Today I have an extract from Along Came A Soldier, courtesy of Brenda Davies and Rachel’s Random Resources.
But first, here’s what the book is about…
When murder stalks St. Merryn, no secrets are safe…
A forbidden romance…
Set in 1820 Cornwall, Charity Perrow lives a sheltered life in the village of St. Merryn. When she meets and falls for Jethro Ennor, they soon learn their families are bitter enemies, and Charity finds herself torn between remaining loyal to her family and giving into her growing desire for a man they hate.
A village with hidden secrets…
A battle-scarred redcoat is lurking In Greenoak Woods. Struggling to keep his grip on sanity, he’s come home to settle the score with those responsible for the heavy burden he’s been carrying all these years.
An innocent man accused…
When a villager is murdered, the suspicion falls on Jethro. Now Charity must risk everything, including being disowned by her family, to prove his innocence and save him from the gallows.
But as Charity hunts for the truth, she begins to uncover secrets over a decade old—secrets that will change everything.
Now for the extract…
In this extract, Jethro meets with Charity after a particularly bad fight with his father.
Charity raised her head. When she saw him, she smiled and blushed pink, working her way even deeper into his heart. Unable to move he just stared at her. She took his breath away.
In four quick strides, Charity stood beside him, sliding her hand into his like it belonged there and pulling him toward the rotting stump. ‘They’re missing.’
Jethro ran a finger down her forehead to smooth out her frown. ‘Who or what?’
‘The mushrooms. The poisonous ones. The bonesetter told me not to pick them. They can make you sick; you could even die if you ate them.’
‘I promise I won’t.’
‘Not you! Whoever took them, I mean.’ Charity laughed and dragged Jethro toward the low wall. They sank to the ground together with their fingers still intertwined; she flopped with the fluid grace of a cat, the musky, brown earth like a blanket beneath them.
She turned toward him, and he reached for a coil of her hair. It slipped through his fingers and bounced back. He gulped. ‘I’m sorry about the other night, at the beach.’
The colour drained from her face. ‘Sorry you took me, or sorry about what we did?’
‘God no, neither. But I’m sorry if I frightened you or led you astray.’
Her colour returned like a blushing sunrise. ‘I can’t stop thinking about it, about you.’ Charity untangled their fingers and turned her hips toward him, one hand rested on his thigh. The pressure of her grip steadily increased.
Jethro rubbed the back of his neck. ‘I was afraid I’d scared you away and that you’d never come back.’
‘The opposite, more like.’
That made him smile. ‘You know why you’re special?’
‘Because I tell you who I am, what I am, and you’re still here. I don’t know why.’ He bent his head toward her. ‘I’m changing because of you.’
‘I don’t want you to change.’
‘I got rid of the knife.’ He raised his head and nodded at the top of the wall. ‘I left it there, last night. It’s gone.’
‘Yes, because I don’t want to kill my father anymore. I want to fight for us and only us.’
Charity stared into his eyes. ‘And you’ll wait for me to be free?’
He stared right back. ‘I’ll wait for you if you promise never to leave me.’
‘I promise to never leave. I’ll fight for us too.’
Charity threw her arms around his neck and pressed up against his chest. Pain shot through him from the contact, making him jump and grit his teeth and silently curse.
‘You’re hurt again!’ Her fingers were already unbuttoning his shirt before he could stop her. She eased his shirt open, taking with it pieces of fragile skin and scabs from around his wound. She drew in a deep breath. He waited for the release. It came in a whoosh. ‘Dear God, this is bad,’ she whispered.
‘It looks worse than it is.’ The red gash wept clear fluid. Part of it was now crusted over with a fresh pink scab.
‘Your father, no doubt.’
‘Yes, but it was different this time. I’ve always felt that I deserve to be punished because I’m not good enough. Why else would my own mother leave? I’d never fought back before, but this time, I hurt him first. I could have killed him, Charity, with the knife. I held it to his throat and let him know it, then I walked away. He won’t do this to me again. That was the last time.’
‘I hope so, because this is very bad. Is this the only burn?’
‘One on my shoulder too.’
‘Let me see.’
Jethro could feel her warm breath on his skin. He inhaled the smell of her deep into his lungs. He wanted her hand on his thigh again, not his shoulder.
‘I need to describe these burns to the bonesetter. She’ll prepare something to put on them. You need her help. Your shirt keeps sticking to them and pulling off the scabs. You need a dressing. If these get infected, you could die. You know that, don’t you?’
‘A couple burns aren’t going to kill me.’
‘No, because I’m going to look after you.’ Charity moved to sit across his legs, straddling him.
Jethro lost the thread of her words. Distracted, his hands reached for her waist.
‘Can you meet me tonight, Jethro?’
‘I need to treat this properly. Can you come to my bedroom window? I’ll let you in.’
That got Jethro’s attention. His heart danced against his ribs at the thought of her bedroom. ‘I can’t. I don’t trust myself to be alone with you and a bed.’
‘I trust you.’
‘You shouldn’t. Look what happened at the beach. I can hardly control myself now, even in the state I’m in. No, not a good idea.’
‘I must dress these burns tonight.’
‘I’m shaking already at the thought of it. No.’
She ran her hand through his hair. ‘If you don’t come to me, I’ll find you.’
Charity leant toward him, and Jethro closed his eyes. She smelt so good. Her skin was soft and smooth. Her lips brushed against his, and he pulled her in for a long, deep kiss.
‘After all,’ she muttered into the kiss, ‘nothing’s going to happen.’
About the Author
Brenda Davies can trace her Cornish heritage back to the 17th century. She loves to indulge her passion of history and all things Cornish by delving into the past and bringing it alive for the reader to experience, which inspired her to write her debut novel Along Came a Soldier. She enjoys whiskey, chocolate, going to the theatre, and losing herself in a good book. She resides in Bristol, England, where she is currently working on her next novel.