View Full Version : But he had to prove it to himself. He wasn't a coward!

April 1st, 2008, 07:33 PM
Hi Historical romance fans,

Here's an excerpt from my Civil War short story, Redemption of a Cavalier.

“Abby, when I say go, run as fast as you can through
those trees. Our first line of breastwork will be on the
other side. Wait for me. I’ll catch up.”
Abby bit her lip and shook her head. “No, Wes, we’ll
go together. You don’t have to prove anythin’ to me.”
But he had to prove it to himself. He wasn’t a coward!
He stared at her for several heartbeats. He never
blamed her for breaking their engagement; he knew she
deserved better than him. But this war was so uncertain,
their lives all so fragile he wondered if they’d stay safe, if
he’d ever see them again—Abby or the boy.
Overcome with an impulse he couldn’t control, he
stepped toward her, his free hand reaching out to grasp
the nape of her neck, pulling mother and son against his
chest. Surprised, Abby’s mouth dropped open as his lips
swooped down to claim hers. His tongue probed deep,
urgently twining with hers, as he tried desperately to say
with his kiss what he couldn’t say with words. I’ll always
love you. I’ll die protecting you. Then just as abruptly he
pulled away. He turned and scanned the distance to the
trees one more time. “Abby, go!”
She blinked, her brown eyes slightly dazed. “Wes?”
“I’ll be right behind you. Now go!” She ran.
He watched her for briefest of moments, then dashed
to the front parlor window, snatching up Abby’s old
Hawken in his left hand as he ran. He leaned his
Whitworth rifle against the wall and used the butt of the
Hawken to smash out the bottom pane of glass. The
Yankees were in the yard.
At the sound of shattering glass, a corporal yelled.
“Someone’s in the house!”
Wes pulled back the hammer, and praying Abby had

loaded it correctly, aimed and squeezed the trigger. The
corporal went down. The others returned fire. He picked
up his Whitworth, aimed and fired again. Another man
dropped, but Wes didn’t wait to see him fall. His rifle in
hand, he raced through the house and out the back door.
He made it half way to the trees, before they realized
he was no longer in inside and gave chase. He heard shots
behind him, but kept running. A bullet plowed through
his right side. The force of its impact pitched him forward
into the wet grass. Resolved to see Abby and Trevor safe,
he pushed to his feet and continued running.
There was a lull as the Yankees reloaded, then they
were pursuing him again. His fellow sharpshooters
returned fire as he sprinted toward them, keeping the
largest trees between himself and the Yankees. Damn! He
didn’t know how long he could keep going.
Ahead, he spotted Abby and Trevor. Relief washed
over her pale face when she saw him. Wes gritted his
teeth against the pain. He raised his left arm, which now
held his rifle, and used it to gesture across the field
toward the salient portion of the breastworks.
Abby ran. He was right behind her. Ahead, the rest of
the skirmishers raced for the main defense lines around
the village as he fell farther and farther behind. He could
feel the wet warmth of his own blood sticking his cambric
shirt to his skin as he pressed his right forearm against
the wound, his blood quickly soaking through his wool
jacket and sleeve. A staccato of gunfire erupted from
behind the breastworks as the soldiers opened fire on the
advancing Yankees. He stumbled.
Through the haze of gun smoke he watched Abby at
the trench in front of the breastworks, passing Trevor into
the arms of a fellow Confederate. She started climbing to
safety, but turned to look back.
“Wes!” He heard her scream, then blackness claimed
him as he dropped to his knees and fell forward onto his