

Carolina Built PDF

Product details:

EditionInternational Edition
ISBN1982163690, 978-1982163693
Posted onSeptember 6, 2022
Page Count336 pages
AuthorKianna Alexander

Carolina Built By Kianna Alexander PDF Free Download - Epicpdf

Carolina Built: A Novel, Josephine N. Leary is determined to build a life of her own and a future for her family. When she moves to Edenton, North Carolina from the plantation where she was born, she is free, newly married, and ready to follow her dreams.


Author: Kianna Alexander

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