When your life has been stolen from you and the man responsible wants you dead, where do you run? Who do you trust?
Allison Webster dreams of having an adventure like the characters in the books she loves. But there is no romance in being pursued by a man who wants her dead for educating the children of former slaves. Unlike the heroines she reads about she doesn’t have a trusty companion to rescue her…until she literally runs into A.J. Adams, a former Confederate cavalry officer. Now, she just has to convince A.J. he really is the honorable man and hero depicted in the dime novel she is reading.
When everything you fought for was stripped away, even your honor, what is left to fight for other than revenge?
Branded a “traitor” for more than ten years, scarred by harsh treatment in an inhumane prisoner of war camp, A.J. Adams wants revenge. Allison Webster’s arrival into his life provides the bait to destroy the men who murdered his wife and daughters and kidnapped his little brother. The men pursuing Allison are the very same men he has sworn to kill. Falling in love and admitting he might actually be a hero means surrendering his need for vengeance. Surrender is not part of A.J.’s battle strategy.
A.J. watched her make her way from the boxcar with as much dignity as it appeared she could muster. The memory of that tiny waist in his hands and the slightness of her build had startled him. The barrier of that shapeless dark green sedge skirt vanished the moment his hands closed around her waist, and he could envision long, lithe limbs. He didn’t make it a habit to imagine any woman undressed, but this one knocked every bit of his equilibrium out from under him and he didn’t have the slightest idea why she did.
When she met his eyes, he’d been taken back. Slender, feathered brows lifted and eyes the color of melted chocolate widened—widened enough he was sure she saw all the way into the black abyss that was once his soul. Bright color flooded her cheeks when he told her to have a seat on the hay bale. Her slight Georgia drawl, hidden under layers of what sounded to be years of formal education, knifed into his chest.
He had watched her discreetly tuck several strands of walnut hair back under that ridiculous hat perched on her head. Realizing he had been staring at her, A.J. turned his back, letting the rapidly moving landscape occupy his gaze. She was lovely, he had to admit that. Walnut hair kissed with warm gold, high cheekbones that curved just enough to give her an elfin cast, a pert little nose, and the darkest chocolate eyes he’d ever seen combined into a rather alluring image. It had been a very long time since he had looked at a woman and not compared her to Cathy. He had sworn, as he knelt at Cathy’s grave that there would never be another. Now, a little slip of a thing had gotten in past his carefully constructed battlements and stirred something in him he could have sworn an oath to be long dead and buried beneath a live oak in Kentucky.
She was right, he was no gentleman. Sliding the door shut in her face hadn’t been the most gentlemanly thing he could have done, but he had long ago given up being anything that might even resemble a gentleman. He’d given that up sometime during his tenure in a veritable hell on earth called Camp Infernum. If he’d harbored hopes of regaining anything that came close to gallantry after watching men fight one another like animals for a scrap of moldy bread, all hope died on a warm spring afternoon when he collapsed to his knees at Clayborne at the graves of his wife and daughters and learned his younger brother had been taken by a band of roving deserters. A.J. knew his veneer of civility was just that—a veneer hiding a wounded, dangerous animal.
About the Author:
Lynda J. Cox will tell anyone who will listen that she was born at least one hundred and fifty years too late, and most definitely in the wrong part of the country. She holds a master’s degree in English with a concentration in creative writing from Indiana State University after earning her BA from the same university as a non-traditional student. (Think being old enough to be mom to 90% of the students in her freshman cadre.) She’s kept busy with two spoiled rotten house cats, a 30 plus year old Arabian gelding who has been nicknamed “Lazarus” for his ability in the later years of his life to escape death, and quite a few champion collies. When she isn’t writing, she can be found on the road, travelling to the next dog show. She loves to chat about books, the writing life, and the insanity which is called a “dog show” and can be reached through her Facebook page.
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