While I was doing research on the American Civil War for The Sweetheart Tree, I learned that there were ad hoc hand grenades used in the conflicts and I knew that had to be included in my story.
There were many variations on these improvised early grenades, some little more than modified artillery shells while others looked like bloated darts with aerodynamic fins and plungers that had to be hit on the nose for detonation. The version I went with for my story was little more than a metal ball filled with explosives. The wounds inflicted were horrific.
Unfortunately, these first grenades were as dangerous to the person throwing them as they were to the enemy. If they didn’t hit just right on the detonator, they could be grabbed up and hurled back to the enemy. Union and Confederate soldiers could lob these back and forth until finally the grenade went off. Some ingenious soldiers even used blankets to catch them and toss them back.
When The Sweetheart Tree’s hero, a Confederate Lieutenant ends up with the only grenades for miles around and his new love interest, a time-traveler from the future insists that it is those grenades that spares The Mill from Sheridan’s rampage across the Shenandoah Valley, well, let’s just say that there’s an explosive ending.
The Sweetheart’s Tree available in e-book from The Wild Rose Press.
“Ware’s death rallies the men?” He looked completely stunned.
“Don’t you see, Caleb? It doesn’t matter. Just stay out of it. I can’t bear to find out you’d been . . .”
He touched her cheek. “Sabrina, when you get back to your time, I’ll be long buried.”
“No, don’t say it.”
He didn’t say anymore, didn’t need to. All at once his mouth was upon hers, a strong firm pressure coaxing, taking, memorizing. She opened to him, filling the greedy need that streamed through her, down to her toes.
She didn’t know when he pulled back, both shaken. “I’ve been needing to do that since I first saw you.”
She could hardly string together a coherent sentence. “You thought I was a boy.”
He grinned. “All right. Maybe just a little later. Sabrina, I’ve got to get you back. Or I’ll never have the strength to let you go. Here, I have something for you.” He winced a little as he searched for something deep inside his pocket. “It was my ma’s. She thought it was pretty.” He unfolded his hand and Bree’s hand flew to her breast.
“It’s the one, isn’t it?” He said it almost hesitantly. “The stone you told me about.”
“Yes.” Her voice was thin.
“It belongs with you, then.”
Her fingers curled over it, feeling the cold of the stone, the warmth of his palm. “It was your mothers? What does this mean?” She turned away from him. He’d had it all along, a momento from his mother. “Caleb, do you believe in destiny?”
“I believe you can make your own destiny, if you want it bad enough.”
If you want it bad enough.
Stunned, she turned back to face him. Everything was dropping away. All she could see was him, framed by sunlight, his face in shadows, and he was setting her away. He curled her fingers around the topaz and shifted back, watching her intently.
Cupping the stone to her chest, Bree tried to concentrate. If you want it bad enough . . . Nothing. She glanced at Caleb and her heart melted. This blasted rock would never take her back because what she wanted most was sitting right in front of her.
But she also wanted her family. And modern plumbing. Grocery stores. Movies. She’d give her right arm for a Diet Coke.