Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Bride Wore Gray -- Prologue -- Part 2

Have you seen Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln?"

It's thought provoking, beautifully filmed, and gets to the heart of why the Civil War was fought. A moving film.

Which brings me to my own Civil War project: "The Bride Wore Gray." It's a time travel romance where my modern day heroine, Liberty Jordan, meets up with her ancestor--who looks exactly like her!

The only problem is, Pauletta Sue is a Southern spy...

I promised you part 2 of the Prologue and here it is. But first, a progress report on my story:

I'm working on formatting my manuscript, making a cover, etc. so I can self-pub it. Which brings up a question: with the popularity of Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," will the Civil War make a come-back in romance novels?

What do you think?


The Bride Wore Gray 

(Pauletta Sue is trying to outrun the Yankees on her mare, Savannah (click here to read Part 1) She's on a spy mission, trying to avenge the death of her husband, Capt. Colton Trent. She reminisces about their wedding night...

She [Pauletta Sue] let out a sigh as he picked her up in his arms and laid her down on the soft grassy ground in a shadowy corner, away from the curious rays of the white moon. The softened earth molded to their bodies, caressing them both in a secret embrace as he held her in his strong arms. A searing heat filled her, caressing the essence of her soul.

She would remember this moment always. Floating in a strange state, drifting somewhere between intense pleasure and the fear that she might never see him again. Soon, so very soon, his kiss would be only a memory.

No, it doesn't have to be, her heart cried out. No one was going to take this man away from her. She would have him with her always.

When he’d entered her, she cried out, praying he would be safe. She loved him so much. What other man would risk his life to help her when the Yankees tried to burn down her plantation? The South needed more men like him to win the war, though he wasn't like the others.

They wore the butternut and gray of the Confederacy. He was a Texas Ranger. Proud and strong, with his Mexican serape flapping over his broad chest, his wide‑brimmed Ranger hat with a big, fat Texas star pulled down low over his face.

Two days later Pauletta Sue found out that he had been captured trying to save a man in his regiment from hanging. What else did she expect from a man who had fought bravely in the surprise attack on Grant's army at Shiloh on the Tennessee River? Then attacked a Union supply train belonging to General Grant? She waited and waited, but no word came.

No silver coin returned to her.

Captain Colton Trent was killed, they told her, murdered by the Yankees while trying to escape from a Federal prison. He was a spy, they said. No trial, no evidence but the captured Yank overcoat he wore and the stuttered words of accusation from a frightened Secesh aiming to save his own hide.

Pauletta Sue knew the truth. It lay in her heart. Colton had been willing to die for what he believed in.

I, too, am not afraid to die, my darling. As long as I live, I will fight the Yankees to the death. I will do anything to help the South win the war.

Anything. Even sell my soul.

Cold sweat curled down the back of her neck, making her shiver as she watched the gray mist dither against a pale blue sky, blurring the image of the bird gone from her sight. Blurring her thoughts of him, but she couldn’t let them go.

Let him go.

The sweet remembrance of his touch would stay with her always, but she refused to give in to the dread seeping through her like a rotting wound. Before the sun rose proud and tall in the sky, she must get through the pickets.

She was in Yankee territory now.

The South had lost Tennessee after the Battle of Shiloh. Reports said that more than twenty thousand men on both sides had fallen during the battle, either dead or wounded. All Confederate attention was now focused on Virginia. And that was where she was headed. Pauletta Sue must deliver a secret letter from President Jefferson Davis to General Lee, a letter hidden in the reticule tethered to her saddle.

She had personal business to attend to there as well. A scheme that would allow her to avenge Colton’s death the only way she knew how.

By spying for the South.

Her sense of duty didn't stop the cold fear from growing inside her. The ominous cotton-thick fog would keep her hidden until the rising sun dissolved the mist. Then it would be but a soft echo of the dark night.

Which meant the sentries would see her.

The Yankees had placed guard posts up and down along the river and were not letting anyone through without a pass. Pauletta Sue had no pass. How could she? No lady would venture out on the road so early in the morning, but that didn't stop her. She had set off on a steady pace before dawn.

She knew this road well. The hard ground beneath the mare's hooves gave way to soft mud, slowing her down. She looked ahead and saw a battered fence looming in front of her less than fifty yards away, its spiral wooden fingers forming a barrier to her freedom. She held the reins tight. The fence was at least three feet high.

Savannah Lady wasn't a trained jumper, but her horse could make it.

She had to.

Pauletta Sue sucked in a deep breath, summoning her courage. Then she struck the animal with the whip again, harder, harder. It pained her to do so. She could hear the sound of her mare blowing, but she didn't slow her pace. She had been riding her hard and prayed the horse didn't miss a step.

“Halt! Who goes there?” a voice rang out, startling her. She didn't slacken her hold on the reins. She didn't stop, couldn't, even if her whole body ached, her limbs heavy, her eyes sunken back in her head from fatigue.

Pauletta Sue pulled in her courage something fierce when she saw an army of soldiers in blue uniforms appear out of the mist like fearsome ghosts. Aiming their rifles at her and threatening to shoot her.

“Go, Savannah Lady!”

She kicked her heels into the flanks of her bay mare, bent her head down low and, with a rebel yell and bullets whizzing over her head, she jumped over the fence.

---------- End of Prologue---------

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