J.D.R. Hawkins is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines, and blogs. She is one of a few female Civil War authors, uniquely describing the front lines from a Confederate perspective. Her "Renegade Series" includes "A Beautiful Glittering Lie," winner of the 2013 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the 2012 B.R.A.G. Medallion. The sequel, "A Beckoning Hellfire," is also an award winner. Both books tell the story of a family from north Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war. Ms. Hawkins is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women's Writing Guild, the Mississippi Writers Guild, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and Pikes Peak Writers. She is also an artist and a singer/songwriter. She recently completed a nonfiction book about the War Between the States, as well as two more sequels for her "Renegade Series." Learn more about her at http://jdrhawkins.com.
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After David Summers enlists with the Confederate cavalry, his delusion of chivalry is soon crushed when he witnesses the horrors of battle. Shot by a Union picket, he winds up at a stranger’s farm. Four girls compassionately nurse him back to health. David learns his comrades have deserted him in Pennsylvania following the Battle of Gettysburg, but his dilemma becomes much worse. He falls in love with the older sister, Anna, who entices him with a proposition. To his dismay, he must make a decision. Should he stay and help Anna with her underhanded plan, or return to the army and risk capture?
Within an hour’s time, Maggie returned, and Anna knew he was with her. Patrick’s jovial laughter infiltrated the air. She went downstairs to greet him. He had already dismounted his horse and was assisting Maggie down from Alphie when she reached them.
He turned to see her. “Well, there’s me bonnie lass!” he exclaimed in his melodic Irish brogue and gave her a hug. Releasing her, he said, “Your lovely sister, Maggie, has informed me there’s a party here this very morn, so I brung along some refreshment!” His green eyes twinkled with amusement. “But I’ve never known ye lasses to indulge in spirits so early in the day, and on the Sabbath, no less!”
“Don’t be silly, Patrick!” Anna laughed.
With a wink, he handed her a bottle of whiskey.
The two little girls came out of the barn. “Patrick!” they screeched, running toward him.
He picked Abigail up and twirled her around, causing her to squeal with delight before he set her back down.
“We haven’t seen you in so long, Patrick,” she said. “Where have you been?”
“Why, workin’, of course.” He gave Claudia a hug. “‘Tis a busy time with the crops right now, lass. I’m sure you’re well aware.” Turning back to Anna, he pulled the cap from his head, revealing thick, brown hair. “So, how might I be of service to ye fair maidens?” he asked.
“We have something to show you,” Anna said, “but you have to swear not to tell a soul.”
Patrick raised an eyebrow and smirked. “Well now, if I agree to it, will ye be fixin’ me a fine meal in return?”
“Of course,” she replied, taking his hand. “Come with me.”
She led him into the farmhouse’s back door, through the kitchen, and up the staircase to the second floor. Stopping at the doorway at the top of the steps, she turned to look at him.
“There’s somethin’ ye want to be showin’ me in your father’s bed chamber?” he asked, comically raising his eyebrow.
Anna bit her lower lip. She turned the knob and pushed the squeaky door open.
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