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Sunday, July 31, 2011
A TIME FOR EVERYTHING - Linda Swift
Then submitted it to a digital publisher who accepted it with praise. Before I could sign a contract, said publisher disappeared from the face of the earth. I sent it to a different digital publisher and never heard a word. Only after they accepted another book did I learn they never got this submission. Then it went to Champagne books where it finally found a home. And now it is released as an ebook and will be available in print next month. Somebody knew better than I when its time should come. For this is a Civil War story and 2011 is the first year of the commemoration of the C.W. Sesquicentennial. How's that for unplanned and unexpected timing?
The Civil War brought casualties beyond the bloody battlefields as North fought South. Philip Burke, against his family's wishes, volunteered to defend the Union and became a prisoner of war who bartered his medical expertise to remain out of prison. When the Union Army invaded Tennessee, Clarissa Wakefield's antebellum mansion became a Confederate hospital. Philip was placed in charge and against propriety she volunteered to stay on and help nurse the wounded. Clarissa's husband was a Confederate soldier and Philip's fiancée waited for him in Oswego but the fire between them soon raged out of control. As the opposing armies fought for possession of Chattanooga, Clarissa and Philip faced their own battle. Caught in the passions of war and love, with hurt inevitable either way, would they be faithful to their vows or listen to their hearts?
Here's a excerpt:
Tip-toeing past the snoring guard, Clarissa stepped onto the moonlit veranda and made her way toward a wicker chair facing the river. It was only as she sat down that she saw the glow of Philip Burke's pipe.
"Oh, excuse me, I thought--"
"That you would be alone? I was just finishing my pipe." He made a move to stand but she said quickly, "Please don't go. It is I who have intruded."
"I scarcely think so. This is your home after all, Mrs. Wakefield." He settled back in his chair and took another puff.
"Let's not belabor such a trivial matter, Captain Burke. I'm glad of someone to talk to."
"Then I'll stay for a while longer with your permission."
"Yes, do. The quiet seems eerie. As if we're suspended in motion, waiting for something to happen."
"Waiting for all hell to break loose." He didn't appear to notice his offensive language and she forgot it with his next words. "I've experienced this before. It's the lull before the battle."
"Do you really think so?"
"It's inevitable, with the Army of the Tennessee on the march and the Army of the Cumberland right on their heels."
"Perhaps General Bragg will just go on to Atlanta."
"With thousands of battle-ready troops at his command?" Philip asked drily. "Not likely."
"When do you think it will begin?" Clarissa asked with dread.
"Perhaps tomorrow. If not tomorrow, soon."
Clarissa shivered. "I wish my son was back at Fleur-de-Lis. What if the Union . . .?"
"Have you forgotten I am a Union officer? You and yours will be safe as long as I'm here."
"Thank you, Captain."
Clarissa silently regarded the man who sat near her, his features highlighted each time he drew on the coals of his pipe. It was difficult for her to remember that he was a prisoner but that must have been the thought uppermost in his mind all these months. And as he had reminded her, he was a Union officer. If the city was captured by the enemy, he would become her captor. It was not a pleasant thought.
The night sounds of early autumn filled the silence--dry flies and tree frogs and raucous insects too numerous to be identified. Clarissa became aware of Philip's eyes on her and a warm sensation began in the pit of her stomach and spread to her breasts and thighs. She watched his slender hand as he knocked the ashes from his pipe and imagined the hand touching her. She felt her heart flutter and said with a catch in her voice, "I should go in now. It's getting quite late."
He stood at the same time she did and they were only inches apart. Clarissa felt his warm breath on her face and dared not look up.
Her hair was luminescent silver flowing about her shoulders in the moon glow and Philip reached out to touch it and willed himself to stop. But his hands with a will of their own moved to her shoulders and she raised her head and met his eyes.
In a dream-like motion they closed the space between them as their mouths slowly met and with a long-repressed hunger they sated themselves. Their bodies melded, soft against hard, silk against wool, and a fire blazed between them that blotted out all else except their awareness of each other. He brought his hand to the back of her head and wove his slender fingers into her silken tresses; the kiss deepened as his tongue became a licking flame in her mouth. When the kiss finally ended, the flame licked the hollow of her throat and the rise of her breast as he pushed aside the fabric of her gown. Fire burned against her flesh in every place his tongue touched and she arched against him, eager to be consumed by it.
"Clarissa, my beautiful Clarissa," he whispered. "No matter how hard I fight this, I can't stop wanting you. There's never an hour that you're not in my thoughts. I am obsessed by you."
She moved her hands from his chest to caress the sides of his face and he groaned with pleasure. "And I you."
He cupped her against him and she linked her arms at the back of his neck as he bent his head to take her mouth again with greater intensity. "I tell myself that you are married but it doesn't matter in what I feel. And I think you feel it, too."
"Yes, oh yes," she whispered.
For more information, you can visit the book's page at Champagne Books.