Lorna Seilstad – Excerpt – Part 3 of 3

Historical romance author, Lorna Seilstad shares a romantic excerpt from her latest release, When Love Calls. Comment on any post dated May 27 – 31 to get your name in the drawing for a copy. Deadline: June 8th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Lorna:

Lorna's operatorOperator's StationOperator’s Station from the era of Lorna’s book        Updated version Shannon found in flea market

When Love Calls by Lorna SeilstadLorna

Excerpt from When Love Calls by Lorna Seilstad:

April 1908

Des Moines, Iowa

Did she dare?

Hannah eyed the wheeled grocery store ladder resting against the shelves. If she went up that ladder again this week, she might give poor Mr. Reilly heart failure.

Despite the risk of Mr. Reilly’s demise, Hannah wrapped her hand around the ladder’s rung. If the little man had a conniption, that was his fault. He should have kept his shelves better stocked or at least offered to help her. After all, she’d been waiting for nearly five minutes, and her sisters were home waiting for dinner.

One can of stewed tomatoes, and her meager grocery shopping list would be complete. From its position on the upper shelf beyond her reach, the can taunted her with its flashy red label and bright green letters. It practically goaded her to come and get it.

Her gaze darted to the plaque hung from a nail on the center shelf: “Please Let Us Assist You.” She’d be happy to if Mr. Reilly noticed anyone in the store besides the customers with money. As it was, she had no choice but to take matters into her own hands.

Hannah glanced from the sign to the stout, long-nosed grocer. Behind the counter, he continued his chatty dialogue with the banker’s wife, turning a blind eye as her five-year-old son skipped around the mercantile like a child at the fair.

Easing the wheeled ladder back and forth a few inches on its rail, Hannah watched to see if Mr. Reilly noticed. When he didn’t turn her direction, she hiked up her skirt. With one foot firmly planted on the ladder’s first step, Hannah rolled the ladder a yard to the right. After stopping beneath the elusive tomatoes, she scurried up the three flat rungs and clasped the can in her hand before hoisting it aloft like a trophy.

Don’t show off. She tucked the can against her side. Just hurry up and get back down.


Hannah caught a glimpse of the naughty little boy riding a broom straight toward the ladder. Her breath caught.

“Whoa!” The boy smacked the ladder with the broom handle.

Like a ball on a billiards table, the ladder flew down the row of shelves. With the tomato can in one hand, Hannah clung to the rungs with her other. The ladder jolted to a stop at the end of the shelves. To keep from falling, she dropped the can and gripped the rungs with both hands. The can thunked into Mr. Reilly’s potato bin and sent the piled spuds cascading to the floor.

Hannah scrambled off the ladder and began gathering the fallen victims of the tomato can fiasco. She headed for one of the spuds in the middle of the aisle, but the boy reached it first and gave it a hard kick. The potato thumped across the floor and rolled under the yard goods table.

Mr. Reilly’s shadow loomed over her. “You? Again?”

Dropping an armload of potatoes into the bin, Hannah brushed the dirt from the front of her skirt. “I apologize, Mr. Reilly. You seemed otherwise occupied with Mrs. Young, and the boy—”

“The boy is lucky you didn’t kill him.” Mr. Reilly scowled and looked inside Hannah’s basket, where the tomato can now lay nestled next to a small sack of flour and a few potatoes. “Is that all you’re getting?”

“Actually, I have a bit more shopping to do.” Hannah squared her shoulders. He didn’t need to know she only planned on purchasing those three items. The funds they had left needed to stretch for quite a while. “And in the future, may I recommend you don’t let small children run amok in your store.”

“Humph!” The banker’s wife gathered her son to her side.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some items left to get.” Hannah lifted her chin.

Her heart pounded against her rib cage. That had been close. If Mr. Reilly refused to sell groceries to her, she’d have to take a streetcar halfway across town to buy groceries. Three months ago, when her father had been alive, Mr. Reilly would never have treated one of the Gregory girls like that. He’d be jumping to fill her orders like he was for the banker’s wife.

Three months ago, she wouldn’t have been in Mr. Reilly’s store. She’d have been in a law lecture at Drake University, and she would have been writing theme papers, not grocery lists.

Tears pricked Hannah’s eyes. She blinked and forced the tears away. That time in her life was over now. Her parents were gone, and she had new responsibilities—two sisters to raise and care for. Too bad my law classes didn’t make me a stenographer. All the good jobs for women require shorthand, not Latin.

About Lorna: Lorna Seilstad has called Iowa home her whole life. She received her B.S. in education from LubbockChristianUniversity. After her first child was born, she stopped teaching and became a professional wiper. “I wiped noses, tears, skinned knees, baby’s bottoms, and countertops every day. But at naptime, I wrote.” Today, she writes historical fiction with a generous dash of humor. 

About the book – When Love Calls: Hannah Gregory is good at many things, but that list doesn’t include following rules. So when she is forced to apply for a job as a telephone switchboard operator to support her two sisters, she knows it won’t be easy. “Hello Girls” must conduct themselves according to strict–and often bewildering–rules. No talking to the other girls. No chatting with callers. No blowing your nose without first raising your hand. And absolutely no consorting with gentlemen while in training.

Meanwhile, young lawyer Lincoln Cole finds himself in the unfortunate position of having to enforce the bank’s eviction of the three Gregory girls from their parents’ home. He tries to soften the blow by supporting them in small ways as they settle into another home. But fiery Hannah refuses his overtures and insists on paying back every cent of his charity.

When one of Hannah’s friends finds himself on the wrong side of a jail cell, Hannah is forced to look to Lincoln for help. Will it be her chance to return to her dreams of studying law? And could she be falling in love?

With historic details that bring to life the exciting first decade of the twentieth century, Lorna Seilstad weaves a charming tale of camaraderie and companionship that blossoms into love. Readers will get lost in this sweet romance and will eagerly look forward to championing each sister’s dreams.

Come back June 6th for Marji Laine!

9 Responses to “Lorna Seilstad – Excerpt – Part 3 of 3”

  • Stacy says:

    Hannah is going to be a fun character to get to know – I can tell already. SO looking forward to reading the series, Lorna.

  • Dawn Ford says:

    Poor Hannah. She never gets a break. If you haven’t already read When Love Calls, you just have to. The Gregory sisters are SO much fun!!!

  • Abbi Hart says:

    Well I’m the type of person who doesn’t like reading parts of a book before I read the whole thing so I skipped the excerpt, but the pictures were fun!

  • Deanna Mundy says:

    I would love to read this book.


  • I would love to be entered for this drawing. I want to donate this book to our church library.

    Blessings Joy

  • This book is going to so fun to read, I think. Hope i will be the winner and find out.
    MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

  • Janet Estridge says:

    I would love to win this book to give to my church library.
    Thanks for the opportunity to do so.

  • joanne elliott says:

    I love the cover of the book, and now I love theexcerpt you shared! My daughter told me you were a great author and now I need to read your books! Hope I win one!

  • I have a winner! Brenda Ayers won the drawing for Lorna’s book. I appreciate Lorna for being my guest and everyone else for stopping by.

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