Thanks again to Stella for having me here to talk about my latest release!
I’m Canadian, so I know it seems a little weird that I’m such a huge American Civil War buff. No one’s really sure how that came to be, but it happened when I was around twelve or so. I remember watching a TV commercial for the Time Life series of Civil War books and my heart was pounding like mad. I immediately called my father at his office and begged him for his credit card number so that I could order the books. He’s always been hugely supportive and tolerant of my love for history, so he let me order them. A new volume would arrive every other month and whenever I saw that familiar cardboard packaging in my mailbox, I’d run with it straight to my room and read it from cover to cover. I still have all the books too.
Near the end of the trip he actually pulled off the best surprise ever, and got down on one knee in the middle of the cemetery at Fredericksburg, VA, and proposed. I know that’s probably not romantic to very many women, but he did that just for me and made it the most romantic gesture of all time. He even wore a Union cavalry uniform to our wedding reception and we cut the cake with one of my sabres I’ve collected from the war. Is it any wonder why I married the guy?
I usually write contemporary military romantic suspense, but since you all now know about the level of my obsession for the Civil War, it probably comes as no surprise to you that I wrote a Civil War romance. I hope you’ll enjoy the story, and that you’ll learn fascinating new things about this terrible conflict. The and it’s also as well.
Here’s a short excerpt:
The Civil War has torn Brianna Taylor’s family apart and made her a widow. Determined to ease the suffering of the wounded crowding the Union hospitals and honor the memory of the man she loved, she embarks on a career as a nurse. But then he arrives—a patient who makes her feel alive again in spite of her resolve to stay detached.
Captain Justin Thompson understands the cost of war all too well, yet he felt compelled to fight for the Union his father died defending. Wounded at Cold Harbor and left to die at a military hospital, he owes his life to Brianna, who seems determined to guard her professional boundaries despite his best efforts to breach them. Just as he’s winning the battle for her heart, he’s forced to return to the front of a cruel war that could very well separate them forever.
The ship’s whistle blasted. Her heart squeezed in misery.
As the sound faded away, Justin’s eyes brimmed with regret. “I have to go, angel.”
With their last seconds together slipping away from them, Brianna hugged him tight, memorizing everything about the way he felt, the way he smelled. The strength of him wrapped around her. A sob worked its way up her throat. His arms tightened protectively.
“Don’t cry,” he whispered fervently against her temple. “I’d rather be shot again than make you cry.”
“I’m not crying,” she choked.
He kissed her temple, her eyelid to catch a teardrop before it could fall, and pulled away. Don’t go! her heart cried in agony. Don’t leave me.
“I’ll write as often as I can, but there might be stretches when you won’t hear from me.” His smile was impossibly tender, so sad she thought her heart might break. “I’m coming back to you. Just swear you won’t give up on me, Bree.”
“I won’t.” Not while she was still breathing.
He pressed one last lingering kiss to her lips, then let his eyes sweep over her face. “Bye, Brianna. Never doubt or forget my feelings for you.”
How could she ever forget? She smiled, though it felt like her face would shatter like glass.
Tell him you’re falling in love with him too.
The words stuck in her throat.
God help her, she couldn’t get the words out. They were too terrifying. “Bye.” Holding her arms around her middle, she watched him walk away and bit the inside of her cheek to keep from calling him back. He glanced back at her from the dock and raised an arm to wave once.
She lifted a hand in reply, fighting back the hideous pain ripping through her chest. Why hadn’t she told him?
You might never see him again.
Her heart pounded, urgency clawing at her.
You have to tell him.
She stood on tiptoe to catch sight of him. Too late. He was already boarding the ship.
Her breathing was shaky, her whole body trembling at the pressure in her ribcage.
Justin was halfway up the gangway.
She took a stumbling step forward. “Justin!”
He whipped around at her cry and, when he saw her running toward him, pushed his way back through the throng as she raced over.
Tears clogging her throat, Brianna caught him around the waist and buried her face in his wide chest.
His hard arms closed around her in a protective embrace, one hand cradling the back of her head to press her cheek against his solid chest. “What? What’s wrong?”
She lifted her head. I can’t let you go. With a hard swallow, she gazed deep into his eyes. “I’m falling in love with you, too.” The moment she said it, the painful pressure in her chest eased.
His eyes darkened, and a slow smile spread across his face. “I knew it.”
Rather than laugh, she kissed him, dizzy with relief, not caring if she was making a spectacle. The ship blew its whistle again, sharp and grating on her nerves.
“Damn,” he muttered against her lips. “I really have to go.”
“I know. I know.” It was so hard to step back.
He bent to kiss her one last time, gave her a heart-stopping smile that warmed her insides. “I’m glad you told me.”
“Me too. Now go.” She stepped back and tucked her arms around her waist, tried to stay strong so he wouldn’t see how devastated she was. Her teary gaze followed him back up the gangplank. Blowing out a deep breath, she lifted her hand in farewell, and at last he disappeared from view.
Alone on the dock, Brianna wiped her wet cheeks and tipped her head to gaze up at the vivid blue sky overhead, praying for strength. She’d never expected to find love again. Did you do this, Caleb?
Maybe she had a guardian angel watching over her after all.
Hope you enjoy the story!
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