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Zebulon

Author(s): Leigh Barbour

Abigail Willis is a historian that loves wandering through Richmond's antique shops looking for that special something that would be perfect for her Victorian home—then she meets Zebulon.

Is he perfect or not?

____________________

Excerpt

He stood by the trunk of a large oak whose gnarly roots were protruding in its 4 x 4 space of ground between the chunks of concrete. I slowed down not knowing what I'd say, but I was going to speak to him. He was much more handsome than Brit, my boyfriend of the last few years. Judging by the dignified way he carried himself, something also told me he'd be much more interesting.

Before I could think of what I'd say, he smiled and removed his hat. “Good afternoon, Ma'am.” He bowed slightly making his long coat sway around his knees.

“Good afternoon,” I repeated and smiled at his ceremonious gestures.

He took a step back looking like he'd faint when I responded. I reached out afraid he'd fall to the ground.

“Are you okay?” His coat felt so soft to the touch I thought it might disintegrate in my hands.

“I am quite all right.” His hue changed from ghostly pale to ruddy again.

“Have I seen you around here before?” I asked brazenly. Maybe I'd met him and didn't remember it? I hardly thought it possible I'd forget anyone like him.

“I don't know, but I can assure you that I've never been introduced to you.”

He stood erect and I saw the belt buckle. It certainly looked authentic. I looked down and I noticed that his boots didn't quite match as factory-made boots do. His appeared to be hand-stitched where they met the sole.

“Your outfit is very authentic,” I said wondering how he'd react. Was he a nutcase wanting attention or… I thought I remembered a play being shown down at The Mosque - a Civil War play - he had to be one of the actors. “Of course, I must have seen your picture on one of the flyers. You're in the play, aren't you?”

“The play?” He took a step toward me. “Yes, certainly, the theatre.”

I looked down when I saw that he limped.

“Chancellorsville.”

I laughed so hard I nearly doubled over. “You're really in to your part, aren't you?”

“I am Zebulon Perry.” He stretched out his palm. I loved the way he was staying in character.

My hand left my side as if propelled by a magnet. His fingers grasped mine pulling my hand to his lips. A feeling ran through me, like when you find that perfect dress, the one with the right fit, but a thousand times stronger. This was silly—an actor—I didn't even know where he was from, but his accent did sound like he lived in the Richmond area.

“It is an honor,” he said. I could still feel the moistness from his lips as he let my hand gently drop. “You are the great writer, Abigail Willis.”

“You know my books?” I smoothed my hair wondering if I looked as good as those photographs on the covers Camille made me have taken. It always cost me an entire day at the beauty parlor. “You've read my books?”

“Of course. I've hung on every word.”

If it was a line, it was working on me. I wondered how Brit would react to my flirtation with this Zebulon character. Zebulon sounded so 19th century, I wondered what his real name was.

“May I invite you out for a walk? Perhaps tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow, no, I have so many appointments. I can give you my card and you can phone me?” I reached into my purse, fished out a card, and held it out toward him.

He stared at it curiously then finally took it and put it in his pocket. “I prefer to come a'calling.”

“You really do get into your part, Zebulon.” The word sounded so strange on my lips. “Can I call you Zeb?”

His lips blushed with color and his eyes twinkled. “You may call me anything you wish.” When he smiled dimples formed in his cheeks.

“Well, I am home-” I started.

“I'll know when you're home.”

I laughed self-consciously wondering why he was being so mysterious, but I was dying to know more about him. The fact that he'd read my books made me even more interested in him.

As Camille was always telling me: You could never have too many fans.


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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 978-1-4543-0062-5
Genre: Fiction
Date Published: 06/02/2011
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing

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