Historical Romance, 408 pages
Cover art by Richard Stroud
"I offered you the only way out."
What kind of law is this…that's no choice!?!" Devon blanched; her voice weak as she stepped close to him, impulsively placing her hand on his arm.
"Marry me…" Bryn whispered softly, keenly aware of her gentle touch, but then added coldly "Or go to jail…"
Cautiously he skirted around the corner of the fiery building. Stopping abruptly, his eyes widened in utter surprise as he spied a young girl with a wild array of unruly red curls cascading down her back, leaping from the trellis. Shocked into silence, Bryn took a moment to admire her and gather his wits.
The girl, not realizing anyone was about, jumped from the last rail of the trellis. Hitting the ground, she fell slightly, caught herself with her hands, then stood and brushed off the debris on her clothes. Turning, she froze in her tracks. With a sharp intake of breath, her gaze glued to the man with his tattered Yankee uniform. Strands of dirty black hair and an unkempt beard covered most of his face. He remained motionless while staring at her with his gray eyes.
Standing rock still without catching her breath, the girl scrutinized him with the most amazing emerald green eyes Bryn had ever seen.
Bryn was puzzled at her presence. Stepping toward her without speaking, Bryn used no caution. As he found himself in close proximity of those haunting green orbs, he could see the pure venom in her eyes, eyes he would never forget. Bryn was enchanted with the sight of the beautiful creature frozen before him in the middle of this war-torn land. Sighing, he stepped closer to the girl whose sight had so bewitched him. Letting his guard completely down, he continued to move toward the green-eyed nymph.
"Wherever did you come from? What…" He started to speak in hushed tones as he edged even nearer to the girl, watching her as she reached into her pocket. Before he could react, the girl produced a small derringer. His gray eyes opened wide, in abject surprise. Bryn dove at the girl, knocking her body to the ground with a thud. The derringer went flying from her hand as he wrestled with her, pulling both her hands behind her back.
Her breathing ragged, Devon shrieked at her attacker. "You filthy Yankee, let me go!" Twisting herself to and fro, she struggled in vain.
"Hold still!" Bryn spoke through gritted teeth. Straddling the girl, he was able to stand up, pulling her into an upright position.
Weak from her struggles, Devon stood in front of him. "Just kill me and get it over with!" she hissed.
Bryn released her and spun her around to face him. "I ain't gonna kill you. What makes you think that?"
Devon glared at her offender. "You heathen Yankees killed my parents and burned my home…what's to stop you from killing me?"
"Hold on…" Bryn started. "I didn't…"
"You are a Yankee…just like the others." Her eyes glinted with the hatred she felt for this Yankee soldier.
A flaming wall of Devon's home suddenly crashed to the ground. The fire burned ferociously, as Bryn grabbed Devon about the waist and dragged her away from the searing flames.
Tears sprang to Devon's eyes as she helplessly watched the remains of her house crumble to the ground in flames and smoke.
In silence, Bryn gently pulled her to his horse. Sandy stood still while Bryn lifted Devon up into the saddle. The girl had quit fighting and just submitted to him. Spying the derringer in the grass, Bryn picked it up and shoved the small gun into his pants pocket.
Devon stared numbly at the devastation before her, oblivious to what the Yankee was doing to her.
Bryn mounted up behind her and taking the reins, he headed his steed away from the fire and destruction he had once again failed to stop.