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In honor of this wonderful blog hop, I’m giving away a eBook copy of my novel, THE WOMAN ON THE PAINTED HORSE .
Winner will be determined by Random.org on June 25th!!
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For the Summer Lovin’ Blog hop, I decided that I would post an excerpt from my debut novel THE WOMAN ON THE PAINTED HORSE. I loved writing and sharing William and Alexandra’s love story. A story that weaves through the social disparity in Deep South 1861–a time where blackmail, money, and greed could be more powerful than love.
I braced my stance on the cobbled stones, a footpath, which didn’t show women’s shoes any kindness, and watched Sarah blush as she and Mr. O’Brien chatted about the weather. The humid moisture in the air stuck to my skin as the sun’s heat deepened. I longed to be one of the little flowers blooming in the shade of the tree trunks that stood rebelling against the cobbles confining presence, the flowers small petals dancing in the hot gentle breeze.
A group of men stood around one another a few yards away. A couple of them appeared as though they were trying to keep peace within the group while others seemed to be getting more irritated. Since Alabama’s secession from the United States of America, encountering crowds of men either arguing over the hostilities or playfully slapping each other in displays of admiration, gratitude or agreement had become routine.
“We must take additional issues into consideration, Ethan. Your reckless claims cannot go ignored,” one of the men yelled.
“My claims speak nothing but the truth. We all have thought on the matter and Robert E. Lee should die a traitor’s death for what he did.”
Several of the men shook their heads as the first man yelled again. “To condemn him in such a way is deplorable. He is nonetheless a respectable military man and a fine soldier.”
Glancing at Sarah still prattling on with Mr. O’Brien, I inched forward a few steps, trying to listen in on the men’s conversation.
“Son, watch out,” a man shouted behind me.
As I turned around, my body collided with another’s. Fingers wrapped around both my arms, and held me strong and steady until I regained my balance. The grasp shocked me, sending an unexpected pulse through my body. I squinted to see the person’s face, but the sunlight blinded me until he shifted his head and blocked the bright light.
A perfect set of chocolate brown eyes stared at me, sending chills down my spine. Inhaling the intoxicating, nature-like scent of his Muscogee caramel-skin, everything and everyone around us disappeared—only the two of us stood in the street, alone, and looking into each other’s eyes. His grip around my arms loosened, and for a moment, my body inched forward moving with his, never wanting him to let go.
Speech, breathing, all lost to me, along with the power to look away from this perfect young man standing in front of me. I memorized his face, his chiseled jaw line, and flawless lips. His eyes were perfect, his nose was perfect, and he was not to be faulted.
He was breathtakingly handsome.
I couldn’t explain, nor understood, why I felt overwhelmingly drawn to him, and my interest intrigued me.
The young man stared at me with curiosity in his warm eyes and an ever so slight grin that spread across his lips. Before either of us could open our mouths to speak, one of the men from the group yelled again, and the young man’s eyes darted toward the crowd. His smile faded, and he marched away from me without uttering a single word.
“Please excuse my son, Miss,” an older man whispered.
I nodded, and he sauntered off after his son.
“Miss Alexandra, ya all right?” Sarah said in a hushed but frightened tone. Her question was barely comprehensible, much less answerable. “Dang fool should watch where he walkin’. Well, come on, let’s get inside ‘fore anythin’ else happens to ya,” she muttered, grabbing my arm.
“Sarah, I don’t need help.” I brushed her hand away. “Just go inside, I shall meet you shortly.”
She stared at me for a moment with one eyebrow raised and released my arm. I ignored her shocked expression, and adjusted the buttons on my sleeve. Without another word, she nodded and turned away, conceding to my command with a knowing smile on her face that annoyed me.
Mr. O’Brien held the door for her as she entered the store, shaking her head and giggling over his chivalry. After the door shut behind them, I looked over my shoulder and watched the young man and his father walk away.
His long jet black hair was half pulled back at the crown and banded into a small braided ponytail. Beads of jade and turquoise adorned his neck and the white feather tethered to the end of the braid fluttered in the breeze.
He glanced over his shoulder, too, and our eyes locked.
Thoroughly embarrassed, I darted through the store’s entrance. My cheeks burned as I pressed myself up against the inside wall.