Welcome to Excerpt Saturday. I’m Caroline Clemmons and I have an excerpt from LONG WAY HOME, my novella in the 2011 EPIC Award Finalist Civil War anthology NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES. My story is set in Northwestern Georgia in a fictionalized version of the community in which my father’s ancestors lived during the Civil War. In the event you think the heroine’s first name is odd, which it is, please remember that this name is from my family’s history of the time. Perhaps it wasn’t unusual then.
This anthology is available in print or e-book from The Wild Rose Press at www.thewildrosepress.com and at other online stores. I know you’ll be dying to purchase your copy after you read this excerpt, so the buy link is at the end of the post.
Here’s the blurb:
Parmelia Bailey is determined to protect those in her care—including her brother’s fiancée–until their men come home from the War. She could manage, but now evil Jeff Lawson and his gang are headed her way. She knows Jeff won’t stop until he repays her for refusing his proposal. Where can she turn? Darrick McDonald deserted her once—can she rely on him now?
Captain Darrick McDonald’s current assignment: Capture Jeff Lawson and his raiders. Four years ago family obligations forced Darrick away from Georgia and the woman he still loves. But he’s returned to his Southern hometown wearing Union blue, and wondering if he has a future here after the War.
Parmelia, her mother, and her ten-year-old brother Rob have moved into town with her Grammy Bailey until their men return from war. The excerpt is taken when Parmelia has just returned from a daring rescue of Sarah Hardeman, Sarah’s mother, and Sarah’s sisters only minutes before the battle reached the Hardeman home. To effect the rescue, Parmelia and her youngest sibling, Rob, had to…um, recover…um, perhaps borrow is a better word…all right, they stole back two of their former horses from the Union corral. She and Rob rode the horses to the Hardemans’ so the mares could be hitched to the Hardeman two-seater, covered buggy. The women piled as much into and onto the buggy as the horses could handle–people, clothes, quilts, and chickens–then used a rope to tether the family cow to the back to trail them into town while Rob rode bareback on one of the horses. Parmelia intends to return the horses before they’re missed, or so she hopes. What’s that old saying about the best laid plans?
Here’s the excerpt:
“Why don’t I do that?” Darrick McDonald stepped from the shadows. He appeared calm, until she looked at his face.
Parmelia was surprised sparks didn’t shoot from his dark eyes and ignite the entire carriage house. She clutched her throat, hoping a way out of this predicament would come to her. How had he known to come here?
“Darrick, you–you gave me a fright.”
“Did I? Perhaps you have a guilty conscience.” He freed one of the horses.
“When did you come back?” She fought for an idea, but none came to her.
“Late yesterday.” He walked back and forth beside Lady. “Funny thing, you have two horses after the Army confiscated all the livestock in town. Another coincidence, two Army horses went missing tonight.”
He stopped and gave her a piercing look.
She gave up with a sigh. “I can explain.”
“I’m listening.” His eyes were still dark with anger.
“My brother’s fiancée. You remember Sarah Hardeman? I had to bring her and her family to town. I–I had no way to do that without a team.”
Rob added, “These are our horses anyway. You low down yellow-bellied Yankees stole them from us.”
Oh, Lord. Leave it to her brother to make things worse. “Hush, Rob. Give me the bridles. Put the cow in the barn and then come help me with these chickens.”
He pouted and handed over the tack. “Oh, all right. I never get to hear anything good.” Rob untied the cow and stomped toward the barn.
“So, you’re a Yankee officer now.”
“Captain.” Darrick crossed his arms. “I’m waiting for an explanation, Parmelia.”
Her temper conquered her good sense, and she stepped toward him. “You’ve got your nerve, coming here wearing that uniform, you…you traitor.”
He stepped forward until they were almost touching. “Call me what you will, but you’re the one who stole two horses in a time of war.”
She refused to retreat. “How can you accuse me of stealing, when you Yankees have taken over our town?”
“Because you did steal them, and you weren’t even clever about it. I followed their tracks to your grandparents’ home. You do realize that with a less sympathetic Colonel, they could lose their home?”
So, what do you think? Did Parmelia’s grandparents lose their home? Come on, this is a romance, remember? Romance authors don’t toss grandparents out of their homes into the cold. A number of bad things actually do occur, but that’s not one of them. You’ll have to read the book to learn what happens. Teaser, see? Trying to make you buy the book. Hope it’s working, and you love it so much you recommend it to your friends. No, don’t loan them your copy–make them buy their own copies. (Picture me rubbing my hands together in maniacal glee.) Buy it here: http://www.tinyurl.com/4whpyvu.